Atlanta, GA 30339?
By Eric Stradford and Stephanie A. Walker Stradford
AMWS, December 16, 2014, Atlanta --- The Atlanta Braves baseball team wants to build its new stadium in Cobb County, GA. A private commitment to a public-private partnership of about $372,000,000 would have partially funded the $672 M project. But public outcry over transparency in government may call for a re-evaluation of the deal.
Community leaders here and throughout the region want Cobb County elected commissioners to show them their money. And question their right to grant land they may not legally own. In any case, the cost of the $672 M project may have just doubled. And the lesson for political leaders here and elsewhere is that business as usual will be a practice of the past.
The address, 1832 tells a story about economic security in America. On December 3, 1832, Cobb County was created by the Georgia General Assembly from the huge Cherokee "county" territory — land northwest of the Chattahoochee River which the state confiscated from the Cherokee Nation and redistributed to settlers via lottery, following the passage of the federal Indian Removal Act. According to Goggle-able sources, the Atlanta Braves may need to check with descendants of true brave inhabitants of “Turtle Island.”
Southern Christian Leadership, an established intervention for inclusive economic outcomes is being “ministered” through the SCLC local chapter. H. Ben Williams, the Cobb County chapter president follows SCLC protocols for citizen engagement by assessing local concerns with historically unmet needs. In the enduring spirit of SCLC Founder, The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Williams has “been to the mountain top” for face-2-face consultation on where America has been and where we go from here.
SCLC’s National President the Reverend Dr. C.T. Vivian is one of three SCLC members to have earned the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Vivian, along with Congressman John Lewis and the Reverend Joseph P. Lowry, are banking on their national recognition as evidence of their struggle against socioeconomic inequality. Dr. Vivian wants wealthy investors and others who have historically decided for less fortunate others to be accountable. “Who are they taking with them?” asked Vivian. “Our concern is that whatever happens is fair, honest, and it works for the benefit of both communities.”
Williams’ local demonstration of Southern Christian Leadership establishes “Information to Operation” as a forward thrust for his local chapter to model win-win community service. Acknowledging a need for inclusion and transparency, Williams is reinvesting SCLC values to achieve transparency in government. “Our history of activism is today demonstrated through evidence-based action on behalf of all,” he said. “As a measurable outcome, all boats must rise.”
The Cobb Citizens for Governmental Transparency (CGT), a group of organizations representing a diverse cross section of Cobb residents dropped in on the Cobb County Board of Commissioners seeking answers. The range and diversity of questions being presented to elected commissioners are as diverse as the group presenting the questions. One pending request to Cobb County Commissioners and Atlanta Braves planners was not mentioned in the citizens’ letter, nor could be found in the County Commissioner’s office. AMWS asked, “What is the physical address of the construction site?”
A full copy of the coalition’s letter and SCLC’s programmatic thrust is available at www.SCLCCobb.org