Posts filed under ‘Business Development’

On Our Form of Government

Jeff Rader, DeKalb County District 2 Commissioner

With the indictment of Burrell Ellis, new calls have come for a shift to
a Commission/Manager form of government in DeKalb County.  As with the CEO
form, there is no standard structure in Georgia enabling legislation, so the
“devil is in the details” on exactly what this means.  To make a
judgement, it is important to look at all the mechanics of the “Organizational
Act” or Charter, identifying deficiencies and options for improvement.
Neither form is invulnerable to manipulation by elected or appointed officials,
so the real test is what’s in a Charter that informs the public on government
operations and makes it accountable to voters and taxpayers.

Governmental operations are complex, and they can affect your freedom, property
and welfare.  Therefore you should be able to know in advance how you will
be treated by government, and be treated the same as others.
Unfortunately, many governmental processes are not formalized, and are subject
to the whims of individuals.  The most egregious example of this is the
alleged manipulation of purchasing procedures for political gain, but it can
happen in the award of permits, employment, and the enforcement of laws and
regulations.  DeKalb County needs an Administrative Procedures mandate
that will require County departments to formalize and document how they conduct
business and implement laws, and to adhere to those procedures.  The
Charter restriction against adopting a purchasing code should be removed.

Elected and appointed officials are fond of touting their accomplishments, and
as in Lake Woebegon, everyone seems to see their accomplishments as above
average.  What’s lacking is an objective third party with the skills and
resources to systematically evaluate DeKalb operations against best practices and
makes a public report of findings and recommendations for
improvement.   Surprisingly, the current Charter provides that option
in the form of an Internal Auditor, but the Board of Commissioners has never
filled the position or funded operations.  DeKalb County needs an
independent and mandatory Internal Auditor with a guaranteed budget.

Likewise, the ethical conduct of elected office is the foundation of
governmental legitimacy.  DeKalb County has a state-mandated Board of
Ethics, but it has been neglected and underfunded by the County
government.  DeKalb’s Ethics Board should be strengthened by shifting the
power of appointment away from the officials who the Ethics Board oversees, and
by giving the Ethics Board a guaranteed budget equal to at least twenty-five
cents for each of DeKalb’s 700,000 persons. A quarter per capita is a small
price to pay for an effective ethics watchdog.

County governments are too small and too important to operate on a partisan
basis.  Partisan alignment disenfranchises large minorities in
jurisdictions where elections are determined in the primary.  The election
of all County offices should be non-partisan.

Commission district boundaries, like those of the General Assembly and Congress
are the object of increasingly effective gerrymandering.  As in these
other bodies, the result is entrenched incumbency, political polarization and a
general disaffection with government as representative of the common
interest.  DeKalb should have an objective redistricting protocol that creates
compact districts with common communities of interest.

As mentioned at the start, the details of an improved Charter are important and
complex.   In many other states (and increasingly in new DeKalb
cities) charter review is accomplished by a “Charter Commission”, an
independent group of leading citizens with expert staff, but in Georgia, such
changes are often accomplished by local legislative delegations in the course
of the 40-day legislative session.  The DeKalb delegation should empanel and
fund (using County tax dollars) a Charter Commission to work for a year to
draft a revised DeKalb County Organizational Act for legislative approval in
2015.

All these suggestions, and not a word about CEO vs. Commission/Manager!
That’s because the improvement of government is not so much about how
politicians divide power between themselves, but is instead about how
accountable those politicians are to the public that elects them.  If
voters don’t insist that accountability be strengthened, the CEO/Commission
Manager debate won’t matter much at all.

December 21, 2013 at 5:02 pm Leave a comment

Spread the Word – Taste & Tour of Cheshire Bridge 2013 – Oct. 9

TNT2013You may or may not think of Cheshire Bridge Road as a foodie destination or the ideal location for taste and tour event, but coming in 1 week will be the Taste & Tour of Cheshire Bridge 2013.  Truth is, the corridor is not only known for its strip clubs and sex shops, but it has a number of good restaurants and retailers that have had rave reviews over the years.  Spread the News and support Cheshire Bridge businesses in a positive way.

Participating Merchants & Hours:

Ghion Cultural Hall & California Mart – 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM Nino’s Italian Restaurant – 5:30 PM – 11:00 PM Nakato’s Japanese Restaurant – 5:30 PM – 10:00 PM New Baby Products – 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM Antiques & Beyond – 11:00 AM – 7:00 PM Taqueria del Sol – 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM & 5:30 PM – 9:00 PM The Colonnade – 5:00 PM – 9:00 PM Habersham Gardens – 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM Alfredo’s Italian Restaurant – 5:00 PM – 11:00 PM **Ursula’s Cooking School – 3:00 PM – 8:00 PM** Johnny’s New York Style Pizza – 11:00 AM – 11:00 PM Return to Eden – 8:00 AM – 8:00 PM **These merchants will be giving out free samples..

No need to buy tickets. Simply visit your favorite participating merchants throughout the event day and spend money! Buy merchandise and/or order from their regular menus. Have lunch, then browse the stores, have cocktails at one, appetizers  at another, main course at another, and dessert at yet another. These  merchants will donate a percentage of their daily sales (5%-20%) to the  event. Be sure to thank our merchants for their participation!

Proceeds from the event will be shared between Lindbergh LaVista Corridor Coalition (LLCC) and the Marcus Autism Center.

From Midtown Patch: http://midtown.patch.com/groups/business-news/p/spread-the-word–taste–tour-of-cheshire-bridge-2013–oct-9

October 6, 2013 at 8:06 pm Leave a comment

What the Steamship and the Landline Can Tell Us About the Decline of the Private Car

Emily Badger for The Atlantic Cities

Steamship

This prediction sounds bold primarily for the fact that most of us don’t think about technology – or the history of technology – in century-long increments: “We’re probably closer to the end of the automobility era than we are to its beginning,” says Maurie Cohen, an associate professor in the Department of Chemistry and Environmental Science at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. “If we’re 100 years into the automobile era, it seems pretty inconceivable that the car as we know it is going to be around for another 100 years.”

Cohen figures that we’re unlikely to maintain the deteriorating Interstate Highway System for the next century, or to perpetuate for generations to come the public policies and subsidies that have supported the car up until now. Sitting in the present, automobiles are so embedded in society that it’s hard to envision any future without them. But no technology – no matter how essential it seems in its own era – is ever permanent. Consider, just to borrow some examples from transportation history, the sailboat, the steamship, the canal system, the carriage, and the streetcar.

All of those technologies rose, became ubiquitous, and were eventually replaced. And that process followed a pattern that can tell us much about the future of the automobile – that is, if we’re willing to think about it not in the language of today’s “war on cars,” but in the broad arc of time.

“There’s not going to be a cataclysmic moment,” Cohen says of what’s coming for the car. “Like any other technology that outlives its usefulness, it just sort of disappears into the background and we slowly forget about it.” The landline telephone is undergoing that process right now. Your grandmother probably still has one. But did you even bother to call the phone company the last time you moved into a new home? “It’s not as if we all wake up one morning and decide we’re going to get rid of our landlines,” Cohen says, “but they just kind of decay away.

“I think cars will kind of disappear in much the same way.”

They may still exist at the periphery (there are still canal boats out there). But, for the most part, in all likelihood we’ll move on. History is full of these “socio-technical transitions,” as academics like Cohen call them. The history of the steamship has particularly influenced this line of thinking. Society spent a good hundred years transitioning from the sailing ship to the steamship. “It wasn’t as if steamships instantly demonstrated their superiority,” Cohen says. There were problems with the technology. Kinks had to be worked out. Sometimes they blew up.

We often think of the car as having arrived with a flourish from Henry Ford around the turn of the last century. But the history of the automobile actually dates back more than a hundred years earlier to steam-powered vehicles and the first internal combustion engine. Early prototypes of the car used to blow up, too. People were afraid of them. You had to acquire a special skill set just to operate them. And then there were all the networks we needed to develop – roads, gas stations, repair shops – to make cars feasible.

“We tend to focus on the car itself as the central element,” Cohen says, “and we fail to recognize that it’s not just the car.” Like any ubiquitous technology, the car is embedded in a whole social system. In this case, that system includes fuel supply lines, mechanisms for educating and licensing new drivers, companies to insure them, laws to govern how cars are used on common roads and police officers to enforce them. In the academic language of socio-technical transitions theory, all of that stuff is the regime around the car.

“People who are part of that regime get up in the morning, put their shoes on and reproduce that system on a daily basis,” Cohen says. “So that system also has a profound ability to beat back any challenges to it.”

But we can already start to see cracks in the regime. New automobile registrations have plateaued in the U.S, even as the population has continued to grow. Rising gas prices have made some housing patterns predicated on the car unsustainable. Twentysomethings are now less likely to own cars and say they’re less enamored of them. The 1973 classic car flick American Graffiti, Cohen points out, would never be made today.

Within any social system, there also exist what Cohen calls “insurgent niches” challenging the regime. Niches are fragile, they’re underfunded, they’re stigmatized. The car was once an insurgent niche in the age of streetcars. Now in the age of the automobile, we might think of those niches as car-sharing companies or bike advocacy groups.

Some niches eventually grow to replace the prevailing regime, as cars themselves once did. But that process is equally dependent on so much more than technological invention. Look at how the cell phone has evolved to replace the landline. Our need for cell phones didn’t arise in a vacuum. Work practices changed. Commuting times got longer, creating the need for communication inside cars. Batteries got smaller. Cell phone towers proliferated.

These are the unnoticed events that happen in the slow course of technological transition. We didn’t even recognize that the car was a fundamentally new thing until around World War I, Cohen says. Until then, many people viewed the car as just a carriage without a horse.

“The replacement of the car is probably out there,” Cohen adds. “We just don’t fully recognize it yet.”

In fact, he predicts, it will probably come from China, which would make for an ironic comeuppance by history. The car was largely developed in America to fit the American landscape, with our wide-open spaces and brand-new communities. And then the car was awkwardly grafted onto other places, like dense, old European cities and developing countries. If the car’s replacement comes out of China, it will be designed to fit the particular needs and conditions of China, and then it will spread from there. The result probably won’t work as well in the U.S., Cohen says, in the same way that the car never worked as well in Florence as it did in Detroit.

We’re not terribly well positioned right now to think about what this future will look like. Part of the challenge is that, culturally, we’re much more accustomed to celebrating new gadgets than thinking about how old technology decays.

“And people don’t have the perspective that extends beyond their own lives,” Cohen says. “They were born into a society and culture where cars were everywhere, and they can’t envision – with good reason – living their lives without a car.”

He worries that in the U.S., we’ve lost our “cultural capacity to envision alternative futures,” to envision the Futurama of the next century. More often, when we do picture the future, it looks either like a reproduced version of the present or like some apocalyptic landscape. But this exercise requires a lot more imagination: What will be the next carriage without a horse? The next car without an engine?

March 21, 2013 at 8:24 am Leave a comment

LLCC Named One of Constant Contact’s 2012 All Stars

LLCC recognized for achieving exemplary marketing results

Lindbergh LaVista Corridor Coalition Inc. has received the 2012 All Star Award from Constant Contact®, Inc., the trusted marketing advisor to more than half a million small organizations worldwide. Each year, Constant Contact bestows the All Star Award to a select group of businesses and nonprofits who are successfully leveraging online marketing tools to engage their customer base, and drive success for their organization. LLCC’s results ranked among the top 10% of Constant Contact’s international customer base.

We are happy to be recognized by Constant Contact for achieving strong marketing results and connecting with our community. Constant Contact’s tools have helped us in the following specific ways to better manage constituent relationships and engagement.

Constant Contact customers using either the company’s Email Marketing or EventSpot tools are eligible for this award. Constant Contact looked at the following criteria to select this year’s All Stars:

  • Level of engagement with email campaigns and events
  • Open, bounce, and click-through rates
  • Event registration rates
  • Use of social sharing features
  • Use of mailing list sign-up tools
  • Use of reporting tools
“We’re always delighted when small businesses and nonprofits are successful,” said Gail Goodman, CEO of Constant Contact. “We’re honored to recognize Lindbergh LaVista Corridor Coalition Inc. as an All Star, and to be able to shine the spotlight on its achievements in 2012.”

March 12, 2013 at 3:08 pm Leave a comment

Emory to invest $312M in Clifton Road hospital expansion

 

Staff Writer – Atlanta Business Chronicle

Emory Hospital Expansion

Emory Healthcare will invest $312 million in expanding its flagship hospital on Clifton Road.

The health system previously announced plans to build a new 9-story clinical tower, to accommodate an increase in patient volumes.

While Emory declined to disclose the number of jobs that might be created, based on industry estimates, a 200-bed hospital would employ about 1,000.

The tower, which will be build across the hospital, will have 210 inpatient beds — a combination of new and existing beds that will relocate from Emory University Hospital.

The tower will include operating rooms, imaging services, a clinical laboratory.

Construction on the tower will begin in July 2013 with the building of an underground parking deck. The tower is expected to be completed in 2017

February 7, 2013 at 3:46 pm Leave a comment

Affordable Lindbergh’s Last Stand

A controversial rezoning proposal in Atlanta’s Lindbergh  community, to be considered for the second time by the City Council of  Atlanta on Monday, October 01, 2012, will in part determine the fate of  some two hundred low-income families living in affordable multi-family  apartments like the San Lucia Apartments near Adina Drive, Lindbergh  Drive, Morosgo Drive, and Piedmont Road; as well as the ability of  working families to have some opportunity to afford to live in the  Buckhead area.

Developer  Jeff Fuqua wants to build high-end apartments at market rate rents; a  big box, 3.7 acre Wal-Mart superstore with a giant, 4.2 acre surface  parking lot; and a park.  This, despite the fact that the existing  shopping center there already has a Target, which already includes a  grocery store inside.

Read more >>>

September 29, 2012 at 7:30 pm Leave a comment

One Stop Shop Taking Shape on Cheshire Bridge Road

Dennis Tomlinson plans to open what he envisions as a general store of sorts at the corner of Cheshire Bridge and LaVista Roads in the former Ace Hardware. The as yet unnamed new store will be a little bit of everything and has been in the works since January. The space, roughly 7000 square feet, will be part barter, part furniture re-finishing and is nearly 100% repurposed or reused materials, aside from three newly installed windows in the front of the space.

Tomlinson is friends with Paul Brown at Gallery 63 in Sandy Springs as well as Rick Dale of Las Vegas-based Rick’s Restorations. Brown’s Gallery 63 is featured in Auction Kings on the Discovery Channel while Rick Dale and his restoration business are featured on the hit History Channel show American Restoration. Tomlinson tells me that he has been contacted by the History Channel about the possibility of a show and that this new store will give him the space to possibly do a show in the future.

Personally I’m a fan of stores like this, and am eagerly anticipating the opening. I like the fact that Tomlinson is anti-pawn shop as he sees them as a predatory business and says it’s like their “kicking someone while they’re already down.” Tomlinson’s shop will take in just about anything from anyone so long as there is value and he sees a market for it. Got a “this,” and want a “that,”? Bring it in and he’ll make a deal.

Tomlinson’s recent businesses have been related to the restoration and resale of motorcycles at his shop in Chamblee though he also has experience with eBay as well as furniture restoration, and also recalls having built some of the first Taco Bell and KFC restaurants in the south. Basically, Tomlinson is a jack of all trades and by his own admission, is a collector of everything.

The store is basically fully stocked already, according to Tomlinson. He’s been collecting for years and says among other things, vintage gas pumps, coke machines and motorcycles will be for sale or trade.

On a recent trip to Asheville, North Carolina, I came across a store similar to what Tomlinson is opening called Treasure Hunters. The store, located in Biltmore Square Mall, was a smorgasbord of stuff, with signs posted stating “we buy and sell anything of value.” Tomlinson’s store will be similar, but he plans to have it be a trading post of sorts, with things of more value than the cups and silverware I saw being hawked in Asheville.

It’s likely the store will be named something along the lines of “One Stop Shop,” and if successful, Tomlinson hopes to expand into the adjacent former Happy Herman’s space, another 7,000 square feet. This space would be dedicated to higher end merchandise, he says, whereas the Ace space will be more general merchandise. The current space will receive a vintage looking mural on the LaVista Road side and the Cheshire Bridge entrance will come to resemble a fire station.

Store one has been a labor of love since the lease was signed in January, and has included many 12 or 14 hour workdays. As of now, the store should open by early November. Tomlinson anticipates opening as many as twenty additional stores in the coming years, in smaller towns outside of Atlanta.

from Tomorrow’s News Today – Atlanta

September 19, 2012 at 12:46 pm 1 comment

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