Your morning jolt: On grading Shirley Franklin, and whether Mark Sanford uses MapQuest

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

  • 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.
  • Some opinion:

  • 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.
  • And beyond:

  • 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.
  • For instant updates, follow me on Twitter.

    38 comments Add your comment


    June 23rd, 2009
    10:06 am

    what’s franklin doing about the armed robberies near the tech campus? nothing I’m sure.


    June 23rd, 2009
    10:08 am

    I realize after campbell all one had to do to claim an improvement was stay out of jail, but can someone point out 1 fullfilled campaign promise?

    April Malone

    June 23rd, 2009
    10:15 am

    This is outrageous. To award a city contract without oversight and transparency is unethical and contradictary to the ethics reform Franklin claims she championed. Anyone mayorial candidate that would give the current Mayor of Atlanta a grade above a “D” is not qualified to serve in public office. We have a financial train wreck, crooked cops, and more potholes than before Mayor Franklin took office in 2001.


    June 23rd, 2009
    10:23 am

    You can’t serious. Franklin has failed our city. She is just one of many in a long of people who have out forward policy that has hurt this city. She has allowed government to become snobbish and hard to deal with. She gets an F in my book.


    June 23rd, 2009
    10:33 am

    Franklin’s performance is just another reason I’m glad I live OTP!


    June 23rd, 2009
    10:36 am

    Shirley has done a good job? You MUST be kidding. Take off those rose colored glasses.


    June 23rd, 2009
    10:36 am

    A grading system where ‘no child is left behind’. How can one say that she has done a good job when the city is at a financial crossroads, violent crime continues to plauge the city and services continue to be cut? How about an idea or two. Nothing new has come about of city leadership as the administrations are simply a continuation of Maynard Jackson cronyism, they are all cut of his cloth. Not to say that is a bad thing, but where are the new things, the new ideas and bold leadership.

    Will Jones - Atlanta

    June 23rd, 2009
    10:41 am

    Atlanta became “the Wal-Mart of heroin” for the Southeast on Franklin’s watch. Whether Pennington is her first cousin or not, he is part of the problem, and given the way the “Training Day” murder investigation of Kathryn Johnston was “truncated,” Paul Howard, our District Attorney, too.

    A new broom sweeps clean and our city needs a new view in keeping with the restoration of righteous government in Washington under President Obama.

    No more police corruption will be a good start for the next mayor. That Pennington still has a job here gives Mayor Franklin an “F.”


    June 23rd, 2009
    10:48 am

    You must be joking or either there’s two Frankin’s. Look at the crime rate we’ve experienced since she welcomed with open arms, free houses and debit cards all the criminals that came here from New Orleans after Katrina. They have such a huge pool of victims to rob in Atlanta, no way will they ever go back to New Orleans. The crime in this city is out of control. Atlanta will never, ever elect a person who stands tough on crime. All Atlants is about is electing a non-white who will continue to name streets downtown after people that most of us can’t identify with and in the meantime we get robbed and home invaded in her city. Slowly each area of inside the loop becomes too dangerous to go out in at night, like Atlantic Station or Buckhead. Impeach Frankin, she’d need to improve to be elevated to Worthless Status.


    June 23rd, 2009
    10:53 am

    Franklin’s performance is just another reason I’m glad I live OTP!_____________________The trick rick is to live ITP but OTCofA!


    June 23rd, 2009
    10:55 am

    Well said Steve.

    The Snark

    June 23rd, 2009
    10:56 am

    Steve, I’m guessing you don’t live in Atlanta and that your views are not based on real life experience here.

    I live and work in Atlanta, and I see nothing like what you describe. Mayor Franklin dismantled the public housing projects, which took some serious political guts. My job requires me to be downtown at some pretty late hours and I have never felt unsafe. If you look at a plot of crime locations you will see it is extremely concentrated in a few poor residential areas, and nowhere near downtown. Franklin inherited a collosal budget mess from Campbell on day one, and somehow managed to keep the city running on budget despite a City Council that likes to pander to special interests. And, no more TV news crews camped outside City Hall every afternoon waiting for the latest indictment, unlike the previous eight years.

    Sorry guys, but you’re wrong on this one. Franklin did a pretty damn good job.


    June 23rd, 2009
    10:56 am

    I’d grade her about a ZERO.


    June 23rd, 2009
    11:02 am

    Hi Snark: I live in the city of Atlanta. I’m guessing that you don’t. Steve was absolutely correct. Crime in this city is out of control and it is NOT isolated to a few “poor residential areas”. Unless, you consider midtown, morningside, va highlands, inman park, grant park,L5P, east atlanta village poor residential areas. Franklin gets and F and she needs to send Pennington back to New Orleans.

    Eric W.

    June 23rd, 2009
    11:03 am

    Franklin has done a great job. She will go down as one of the great mayors in Atlanta’s history. You people who disagree are the minority.


    June 23rd, 2009
    11:19 am

    At least she grabbed the bull by the horns with the massive sewer projects that needed to be fixed. After that it seemed she started to focus on other issues besides what the city needed. Maybe the mess with her ex-husband and the drug charges with her daughter or was it her daughter in law, knocked her off track?


    June 23rd, 2009
    11:27 am

    Franklin has transformed her own image and not that of the city. Our streets are a physical mess (just try driving on Juniper at 10th and you’ll see what I mean) and crime is at epidemic proportions intown. But hey… business leaders love her and she fixed the sewer so I guess she is the best Mayor ever… what a joke.


    June 23rd, 2009
    11:38 am

    When evaluating Shirley Franklin, paraphrasing Mae West works perfectly: “When Franklin was good, she was very good. But when she was bad, she stunk!”

    While she solved many existing problems, Shirley Franklin didn’t seem to have the foresight needed to be proactive about others. While she inherited a mess, in terms of budgeting, accounting and recordkeeping, high economic times allowed her to avoid addressing those issues.

    I think her biggest successes included cleaning up City Hall after Inmate #03-6859 allowed the payroll to inflate to the size of his ego, taking care of the sewer issue that many previous mayors ignored and always giving the city 110%. Agree or disagree with her, she wasn’t one of those who wanted the title or was focused getting into higher office.

    Her failures include not addressing Atlanta’s burden of providing services for a disproportional amount of the metro area’s needy, letting the term “public safety” become an oxymoron, and failing to pare down the City of Atlanta auxiliary services to the size of other similarly sized cities, instead trying to match larger cities in similarly sized metro areas. (Atlanta metro is the size of Washington, DC, Houston, Boston and Houston. Atlanta the city is the size of Tuscon, Albuquerque and Fresno.) Franklin should have either shut down services for the needy or demanded the other parts of the metro area pay their fair share.


    June 23rd, 2009
    11:43 am

    If you call failed water system, fire station closures, and police furloughs, corrupt police department and extreme arrogance doing a good
    job, then she was great.


    June 23rd, 2009
    11:44 am

    Relax Steve, pretty soon there will be a blog about how much one hates blacks.


    June 23rd, 2009
    11:46 am

    Who can not say that this administration has failed miserably ?


    June 23rd, 2009
    11:53 am

    Let’s judge her on today’s headlines alone: The Fulton County courthouse is still not safe. It was under her watch that 4 innocent people lost their lives, you can’t get much more ‘downtown’ than that Snark. The Feds had to take over the jail because the city of Atlanta was not able to contain Brian Nichols; he was too big a threat for her appointed police chief to handle. That whole incident was a huge embarrassment to this city. Robbings still plague the DOWNTOWN college campuses. Other areas on the fringe of being downtown, still urban enough areas to be considered downtown such as Grant Park and Little 5 Points and Midtown are just three areas that are wrought with crime. Two weeks ago the FBI named Atlanta the second most dangerous city in America to live in. That report included downtown, Shark. I am quite sure why you’re taking up for her, there’s no look of shock on my face. For Gods sake, one of the mayoral candidates has been robbed and home invaded, both incidents within a 6 month period.. Do you think she will say aything to upset the Queen and her legion of followers who decide who will protect me and yes I do inside the 285 loop. I am a tax paying citizen and I find her totally useless, impotent and ineffective to lead a city the size of Atlanta. Where is she anyway? With the spike in crime we’re seeing in Atlanta you’d think she be on TV calming the natural fears we have in the city. Stop the mindest that only black can effectively lead Atlanta. Clark Howard could turn this city around in one term but he’ll never have a snowballs chance in hell of being elected in this city. Snark, have you tried to buy LEGAL ammo in this city lately? It’s impossible to find. Everyone is stocking up because we feel so unsafe. She gets an F- from me.


    June 23rd, 2009
    11:59 am

    When was the last time this “mayor” even deigned it necessary to speak to the people of her city? She is an arrogant and aloof self-serving and useless all at the same time.


    June 23rd, 2009
    12:03 pm

    I sincerely applaud her efforts in pushing the COA government into the realm of respectability/transparency during her 1st term.

    However, she’s been nonexistent since being re-elected (I got a kick out of CL’s “Where’s Shirley?” column they use to run as she was seen virtually everywhere on the planet except Atlanta for a considerable stretch). She’s seemed more consumed with rubbing elbows with the DNC – positioning herself for her next job? – than the city that had elected/hired her.

    In dire times, when we’ve desperately needed strong, positive, innovative leadership (crime, economy), she has done very little, if anything.

    However, I’d probably vote for her over any of the current candidates. Not one of them seems to be ready for the job.


    June 23rd, 2009
    12:04 pm

    Recently our neighborhood — Castleberry Hill — went before the Liquor Board and asked them to not allow a bar in our small neighborhood to acquire an entertainment license. That license would allow them to have music and crowds till late at night in a neighborhood reeling from the out-of-control party atmosphere… there is no parking so people feel free to block driveways and crosswalks… car break-ins are epidemic and people are held up at gunpoint on a daily basis and the police have been continuously absent. But none of that mattered to Shirley. When the Liquor Board denied them the license, they went to the Mayor and she vetoed the Board’s decision. THAT is the sort of Mayor we have. Forget the citizens… and what they want. If you are a bar owner and know the Mayor, you get your way.


    June 23rd, 2009
    12:46 pm

    Well, hiring the Chief of Police from New Orleans is a little like hiring Bernie Madoff to be the Financial Consultant for the city.


    June 23rd, 2009
    12:47 pm

    Quite happy with this fair city (I actually live here) warts and all– OTP– not if you paid me… Franklin– a B+ to an A-… pretty good mayor all in all… BTW– the mayor of Atlanta has no oversight over the FULTON county courthouse or the jail…

    Copyleft, you are an idiot

    June 23rd, 2009
    12:56 pm

    Each candidate should withdraw from the race. That anyone would vote for these clowns is amazing.
    shirley is the head clown in the new Ringling Brothers big tent. She deserves no more that a D minus.

    The Snark

    June 23rd, 2009
    1:55 pm

    Steve, the Mayor of Atlanta has absolutely nothing to do with the Fulton County Jail or the Fulton County Courthouse. Those are county facilities under the control of the Fulton County government, not the City of Atlanta.

    How can you form an opinion of an elected official when you don’t even know what she is — and is not — responsible for?


    June 23rd, 2009
    2:55 pm

    Point taken Snark; still she fails miserably and no one seems to know where she is. She will never be elected to any position state wide in Georgia so we’re left to believe she’s spending her day pandering to the DNC in hopes of an appointment of some type since the possibility of her being elected to any position state wide in Georgia is slim to none, at best. The overwhelming opinion on this blog is that she has failed us miserably. Copyleft-you are an idiot…I agree; the whole confederacy of dunces waiting to lay claim to her vacant post should do all of us a favor and dry up and blow away!


    June 23rd, 2009
    8:06 pm

    This tells us that they are all in the same boat. The city is in shambles and they are trying to play politics in having an opportunity to grade the mayor. If I was there, and they asked me, I would give her a “C”. The city current;ly has not been managed and is not running well. The grades she received from the candidates make me real suspect of their knowledge of government and administration.

    If that is what thyey gave her, I am very afraid of what we will get from them.


    June 23rd, 2009
    8:28 pm

    Shifty Shirley grades a total 0. She can’t run the dog pound much less the city.

    John Stevens

    June 23rd, 2009
    8:48 pm

    You all are missing the point. The candidates aren’t attacking her because her poll numbers are still high. People like Shirley. The opinions on this blog are the minority.

    Bobby Dodd

    June 23rd, 2009
    10:16 pm

    Dude, what planet are you on? Anyone who has had to deal with Rob Hunter, Chief Pennybrain, or any of the other brilliant hires made by Mayor “wilted carnation” Franklin would agree. John, pull your head out of the sand….that hack ran the city into the ground while chasing the NASCAR hall of fame and dropping 14 million dollars to support Dallas Austin’s cocaine habit (ie: the ATL themesong/Brand Atlanta campaign).

    Franklin cant leave soon enough. Good riddance to everyday rubbish ATL politicians.

    b+ for shirley? « ATLmalcontent

    June 23rd, 2009
    11:06 pm

    [...] for shirley? Published June 23, 2009 the ATL Leave a Comment That’s the average grade given to the current mayor by those who seek to succeed her. Councilwoman Mary Norwood, first to [...]


    June 23rd, 2009
    11:51 pm

    Grading shirley the deadbeat? Are you keerazy? An F-. Shirley knows she’s a lying shyster and can’t perform, why do we need to be asked to validate that?

    John Stevens

    June 24th, 2009
    9:43 am

    I’m on the same planet as the majority of people who LIVE in the city of Atlanta.

    Sam Z.

    June 24th, 2009
    3:59 pm

    Is this a trick question?