The Business of Atlanta
I read John Sugg's opinion piece ("Help wanted: A world-class mayor," Metropolis, Aug. 20) with a mix of interest and wonderment. The central thesis of the piece is that Atlanta's business community should select the city's mayor. I beg to differ. Shouldn't that choice be made by all of the city's voting residents and stakeholders, including neighborhoods, faith leaders, civil rights activists, labor unions, etc., as well as the business community?
Following the Sugg model, we should do away with the city charter and requirements for an election in November 2009, convene the Chamber of Commerce board of directors, and have them take a vote in their board room without the messy involvement of regular citizens. That would be easy, but undemocratic. That would be too much like 1955.
By the way, I did not know I was "circling" the mayor's race. Like, Sam Zamarripa, now "I'm thinking I should think about running."
– State Sen. Vincent Fort, D-Atlanta
Scott Freeman's article about the Prado development ("Trouble brewing," Food & Drink, Aug. 20) was an unbalanced report that simply repeated one-sided and distorted information about the issues between Five Seasons and Sembler. Unfortunately, Sembler did not have a real opportunity to state its side. Very close to his deadline, Freeman left a short voicemail message on one office phone rather than making a serious effort to reach us in a timely basis through the various cell phone numbers he had.
It is true that there are issues between Five Seasons and Sembler, mostly revolving around claims of loss of business due to the major redevelopment of the Prado. Unfortunately, perhaps in an effort to bolster a weak legal case with public misperception, some representatives of Five Seasons have continually misrepresented these issues to the public.
Here are the unvarnished facts. By the time Sembler acquired this property, the once classy and successful Prado had deteriorated significantly and the area around it had serious crime problems. Absent Sembler's investment, the shopping center's condition today would probably be a more serious problem for Five Seasons than the temporary difficulties caused by construction. From the start, all the existing tenants were apprised of the redevelopment plans. Five Seasons entered into an amendment to its lease with Sembler that specifically contemplated the redevelopment work.
Clearly, all parties understood the potentially disruptive impact of the redevelopment work, which Sembler has tried to minimize in various ways, including the provision of free valet parking, the posting of signs and banners reminding the public that existing businesses remain open during construction, and the launching of a website (www.ShopPrado.com) to promote weekly restaurants specials.
Sembler values the presence of Five Seasons at the Prado. Five Seasons is a quality restaurant with great reviews and a strong and loyal customer base. We want them to stay at the new Prado and be more successful than ever. The claim that we are trying to drive them away is absolutely false.
Also false is the claim that Sembler has gone back on an agreement reached with Five Seasons. An exchange of drafts, by any definition, is not an agreement. Further, in response to Five Seasons' claims of losses caused by construction disruption, Sembler simply asked for documentation of such losses and has communicated to them our willingness to reach a settlement based on documented losses. Five Seasons so far has declined to provide any such documentation.
So here is where Sembler stands. We want Five Seasons to stay and succeed at the Prado. We want to settle our differences and will proceed to do so as soon as Five Seasons produces records that substantiate their claim of certain losses. The new Prado is nearing completion with ample parking, landscaping and other amenities that will enhance the shopping and dining experience for all our customers, including those of Five Seasons. Come see for yourselves.
– Angelo Fuster, Sembler Co.
Scott Freeman replies: I called Fuster at the number provided by Sembler's main office in Atlanta. I left a message that detailed the story I was working on and asked for Sembler's comment. Fuster never returned the call. I don't have his cell phone number, although he does have mine.
Biting the hand that feeds
Great article on the demise of newspapers ("The death of the newspaper factory," Metropolis, Aug. 6). As much as I like physically holding the news in my hands rather than seeing it on a screen, you make wonderful points, and I have to admit I actually don't read the newspaper any more ...
– Jennifer Horton, Chamblee
I miss Stefan's Vintage Clothing!
"I think an important consideration that is missing from this article is that the culture…
" canned because there are plenty of college grads working for minimum wage who would…
@ Mark from Atlanta "I should have "qualified" my statement by writing that Carter was…
Tater Salad - Rappin Rodney is in charge of all things black at CL -…