James Magazine Nov Dec 2019 - Page 11

That’s when our friendship blossomed. We spent many
a lunch or nighttime phone call talking politics and business. Johnny was a great businessman and we were fortunate to find ways to have our two companies (his realty,
mine commercial printing) work together. It was during
that period I really saw how bright, dedicated, honest and
funny is the real Johnny Isakson.
It was a sense of humor that kept him so grounded. In
August of 1994 the two of us were invited to the White
House for a ceremony honoring the Winter
Olympians. Not being pros in D.C. we arrived way
too early and did endless loops by ourselves
between the Red, Green and Blue rooms, stopping for refreshments along the way. A few
months later the movie “Forrest Gump” was
released. Johnny joked that Forrest’s visit to the
White House to meet President John F. Kennedy
must have been based on our aimless meandering there.
But in the end Johnny was no Forrest and could
navigate the White House and the rest of D.C. like few
others could.
He went on to replace Newt Gingrich in the U.S.
House of Representatives and was elected to the U.S.
Senate in 2004. In both elected roles he was admired and
considered a “go to” member to get things accomplished.
His colleagues loved him because he worked with everyone in a humble yet effective way. His constituents loved
N OV E M B E R / D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 9
him for the very same reason.
But even the best of people can have something come
out of nowhere to change their life. Back in 1996, the day
before a runoff for the first unsuccessful Senate seat he
sought, to shake off our nervousness, Isakson and I headed
out in his famed old red pickup truck. We decided to put a
few campaign signs out. The day had a crystal blue sky
except for a lone harmless looking puffy cloud.
After we planted the signs we headed back to the
truck only to be the victims of a torrential downpour from that one cloud. All of our signs fell
victim too. “I don’t think this is a good omen,”
Johnny joked.
But the omen did not keep Johnny from
moving forward and to his ultimate success for
Georgia in Washington.
While Parkinson’s is much more than a rain
cloud, it won’t stop Johnny Isakson. He has one of
the sharpest minds in politics and there will be so
much left that he can and will do as a former U.S. senator. And with him around Georgia more, hopefully more
people will get to learn first-hand that Johnny Isakson is
not just better than they thought. He is the best public
servant a person can be.
Matt Towery is the chairman and co-founder of James magazine
and InsiderAdvantage Georgia.
ince the inception of the first Community
Improvement District (CID) in 1988, there’s
no question these self-taxing, public-private
partnerships have become a popular method
of promoting economic growth. And there are now
29 in Georgia!
Georgia CIDs grew out of the traditional business
improvement district (BID) model augmented by the
levying of an additional property tax or other fees. Both
BIDs and CIDs provide supplemental services such as
landscaping, street cleaning, public safety and
transportation improvements. CIDs were developed as a
mechanism for funding a wider scope of big projects and
services like street and road construction, bridges,
landscaping, new parks, water and sewage systems,
signage and public transportation systems.
“Every CID has a different strategy,” says Michael
Parks, president and CEO of the Council for Quality
Growth (CQG)— who added that 26 of the 29 CIDS are
Council members. “Some focus on public safety, some on
infrastructure, some on congestion relief, others on
landscaping, and others on intersection improvements or
even connectivity across the district.”
Parks said CIDs in Georgia are serving as a national
model because of the massive projects they have
accomplished. And he expects to see more in the next
few years. “The concept of private property owners
taxing themselves to invest in their community has been
extremely successful. These private property owners
make the decisions on how the money is spent, and they
see the direct results of their investments.”
Each year the CQG hosts its Community
Improvement Recognition event and presents the John
Williams CID Leadership Award. The award recognizes
those who have played an instrumental role in
championing CIDs around metro Atlanta through their
vision, leadership and dedication.
This year’s honoree is Bob Voyles, principal of Seven
Oaks, who dedicated over 20 years to advancing the
mission of CIDs throughout metro Atlanta. Voyles
successfully advocated for the creation of the Perimeter
Community Improvement District (PCID) in 1999 and was
instrumental in the expansion of PCID with the creation of
a separate, adjacent CID called the Fulton Perimeter CID.
This deserving recipient currently serves on two boards—
Perimeter CIDs and Cumberland CID— and played a key
role in the creation of the Chamblee-Doraville CID.
For this feature, James selected seven CIDs to give
readers a glimpse of the incredible progress being
accomplished by these partnerships that would have
perhaps been unthinkable even 10 years ago.
— North Fulton CID —
“We’re in the middle of a lot of major projects that will
have a huge impact,” exclaims state Sen. Brandon Beach,
executive director and one of the North Fulton CID
founders. One involves a CID partnership with the city of
Alpharetta, the Department of Transportation, the State
Road & Tollway Authority and Fulton County for
construction of the second phase of the Windward
Parkway interchange and corridor improvements.
This project converts the dual left turn from the
Windward Parkway northbound exit ramp to a triple left
continued on page 12
N OV E M B E R / D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 9


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