Shirley Franklin vs. Bernie Marcus

Someone made the off-hand comment yesterday about how all we ever do is post news links to this site from other sources. While I thought the comment in general was kind of thoughtless and unnecessary; I have been thinking about some stuff as I have been hearing multiple interviews with Bernie Marcus due to the GA Aquarium grand opening this week, and thought I would see what others think.

I think it is interesting that Bernie Marcus (Founder of Home Depot and primary benefactor of the new GA Aquarium, in case you have been living on Mars) will single-handily create more jobs in Atlanta then Shirley Franklin could ever hope to do.

In one interview, I heard him say something along the lines of, “I knew the government could never do anything like this, so I decided to turn to my own checkbook.”

I know there are a lot of Franklin fans out there, some of which are on my side of the aisle; however, I wonder what would happen if Bernie Marcus ever decided to turn his focus to politics. Now, I haven’t ever heard him show any interest in this – it is pure speculation on my part – and I don’t even know what his political philosophy would be. But, I just find it interesting that Bernie Marcus, independent citizen, will do more for this city than the beloved Mayor could do in a century.

Furthermore, let’s compare contributions from both sides: Bernie – has put more than a billion dollars of his own money to Atlanta and Georgia over time; the GA Aquarium being the primary and most effective one, which is projected to bring thousands of jobs to Atlanta and the state. Franklin – a song that sounds worse than fingernails on a chalkboard.

. . . Forgive me if I can’t see what everyone likes in Shirley Franklin.


  1. Ben King says:

    come on, you are grasping here. If Shirley or even Barnes had wanted to spend $200 million dollars on an aquarium you’d be calling them tax and spend liberals. I find this comparison very weak. Yeah, I’m gonna blame Franklin for not contributing $200 million dollars to Atlanta? Geez, what a miser!

  2. GAWire says:

    Let’s see . . . spending $200 million on a program that will bring jobs, tourism, revenue and people to GA or Franklin spending money on a new song, and on a sewer problem that isn’t even close to being fixed.

  3. waterboy says:

    Bernie Marcus did it right – first class all the way. As Mayor, Franklin didn’t do anything to screw this project up and that alone deserves congratulations. If the government tried to build the aquarium it would have sucked and we all know it.

  4. Bill Simon says:

    Bernie Marcus is too smart a person to waste time trying to make a difference in politics. Politicians and bureacrats deliberately try to thwart any attempt at “streamlining” or making something more “efficient” in its operation.

  5. This just goes to show that the vast majority of projects and services are handled much more efficiently by the private sector. Isn’t that a core GOP principle? I’m glad that the city sat this one out and let the private sector do its thing.

  6. Ben King says:

    I think it is a bit presumptuous to chalk this up to ‘the private sector’ in the traditional sense. Are you suggesting that all public endeavors, such as stadiums, sewers, schools, etc., be left up to waiting for billionairs to give away money?

    I think its great what Marcus did. And I think it is a project that the city probably could not have put together as well, either. I’m not saying that at all. I’m just saying that this was a rare event, and that it is silly to try and act like this is the sort of thing that we should expect all the time. If this were a traditional ‘private sector’ thing, Marcus would be keeping the damn thing and making money off of it.

    And GAWire, a) I think the song is silly, but I’m okay with the idea of trying to ‘brand’ Atlanta because I’ve been following how ATL has been losing tourist money. i think it is a good idea, maybe not executed as well as it could be. We’ll see if it works.; b) I think Franklin has generally gotten rave reviews for her handling of the sewer thing, you are the only person I’ve seen who is complaining.

  7. GAWire says:

    Bill made a good point about Marcus, which is along the same lines of what I was thinking, but didn’t mention it in the post.


    I do believe the private sector can do anything the gov’t can do, and do it much better . . . including sewers, schools, stadiums, etc. That has been proven over and over again. And, Bernie Marcus could make money for himself off of the Aquarium, but 1) he doesn’t need it; and 2) obviously has a lot more class and concern for this city than most of the libs out there.

    Moreover, I don’t think anyone really has a problem with “branding” the city – we need a boost in tourism. I just don’t understand why the “Great and Powerful” Mayor couldn’t do more than get us a horrible song. And, your analysis on the sewers is wrong – many, many, many people are upset about this b/c nothing has been done, and if you paid Fulton taxes, you should realize this. Trust me, I am not the only one complaining, but unfortunately, this isn’t an issue that a lot of people know about, even those that live in Fulton Co and City of Atl.

  8. No Ben, I certainly wasn’t suggesting that we should sit around and wait for wealthy individuals to provide the sort of services and projects that governments traditionally provide. I’m not sure how you came to that conclusion from that comment. I’m saying that if there is an individual or company out there that can complete a project or provide a service more efficiently, we certainly shouldn’t let the fact that governments traditionally provide the service stand in the way.

    I think we should applaud Mr. Marcus for his contribution and effort, and not use this as an opportunity to criticize the Mayor. Let’s be realistic about this – we are never going to have a conservative Republican as Mayor of Atlanta. You just have to support the best candidate you can find on the other side that is most in line with conservative principles and will do what is best for the city.

  9. *If* Bernie Marcus turns his attention to politics? Didn’t the guy raise like $1 million for Bush last year. I’d say he’s already politically active, which one can be without offering one’s self up for office.

    Similarly, Shirley Franklin and many other mayors and governors have a lot to do with the business decisions made by the companies in their states and cities even though they aren’t actually the “CEO” of any companies.

    Both Franklin and Marcus are significantly involved in business and politics. When you are that big of a player it is hard not to be involved in a little bit of everything. How anyone can think Franklin isn’t a well over average city administrator is beyond me. I know we like to pretend that Sonny inherited some huge fiscal mess from Roy Barnes around here, and if you subscribe to that fantasy then you couldn’t claim that Franklin didn’t inherit much worse when she took over the city of Atlanta. If the exact same person was a white Republican you all would be begging him/her to get into the LG race as the mysterious third person.

  10. Joeventures says:

    Can you imagine Bernie Marcus creating a “pothole posse”? Probably not. Does a pothole posse create jobs in the way an aquarium would? Of course not. But does infrastructure help make the aquarium and other private market initiatives possible? Of course.

    I don’t see anyone complaining that Mayor Franklin didn’t think of or build the aquarium before Bernie Marcus thought of it. The idea that this could be used as an example of “the private market does everything better” is complete hogwash.

    As far as the Brand Atlanta campaign, that is a public-private venture. There are both politicians and business folk involved in that campaign. If you think this is a great example of why the private market does everything better, just remember it takes two to tango in this case. Besides, the brains behind this project is on the private market side of the partnership. The mayor didn’t write the song.

  11. Bill Simon says:

    But the Mayor approved the song…and will help turn Atlanta into another destination stop for more Freaky-Niks rather than Stevie Nix-type of vacationers.

    That is, more traffic jams for everyone, rather than Atlanta-metro inhabitants being able to move about freely, and safely, without fear of getting mugged or raped in a traffic jam.

  12. Bill if you think black people OR white people like that song then you would be wrong in both cases! Perhaps Hispanics, but only if they don’t speak English and can’t understand the words 😉

  13. Bill Simon says:

    Chris, the more this city raves about Dallas Austin, the more I suspect blacks and urban whites LOVE the theme song.

    Maybe if we got Sid Williams of Life University singing the tune, we could drum-up some real traffic from New Joisey and New Yawk.

  14. GAWire says:

    It doesn’t matter that Franklin didn’t think of the aquarium and it’s not that she didn’t do it herself. The point is that a private citizen is able to do more for tourism, jobs and the general economoy in the city than the mayor. I really don’t care if it is a pothole posse or a $100 million aquarium.

    Now, I don’t want to contradict myself, but I do believe the private sector will always do more for the economy, so I don’t expect the mayor to build an aquarium; BUT, the fact is that Franklin is out of her league and doesn’t even know where to begin with improving the city’s economy with REAL programs. I do think it would be interesting, though, if an experienced, proven, successful business leader took over an office that could make some much needed changes in gov’t.

  15. Eddie T says:

    But hey, Bill Simon, you might be right. All these Negroes with their hip hop and their rap music–we don’t want THEM coming to Atlanta. They don’t have any money anyway, and they’ll probably just eat watermelon and sleep all day while they’re here.

    Keep the Negroes out! That’s my motto….

    Keep it up, y’all. Every time I hear you talk about anything related to race it reminds me of why you have at least another half century before black people will start to consider voting for Republicans. What a shame.

  16. Bill Simon says:

    Eddie T, perhaps you have a VERY short memory, or perhaps you walk around with your eyes shut.

    But, the last Freaknik caused a whole lot of traffic jams, along with no less than 2 rapes in traffic. Curiously enough, when Freaknik isn’t in town, we don’t have incidents of people pulling women out of cars and raping them on the street.

    If your attitude is that it is your right to “rape some hoes” on the street, then I suggest you pack your ride with some big ‘ole speakers and drive on down to Little Five Points where you can rape all the hoes you want to…with any luck, you’ll try to rape a bull dyke who will kick some sense into your head. 🙂

    Peace out, homey.

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