Thursday, March 4, 2010

Handel surpsingly sane on zombie toll road

I don't really care about the Northern Arc.  I personally don't care about traffic on 316, or in Sandy Springs, or any of that other stuff.  What I do care about is the economic viability of the metro Atlanta region, because it affects the economic viability of Atlanta itself.  So unfortunately this means I probably should pay more attention or give two figs about suburban traffic issues. 

In my dream world, the city itself would have the resources to build a world class transit system within the city limits, clean up many parts of the city, and attract business Downtown on its own.  That ain't gonna happen, so the best thing to hope for is some sort of regional transit solution and some refocusing on economic development for the region to try and catch up once the recession ends. 

All of that is a long way to introduce this article about Karen Handel doing some posturing about the Northern Arc and some GDOT proposals for new highways up that way.  It strikes me all as a bunch of B.S. campaign rhetoric, but one piece did catch my eye:
Handel said “we need to look at” some sort of connection between I-75 and I-85.  As to another possible major toll project under debate, a north-south tunnel through east Atlanta linking Ga. 400 to the southern Perimeter, Handel said, “It’s absurd.”
At least one GOP candidate isn't completely insane.  If I were handicapping the 2010 Governor's race, I'd have to give Handel pretty good odds. 
  • She's politically savvy, and I can't think that she's ever lost a race she's been involved with (Perdue 2002, Fulton County Commission, Secretary of State).  
  • She somehow navigated the insanity of the Fulton County Commission and came out looking relatively mature - no small feat!  
  • She's managed to avoid all the mess at the Capitol, and has a much higher profile than someone like Eric Johnson who has been down there in the muck for years.  
  • She doesn't have the ethical issues that Nathan Deal has.   
  • Finally, she has an advantage over the Ox simply because she isn't a raving moron.  
FWIW, this was my early take on the Atlanta mayor's race (about a year and a half out):
My thoughts on the race at present, subject to change: right now I think Lisa Borders has the inside position, and Kasim Reed will have the best machine. Mary Norwood could do surprisingly well - she is particularly attentive to the white middle class in-town demographic. If white females go for Norwood instead of Borders, Kasim wins.
A lot changed between then and the election, but I think I was in the ball park.  So in that vein, my fearless take on the Gubernatorial election:
  • Handel is the GOP nominee.  Eric Johnson does very well, but not well enough.  Deal and Ox falter at the end.  Handel beats one of those three in a runoff. 
  • DuBose tanks.  Barnes gets the Dem nomination, but Baker might make a strong run for it.
  • Barnes can't beat Handel - there simply isn't enough juice left in the old Democratic brand he represents.  Dems are totally depressed about everything right now, turnout will suck.  Handel wins 55-45. 


  1. I have little interest in the race to replace Sonny at this point but it seems easier to come out against the tunnel than for it at this point.

    Zombie toll road has a nice ring to it.

  2. Karen is also rail friendly, at least in theory. While on the Fulton County Commission, when there was talk of adding dedicated BRT lanes to the top end of 285, she advocated that if we went with buses over rail, that it should at least be designed in such a way that it could later be upgrade to rail when the demand was there.

    Unfortunately in this state, these types of stands can work against her. There are also questions about her high school education that she has so far done nothing to dispel. She does have a knack for winning elections but her inability to serve a complete term in any office she is elected to doesn't look good (dovetails nicely with the GED rumors that she hasn't fully addressed). She's obviously smart so maybe the voters would be willing to look past her lack of a college degree. "Common sense over book sense" is an often heard refrain here in the South.

    The one HUGE thing she has going for her is that her opponents are armed with machine guns... aimed at their own feet. If she avoids doing or saying anything too controversial, she could end up winning by default as the guys knock themselves out of the race.


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