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Metro Atlanta executives to ponder inaction during last session of Georgia General Assembly

Not surprisingly, the Metro Atlanta Chamber plans to devote its entire executive committee meeting Thursday morning on state legislative issues.

The meeting follows a particularly disappointing session of the General Assembly that ended earlier this month without resolving a number of issues critical to the Atlanta business community.

Among the issues high on the chamber’s list include: the lack of progress on a bill that would allow voters to pass a one-cent sales tax for

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Robert Woodruff must be smiling from above

The late Robert W. Woodruff would have taken special pleasure in today’s announcement that the Winship Cancer Institute at Emory University had received a formal designation by the National Cancer Institute.

Woodruff, president and leader of the Coca-Cola Co. for decades, actually was the center’s “first benefactor,” according to Vicki Riedel, executive director of development for the Winship Cancer Institute.

“It was his first gift to Emory,” Riedel said.

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French viewing the United States differently since the election of Barack Obama

Americans and the French view racial equality through different lenses, according to French journalist Nicole Bacharan.

Bacharan spoke Friday evening at Georgia Tech on behalf of the Alliance Francaise d”Atlanta and the European Union Center of Excellence at the Sam Nunn School of International Studies.

For example, affirmative action is France is referred to as positive discrimination. While Bacharan said affirmative action has been fairly

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MARTA has friends in the Atlanta region

The Atlanta Regional Commission today showed what true leadership can do.

The ARC’s Transportation and Air Quality Committee voted unanimously to pursue using up to $25 million in federal stimulus funding to help cover MARTA’s anticipated operating shortfall during the next fiscal year.

If the resolution is passed by the ARC’s board at its May meeting, then MARTA should be able to continue providing its current level of service through May, 2010.

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Let’s have an “urban” renaissance at Georgia State University’s School of Public Policy

Georgia State University today named W. Bartley Hildreth as the new dean of the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies beginning July 1.

Here’s my hope. Perhaps Hildreth can put “urban” back into focus at the GSU School.

Currently, Hildreth is the Regents Distinguished Professor of Public Finance at the Hugo Wall School of Urban and Public Affairs at Wichita State University. From the release that came out today,

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Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle calls 2009 legislative session “exciting,” but many are disappointed

The strangest part of Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle’s address to the Atlanta Press Club today was his opening talk, which lasted nearly 15 minutes.

During that whole speech, every reference Cagle made about the tumultuous recent legislative session was positive. Could that be because Cagle is running for governor and doesn’t want to make any new enemies?

“This was an exciting session,” Cagle said without discussing the

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Piedmont Park loses one of its closest friends

So sad.

Today, when I was walking my dogs at Piedmont Park, I found out that Roy Clark had died two weeks ago.

Roy Clark, a frail man, had worked at Piedmont Park for 46 years, picking up trash and lovingly taking care of the its grounds.

Although he was understated person, he was always a friendly, daily presence in the park. I would see him there working nearly every day of

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Atlanta Mayor’s race is heating up as candidates figure out who’s in and who’s out

At tonight’s Atlanta mayoral forum at the Uptown Restaurant and Lounge, the real story was not about who showed up, but who didn’t.

Four candidates did attend the forum sponsored by Newsmakers Live!: Atlanta Councilwoman Mary Norwood, State Sen. Kasim Reed, Attorney Jesse Spikes and Glenn Thomas, an executive manager.

Atlanta City Councilman Ceasar Mitchell was a no show, and the word at the forum was that he was dropping out of the mayor’s race.

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Commerce Club and 191 Club still negotiating; but Commerce board fully supports merger

The Commerce Club board, at its monthly meeting, gave the green light to proceed with negotiations to merge with the 191 Club.

But the two parties haven’t yet reached a final agreement.

“What I asked for and got was approval to complete negotiations consistent with the term sheet passed at the last meeting,” Ratcliffe said.

That approval means that unless some of the major terms change, Ratcliffe and his executive team can complete the agreement with Club Corporation of America, the owner of the 191

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Livable Communities Coalition shares valuable community information and links

Dear readers,
I wanted to share with you the latest email blast from one of my favorite organizations — the Livable Communities Coalition. There’s a lot of great information and valuable links to several topics of significance to our region.
By the way, click here to link to the coalition’s website.


With the first round of projects already sent to Gov. Sonny Perdue for his approval and

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Georgia Tech plans to appeal ruling denying demolition permit for Crum & Forster building

Just to keep everybody up to date, I did hear back from John Carter, president of the Georgia Tech Foundation about whether his organization will keep trying to get a permit to demolish the historic Crum & Forster building.

In a 3-0 vote last month, the City of Atlanta’s Board of Zoning Adjustment upheld a decision by the Bureau of Planning that denied Georgia Tech’s request to demolish the building at 771 Spring St.

“Yes, we plan to appeal,” Carter wrote me in an email last week (sorry to be so late posting this). ”Georgia Tech is still evaluating all its options for expansion of Technology Square, which includes

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Fighting to finish: Get Georgia Moving Coalition Calls for Action on Transportation Funding

The urgency of now.

That could be the theme of the Get Georgia Moving Coalition, which held a press conference today in the rotunda of the state capitol.

The coalition, which represents about 100 different organizations advocating for new transportation funding, is hoping that a constructive compromise between the Senate and House bills will emerge this week.

One compromise that’s being floated would first give voters an opportunity to approve a statewide sales tax (vote would likely occur in 2010); and

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Georgia will appear to be “anti-science” and “anti-health” if it limits stem cell research, key California scientist says

Dr. Marie Csete, one of the leading stem cell researchers in the country, calls proposed legislation in Georgia to outlaw such research as “nonsense.”

When similar legislation came up a couple of years ago, Dr. Csete vehemently opposed those restrictions. As one of Emory University’s top researchers, she was trying to protect her institution’s position (as well as Georgia’s place) in the field of bioscience.

It should have come as no surprise that Dr. Csete would leave Georgia. She was offered, and took,

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The four leading mayoral candidates share their views of Atlanta’s future at ULI forum

The top four Atlanta mayoral candidates had four distinct answers on what the single most important issue they would face as the city’s next mayor.

But the same four candidates seemed to agree with each other while answering most of the other questions posed at a mayoral forum Thursday evening.

The forum was hosted by the Urban Land Institute — Atlanta District Council, at the 999 Peachtree St. building in Midtown. It was ULI’s 4th annual Mayors Forum kicked off by Jeff DuFresne, the Atlanta District’s executive director.

So what will be the most important issue that the

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We’ll find out if the new Center for Civil and Human Rights can make everybody happy

It’s never easy to make everybody happy, a fact that the Center for Civil and Human Rights may face as its plans come out of the ground.

Just about everyone has an opinion on what should be the focus or purpose of the new center, and it might be hard for one place to encapsulate all the various desires.
That challenge was clear this morning when the architectural team for the center was announced at today’s annual meeting of Central Atlanta Progress.

For the record, the winning team was the Freelon Group, which is based in the Research Triangle in

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Edward Mazria: Making our homes more energy efficient can bring back the housing industry

Every year, Atlanta hosts a conference called “Greenprints” to provide the latest thoughts on planning, architecture, construction and the use of natural resources.

The conference, which is put on by Southface and the Georgia Environmental Facilities Authority, brings togther the latest technology on green buildings as well as the people who are working to make our communities more sustainable.

The attendance at this year’s two-day conference (March 25-26) is not as great as in the last few years, but Southface executive director, Dennis Creech, was appreciative of the 300 people who

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Atlanta Mayor Franklin upbeat about airline negotiations and future city finances

Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin, during her annual address at the Rotary Club of Atlanta on Monday, let it be known that Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport is in good hands under the city’s control.

She also said she hopes the city will finish the year in the black, despite the current economic climate.

Rotarian R.K. Sehgal asked the mayor how she felt about some Georgia legislators exploring ways for the state to takeover Hartsfield-Jackson.

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Dreaming of passenger rail — of all kinds

My friends with the Georgia Association of Railroad Passengers asked if I could help clear up confusion on what constitutes the different might of passenger rail.

It’s probably wishful thinking, but I keep hoping Georgia will decide sooner rather than later to dedicate its transportation future to rail as other states, like North Carolina, have done.

But I agreed that it would be helpful if we could agree on a set of definitions for the different forms of rail transportation.

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Metro Atlanta Chamber board still holding out hope for new transportation funding

The Metro Atlanta Chamber keeps hoping for a transportation funding bill to come out of this year’s General Assembly.

At its board meeting today, chamber leaders heard from Tommie Williams (R-Lyons), president pro tem of the state Senate, who bascially said that governance must come before new funding.

That has been the position of Gov. Sonny Perdue since he unveiled his plan to change the governance structure of the state’s transportation