Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed To Give Half Square Mile of Public Land to Tyler Perry on Fake Job Claims, No Public Input

A Black Agenda Radio Commentary by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed wants to give Tyler Perry a half square mile of public land at a ridiculously low price based on fake job creation predictions with no public scrutiny or input. Tyler's existing Atlanta studios have had little or no positive impact on the economic life of their surrounding community. Once again the black political class proves itself every bit as myopic, greedy and anti-democratic as their white counterparts.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed To Give Half Square Mile of Public Land to Tyler Perry on Fake Job Claims, No Public Input

A Black Agenda Radio Commentary by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

Nobody celebrates themselves more tirelessly and uncritically than black America's wealthy and empowered political class of millionaire entertainers, business types, preachers and politicians. Unfortunately, black folks outside that charmed circle also tend to applaud the glittering wealth of black celebrities without bothering to look at where that wealth comes from.

Last year in Black Agenda Report, we talked about near-billionaire former NBA star Junior Bridgman, who owns more than a hundred Applebees and Wendys restaurants, and spends millions each year lobbying Congress and state legislatures to keep his workers' wages nice and low. There's Earvin “Magic” Johnson, who's a major partner in Sodexo, a firm that privatizes food service in prisons, public schools and charter schools, and janitorial service in schools as well, making tens of millions a year relentlessly cutting jobs, wages and quality of service. And in Atlanta, there's Tyler Perry.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed is trying to rush through a deal with as little public scrutiny or input as possible that will give Tyler Perry more than a half square mile of public land – 331 prime acres of former military base less than four miles from downtown Atlanta, for a mere $30 million, to build new production studios and whatever else he might want to do. If Atlanta doesn't hurry up and and give Perry this land, Reed says, Perry might take the 8,000 new jobs he claims his studio might create somewhere else, like neighboring Douglass county where Perry reportedly owns more than 1,000 acres. Never mind the fact that Perry's existing Atlanta studios have been sketchily constructed and maintained, and had little or no positive economic impact on their surrounding neighborhood.

Atlanta mayors have a tradition of lying about how many jobs will be created when they give public resources and land to their friends. Previous Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin claimed her Atlanta Beltline boondoggle would create 40,000 temporary and 30,000 permanent new jobs if only Atlanta would divert $140 million away from the public schools every year for twenty-some years. Mayor Reed absurdly claims Tyler Perry's new studio will create 8,000 new jobs. In the real world a studio the size of Perry's will use a tenth, a twentieth or less of 331 acres, and most of the 800 or fewer– not 8,000 jobs there will be professional and managerial folks already working for Tyler Perry.

The fact is, Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed wants to hurry up and give Tyler Perry the land without any guarantees whatsoever of how many permanent jobs will be created, no stipulation of how many units of affordable housing will be constructed, and most of all, without consulting the area's existing residents and business owners. Perry of course made substantial contributions to Georgia's Republican governor, and can be expected to generously support Mayor Reed in any state or other office he might seek.

There has never been the slightest pretense of any interest on the part of city hall in involving the public on how the 440 acre former military base will be integrated into the city of Atlanta. Instead of a chance to develop the city for the people who live here, Atlanta's greedy and myopic black political class sees only a chance to make a few of its already wealthy members a lot richer, at the expense of everybody else.

For Black Agenda Report, I'm Bruce Dixon. Find us on the web at www.blackagendareport.com.

Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report, and a state committee member of the GA Green Party. He lives and works near Marietta GA and can be reached at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com.
 
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