Entries by Maria Saporta

An open letter to Mayor-elect Keisha Lance Bottoms

Dear Mayor-elect Keisha Lance Bottoms,

Congratulations on being elected Atlanta’s 60th mayor!

I begin this letter with an outstretched hand to let you know I want you to be a successful mayor.

My hope is you will appreciate the role of the press – to question, to inform, to probe, to be skeptical, and yes, to be critical when necessary.

This hope is not limited to me. Ideally you will embrace people who think differently than you do, that you will treat the press and fellow public servants with respect, and that you will seek mutually-beneficial solutions while governing our city.

Column: Cousins’ Gellerstedt worried some Americans are losing hope

As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on November 10, 2017

When Larry Gellerstedt, CEO of Cousins Properties Inc., received the American Jewish Committee’s National Human Relations Award on Oct. 30 at the Loew’s Atlanta Hotel, he sounded an alarm over the prejudice and hate in our society today.

Gellerstedt explained he is a lover of history – especially European history between World War I and World War II.

Column: Wesley Woods to honor three for their impact in metro Atlanta

As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on November 3, 2017

Three prominent Georgians will be honored with the Heroes, Saints & Legends awards by the Foundation of Wesley Woods on April 19 at Flourish.

Civil rights leader the Rev. Joseph E. Lowery will be honored along with his late wife, Evelyn Lowery.

Also, philanthropist Merritt Steed Bond and attorney Edward “Jack” Hardin, a homeless advocate, also will be honored at the annual event that celebrates Georgians who have made significant contributions to the community through their leadership, service and philanthropy.

Atlanta Committee for Progress key in transition of Mayor Reed to Mayor-elect Bottoms

By Maria Saporta The high-powered Atlanta Committee for Progress witnessed the transition of leadership Friday morning when Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed passed a symbolic baton to his successor – Mayor-elect Keisha Lance Bottoms. The quarterly board meeting of ACP had planned for this meeting to be a time when it could meet with Atlanta’s next […]

Kerry Armstrong re-elected chairman of Atlanta Regional Commission

The board of the Atlanta Regional Commission unanimously re-elected Kerry Armstrong to serve a third two-year term as chairman at its meeting on Wednesday.

Armstrong, a commercial real estate executive, has served on the ARC board since 2008 as a citizen member representing a district that includes portions of Gwinnett County.

Armstrong was first elected chairman in 2013. His third term will begin on Jan. 1. 

Former City Council President Lisa Borders endorses Mary Norwood

Lisa Borders, a former president of the Atlanta City Council, is endorsing Mary Norwood for mayor.

Borders was a mayoral candidate in 2009, and she ended up coming in third – not making the run-off that included Kasim Reed and Norwood. At the time, Borders endorsed Reed, and many believed she helped put him over the top. Reed beat Norwood by just 714 votes.

Eight years later, the tables have turned.

Money to build pricey pedestrian bridge over Northside Drive should be spent at street-level

Memo to Atlanta’s next mayor:

Please put a stop to the building of an unnecessary $24 million loopy-loop pedestrian bridge across Northside Drive.

Now let me explain my rationale.

The expensive pedestrian bridge would connect the Vine City MARTA Station with the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The total length of the bridge would be about two blocks to just get pedestrians to cross over a 70-foot crosswalk.

Women gaining critical mass on Georgia company boards

As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on November 3, 2017

A year ago, Atlanta-based Intercontinental Exchange Inc. only had one woman on its board. Today, the owner of the New York Stock Exchange has three, reflecting a growing trend among Georgia’s top public companies of having at least three women on their boards.

That’s one of the findings of the just-published 2017 OnBoard study of women directors and executives of Georgia’s publicly owned companies.

Felicia Moore and Alex Wan promise a more independent Atlanta City Council if they win

The next president of the Atlanta City Council will seek to create a more independent body that will be dedicated to transparency and reforming the city’s procurement process.

The Center for Civic Innovation held a leadership breakfast Thursday morning with the two candidates in the run-off for City Council President – Felicia Moore and Alex Wan – two existing district Councilmembers.

Atlanta – save Gaines Hall – a building too important to die

It’s been more than two years since historic Gaines Hall caught on fire – and little has been done to save one of the oldest and most significant buildings in Atlanta.

Gaines Hall continues to deteriorate in front of our eyes – a victim of the natural elements as well as inadequate fire insurance coverage. The building also has been in the middle of a hotly contested legal battle between the  City of Atlanta’s Invest Atlanta and Clark Atlanta University over who owns land that used to belong to Morris Brown College.

The Loudermilks bring their business back to their former home in Buckhead

As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on October 27, 2017

Charlie and Robin Loudermilk have come home.

The father and son have moved their business offices back into the building where they worked for decades.

Built in 1963, the office tower at 309 East Paces Ferry Road was the first high-rise in Buckhead. Charlie Loudermilk bought it in 1970 and for more than 40 years it served as the headquarters for Aaron’s Inc., the furniture and electronics rental company he had founded in 1955. Aaron’s used it as its home base until a couple of years ago, when the company moved to a new headquarters at 400 Galleria Parkway.

Metro Atlanta Chamber taps Invesco’s Marty Flanagan in future leadership role

By Maria Saporta The Metro Atlanta Chamber has secured Marty Flanagan, CEO of Invesco, to serve as its chair in 2020, it was announced today at the business organization’s annual luncheon on the field of Mercedes-Benz Stadium in front of 2,000 people. The luncheon also had the symbolic passing of the baton from Jeffrey Sprecher, […]

Kerry McArdle to become executive director of Literacy Action

Literacy Action, a nonprofit that provides adult basic education, has named named Kerry McArdle as its new executive director. She will begin her new role on Dec. 4.

McArdle is currently managing director of advancement at KIPP Metro Atlanta Schools, a network of eight public charter schools serving Atlanta’s underserved communities. 

An archeological site, a boat and a water tower make Georgia Trust’s 2018 list of Places in Peril

A boat and a water tower are among the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation’s 2018 list of the 10 “Places in Peril” across the state.

“It’s the first time we’ve had a boat,” said Mark McDonald, president and CEO of the Georgia Trust, which has been publishing the Places in Peril list for the past 13 years. “But it’s a Georgia boat with a Georgia pedigree.”

Friends of English Avenue establishes Kevin Baker Music Program

At its annual lunch meeting Sunday afternoon at Lindsay Street Baptist Church, Friends of English Avenue launched the Kevin Baker Music Program to provide music lessons to children in the community.

It was the 11th anniversary of the organization, which was co-founded by John Gordon and Rev. Andrew Motley, senior pastor of Lindsay Street Baptist Church.

SaportaReport explores Atlanta Civic Circle to convene engaged citizens

SaportaReport hit an important milestone this past week.

We brought together our Thought Leader partners and friends for a special evening of fellowship on Nov. 9 – when we discussed how we can improve civic journalism in Atlanta.

The evening culminated with two sequential interviews with Atlanta’s mayoral run-off candidates, when they were able to share their vision for Atlanta’s future. We were the first venue to have a joint appearance of candidates Mary Norwood and Keisha Lance Bottoms after the Nov. 7. general election. Here is our livestream on Facebook.