QM, do you think CL has an obligation to reach Lucy for comment?
I don't mind this too much: The key to embracing diversity is to be aware of things, not ignorant of them.
But, that said, I would encourage more of a focus on religious/cultural celebrations year-round, rather than just winter celebrations. Jews already complain that Hanukkah is over-emphasized and mischaracterized simply because of its timing near Christmas. And the Muslim calendar, being shorter than the Gregorian Calendar by several days, means that their holidays float through the various seasons rather than being locked into one.
(Also, this emphasis on "winter" makes it difficult even to explore Christmas fully, as it's a summer holiday -- with summer-like traditions that children might do well to learn about -- in the tropics and the southern hemisphere.)
You seem to be in favor of MARTA winning the contract to operate the Atlanta Streetcar. But maybe MARTA involvement in the streetcar project thus far has been more of a curse, than a blessing. From the link above: "MARTA so far has been heavily involved in the project’s engineering and design"
We know the project is already at least 6 months behind, and millions of dollars over budget. We also know MARTA has a difficult time ending up green on their financial reports.
Yes, in most cases transportation companies benefit from economies of size and scale. But look at the airline Jetblue, which has remained profitable over the years despite existing as a fraction of the size of other airlines, while still offering premium amenities.
Perhaps, and I reiterate, PERHAPS... MARTA's bid for the streetcar contract was the most competitive, and the City of Atlanta leveraged MARTA's competitive bid to negotiate the private contractor's bids in the city's favor.
Regarding your question about poor passenger convenience and operating efficiency as a result of an unconsolidated and balkanized public transit system, with three major players (MARTA heavy rail/bus, Atlanta Streetcar, and Beltline) going in different directions- consider this perspective:
when shopping for a car and negotiating a price with the dealership, you always get a better deal when you buy two or three cars at once. Not that I possess the wallet for such a transaction, being a 24 year old recent college graduate with an exorbitant amount of student loan debt. However I've heard stories about the wealthy getting ridiculous discounts on new vehicles at the dealership, simply because of their purchasing power and willingness to buy 2-3 cars at once.
"The city has purchased four streetcars, but current plans call for operating only two of them during service hours"
Might I suggest that the City of Atlanta is executing a long term strategy here. The city bought four streetcars at once in order to achieve a lower per-unit price. The additional two streetcars will eventually be used by the future Atlanta Beltline light rail transit project and can be utilized as spares before the Beltline needs them. The City of Atlanta will "pilot" or "test drive" a private contractor to operate the Atlanta streetcar for the next couple years. When the Beltline light rail transit project is ready, the city will have the flexibility to exercise two options:
1. Dump the private contractor and hand over streetcar and Beltline operations to MARTA.
2. Expand private contractor's role, allowing them to operate both streetcar and Beltline transit (Only if they do a good job from 2014-2016+)
If scenario #1 plays out, the city has 1 operator and there is no balkanization or fragmentation issues that could result in operating inefficiencies or passenger inconvenience.
If scenario #2 plays out, public transit will only be fragmented into two divisions- Marta and private contractor, with little to moderate risk for operating inefficiency and passenger inconvenience, but certainly not as risky as the triple operator scenario you portrayed in your original comment.
"This looks like another short-sighted and inexplicable decision by the City of Atlanta"
Maybe our dear elected officials and bureaucrats up at 44 Trinity Avenue are more business savvy than we give them credit for. However I do recognize and appreciate the importance of a "question man" like yourself, because without a watchdog holding business leaders and politicians accountable, we end up with a city like Atlanta.
what the hell is going on with lucy? is she fucked, or what?
WHAT ABOUT LUCY
@InAtl "But in the end, asking for a tax break to build more parking turns my stomach. "
Completely agree, but there are no other alternatives there. In the article J to the G provides they mention that "a bus stop outside its headquarters is being considered, along with a county-funded traffic study and traffic light or speed bumps". That is literally the best solution Cobb can provide.
Move to the City, where there are plenty of parking garages and MARTA. Problem solved.
i think this is a good idea, as long as it's not just christmas. america is a nation of many religions and cultures— students should have to learn about other cultures rather than just pretend they don't exist.
it would also be nice if they could really change up the way history is taught. currently kids learn that western europe and white americans are the center of culture and history and everyone else simply makes 'contributions' to history; there needs to be a balanced approach that tells the truth and not some pre-defined narrative that makes america look good.
I will personally start a kickstarter to have an Atheist or Pagan monument created to be displayed alongside the Hebrew Death God laws.
Parks are run by cities not metropolitan areas.
"Atlanta isn't among the nation's 25 largest cities. 40th in population. 71st in land area."? According to the US Census Bureau 2010 census, Atlanta is the 12th largest metropolitan area in the US by population (5,268,860 people). It's at https://www.census.gov/popest/data/metro/totals/2011/. Seriously? You really thought there were 25 larger cities in the US than Atlanta? Were you going by population inside the city limits? That is a flawed way to compare cities, because some small cities have huge city limits and vice versa.
My family's traditional winter celebration involves decapitating a goat and placing the severed head on a tall pole. We then dance around it in a meth-fueled, orgiastic state while smearing the warm blood over our nude bodies. I look forward to sharing this religious-themed practice to all of Georgia's school children. Thanks to Senator Mike Dugan, now I can!
Atlanta isn't among the nation's 25 largest cities. 40th in population. 71st in land area.
Glad to see these on movie screens; it's a great way to finally see decent opera in the city.
And yet, I couldn't help thinking, This guy is a fucking crook!
Pretty funny stumbling in to this article a couple of years later. Does anyone get elected mayor of any city in this country without the express intent to be a crook and make money? Can anyone get elected anymore without the cash and support of the crooks they will do deals with later?
I mean, come on, the Braves moving to Cobb County, how many millions in bribes did Kasim pocket to roll over on that deal and put his stamp of approval on it so quickly? He is selling that deal to the public as hard as anyone, that can not come cheap.
And what is sad, is that few people really care anymore. The average person not only does not care, they ask, "crook seems to pay well, where do I apply?"
@Peter in Decatur thanks for the Atlanta Magazine link. So Cobb Chairman Lee's does marketing for a turf company that is a finalist for supplying the new Braves stadium. Nice.
"Regardless, Lee said last week, his duties for TenCate are in marketing, not sales. "My job is to bring awareness" of TenCate's products, he said." - See more at: http://www.atlantamagazine.com/agenda/2013…
Well Chairman Lee certainly has done his job of giving his client TenCate awarness and position for that contract. Even more disturbing is that it may very well be that the Braves build the publicly funded stadium without going through any sort of formal bidding process.
Just another reason why tax breaks for individual businesses should not be done.
Re Weather Channel jobs 75,000 average, what exactly does that mean? Are they folding in some extremely high on air talent and executive contracts with a majority of low paying local T.V. news rates? I knew someone who worked at the weather channel and it seems like most people working there are making well under 50k.
And are they really adding 200 to 300 jobs at that site?
And doesn't Cobb already have some of the lowest tax rates around?
But in the end, asking for a tax break to build more parking turns my stomach.
As to the comment about paying security for MARTA like we pay for the airlines's security, don't forget our property taxes also pay for police protection of the roads. Yep, it's certainly a competitive disadvantage for MARTA that they have to pay for their own security.
Given that the Marta will be cut out of the streetcar equation and the city's newly minted status as an FTA grant designee, I wonder if this might serve as a transitional step to form a new operating company or restructure the Marta?
If nothing else, at least Atlanta isn't Cincinnati.
One area that would help their operations budget, and transit agencies around the country, would be not having to pay for their own security. It seems to work pretty well for the airlines...
Regarding TWC and the potential Pandora's box of fun if they get their way, maybe bending over backwards to accommodate business at all costs, eg education, lack of public input, etc, isn't exactly the best MO. While this is mostly at a county level right now, Nathan Deal, who campaigned on making Georgia #1 for business, probably won't want to touch this subject with a 10 ft pole, given the public outcry. Jason carter, are you paying attention? This is called low-hanging fruit, especially among emotionally-driven citizens.
Creative Loafing Atlanta
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