Guest Columns

Female candidates offer chance to end ‘toxic testosterone’ of patriarchal power structure

By Guest Columnist MELITA EASTERS, executive director and founding chair of Georgia’s WIN List

Record numbers of progressive Georgia women candidates, backed by hundreds who have volunteered to support them, are part of a headline-grabbing and magazine-cover-inspiring national wave of newly emboldened activists who plan to qualify for elected office over the coming weeks.

Why we need our national endowments

By Guest Columnist STANLEY ROMANSTEIN, professor of practice, Creative Media Industries Institute at Georgia State University, and principal with BLJackson Associates

In 1965 the U.S Congress – both Republicans and Democrats – expressed the firm belief that, “Democracy demands wisdom and vision in its citizens. It must therefore foster and support a form of education, and access to the arts and humanities, designed to make people of all backgrounds and wherever located, masters of their technology and not its unthinking servants.”

Developers say planned BeltLine project at 10th, Monroe is a chance to ‘get it right’

By Guest Columnist JIM KEGLEY, a partner in 10th and Monroe, LLC, which intends to develop property along the Atlanta BeltLine at Piedmont Park

We have lived in Midtown for 15 years. We share our neighbors’ love of the residential area. We also share our fellow Atlantans’ ambitions for our city, particularly as they’ve been articulated in our most transformational vision for our future: The Atlanta BeltLine. The land in which we have invested near the intersection of 10th Street and Monroe Avenue represents an opportunity to express those values.

Make a $1 billion investment in Georgia’s youth, workers, families and communities

By Guest Columnist TAIFA S. BUTLER, executive director of the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute

You’ve no doubt heard many times Georgia is the No. 1 place to do business, but what if the state can also be the top place to settle and raise a family? That is the audacious vision the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute unveiled at its Jan. 25 policy conference under the banner “People-Powered Prosperity.”

Georgia needs a people-first strategy to build a stronger, more inclusive economy.

Georgia’s education system: Much better than we hear about

By Guest Columnist MATT CARDOZA, communications director for the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education

Have you ever heard that Georgia is first in education? Probably not. Have you ever heard that Georgia is last in education? Probably so.

When you hear Georgia is last in education, that is typically based on one measure – SAT results. Like many education measures, apples-to-apples comparisons are difficult to glean from SAT results. For example, the top-ranked state in the nation based on the most recent comparable (2016) SAT results was Illinois. Only 3 percent of their students took the SAT, compared to 67 percent of Georgia students.

The year ahead in Georgia transportation

By Guest Columnist RUSSELL MCMURRY, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Transportation

Transportation infrastructure plays a pivotal role in driving Georgia’s economy, supporting community growth and maintaining Georgia’s position as the No. 1 state in the U.S. to do business. It also makes Georgia more attractive as a home to prospective new business operations like Amazon’s second headquarters, as well as those in the freight and logistics industry and our largest industry, agribusiness.

The Georgia Department of Transportation takes its responsibility for managing the nation’s 10th-largest transportation network very seriously, and we work diligently to ensure it meets the needs of all Georgians. GDOT focuses on innovation, safety, sustainability and mobility to provide well-maintained roads and bridges. But that is just the beginning.

2018 an excellent year for Atlanta, Georgia to commit to building global peace legacy

By Guest Columnist JOHN NAUGLE, president and CEO of Atlanta: City of Peace Inc.

Millions worldwide are re-branding New Year’s Day as “Global Family Day: A day for peace and sharing.” Well? Let’s excel!

It’s exciting. Atlanta is the best-positioned city on Earth to propel the goals of this annual celebration, plus eventually receive an immense economic and societal windfall, throughout every day of each successive year, as a “thank you.” Our city’s greatest destiny is in becoming an international beacon of peace to our entire global family. Will you assist?

Revisiting Christmas 1957: A vicarious trip via Atlanta History Center

By Guest Columnist BO HIERS, who recently “semi-retired” from a 35-year career in the reinsurance industry and is a recently minted Atlanta History Center volunteer

Close your eyes and step back in time with me. Imagine an Atlanta without the Falcons, Braves and Hawks. The glitzy Mercedes Benz Stadium and SunTrust Park are nowhere to be found. Think of our town without the Peachtree Plaza, Atlantic Station, IBM Tower and all the other tall buildings that dominate the landscape of Downtown Atlanta and Midtown. We’re in full imagination mode now, so let’s keep going.

Traffic is a breeze in this era, thanks entirely to a drastically smaller metro area population, roughly 85 percent less than it is today. Fewer people meant fewer cars on the road. Speaking of roads, there is no daily backup at the top end of I-285, or, for that matter, the bottom end of Ga. 400. I’m sure you’ve already guessed why – we’ve stepped so far back in time that there is no Ga. 400 or I-285.

A DACA Dreamer shares his story, support for path to citizenship

By Guest Columnist JAIME RANGEL, a DACA recipient from Dalton who works with lawmakers from across the state, serving as a liaison between their offices and the Hispanic community

My name is Jaime Rangel, and I’m a beneficiary of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. This federal program allowed me, and hundreds of thousands of other young people, the opportunity to work and study in the United States.

Smart cities for whom? Leveraging technology for an inclusive and just Atlanta

By Guest Columnist ALEX KARNER, formerly of Georgia Tech and now assistant professor in the School of Architecture at The University of Texas at Austin, with JENNIFER HIRSCH, ROBERT ROSENBERGER, and JESSE WOO, of the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Atlanta is one of many cities across the country that is increasingly adopting “smart cities” technologies. These are usually internet-connected sensors that gather data about the environment. Common examples include traffic signals that monitor intersections for accidents, trash cans that alert sanitation workers when they’re full, or air quality monitors that send an alert when pollution levels are unsafe.

A tale of two roofs, a bridge and a widening wealth divide

By Guest Columnist MIKE DOBBINS, a professor of the practice of planning at Georgia Tech’s College of Architecture who has overseen several Tech studios that examined Northside Drive and its neighborhoods

We often view buildings, architecture, as symbols of the times and the cultures in which they are built. The implosion of the Georgia Dome juxtaposed against the Mercedes Benz Stadium call on us to reflect on what they both mean. They have in common the destruction and obliteration of significant African American history and culture.

School leadership – challenges and new opportunities

By Guest Columnist DANA RICKMAN, PhD, the director for policy and research at the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education

Successful schools and school systems need strong leaders. Research has shown that leadership influences student learning, and among all school-related factors that contribute to what students learn at school, leadership is second only to classroom instruction. In schools and systems that have more challenges, leadership is even more impactful. Turning around troubled schools demands the intervention of a powerful leader.

The national anthem and its racist content

By Guest Columnist JOE BEASLEY, a human rights activist in Atlanta and founder of the Joe Beasley Foundation

“Ooh-oh, say can you see…” begins our national anthem, the music and lyrics we’ve grown up with as the incantation of individual and collective deep loyalty to the United States of America, its democratic tenets and ideals. But prompted by recent headlines, we once again face and examine the difference between how the words of the national anthem resonate differently for some Americans.

AHA and Egbert Perry – Know the history before attacking Integral’s options on land

By Guest Columnist HATTIE DORSEY, civic volunteer, founder and retired president of the Atlanta Neighborhood Development Partnership

After reading recent news articles about Egbert Perry and the Integral Co., I find I just cannot sit idly by and not respond in some fashion. I reluctantly take issue with many of my housing advocate friends who express concern based on media reports that do not dive into the history of what public housing use to be like in Atlanta. Because I happen to know what Integral’s vision was – Redevelop the terrible public housing projects into new and mixed income communities – I want to add my voice because I was involved.

Atlanta’s public policymakers must put children first

By Guest Columnist MERIA CARSTARPHEN, superintendent of Atlanta Public Schools

Atlanta – as the birthplace of a King, the crucible of the Civil Rights Movement and the international gateway to the Southeastern United States – is a city of innovation and spirit. Yet it is also a city entrenched in inequities that prevent children from living the choice-filled lives they deserve.

Next Atlanta mayor must have plan to promote child care

By Guest Columnist PAM TATUM, CEO of Quality Care for Children

No doubt the City of Atlanta has a lot going for it. The new mayor will take charge of a vibrant city with a reputation as a great place to do business – a city with a growing population that’s a major destination for young college grads. But with all Atlanta has going for it, it may not be the best place for young people to start a family and educate their children.

Time has arrived to unite for Atlanta’s kids

By Guest Columnist DAVID SUITTS, founder of Unite For Kids Atlanta

When people ask why I care about early childhood development, I think back to when I first thought I could maybe teach.

There’s a Youtube video of that summer: I’m filming and talking at three girls, none whom could be older than 6 years.

Atlanta’s voice needed to fight offshore drilling

By Guest Columnist BILL SAPP, a senior attorney for the Southern Environmental Law Center

In the past year, the devastation inflicted from hurricanes Matthew and Irma serves as a stark reminder that Georgia’s coast is vulnerable to the vagaries of nature. Wrecking countless homes and businesses, and shredding boats and docks along the entire coast, these hurricanes flooded St. Marys and Tybee Island, pounded the beaches of Jekyll Island and Cumberland Island, and overtopped the sea walls in Savannah and St. Simons.

Climate change causes must be confronted in Georgia

By Guest Columnist DAVID KYLER, executive director of the Center for a Sustainable Coast, located on St. Simons

A crucial distinction in determining the best course of action on climate change is the difference between reacting to the impacts of our overheating climate versus reducing the causes of this increasingly destructive global disruption. Unfortunately, Georgia’s state officials have consistently limited their efforts to the former, while willfully suppressing consideration of the latter.