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John Selden

City of Atlanta picks JFK deputy commissioner as new Hartsfield-Jackson GM

The City of Atlanta has selected John Selden, the deputy commissioner of New York City’s JFK Airport, to be the next general manager of Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

Selden was one of the five finalists submitted to Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms by her transition group’s airport general manager search committee, which was co-chaired by Carol Tomé, chief financial officer of the Home Depot Inc.; and Dave Abney, CEO of United Parcel Service Inc.

TransFormation Alliance picks Odetta MacLeish-White as its first executive

 The push for greater equity in Atlanta received a boost with the naming of Odetta MacLeish-White as the first managing director of the TransFormation Alliance.

The Alliance is a collaboration of metro Atlanta organizations aiming to develop thriving, mixed-income communities anchored by transit – and ensuring that those investments are available to all residents.

The Local Take: Westside development with Maria Saporta of SaportaReport

This interview originally aired on The Local Take on April 1, 2017.

This week on The Local Take I speak with Maria Saporta founder of Saporta Report, an in depth journalistic news service with a focus on metro-Atlanta. I speak with Maria about several recent reports on the Westside including her conversations with Authur Blank (Owner Atlanta Falcons) and Dan Cathy (Owner Chick-Fil-A). She shares with our listeners her reporting on the Westside redevelopment master plan that was led by Dhiru Thadani and a project involving the Atlanta University Center and the Federal Government to address flooding on the Westside.

As a native of Atlanta, Maria also shares her desires for the Westside including the former Paschal’s Hotel and the Herndon Home. She explains that change is coming and that residents should harness the change to benefit the community as well as the city. 

Listen to the full interview here:

For our listeners who are interested in learning more click here to subscribe to the Saporta Report.

 

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Gov. Deal Sandra Allison Ashe

Commentary: Atlanta leaders ‘Sleep Out’ for the homeless

Original Story on WABE by Maria Saporta

Gov. Deal Sandra Allison Ashe

Covenant House’s Allison Ashe greets Gov. Nathan Deal and First Lady Sandra Deal (Photo by Maria Saporta)

The Covenant House, a refuge for homeless youth, holds a unique fundraiser every year.

It invites community leaders to sleep outdoors so they can get a taste of what it’s like to be homeless. The fifth annual “Sleep Out” happened Nov. 17, when a hundred Atlanta leaders slept outdoors on the campus in Northwest Atlanta.

For one night, it was hard to tell the difference between the homeless and the CEO.

Executives dressed down wanted to be as comfortable as they could for a night sleeping outdoors in the elements.

Governor Nathan Deal and First Lady Sandra Deal made an appearance early in the evening to show encouragement and support.

You might recognize some of the names of those who braved the night – Paul Garcia, the retired CEO of Global Payments; Bill Rogers, the CEO of SunTrust Banks Inc.; public relations executive Bob Hope; Jerome Russell of H.J. Russell & Co.; Clark Dean of Transwestern; civic leader Valerie Hartman; Coca-Cola North America President Sandy Douglas; film-maker David Lewis and his wife, Danica Kombol; and Gary Price, of the PwC accounting firm, flew in from New York to participate.

Delta Air Lines – a national sponsor of the Covenant House Sleep Outs – even recruited its employees in Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles, Detroit and Toronto.

Atlanta sponsors donated about $425,000 to Covenant House, as leaders stepped into the shoes of the homeless for a night.

Those funds will help Covenant House reach homeless youth in Atlanta, which total more than 3,000, according to Executive Director Allison Ashe.

Leaders and residents huddled together, candles were lit to represent young people still living on the streets.  And a list of names of the homeless, lost and fallen was read aloud.

And that’s when reality set in. We reflected on comforts we have, while working toward a better understanding those who have-not.

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support MARTA

Commentary: The transit divide widens with election

Original Story on WABE by Maria Saporta

The Nov. 8 election produced a major win for MARTA.  Nearly 130,000 Atlanta voters, or 71.34 percent, approved a half-penny sales tax to expand MARTA within the city limits.

At the same time, the city voted to increase overall transportation funding by a .4 of a penny sales tax.

This is in addition to the one-cent sales tax that the city of Atlanta has been investing in the MARTA system since 1971 – when Fulton and DeKalb counties also voted in favor of the regional transit system.

Since then, only one new county has joined the system – Clayton County in 2014.

Atlanta’s vote will create a wider divide in our region between the transit rich and the transit poor – the communities with a robust rail and bus system and the communities without.

The city has been enjoying the benefits from its investment in MARTA in recent years. Most of the major economic development announcements have been located near MARTA stations, and most of those have been within the city limits. Think NCR Corporation, GE, Kaiser Permanente, among many others.

The counties without a rail transit system are seeing several of their top companies relocating to places served by MARTA, reversing the decades-long trend of businesses moving to the suburbs.

So why are companies moving near MARTA stations?

Simple. They want to employ the best and the brightest college graduates, and that demographic wants to be able to live, work, learn and play in places where they do not need to own a car.

There are few areas in our region that provide the transportation alternatives that Atlanta offers. And that divide will only become more apparent as MARTA and the City of Atlanta begin to invest their new half-penny in expanded bus service and light rail lines.

This parallels continued investments in sidewalks, bicycle lanes and multipurpose trails – all key ingredients in creating a more walkable and livable city.

Meanwhile, the rest of Fulton County, DeKalb, Cobb and Gwinnett passed local sales taxes to invest in transportation – primarily roads – which will only deepen the transit divide.

The longer Atlanta’s neighbors hesitate in joining our regional transit system, the more we will become a tale of two cities.