Manuel's Tavern partners with developer to renovate building

All Things Considered Host, Amy Kiley, in a conversation with Maria Saporta >>Original Story  An Atlanta landmark is closing its doors for a short time in early 2016. Green Street Properties has agreed to buy the one-and-a-half acres on North Highland Avenue that Manuel’s Tavern sits on according to a report by the Atlanta Business […]

Georgia ready to fund transit? Nope.

We’ve been fooled again.

Before the legislative session, we thought this would be the year Georgia would finally invest in transit.

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We had hope. Maybe the state would shift the fourth penny sales tax on gas to transit. That would be about $180 million a year. Now that’s some real money.

Then the House unveiled its plan. The gas sales tax was gone and being converted to motor fuel taxes. That meant that all transportation money could only be spent on roads and bridges.

So House Transportation Chairman Jay Roberts, R-Ocila, offered up a one-time $100 million bond for transit.

But at the last minute, Jay Roberts performed the great disappearing act. Money for transit was stripped from his bill.

Here we go again. We continue to be stuck in idle. Does anyone really think our region can grow if we only invest in roads?

We have to face the reality. We need regional transit. We need smart growth. We need walkable communities.

A few political apologists have mumbled that we may get some crumbs for transit when the transportation bill gets to the Senate. We just need to be patient.

But how long do we have to wait?

Already we’re seeing our bad decisions play out.

Companies are moving out of the suburbs to be next to MARTA. Young professionals are moving to places where they can walk, stroll the BeltLine, ride bikes, hop on a streetcar or take a MARTA train or bus. That’s where the creative class wants to live, so that’s where innovative companies want to be.

It takes up to a dozen years to plan, design and build a new rail line. So with companies already moving out, we are so late to this game.

And yet our state leaders keep doing the same thing they’ve always done. Build roads, not transit.  They’re investing for the last century, not the future.

What’s the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.


Chick-fil-A CEO draws attention to zip code 30314

Dan Cathy wants people to shift their focus a few blocks west of the new Falcon's stadium to an area of Atlanta that’s struggling. Credit Dan Raby / WABE

Dan Cathy wants people to shift their focus a few blocks west of the new Falcon’s stadium to an area of Atlanta that’s struggling.
Credit Dan Raby / WABE

All Things Considered Host, Amy Kiley, in a conversation with Maria Saporta & Dan Cathy >> Original Story 

The new Atlanta Falcons stadium has a lot of people keeping an eye on the intersection of Northside Drive and Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.  But, a local businessman and philanthropist wants people to shift their focus a few blocks west to an area of Atlanta that’s struggling.

Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy says crossing Northside Drive in that spot is like walking into another world: from the wealth and flare of professional football … to the poverty and crime of ZIP code 30314.

He called for cooperation to help that area in a recent Atlanta Business Chroniclearticle by Maria Saporta. Cathy and Saporta expanded on the issue with WABE’s Amy Kiley.

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Adair Park caught in dispute between Mayor Reed and Atlanta Public Schools

By MARIA SAPORTA >> Original Story

Last July, my son David bought a house in the transitional neighborhood of Adair Park. The beautiful community in southwest Atlanta is an enclave in the midst of some of the city’s most depressed neighborhoods.

My son believed in the renaissance that was coming. Construction of the southwest leg of the Atlanta BeltLine was about to start — only two blocks away from his 1925 home. Yet three doors down from his house was the boarded up George Adair Elementary School — vacant since 1973 and a victim of demolition by neglect.

We all dreamed about what the neighborhood would be like if someone could buy and renovate the century-old school into a living, breathing, productive building. Now THAT would transform Adair Park.

Amazingly, a developer has emerged who wants to buy the building from the Atlanta Public Schools for $412,000 to restore and redevelop it into residences. The community has embraced the developer, and his plans to turn an eyesore into an economic boost for a neglected part of the city.

But now Mayor Kasim Reed is standing in the way of that sale by not releasing the deed of the school to APS. Why? He’s holding the Adair School hostage … to get a deal on the dispute between APS and the Atlanta BeltLine over what is owed in property taxes.

The Adair Park community is furious. And the mayor is losing in the court of public opinion.

Why punish Adair Park just to make a political statement? It is not smart politics to anger your own constituents right before you want them to vote for a $250 million bond referendum on March 17.

To be clear, we all want the city and APS to work out their differences. The BeltLine is good for the city and APS. Strong public schools are vital to our city’s future. We all should be on the same page.

Let’s start by letting APS sell the George Adair School.

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Looking back at Martin Luther King Jr.'s Nobel Prize dinner

By  &  >> Original Story

On Jan. 27, 1965, the city of Atlanta gathered to recognize Martin Luther King Jr. for his 1964 Nobel Peace Prize.

But many in the Atlanta business community were against King, and against the dinner.

Last week, the Atlanta History Center held an event commemorating the anniversary.

Emory University professor Hank Klibanoff and WABE contributor Maria Saporta stopped by the studio to talk to WABE’s Amy Kiley, who begins by asking Hank Klibanoff: what happened?

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King family court drama seeks positive resolution


A lawsuit filed by the Estate of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. against The King Center for Nonviolent Social Change over the licensing agreement and intellectual property of Dr. King has been dropped.

The lawsuit pitted the King’s two sons, Martin King III and Dexter, against their sister, Rev. Bernice King, who heads the King Center.

Now, Martin King is reportedly seeking a resolution and opposes moving forward with this case.

Long-time Atlanta journalist and King family friend Maria Saporta talked with WABE’s Rose Scott on the midday program, “A Closer Look with Rose Scott and Denis O’Hayer,” about the recent developments.

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MLK children continue fight over peace prize medal, Bible

By MARIA SAPORTA >> Original Story

The beautiful melody of the annual King holiday once again is being marred by the discord between the three living children of Coretta and Martin Luther King Jr.

The case pits the two brothers ─ Martin III and Dexter ─ against their sister, Bernice, over possession of their father’s Nobel Peace Prize medal and his Bible. It was in court on Jan. 13.

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MARTA Is Making A Comeback, With Or Without Funding

By MARIA SAPORTA >> Original Story

MARTA is no longer a four-letter word in metro Atlanta.

For years, MARTA has been the battered and neglected transportation stepchild in Georgia. But today, it’s on the rebound.

The ninth largest transit agency in the country operating in the black. Its ridership is up. Its trains are running more often. It’s even improving its bus service ─ cut during the Great Recession and tight budget years.


Maria Saporta Reflects on her conversation with Hank Aaron

By STEVE GOSS >> Original Story

It’s been more than 40 years since Hank Aaron broke Babe Ruth’s long-held career homerun record before a sold-out crowd at Atlanta Stadium. Recently, veteran Atlanta journalist Maria Saporta sat down with Hank Aaron and his wife Billye for an interview for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. In a conversation with WABE’s Steve Goss, she began by talking about the way Aaron coped with the ugly side of his quest to break Ruth’s record.


Atlanta's Ferguson demonstration more peaceful than 1992 Rodney King protests

by Maria Saporta >> Original Story Longtime Atlanta business reporter Maria Saporta remembers well the 1992 fallout from the Rodney King police beating verdict.  She says the recent Ferguson rallies here in Atlanta recently saw, by comparison, were more peaceful. (To hear the interview between Saporta and WABE’s Jim Burress, click the ‘listen’ icon below.) […]

Atlanta Business Reporter Maria Saporta remembers Herman Russell

by Maria Saporta >> Original Story

Atlanta businessman Herman Russell passed away Saturday at the age of 83.

Russell was a pioneering African-American business leader, who forged partnerships with Atlanta’s white business community during a time of racial discrimination.

Atlanta business reporter, and family friend of Russell, Maria Saporta, wrote a tribute to him after hearing of his death. Here, she talks with WABE’s Martha Dalton about Russell’s legacy.

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Atlanta business reporter Maria Saporta on Zoo Atlanta's unprecedented gift

by Maria Saporta >> Original Story

Zoo Atlanta will receive an unprecedented gift from the Woodruff Foundation. The money will go toward a planned expansion.

WABE’s Martha Dalton spoke with long-time Atlanta business reporter Maria Saporta, of the Saporta Report and the Atlanta Business Chronicle.

Saporta started by explaining what the gift will mean to the zoo.

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StoryCorps – Bill Bolling & Maria Saporta

by Bill Bolling & Maria Saporta >> Original Story

Atlanta, GA – Today we hear from Bill Bolling, executive director and founder of the Atlanta Community Food Bank. He’s been good friends with journalist Maria Saporta and her family for two decades. And as Maria knows, his work to stop hunger has been going on even longer.

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