Friday, January 1, 2010

My own version of a decade retrospective

Cousins CEO Larry Gellerstedt had some interesting things to say when he spoke earlier in December at an Atlanta Commercial Board of Realtors event.  The article is in the latest ABC, which has gone to a digital edition so I can't link to it, but some excerpts:
When we look at job loss [as a factor in the commercial real estate downtown] don't delude yourself that it's purely recession-induced," ...

..."if the only thing we have is a bunch of empty space that you can get cheap, and our unemployment rate is higher than the national average, which it is... folks, that is a road to nowhere."

"We have to have a governor that embraces Atlanta and tells the legislature to get off this 'two Georgia' stuff.  It's old."

All pretty accurate, I'd say.  I think a lot of folks in the metro region still have this image of Atlanta from the 90's, and the truth is that we aren't growing employment like we were then.    We've only slightly outpaced the nation recently, and if you look at right, we have no where near the type of employment growth we did in the 1990s.  If we had continued post 2000 like we did from 1991-2000, we would be off the graph.

The simply fact is that we aren't as competitive as we used to be, and we need leaders who can get things back on track.  Our national reputation has suffered this last decade, and it isn't just your typical City of Atlanta/Bill Campbell stuff.  It is the metro region as a whole. 


  1. Well, hell. Our reputation has also suffered thanks to the state's dithering. I think that's part of what Gellerstedt was saying.

  2. Oh, I completely agree. I thought that was evident from the quote.

    My feeling is that the metro/state leaders thought the region's growth was a given, and so they've fallen asleep at the wheel. They didn't think there was anything the needed to do to keep things going, or anything they could do to hurt things. The tepid employment growth figures indicate, to me, that they wrong.

  3. The metro Atlanta region has rested on past good fortune and has failed to look to the future. Witness our fundamental infrastructure problems with water, transportation and unsustainable sprawl.

    The Franklin administration has made a number of progressive efforts, but the city proper is artificially small and has limited means to do much about it.

    Without a broad coalition involving, at minimum, the city of Atlanta, the core counties (which should now include Forsyth) and the state of Georgia, we'll continue to fall further behind. There are tremendous resources here but they've been frittered away while the government piddled around with nonsense like Sunday liquor sales and the "right" to carry firearms into the airport.


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