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Thomas Wheatley

Atlanta Writer

Thomas Wheatley was a Staff Writer and News Editor for CL from September 2007 thru January 2017. During his tenure at CL, Thomas covered transportation, environment and development in the Atlanta area.

Articles By This Writer

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Article

Monday October 21, 2019 03:39 pm EDT
Explore the outdoors and commune with nature without leaving town | more...
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  string(3323) "%{data-embed-type=%22image%22 data-embed-id=%22587fdb9639ab46ca322a2bbf%22 data-embed-element=%22span%22 data-embed-size=%22640w%22 contenteditable=%22false%22}%On Jan. 17, after nine glorious years, God knows how many stories and blog posts, and mounds of paper piling higher and higher on my desk, I bid farewell to co-workers I consider friends and a newspaper I love. By the time this piece passes your eyeballs, I’ll be at Atlanta magazine, a publication I’ve long admired, where I’ll write and edit stories about this complex city.The first time I read Creative Loafing, I was a fifth- or sixth-grader living in the suburbs and spending my free time skateboarding or listening to punk and industrial music. My mom, aware that Cobb County was lacking when it came to cultural stimulation, suggested we take trips to Little Five Points. After I pored over band stickers and cassettes, my mom and I would meet up. She always had a copy of CL.On the car ride home I would study the articles. I had no clue what the news writers were writing about. But I was fascinated by how they wrote about it. I grew up in a household filled with magazines, books, and the nightly news, but CL was the first publication I read that had a voice. I knew I wanted to write that way. And I knew I wanted to at some point work at CL.You can imagine the joy I felt in 2007 when Ken Edelstein, the editor-in-chief at the time, and Scott Freeman, the senior editor, gave me a chance. Since then I’ve been fortunate to learn from, work alongside, and laugh and occasionally cry with a family of writers, editors, photographers, designers, and sales teams.I watched my work get torn apart and made legible by Edelstein, Freeman, Mara Shalhoup, and Debbie Michaud. Scott Henry taught me the importance of structure and some fashion sense. I learned that John Sugg was not as menacing as his author photos made him look. I once dressed as Santa Claus and Andisheh Nouraee sat on my lap. I shared laughter and deadlines with Gwynedd Stuart, Max Blau, Besha Rodell, Joeff Davis, Rodney Carmichael, Chad Radford, and Alicia Carter, and so many others. I would list them all if I had four more pages.Along the way I was able to find my own voice and became fascinated with the city where I was born. I wore hard hats in the “Horrible” Fifth District’s sewers with Congressman John Lewis, sat in living rooms of people fighting to keep their communities intact, and marched in streets alongside protesters. These experiences showed me that Atlanta has plenty of deep problems. But it’s also a city filled with people actively working to solve them. I had a chance to see what works, meet the people finding the answers, and occasionally pester people in power (it’s very cathartic to write the Golden Sleaze awards).
              

More than anything, my time here gave me the joy of being engaged with Atlanta. It showed me I can’t imagine another job as fulfilling as being able to write about the place you call home. You see people at their highs, lows, and in betweens, learn and help others discover how we got here, and play some small role in nudging the city closer to where it should be. It’s a good feeling to stand back and be proud of what you accomplished with people you love. Thank you for giving me that chance."
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  string(3691) "    CL's news editor says farewell and thank you   2017-01-18T16:21:00+00:00 The next step - Thomas Wheatley ben.eason@creativeloafing.com Ben Eason Thomas Wheatley Thomas Wheatley 2017-01-18T16:21:00+00:00  %{data-embed-type=%22image%22 data-embed-id=%22587fdb9639ab46ca322a2bbf%22 data-embed-element=%22span%22 data-embed-size=%22640w%22 contenteditable=%22false%22}%On Jan. 17, after nine glorious years, God knows how many stories and blog posts, and mounds of paper piling higher and higher on my desk, I bid farewell to co-workers I consider friends and a newspaper I love. By the time this piece passes your eyeballs, I’ll be at Atlanta magazine, a publication I’ve long admired, where I’ll write and edit stories about this complex city.The first time I read Creative Loafing, I was a fifth- or sixth-grader living in the suburbs and spending my free time skateboarding or listening to punk and industrial music. My mom, aware that Cobb County was lacking when it came to cultural stimulation, suggested we take trips to Little Five Points. After I pored over band stickers and cassettes, my mom and I would meet up. She always had a copy of CL.On the car ride home I would study the articles. I had no clue what the news writers were writing about. But I was fascinated by how they wrote about it. I grew up in a household filled with magazines, books, and the nightly news, but CL was the first publication I read that had a voice. I knew I wanted to write that way. And I knew I wanted to at some point work at CL.You can imagine the joy I felt in 2007 when Ken Edelstein, the editor-in-chief at the time, and Scott Freeman, the senior editor, gave me a chance. Since then I’ve been fortunate to learn from, work alongside, and laugh and occasionally cry with a family of writers, editors, photographers, designers, and sales teams.I watched my work get torn apart and made legible by Edelstein, Freeman, Mara Shalhoup, and Debbie Michaud. Scott Henry taught me the importance of structure and some fashion sense. I learned that John Sugg was not as menacing as his author photos made him look. I once dressed as Santa Claus and Andisheh Nouraee sat on my lap. I shared laughter and deadlines with Gwynedd Stuart, Max Blau, Besha Rodell, Joeff Davis, Rodney Carmichael, Chad Radford, and Alicia Carter, and so many others. I would list them all if I had four more pages.Along the way I was able to find my own voice and became fascinated with the city where I was born. I wore hard hats in the “Horrible” Fifth District’s sewers with Congressman John Lewis, sat in living rooms of people fighting to keep their communities intact, and marched in streets alongside protesters. These experiences showed me that Atlanta has plenty of deep problems. But it’s also a city filled with people actively working to solve them. I had a chance to see what works, meet the people finding the answers, and occasionally pester people in power (it’s very cathartic to write the Golden Sleaze awards).
              

More than anything, my time here gave me the joy of being engaged with Atlanta. It showed me I can’t imagine another job as fulfilling as being able to write about the place you call home. You see people at their highs, lows, and in betweens, learn and help others discover how we got here, and play some small role in nudging the city closer to where it should be. It’s a good feeling to stand back and be proud of what you accomplished with people you love. Thank you for giving me that chance.             20849525         http://dev.creativeloafing.com/image/2017/01/news_column1_1_39.587fdb9219864.png                  The next step - Thomas Wheatley "
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Article

Wednesday January 18, 2017 11:21 am EST
CL's news editor says farewell and thank you | more...
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  string(982) ">> The Georgia General Assembly has returned. Prepare for madness.

>> The United Methodist Children’s Home in Decatur might sell its 77-acre property. If it does, what goes in its place? A school? Greenspace? A massive housing development?

 

>> A group of Cheetah dancers allege they were drugged and sexually assaulted at the Midtown strip club's VIP rooms. One dancer has filed a lawsuit, which the club's attorneys say is an attempt to "extort" money.

>> "Most SEALs did not commit atrocities, the sources said, but the problem was persistent and recurrent, like a stubborn virus. Senior leaders at the command knew about the misconduct and did little to eradicate it."

>> Donald Glover and the team behind "Atlanta" walked away with two Golden Globes on Sunday night. And he had special words for the city. 

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  string(1520) ">> The Georgia General Assembly has [http://news.wabe.org/post/what-expect-georgias-2017-legislative-session|returned]. Prepare for madness.

>> The United Methodist Children’s Home in Decatur might sell its 77-acre property. If it does, [http://www.decaturish.com/2017/01/united-methodist-childrens-home-considering-sale-of-property/|what goes in its place]? A school? Greenspace? A massive housing development?

 

>> A group of Cheetah dancers [http://www.myajc.com/news/local/cheetah-dancers-allege-sexual-assault-top-atlanta-strip-club/6udoC3nhtw2JXJM9uzv3vJ/|allege] they were drugged and sexually assaulted at the Midtown strip club's VIP rooms. One dancer has filed a lawsuit, which the club's attorneys [http://www.wsbtv.com/news/2-investigates/atlanta-strip-club-investigation-cheetah-dancers-allege-sex-assault/482508852|say] is an attempt to "extort" money.

>> "Most SEALs did not commit atrocities, the sources said, but the problem was persistent and recurrent, like a stubborn virus. Senior leaders at the command [https://theintercept.com/2017/01/10/the-crimes-of-seal-team-6/|knew about the misconduct and did little to eradicate it]."

>> Donald Glover and the team behind "Atlanta" [http://www.eonline.com/news/820781/why-donald-glover-can-t-believe-atlanta-won-two-golden-globes|walked away] with two Golden Globes on Sunday night. And he had special words for the city. 

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Article

Tuesday January 10, 2017 05:21 pm EST
Plus, a massive redevelopment opportunity awaits in Decatur | more...
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>> An Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll leading up to the General Assembly [http://www.myajc.com/news/stateregional-govtpolitics/ajc-poll-voters-don-favor-return-religious-liberty-gun-bills/pXLC2QfPxNZdGvjJkN3YGP/|finds] most voters aren't too thrilled about legislation dealing with guns on campuses or religious liberty. However, they are interested in Medicaid expansion, in-house cultivation for medical marijuana, and casino gambling.

>> Let's all remember the winter snowstorm that wasn't.

>> The push to connect the Atlanta Beltline and the Silver Comet, creating a bicycle path network stretching from Atlanta to Alabama, continues.

>> Prepare yourself, my friends, for the battle over the hospital bed tax.

>> A book by Monica Crowley, Pres.-elect Donald Trump's pick for a top national security job, constants dozens of instances of plagiarism, CNN says.   "
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>> [http://news.wabe.org/post/winter-storm-brings-atlanta-snow-black-ice-power-outages|Let's all remember the winter snowstorm that wasn't].

>> The push to connect the Atlanta Beltline and the Silver Comet, creating a bicycle path network stretching from Atlanta to Alabama, [http://atlanta.curbed.com/2017/1/6/14185002/beltline-silver-comet-trail-connection|continues].

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>> A book by Monica Crowley, Pres.-elect Donald Trump's pick for a top national security job, constants dozens of instances of plagiarism, CNN [http://money.cnn.com/interactive/news/kfile-trump-monica-crowley-plagiarized-multiple-sources-2012-book/|says].   "
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  string(1561) "    Plus, Trump national security pick's book contains plagiarism   2017-01-08T21:18:00+00:00 First Slice 1/8/17: Poll says Georgians want Medicaid expansion - and a pass on 'religious liberty'   Thomas Wheatley Thomas Wheatley 2017-01-08T21:18:00+00:00  %{data-embed-type=%22image%22 data-embed-id=%225872659c39ab460315411d77%22 data-embed-element=%22span%22 data-embed-size=%22640w%22 contenteditable=%22false%22}%

>> An Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll leading up to the General Assembly [http://www.myajc.com/news/stateregional-govtpolitics/ajc-poll-voters-don-favor-return-religious-liberty-gun-bills/pXLC2QfPxNZdGvjJkN3YGP/|finds] most voters aren't too thrilled about legislation dealing with guns on campuses or religious liberty. However, they are interested in Medicaid expansion, in-house cultivation for medical marijuana, and casino gambling.

>> Let's all remember the winter snowstorm that wasn't.

>> The push to connect the Atlanta Beltline and the Silver Comet, creating a bicycle path network stretching from Atlanta to Alabama, continues.

>> Prepare yourself, my friends, for the battle over the hospital bed tax.

>> A book by Monica Crowley, Pres.-elect Donald Trump's pick for a top national security job, constants dozens of instances of plagiarism, CNN says.                20848411         http://dev.creativeloafing.com/image/2017/01/medicaid1425333814_img_1953.5872659a79aa0.png                  First Slice 1/8/17: Poll says Georgians want Medicaid expansion - and a pass on 'religious liberty' "
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Article

Sunday January 8, 2017 04:18 pm EST
Plus, Trump national security pick's book contains plagiarism | more...
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The next person to lead the city's long-running alt-weekly is one that loyal readers — and city residents who used to live in Charlotte — will recognize.

 

Carlton Hargro, who oversaw CL’s culture coverage in the mid-2000s and led our former sister paper in the Queen City, will return to the publication as editor-in-chief. His first day is Jan. 17.

"Taking on the role of editor-in-chief at Creative Loafing is beyond a dream come true,” Hargro says. “It's an honor to grab the reins behind a slew of incredible editors — like the paper's most recent EIC, Debbie Michaud. I'm dedicated to continuing that long legacy of great journalism, along with pushing CL deeper into digital and other platforms. Keep your eyes peeled for more details on all the great stuff we have planned.”

The Ball State University graduate, who will become the first black editor-in-chief in CL's history, has worked in various roles throughout his journalism career in Atlanta, which began in 1997 at the Atlanta Tribune. In 2004, he joined CL and oversaw the culture section, assigning and editing articles about the city’s arts scene. In addition, he created, produced, and hosted Audiofloss, CL’s urban music podcast.

Two years later, he moved to Charlotte to lead that city’s edition of CL. For the next five years, Hargro guided the Charlotte paper to numerous regional and national awards, including nods from the Association of Alternative Newsmedia, and launched blogs, newsletters, and podcasts. He returned to Atlanta in late 2011 and has worked as an editor, producer, and TV host. Most recently Hargro served as copy chief of World 50.

"I am delighted and excited to be working with Carlton as CL's new editor-in-chief," says Sharry Smith, CL's publisher. "His vision for where he wants to take the publication is inclusive and true to Atlanta. Carlton knows CL." 

Though our times at CL did not overlap, I have long been a fan of Hargro, reading him before I joined the staff, and enjoying what he did via the copies of CL Charlotte that showed up in our offices. He’s a smart, hilarious, and forward-thinking journalist. Welcome back to CL, good sir.

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The next person to lead the city's long-running alt-weekly is one that loyal readers — and city residents who used to live in Charlotte — will recognize.

 

Carlton Hargro, who oversaw ''CL''’s culture coverage in the mid-2000s and led our former sister paper in the Queen City, will return to the publication as editor-in-chief. His first day is Jan. 17.

"Taking on the role of editor-in-chief at ''Creative Loafing ''is beyond a dream come true,” Hargro says. “It's an honor to grab the reins behind a slew of incredible editors — like the paper's most recent EIC, Debbie Michaud. I'm dedicated to continuing that long legacy of great journalism, along with pushing ''CL'' deeper into digital and other platforms. Keep your eyes peeled for more details on all the great stuff we have planned.”

The Ball State University graduate, who will become the first black editor-in-chief in ''CL'''s history, has worked in various roles throughout his journalism career in Atlanta, which began in 1997 at the Atlanta Tribune. In 2004, he joined ''CL'' and oversaw the culture section, assigning and editing articles about the city’s arts scene. In addition, he created, produced, and hosted Audiofloss, ''CL’''s urban music podcast.

Two years later, he moved to Charlotte to lead that city’s edition of ''CL''. For the next five years, Hargro guided the Charlotte paper to numerous regional and national awards, including nods from the Association of Alternative Newsmedia, and launched blogs, newsletters, and podcasts. He returned to Atlanta in late 2011 and has worked as an editor, producer, and TV host. Most recently Hargro served as copy chief of World 50.

"I am delighted and excited to be working with Carlton as ''CL'''s new editor-in-chief," says Sharry Smith, ''CL'''s publisher. "His vision for where he wants to take the publication is inclusive and true to Atlanta. Carlton knows ''CL''." 

Though our times at ''CL'' did not overlap, I have long been a fan of Hargro, reading him before I joined the staff, and enjoying what he did via the copies of ''CL'' Charlotte that showed up in our offices. He’s a smart, hilarious, and forward-thinking journalist. Welcome back to ''CL'', good sir.

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The next person to lead the city's long-running alt-weekly is one that loyal readers — and city residents who used to live in Charlotte — will recognize.

 

Carlton Hargro, who oversaw CL’s culture coverage in the mid-2000s and led our former sister paper in the Queen City, will return to the publication as editor-in-chief. His first day is Jan. 17.

"Taking on the role of editor-in-chief at Creative Loafing is beyond a dream come true,” Hargro says. “It's an honor to grab the reins behind a slew of incredible editors — like the paper's most recent EIC, Debbie Michaud. I'm dedicated to continuing that long legacy of great journalism, along with pushing CL deeper into digital and other platforms. Keep your eyes peeled for more details on all the great stuff we have planned.”

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Article

Thursday January 5, 2017 10:25 pm EST
Longtime Atlantan - and former CL-er - returns | more...
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  string(3632) "%{data-embed-type=%22image%22 data-embed-id=%22586d50ba38ab46626d787195%22 data-embed-element=%22span%22 data-embed-size=%22640w%22 contenteditable=%22false%22}%Last summer, as hundreds of protesters marched through Downtown streets calling for justice after police shootings in Louisiana and Minnesota, Avery Jackson needed a break.After helping the crowd navigate its route and leading chants, the Morehouse College senior rested his megaphone on his shoulder while he walked. This was their fourth straight night on the streets. Near Woodruff Park, he was asked how long they would continue.They would rest, Jackson said as he continued down Peachtree Street, when the city started caring about the “lives and livelihood” of black people.Jackson, one of the most visible members of activist group ATL is Ready, has emerged as one of Atlanta’s most vocal and energetic practitioners of civil disobedience. He was there when Atlanta University Center students interrupted then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in November 2015. He sat with protesters outside the Governor’s Mansion, prompting Mayor Kasim Reed to meet with them in a police truck. And he helped take over an Atlanta City Council meeting during a debate on using eminent domain to take over a homeless shelter. He is everywhere.Jackson caught the activism spirit from his family and his home state of Iowa, a place the activist says is so ingrained with politics that middle schoolers are required to participate in campaigns. The overwhelmingly white state also opened his eyes to the lack of spaces where black people can enjoy autonomy and be who they are. His father, a lawyer, would play Martin Luther King Jr. speeches, and his mother, a banking consultant, made sure he and his family members included people “who looked like them” in pictures they drew. As a high school student, Jackson became involved with the NAACP and successfully protested the local school board over observing Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Morehouse, a college that is both reverent of and bound to tradition, has shaped Jackson’s views on challenging power. He says everything changed after a grand jury decided not to indict Darren Wilson, a white suburban St. Louis police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown, an unarmed black man. After a campus event to discuss the shooting and injustice, Jackson ran to the Chapel Bell, the toll of which is supposed to mobilize students to assemble, and pulled the rope.Jackson planned to head to graduate school after grabbing his diploma in May but changed his mind after realizing the potential for activism in Atlanta. He’s now committed to staying in the city to help solve the issues to which he’s dedicated so many hours. In addition to continuing to raise awareness about racial injustice, ATL is Ready is engaging with candidates in the 2017 Council and mayoral races to spark change from within City Hall. They’re planning to help register voters, including “a new electorate of folks who’ve been forgotten in this city over and over again … that’s a different election.”
               

“Atlanta is unlike any other city in this country,” Jackson says. “There is potential. The people in Atlanta have a spirit of social justice and resistance so much so that the politicians need to be afraid of it. That needs to be the underlying theme of everything we do for the next five years … When people hit the streets every day, it wasn’t because of great organizing, organizers, capacity, or infrastructure. It was because people of Atlanta were not going home until they were ready.”"
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“Atlanta is unlike any other city in this country,” Jackson says. “There is potential. The people in Atlanta have a spirit of social justice and resistance so much so that the politicians need to be afraid of it. That needs to be the underlying theme of everything we do for the next five years … When people hit the streets every day, it wasn’t because of great organizing, organizers, capacity, [or] infrastructure. It was because people of Atlanta were not going home until they were ready.”"
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  string(3990) "    The community activist commits to Atlanta - and bringing change to City Hall   2017-01-05T07:32:00+00:00 Avery Jackson: The disruptor   Thomas Wheatley Thomas Wheatley 2017-01-05T07:32:00+00:00  %{data-embed-type=%22image%22 data-embed-id=%22586d50ba38ab46626d787195%22 data-embed-element=%22span%22 data-embed-size=%22640w%22 contenteditable=%22false%22}%Last summer, as hundreds of protesters marched through Downtown streets calling for justice after police shootings in Louisiana and Minnesota, Avery Jackson needed a break.After helping the crowd navigate its route and leading chants, the Morehouse College senior rested his megaphone on his shoulder while he walked. This was their fourth straight night on the streets. Near Woodruff Park, he was asked how long they would continue.They would rest, Jackson said as he continued down Peachtree Street, when the city started caring about the “lives and livelihood” of black people.Jackson, one of the most visible members of activist group ATL is Ready, has emerged as one of Atlanta’s most vocal and energetic practitioners of civil disobedience. He was there when Atlanta University Center students interrupted then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in November 2015. He sat with protesters outside the Governor’s Mansion, prompting Mayor Kasim Reed to meet with them in a police truck. And he helped take over an Atlanta City Council meeting during a debate on using eminent domain to take over a homeless shelter. He is everywhere.Jackson caught the activism spirit from his family and his home state of Iowa, a place the activist says is so ingrained with politics that middle schoolers are required to participate in campaigns. The overwhelmingly white state also opened his eyes to the lack of spaces where black people can enjoy autonomy and be who they are. His father, a lawyer, would play Martin Luther King Jr. speeches, and his mother, a banking consultant, made sure he and his family members included people “who looked like them” in pictures they drew. As a high school student, Jackson became involved with the NAACP and successfully protested the local school board over observing Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Morehouse, a college that is both reverent of and bound to tradition, has shaped Jackson’s views on challenging power. He says everything changed after a grand jury decided not to indict Darren Wilson, a white suburban St. Louis police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown, an unarmed black man. After a campus event to discuss the shooting and injustice, Jackson ran to the Chapel Bell, the toll of which is supposed to mobilize students to assemble, and pulled the rope.Jackson planned to head to graduate school after grabbing his diploma in May but changed his mind after realizing the potential for activism in Atlanta. He’s now committed to staying in the city to help solve the issues to which he’s dedicated so many hours. In addition to continuing to raise awareness about racial injustice, ATL is Ready is engaging with candidates in the 2017 Council and mayoral races to spark change from within City Hall. They’re planning to help register voters, including “a new electorate of folks who’ve been forgotten in this city over and over again … that’s a different election.”
               

“Atlanta is unlike any other city in this country,” Jackson says. “There is potential. The people in Atlanta have a spirit of social justice and resistance so much so that the politicians need to be afraid of it. That needs to be the underlying theme of everything we do for the next five years … When people hit the streets every day, it wasn’t because of great organizing, organizers, capacity, or infrastructure. It was because people of Atlanta were not going home until they were ready.”             20848129         http://dev.creativeloafing.com/image/2017/01/cover_Jackson1_1_37.586d50b2463e7.png                  Avery Jackson: The disruptor "
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Thursday January 5, 2017 02:32 am EST
The community activist commits to Atlanta - and bringing change to City Hall | more...
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“If it’s a 1950s kind of library I won’t be as excited. I hope we will have a lot of ideas that people won’t expect,” he says. “I think it’s something that’s going to be very radical, something young people and kids will like.”"
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“If it’s a 1950s kind of library I won’t be as excited. I hope we will have a lot of ideas that people won’t expect,” he says. “I think it’s something that’s going to be very radical, something young people and kids will like.”"
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Thursday January 5, 2017 02:28 am EST
The county's new library director sees the system's future and purpose - and it doesn't just involve books | more...
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Are you wondering what type of businesses the proposed $300 million Underground Atlanta redevelopment will feature? Curious what the architecture will look like? Concerned over whether access will be controlled in and out of the property in the heart of Downtown? 

You'll get a chance to speak with executives from WRS Real Estate, the South Carolina developer that's been negotiating with the city for two years to buy the property, on Sat., Jan. 14, at 10:30 a.m. at Underground Atlanta in the subterranean shopping mall's atrium. That's located across the street from the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau center on Upper Alabama Street. 

Kevin Rogers, a WRS executive, says he and other firm reps will show renderings of the proposed development, answer questions, and take suggestions about what the community would like to see happen on the property. They will also present a newer, more detailed plan.

"We always meet with neighbors, and it's time to do so," Rogers says. "Now that we've solved the majority of the major issues... it's a good time to get out there, show our face, and invite the public and everyone in the neighborhood at a time when folks are not in the office. Hopefully people after the meeting will take an opportunity to support the tenants in Underground." 

WRS' deal with the city was supposed to close this week but has been delayed, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. Rogers says the hold-up is because of title and survey issues on the complicated deal. He says the company wants to close the deal "as soon as possible" but declined to set a date. "
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Are you wondering what type of businesses the proposed $300 million Underground Atlanta redevelopment will feature? Curious what the architecture will look like? Concerned over whether access will be controlled in and out of the property in the heart of Downtown? 

You'll get a chance to speak with executives from WRS Real Estate, the South Carolina developer that's been negotiating with the city for two years to buy the property, on Sat., Jan. 14, at 10:30 a.m. at Underground Atlanta in the subterranean shopping mall's atrium. That's located across the street from the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau center on Upper Alabama Street. 

Kevin Rogers, a WRS executive, says he and other firm reps will show renderings of the proposed development, answer questions, and take suggestions about what the community would like to see happen on the property. They will also present a newer, more detailed plan.

"We always meet with neighbors, and it's time to do so," Rogers says. "Now that we've solved the majority of the major issues... it's a good time to get out there, show our face, and invite the public and everyone in the neighborhood at a time when folks are not in the office. Hopefully people after the meeting will take an opportunity to support the tenants in Underground." 

WRS' deal with the city was supposed to close this week but has been delayed, the ''Atlanta Journal-Constitution'' [http://www.ajc.com/news/local-govt--politics/updated-underground-atlanta-sale-delayed-again/A5a4NrUk6lb7m6NL5Y3CGL/|reports]. Rogers says the hold-up is because of title and survey issues on the complicated deal. He says the company wants to close the deal "as soon as possible" but declined to set a date. "
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  string(2142) "    What would you like to see in the heart of Downtown?   2017-01-04T22:38:00+00:00 Underground Atlanta developers want to hear from you   Thomas Wheatley Thomas Wheatley 2017-01-04T22:38:00+00:00  %{data-embed-type=%22image%22 data-embed-id=%22586d316539ab46817361390a%22 data-embed-element=%22span%22 data-embed-size=%22640w%22 contenteditable=%22false%22}%

Are you wondering what type of businesses the proposed $300 million Underground Atlanta redevelopment will feature? Curious what the architecture will look like? Concerned over whether access will be controlled in and out of the property in the heart of Downtown? 

You'll get a chance to speak with executives from WRS Real Estate, the South Carolina developer that's been negotiating with the city for two years to buy the property, on Sat., Jan. 14, at 10:30 a.m. at Underground Atlanta in the subterranean shopping mall's atrium. That's located across the street from the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau center on Upper Alabama Street. 

Kevin Rogers, a WRS executive, says he and other firm reps will show renderings of the proposed development, answer questions, and take suggestions about what the community would like to see happen on the property. They will also present a newer, more detailed plan.

"We always meet with neighbors, and it's time to do so," Rogers says. "Now that we've solved the majority of the major issues... it's a good time to get out there, show our face, and invite the public and everyone in the neighborhood at a time when folks are not in the office. Hopefully people after the meeting will take an opportunity to support the tenants in Underground." 

WRS' deal with the city was supposed to close this week but has been delayed, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. Rogers says the hold-up is because of title and survey issues on the complicated deal. He says the company wants to close the deal "as soon as possible" but declined to set a date.              20848100         http://dev.creativeloafing.com/image/2017/01/news_WRS1_1_35.586d31623a008.png                  Underground Atlanta developers want to hear from you "
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Article

Wednesday January 4, 2017 05:38 pm EST
What would you like to see in the heart of Downtown? | more...
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>> As thousands of New Year's Eve revelers watched Underground Atlanta's (maybe last) Peach Drop, a group of activists projected a simple message on the side of a nearby hotel: "Resist Trump! Fight Back."

>> Please stop doing this.

>> 2016 was Atlanta's warmest year on record. A researcher at the Southeast Regional Climate Center says a "very persistent pattern of unusual warmth across the southeast... was really the calling card for this year’s pattern."

>> Pres.-elect Donald Trump has yet to select his pick to the lead the U.S. Agriculture Department. Former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue is a frontrunner for the position.

>> [http://www.myajc.com/news/stateregional-govtpolitics/georgia-westmoreland-winding-down-time-congress-nears-end/GKBLb7L0RWKqXjv2yxjagP/|What will Congressman Lynn Westmoreland, R-Georgia, do after leaving Washington, D.C.]?"
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>> As thousands of New Year's Eve revelers watched Underground Atlanta's (maybe last) Peach Drop, a group of activists [http://www.11alive.com/news/local/resist-trump-fight-back-projected-on-hotel-next-to-peach-drop/381258212|projected] a simple message on the side of a nearby hotel: "Resist Trump! Fight Back."

>> Please [http://www.wsbtv.com/news/local/shell-casings-litter-atlanta-park-after-new-years-eve-celebratory-gunfire/480638177|stop doing this].

>> 2016 was Atlanta's warmest year on record. A researcher at the Southeast Regional Climate Center [http://news.wabe.org/post/2016-was-atlanta-s-warmest-year-record|says] a "very persistent pattern of unusual warmth across the southeast... was really the calling card for this year’s pattern."

>> Pres.-elect Donald Trump has yet to select his pick to the lead the U.S. Agriculture Department. Former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue is a [http://politics.blog.ajc.com/2017/01/02/sources-sonny-perdue-a-top-contender-for-ag-chief/|frontrunner for the position].

>> [http://www.myajc.com/news/state--regional-govt--politics/georgia-westmoreland-winding-down-time-congress-nears-end/GKBLb7L0RWKqXjv2yxjagP/|What will Congressman Lynn Westmoreland, R-Georgia, do after leaving Washington, D.C.]?"
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>> As thousands of New Year's Eve revelers watched Underground Atlanta's (maybe last) Peach Drop, a group of activists projected a simple message on the side of a nearby hotel: "Resist Trump! Fight Back."

>> Please stop doing this.

>> 2016 was Atlanta's warmest year on record. A researcher at the Southeast Regional Climate Center says a "very persistent pattern of unusual warmth across the southeast... was really the calling card for this year’s pattern."

>> Pres.-elect Donald Trump has yet to select his pick to the lead the U.S. Agriculture Department. Former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue is a frontrunner for the position.

>> [http://www.myajc.com/news/stateregional-govtpolitics/georgia-westmoreland-winding-down-time-congress-nears-end/GKBLb7L0RWKqXjv2yxjagP/|What will Congressman Lynn Westmoreland, R-Georgia, do after leaving Washington, D.C.]?             20847882                           First Slice 1/3/17: Atlanta NYE revelers treated to 'Resist Trump' messages during Peach Drop "
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Article

Tuesday January 3, 2017 03:03 pm EST
Plus, 2016 was Atlanta's warmest year on record | more...
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  string(3356) "%{data-embed-type=%22image%22 data-embed-id=%225862e30639ab464b4d37415b%22 data-embed-element=%22span%22 data-embed-size=%22640w%22 contenteditable=%22false%22}%In early December, state officials put up for sale Pratt-Pullman Yard, the 27-acre crumbling collection of brick buildings in Kirkwood. Inside a 43-page pack of materials outlining the property for potential buyers, one finds photos, surveys, and information about pollution on the former railcar service yard.Nowhere in the documents, however, does it say the new owners must preserve the buildings with saw-toothed roofs, vast service structures, and other buildings that have made Pullman Yard a go-to for film shoots and urban explorers. In other words, Pullman Yard could be a blank slate, a prime piece of real estate in one of Atlanta’s more desirable neighborhoods.The omission not to push for reusing or renovating the buildings jolted Atlanta’s preservation advocates and residents watching the city’s historic structures get demolished and be replaced by unimaginative developments. Losing Pullman Yard would not just be a missed opportunity but the complete erasure of a rare remainder of Atlanta’s beginning, they say.“It matters greatly,” says Mark McDonald, the executive director of the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation. “The railroad heritage of Atlanta is the story of Atlanta. Atlanta wouldn’t be here without the railroad. It was what catapulted Atlanta into the 20th century until the airplane took over.”A spokesman for the State Properties Commission, the state agency handling the sale, said officials could not comment during bidding.Atlanta City Councilwoman Natalyn Archibong earlier this year dropped her effort to place landmark status on the property after state officials told Atlanta officials in a letter that it did not recognize the city’s authority to do so. Charles Lawrence, a historic preservation expert who has consulted for several parties interested in the property, says neighborhood groups have supported saving the buildings. Several groups have pitched ideas for the site that include preservation, including a nonprofit’s plans for soccer fields, a community garden, and housing and a private developer’s mixed-use concept. Lawrence says the state also once showed an interest. “In 2007, the state offered the property with preservation requirements written into the sale,” he says. “They received bids as high as $12 million in 2008. So what changed? Why can preservation of the last remaining 19th century industrial site not be done?”Boyd Coons of the Atlanta Preservation Center, the nonprofit that has placed Pullman Yard on its annual list of endangered sites, says he hopes the city would be engaged in the conversation surrounding what the state plans to do with what is publicly owned property. If the public wants it preserved, why not preserve it?
                 

“We’re talking about a major site in the city and something that’s an essential part of our city, a very rare thing,” Coons says. “If it were properly done, think about how it would affect the whole area. Think about people who want an authentic place. This is a huge unique opportunity … why not go ahead and put some restrictions on it that would evoke a higher standard than a five-story, stick-built fire trap?”"
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  string(3476) "%{[ data-embed-type="image" data-embed-id="5862e30639ab464b4d37415b" data-embed-element="span" data-embed-size="640w" contenteditable="false" ]}%In early December, state officials put up for sale Pratt-Pullman Yard, the 27-acre crumbling collection of brick buildings in Kirkwood. Inside a [https://gspc.georgia.gov/sites/gspc.georgia.gov/files/related_files/press_release/ITB GBA #12-16 -GBA Pullman (DeKalb County).pdf|43-page pack of materials] outlining the property for potential buyers, one finds photos, surveys, and information about pollution on the former railcar service yard.Nowhere in the documents, however, does it say the new owners must preserve the buildings with saw-toothed roofs, vast service structures, and other buildings that have made Pullman Yard a go-to for film shoots and urban explorers. In other words, Pullman Yard could be a blank slate, a prime piece of real estate in one of Atlanta’s more desirable neighborhoods.The omission not to push for reusing or renovating the buildings jolted Atlanta’s preservation advocates and residents watching the city’s historic structures get demolished and be replaced by unimaginative developments. Losing Pullman Yard would not just be a missed opportunity but the complete erasure of a rare remainder of Atlanta’s beginning, they say.“It matters greatly,” says Mark McDonald, the executive director of the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation. “The railroad heritage of Atlanta is the ''story'' of Atlanta. Atlanta wouldn’t be here without the railroad. It was what catapulted Atlanta into the 20th century until the airplane took over.”A spokesman for the State Properties Commission, the state agency handling the sale, said officials could not comment during bidding.Atlanta City Councilwoman Natalyn Archibong earlier this year dropped her effort to place landmark status on the property after state officials told Atlanta officials in a letter that it did not recognize the city’s authority to do so. Charles Lawrence, a historic preservation expert who has consulted for several parties interested in the property, says neighborhood groups have supported saving the buildings. Several groups have pitched ideas for the site that include preservation, including a nonprofit’s plans for soccer fields, a community garden, and housing and a private developer’s mixed-use concept. Lawrence says the state also once showed an interest. “In 2007, the state offered the property with preservation requirements written into the sale,” he says. “They received bids as high as $12 million in 2008. So what changed? Why can preservation of the last remaining 19th century industrial site not be done?”Boyd Coons of the Atlanta Preservation Center, the nonprofit that has placed Pullman Yard on its annual list of endangered sites, says he hopes the city would be engaged in the conversation surrounding what the state plans to do with what is publicly owned property. If the public wants it preserved, why not preserve it?
                 

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  string(3730) "    Potential deal does note require buildings be preserved   2016-12-28T02:57:00+00:00 Pullman Yard should be preserved, advocates say   Thomas Wheatley Thomas Wheatley 2016-12-28T02:57:00+00:00  %{data-embed-type=%22image%22 data-embed-id=%225862e30639ab464b4d37415b%22 data-embed-element=%22span%22 data-embed-size=%22640w%22 contenteditable=%22false%22}%In early December, state officials put up for sale Pratt-Pullman Yard, the 27-acre crumbling collection of brick buildings in Kirkwood. Inside a 43-page pack of materials outlining the property for potential buyers, one finds photos, surveys, and information about pollution on the former railcar service yard.Nowhere in the documents, however, does it say the new owners must preserve the buildings with saw-toothed roofs, vast service structures, and other buildings that have made Pullman Yard a go-to for film shoots and urban explorers. In other words, Pullman Yard could be a blank slate, a prime piece of real estate in one of Atlanta’s more desirable neighborhoods.The omission not to push for reusing or renovating the buildings jolted Atlanta’s preservation advocates and residents watching the city’s historic structures get demolished and be replaced by unimaginative developments. Losing Pullman Yard would not just be a missed opportunity but the complete erasure of a rare remainder of Atlanta’s beginning, they say.“It matters greatly,” says Mark McDonald, the executive director of the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation. “The railroad heritage of Atlanta is the story of Atlanta. Atlanta wouldn’t be here without the railroad. It was what catapulted Atlanta into the 20th century until the airplane took over.”A spokesman for the State Properties Commission, the state agency handling the sale, said officials could not comment during bidding.Atlanta City Councilwoman Natalyn Archibong earlier this year dropped her effort to place landmark status on the property after state officials told Atlanta officials in a letter that it did not recognize the city’s authority to do so. Charles Lawrence, a historic preservation expert who has consulted for several parties interested in the property, says neighborhood groups have supported saving the buildings. Several groups have pitched ideas for the site that include preservation, including a nonprofit’s plans for soccer fields, a community garden, and housing and a private developer’s mixed-use concept. Lawrence says the state also once showed an interest. “In 2007, the state offered the property with preservation requirements written into the sale,” he says. “They received bids as high as $12 million in 2008. So what changed? Why can preservation of the last remaining 19th century industrial site not be done?”Boyd Coons of the Atlanta Preservation Center, the nonprofit that has placed Pullman Yard on its annual list of endangered sites, says he hopes the city would be engaged in the conversation surrounding what the state plans to do with what is publicly owned property. If the public wants it preserved, why not preserve it?
                 

“We’re talking about a major site in the city and something that’s an essential part of our city, a very rare thing,” Coons says. “If it were properly done, think about how it would affect the whole area. Think about people who want an authentic place. This is a huge unique opportunity … why not go ahead and put some restrictions on it that would evoke a higher standard than a five-story, stick-built fire trap?”             20847676         http://dev.creativeloafing.com/image/2016/12/news_pullman1_1_36.5862e30408849.png                  Pullman Yard should be preserved, advocates say "
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Tuesday December 27, 2016 09:57 pm EST
Potential deal does note require buildings be preserved | more...
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The city's decision to give several streets near Underground Atlanta to WRS Real Estate, the South Carolina-based developer lined up to purchase and redevelop the shopping mall, rubbed a lot of folks the wrong way. Now some people who opposed the decision are considering taking the city to court. 

To do so will take cash. Thread ATL, an urbanism advocacy group, and some Downtown advocates are holding a fundraiser on Monday, Dec. 26 at the Georgia Beer Garden on Edgewood Avenue to help found the courtroom battle. Writes the group on the event's Facebook page:

As you may know, the city of Atlanta recently authorized the transfer of 4 blocks of Downtown streets to a private developer.While the streets and sidewalks will remain open... who can use them is now subject to the rules of a private owner. Failure to meet a "Proper Dress Code" could become a justification for removal.Our streets are or most vital PUBLIC space. We must protect them.A lawsuit is being prepared on behalf of concerned citizens. They need your help for the legal fees. Filing alone will cost $1000.Join us for a discussion of the legislation and the legal justification for filing suit as well as the importance of our city streets.
The beer starts flowing at 5:30 p.m. and donations will be accepted at the door. Can't attend? You can contribute here. "
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The city's [www.clatl.com/news/article/20845919/city-will-give-away-public-streets-near-underground-atlanta-to-a-private-developer|decision to give several streets near Underground Atlanta] to WRS Real Estate, the South Carolina-based developer lined up to purchase and redevelop the shopping mall, rubbed a lot of folks the wrong way. Now some people who opposed the decision are considering taking the city to court. 

To do so will take cash. Thread ATL, an urbanism advocacy group, and some Downtown advocates are holding a fundraiser on Monday, Dec. 26 at the Georgia Beer Garden on Edgewood Avenue to help found the courtroom battle. [https://www.facebook.com/events/290087578054753/|Writes the group on the event's Facebook page]:

As you may know, the city of Atlanta recently authorized the transfer of 4 blocks of Downtown streets to a private developer.While the streets and sidewalks will remain open... who can use them is now subject to the rules of a private owner. Failure to meet a "Proper Dress Code" could become a justification for removal.Our streets are or most vital PUBLIC space. We must protect them.A lawsuit is being prepared on behalf of concerned citizens. They need your help for the legal fees. Filing alone will cost $1000.Join us for a discussion of the legislation and the legal justification for filing suit as well as the importance of our city streets.
The beer starts flowing at 5:30 p.m. and donations will be accepted at the door. Can't attend? [https://igg.me/at/IH1RzHHajoI|You can contribute here]. "
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The city's decision to give several streets near Underground Atlanta to WRS Real Estate, the South Carolina-based developer lined up to purchase and redevelop the shopping mall, rubbed a lot of folks the wrong way. Now some people who opposed the decision are considering taking the city to court. 

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The beer starts flowing at 5:30 p.m. and donations will be accepted at the door. Can't attend? You can contribute here.              20847542         http://dev.creativeloafing.com/image/2016/12/news_WRS1_1_35.585c07be9e0bf.png                  Want to help save some Downtown streets? Have a beer. "
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Thursday December 22, 2016 05:11 pm EST
Fundraiser will help pay for legal fight over street giveaway to Underground Atlanta developer | more...
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>> When was the last time you paid to ride the Atlanta Streetcar? OK, be honest, when was the last time you rode the Atlanta Streetcar? 

>> Emory University and a private developer will partner to restore the beautiful but crumbling former mansion of a Coca-Cola heir.  

>> The failed actor who's accused of killing a Smyrna woman and three homeless men will get more time to consider a plea deal. 

>> Here's a person we love singing a bad song for a good cause.

>> Can Peachtree Road in South Buckhead actually become walkable? 

>> If someone approaches you with plans to create a "death ray" superweapon, call law enforcement. 

>> Who's behind a nonprofit that is auctioning off inauguration weekend meet-and-greets with Pres.-elect Donald Trump? According to Public Integrity, the group's leadership includes his sons.

>> “The event was routine enough — the opening of an exhibit of photographs of Russia — and when a man on stage pulled out a gun I thought it was a theatrical flourish.”"
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>> When was the last time you [http://news.wabe.org/post/nearly-half-atlanta-streetcar-riders-dont-pay-1-fare|paid to ride the Atlanta Streetcar]? OK, be honest, when was the last time you ''rode'' the Atlanta Streetcar? 

>> Emory University and a private developer will partner to [http://saportareport.com/emory-university-gets-green-light-redevelop-briarcliff-mansion-home-coke-heir/|restore] the beautiful but crumbling former mansion of a Coca-Cola heir.  

>> The failed actor who's accused of killing a Smyrna woman and three homeless men will [http://www.myajc.com/news/local/serial-killer-given-more-time-consider-plea-deal/fNrwTovw1JTw52GHU77bnK/|get more time] to consider a plea deal. 

>> [http://www.decaturmetro.com/2016/12/20/decaturite-in-malawi-goes-sorta-viral-singing-totos-africa-to-raise-funds-for-care/|Here's a person we love singing a bad song for a good cause].

>> [http://atlanta.curbed.com/2016/12/19/14001694/peachtree-road-buckhead-walkable-rezoning|Can Peachtree Road in South Buckhead actually become walkable]? 

>> [http://www.nola.com/crime/index.ssf/2016/12/kkk_member_kill_muslims.html|If someone approaches you with plans to create a "death ray" superweapon], call law enforcement. 

>> Who's behind a nonprofit that is auctioning off inauguration weekend meet-and-greets with Pres.-elect Donald Trump? According to Public Integrity, [https://www.publicintegrity.org/2016/12/19/20564/donald-trumps-sons-behind-nonprofit-selling-access-president-elect|the group's leadership includes his sons].

>> “The event was routine enough — the opening of an exhibit of photographs of Russia — and [https://blog.ap.org/behind-the-news/ap-photographer-i-composed-myself-enough-to-shoot-pictures|when a man on stage pulled out a gun] I thought it was a theatrical flourish.”"
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>> The failed actor who's accused of killing a Smyrna woman and three homeless men will get more time to consider a plea deal. 

>> Here's a person we love singing a bad song for a good cause.

>> Can Peachtree Road in South Buckhead actually become walkable? 

>> If someone approaches you with plans to create a "death ray" superweapon, call law enforcement. 

>> Who's behind a nonprofit that is auctioning off inauguration weekend meet-and-greets with Pres.-elect Donald Trump? According to Public Integrity, the group's leadership includes his sons.

>> “The event was routine enough — the opening of an exhibit of photographs of Russia — and when a man on stage pulled out a gun I thought it was a theatrical flourish.”             20847276         http://dev.creativeloafing.com/image/2016/12/atlanta_streetcar_app.585950e2a5fb2.png                  First Slice 12/20/16: Only half of streetcar riders pay $1 fare "
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Tuesday December 20, 2016 03:44 pm EST
Plus, Briarcliff Mansion to be restored | more...
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>> Protesters plan to hold a vigil outside the Georgia Capitol tonight at 6 p.m. and tomorrow morning as part of a nationwide, last-ditch effort to convince the Electoral College not to support Pres.-elect Donald Trump. 

>> A brewery and brasserie are moving in along the Atlanta Beltline's Eastside trail.

>> The legal team representing a Roswell police officer who was fired after flying a Confederate flag outside her house — and with a squad vehicle parked out front — includes an interesting lawyer.

>> The Task Force for Global Health, a nonprofit that aims to help cure tropical diseases and increase access to vaccines, is moving into a new headquarters in Decatur. It recently purchased a DeKalb County government building to handle its growing staff.

>> Six years ago, Long Island police officers started finding bodies of sex workers on and around Gilgo Beach. They still have not caught the killer.


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>> Protesters plan to [https://www.facebook.com/events/1338995606173148/|hold a vigil outside the Georgia Capitol tonight] at 6 p.m. and [https://www.facebook.com/events/1347994111879069/|tomorrow morning] as part of a nationwide, last-ditch effort to [http://politics.blog.ajc.com/2016/12/15/anti-trump-protesters-plan-to-protest-electoral-college-vote-in-atlanta/|convince the Electoral College not to support Pres.-elect Donald Trump]. 

>> A brewery and brasserie are [http://atlanta.curbed.com/2016/12/15/13974150/beltline-eastside-trail-brewery-brasserie|moving in] along the Atlanta Beltline's Eastside trail.

>> The legal team representing a Roswell police officer who was fired after flying a Confederate flag outside her house — and with a squad vehicle parked out front — [http://www.ajc.com/news/local/embattled-group-helps-fired-cop-sue-roswell-over-confederate-flag/Z8tPyYxaKM2WS0IGd96rGL/|includes an interesting lawyer].

>> The Task Force for Global Health, a nonprofit that aims to help cure tropical diseases and increase access to vaccines, is [http://saportareport.com/task-force-global-health-buys-decatur-building-m-10-million-woodruff-foundation/|moving] into a new headquarters in Decatur. It recently purchased a DeKalb County government building to handle its growing staff.

>> Six years ago, Long Island police officers started finding bodies of sex workers on and around Gilgo Beach. [http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/features/why-hasnt-the-long-island-serial-killer-case-been-solved-w453872|They still have not caught the killer].


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>> Protesters plan to hold a vigil outside the Georgia Capitol tonight at 6 p.m. and tomorrow morning as part of a nationwide, last-ditch effort to convince the Electoral College not to support Pres.-elect Donald Trump. 

>> A brewery and brasserie are moving in along the Atlanta Beltline's Eastside trail.

>> The legal team representing a Roswell police officer who was fired after flying a Confederate flag outside her house — and with a squad vehicle parked out front — includes an interesting lawyer.

>> The Task Force for Global Health, a nonprofit that aims to help cure tropical diseases and increase access to vaccines, is moving into a new headquarters in Decatur. It recently purchased a DeKalb County government building to handle its growing staff.

>> Six years ago, Long Island police officers started finding bodies of sex workers on and around Gilgo Beach. They still have not caught the killer.


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Sunday December 18, 2016 03:51 pm EST
Plus, Roswell police officer fired after flying Confederate flag has an interesting lawyer | more...
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  string(54) "First Slice 12/12/16: DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis is back"
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>> Burrell Ellis, who was removed from his position as DeKalb County CEO during a corruption scandal, could return to office today after the Supreme Court of Georgia reversed his attempted extortion and perjury conviction.

>> People who think Atlanta Police officers used excessive force or acted improperly can now file anonymous complaints and actress Jasmine Guy is helping to spread the word. 

>> Coca-Cola has a new CEO. Meet James Quincey, who's taking over for Muhtar Kent.

>> Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp is accusing the U.S. Department of Homeland Security of attempting to hack into his department's computer systems. The feds say the attempt came from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection division — which is not normal — and is "deeply concerned with this situation."

>> Rex Tillerson, Pres.-elect Donald Trump's likely pick to lead the State Department, is "a man who has worked his whole life running a parallel quasi-state, for the benefit of shareholders, fashioning relationships with foreign leaders that may or may not conform to the interests of the United States government," says Steve Coll, the journalist who wrote the definitive history of ExxonMobil.

>> Also: Trump's transition team is asking for information on Department of Energy staffers who worked on climate change. One current department official called the move, one that has raised concern that the Trump transition team is trying to figure out how to target the people, including civil servants, who have helped implement policies under Obama," "intrusive."

>> The Ku Klux Klan says it is not a white supremacist organization. Eh."
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>> Burrell Ellis, who was removed from his position as DeKalb County CEO during a corruption scandal, [http://www.myajc.com/news/local-govt--politics/dekalb-ceo-burrell-ellis-may-soon-retake-power/2Fnuje0pj5J5v9nMnIT9DO/|could return to office today] after the Supreme Court of Georgia reversed his attempted extortion and perjury conviction.

>> People who think Atlanta Police officers used excessive force or acted improperly can now file anonymous complaints and actress Jasmine Guy is [http://www.myajc.com/news/local-govt--politics/different-world-actress-lends-star-power-anonymous-atlanta-campaign/5UmdXXH696tRKphtD7KqqJ/|helping to spread the word]. 

>> Coca-Cola has a new CEO. [http://saportareport.com/former-coke-ceo-isdell-endorses-james-quincey-next-ceo/|Meet James Quincey], who's taking over for Muhtar Kent.

>> Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp is accusing the U.S. Department of Homeland Security of attempting to hack into his department's computer systems. The feds [http://news.wabe.org/post/dhs-looks-attempted-hack-gas-election-system|say] the attempt came from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection division — which is not normal — and is "deeply concerned with this situation."

>> Rex Tillerson, Pres.-elect Donald Trump's likely pick to lead the State Department, is "a man who has worked his whole life running a parallel quasi-state, for the benefit of shareholders, fashioning relationships with foreign leaders that may or may not conform to the interests of the United States government," [http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/rex-tillerson-from-a-corporate-oil-sovereign-to-the-state-department/amp|says] Steve Coll, the journalist who wrote the definitive history of ExxonMobil.

>> Also: Trump's transition team is [https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2016/12/09/trump-transition-team-for-energy-department-seeks-names-of-employees-involved-in-climate-meetings/?postshare=8231481307104193&tid=ss_fb&utm_term=.7260f47b50e0|asking] for information on Department of Energy staffers who worked on climate change. One current department official called the move, one that has raised concern that the Trump transition team is trying to figure out how to target the people, including civil servants, who have helped implement policies under Obama," "intrusive."

>> The Ku Klux Klan says it is not a white supremacist organization. [http://www.cbsnews.com/news/kkk-insists-theyre-not-white-supremacists/?ftag=CNM-00-10aac3a|Eh]."
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>> Also: Trump's transition team is asking for information on Department of Energy staffers who worked on climate change. One current department official called the move, one that has raised concern that the Trump transition team is trying to figure out how to target the people, including civil servants, who have helped implement policies under Obama," "intrusive."

>> The Ku Klux Klan says it is not a white supremacist organization. Eh.             20846427         http://dev.creativeloafing.com/image/2016/12/03c128_1435766843_1413980038_1357592412_news_feature1_1_27.584eb5409d83f.png                  First Slice 12/12/16: DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis is back "
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Monday December 12, 2016 02:32 pm EST
Plus, Trump's transition team wants to know which energy department staffers worked on climate change | more...
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  string(107) "Activists, academics, and experts say what they want City Hall hopefuls to address during the 2017 campaign"
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  string(107) "Activists, academics, and experts say what they want City Hall hopefuls to address during the 2017 campaign"
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  string(25) "2016-12-08T18:50:00+00:00"
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  string(62) "Content:_:What should Atlanta mayoral candidates be discussing"
  ["tracker_field_contentWikiPage_text"]=>
  string(18813) "%{data-embed-type=%22image%22 data-embed-id=%2258471d3138ab463676038c9d%22 data-embed-element=%22span%22 data-embed-size=%22640w%22 contenteditable=%22false%22}%Atlanta voters from now until they cast ballots on Nov. 7, 2017, will hear mayoral candidates discuss their ideas for what the city needs to go from good to great and why they are the ones who can accomplish the task. These ideas have been tested and the pitches have been perfected. But what do the people who study, advocate for, and try to solve some of the city’s most pressing problems want to hear candidates discuss? We asked 17 of them what they want to hear on the campaign trail. Interviews have been edited for length and clarity.Xochitl Bervera, Racial Justice Action CenterBefore the election of Donald Trump I was primarily focused on the mayoral candidates’ stances on criminal justice reform — their support for reforming the city jail and municipal court, funding for the Atlanta Pre-Arrest Diversion Initiative, and transforming the Atlanta Police Department’s culture.  Now these things are important inside a larger context. Will Atlanta become a sanctuary city, an oasis of freedom, an island of resistance in a Trump America? Do the candidates understand that a Trump regime means policies that will negatively affect many of us? There will be a direct and serious impact on many of our communities. And Atlanta stands at a crossroads. The candidates must choose a side. Choose “respectability, don’t rock the boat, work for cooperation with the Republicans” and a good number of our fellow ATLiens will be thrown under the very dangerous Trump bus. Or choose clear and concrete opposition that stands with all of the people of Atlanta and become a blue island of freedom in a ever-more repressive state. Which side will the candidates choose? Are they willing to make a set of commitments designed to use the power of the city to protect and defend the people most targeted and vulnerable under Trump’s administration? This includes local commitments around immigration policy, criminal justice and public safety policy, education policy, and more. Sally Flocks, PEDSI’d like mayoral candidates to address how the city will address the backlog of broken sidewalks, which probably exceeds $200 million. The 2010 State of Atlanta’s Infrastructure report estimated the backlog at $152 million. Department of Public Works Commissioner Richard Mendoza has also stated publicly that the estimated annual deterioration of sidewalks is $15 million.Chipping away at that backlog faces hurdles. Current city policy calls for billing property owners to fix sidewalks in front of their home. Atlanta City Council members decided to reallocate sidewalk funding included in the $250 million infrastructure bond to projects in their districts. They drained the sidewalk funds completely and cut curb ramps to $5 million — something the city was already required to spend as part of the 2009 settlement agreement with the U.S. Justice Department. Elected officials don’t want Public Works to enforce the current ordinance billing property owners. So are the mayoral candidates willing to include at least $15 million a year in the City budget?I’d also like the candidates to address the issue of creating a city Department of Transportation. Many large cities, including New York City, Chicago, Boston, have DOTs. Officials at Public Works have not bought into the Planning Department’s vision for the city and continue to implement changes that favor congestion relief over ones that benefit multi-modal transportation.No value assignedRebecca Serna, Atlanta Bicycle CoalitionWe feel this election is key for our issues and are planning to do what we can to help our network of supporters get engaged and get to know the candidates. We have a goal of making safe streets and bikeways high-profile issues in the election, and we’re working on a platform we want candidates to consider adopting.We want the city to have a focus on overall road safety. We want the city to adopt a goal of zero traffic deaths. It should prioritize roadway safety over roadway speed, which should change how streets are designed, give people more options, and reduce crashes. That would in turn reduce unpredictable delays, and makes the city more livable for its residents. The city should also create a City Department of Transportation to better integrate project planning with delivery.We hope the next mayor will eliminate minimum-parking requirements, especially for projects on the planned bike network, to make those developments more affordable. Finally, we want the mayor to continue creating a safe, connected, and convenient network of bike lanes and trails — candidates should set mileage goals for the network, as this will require them to do some homework and show it’s a priority — and commit to maintaining it regularly.Vince Champion, regional director of the International Brotherhood of Police OfficersI would love to see a mayor looking at the police department as the necessary tool it is. For he or she to explain more to the public why we have to make arrests and what we do, and to see where the training is definitely better. Money is important, but not necessarily as much as other benefits. What is insurance like? What about their pension benefits? You look at APD and every other car has dents in it. Why is that? Why do officers have to fight for things like that? If we don’t have to worry about administration, then we can go out and be a cop.We’d like to have a mayor, especially as strong as one here, that would stand up in support for law enforcement and be as transparent to the community as he or she is with us about what we do.Jennette Gayer, Environment GeorgiaThe bottom line: protecting our air, water, and green spaces will be even more important at the local level under a Trump presidency. The city should be a leader not a follower on energy and climate issues. We also need someone not afraid to push Georgia Power--the city should be figuring out how to get 100% of its electricity from clean renewable sources and pushing the utility to help with that goal.  I'm hopeful but not optimistic that the Obama administration will do some good around neonics, the pesticides linked to the huge bee die-off. But the city could do it now. Ban neonics, use fewer pesticides on city parks and schools, and save the bees — and our food system! Finally, the passage of TSPLOST and the MARTA sales taxes means a lot will be happening to expand our transit in the coming years. We need smart transit-oriented development to accompany this new transit. We need a mayor that will not abandon principles like walkable, bikeable, mixed-use, and affordability when a developer has an idea. Chris Appleton, WonderRoot     I want to hear candidates talk about the intersection of arts and policing, arts and housing, arts and restorative justice. I’m looking for mayoral candidates who will talk about the power of the arts to heal. Candidates must discuss their solutions to ensure every Atlantan has the equitable access to arts and culture that they deserve. Art and artists have a history of being on the frontlines for change. In a time when change is needed for all Atlantans, our leadership must demonstrate their support through a dedication of increased resources — time, money, and people — for the City of Atlanta toward the arts.William Perry, executive director of Georgia Ethics Watchdogs, a good government groupHopefully none of the candidates will try to justify the illegal use of sirens and blue lights and we can have a discussion of real ethics and transparency issues such as: ending Atlanta’s pay-to-play culture; establishing guidelines, procedures, and qualifications for office budget expenses, staff bonuses, and proclamations; posting accessible public documents on the city’s website including budgets with real-time expenditure and revenue reporting; creating a Council Attorney that serves independently of the city — Mayor’s — law department; reducing the mayor’s budget for hiring private lawyers hired to protect the mayor’s image, a move that keeps public documents out of the hands of the public and stalls the prevention of illegal appointments and activities.No value assignedDan Immergluck, Georgia Tech professor and expert on housing affordabilityCandidates need to discuss housing affordability, specifically inclusionary zoning and a housing opportunity bond. The first must be mandatory and targeted primarily at households making less than 50 percent of the area median income — roughly $34,000 for a family of four. We also need a major housing trust fund, funded by a housing bond, that’s targeted to low-income households. It can also be used to preserve existing affordable stock, to provide funds for rehabilitation and purchase of existing properties accompanied by long-term affordability requirements.I’d like to hear how they plan to address vacant and abandoned properties more aggressively. The city needs to increase its activity taking control of distressed properties so that they do not continue to harm neighborhoods. This will also serve to open up these areas to housing opportunity. More funding should be devoted to demolition where it is necessary, and to rehab where it is feasible. Doing so would spread out housing demand and reduce land value pressures. It will also save the city millions per year in costs associated with vacant properties. The mayor can push the Fulton tax commissioner and the Atlanta-Fulton Land Bank Authority to partner on acquiring properties and, when possible, rehabbing them for affordable housing.The new mayor should push for property tax reform that is more fair. Low-income homeowners need tools that limit property tax burden, especially as their neighborhoods gentrify. Landlords who commit to long-term affordability should be taxed at lower rates than those who do not. Programs to help lower-income homeowners repair their homes need to be expanded.Finally, where state policy is an impediment to local policies, the next mayor must work more with mayors and leaders from other cities and suburbs around the state to build political capital for changes to state law. This is more feasible as we have seen a growth in suburban and small town poverty and housing affordability issues.Jack Hardin, co-chair of the Atlanta Regional Commission on HomelessnessAtlanta is reducing its homeless counts while other major cities are experiencing increases. The next mayor should continue to partner with the private sector investing in successful strategies and filling gaps to make homelessness rare and brief in Atlanta. At the same time, the City needs to lead major investments in affordable housing so we can avoid the fates of other great cities. Housing needs to be affordable for unskilled workers and connected by transportation to employment.Eric Kronberg, principle of Kronberg Wall and urbanism advocateAtlanta has a chance to lead, to be a light in urban redevelopment. The city has come amazingly far in the past 18 years I’ve lived here, but it also has very far to go. The Nov. 8 votes offer great promise in terms of funding local investment in place and mobility options, but also set a huge responsibility for cities to lead the way to a better, more inclusive place for all people of our nation. I firmly believe that the work Planning Commissioner Tim Keane and Ryan Gravel are leading in terms of helping Atlanta define a vision for our future as a city is critical for our success. I also strongly believe that the changes needed will be uncomfortable medicine for a lot of residents. This will obviously not be politically popular in the least. Finding a mayoral candidate that understands the importance of this work, and the absolute need to help people get past their current expectations, is critical for the success of Atlanta.Marshall Rancifer, founding director the Justice for All CoalitionThey should be discussing having total wraparound services for homeless folks. I want to see them instead of putting people in satellite locations, which is not going to work unless you provide transportation for them to access homeless service providers, is improving the Peachtree-Pine task force to be a one-stop shop, a full-service center to meet the clients who are there. I want to see if taking the quality of life arrests off the table and getting those ordinances done away with. It’s been sitting on the table since Atlanta City Councilman Kwanza Hall released it a few months ago. And there are more and more places being blocked off by the city to prevent homeless people from gathering. The city needs to be more welcoming to its poor and marginalized populations.Julian Bene, Invest Atlanta board memberI would like to see the mayoral candidates discuss whether they will continue to champion job attraction and retention efforts, which have brought to the city many new or expanding employers and thousands of good jobs in each of the past several years. Would they fully fund Invest Atlanta’s economic development program and collaborate closely with the state and the city’s other key partners? Would they restrict tax abatements for commercial developments to exceptional cases, such as those in challenged parts of the city? And how would they stop the Development Authority of Fulton County from giving out abatements in the city with no public benefit, such as affordability, required? Would they wind up any Tax Allocation Districts Editor’s note: TADs are funding tools aimed at incentivizing developers to build in so-called “blighted areas,” including Atlantic Station and Downtown. and direct their revenues back to the general funds of the city, Atlanta Public Schools and the county? If so, which TADs? In addition to their plans for boosting affordable housing, how do they see completing out the Beltline during their term?No value assignedMary Hooks, Southerners on New GroundThey need to be talking about what they intend to do to make this city a sanctuary city for black and brown people under a fascist, white-supremacist administration.Jeff Graham, Georgia Equality executive directorWhile health services fall under the purview of counties, the city has an important role to play in the fight against HIV/AIDS. The next mayor can play a pivotal role in helping us reach the goal of an AIDS-free generation. The mayor must have a good working relationship with both Fulton and DeKalb County Commissions to ensure a coordinated effort to implement the Strategy to End AIDS. The mayor should also use the bully pulpit of the office to engage civic, faith, education, and business leaders in this fight.On a policy level, the mayor needs to prioritize the housing crisis among people living with HIV by ensuring more affordable housing options, lobbying for increased funding, and addressing the current contracting issues that leave HIV housing providers with funding gaps while annual contracts are being processed. The mayor should also support efforts to develop a pre-arrest diversion program for those accused of sex work and work with the Atlanta Housing Authority to ensure that those with minor criminal convictions are able to secure housing and access to vital services.Jessyca Holland, C4 Atlanta executive directorOn my mind, and heavy on my heart, is the "Ghost Ship" fire in Oakland, California. We need to collectively learn from that tragedy. I would also like to see more local support for national initiatives that have the potential to offer workforce support to the "gig" economy, which includes artists. I'm specifically thinking of the CREATE Act. Artists are concerned with a wealth of issues that affect everyone. We would all benefit from better transportation, affordable housing, and food equity and access, to name a few. These are issues many artists understand intimately. Listen. Paul Gerdis, president of the Professional Fire Fighters of Atlanta, IAFF Local 134The Professional Fire Fighters of Atlanta, IAFF Local 134, will be watching the 2017 Mayoral race with a close eye. We are looking for a candidate that will continue the strong lines of communication that our current mayor, Kasim Reed, has established with the recognized Fire Labor Union in the city.The Fire Union needs a mayor that will take a serious look at increasing our compensation packages, lower benefits, and increasing our way of life. The firefighters of the City of Atlanta are dedicated public servants that commit to the protection and well-being of the citizens, visitors, and business in our city. Our Union will meet with all leading mayoral candidates.Michelle Marcus Rushing, chair of the Beltline Tax Allocation District Advisory Committee, a citizen oversight groupI think what is needed is a “For Atlanta, By Atlanta” platform. It feels like far too much political and fiscal capital has been spent on making Atlanta attractive to outsiders — event facilities, tourist districts, big roads so they can zoom in fast and zoom back out even faster, big cheap parking lots so they don’t have to feel like they’re even in a city. Many of these choices have degraded quality of life in the city; some have simply diverted funds from other causes, while others have directly led to deterioration of neighborhood and travel conditions at a local level (especially walking and bicycling).Those things are not why people move here and stay here. Those things usually suck up a lot of public expenditures while generating relatively little tax revenue in return. In the meantime, citizens are fighting for years to get playground equipment fixed, crosswalks installed, blighted houses controlled, schools improved, and all the other things that actually impact daily life.I want to hear a mayoral candidate say, “We aren’t going to do anything glamorous or attention-getting for the next four years unless it primarily benefits our residents. We’re just going to make a nice place to live and to work or run a business. And we’re going to make sure that everyone can live here and thrive from it.”
                                                                 

Atlanta often has a dream of being the best combined with a haunting inferiority complex that prevents real evidence-based decision-making and attention to detail. The recent interest in affordable housing and opportunity and ending homelessness needs to be elevated. That is, they need to champion and make evidence-based policies for decent local jobs, housing affordability at all income levels and all parts of the city, lots of transportation options, local businesses, and so forth."
  ["tracker_field_contentWikiPage_raw"]=>
  string(19276) "%{[ data-embed-type="image" data-embed-id="58471d3138ab463676038c9d" data-embed-element="span" data-embed-size="640w" contenteditable="false" ]}%Atlanta voters from now until they cast ballots on Nov. 7, 2017, will hear mayoral candidates discuss their ideas for what the city needs to go from good to great and why they are the ones who can accomplish the task. These ideas have been tested and the pitches have been perfected. But what do the people who study, advocate for, and try to solve some of the city’s most pressing problems want to hear candidates discuss? We asked 17 of them what they want to hear on the campaign trail. Interviews have been edited for length and clarity.__Xochitl Bervera, Racial Justice Action Center__Before the election of Donald Trump I was primarily focused on the mayoral candidates’ stances on criminal justice reform — their support for reforming the city jail and municipal court, funding for the Atlanta Pre-Arrest Diversion Initiative, and transforming the Atlanta Police Department’s culture.  Now these things are important inside a larger context. Will Atlanta become a sanctuary city, an oasis of freedom, an island of resistance in a Trump America? Do the candidates understand that a Trump regime means policies that will negatively affect many of us? There will be a direct and serious impact on many of our communities. And Atlanta stands at a crossroads. The candidates must choose a side. Choose “respectability, don’t rock the boat, work for cooperation with the Republicans” and a good number of our fellow ATLiens will be thrown under the very dangerous Trump bus. Or choose clear and concrete opposition that stands with all of the people of Atlanta and become a blue island of freedom in a ever-more repressive state. Which side will the candidates choose? Are they willing to make a set of commitments designed to use the power of the city to protect and defend the people most targeted and vulnerable under Trump’s administration? This includes local commitments around immigration policy, criminal justice and public safety policy, education policy, and more. __Sally Flocks, PEDS__I’d like mayoral candidates to address how the city will address the backlog of broken sidewalks, which probably exceeds $200 million. The 2010 State of Atlanta’s Infrastructure report estimated the backlog at $152 million. Department of Public Works Commissioner Richard Mendoza has also stated publicly that the estimated annual deterioration of sidewalks is $15 million.Chipping away at that backlog faces hurdles. Current city policy calls for billing property owners to fix sidewalks in front of their home. Atlanta City Council members decided to reallocate sidewalk funding included in the $250 million infrastructure bond to projects in their districts. They drained the sidewalk funds completely and cut curb ramps to $5 million — something the city was already required to spend as part of the 2009 settlement agreement with the U.S. Justice Department. Elected officials don’t want Public Works to enforce the current ordinance billing property owners. So are the mayoral candidates willing to include at least $15 million a year in the City budget?I’d also like the candidates to address the issue of creating a city Department of Transportation. Many large cities, including New York City, Chicago, Boston, have DOTs. Officials at Public Works have not bought into the Planning Department’s vision for the city and continue to implement changes that favor congestion relief over ones that benefit multi-modal transportation.%{[ data-embed-type="image" data-embed-id="58471d3139ab46fa7b6f2068" data-embed-element="span" data-embed-size="640w" contenteditable="false" ]}%__Rebecca Serna, Atlanta Bicycle Coalition__We feel this election is key for our issues and are planning to do what we can to help our network of supporters get engaged and get to know the candidates. We have a goal of making safe streets and bikeways high-profile issues in the election, and we’re working on a platform we want candidates to consider adopting.We want the city to have a focus on overall road safety. We want the city to adopt a goal of zero traffic deaths. It should prioritize roadway safety over roadway speed, which should change how streets are designed, give people more options, and reduce crashes. That would in turn reduce unpredictable delays, and makes the city more livable for its residents. The city should also create a City Department of Transportation to better integrate project planning with delivery.We hope the next mayor will eliminate minimum-parking requirements, especially for projects on the planned bike network, to make those developments more affordable. Finally, we want the mayor to continue creating a safe, connected, and convenient network of bike lanes and trails — candidates should set mileage goals for the network, as this will require them to do some homework and show it’s a priority — and commit to maintaining it regularly.__Vince Champion, regional director of the International Brotherhood of Police Officers__I would love to see a mayor looking at the police department as the necessary tool it is. For he or she to explain more to the public why we have to make arrests and what we do, and to see where the training is definitely better. Money is important, but not necessarily as much as other benefits. What is insurance like? What about their pension benefits? You look at APD and every other car has dents in it. Why is that? Why do officers have to fight for things like that? If we don’t have to worry about administration, then we can go out and be a cop.We’d like to have a mayor, especially as strong as one here, that would stand up in support for law enforcement and be as transparent to the community as he or she is with us about what we do.__Jennette Gayer, Environment Georgia__The bottom line: protecting our air, water, and green spaces will be even more important at the local level under a Trump presidency. The city should be a leader not a follower on energy and climate issues. We also need someone not afraid to push Georgia Power--the city should be figuring out how to get 100% of its electricity from clean renewable sources and pushing the utility to help with that goal.  I'm hopeful but not optimistic that the Obama administration will do some good around neonics, the pesticides linked to the huge bee die-off. But the city could do it now. Ban neonics, use fewer pesticides on city parks and schools, and save the bees — and our food system! Finally, the passage of TSPLOST and the MARTA sales taxes means a lot will be happening to expand our transit in the coming years. We need smart transit-oriented development to accompany this new transit. We need a mayor that will not abandon principles like walkable, bikeable, mixed-use, and affordability when a developer has an idea. __Chris Appleton, WonderRoot__     I want to hear candidates talk about the intersection of arts and policing, arts and housing, arts and restorative justice. I’m looking for mayoral candidates who will talk about the power of the arts to heal. Candidates must discuss their solutions to ensure every Atlantan has the equitable access to arts and culture that they deserve. Art and artists have a history of being on the frontlines for change. In a time when change is needed for all Atlantans, our leadership must demonstrate their support through a dedication of increased resources — time, money, and people — for the City of Atlanta toward the arts.__William Perry, executive director of Georgia Ethics Watchdogs, a good government group__Hopefully none of the candidates will try to justify the illegal use of sirens and blue lights and we can have a discussion of real ethics and transparency issues such as: ending Atlanta’s pay-to-play culture; establishing guidelines, procedures, and qualifications for office budget expenses, staff bonuses, and proclamations; posting accessible public documents on the city’s website including budgets with real-time expenditure and revenue reporting; creating a Council Attorney that serves independently of the city — Mayor’s — law department; reducing the mayor’s budget for hiring private lawyers hired to protect the mayor’s image, a move that keeps public documents out of the hands of the public and stalls the prevention of illegal appointments and activities.%{[ data-embed-type="image" data-embed-id="58471d3157ab46b102038bf3" data-embed-element="span" data-embed-size="320w" data-embed-align="right" contenteditable="false" ]}%__Dan Immergluck, Georgia Tech professor and expert on housing affordability__Candidates need to discuss housing affordability, specifically inclusionary zoning and a housing opportunity bond. The first must be mandatory and targeted primarily at households making less than 50 percent of the area median income — roughly $34,000 for a family of four. We also need a major housing trust fund, funded by a housing bond, that’s targeted to low-income households. It can also be used to preserve existing affordable stock, to provide funds for rehabilitation and purchase of existing properties accompanied by long-term affordability requirements.I’d like to hear how they plan to address vacant and abandoned properties more aggressively. The city needs to increase its activity taking control of distressed properties so that they do not continue to harm neighborhoods. This will also serve to open up these areas to housing opportunity. More funding should be devoted to demolition where it is necessary, and to rehab where it is feasible. Doing so would spread out housing demand and reduce land value pressures. It will also save the city millions per year in costs associated with vacant properties. The mayor can push the Fulton tax commissioner and the Atlanta-Fulton Land Bank Authority to partner on acquiring properties and, when possible, rehabbing them for affordable housing.The new mayor should push for property tax reform that is more fair. Low-income homeowners need tools that limit property tax burden, especially as their neighborhoods gentrify. Landlords who commit to long-term affordability should be taxed at lower rates than those who do not. Programs to help lower-income homeowners repair their homes need to be expanded.Finally, where state policy is an impediment to local policies, the next mayor must work more with mayors and leaders from other cities and suburbs around the state to build political capital for changes to state law. This is more feasible as we have seen a growth in suburban and small town poverty and housing affordability issues.__Jack Hardin, co-chair of the Atlanta Regional Commission on Homelessness__Atlanta is reducing its homeless counts while other major cities are experiencing increases. The next mayor should continue to partner with the private sector investing in successful strategies and filling gaps to make homelessness rare and brief in Atlanta. At the same time, the City needs to lead major investments in affordable housing so we can avoid the fates of other great cities. Housing needs to be affordable for unskilled workers and connected by transportation to employment.__Eric Kronberg, principle of Kronberg Wall and urbanism advocate__Atlanta has a chance to lead, to be a light in urban redevelopment. The city has come amazingly far in the past 18 years I’ve lived here, but it also has very far to go. The Nov. 8 votes offer great promise in terms of funding local investment in place and mobility options, but also set a huge responsibility for cities to lead the way to a better, more inclusive place for all people of our nation. I firmly believe that the work Planning Commissioner Tim Keane and Ryan Gravel are leading in terms of helping Atlanta define a vision for our future as a city is critical for our success. I also strongly believe that the changes needed will be uncomfortable medicine for a lot of residents. This will obviously not be politically popular in the least. Finding a mayoral candidate that understands the importance of this work, and the absolute need to help people get past their current expectations, is critical for the success of Atlanta.__Marshall Rancifer, founding director the Justice for All Coalition__They should be discussing having total wraparound services for homeless folks. I want to see them instead of putting people in satellite locations, which is not going to work unless you provide transportation for them to access homeless service providers, is improving the Peachtree-Pine task force to be a one-stop shop, a full-service center to meet the clients who are there. I want to see if taking the quality of life arrests off the table and getting those ordinances done away with. It’s been sitting on the table since Atlanta City Councilman Kwanza Hall released it a few months ago. And there are more and more places being blocked off by the city to prevent homeless people from gathering. The city needs to be more welcoming to its poor and marginalized populations.__Julian Bene, Invest Atlanta board member__I would like to see the mayoral candidates discuss whether they will continue to champion job attraction and retention efforts, which have brought to the city many new or expanding employers and thousands of good jobs in each of the past several years. Would they fully fund Invest Atlanta’s economic development program and collaborate closely with the state and the city’s other key partners? Would they restrict tax abatements for commercial developments to exceptional cases, such as those in challenged parts of the city? And how would they stop the Development Authority of Fulton County from giving out abatements in the city with no public benefit, such as affordability, required? Would they wind up any Tax Allocation Districts [Editor’s note: TADs are funding tools aimed at incentivizing developers to build in so-called “blighted areas,” including Atlantic Station and Downtown.] and direct their revenues back to the general funds of the city, Atlanta Public Schools and the county? If so, which TADs? In addition to their plans for boosting affordable housing, how do they see completing out the Beltline during their term?%{[ data-embed-type="image" data-embed-id="58471d316cdeea412f210576" data-embed-element="span" data-embed-size="640w" contenteditable="false" ]}%__Mary Hooks, Southerners on New Ground__They need to be talking about what they intend to do to make this city a sanctuary city for black and brown people under a fascist, white-supremacist administration.__Jeff Graham, Georgia Equality executive director__While health services fall under the purview of counties, the city has an important role to play in the fight against HIV/AIDS. The next mayor can play a pivotal role in helping us reach the goal of an AIDS-free generation. The mayor must have a good working relationship with both Fulton and DeKalb County Commissions to ensure a coordinated effort to implement the Strategy to End AIDS. The mayor should also use the bully pulpit of the office to engage civic, faith, education, and business leaders in this fight.On a policy level, the mayor needs to prioritize the housing crisis among people living with HIV by ensuring more affordable housing options, lobbying for increased funding, and addressing the current contracting issues that leave HIV housing providers with funding gaps while annual contracts are being processed. The mayor should also support efforts to develop a pre-arrest diversion program for those accused of sex work and work with the Atlanta Housing Authority to ensure that those with minor criminal convictions are able to secure housing and access to vital services.__Jessyca Holland, C4 Atlanta executive director__On my mind, and heavy on my heart, is the "Ghost Ship" fire in Oakland, California. We need to collectively learn from that tragedy. I would also like to see more local support for national initiatives that have the potential to offer workforce support to the "gig" economy, which includes artists. I'm specifically thinking of the CREATE Act. Artists are concerned with a wealth of issues that affect everyone. We would all benefit from better transportation, affordable housing, and food equity and access, to name a few. These are issues many artists understand intimately. Listen. __Paul Gerdis, president of the Professional Fire Fighters of Atlanta, IAFF Local 134__The Professional Fire Fighters of Atlanta, IAFF Local 134, will be watching the 2017 Mayoral race with a close eye. We are looking for a candidate that will continue the strong lines of communication that our current mayor, Kasim Reed, has established with the recognized Fire Labor Union in the city.The Fire Union needs a mayor that will take a serious look at increasing our compensation packages, lower benefits, and increasing our way of life. The firefighters of the City of Atlanta are dedicated public servants that commit to the protection and well-being of the citizens, visitors, and business in our city. Our Union will meet with all leading mayoral candidates.__Michelle Marcus Rushing, chair of the Beltline Tax Allocation District Advisory Committee, a citizen oversight group__I think what is needed is a “For Atlanta, By Atlanta” platform. It feels like far too much political and fiscal capital has been spent on making Atlanta attractive to outsiders — event facilities, tourist districts, big roads so they can zoom in fast and zoom back out even faster, big cheap parking lots so they don’t have to feel like they’re even in a city. Many of these choices have degraded quality of life in the city; some have simply diverted funds from other causes, while others have directly led to deterioration of neighborhood and travel conditions at a local level (especially walking and bicycling).Those things are not why people move here and stay here. Those things usually suck up a lot of public expenditures while generating relatively little tax revenue in return. In the meantime, citizens are fighting for years to get playground equipment fixed, crosswalks installed, blighted houses controlled, schools improved, and all the other things that actually impact daily life.I want to hear a mayoral candidate say, “We aren’t going to do anything glamorous or attention-getting for the next four years unless it primarily benefits our residents. We’re just going to make a nice place to live and to work or run a business. And we’re going to make sure that everyone can live here and thrive from it.”
                                                                 

Atlanta often has a dream of being the best combined with a haunting inferiority complex that prevents real evidence-based decision-making and attention to detail. The recent interest in affordable housing and opportunity and ending homelessness needs to be elevated. That is, they need to champion and make evidence-based policies for decent local jobs, housing affordability at all income levels and all parts of the city, lots of transportation options, local businesses, and so forth."
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  string(19250) "    Activists, academics, and experts say what they want City Hall hopefuls to address during the 2017 campaign   2016-12-08T18:50:00+00:00 What should Atlanta mayoral candidates be discussing?   Thomas Wheatley Thomas Wheatley 2016-12-08T18:50:00+00:00  %{data-embed-type=%22image%22 data-embed-id=%2258471d3138ab463676038c9d%22 data-embed-element=%22span%22 data-embed-size=%22640w%22 contenteditable=%22false%22}%Atlanta voters from now until they cast ballots on Nov. 7, 2017, will hear mayoral candidates discuss their ideas for what the city needs to go from good to great and why they are the ones who can accomplish the task. These ideas have been tested and the pitches have been perfected. But what do the people who study, advocate for, and try to solve some of the city’s most pressing problems want to hear candidates discuss? We asked 17 of them what they want to hear on the campaign trail. Interviews have been edited for length and clarity.Xochitl Bervera, Racial Justice Action CenterBefore the election of Donald Trump I was primarily focused on the mayoral candidates’ stances on criminal justice reform — their support for reforming the city jail and municipal court, funding for the Atlanta Pre-Arrest Diversion Initiative, and transforming the Atlanta Police Department’s culture.  Now these things are important inside a larger context. Will Atlanta become a sanctuary city, an oasis of freedom, an island of resistance in a Trump America? Do the candidates understand that a Trump regime means policies that will negatively affect many of us? There will be a direct and serious impact on many of our communities. And Atlanta stands at a crossroads. The candidates must choose a side. Choose “respectability, don’t rock the boat, work for cooperation with the Republicans” and a good number of our fellow ATLiens will be thrown under the very dangerous Trump bus. Or choose clear and concrete opposition that stands with all of the people of Atlanta and become a blue island of freedom in a ever-more repressive state. Which side will the candidates choose? Are they willing to make a set of commitments designed to use the power of the city to protect and defend the people most targeted and vulnerable under Trump’s administration? This includes local commitments around immigration policy, criminal justice and public safety policy, education policy, and more. Sally Flocks, PEDSI’d like mayoral candidates to address how the city will address the backlog of broken sidewalks, which probably exceeds $200 million. The 2010 State of Atlanta’s Infrastructure report estimated the backlog at $152 million. Department of Public Works Commissioner Richard Mendoza has also stated publicly that the estimated annual deterioration of sidewalks is $15 million.Chipping away at that backlog faces hurdles. Current city policy calls for billing property owners to fix sidewalks in front of their home. Atlanta City Council members decided to reallocate sidewalk funding included in the $250 million infrastructure bond to projects in their districts. They drained the sidewalk funds completely and cut curb ramps to $5 million — something the city was already required to spend as part of the 2009 settlement agreement with the U.S. Justice Department. Elected officials don’t want Public Works to enforce the current ordinance billing property owners. So are the mayoral candidates willing to include at least $15 million a year in the City budget?I’d also like the candidates to address the issue of creating a city Department of Transportation. Many large cities, including New York City, Chicago, Boston, have DOTs. Officials at Public Works have not bought into the Planning Department’s vision for the city and continue to implement changes that favor congestion relief over ones that benefit multi-modal transportation.No value assignedRebecca Serna, Atlanta Bicycle CoalitionWe feel this election is key for our issues and are planning to do what we can to help our network of supporters get engaged and get to know the candidates. We have a goal of making safe streets and bikeways high-profile issues in the election, and we’re working on a platform we want candidates to consider adopting.We want the city to have a focus on overall road safety. We want the city to adopt a goal of zero traffic deaths. It should prioritize roadway safety over roadway speed, which should change how streets are designed, give people more options, and reduce crashes. That would in turn reduce unpredictable delays, and makes the city more livable for its residents. The city should also create a City Department of Transportation to better integrate project planning with delivery.We hope the next mayor will eliminate minimum-parking requirements, especially for projects on the planned bike network, to make those developments more affordable. Finally, we want the mayor to continue creating a safe, connected, and convenient network of bike lanes and trails — candidates should set mileage goals for the network, as this will require them to do some homework and show it’s a priority — and commit to maintaining it regularly.Vince Champion, regional director of the International Brotherhood of Police OfficersI would love to see a mayor looking at the police department as the necessary tool it is. For he or she to explain more to the public why we have to make arrests and what we do, and to see where the training is definitely better. Money is important, but not necessarily as much as other benefits. What is insurance like? What about their pension benefits? You look at APD and every other car has dents in it. Why is that? Why do officers have to fight for things like that? If we don’t have to worry about administration, then we can go out and be a cop.We’d like to have a mayor, especially as strong as one here, that would stand up in support for law enforcement and be as transparent to the community as he or she is with us about what we do.Jennette Gayer, Environment GeorgiaThe bottom line: protecting our air, water, and green spaces will be even more important at the local level under a Trump presidency. The city should be a leader not a follower on energy and climate issues. We also need someone not afraid to push Georgia Power--the city should be figuring out how to get 100% of its electricity from clean renewable sources and pushing the utility to help with that goal.  I'm hopeful but not optimistic that the Obama administration will do some good around neonics, the pesticides linked to the huge bee die-off. But the city could do it now. Ban neonics, use fewer pesticides on city parks and schools, and save the bees — and our food system! Finally, the passage of TSPLOST and the MARTA sales taxes means a lot will be happening to expand our transit in the coming years. We need smart transit-oriented development to accompany this new transit. We need a mayor that will not abandon principles like walkable, bikeable, mixed-use, and affordability when a developer has an idea. Chris Appleton, WonderRoot     I want to hear candidates talk about the intersection of arts and policing, arts and housing, arts and restorative justice. I’m looking for mayoral candidates who will talk about the power of the arts to heal. Candidates must discuss their solutions to ensure every Atlantan has the equitable access to arts and culture that they deserve. Art and artists have a history of being on the frontlines for change. In a time when change is needed for all Atlantans, our leadership must demonstrate their support through a dedication of increased resources — time, money, and people — for the City of Atlanta toward the arts.William Perry, executive director of Georgia Ethics Watchdogs, a good government groupHopefully none of the candidates will try to justify the illegal use of sirens and blue lights and we can have a discussion of real ethics and transparency issues such as: ending Atlanta’s pay-to-play culture; establishing guidelines, procedures, and qualifications for office budget expenses, staff bonuses, and proclamations; posting accessible public documents on the city’s website including budgets with real-time expenditure and revenue reporting; creating a Council Attorney that serves independently of the city — Mayor’s — law department; reducing the mayor’s budget for hiring private lawyers hired to protect the mayor’s image, a move that keeps public documents out of the hands of the public and stalls the prevention of illegal appointments and activities.No value assignedDan Immergluck, Georgia Tech professor and expert on housing affordabilityCandidates need to discuss housing affordability, specifically inclusionary zoning and a housing opportunity bond. The first must be mandatory and targeted primarily at households making less than 50 percent of the area median income — roughly $34,000 for a family of four. We also need a major housing trust fund, funded by a housing bond, that’s targeted to low-income households. It can also be used to preserve existing affordable stock, to provide funds for rehabilitation and purchase of existing properties accompanied by long-term affordability requirements.I’d like to hear how they plan to address vacant and abandoned properties more aggressively. The city needs to increase its activity taking control of distressed properties so that they do not continue to harm neighborhoods. This will also serve to open up these areas to housing opportunity. More funding should be devoted to demolition where it is necessary, and to rehab where it is feasible. Doing so would spread out housing demand and reduce land value pressures. It will also save the city millions per year in costs associated with vacant properties. The mayor can push the Fulton tax commissioner and the Atlanta-Fulton Land Bank Authority to partner on acquiring properties and, when possible, rehabbing them for affordable housing.The new mayor should push for property tax reform that is more fair. Low-income homeowners need tools that limit property tax burden, especially as their neighborhoods gentrify. Landlords who commit to long-term affordability should be taxed at lower rates than those who do not. Programs to help lower-income homeowners repair their homes need to be expanded.Finally, where state policy is an impediment to local policies, the next mayor must work more with mayors and leaders from other cities and suburbs around the state to build political capital for changes to state law. This is more feasible as we have seen a growth in suburban and small town poverty and housing affordability issues.Jack Hardin, co-chair of the Atlanta Regional Commission on HomelessnessAtlanta is reducing its homeless counts while other major cities are experiencing increases. The next mayor should continue to partner with the private sector investing in successful strategies and filling gaps to make homelessness rare and brief in Atlanta. At the same time, the City needs to lead major investments in affordable housing so we can avoid the fates of other great cities. Housing needs to be affordable for unskilled workers and connected by transportation to employment.Eric Kronberg, principle of Kronberg Wall and urbanism advocateAtlanta has a chance to lead, to be a light in urban redevelopment. The city has come amazingly far in the past 18 years I’ve lived here, but it also has very far to go. The Nov. 8 votes offer great promise in terms of funding local investment in place and mobility options, but also set a huge responsibility for cities to lead the way to a better, more inclusive place for all people of our nation. I firmly believe that the work Planning Commissioner Tim Keane and Ryan Gravel are leading in terms of helping Atlanta define a vision for our future as a city is critical for our success. I also strongly believe that the changes needed will be uncomfortable medicine for a lot of residents. This will obviously not be politically popular in the least. Finding a mayoral candidate that understands the importance of this work, and the absolute need to help people get past their current expectations, is critical for the success of Atlanta.Marshall Rancifer, founding director the Justice for All CoalitionThey should be discussing having total wraparound services for homeless folks. I want to see them instead of putting people in satellite locations, which is not going to work unless you provide transportation for them to access homeless service providers, is improving the Peachtree-Pine task force to be a one-stop shop, a full-service center to meet the clients who are there. I want to see if taking the quality of life arrests off the table and getting those ordinances done away with. It’s been sitting on the table since Atlanta City Councilman Kwanza Hall released it a few months ago. And there are more and more places being blocked off by the city to prevent homeless people from gathering. The city needs to be more welcoming to its poor and marginalized populations.Julian Bene, Invest Atlanta board memberI would like to see the mayoral candidates discuss whether they will continue to champion job attraction and retention efforts, which have brought to the city many new or expanding employers and thousands of good jobs in each of the past several years. Would they fully fund Invest Atlanta’s economic development program and collaborate closely with the state and the city’s other key partners? Would they restrict tax abatements for commercial developments to exceptional cases, such as those in challenged parts of the city? And how would they stop the Development Authority of Fulton County from giving out abatements in the city with no public benefit, such as affordability, required? Would they wind up any Tax Allocation Districts Editor’s note: TADs are funding tools aimed at incentivizing developers to build in so-called “blighted areas,” including Atlantic Station and Downtown. and direct their revenues back to the general funds of the city, Atlanta Public Schools and the county? If so, which TADs? In addition to their plans for boosting affordable housing, how do they see completing out the Beltline during their term?No value assignedMary Hooks, Southerners on New GroundThey need to be talking about what they intend to do to make this city a sanctuary city for black and brown people under a fascist, white-supremacist administration.Jeff Graham, Georgia Equality executive directorWhile health services fall under the purview of counties, the city has an important role to play in the fight against HIV/AIDS. The next mayor can play a pivotal role in helping us reach the goal of an AIDS-free generation. The mayor must have a good working relationship with both Fulton and DeKalb County Commissions to ensure a coordinated effort to implement the Strategy to End AIDS. The mayor should also use the bully pulpit of the office to engage civic, faith, education, and business leaders in this fight.On a policy level, the mayor needs to prioritize the housing crisis among people living with HIV by ensuring more affordable housing options, lobbying for increased funding, and addressing the current contracting issues that leave HIV housing providers with funding gaps while annual contracts are being processed. The mayor should also support efforts to develop a pre-arrest diversion program for those accused of sex work and work with the Atlanta Housing Authority to ensure that those with minor criminal convictions are able to secure housing and access to vital services.Jessyca Holland, C4 Atlanta executive directorOn my mind, and heavy on my heart, is the "Ghost Ship" fire in Oakland, California. We need to collectively learn from that tragedy. I would also like to see more local support for national initiatives that have the potential to offer workforce support to the "gig" economy, which includes artists. I'm specifically thinking of the CREATE Act. Artists are concerned with a wealth of issues that affect everyone. We would all benefit from better transportation, affordable housing, and food equity and access, to name a few. These are issues many artists understand intimately. Listen. Paul Gerdis, president of the Professional Fire Fighters of Atlanta, IAFF Local 134The Professional Fire Fighters of Atlanta, IAFF Local 134, will be watching the 2017 Mayoral race with a close eye. We are looking for a candidate that will continue the strong lines of communication that our current mayor, Kasim Reed, has established with the recognized Fire Labor Union in the city.The Fire Union needs a mayor that will take a serious look at increasing our compensation packages, lower benefits, and increasing our way of life. The firefighters of the City of Atlanta are dedicated public servants that commit to the protection and well-being of the citizens, visitors, and business in our city. Our Union will meet with all leading mayoral candidates.Michelle Marcus Rushing, chair of the Beltline Tax Allocation District Advisory Committee, a citizen oversight groupI think what is needed is a “For Atlanta, By Atlanta” platform. It feels like far too much political and fiscal capital has been spent on making Atlanta attractive to outsiders — event facilities, tourist districts, big roads so they can zoom in fast and zoom back out even faster, big cheap parking lots so they don’t have to feel like they’re even in a city. Many of these choices have degraded quality of life in the city; some have simply diverted funds from other causes, while others have directly led to deterioration of neighborhood and travel conditions at a local level (especially walking and bicycling).Those things are not why people move here and stay here. Those things usually suck up a lot of public expenditures while generating relatively little tax revenue in return. In the meantime, citizens are fighting for years to get playground equipment fixed, crosswalks installed, blighted houses controlled, schools improved, and all the other things that actually impact daily life.I want to hear a mayoral candidate say, “We aren’t going to do anything glamorous or attention-getting for the next four years unless it primarily benefits our residents. We’re just going to make a nice place to live and to work or run a business. And we’re going to make sure that everyone can live here and thrive from it.”
                                                                 

Atlanta often has a dream of being the best combined with a haunting inferiority complex that prevents real evidence-based decision-making and attention to detail. The recent interest in affordable housing and opportunity and ending homelessness needs to be elevated. That is, they need to champion and make evidence-based policies for decent local jobs, housing affordability at all income levels and all parts of the city, lots of transportation options, local businesses, and so forth.             20845974         http://dev.creativeloafing.com/image/2016/12/cover_mayor1_1_34.58471d20c2fc1.png                  What should Atlanta mayoral candidates be discussing? "
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Article

Thursday December 8, 2016 01:50 pm EST
Activists, academics, and experts say what they want City Hall hopefuls to address during the 2017 campaign | more...
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