City Government

Published on February 2nd, 2017 |


Buckhead Coalition Meeting Addresses The 2017 City Election

Based on audience reaction, the 2017 Buckhead Coalition Annual Meeting on Wednesday, January 25 surpassed all previous levels of approval.  Basking in Buckhead’s double-degree of business success, this nonprofit group of heavy-hitters has scored again.  Bar-B-Q, Buck Sculpture, and Baranco, that’s its headline style for this year’s event, well earned.

After twenty-eight years of very special invitation-only luncheons, its miniscule staff – – varying from two to three-and-a-half – – adjusted its format to address what its President, Sam Massell, described as “the most important issue facing our Community, our City, even our Region as 2017 unfolds”.  With nineteen names surfacing as either announced or rumored candidates for Mayor of Atlanta for the term of 1918 through 2021, the rush was on for the limited seats available at the 103 West meeting venue.

Since being created in 1988 by Charlie Loudermilk and a dozen of his friends, intent on protecting the progress and prosperity of the Buckhead Community, Massell has continued to build on the association’s mission to “Nurture the Quality of Life of those who Live, Visit, Work, and Play in its twenty-eight square miles.”  Each January it has brought together the area’s top business, civic, governmental, and media magnets for a complimentary celebration with a cocktail reception, filet mignon luncheon and nationally prominent keynoter.

This year it skipped the fancy fixings and opted for down-home pulled-pork with all the trimmin’s served on red checkered table cloths to 180 guests.  “The reason for this image”, Massell explained, “was the local election fever that will set the stage for continued success of Atlanta.”  Massell, a former Mayor of this City himself, interviewed all of the contestants he could contact, from which he pruned eight as creditable current candidates (admitting still others are expected to qualify before the August deadline).

If this wasn’t enough to interest a feature writer, part of the meeting also included awarding of a Fräbel crystal Buck’s Head sculpture trophy to outgoing Chairman Jeff Sprecher, Chief Executive Officer of the New York Stock Exchange, for his outstanding service, plus election of his replacement of Juanita Baranco, COO of Baranco Automotive Group, a former Georgia Assistant Attorney General, and the first African-American to Chair the State’s Board of Regents.  Other officers elected (for two-year terms) were Massell as President, Joe Evans and William Harrison as Vice Presidents, and *Bartow Morgan for Secretary/Treasurer, plus the following Executive Committee Members (for three-year terms) Sam Candler, David Lanier, Addie Mathes, Rick Warren, and Jeremy Wing. 

To remind its guests of the theme for the nonpartisan event, (remembering Massell is a Democrat managing a membership of mostly Republicans), an adjournment Gift Bag filled with related material of interest, included a copy of President Trump’s “The Art of the Deal” book.

Without editing either version, the Coalition made it known that today’s meeting has been recorded and made available publicly as follows (Georgia Public Broadcasting audio, and Dream Factory video, then click on the Buckhead Mayoral Forum).

[*Note, this is a correction.]

About The Buckhead Coalition

THE BUCKHEAD COALITION is an influential nonprofit civic association, much like a chamber of commerce, for this affluent northern quadrant of the city of Atlanta.  Its membership is limited to 100 CEOs of major area firms, by invitation.  Its mission is to “nurture the quality of life and help coördinate an orderly growth” within its 28 square miles, with a population of over 87,000.  It was formed in 1988.  Its founding President is Sam Massell, a former Mayor of Atlanta.  Its Chairman (changed every two years) is Juanita P. Baranco, Chief Operating Officer of Mercedes-Benz of Buckhead.

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