ARC regrouping after one-sided SPLOST setback
by Jon Gillooly
October 13, 2012 02:02 AM | 3068 views | 13 13 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
ATLANTA — In the wake of the TSPLOST’s overwhelming defeat, Atlanta Regional Commission Chairman Tad Leithead called on metro leaders to unite with a new vision that would propel the region to a place of prosperity over the next 50 years.

Leithead made his remarks during the ARC’s 2012 State of the Region Breakfast held at the Georgia World Congress Center on Friday.

“I will tell you — and no one in this room will be surprised — that since July 31 many of you in this room and virtually everyone I have talked to, they have walked up to me and said, ‘What do we do now?’ They have said, ‘Does it make sense for us to continue to work together as a region?’ They have said, ‘Are we doomed in this region to mediocrity? Did we miss our last big chance? We tried something huge and it failed. Are we doomed to mediocrity?’ And they have asked, ‘Is there any chance? Do we still have a shot at excellence, the excellence that we have come to expect in the Atlanta region?’”

Leithead, who said he was there “to talk to 1,000 of my closest friends,” said he mulled and stressed over those questions.

Lacing his address with quotes from Abraham Lincoln, Leithead proposed a vision of what he’d like to see the region look like 50 years from now. The region would have about 10 million people, have clean and plentiful water and not have a traffic problem, with residents having access to a variety of transportation options.

“I’d like to think that we had some of the best health care in the nation and that all of our citizens would have access to that health care,” he said.

In his vision, all kindergarten to 12th-grade students would have access to quality public schools while seniors would have services that allowed them to preserve their quality of life.

“So let me go back to the questions,” Leithead said. “What do we do now? I’m going to go out on a limb. I suggest that what we do now is for the 1,000 of us that are in this room, and the people that we represent, and the people that we can influence to work together to agree on a collective vision for our region.”

Leithead asked the audience whether it made sense to continue to work together as a region, answering the question by saying working together was mandatory.

“We cannot solve the problems that we are facing today individually as people, individually as cities, individually as counties, or individually at the Atlanta Regional Commission unless all of us commit to work together as a region,” Leithead said. “It’s mandatory that we continue to work together as a region. Are we doomed to mediocrity? Hell no. Mediocrity is not acceptable, not in Atlanta, not in Atlanta, Georgia, not in this region.”

Leithead was followed by Bruce Katz, a vice president at the Washington, D.C.-based Brookings Institution, who continued with Leithead’s subject about the importance of regionalism.

Federal and state governments are broken, whether it’s dealing with infrastructure, education, advanced research and development or innovation, Katz said.

“We have a federal government that is not only broke, it is broken,” Katz said. “It is a legacy government. It is an anachronistic government, it is a sprawling Byzantine enterprise.”

The time has come for metro Atlanta and other major metropolitan areas in the U.S. to begin reinventing the system, he said.

“That could involve the consolidation of trade agencies into one consolidated agency that wouldn’t only move boxes around in Washington, D.C., but actually relink fundamentally to where trade happens and to where our sectors of production and innovation and logistics actually reside here in our metropolitan areas,” Katz said. “The bottom-line in the next year whoever is elected … the United States federal government is going to scale back in major ways, and this metropolis along with your sister metropolitan areas around the United States need to understand that that is coming and they need to begin to adjust.”

The recession was a wake-up call, Katz said.

“It basically revealed the failure of a growth model that exalted consumption over production, speculation over investment and waste over sustainability, and like all great revolutions it’s been catalyzed by a revelation — cities and metropolitan areas particularly in this country, are essentially on their own,” Katz said. “Mired in partisan division, the federal government appears incapable of taking the actions we need to restructure an economy and maintain those policies over time, so to paraphrase Pogo, ‘we have met the solution and it is us.’ There are no excuses. There is no deus ex machina. The cavalry is not coming. American federalism arms you with the powers, the talent, the permission and in many places the resources to shape your future.”

As one of the world’s great logistic hubs, with the busiest airport in the world moving 92 million passengers and 663,000 metric tons of cargo in 2011, metro Atlanta has its economic engines, Katz said.

Yet the region’s real promise won’t be realized until it moves from a place of transporting goods to other countries to a place that is a center for advanced production and services, he said.

“You need potentially to evolve from port to production, from tourism to technology, from airport to aerospace, and there’s a whole set of steps around trade zones, commercialization of innovation, training of workers that can help,” he said. “The bottom line for this region, if you want to prosper in this century, understand what you trade, who you trade with and then build, develop, implement actualize and export strategy. It is absolutely fundamental to prosperity. We have looked inward in this country for too long for our growth. We now need to look outward.”

Among those in attendance was Michael Paris of east Cobb, CEO of the Council for Quality Growth.

“What I come away with today is understanding how important it is that we work together as a region, and that includes the reaches including Cobb all the way across the entire 10 counties, because if we don’t we’re not going to get where we need to be, whether it’s jobs or education or transportation or water and infrastructure,” Paris said. “Tad’s message was important in helping us remember how important it is to work together.”
Comments-icon Post a Comment
top cat
October 17, 2012
I'm looking for another opportunity to kick their behinds!

Bring it on!
David Welden
October 13, 2012
A word to the wise:

Messrs. Leithead, Katz and Paris need to accept the difference between "Regional" planning and "Regional" governance as was attempted with the TSPLOST.

Yes, we all need to work together to develop and

execute a regional economic development plan and a regional transportation improvement plan that will support it. But, if they continue to chase the regional governance rabbit, they will only see a repeat of their defeated TSPLOST.
Kennesaw Resident
October 13, 2012
Regional planning is nothing but an attempt to redistribute wealth from the suburbs to the urban areas. I am not buying into this and I hope others will not!
October 13, 2012
Does the ARC want us to head to "Directive 10-289" from Atlas Shrugged?

Full Text

“ In the name of the general welfare, to protect the people's security, to achieve full equality and total stability, it is decreed for the duration of the national emergency that:

Point One. All workers, wage earners and employees of any kind whatsoever shall henceforth be attached to their jobs and shall not leave nor be dismissed nor change employment, under penalty of a term in jail. The penalty shall be determined by the Unification Board, such Board to be appointed by the Bureau of Economic Planning and National Resources. All persons reaching the age of twenty-one shall report to the Unification Board, which shall assign them to where, in its opinion, their services will best serve the interests of the nation.

Point Two. All industrial, commercial, manufacturing and business establishments of any nature whatsoever shall henceforth remain in operation, and the owners of such establishments shall not quit nor leave nor retire, nor close, sell or transfer their business, under penalty of the nationalization of their establishment and of any and all of their property.

Point Three. All patents and copyrights, pertaining to any devices, inventions, formulas, processes and works of any nature whatsoever, shall be turned over to the nation as a patriotic emergency gift by means of Gift Certificates to be signed voluntarily by the owners of all such patents and copyrights. The Unification Board shall then license the use of such patents and copyrights to all applicants, equally and without discrimination, for the purpose of eliminating monopolistic practices, discarding obsolete products and making the best available to the whole nation. No trademarks, brand names or copyrighted titles shall be used. Every formerly patented product shall be known by a new name and sold by all manufacturers under the same name, such name to be selected by the Unification Board. All private trademarks and brand names are hereby abolished.

Point Four. No new devices, inventions, products, or goods of any nature whatsoever, not now on the market, shall be produced, invented, manufactured or sold after the date of this directive. The Office of Patents and Copyrights is hereby suspended.

Point Five. Every establishment, concern, corporation or person engaged in production of any nature whatsoever shall henceforth produce the same amount of goods per year as it, they or he produced during the Basic Year, no more and no less. The year to be known as the Basic or Yardstick Year is to be the year ending on the date of this directive. Over or under production shall be fined, such fines to be determined by the Unification Board.

Point Six. Every person of any age, sex, class or income, shall henceforth spend the same amount of money on the purchase of goods per year as he or she spent during the Basic Year, no more and no less. Over or under purchasing shall be fined, such fines to be determined by the Unification Board.

Point Seven. All wages, prices, salaries, dividends, profits, interest rates and forms of income of any nature whatsoever, shall be frozen at their present figures, as of the date of this directive.

Point Eight. All cases arising from and rules not specifically provided for in this directive, shall be settled and determined by the Unification Board, whose decisions will be final.[1]
Samuel Adams
October 13, 2012
On the topic of Tad Leithead and our poor SPLOST losers: keep on showing us your liberal, regionaistic bent, and we will keep on showing you how much we suburbanites disagree with Obama's plan to redistribute wealth from the successful suburbs to the failing urban centers. And we'll remember who you are, Prillaman, Leithead, Connell and all you other rinos with your own agendas.

To Leithead: I realize we readers are just peons to you, but it sounds like you'd like to run for president, with your vision and all your influence, so I'd ask, "Why not?" If you want this much influence over people's lives, why NOT run? Perhaps because you feel you can control things without running?

I for one am sick of you and other bigwhigs controlling the people's elected officials.

October 15, 2012
@Samuel Adams

Way too many skeletons in his closet for Leithead to run for public office.

He is a pretty smart guy in some ways, but extreme arrogance, bad judgement and a weak moral compass make him a poor candidate for any significant public office.

The press would rip him to shreds.

That is precisely why he is choosing to try to wield his influence from influential non-elected positions.

Samuel Adams
October 13, 2012
This article was alarming on many levels. First, though I have a background working with chambers and regional bodies, we're seeing an ominous new kind of a power grab. We're used to seeing "social experimentation" at high levels in our government, but the economic experimentation disguised as the answer to the Obamaconomy seems mighty manipulative...

Firstly, Katz, an elite Yale guy, launched his career as a government bureaucrat with HUD and others. He co-led Obama's housing and urban transition team, and likely was behind Obama's creation of the new Urban directorate of whatever...then he stands in city after city and talks to private sector leaders about how government has failed. Which is it Katz? Seems manipulative to me. In Buffalo in March, Katz said "Government has an enourmous role in job creation and economic growth" and "sets the platform for private sector investment..."

Considering his position at the liberal Brookings Foundation (biggest donors: Ford Foundation, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, China, Qatar and Bank of America) I question everything about this carpetbagging urban cheerleader.
ARC Joke
October 13, 2012
ARC is a complete waste of money and time. They only care about liberal interests and do not assist conservative counties in any capacity. Time for them to be neutered by the General Assembly.
October 13, 2012
--RE: “I’d like to think that we had some of the best health care in the nation and that all of our citizens would have access to that health care,” he said. --

Leithead is mouthing the Agenda 21 blather of the lefties in the UN. He makes it sound like we currently don't have some of the best health care in the nation and that there are droves of people who currently do not have access to it (just wait fr Obamacare, folks). He should be apologizing for making such misleading, stupid comments in public. Anyone who talks this crap is either too dumb to be trusted with any authority greater than taking out the trash...or they are deliberately engaged in the propaganda campaign that is/has been underway to shove Agenda 21 down our throats.

But, this is exactly the kind of talk we should expect from a non-elected head of an agency that has the power to collect taxes from the people of a locale without any responsibility to answer to those taxpaying people. This guy is a left leaning disaster and needs to be removed (along with the entire CID scheme that Georgia has allowed to be put in place0. (That arrogant Shameeka Rivers witch who looks down her nose at anyone who questions the CID also needs to go).

Leithead is no visionary or "leader". He is where he is only by virtue of political connections. He is a self-centric, left leaning crony-"capitalist" looking out for number one and his buddies. He is one of the last persons to be looking to for "answers"...he is part of the problem.
October 13, 2012
@ anonymous

Exactly right about Leithead.

Worst Chairman in the history of ARC. As with Obama just look at his failed record.

The Metro Region has gone backward since he has been Chairman.

A liberal in Republican clothing who only cares about one person.

Three guesses as to who that might be.
Just Wait
October 13, 2012
Setback? The vote was a resounding NO! Not maybe, not almost, not even close. In clear language, you lost. Good bye!
JR in Mableton
October 13, 2012
Do you have a solution?
October 14, 2012
My solution is to ask Leithead why it took almost a lawsuit to get him to pay his homeowner's association dues. Does he think he's above all that? Run Tad, run. See what happens.

By the way, you are a public person now, so get used to the scrutiny.
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