Ambassador Andrew Young has worn many hats in his storied life of service to Atlanta.
In the 1970s, he served as a Congressman for Georgia’s 5th District and Ambassador to the United Nations as part of the Carter administration.
For most of the '80s, he was mayor of Atlanta, and in the years since has established the Andrew J. Young Foundation to continue work on economic, educational and human rights issues around the world.
He sat down with Rickey Bevington in the SkyView Ferris Wheel in Downtown Atlanta and shared some of his perspectives on issues past, present and future.
ON ATLANTA’S PROBLEMS
Problems are opportunities. Everything we see here [from the Ferris wheel] practically started off as a problem.
CNN used to be The World of Sid and Marty Krofft and they had an ice rink there. It didn't really work, but it was about the same time that Ted Turner was getting an idea.
Ted at that time was running Turner Network, which was wrestling, baseball and creature features.
I mean, that was what TNT was known for, but as it evolved into CNN it was really good that nobody else bought that building, because it was a perfect home for Atlanta to view the world and the world come and view Atlanta.
ON ATLANTA’S INFRASTRUCTURE
Well you know we are fairly good on infrastructure. And we had a good infrastructure plan, we just need the money to extend MARTA.
But we had an outer perimeter – where we had already bought the land, designed it [to be] 65 miles from the center of the city beyond I-285.
I-285 is 30-35 miles from the center of the city.
We had land for the outer perimeter that was 65 miles from the center of the city and we had purchased land for what we called the Northern Arc.
I don't know what we can do to restore that, but every time I have a traffic jam I think that this didn't have to be. This truck that turned over should've been 65 miles outside the city and not coming through I-285, I-20. And we’ve gotta go back and do that.