Saturday, January 3, 2009

Special Interests, A Campaign of Disinformation


The Atlanta-Fulton Central Library, built by legendary architect Marcel Breuer is one of the most iconic structures in Atlanta. However, there appears to be (by default) a stealth campaign, orchestrated by elements within the local government - namely Fulton County Commissioner Rob Pitts and Library Director John Szabo, who think this building is of no use and needs to go away - to muddle and confuse the well-documents issue at hand. Which is that Szabo and Pitts was quoted by another commissioner, Lynn Riley, as stating that Pitts et all were attempting to do the unthinkable.. with Riley saying "it was disappointing that a comprehensive library facility master plan could be hijacked for an un-substantiated purpose".

However, now that these same individuals - Szabo and Pitts - have been made aware that a growing movement for preservation is underway, they - particularly Mr. Szabo - have been disseminating information through what would appear to be one or more "covert" operatives who go about claiming - on chat boards, architectural sites and hearsay conversations - that they have inside information to the fact that the site is not at risk, further stating that there is no need for a preservation effort because the building is safe. I believe this rhetoric is coming from Szabo, because in a private conversation back in July 2008 (in the parking lot of the county commissioners building) John Szabo attempted to make me believe the same thing - even after he had endorsed Pitt's plan to strip all funding, using the money instead to build a new central. But if that is so, that the building is not threatened, then why don't Robb Pitts and John Sazbo just say that for themselves...on the record? Why don't they just hold a press conference and produce legally binding documents which provide such remarkable assurances? Yes, If John Szabo and Robb Pitts are committed to preserve the current Central Library, then why did they maneuver to defund the site of the originally proposed $34,000,000 for upgrades and renovation, and have been instead raising money ($84,000,000) to building a new site?

And furthermore, why is John Szabo on the record in this op-ed piece published in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, where he passionately advocates building a new central, lavishing praise on Robb Pitts while making absolutely no mention that no one ever asked for a new central - that the existing central is an 8-story building, approximately 260,000 sq ft. in size, taking up a full city block - and only 28- years old..."serving it's purpose" quite well as stated by Isabelle Hyman, Professor Emerita at NYU - Guggenheim Fellow - author of Marcel Breuer, Architect:The Career And The Buildings. And why doesn't John Szabo, Rob Pitts or the Atlanta Journal-Constitution mention the fact that Mr. Szabo used to be the Library Director in Clearwater (Tampa) whereupon he successfully advocated for the existing Central Library there to be demolished and a new one built...with that exact thing having happened. Then no less than 5 years later he's in Atlanta, attempting to do the same thing.

Hello? Are we to believe that all this is mere coencidence!

But most importantly, why has none of these questions been answered, when one considers that when all is said and done, the entire cost of restructuring the totality of the Atlanta-Fulton Library System could easily go from the orginally stated $225,000,000 to something like $500,000,000 when one considers all the costs of building a massive new central. I mean, just what is the going rate of purchasing an entire city block these days? I mean, even in these hard times, I would imagine that an entire city block of AAA property would still cost a very pretty penny...and that's just the land!!!

Are John Szabo and Rob Pitts bold faced liars who seem to have no shame? I think so. And I suspect, as with the debacle with The Atlanta-Fulton Buchead Public Library, that it's just a matter of time before it gets revealed that there is some "good old boy" back-room scheme going on, of which to funnel this public property into private hands. But they - the misguided and corrupt -failed with Buckhead (for now) and they will fail with Central.

So I say to Szabo and Pitts...THE GIG IS UP!

Please read and sign our petition here, and help to put a stop to the insanity in Atlanta.

We ask for your support.