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U.S. Rep. Cynthia McKinney Praises DeKalb Commission Votes On Economic Development

April 30, 1998

From concept to today’s vote, Congresswoman McKinney played an integral role in bringing "Magic" to DeKalb County.

(Decatur, GA.): U.S. Representative Cynthia McKinney (D-4th-GA) today praised the actions by the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners on two key economic development projects for south DeKalb County. The first vote was to create a development authority to help with the development of a hotel and conference center at Interstate 20 and Panola road in eastern DeKalb County. The vote was 4 - 2 (with one Commissioner abstaining). The second vote was on a tax roll back for South DeKalb Mall to allow it to develop a financing package to build a Magic Johnson Theater at the mall. South DeKalb Mall is located at Interstate 20 and Candler Road.

On November 17, 1996, Congresswoman McKinney attended church with Mr. Ervin "Magic" Johnson at Greater Piney Grove Baptist Church. The Congresswoman took the opportunity to discuss economic development issues in the Fourth Congressional District with Mr. Johnson. She indicated that Magic Johnson Theaters should take a serious look at locating at South DeKalb Mall.

Mr. Johnson agreed he would review any information provided by the Congresswoman’s office. On Monday, November 18, 1996 the Congresswoman hand delivered a package to Mr. Johnson that gave the economic demographics of south DeKalb County. After reviewing the information provided by the Congresswoman, Mr. Johnson’s brokers contacted the mall directly.

From concept to today’s vote, Congresswoman McKinney played an integral role in bringing "Magic" to DeKalb County. The Congresswoman’s office attended meetings, briefings and numerous lunches to help workout the financing as well as political strategy for today’s vote.

In a series of letters, faxes and telephone calls, McKinney noted the importance of the Magic Johnson Theater project and the Panola Road hotel project to the overall economic health of the Fourth District. In a memorandum to the Board of Commissioners, McKinney noted that the theater project was not "corporate welfare" as portrayed in the press but a, " . . . sound investment for DeKalb County and the Fourth Congressional District."

In closing, McKinney commented, "I can only personally assure that this project is worthy of your support. Stabilizing existing businesses, securing and creating jobs via economic development projects are legitimate functions of federal, state and local government. If this were not the case, we would not have the U.S. Department of Commerce, the Georgia Department of Industry, Trade and Tourism or your very own Economic Development Department."

November 18, 1996

Mr. Ervin "Magic" Johnson
Magic Johnson Theaters
2841 Greenbriar Parkway, S.W.
Atlanta, Georgia 30331

Dear Mr. Johnson:

It was an honor meeting you at the Greater Piney Grove Baptist Church on Sunday, November 17, 1996. During the conversation we had on economic development you wanted to see the demographics on the area of discussion. After you review the profile of DeKalb County, I’m sure you will agree that there are great expansion possibilities in this region.

I look forward to talking with you about economic development in DeKalb County. Feel free to contact me or Jocco Baccus, a member of my staff in the South DeKalb office, at (404) 244-9902. Thanks so much for your time and attention.

With warm personal regards, I remain


Cynthia McKinney
Member of Congress


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