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Metro Atlanta LINK trip lands in San Diego

Maria Saporta
Randy Hayes Felicia Moore

By Maria Saporta

The Atlanta delegation arrived in San Diego Wednesday morning – West Coast time – spending its first stop at Liberty Station, a redeveloped Naval training center that has been turned a complex of art galleries, shops, offices and restaurants.

Randy Hayes Felicia Moore

Randy Hayes, president of Hayes Development Corp. of Fayette County, stands with Felicia Moore, president of the Atlanta City Council. Hayes has been on every LINK trip since 1997. This is the first LINK trip for Moore, who serves on the board of the Atlanta Regional Commission (Photo by Maria Saporta)

Mark Cafferty, president and CEO of the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp., told the Atlanta delegation that Liberty Station is one of the most successful redevelopments of a former military complex in the United States.

Several members on the LINK trip mentioned that Atlanta could have redeveloped Fort McPherson in such an inclusive way, but instead most of the property – through the encouragement of former Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed – was sold to filmmaker Tyler Perry for a bargain basement price. Now that property has been sealed off from the public.

The LINK trips have been in place since 1997, and this is the second time LINK has come to San Diego to see how it is addressing various issues, such as housing affordability, transportation planning, homelessness and economic innovation.

The last time LINK, a delegation of more than 100 leaders from the Atlanta region, came to San Diego was in 2001, when the southern California city was just beginning to explore the development of bus rapid transit (BRT). During the trip to San Diego, the LINK delegation will see at least one of the BRT lines that has been developed.

The region also has invested in commuter rail, trolleys and light rail.

The LINK delegation will study issues in San Diego over three days with most of the leaders returning to Atlanta on Saturday.

Jack Hardin John Berry

Jack Hardin, founding partner of the Rogers & Hardin law firm and a key advocate for the homeless, stands with John Berry, CEO of the St. Vincent de Paul Georgia (Photo by Maria Saporta)

Betty Willis, senior associate vice president of Emory University, visits with Kerry Armstrong, chairman of the Atlanta Regional Commission, and Wayne Hill, the former chairman of Gwinnett County and former chairman of the ARC (Photo by Maria Saporta)

Claudia Bilotto Nadia Theodore

Claudia Bilotta, vice president and Atlanta Area Manager of WSP USA stands with Nadia Theodore, consul general of the Canadian Consulate in Atlanta. They are both on their first LINK trip (Photo by Maria Saporta)

Rusty Paul Tom Reed

Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul visits with his neighbor to the south – Thomas Reed, the Mayor of the City of Chattahoochee Hills (Photo by Maria Saporta)

Eloisa Klementich Sonji Jacobs

Eloisa Klementich, president and CEO of Invest Atlanta, sits with Sonji Jacobs, assistant vice president of corporate communications and public relations for Cox Enterprises, and the former chief spokeswoman for Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed during his first term in office (Photo by Maria Saporta)

Evangeline George Nick Juliano

On the right is Nick Juliano, public affairs manager – Southeast for Uber Technologies, with his associate, Evangeline George, public affairs manager of Uber (Photo by Maria Saporta)

Brandon Beach Robert Brown

State Sen. Brandon Beach, chair of the Senate Transportation Committee, with Robert Brown, an architect from DeKalb County who serves on the board of the Georgia Department of Transportation. Brown also has been on every LINK trip – dating back to 1997 (Photo by Maria Saporta)

Stephen Causby Doug Hooker Ann Cramer

Stephen Causby, an Atlanta Regional Commission manager who coordinates the LINK trips, with his boss, Doug Hooker, ARC’s executive director, with Ann Cramer, a citizen activist who is a senior consultant with Coxe Curry & Associates (Photo by Maria Saporta)

Maria Saporta
Maria Saporta

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.


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