Atlanta Mayor’s problem: “homeless meters” in Atlanta are miserable failure. Atlanta Mayor’s solution: buy more “homeless meters.”

March 31, 2009 8:45 am

by Pete Randall · 18 comments

(H/T) You’ll recall from past posts here and here, the City of Atlanta installed over $40,000 worth of “homeless meters” downtown. Supplied mostly from private donations, these “homeless meters” would 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.

And the results, thus far?

In a word: poor.

Six months after Atlanta business leaders set up parking meter-like machines to accept spare change donations and discourage panhandling, just $500 has been deposited – not much help for beggars who say they can sometimes raise $300 in a day on their own.

Think that these results would send any “lesson learned” message into the liberal, democratic and corrupt stronghold that is Atlanta City Hall? Nah.

Despite the program’s dismal beginnings, Atlanta leaders are encouraged. They are installing more of the “giving meters” and using signs to make more people aware of the machines. In other cities, like Denver, thousands of dollars have been raised to help the needy.

The problem, we are told, is that more than half of those downtown who were polled in a February street survey wanted to see more done to curb panhandling, but only 7 percent had noticed the meters. So, if we only noticed the meters, then miraculously more would be done to curb panhandling! The fault for lax enforcement rests at the feet of the Atlanta Police Department, the City Solicitor’s Office and the Judges of the Municipal Court of Atlanta. The fault for electing Shirley Franklin rests with a majority of the electorate.

Bucky Plyler March 31, 2009 at 9:24 am


You just don’t get’ is better..come on son..get with it.

Rick Day March 31, 2009 at 10:25 am

Ah, so Mayor Franklin is branded “Failure” because this idea, (someone else had in other cities, and was brought to Atlanta by…the very company who makes the things; woohoo free market capitalism), she did not oppose it and was willing to invest a modest cost in it, was not an effective deterrent to ending the organized crime activity known as panhandling problem.

In order to have Mayor Franklin lauded as “Winner” what would you have her do to ‘eliminate’ the panhandling problem, in a way that would have whitebread conservatives applauding?

Solutions, anyone…(and no, offering ‘well I certainly would not do “X”‘ is NOT a solution, its a rock)?


still waiting…..

JBC March 31, 2009 at 10:27 am

California…..they love the homeless.

Progressive Dem March 31, 2009 at 10:28 am

What a lame post.

First, there is the completely inacurate title that proports that the expansion of the program is the Mayor’s idea. Nothing in the attached article mentions the mayor. In fact, it is the downtown business community that is recommending expanding the program. If you’ve had any exposure to powers that be in Central Atlanta Progress you might know that they consider themselves to be practical, conservative capitalists. These are successful people in the private sector considering the options, making these recommendations and raising the money from their businesses to install these meters.

Second, the article mentions that Denver raised $15,000 in coins since 2007 using 84 meters. Atlanta has 12 meters, and the singage has not been properly installed. The BS post from Rouge doesn’t provide any comparative perspective, but simply says it will take a miracle.

Third, the BS post from Rouge blames the police, solicter and municipal judges for lax enforcement and fails to metion the over 200 arrests. In a major metropolitan area with a criminal justice system that is stretched already, how many resources do you want to throw at beggars? The business most affected by begging have started this program and if it works it will benefit them the most. At the same time it relieves the burden on the police, courts and jail, so that limited criminal justice resources can be prioritized and not wasted on minor offenses. The implied “solution” from the BS post is to arrest everyone and lock’em up for a long time. Well guess what, don’t you think that option was explored??? Do you think that is an original idea that was ignored???

Finally, there is the gratuitous and unsupported charge of corruption.

There is nothing rouge about trotting out worn out cliche’s, and longstanding, unproductive Atlanta bashing.

LoyaltyIsMyHonor March 31, 2009 at 10:50 am

This just in, when Robert Brown puts on his shoes, he puts the LEFT one on first…followed by the RIGHT. Thin-skinned/one-track-minded bloggers all over the world are outraged and cry reverse-racism!

Meanwhile, PP front page posters ignore to address some pretty important legislative issues as the Gold Dome burns.

UGALiberal March 31, 2009 at 11:33 am

There really isn’t a good way to tackle the homeless problem though. Kudo’s on the South Park reference

Rogue109 March 31, 2009 at 11:45 am

This just in, when Robert Brown puts on his shoes, he puts the LEFT one on first…followed by the RIGHT. Thin-skinned/one-track-minded bloggers all over the world are outraged and cry reverse-racism!

There is no such thing as “reverse racism.” There is just racism.

And I’m pretty sure Shirley Franklin was involved with APD and City Solicitor cutbacks. And I think she might have some slight influence over the City Court of Atlanta. Wow, maybe she IS part of the problem, after all!

Icarus March 31, 2009 at 11:48 am

“Second, the article mentions that Denver raised $15,000 in coins since 2007 using 84 meters. ”

O.K., without getting into whether this is Shirley or CAP’s boondoggle, Denver has far more meters that have raised $15K over two years.

Atlanta has spent $40K on the meters it has so far (6?).

How much of a negative return on investment do you have to have before you can call something a failure, whether it is a government failure, or a well meaning business/civic venture?

Icarus March 31, 2009 at 11:49 am

“Meanwhile, PP front page posters ignore to address some pretty important legislative issues as the Gold Dome burns.”

There’s not much I can do about making the Gold Dome flame retardant, but if you have an issue you want addressed, drop it in the tipline.

Better yet, write up the post, and I’ll post it.

Progressive Dem March 31, 2009 at 12:30 pm

The first post was all about bashing Shirley, liberals, Democrats, government and Atlanta voters. There was no mention of the private sector role. Some people may not have any faith, and in fact have a deep-seated resentment and bias against Shirley, liberals, Democrats, government and Atlanta voters. For them, this is a red meat post. The same people may have more faith in the motives and decision-making capabilities in the downtown business establishment. The front page post is nothing more than a lazy, destructive attempt to appeal to people’s worst instincts. It is the kind of post that harms civic discourse, fails to adequately inform and promotes studipity.

Icarus March 31, 2009 at 2:00 pm

O.K. PD, now that you got that out of your system, could you please address how spending $40K on meters plus the ongoing cost to operate/collect/account/administer funds has a positive ROI if they are going to collect almost no money?

Would we not have been better off giving the money to a real homeless support program, or to some anti-panhandling enforcement?

Bill Simon March 31, 2009 at 2:50 pm

ROI? ROI????? HAhahahhahahashhahahahzhaahahahahahahahah….hhaw-hee-haw!!!

Man! You is one funny mo’ fo’, Icarus. Neither Dems nor Repubs give a sheet about “ROI” when they are spending someone else’s money.

Progressive Dem March 31, 2009 at 3:05 pm

Yeah, I feel better. CAP and the other downtown organizations can address your question. Here’s their Board of Directors, a bunch of crazy, socialist hippies if I ever saw one:

One of the goals of the program is to get resources and services to the homeless and to dry up the revenue for panhandlers and scam artists.

jsm March 31, 2009 at 3:07 pm

” not much help for beggars who say they can sometimes raise $300 in a day on their own.”

I’m in the wrong business. Where’s me a box I can make a sign out of?

Daniel N. Adams March 31, 2009 at 4:03 pm


It’s a feel good thing… sort of like recycling and using doggie diapers, cost more and doesn’t help the environment… but it makes one feel like they’re doing good by their fellow man.

Recycling Myths

Facts and logic just brings me down, man.

redrock March 31, 2009 at 9:07 pm

Rick Day (aka Shirley Franklin)

Way to make it a racial thing about “whitebread conservatives applauding?”. Classy

To answer your question. How about the Atlanta Police Department, (which the city happens to be expanding) does it’s job and does something when they see blatant panhandling all day everyday. After all, aren’t police for enforcing laws. I could offer you some other effective solutions, but you and I both know enforcing current laws would curb the issue.

P.S. – At this rate, it will take 20 years to recoup the costs of instaling the ugly yellow meters. Just donate the money and keep the city less cluttered.

rugby April 1, 2009 at 9:13 am


Is really good to the homeless!

Bill Simon April 1, 2009 at 9:19 am


You can become the “Blogging Panhandler” and be the first one to do it in Atlanta.

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