Mayor Franklin again goes for proven failure

As covered last week, everyone is wetting their pants over the “homeless meters” that are going to be installed at a cost of $40K around the city of Atlanta…the money coming from Central Atlanta Progress, the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Atlanta Police Foundation and the Georgia World Congress Center. These “homeless meters” will collect money for the homeless and, as the theory goes, the criminal beggars in the tourist areas will be graced by the wisdom of Shirley Franklin and cease their criminal activity which drives away tourists.

But do these programs work elsewhere? Of course not.

That doesn’t stop the Wizards of Smart in City Hall, though:

“The response to the program has just been tremendous,” said Debi Starnes, senior policy adviser to Franklin on homeless matters. “We’ve been getting a lot of calls from people wanting the meters.”

First, what kind of loser do you have to be to actually be fired up about “homeless meters” where you’ll call City Hall to demand them. Second, if Debi Starnes is the “senior policy adviser to Franklin on homeless matters,” I wonder how may junior policy advisers there are. And just how much does a “senior policy adviser to Franklin on homeless matters” earn a year? I bet it could cover at least one or two paid positions on the Atlanta Police Department. That would mean that a step would have to be taken to improve safety downtown…which isn’t Franklin’s goal.


  1. atlantaman says:

    I heard that if you put money in the meters you get a free sticker to wear that states, “I already helped a human today with a City of Atlanta Donation Meter.” The panhandlers will be instructed not to harass anyone wearing a sticker.

    The stickers will be date stamped so your daily desire to get a new one will be twofold: first you don’t want to be the one in your lunch group that gets spit on by a panhandler and second there will be the same level of peer pressure / civic pride as wearing the peach stickers with “I voted” on election day.

    This idea is going to blow the pothole posse and brand Atlanta away.

  2. Icarus says:

    I really think you are both missing the big picture here.

    Five of the meters will only be the start. As you can see, the market is already demanding more. Once the city has a few hundred, don’t doubt for a minute that some enterprising soul at City Hall will offer the idea to sell bonds based on the revenue projections from these meters to go towards “homeless outreach”.

    I also don’t doubt for a minute that homeless outreach will consist of converting those funds to untraceable cash.

  3. Progressive Dem says:

    It is real easy to sit on the sidelines and throw bricks.

    WTF is your solution? Do nothing and let the market take care of it? Let the churches and non-profits take the responsibility? Arrest them and throw them in jails and other institutions?

    A large number of professionals from mental health, social service agencies, criminal justice, local colleges, law firms, business consultants and others have been working on a long-term comprehensive solution for Atlanta. If you all have something to contribute to the solution, why don’t you get involved. The people that came up with a strategy became schooled in the problem and have contributed their resources, expertise and time. In the mean time you can concede that you don’t know sh*t from Shinola about solving this problem.

  4. atlantaman says:

    I’ve also heard the city is going to market a new alcoholic beverage with a similar recipe as Mad Dog or Thunderbird called Hotlanta Wine. All of the proceeds will go to homeless people, so just as the lottery makes us feel good about gambling, Hotlanta Wine will make Atlanta feel good about alcoholism.

    Perhaps Dallas Austin can repackage the Brand Atlanta rap song into a “What’s the price…a dollar twice” theme song for Hotlanta Wine. Surely he’d give a discount for a rewrite and production of the song.

    It’s a great concept as the panhandlers would be the ones helping themselves with their homelessness. It would help those who want to help themselves.

  5. atlantaman says:

    If Shirley Franklin didn’t have bad ideas then she wouldn’t have any ideas.

    I’d love to have been in the conference room with the morons who came up with the Brand Atlanta Campaign.

    Shirley: We need to recruit more big spending tourists and conventioneers.

    Patronage Recipient #1: Well the solution to everything is rap music

    Patronage Recipient #2: You’re right, I love rap music.

    Shirley: Great, we’ll hire a rapper to make a song about Atlanta. We’ll make it the cornerstone of our recruitment efforts. I bet radio stations will play the song as part of their rotation. Those Fortune 500 CEO’s and convention planners will be begging to spend money here!

    *Editor’s note – Most of the previous conversation is a guess at what likely took place, although I did hear her say once that there was a good chance radio stations would be playing that awesome song for free.

  6. odinseye2k says:


    When the main descriptor on this site for homeless is not “unfortunate” or “lost” but instead something like “criminal” nuisance, I think you get an idea how much interest there is for a solution around here.

    I’m curious to see if the fundies on this site will contradict the libertarians, or if the impoverished are an entity that all hardcore Republicans can hate on equally.

    And personally, I don’t see the meters raising that much. Maybe there’s a way to get the churches more involved in this to see what motivates people better to give.

  7. Icarus says:

    This post is about government offering up a typical non-solution, patting itself on the back for its “accomplishment”, and then moving on to inflict more damage elsewhere while the real problem isn’t addressed.

    It’s not about how much we hate the homeless.

    Odinseye2K, (or anyone else), If you’re really interested in what churches are doing to assist with the problem, send me an email, and I’ll hook you up with my church’s homeless ministry. We’re having one of our larger events this weekend, but have ongoing projects year round.

    Please don’t confuse mocking government for its ineffective band-aid/PR solutions with a lack of recognition of the problem, nor a lack of compassion for those in unfortunate situations.

  8. Progressive Dem says:

    Ic, Last time I cheked Central Atlanta Progress was populated by a bunch of socialist intent on spending money. The biggest landowners, investors and employers in downtown Atlanta are participating in the development and implementation of the homeless strategy. This is not a government program dreamed up in isolation. Quite the contrary – it includes the particpation of your basic hard core conservative businessmen. No doubt they have an expectation of sucess and are hoping for a return on their investment in time, expertise and money.

  9. odinseye2k says:

    “Please don’t confuse mocking government for its ineffective band-aid/PR solutions with a lack of recognition of the problem, nor a lack of compassion for those in unfortunate situations.”

    It’s not that part I was objecting to … it was rogueguy’s (repeated, I believe) references to panhandling as “criminal” activity and implying that the real solution to the problem is to pay a couple of new cops to go crack some heads. Or maybe just keep pushing folks down the line.

    I’ve got an open pool with a couple of friends on how long it will be before the new “luxury” developments down by Renaissance Park drive away the Union Mission in the area.

    But in this case, yes, church work is good. I’ve got my volunteer book filled for now, but thanks for the mention.

  10. AtlConservative says:

    1. Panhandling is criminal when it’s against the law. Look up the definition if you don’t believe me!

    2. We are spending $40,000 on each meter and you don’t have a problem with that?

    3. “Give a man a fish and he eats for a day, teach him to fish and he eats for a lifetime.”

    4. How does this solve any problem? Is this actually a solution or as pointed out above, a band-aid?

    5. Finally, as a single woman, I will not walk downtown alone. It is frightening when a random person (usually male) comes up and asks you for money. The situation is worsened when you say you don’t have any and said person starts yelling at you.

    My solution? Follow the lead of cities that had success in getting the homeless out.

  11. Rogue109 says:

    When the main descriptor on this site for homeless is not “unfortunate” or “lost” but instead something like “criminal” nuisance, I think you get an idea how much interest there is for a solution around here.

    When you can’t differentiate between being homeless (which isn’t a crime) and being a beggar (which is a crime), then I think we get an idea how you aren’t able to perceive the true solution to this problem.

  12. Progressive Dem says:

    Atl Conservative,

    They are following a model that worked in other cities, but it is a chronic problem that can’t be fixed over night. The City is trying to separate the panhandlers from the homeless. They are trying to arrest the aggressive panhandlers and provide comprehensive services to the homeless. They are trying to dry up the pocket change and dollar bills that people give to support the panhandlers and homeless. Instead, people who are inclined to give are asked to do so in these special boxes. In the process they hope to eliminate the reward for panhandling. There are also comprehensive services for the homeless that are being provided at levels never offered before in Atl. Progress is being made particularly with mothers and children.

    I share your fear and discomfort from being approached downtown. You never know what some of these people might do. There has been a recent attempt to arrest “agressive panhandlers.” However, for this strategy to work, the police will have to run a sustained program with lots of undercover cops.

  13. atlantaman says:

    “They are trying to arrest the aggressive panhandlers”

    I think if you walk by City Hall, where right on the front steps are some very aggressive panhandlers, you’ll see that they are not really trying at all. The rhetoric sounds great, just like the pot hole posse, and the beltline.

    When folks look back on Franklin’s administration where’s the beef will come to mine. Police and Fire Dept. moral are at all time lows, due to out-of-control patronage hiring rampage that went on at City Hall over the last 6 years.

    Her greatest accomplishment, the sewer renovations, was something she was ordered to do, otherwise some other unlucky Mayor would be dealing with it. Nothing really courageous about that, the Judge said you have to fix it, so there is basically two ways to pay for it: raise taxes and/or raise fees.

    Other than that it’s basically, “Well she’s not as bad as Campbell.” Being that he’s in the Federal Pen right now he’s a horrible standard to measure our future Mayors by.

  14. victangle00 says:

    Oh atlantaman….You’re freaking hilarious! Has anyone called the Atlanta police station lately? While you’re on hold for forty-five minutes, wondering why your friend has been in a holding cell for six days for jay walking, you’re anger will be soothed by a poorly written rap song.

    I highly suggest going to a bond hearing for these “criminals”. B-3 usually deals with panhandlers and such. They’re bonds are crazy. We are wasting money putting these poor individuals in jail (over populated jail, that is) and giving them bonds they could never pay.
    These people sit in jail, are fed mystery meat sandwiches three times a day and are not given the proper necessities the law requires.

    Oh, and Ms.Conservative….I think Atlanta did take all the homeless out at one point…do you remember the Olympics? Anywho, you live in a large city, there are ALWAYS going to be homeless people…ALWAYS and unless Atlanta does something very illegal and inhuman, there always will be. To eliminate the homeless population in a proper manner, will cost the city way too much money. Our government will most likely never spend the money that needs to be spent to get these people into society.

    I have been approached by many panhandlers walking through midtown at night. It can be scary, but you just keep walking. I understand the annoyance that constantly being accosted causes, and I usually only donate money to those who are sharing something positive with me. Some of the homeless in our city are amazing people and a few are very artistically inclined.

Comments are closed.