Super Bowl In Mercedes Benz Stadium Announcement Prompts Bartell Entry In 2017 Atlanta Mayoral Race

Staff Report From Metro Atlanta CEO

Tuesday, May 31st, 2016

The multi-billion dollar economy stakeholders are excited about the recent announcement regarding Atlanta's Mercedes Benz Stadium hosting the 2019 Super Bowl and the opportunity to hold the World Cup Soccer tournaments.

The communities on the Westside of Atlanta, however, see the announcement as a catalyst for public policy exclusion, economic control, and neighborhood gentrification, says Al Bartell, a public policy leader and environmental activist in the Urban Waters Movement.

Atlanta's 2017 mayoral candidates have praised the recent Super Bowl announcement, notes Bartell, but so far none have put forth a plan for gentrification prevention.

In an exclusive interview with S.E. Region News early this morning, Bartell communicates his entry into Atlanta's 2017 mayoral race out of the Mercedes Benz Stadium Super Bowl announcement:

SRN:  What is it about the Super Bowl announcement that has you enter the 2017 Mayor's race in Atlanta?

BARTELL:  Neighborhoods and communities in Atlanta were unaware that the city and the state were being considered for a Super Bowl bid. The Atlanta community has still not received a full explanation of the economic and social impact of the Mercedes Benz Stadium.  

In light of Atlanta's mayoral candidates praising the selection of the Mercedes Benz Stadium for the 2019 Super Bowl, and the opportunity for the World Cup Soccer tournaments, the question must be raised:  Did these mayoral candidates praising the stadium consider the community's relationship to the announcement?

SRN:  How will your entry into the 2017 mayoral race in the city of Atlanta impact the public policy exclusion of the communities on the Westside of Atlanta?

BARTELL:  Time has come for a public policy framework that includes community in the multi-billion dollar economic strategy for this city.  The community deserves to hear that from every candidate in the 2017 race for Mayor.

SRN:  How can the communities on the Westside of Atlanta have an equitable say in the multi-billion dollar economic strategy that is, in essence, designed to control the economy of not just the city of Atlanta, but the Southeast region?  By the entering the Mayoral race, how will your candidacy shift that design?

BARTELL:  Economic control needs to be shared with community, and not forced on community.  The community's voice deserves to be independently displayed, and not diminished by a political marketing strategy.

SRN:  No one wants to talk about gentrification in the city of Atlanta -- but it's happening, visibly.  Real estate values are already being impacted. Community members on the Westside of Atlanta are having strangers drive into their neighborhoods, take pictures of their properties, knocking on their doors with real estate inquiries. How can the seeming inevitability of gentrification be halted with your entry into the Atlanta mayoral race in 2017?

BARTELL: Gentrification is real for disadvantaged neighborhoods. Major developers and pro-business stakeholders propose gentrification as a solution to the future.  When community is not included in economic development decisions, gentrification is the ultimate sacrifice that we are no longer willing to pay.