Published on January 31st, 2018 |


Buckhead Coalition sculpts ‘Atlanta Together’ theme at annual luncheon

The Buckhead Coalition, one of Atlanta’s most powerful nonpartisan political organizations, has adopted the theme “Atlanta Together,” and is urging others to come together as one starting with its 29th Annual Meeting Jan. 31, following a rhetorically divisive city election last fall.


Building on its mission to “Nurture the quality of life of those who live, visit, work, and play in its 28-square-mile boundary”, the Coalition—a by-invitation-only

Former Atlanta Mayor and Buckhead Coalition President Sam Massell Presents the crystal sculpture representing Atlanta Together to new Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms.

group of business leaders—takes a keen  interest in local elections, funding and endorsing candidates through its Better Community Political Action Committee (BC PAC).


The Coalition’s BC PAC endorsed and funded the campaigns of candidates in 2017 contests for Mayor, City Council, and Board of Education, and does so as well in Municipal Judges races when contested.  The Coalition endorsed Mayor Bottoms’ opposition in the mayor’s race, Buckhead resident and former City Council member Mary Norwood. The elections take place every four years, the 2018 inauguration for which was held Jan. 2.


The Coalition took the lead in starting the campaigns by introducing the eight most creditable participants in the mayoral race at its Annual Meeting in January 2017.  It also raised close to $100,000 in voluntary member-contributions for its PAC activity.


Of the most active contenders, only three of the 26 (plus 10 judgeships) were officially qualified without opponents.  The BC PAC reasoned a healing process is needed and will be beneficial to the city at large, considering that some contests came down to practically a 50-50 division, according to a statement.


The president of the Coalition (and manager of the PAC) is Sam Massell, a former Mayor of Atlanta.  In conducting this year’s Annual Coalition Meeting, Mayor Massell presented Atlanta’s new mayor and keynote speaker, Keisha Lance Bottoms, a Hans Fräbel 13-inch–wide crystal trophy of two hands stretched to grasp and symbolize “Atlanta Together”.


New  Mayor Bottoms said she wants to be all-inclusive to make the city united, not divided. “I will work to make sure we are working for the entire city. … Like I said in my inaugural address, Atlanta is an international city, an Olympic city. We pave our future success with the success of others like (previous Mayors) Ivan Allen, Andrew Young, Sam Massell,” she said.


Each of the luncheon guests at the 190-capacity 103 West Ballroom venue received a gift bag including a miniature glass replica of the handshake.  Strengthening the theme of “Atlanta Together,” each guest received an autographed copy of the biography of the Coalition’s founding President Massell, titled “Play it again, Sam.”


The biography heralds Massell’s legacy of keeping Atlanta together during his service as City Council President and Mayor in the 60s and early 70s, peacefully guiding the transformation of Atlanta from an all-white power structure to a predominantly black city government.


In addition, each of the Gas South-provided Tote Bags included a complimentary copy of the just-published 24th edition of the Coalition’s annual award-winning Buckhead Guidebook, a $50 complimentary Buckhead Life Restaurant Group gift card and a $50 St. Regis Hotel Atlas Restaurant gift card (with a total cumulative value of $18,000), plus free commemorative photos.


Other program participants included Licia Affer, Rector of Saint Anne’s Episcopal Church, who gave the invocation; and present Coalition Chairman Juanita Baranco who expressed general greetings. Former Coalition Chairman Niles Bolton presented the Nomination Committee Report electing Harrison Coleman, David Coxon, Andy Isakson, Linda Klein, and Charlie Mann for three-year Executive Committee terms.


–John Schaffner

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