Saturday, June 17, 2017

Atlanta

We just spent a week in Atlanta at the Rotary International Convention.  The event was wonderful with incredibly uplifting motivational stories, a mind-boggling display of service opportunities, and a chance to make new friends.  I could write whole post on Rotary, but will save that for another time.  I'm going to be installed as the President of the local chapter here in Rancho Bernardo on July 1st and I'm sure as I go through the year there will be plenty of opportunities to comment on this wonderful organization.

But beyond the convention itself and the many, many activities and events that we participated in, was the city of Atlanta.  I'd never spent much time there.  I think I've stayed overnight a few times while passing through and, of course, had been in the massive airport a ton of times.  It is one of, if not the, biggest airports in the world.  And I'm sure it's the busiest.  As a Delta hub, it is a crossroads for many, many flights every day.  And all in all my experience is that they are pretty efficient.

Atlanta, and beyond that Georgia, turned out to be a very pleasant surprise.  The city is clean, upbeat, the people are for the most part friendly, and it seems like the infrastructure works well.  The Governor of Georgia and the Mayor of Atlanta both spoke at the convention and they were very impressive.  The Mayor especially had a great message.  They are in the growth mode.  They've recognized that for their people to thrive and the city to provide the services required for this growth, they need to stimulate economic growth.  And they've done that in spades.

The Mayor told us that they are working hard on infrastructure and it showed.  There is a lot of building going on.  He also told us that they are working hard on the homeless problem and are getting a handle on that.  I don't remember the figures, but it was impressive.  And they have reduced the veteran homeless rate to near zero.  Near zero!  Imagine that.

We stayed downtown close to the Convention Center and it is incredibly vibrant.  The Convention Center is massive.  I read somewhere that it is the 2nd or 3rd largest in the country.  Rotary had 42,000 attendees and they handled it with ease.  Next door is the CNN center and it is a big draw.  Around the corner is the Georgia Dome, a great football stadium.  And next door to the Georgia Dome they are building a new state of the art stadium called the Mercedes Benz stadium.  And they are keeping the Georgia Dome!  Across the street from that is Phillips Arena, a new facility for the Atlanta Hawks basketball team.  Down the road is the new stadium for the Atlanta Braves, the newest baseball stadium in the country.

We ventured out to the suburbs for an event and there is growth everywhere.  There are several smaller business hubs that are thriving.  The bedroom community of Alpharetta where we went was just idyllic.  Beautiful countryside, affordable homes, great schools, and plenty of industry.

I'm not sure how they are doing it, but whatever they are doing, it's working.  I suspect it has to do with lower taxes and a favorable business environment.  It probably also has to do with minimal government regulations and minimal government meddling in people's lives.

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