Category Archives: Commentary

Changing the South means changing the attitude

NOTE: I wrote a response to a post shared on Facebook earlier today and felt the need to write this (exceedingly long) addition to/explanation for it.

I almost didn’t go out at all on Friday night. The plan was to crash on the couch after a week of attempting to prove to my laptop who was boss — and losing. A night at home would help me regroup and be ready to play catch up over the weekend.

This meant I was choosing to skip the first Art on the Rocks! of 2015 (complete with preview access to the Hale Woodruff exhibit fresh off a visit to the Smithsonian); three chances to see Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood at the BJCC (or a musical); three Barons home games (though I did see the fireworks post-game on Friday from the porch); a screening of Monty Python and the Holy Grail at the Alabama Theatre; and buying a ticket for the first ever heavyweight title fight held in Alabama. That was just what was available in greater downtown (Beer on the Back Porch at Ruffner Mountain was pretty tempting as well on Friday).

Then, Mike Fourcher’s face popped up on my phone:

“Hey, man,! I’m in Bham. Where should I go out?” His phone number followed.

Mike is one of the folks behind Aldertrack, a must-read for political junkies in Chicago, IL. He’s also part of a group of peers I often forget are accessible as I continue to maneuver through the world of journalism, first meeting during the inaugural Block by Block Community News Summit in Chicago nearly five years ago.

I sent a message back saying he’d picked one of the craziest weekends to be visiting. Before I could get the next sentence started (stupid thumbs), he replied:

“I’m here for the Wilder-Molina fight.”

Forty minutes later I find myself sitting on the patio in front of Carrigan’s Pub with Mike and four others. There was a married couple from Texas, another woman, and a guy I later found out was from Queens.

I was asked what I did for a living. I told them about this site and then mentioned my new job working for the Southern Education Desk project. There was some interest in The Terminal, but most of their eyes looked intrigued by the work of the SED — then I found out what they all did for a living…

This is how I ended up having a conversation about the current and future state of Birmingham and issues involving education across the south with Eric Molina’s wife (an A.P. History teacher) and two of their friends (both principals). The guy from Queens was Molina’s attorney. There was no pomp, no fluff. Just a party of six enjoying great local beers (Good People and Cahaba, for the record) and great conversation.

I grew up in a city natives refer to as “the Greatest City in the World” and spent eleven years soaking up life in “the Hostess City of the South.” This September will mark eleven years in Alabama’s Magic City, though I often refer to it as “the City Built to Change the South.” It has done just that on numerous occasions, for better and worse. While some of the episodes many would like to forget were mentioned during the 2+ hours on the patio, most of it was focused on the potential, the progress, and the lessons Birmingham still teaches today.

They enjoyed what they’d already seen and hoped to do things like the Civil Rights Institute as well, wanting to see the important places of history, but also the progress. They felt privileged to be here, excited for the opportunity.

We live in the youngest major city in the southeastern United States, but one with a legacy and road map continuing to influence communities much older, albeit not without some longing for it to live up to its original nickname. Time can often be a brutal and unfair thing as it must pass for things to move forward. The city and the region is still positioned to change the South while still being Southern, leading to conflict among those wishing that wasn’t exactly the case.

There is a scarcity still faced by many in the community, leading some to question our priorities as we continue the process of remaking our city. There’s a fight though — a willingness to change the script and forge ahead, to leading or find a way to do something better. It’s still a scrappy community making big waves, and while many of us are the better for it, many more hope we continue to find ways to include more in the progress and the conversation.

Starting down the slippery slope of whether or not we’re a destination city isn’t necessarily where the conversation needs to currently live. Perhaps it’s about whether or not we’re worthy as a city to continue to dream and push forward so we have the attitude that accompanies being the destination actually shared by more than a few select people. Talking about our place in history should be accompanied with what we’ve done to build on it (& what still needs to be accomplished as we truly start to move forward).


It’s catching though, this positive attitude. This photo shows the property catty-corner of Cotton’s in downtown Ensley. There’s a community willing to dream big enough to think of respected artists designing murals for the wall of the Bethesda Life Center, the building of flower beds, and the belief a place is what you think it can be. It’s everywhere you’re willing to look for it — and tap into it. It may take a lot longer than you’d like, but it’s there for the taking — and for feeding off of if you ever begin to worry.

The energy from the conversation on the porch reminds me just how much fun it can be around here — when you want it to be. Do some egos need to be checked at the door? Yes. Does a can-do attitude need to see the light of day in the hearts and actions of the community as a whole? Absolutely.

We’ve changed the South before. Perhaps feeding off the excitement and the potential while finding opportunities for all will help us do it one more time and continue to help us do so for as long as we’d like.

Still dreaming big dreams for Birmingham in 2021

UPDATE: Birmingham was awarded the 2021 World Games on January 22, 2015.

rickwoodjune2014“You know, baseball isn’t an Olympic sport for 2020.”

I smirked as I said this during a chance encounter with David Brewer, executive director of the Friends of Rickwood Field, as we stood looking out at home plate in America’s oldest ballpark late Monday morning.

He laughed and said, “You know, you’re right,” as he returned to the never ending list of to-dos associated with his job, leaving me to think. I often find myself there in the historic structure on the city’s west side sitting in the general admission seats (or the first base dugout) in order to escape and think. This time, I tried to calm my mind to tackle some brainstorming but ended up dreaming big dreams. (It’s a bad habit of mine.) I thought of what it would be like to sit in the stands at Rickwood Field and Regions Field surrounded by others from around the world in 2021. It would take the International Baseball Federation successfully campaigning the International World Games Association to be added as a sport or a request of the city’s organizing committee, but there’s a chance…

IWGA logoNo, I’m not insane. Word of the city’s intention to submit a bid to host the 11th World Games in 2021 spread like wildfire on Sunday morning. People were still taking a breath from hearing of its bid to host the 2016 Democratic National Convention on Friday. These are noticeably bold moves in the midst of evidence of the city’s long-sought renaissance finally taking shape. I brought up during a quick exchange via Twitter that the potential resulting benefits and impact sound similar to those previously floated by a certain former mayor. The response: “Same thinking, but more realistic.” Hindsight is always 20/20 though and I’ve got a feeling historians will look at both situations as examples of the city taking a risk.

That said, this current proposal is a little easier to swallow for folks and easier to celebrate if successful (especially since it would be during Birmingham’s 150th birthday, but I digress). While the World Games started as a way to focus more on the athletes and less on keeping score among nations, they have come to be as significant in meaning to the host city as a successful Olympic bid without nearly the same level of expense.

Why? Here it is, courtesy of the bid packet:

In fact, the Rules of The World Games stipulate that the games must be staged at existing venues, or at venues that have been planned and built regardless of the bid for TWG.

This means that while the multi-purpose facility (a.k.a. the Dome) is probably going to happen, it’s not affecting this bid one way or the other. That can be also read as it doesn’t necessarily mean facilities can’t be renovated or modernized in order to accommodate events. This suddenly makes things like seeing a City Council agenda item for a feasibility study of Legion Field earlier this year more understandable (especially when coupled with the mayor’s comments during this year’s State of the City address).

This is a city that needs an excuse to light a fire under itself to get something accomplished. It also needs reassurances from outsiders. This would seem to accomplish both while, as said elsewhere previously, leaving the city in a better place if the bid proves unsuccessful.

The DNC bid was due last Friday, June 6 (and some have already written about its potential for success, including this piece on June 9 by Cliff Sims at Yellowhammer News and this one published on June 8 by Chuck Dean of Media Group). The World Games bid is due on July 31. Once it’s arrived in Colorado, the hard part begins. We have to keep dreaming big dreams and acting on them.

After watching this recap video from the 2013 World Games in Cali, Colombia (or photos like this one from its closing ceremonies), I’m thinking it shouldn’t be too hard to do.

BTW – it should be noted that American football was chosen as one of the invitational sports for the 2017 World Games in Wroclaw, Poland. Just saying…

André Natta is the stationmaster for

Why is the downtown Publix really a game-changer?

newPublixbldgThe term “game-changer” has been batted about metro Birmingham a lot in recent days as news of a planned mixed-use development anchored by a Publix grocery store on the city’s Southside spread like wild fire. For those who haven’t heard yet, an article in the May 18 edition of The Birmingham News revealed the Lakeland, FL-based grocer as the main tenant of a $30 million development proposed to sit on the northwest corner of 20th Street and 3rd Avenue South.

Now, I’ve lived in the greater downtown area since 2004, and I’ve always had as few as four and as many as six major options available to choose from within 2 miles, but I had to drive to them. When people ask me “Where and how do you get groceries?” I admit I’ve long ago started replying by asking them, “Well, where and how do you get yours?” I get a stunned look, but most times they seem to get what I’m saying. That said, it’s not an option readily or easily available to a significant number of our city’s residents.

This leads to my first reason why it’s a game-changer:

It’s more about WALKING now than DRIVING. Yes, there’s a parking deck that will sit between the ground floor space and the 36 “loft-style” apartments planned for the top the building. The vehicles using these spaces though will be off-street and out of sight. The idea of needing to circle forever to find a spot or the installation of a surface parking lot to handle capacity doesn’t even come up in conversation – and that’s a great thing. It suggests developers realize there will be enough people within walking distance to support its operation. It takes away reliance on an automobile to make a development like this one work.

It means it should be easier to get other national and regional retailers to consider locating a business downtown. It also makes it easier to get those same retailers to start looking at options in neighborhoods throughout the city. It could potentially make the issue of placing parking immediately adjacent to their business less of a sticking point. Dare it be suggested it could also be the first step toward a re-write of the city’s parking regulations and a rethinking of its minimum requirements?

It’s downtown. Actually, this may be an even bigger issue for me and one I’m excited about watching evolve. The proposed building is sitting along 20th Street South. When I first moved here nearly ten years ago, I referred to that area as being downtown while having a conversation with a native; I was chastised immediately because “it was not downtown, it was Southside. Downtown starts on the other side of the tracks.”

It was weird, as most New Yorkers refer to pretty much all of Manhattan as “downtown” no matter which of the other four boroughs you live. I’d also moved here after working for an agency charged with the revitalization of “greater Downtown” Savannah, not just its famous historic district. As a result, I’ve long considered the areas surrounding the city center part of greater downtown Birmingham. It makes sense especially when you get a chance to see just how small the expanded area still is in relation to the rest of the city.

The announcement of this grocery store lends itself to a new approach involving population growth in the urban core focused on eventually seeing people choosing to live in the single-family home dense portions of Druid Hills, Fountain Heights, and Norwood (in addition to others like Titusville, Smithfield, and College Hills) after spending a couple of years living in an apartment located nearby in the city center. Every major news outlet in the city referred to the project’s location area as downtown, suggesting the shift in perspective (one long championed by REV Birmingham and its predecessors) is finally starting to happen. The change in perspective also means a realization about the choices available to someone thinking about their next move.

The changes that come as a result of this and other projects will be quick. The changes at face value will be good for the city. The question right now as we get ready to start watching this happen is “Are we ready for what we’ve been asking for all of these years?”

André Natta is the stationmaster for

Regarding the City of Birmingham and Feeding the Homeless

EDITOR’S NOTE: There has been a great deal said recently about the food truck ordinance passed late last year and how it’s affecting outreach efforts in the City of Birmingham. Matt Lacey, the senior pastor of downtown’s Church of the Reconciler,  has written this piece and shared it via social media and email. I felt it needed another, more openly accessible, place to reside. Links have been added by me where they seemed appropriate. As usual, comments are welcome and his contact information is below (though his email inbox was full as of this posting). ACN

One good way to make kind-hearted folks mad is to tell them it’s illegal for them to show that kindness.

Over the past couple of days here in Birmingham you may have heard reports in the media about the City of Birmingham threatening to arrest people for passing out food to the homeless in public parks and other gathering places.

The Mayor and City Council have said that they didn’t intent to create this type of environment by passing the food truck ordinance last year. Let me take some time to debunk that right away. This text is taken from page 9 of the aforementioned ordinance passed by the City Council:

“No person or business entity, including religious or charitable organization, shall operate a mobile food vehicle and/or pushcart upon the public rights-of-way within the city without a permit.”

Why would someone think to include religious and charitable organizations in the ordinance? More than likely they were attempting to bury legislation similar to other cities such as Raleigh, NC and others who have cracked down on public feedings in parks. In short: I think they knew what they were doing when they passed it.

To the issue of feeding at public parks: do churches, organizations, and volunteers need to have a conversation about the effectiveness of public feedings and the need for more permanent and ongoing help for the homeless? Absolutely. Is simply feeding at parks the best way to offer care for the homeless? Well, one could argue that you could do a lot more to offer more comprehensive care.

Organizations like ours-Church of the Reconciler-and the Firehouse Shelter, One Roof, and many others, frequently preach the need for more comprehensive services above and beyond just feeding the homeless. And there is certainly a lot to talk about. But is threatening to arrest people for feeding in public places a way to open up and have that conversation? Absolutely not.

Simply put: I’m not a public policy expert or a politician, but this isn’t going over well for the City of Birmingham. There are better ways to address this issue and have this conversation.

Mayor Bell, who in full disclosure was gracious enough to address one of our fundraising events several years ago, said that this is an effort to consolidate and organize services for the homeless through One Roof. That sounds really good, and One Roof does a great job of coordinating all these efforts currently.

Case in point: when police told Bridge Builders Ministries that they couldn’t serve the homeless outdoors any longer, we had a conversation with their leaders and opened our doors to create a more coordinated effort.

But if the Mayor and the City (and State of Alabama for that matter) are serious about this, it’s time they start providing more resources to care for those on the streets. Simply put: it’s time for Birmingham to stop talking and start doing.

I would like to issue an invitation to the Mayor and City Council members: come down to one of our organizations where, day after day, we offer care to those who need it most, rather than just bury something in an ordinance somewhere. Come and visit with those who suffer with mental illness and tell them, as we do, that there is little to no help we can offer because the State of Alabama lacks the resources (and will) to adequately address the issue. Come and argue, which I do on a weekly basis, with the drug dealers who prey on our population and help keep them in the cycle of addiction.

If we are going to talk about the need for more comprehensive help for the homeless, it’s probably best to not intimidate those attempting to do something about it, even those who might be well-intentioned but need to be more educated.

If the City wants to talk about the homeless in Birmingham, and ways they can help with the community my door is always open, as it has been.

Maybe this is the spark this City needs to starting talking about the issue of homelessness and poverty, which we have only treated with Band-Aids in the past, when in reality it needs comprehensive, holistic, and preventative care.

Rev. Matt Lacey
Senior Pastor, Church of the Reconciler

For some, it's about a lot more than a "sign"

PepsisignmidinstallSt. Patrick’s Day reminds me I’m a product of Catholic schools in New York City. The first nine years were because my parents told me so; the last four were by choice. The result was being greatly influenced by the thirst for knowledge central to the core of the Augustinian and Marist traditions. A summarizing of that thirst is the need to seek knowledge, particularly the truth. In order to accomplish this, you have to remind yourself often to look at the entire scope of a project – not just the part central to whatever fight you hold dear.

Perhaps that’s why I’ve been laughing at some of the commentary about the dislike of the Pepsi sign. Among the popular arguments presented against those speaking out about it is that there are bigger issues affecting the city of Birmingham. After all, it’s a little ridiculous to be all worked up over a sign paid for by a long-time Birmingham-based business advertising a New York-based multi-national business founded in North Carolina, right? (Granted, that’s the least of PepsiCo’s problems right now…)

Yes, here are a lot of major issues facing the general population of Birmingham. However, if you think about the original reason for the sign it is covering, its placement, and its visibility, you realize it speaks more to the pecking order of major issues affecting the region. At least, that’s why I’ve been vocal about the sign. I’ll explain:

Those finding issues with the installation of the advertisement probably wouldn’t be as vocal as they are if the skirting of city law wasn’t flaunted in their faces in the form of a party overlooking the city. While forgotten in recent years, the display board it covers was installed to brag about the potential for Birmingham as part of its centennial. It leaves many, including myself, wondering if the choruses wouldn’t have been muted ever so slightly if the money spent on this unveiling were publicly shared with one of the city’s missions or outreach programs, tackling an issue of significance directly. Well?

The sign is visible from much of the city proper, especially areas west of downtown. When poverty grips approximately 30% of our city (or more based on the screenshot of an interactive map created by The New York Times earlier this year), does it give them hope as they see a sign installed for an undisclosed amount of money advertising one of many soft drinks that lends itself to the state’s ranking among states fighting obesity (regardless if it places us in the top 5 or farther down the upper reaches of that kind of list)?


When quality affordable housing is not a reality for many and the ability to find some in an area that allows you to get to work and have access to the basics is increasingly hard for citizens, what does that sign say to them? How many homes could be renovated or built with those funds? Whether intended or not, and regardless of where the conversation is taking place – fellowship halls, barber shops, libraries, parks, living rooms, or Facebook – discussions are taking place that vocal online participants aren’t as plugged into as we may believe.

Maybe the sign serves as a more powerful mirror to the community about its priorities, placing corporate objectives above the social needs of the city? What if you’re so concerned with fighting against “the man” that you blow off people willing to help with some piece of a solution? Could a removal of the advertisement include monies being given to those organizations and initiatives working to battle the bigger issues? The need to polish a public image can lead to some interesting partnerships, but we may not find out.

Recent weeks have reminded me of just how polarized a community can become, potentially keeping people from realizing they might be working towards the same goals. The opportunity for those partnerships to be forged and acted upon become harder when antagonistic baiting of a captive audience becomes more entertaining to some instead of digging a little deeper to find out how others may tick. There are far more constructive ways to make noise and hold up that mirror than saying there’s only one way to fight a battle. The city will move forward in spite of the nitpicking. It could move a lot farther if it was more civil. We’d also do a lot better of we looked at the entire situation when thinking about how to tackle one piece. Isolating yourself from being a true part of the solution is a sad thing indeed.

Maybe it’s time to rewrite former UAB president Joseph Volker‘s famous quote? Instead of dreaming “too-little dreams,” we need to start accomplishing more and more goals. The pointing, waving, and name-calling is doing more to destroy potential progress before it even begins, though it’s being done in the name of raising awareness. Awareness is needed, but so is the need to recognize how to act like adults and agree to disagree.

Otherwise, we do a great disservice to Birmingham if we continue to isolate, name-call, and posture too childishly.

André Natta is the stationmaster of

More numbers (and theories) to study with the Haney deal

Social_Security_Building_(1974)There’s been a great deal of conversation about the proposed lease agreement that would see the City of Birmingham occupy more than 263,000 square feet of space in the former Social Security building, particularly about the PAC transfers John Archibald has written about in several widely-read pieces for

Campaign finance reform is a major issue, and one worthy of scrutiny at any time – especially during an election year. I’m looking forward to seeing what else John is able to uncover in the coming days and weeks and to the public responses to the allegations. I’d like to look at something else today though – the deal itself and a crazy theory as to why it’s being floated in the first place.

Let’s run the deal’s numbers too

The proposed deal’s lease rate is what’s most significant. John references $139 million over 30 years. His fellow journalist Joseph Bryant, as late as the morning of February 17, was referencing $127 million as the figure. It makes a big difference. John’s figure works out to $17.62 per square foot per year for the life of the lease while Joseph’s comes to $16.10/sq. ft. The current average rate for office rentals in Birmingham, AL proper according to LoopNet is $16.72/sq. ft., making Joseph’s figure look very favorable for the city (even if the length of the lease is questionable – more on that shortly).

John’s figure looks favorable depending on how you believe the deal would be structured normally. If Haney used $16.11, the average for the metro area, as a baseline with an annual 3% increase applied, it’s the equivalent of what the year 4 rate would be – again, something quite favorable to the city. If Haney decided to look at the rate as escalating every five (5) years, it’s the equivalent of the year 20 rate, one much more favorable to him.

Looking at those numbers, concerned citizens’ comments, and the dollar amounts being floated around via pro-forma comparisons, the biggest issue monetarily is the lease’s length. It seems as though there’s a plan (or at least a perceived, albeit limited) desire to get this done as soon as possible, but you could see what Boston’s newly elected mayor (and one Fast Company says we need to watch) Martin Walsh does with his City Hall and hold it up as an example. Here’s the PDF of the proposal candidate Walsh floated during his campaign.

The point? The lease shouldn’t be 30 years long (and the city should be looking elsewhere for viable options); it should be long enough for the city to identify and complete its long-term plans. We can tackle non-traditional options in a future piece, but needless to say the deal should continue to be called into question for several reasons.

Why are we doing this again?

My somewhat twisted observations lead to a discussion about the other issue that hasn’t been getting attention – why is the city looking to consolidate police, fire, and the municipal court into one space in the first place? The answer becomes more apparent when you look at the fair market values applied to the city-owned properties in question.

While private citizens pay property taxes on their residences and commercial properties to the city, Birmingham doesn’t pay them to itself, so it gets a chance to see a double benefit from vacating these structures if they put the properties up for sale. First, there’s the instant benefit from selling them off (leading to an instant infusion of cash into a city that’s seen several years of tenuous budget negotiations). There’s also the ability to collect property taxes in addition to sales taxes and business taxes depending on how the land’s used.

How much could they bring in for the properties in question? If you add up the fair market values of all the city owned land occupied and/or adjoining the existing facilities, it would be questionable if Birmingham let go of it all for less than $9.5 million. Note this is based on the fair market value assigned by the county tax assessor; the actual amount received could be much higher depending on demand. Any new structures or redevelopment of the property would be sure to increase that value, only adding to the potential long-term revenue.

Downtown Birmingham is a hot market, with several developments planned for the area surrounding the most valuable of the three sets of land – police headquarters. The projects scheduled for completion around it stand to completely remake downtown – while adding significant value to the Fountain Heights neighborhood (yes, that’s Fountain Heights):

We could also talk about its proximity to Innovation Depot, Railroad Park, Regions Field, and all of the residential developments announced and unannounced for that portions of Southside. Do we finally see a new grocery store for downtown (one its residents will be willing to support)? Is additional residential development possible (resulting in a different amount of taxes collected)? Might we see another skyscraper climb toward the sky downtown? Money and politics are definitely front and center, but we should look at all the ways they’re involved in this instance.

André Natta is the stationmaster for

An open letter to Al Roker

Mr. Roker:

Pardon the formality, but the folks at Mt. St. Michael Academy in the Bronx would be upset with me if I didn’t maintain it to a certain degree while writing this note. The previous sentence would suggest correctly that I’m a native of New York City, one who can claim to have grown up watching your forecasts on WNBC-TV until heading off to college in Georgia in 1993. I’ve been a fan for a long time and have appreciated the frankness over the years (I’m specifically thinking about our freak snow storm in early March 1993).

I’m writing not to question your comments about the recent handling of the winter storm in Atlanta – that seems fairly spot on given the information at hand – but to question the generalizations made during the start of the 9 a.m. ET hour of Today on January 30 that while probably not intended, lumped many Southern cities together in a broad characterization of the situation. I’m particularly interested on how those comments reflect on what happened in Alabama, where I’ve lived since late 2004. I only wish I could link to a video of the segment in question – it only seems fair. I’ll just write from the heart though and see how it goes.

01272014 Area ForecastThe image to your left is representative of the graphics used by many media outlets in north central Alabama on Monday evening. As you can see, Birmingham and the majority of its surrounding area was only forecast to see a “dusting” of snow. The area that was predicted to receive the brunt of the storm was the southern portion of the state (mostly areas south of Demopolis), one that received a state of emergency declaration by Gov. Bentley earlier Monday. Most of the resources needed to tackle what would normally be a minor mess were sitting well to the south of the state’s largest city – the area that was eventually most affected. It was an area that was still expecting less than an inch as late as the 5:35 a.m. graphiccast post made to the NWS Birmingham’s page on Facebook.

Are there things that could have been handled differently? Yes. But, in our case, it was a case of Mother Nature making a last minute change and everyone being caught flat-footed. That would be what the folks at USA Today reported yesterday, about half way down the page in their wrap-up. The meteorologists at our television stations have been taking it on the chin – more than they probably should considering part their job is to predict something that isn’t always easy to understand. Among them:

Considering the circumstances, it went about as well as could be expected. Those parts of the state originally scheduled to receive snow were able to cope with the change in forecast, most notably Mobile. Those areas up here responded admirably considering the circumstances, demonstrating what Birmingham News columnist John Archibald properly described a chance to “marvel at the human spirit.” It’s something still on display today as we await the thaw.

Perhaps we’ll figure out a way to do staggered releases from school and work in the future. Maybe the opportunity to look at how sprawl played a role in the large numbers of cars stranded on interstates and highways will be taken advantage of as we recover. I live in the southeastern United States, but I specifically live in the state of Alabama. It handled it as well as it could.

I saw on your Twitter timeline that you like it when articulate points are presented. I only hope you’d consider this one as we continue through what’s already been a crazy winter across the country – the need to measure the use of words carefully and not to lump folks without recognizing the weight that comment may carry. I’d just say Georgia, and not “the South,” but that’s just me.

Anyway, have a safe trip to the Olympics, and thanks for taking my comments into consideration.

André Natta started The Terminal in 2007.