During a two-hour evening forum hosted by Leadership Atlanta on Monday, candidates to replace Shirley Franklin were asked how their styles would differ.
None really wanted to make that comparison.
But at the end of the night, each candidate was asked a more provocative question: On a scale of 1 to 100, how would you grade the current mayor?
According to my AJC colleague Eric Stirgus, despite the city’s financial troubles, concerns about crime and other criticisms, she scored well among the candidates.
Councilwoman Mary Norwood, first to respond, gave Franklin an 85. State Sen. Kasim Reed, who was Franklin’s campaign manager for both of her successful mayoral bids, said he’d award her an 88. Or a solid A, if grading on a Bill Campbell curve.
Political newcomers Jesse Spikes and Glenn Thomas gave the mayor an 85 and 80, respectively. The high score came from city council President Lisa Borders, who graded Franklin a 90.
“She has transformed the city,” Borders said, drawing applause from much of the 200 or so in attendance.
We’re not saying grade inflation is at work here. But it’s clear that Franklin remains a popular figure in Atlanta — and that no one’s looking for a serious fight with the mayor as she exits.
Last week, we told you of Carrollton blogger Tim Clark, who had raised some dust with news that, for the last five years, state Rep. Tim Bearden (R-Villa Rica) has been paid $2,100 a month by the city.
The payments were part of a verbal agreement. No contract exists. City officials said Bearden has done secret work for the police department that can’t be discussed, and has helped with safety probrams.
The Times-Georgian, the newspaper in Carrollton has now dipped in as well, with an article that tells of a letter of explanation offered by Mayor Wayne Garner:
There is no written documentation of the work Bearden’s done, Garner notes in the letter, so much as the work product exists “in the minds of our children, our citizens and our community who have been educated or participated in a community policing program.”
…In hindsight, Garner said, the city perhaps should have developed a written agreement with Bearden before he took on the role of consultant, but in the end it was a frugal decision and shows the city’s responsible approach to spending taxpayer dollars.
“Maybe this wasn’t the best way to handle this but this is the best way that we chose to do it,” Garner said. “We’ve found that using people like this saves the city a lot of money.”
The whole world now knows of Mark Sanford’s vanishing act. Seems as if he drove from Columbia to somewhere near Atlanta to get to the Appalachian Trail. Which is a somewhat strange route — MapQuest recommends a drive up to Greenville, S.C., then south on I-85. You go nowhere near Atlanta.
In any case, the State newspaper in Columbia says Sanford has played lone-wolf before:
[State Sen. Jake Knotts , R-Lexington], a longtime Sanford critic, said he contacted SLED Chief Reggie Lloyd Saturday after he heard reports the governor could not be reached.
“Chief Lloyd confirmed that my information is legitimate,” said Knotts. “He shared my concerns” about succession of power.
“I was recently made aware that Governor Sanford has frequently been eluding SLED agents and disappearing at odd times,” Knotts said.
SLED stands for State Law Enforcement Division. It’s the equivalent of the Georgia GBI.
While you ponder that, consider these items found while perusing this morning’s ajc.com:
MARTA fares jump to $2 starting in October. State WIC exec under scrutiny. Supreme Court issues narrow Voting Rights Act ruling. Guardsman from Calhoun dies in Afghanistan. Georgia colleges increase Hispanic enrollment. Georgia’s test monitoring not as tough as other states. Use of federal stimulus to plug holes in the budget won’t hurt chances of winning education grant, the governor’s office says. Another Georgia Tech student robbed at gunpoint.
Your Luckovich fix. Jay Bookman looks at Neda Soltani, the martyr of Tehran. Should Congress eliminate the secret ballot for union drives? Amy Traub says yes. Mac Irvin says no. According to state EPD head, the culture of conservation remains strong despite drought’s end.
From elsewhere in Georgia:
Atlanta Unfiltered: Stephenson says ex-Grady CEO slandered, impugned her virtue.
WP: Confidence in stimulus plan ebbs, poll finds. NYT: In a young woman’s death seen around the world, a symbol of Iranian protests. WSJ: White House to abandon spy-satellite program.
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