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Big Ideas

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On page 23, Creative Loafing endorses seven City Council candidates who we think will help keep Atlanta moving in the right direction. Many candidates impressed us, but we were disappointed at the dearth of big ideas they offered.

That may be a function of communal exhaustion. Mayor Shirley Franklin and her allies spent the last four years towing the city from the ditch where Bill Campbell left us. And a massive sewer fix has bound the city's finances, making it difficult for politicians to think any further ahead than reacting to the next crisis or bad idea.

Then, there's the Beltline. The proposed transit and parks loop is so ambitious that it may shove other visionary projects off the table.

That would be disappointing. Atlanta needs to solve deep problems that continue to hamper our future. Whoever ends up on City Council must recognize that, even though it's a great idea, the Beltline won't address our transportation woes. Atlanta's leaders need to settle on and implement a transit network that gets people around the urban core encircled by the Beltline.

And, with more needs than revenue, they also need to work toward far more innovative ways to gain efficiencies -- tops among them would be an aggressive campaign to eliminate duplicated city and county services.

Those are just two of many challenges that city leaders need to address sooner rather than later.

We're lucky to have Franklin. She's positioned us to think -- finally -- about getting ahead of problems. But even with her continued leadership, we'll need smart, independent Council members to push and pull both the city and the administration in the direction of big solutions to big problems.

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