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Straight from the Mike…A Beacon is Shining, Due East


It is a well-known fact that the sun rises in the East and sets in the West. A phenomenal sunlight is about to really gleam, just East of us. It is a light of hope for many, and an exemplary example of profound leadership and public policy in the area of affordable housing. It is a shining beacon for those seeking the American dream to own a home. Atlanta is on the move with a forward agenda. 

A committed Mayor has stood tall and is turning what was a ‘runaway force’ into a taming rodeo with a purpose. It is proof positive what can happen when an elected official honors his or her commitment, recognizes a major challenge, and takes it head on.

No, Atlanta is not nirvana yet, as it still has frustrating and recurring crime spikes like other major cities in our nation. Most law enforcement professionals will admit today, you do not solve crime, you just move it.

Of course, we know that the delta between affordable housing needed, and available stock, is vast. However, like a large ship needing to change direction, it is going to happen slowly. Like the invention by H. Buckminster Fuller’s ‘Tip Blade,’ when placed on the upper portion of a ship’s rudder, it creates a vacuum force that facilitates the ship’s turning.

The action taken by Mayor Dickens will be the ‘Tip Blade’ for the city of Atlanta. It will serve as a 21st century solution to a need that has been lip service for far too long in our other leadership circles.

We know too well that the lack of political will to take on the housing issue with the necessary force and persistence. It is part of the reason it reminds me of the words of the late Ray Charles to the little boy by his side at the piano scene, “You can’t play kickball forever.”

The upward vacuum that will be the result of the mayor’s plan, which involves a commitment to have 20,000 affordable housing units in 8 years, pursue class action lawsuits against recalcitrant landlords’ froth with neglect and mismanagement of their properties, and a plan to preserve legacy housing and keeping seniors in their residents. This should be the impetus of inspiring other metropolitan cities and counties to grab hold and catch the updraft.

In addition, the initiative includes a Housing Assistance Center that can begin to put an end to the current seemingly like tennis match feeling aspiring homeowners get when trying to obtain help or get their questions answered. They will have the aid of Housing Navigators at the ready to help. I need to also add that the Mayor is working with a formidable coalition of public private entities that includes none other than the Metro Atlanta Land Bank.

Hey, I bet you may have heard that term used and advocated for around Cobb Country by yours truly.

The other important result of this effort will likely be a stemming of the unreasonable rate of rising rental rates in the city. Understandably, everyone is not willing or interested in home ownership. The need for rental options will continue to be brisk, I am sure.

Moreover, I can appreciate the efforts of some concerned citizens to push for rent control, especially for discussion during the next legislative session. I have spoken with my state representative and expressed support for the process of getting the issue on the table. I continue to opine the role of a representative is to carry forth the wishes of their constituents.

As you can imagine, one may not be in total support of the issue, but important issues such as these especially deserve consideration. It is amazing when can happen when the market forces of supply and demand are allowed to take effect without the undue influence of self

interested parties and the donor class.

I also want to highlight an important effort being led by Mayor Dickens which includes a commitment to support an Eviction Diversion initiative to help ensure safe, secure, and healthy housing for families. It is a timely move with the holidays just before us. Every health and social work professional acknowledges the link of housing conditions and health outcomes for youth and adults. I am happy to see that the local nonprofit Star-C has been selected to administer the program. As for full disclosure, I am a proud member of their board.

It came as no surprise to me to learn that Mayor Andre Dickens will be the incoming 2024 President of the Atlanta Regional Commission. The ARC knows about the importance of ‘Leadership in the Now,’ not in theory, but in action.

Congratulations, Mayor Dickens.

I am Michael Murphy….

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