Disruptors: Ignore public policy at your peril

By Eric Tanenblatt

The disruption economy took one on the chin last month when a Pennsylvania regulatory panel saddled Uber, the popular ride-sharing service, with an outrageous $11.4 million fine, a total more than six times greater than any penalty the commission had ever set. Continue reading

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The solution to Georgia’s ‘millennial challenge’

By Eric Tanenblatt

The simmering controversy generated by Georgia’s felled religious liberty proposal laid bare social tensions—friction between religious conservatives who feel marginalized by a government they consider hostile and businesses concerned that local commerce will tank if the state is deemed hostile—that typify the 21st century challenge for policy makers: how best to foster a civic and political environment that is conducive to business and appealing to millennials. Continue reading

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Gov. Nathan Deal’s conservative choice on religious liberty

By Eric Tanenblatt, Dentons

Eric Tanenblatt, leader of the Public Policy and Regulation practice, Dentons

Eric Tanenblatt, leader of the Public Policy and Regulation practice, Dentons

The action by Georgia’s Republican governor this week to formally block a controversial religious liberty proposal caught some allies under the Gold Dome by surprise: the GOP-sponsored bill had sailed through both chambers on a heavy margin and the governor himself supported a related federal measure while serving in the U.S. Congress.

Embittered and desperate, critics have taken to maligning the governor’s conservative credentials and even the strength of his faith. How could a genuine religious conservative, the angry chorus demanded, stonewall protections for those of faith? Continue reading

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In debate, appeal to better angels not base instinct

By Eric Tanenblatt

Eric Tanenblatt, leader of the Public Policy and Regulation practice, Dentons

Eric Tanenblatt, leader of the Public Policy and Regulation practice, Dentons

Faith and feelings last week exploded in Georgia in a shameful display when a frustrated lobbyist likened the capitol’s political climate to the religious oppression of Nazi Germany. At the same time, a political rally for businessman Donald Trump devolved into a literal cage match in Illinois.

And yet even as divergent ideology and seven hundred miles separated these dual skirmishes, they were inexorably bound: a demonstration that reasonable persons may no longer disagree in good conscience but must instead now brawl, in either deed or tongue.

 We should be ashamed, the lot of us, for allowing that. Continue reading

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The disruptive caucus: parties must choose innovators over incumbents

By Eric Tanenblatt, leader of the Public Policy and Regulation practice, Dentons

Eric Tanenblatt, leader of the Public Policy and Regulation practice, Dentons

Eric Tanenblatt, leader of the Public Policy and Regulation practice, Dentons

Every so often, a seemingly fringe product or service will fundamentally reshape the market’s landscape by displacing slow-moving, risk-averse incumbents.

That’s the new normal of business, but too often those in government work to artificially stifle this process by protecting a legacy structure.

Here in Georgia we have no short supply of good old boy-types and politicians eager to insulate them from the challenges of disruptive innovation. That’s a problem, both for commerce and for public policy.

Increasingly, this is the new local partisan divide: not simply left or right, progressive or conservative, but eagerness or resistance to embrace disruptive innovation even when it threatens the entrenched class. Continue reading

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A new hope for an old plant

By Steven Labovitz

Steven Labovitz is a senior partner in the global law practice Dentons. A former chief of staff of the City of Atlanta, he specializes in economic development at the intersection of business and government.

Steven Labovitz is a senior partner in the global law practice Dentons. A former chief of staff of the City of Atlanta, he specializes in economic development at the intersection of business and government.

When General Motors shuttered its half-century-old assembly plant in Doraville, Georgia some eight years ago, the prospects for this aging suburb in Atlanta’s northeast went from dim to outright dark.

What was once a bustling zone of industry and energy had decayed in every sense. The impact of the closure was acute and sweeping, redlining jobs and choking out revenue for an already-struggling school system.

According to recent consumer forecasts by Nielsen, it was estimated that 29 percent of families in the immediate surrounding area of the old plant were subsisting in poverty last year. That same area lost fully 54 percent of its population since 2000. In the same period, roughly half of all jobs had withered away. Continue reading

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In new session, Gold Dome holds keys to state’s future

By Eric Tanenblatt, leader of the Public Policy and Regulation practice, Dentons

Eric Tanenblatt, leader of the Public Policy and Regulation practice, Dentons

Eric Tanenblatt, leader of the Public Policy and Regulation practice, Dentons

When state lawmakers huddle this week in Atlanta to convene the 154th session of the Georgia General Assembly, they will honor the institution’s long tradition of thoughtful solution-making to weighty problems—but whether this year’s slate of legislators actively participate in that culture is entirely at their discretion.

Theirs is a simple choice: to favor collaboration over hyperbole, circumspection over self-aggrandization.

While they have the power to pursue either course, and some inevitably do, they must remember always their responsibility to leave their districts and state a better, freer, more prosperous place than the one they received. That’s a heady responsibility, and not one that will be accomplished through red meat. Continue reading

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For Georgia, a new year and new promise

By Eric Tanenblatt

Eric Tanenblatt, leader of the Public Policy and Regulation practice, Dentons

Eric Tanenblatt is a leader of the Public Policy and Regulation practice at the global law firm Dentons.

As we stand together here on the threshold of a new year, some introspection is due: deeds we’ve left undone, gaps left unfilled, rifts left un-mended.

Always there is more left to be accomplished. But as we submit to this annual call for reflection, let us this year not brood over the failings of the last and instead revel in the remarkable potential of the next.

Now, the setting of resolutions is never easy and keeping them is more difficult still. And for public servants, who must balance intention with the messy business of governing, the dilemma of resolution-setting and keeping is even more acute. Continue reading

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Atlanta stadium deals a chance at city’s rebirth

By Steven Labovitz, senior partner in the global law practice Dentons.

Steven Labovitz is a senior partner in the global law practice Dentons. A former chief of staff of the City of Atlanta, he specializes in economic development at the intersection of business and government.

Steven Labovitz is a senior partner in the global law practice Dentons. A former chief of staff of the City of Atlanta, he specializes in economic development at the intersection of business and government.

When the Colorado Rockies anointed a rundown, neglected patch of property in lower downtown Denver as the site of the franchise’s new ball park some twenty years ago, few envisioned the dramatic renaissance the project would stimulate.

What was once a strip of dive bars and broken glass warehouses is today a vibrant community in which population has fully tripled and business, from fashion boutiques and restaurants to emerging technology firms and consultancies, has boomed. Make no mistake: that stadium, financed primarily through public sources, was the unique catalyst that made this dramatic economic revival possible.

Atlanta, as it grapples with two of its own stadium development projects across the city, would do well to remember this Rockies lesson. The recent decisions by a pair of Atlanta’s professional sports franchises, the Braves and the Falcons, to presently decamp for new stadiums has incited a sometimes-rowdy debate about the value of these venues to the city and county that will host them. Continue reading

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Atlanta’s Commercial Future: Here Today, Everywhere Tomorrow

By Joseph Blanco, Atlanta office managing partner at Dentons

Joseph Blanco serves as the Atlanta office managing partner of the global law firm Dentons.

Joseph Blanco serves as the Atlanta office managing partner of the global law firm Dentons.

It’s no accident that the City of Atlanta exists today as a central actor in the global marketplace.

Here, we host the headquarters of fully 27 FORTUNE 1000 firms. Of them, 16 also appear on the FORTUNE 500 index. In this measure, we safely edge out Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Minneapolis, and Seattle.

Driven by an early and strategic embrace of polycentrism, that measure promises only to grow. Our multinational companies have begun reorganizing the way they operate and think, evolving no longer only to trade western products in foreign markets but instead use local intelligence to develop and market locally inspired products for foreign buyers.

This new model is what we call polycentrism and it’s the way of the future for business. Continue reading

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