We are dealing with a complex issue that has many moving parts, if you will. Before we take this initiative to the streets we need to understand exactly what it is that we are asking of the people of Atlanta.
Our case needs to be presented in a way that benefits every citizen in this city in some way or another. If there is any guarantee in life it is that people will watch out for their own ass before anyone else. We want to make this an easy choice for the selfish person. Selfless people will already be on board.
PHASE 1 - Discovery
WE NEED AMMO!!
It starts with a question: Why does Atlanta need later Bar Hours?
Well let’s look at the HISTORY.
For purposes of this exercise I think we should focus on Shirley Franklin’s term in office which was 8 years. So 2001 - Present. The major shift in policy occurred in 2003 so let’s put a big red dot on our time line there.
At a minimum the following questions need to be answered:
Before the Cutback
How many bars/clubs existed?
What kind of Tax Revenue were those clubs generating for the City?
What was Tourism doing back then?
What was the crime picture during this time?
What kind of funding did the Police have at this time? What was the size of our Police force?
After the Cutback
Short Term - 2003 - 2005
Our focus here is to look at the immediate impact of the bar hours on liquor sales. It gets harder to make that comparison the further away from the event we get so let’s sum it up like this.
What were the immediate impacts of the cutback?
Long Term - 2003 - Present
What does the Bar/Club picture look like now?
How many Bars/Clubs have shut down since 2003? How many have opened?
What kind of Alcohol sales are we seeing now?
What about Tourism? How does that relate to the big picture?
What is the state of our Police force vs crime?
What is the National Picture?
How do we size up vs the rest of the Country? How do we compare to Cities of similar size in the South East? Who are our peers?
We really need to do our homework here. Every city is different, there is no denying that.
I think we should pick a handful of Cities in the Southeast and then a few more from different areas of the Country. Then we work to narrow that list down to about 4 or 5 that we focus on.
How does our Federal Government compare cities? Can we learn anything from that?
What is the Political Environment of this Election?
If our goal is to participate in this election it behooves us to understand what it is about. Knowing who the major players are and who they represent is a key element of any election.
I want to know which candidates have a real chance at winning this Election?
What platform are they running on? What is their political history? Who do they represent?
Atlanta has 12 voting districts and 3 at large votes, each represented by a member of the City Council.
Beneath that there are the Neighborhood Planning Units who make recommendations to the City Council. How many of those are there? Who represents them? When do they meet?
What other public office positions are being decided in this election?
What is going to be on the Ballot? Is there even an opportunity to add anything to the Ballot? When is that deadline? How many votes are needed?
What are the Demographics of this City? Own vs Rent, Age, Income, Employed or not. Who shows up to vote?
PRESS: Who is covering this election? Who are the writers and what are they writing about? Who is covering the Bar hours?
This is just a basic framework for Discovery. I’m sure there are other questions of significance but right now I am trying to divide up the work into functional areas so we can start chipping away at the iceberg.
I will be looking for people to head up each of these areas.
My next post will outline how you can volunteer for those positions. It will also have a number of opportunities for people to contribute at various levels of commitment.