Atlanta, my town, has a lot to be proud of. We are politically solid, with our people in the mayor's chair, the vice mayor( or President of the City Council) and voting majorities on the City Council, Fulton County Commission and School Board.
The city is also a major magnet for all kinds of meetings, social functions, the home of two major post season black college football games, a covered stadium, a new basketball arena under construction and the largest gathering of black colleges in one bunch in the world ( Atlanta University Center Schools). There are more black millionaires living here than any other spot in the country.
All this and not one black-owned hotel in town!!!
We're missing big dough. According to the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau, those of you who visit my hometown spend about $250 each on hotel rooms.
We attract about 2.4 million visitors here annually.Add it up. It's some heavy duck-ins!!!
During segregation, hotels flourished in this town. From the early 1900s through the early 70s, there were sleeping quarters owned by us practically all over Atlanta.
In the late 70s, there were plans to build a hotel and several black business types came together and actually purchased one right across the street from the old Atlanta Stadium. For some reason, they couldn't hang on to it and it's shameful because the Olympic Stadium was a block away. Whoa!
Now, INSIDE has learned that a " brother" is developing a former hotel site in downtown. Information is sketchy now, but I'm told plans are to reopen the old Winecoff Hotel. In 1946, the facility was the scene of a fire which killed well over 100 people. Since then, the building has largely been abandoned. It's in downtown, right across the street from the Ritz-Carlton. We'll keep you informed. By the way, yours truly is preparing a feature piece on the hotel business for the Atlanta Tribune, a once monthly business tabloid owned by an incrediable sister named Pat Lottier.....
INSIDE ENTERTAINMENT: Some of you longtime Floridians may remember the name Charles Allen. He's a singer who in the mid 70s, recorded " God Bless Our Love" which was one of the hottest records in the sunshine state. Allen's full name is Charles Allen Lattimore and he's living in Atlanta working days as a barber at Southwest Atlanta's Murden's Barber Shop and two nights a week singing at the Club 291 on Campbellton Road. He is a magniticent showman.......If you're in town and looking for a good " cool-out', drop by Club Ellery's on Campbellton Road in the Campbellton Shopping Plaza. The atmosphere and ambiance are excellent. Drink prices are comparable.....If you're in north Atlanta on Sunday, drop by the Industry Restaurant and nightspot on Cheshire Bridge Road . It's owned by singer Keith Sweat. Sundays, they have a brunch with food so good, you might forget how to get back home! The price is a little steep ($16.95) but the food really makes you forget about the dollars you just spent....
INSIDE SPORTS: Morehouse College is in search of a new head coach. Frank Hickson lasted only one year and took the school to a 0-11 mark, the worst record the school has had in 23 years. Insiders say Hickson hung himself when he started complaining about his contract and school officials discovered he had never signed it!! But apparently that glaring omission didn't stop him from getting work. He's now gainfully employed at Oklahoma State...Meanwhile, a colleague of mine, Robert ":Tree" Reese of the Georgia Sentinel suggested that former Fort Valley great Homer Hill would be an excellent choice as Morehouse head coach. The native son and graduate of Turner High School is head football coach at Atlanta's Grady High School. In a few short years, he has turned that school into a major player in state football.........
INSIDE POLITICS: The General Assembly is in session here and our brother and sister legislators are busy. Sharon Teague, who represents the Atlanta bedroom community of College Park, is pushing through legislation which would require all state businesses to pay the national minimum wage. Right now, some businesses are excluded and can get away with paying a slave wage ($3.25 and hour...a dog can't live off that ) ...Tyrone Brooks, a former SCLC staff member, has introduced legislation to change the design of the Georgia flag and drop the infamous confederate stars and bars.....Henry Howard of Augusta Georgia is attempting to get a bill passed which would put the brakes on chiselers who come to the state and put on these contests which require winners to send in money to claim their prize....and Stan Watson of Decatur Georgia has introduced a bill which imposes a $5000 fine on anyone who is convicted of physically assaulting a sports official at the recreation, high school or college level. Watson is a referee himself.....
THE BIG INSIDER: If you are a black owned company looking for opportunities, you can find out what state contracts are being bid through the internet. Just click on www.doas.state.ga.us. By the way, the state is desparately looking for black vendors via a directive from Governor Roy Barnes. The watchdog group is the Georgia Summit of African American Business Organizations. Their executive director, Bill Cannon, has developed a reputations within the bowels of state government as a "bulldog" who watches the buying habits of state agencies like a hawk.
If you have a question about Atlanta, please e mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'll reply personally and occasionally post a few answers in this space......
Hal has recently created hal lamar news service, representing a number of radio nets (SBN, ABC) and newspapers. If you have or know a many mailing list that Hal's new venture should be aware of, contact him at the email address above, or at.
Hal Lamar News Service
2740 Greenbriar Pkwy
Atlanta, GA. 30331
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