Still missing Martin Luther King Jr. after all these years

MEMPHIS – For 50 years, I had little desire to travel to Memphis.

The city always triggered one of the most painful memories of my youth – the assassination of an idol who had become a friend – Martin Luther King Jr.

I have often said my life peaked when I was 11. It was September, 1966 when I became close friends with Yolanda King, who had helped integrate my elementary school – Spring Street – along with the children of Juanita and Ralph David Abernathy.

The tree massacre at the Bobby Jones Golf Course a blow to Atlanta

Back during the Civil War, the land that is now known as the Bobby Jones Golf Course was a battlefield that witnessed one of the bloodiest battles of the Atlanta Campaign.

Today, the Bobby Jones Golf Course has become a battlefield once again. But this time, the casualties were more than 800 trees that were cut down to make way for a redeveloped Bobby Jones Golf Course.

Wanted: a strong business leader to run for governor

Top Georgia business leaders expressed “frustration and disappointment” over the current slate of declared Republican candidates running for governor.

The straw that broke the camel’s back was when Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle attacked Delta Air Lines, the largest employer in the state of Georgia. The state was about to vote to rescind a tax on jet fuel when Delta announced it was ending a discount offered to members of the National Rifle Association (only 13 NRA members had taken advantage of the discount according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution).

Roswell’s historic Mimosa Hall could become nation’s oldest ‘net zero’ home

History is being made in Roswell thanks to a cutting edge proposal to preserve the historic Mimosa Hall and Gardens.

The City of Roswell purchased Mimosa Hall, initially built around 1840, as well as its 9 acres of gardens and woods last August for $2.95 million – partly because of a citizen-led effort to save Mimosa Hall and its grounds from being redeveloped.

Proposed project on fragile BeltLine site at Monroe and 10th raises concerns

One of the most complicated intersections in Atlanta – where the BeltLine intersects with 10th Street and Monroe Drive – will face even more challenges with a new proposed development on an adjacent 4-acre site.

The plans for the redevelopment became public in December when the Invest Atlanta board approved a memo-of-understanding to sell a 1.47 acre strip of land along the BeltLine to a joint venture of Jim Kegley and Jeff Fuqua for $2.5 million.

Support for dreamers growing in Georgia

A placard at the Latin American Association on Buford Highway says it all.

“Help us rally support for legislation to protect DACA recipients!”

DACA stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals – an American immigration policy that has allowed individuals who entered the country illegally as minors to receive deferred action from deportation and be eligible to work.

Milk home delivery in metro Atlanta is now a thing of the past

It is an end of an era.

This past week marked the end of home delivery of milk products in metro Atlanta.

Preston Born and his partner, Rick Lee, operated the last milk home delivery service in the Atlanta region – serving about 240 customers who had held on to the tradition of yesteryear.

As one of those 240 customers, Born broke the news in a note that was included with my last delivery of milk (and eggs) on Jan. 3.

Civic Center sale to AHA places Southface campus on endangered list

For 40 years, Southface has been leading the way in making Atlanta a more sustainable city.

The environmentally-focused nonprofit has been a pioneer in green building practices – and it deserves much of the credit for Atlanta’s national reputation as a city committed to energy and water conservation.

But now Southface is facing its own challenges – likely having to move from its headquarters, now on a .74-acre site along Pine Street near Piedmont, where it has been since 1995.

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.

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.

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.

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. 

Integral’s Egbert Perry finds stance of AHA and Mayor Reed ‘baffling’

Affordable housing developer Egbert Perry, and his Atlanta-based company  – Integral, are fighting back against claims by Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and the Atlanta Housing Authority (AHA) that he had received a sweetheart deal to buy land next to his company’s existing developments.

In an effort to set the record straight, Integral and its development partners filed a legal response late Saturday to an AHA lawsuit. The response seeks to correct several statements AHA and Reed have made, which Perry said are  misrepresentations of his company’s actions and history.

25th reunion show of Morning X reminds Atlanta of what we’ve lost

Oh the memories.

Cumulus Radio and 99X decided to tease us last week by reuniting Barnes, Leslie and Jimmy for a one-time-only Morning X show on Oct. 26 to mark the 25th anniversary of when the show began.

Listening to Steve Barnes, Leslie Fram and Jimmy Baron for the better part of the commercial-free six hour show (extended two hours for the reunion) was like encountering friends you had not heard from in over a decade, and yet it felt as though no time had passed.