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Public invited to give feedback on potential new streetcar routes

While you’re waiting for transit to come along the Atlanta BeltLine, be sure to give your feedback on potential transit routing at one of the upcoming community meetings.

Currently in year one, phase one of its 2030 Strategic Implementation Plan (SIP), the overarching project priority is light rail transit on the east and west corridors.

Ultimately, the City of Atlanta and the Atlanta BeltLine intend o integrate the Atlanta Streetcar and Atlanta BeltLine transit lines into a unified system.

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Bruce Levenson email shows we still are not living in a post-racial world

Being a person of color is at times a weary experience and, with age the burden of misunderstanding gets a little heavier. My generation, the Millenials, is supposed to make up the façade of a post-racial America, but I’m afraid that notion need be reserved for the likes of my four-year old nephew.

On Sunday, the Bruce Levenson email came to light when the co-owner of the Atlanta Hawks (at least for now) lamented the adverse impact of black basketball fans showing up to games. He plainly stated a fact that is still evident in neighborhood subdivisions across the country.

Although I recognize we’ve a long way to go before we move out of a “black and white” mindset, it’s terribly disheartening to hear such language come out of someone who owns part of an Atlanta team.

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Allies need to step up as U.S. weighs interventionism versus isolationism

A week ago I stopped to say hello to the security guard in my building. I hadn’t seen him in a while and felt compelled to speak. Normally jovial, I immediately noticed his energy was different so I asked how he was doing.

An Army reservist, he had just received orders to go to the Middle East and would be leaving after Thanksgiving. For the few minutes I listened to him speak, his Caribbean accent slightly heavier than usual, it was evident he was still dealing with the scars of earlier Middle East deployments.

Why are we trying to save other countries when we’re dealing with problems like Ferguson, he questioned. What are we going to accomplish by going there, he continued.

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WonderRoot weaves a beautiful piece of art as it plans its new APS home

It has been exciting to watch the Atlanta arts scene grow by leaps and bounds. C4Atlanta, Elevate, Flux and glo are just a few of the new projects that have come on line in recent years. And, just this weekend, Living Walls multi-genre arts showcase celebrated its fifth year.

Another player in the Atlanta arts scene is WonderRoot, the Reynoldstown-based, arts nonprofit. Founded in 2004, WonderRoot unites local artists and the community to inspire positive social change. From mixed media works inspired by Civil Rights leader Lonnie King to youth programming with the Boys & Girls Club, WonderRoot’s reach crosses boundaries, like only art can.

Led by Atlanta-native Chris Appleton, the organization has just announced it will expand its services and move to the former Tech High Charter School as the WonderRoot Center for Arts & Social Change.

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Let’s move beyond partisan isolationism for our nation’s sake

As the saying goes, politics stops at the water’s edge. But these days the tides of partisanship are eroding our shores. The edge isn’t where it used to be.

If the past 12 years of war are any indication, as a country we’ve embraced our role as interventionists, long moved from the 19th Century notions of approaching foreign policy with an isolationism mindset.

We have military and foreign affairs personnel across the globe; we’ve brokered international elections and ceasefires; and we’ve made attempts at aiding nation building.

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General election campaign for U.S. Senate has begun with hyped memo

Oh how I love – or is it loathe – politics in the digital age. Stories regularly receive more coverage than they are worth, and others serve as an anchor, drowning a promising political career.

In these times, events such as leaked memos are bothersome little things. And so it seems, on the surface, Democratic nominee Michelle Nunn is having a bad day – or couple of days depending on the news cycle.

The Republican communications machine has swiftly pounced on a leaked Nunn campaign memo outlining a nearly year-old campaign strategy conducted by a national Democratic pollster.

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Wanted: Leaders who make tough decisions on transportation funding

Legislators in Washington, D.C. approach funding transportation infrastructure the same way the Falcons approach a fourth quarter deficit – by ignoring it until the clock is about to run out.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and eleven of his predecessors penned a letter to Congress on Monday urging tmembers to reconsider their approach to dealing with the shortfall of the Highway Trust Fund.

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After four years of residents coping without transit, Clayton now has hope

On Saturday, July 5, the Clayton County Board of Commissioners made history.

With a 3-to-1 vote to place a binding referendum on the November ballot to join MARTA, the citizens of Clayton County now have the opportunity to add an important tool in their economic toolbox – full-fledged transit access, funded without burdening the county’s budget.

My mind instantly rewound four years.

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Goodie Hack brings technology and Atlanta nonprofits together

Joey Womack, better known as Joey Digital – an Atlanta-based technologist, has been around the startup scene for quite some time. He and his business partner, Justin Dawkins, are making an indelible impression in the technology scene.

Womack and Dawkins jointly own sf35, a business mentoring venture focused on African-American, Latino and women entrepreneurs. Under sf35, they’ve launched a new community-driven hackathon – Goodie Hack.

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Eric Cantor’s primary loss no cause for celebration for ‘do nothing’ Congress

“Our mission is to bring awareness to any issue which challenges the security, sovereignty or domestic tranquility of our beloved nation, The United States of America.”

The above declaration serves as the guiding principle for the Tea Party, provocateurs of the political status quo and our two-party structure. The system is not working – our national debt is out of control, crony capitalism reigns supreme, and we simply shrug and ignore ethics charges against elected officials.

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Rideshare firms – Uber and Lyft – offer options, while disrupting status quo

I commonly use a ridesharing service around town and, when possible, while traveling.

It wasn’t until a recent trip to Savannah that I realized how accustomed I’ve become to using them. When getting out of a cab on River Street, I nearly forgot to pay the driver, instead thinking my card had already been charged as it would if I were using Uber or Lyft.

Uber, leading the ridesharing pack, just received a remarkable $18 billion valuation. Venture capital firm Andreesen Horowitz, whose early startup portfolio included Facebook and Airbnb, has put its money behind Lyft.

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Let’s get through 2014 elections before we take on Hillary and 2016 elections

If you watched the Sunday political talk shows over the past few weeks, you would think we are in the midst of a presidential election; but 2016 is in fact more than 850 days away.

The GOP boxing strategy thus far has been a series of one-two punches aimed at President Barack Obama with enough heat to bruise Hillary Clinton’s legacy as his former Secretary of State.

Karl Rove and friends continue to discuss ad nauseam Benghazi. The same goes for votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

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Gen. Shinseki’s leadership at the VA is not inspiring trust among the ranks

We make assumptions every day. At work, in relationships, in government.

A U.S. Senator from Chicago assumed his message of hope and change would resonate with millions of Americans. It did; not with everyone, but enough to secure becoming president of the United States.

In his inaugural speech, President Thomas Jefferson wisely warned the American people, “I have learnt to expect that it will rarely fall to the lot of imperfect man to retire from this station with the reputation and the favor which bring him into it…I shall often go wrong through defect of judgement.”

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Several critical elections will narrow the candidates during primaries

Crying babies, pizza delivery, stethoscopes, billboard sized mailers.

The onslaught of election ads and direct mail will do little to boost voter turnout for tomorrow’s primary vote.

Much to the chagrin of their opponents, Gov. Nathan Deal and Michelle Nunn, both front runners in their respective races, have smartly kept non-scripted public interactions to a minimum so far.

The longer general election campaign will require tenacity and an aggressive mix of defensive and offensive political plays.

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Atlanta’s United Way launches ‘Silence the Growl’ child hunger campaign

As much as we tout the successes of our numerous Fortune-ranked businesses, organizations such as the United Way of Greater Atlanta oft remind us the great work is to lead a life of purpose.

Metro Atlantans are no strangers to service and women in particular are driving charitable change in the region.

Just before Mother’s Day, Atlanta’s United Way presented its third annual “Leading a Life of Purpose” women in philanthropy discussion. Moderated by Terri Theisen, the roundtable included U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates and Lovette Russell of Coxe Curry & Associates and wife of business power broker Michael Russell. The DeKalb Chamber’s Katerina Taylor, also chair of the United Way’s young professionals’ committee, participated in place of retired Novelis CEO Martha Brooks.

The women shared personal narratives of how they have interlaced their professional careers with their philanthropic interests.

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The Tragic Merry Go-Round of the Gun Rights Debate

I fired a weapon for the first time in my adult life last year. Three different caliber guns to be exact. It was exhilarating to hold this relatively small item and feel the force that exited from it. I felt both a sense of empowerment and responsibility.

I’m no stranger to guns; members of my family carry and my parents made sure I knew where they kept them and that I had a clear understanding of the power of a weapon.

While I presently lack the desire to purchase and carry a weapon, I acknowledge others do.

Anytime someone chooses to carry a gun in my presence, I also recognize that, to a certain extent, my life is in his or her hands. It’s the same for any of us. We must trust the person carrying that weapon will not discharge without reason.

This leaves to me wonder if we have developed a hyper sensitive sense of fear.

There was a shooting at Columbine. Go buy a gun.

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Technology can improve transit but not replace new network investment

Driverless cars, repairing broken sidewalks, promoting transit for workplaces, public art and transportation.

That’s just a taste of the diversity of ideas discussed during the breakout sessions at the transportation nerd fest known as TransportationCamp. Even better, this year’s event, held a couple of weeks ago, also including a Govathon transportation-centric hackathon. Naturally, MARTA was the focal point for transit discussions.

Over the past several months, we have all watched the disruption of the taxicab industry, not only in metro Atlanta, but also across the country. A couple of smart phone apps, Uber and Lyft, have revolutionized the transportation industry, and in the case of Uber, have brought the black towncar experience within reach of the common middle-class individual.

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Time for U.S. elected leaders to address climate change issues

“There is no debate in Germany about climate change,” Iris Shultz of the German consulate nonchalantly remarked during a recent Sustainable Atlanta Roundtable on urban sustainability. The statement clearly shows the difference in stating an issue rather than politicizing it.

Just under a quarter of the Germany’s electricity is gathered from renewable sources. While the average home size is much smaller than the United States, the cost of residential electricity is more. Shultz said it is because their energy rates are intended to modify behavior.

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Urban investments must weigh issues of equity, diversity and inclusion

Since leaving City Hall, I have had the opportunity to get back to my first love – transportation. I recently joined the boards of two nonprofit advocacy organizations – the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition (ABC) and PEDS, and I am working with MARTA’s media relations and external affairs team.

Over the past few weeks, conversations sparked at our ABC board retreat in February keep playing in my head – particularly given recent discussions about the future of the Atlanta BeltLine and Streetcar as well as broader national comments from U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan on the future of our inner cities.