Mayor Kasim Reed may award key employment contracts before leaving office

With less than six months remaining before he leaves office, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed is working on all cylinders trying to accomplish as much as he can in the precious time he has left.

But all this activity has a downside.

The next mayor of Atlanta could inherit a City Hall where major policy moves, government contracts and personnel decisions will have been decided before he or she takes office.

Mayor Reed and key city council folks are at odds over closing Eastside TAD

Invest Atlanta provided financing to a record number of developments at its board meeting July 21 – projects that will add a total of 493 units of affordable and workforce housing – a top priority of Mayor Kasim Reed.

But a reason there was such a rush of projects was due to the possible closing of the Eastside TAD (Tax Allocation District). And Mayor Kasim Reed supports closing the TAD.

France rises as new French President reaches out to President Trump

The ascension of France on the global stage was exemplified on July 14 – Bastille Day – when Frenchman Warren Barguil gave France its first Bastille Day Tour de France victory in 12 years.

But an even more significant sign was when U.S. President Donald Trump accepted an invitation from the recently-elected President of France – Emmanuel Macron – to spend Bastille Day in Paris.

A growing chorus: Atlanta must be proactive to preserve its unique tree canopy

This is the third column in a series about Atlanta’s trees

A groundswell of community leaders are doing all they can to make sure Joni Mitchell’s song “Big Yellow Taxi” doesn’t become Atlanta’s reality.

The song’s chorus feels all too familiar:

Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got
Till it’s gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot

Atlanta is uniquely positioned as a city in a forest, and there is a movement afoot to make sure it stays that way.

Time to dream big for the future of Atlanta’s parks and green space

Part 2: This is the second in a two-part series about Atlanta’s parks.

The next mayor of Atlanta – whoever he or she may be – should make parks and green space a priority as a way to counter-balance the anticipated increase in density as more people move into the city.

Atlanta’s environmental community has come together to make sure we preserve, protect, maintain and increase our city’s natural green assets.

When it comes to our national ParkScore, Atlanta has room to improve

This is the first in a two-part series about Atlanta’s parks

Atlanta has a long way to go to become a leader in the country when it comes to parks.

For years, the Trust for Public Land has been tracking Atlanta’s “Park Score” to see how we compare among the 100 largest cities in the country.

Out of a possible score of 100, Atlanta’s total score was only 51 percent. And among the 100 cities, Atlanta ranks 50th in a tie with Dallas.

Georgia Trust’s tour of Southwest Atlanta helps us appreciate the history in our town

Frances Westbrook of Brookhaven was having lunch Saturday in Adair Park – a southwest Atlanta community that she did not know before signing up for the Georgia Trust’s Southwest Atlanta Expedition.

“I thought it would an excellent opportunity to see this area, which I had never been to before,” said Westbrook, who has also been on the Atlanta BeltLine tour. “It’s really a superb opportunity to get to know another part of Atlanta.”

More than 200 people visited the 20-plus sites on the Southwest Atlanta tour – which included houses, industrial buildings and some of the incredible academic institutions that have anchored the communities for more than 100 years.

Atlanta joins other cities in grassroots support of Paris climate change agreement

A grassroots movement is rising to support the Paris Agreement on Climate Change – despite the decision by the Donald Trump administration to withdraw U.S. support of the globally historic accord.

One of key power centers of this grassroots response in support of the Paris Agreement is the City of Atlanta.

“Cities have the leadership role especially in the United States,” said Stephanie Stuckey, the Chief Resiliency Officer for the City of Atlanta, which is one of the 100 Resilience Cities Initiatives pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation.

Mark Pendergrast asks: Is Atlanta on the verge of greatness or mediocrity

In the eyes of Mark Pendergast, Atlanta is a “City on the Verge.”

Pendergast, an Atlanta native and author, has just penned an elaborate and exhaustive tale about the Atlanta BeltLine in his most recent book – “City on the Verge.”

Throughout the book, Pendergast sandwiches in slices of Atlanta’s history – providing a non-judgmental view of the city’s racial tensions and successes as well as its obsession with transportation and its own identity – nationally and internationally.

Atlanta’s urban tree canopy leads the nation; but most trees are not protected

This is second in a multi-part series about Atlanta’s tree canopy.

We have always described Atlanta as a city in a forest.

Amazingly, it is true. Our old growth forests are among our most special treasures in metro Atlanta.

Joan Maloof, founder of the Maryland-based Old Growth Forest Network, is an author who has written several books about the environment including her latest: “Nature’s Temples: The Complex World of Old Growth Forests.”

Metro Atlanta leaders heading to a reviving Detroit for the annual LINK trip

Detroit, Michigan may sound as an unusual place for a group of metro Atlanta to visit to learn how another region has addressed similar issues.

But the top leaders of the Atlanta Regional Commission – Executive Director Doug Hooker and Chairman Kerry Armstrong – believed the lessons to be gained from Detroit would be enlightening for the 130 metro Atlantans who will be part of the 2017 LINK (Leadership. Involvement. Networking. Knowledge) trip.

Operation HOPE convenes global leaders and the poor in Atlanta to promote financial literacy

For several years running, Atlanta has become the venue for addressing the problem of poverty in the United States while focusing on solutions.

The convener is Operation HOPE’s Global Forum, which just met in Atlanta at the Marriott Marquis from April 10 to April 12. This year’s theme was “Uplifting the Invisible Class” – focusing on the people who have fallen between the cracks.

New leaders at Morehouse: ‘Time to turn the page’

A new leadership team is in place at Morehouse College as its Board of Trustees elected a new board chairman – Willie Woods; and named William “Bill” Taggart as the interim president.

The trustees, who met in Atlanta on Friday and Saturday, made the leadership changes after a host of reports revealed a fractionalized relationship between the board – in particular its Chairman Robert Davidson – and its president for the past four years – John S. Wilson.

Atlanta’s multiuse trails create linear parks and alternative travel options in light of I-85 breach

Transportation options.

Never have those two words held as much meaning for Atlanta as they do now. The Friday collapse of a section of Interstate 85 – has severed a key transportation artery for the region.

Immediately, and with good reason, there were pleas for us to get serious about regional rail transit – once and for all. A silver lining of this manmade disaster is the probability that transit will gain momentum during this transportation debacle.