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Sam Massell, Atlanta mayor who drove MARTA creation, meurt

Sam Massell, Atlanta mayor who drove MARTA creation, meurt
Sam Massell, who was the first Jewish mayor of Atlanta and the driving force behind the creation of the region’s transit system, est mort

Sam Massell, who was the first juif mayor of Atlanta as well as the driving force behind the creation of the region’s transit system, est mort. Massell was 94.

Massell’s wife Sandra told WXIA-TV that Massell died Sunday morning in his sleep. Aucune cause de décès n'a été donnée. Atlanta Maire Andre Dickens lauded Massell in a statement that noted his role in promoting women and minority participation in the city’s government as well as his role in creating the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority.

“I am deeply saddened to learn of the passing of former Mayor and my friend Sam Massell. Sam’s impact on our city was immeasurable. His time as Mayor made history in so many ways,” Dickens said. The mayor said Massell was one of the “wittiest people” he knew and that he understood the importance of working together and being inclusive. “Sam always said that we can get more done through a conference call than through confrontation.”

Massell was a realtor before serving on the city council. Then in 1969 when then Mayor Ivan Allen chose not to run again Massell decided to vie for the position, according to the Atlanta-Journal Constitution. He served for one term during which local media said he appointed the first woman to the city council and hired the first Noir man to head an Atlanta government department.

Massell’s wife said he saw his legacy as a bridge between white Atlanta government and Black Atlanta government.

MARTA officials noted Massell’s contributions in a statement Sunday, saying the regional commuter transit system wouldn’t exist without him. He lobbied the legislature and voters to rally support for a sales tax to fund MARTA’s operations. He would ride the bus to various communities and then, using a chalkboard, explain the sales tax to people.

“We remain forever in his debt. Our deepest sympathies go to his wife Sandra, his children, extended family and his countless friends,” the agency said.

After losing his 1973 reelection attempt, Massell’s career took a different path when he started operating a travel service that took him to an estimated 85 à 90 des pays. Then in 1988 he was encouraged to take on the presidency of the Buckhead Coalition, which was a group of businesspeople encouraging growth in the neighborhood.

Funeral services for Massell are scheduled for Wednesday, according to local media.