Poor ol' Shirley
The AJC reported yesterday on the backlash from Mayor Shirley Franklin's endorsement of John Barrow in the 12th District Democratic Primary race for Congress. Seems the Repbulicans are shaking in their boots over the possibility that their man in Athens, Rep. Max Burns, may be sent home in November. Rep. Jack Kingston of Savannah, a Republican who is the only Georgian chairing an appropriations subcommittee, is particularly miffed. Atlanta needs Kingston's support badly in the city's efforts to convince the feds to foot part of the bill over Atlanta's sewer debacle.
After Shirley endorsed Burn's opponent, Kingston was so miffed that he publicly and vocally withdrew his support of any federal funding of Atlanta's sewer project. Ouch!
This has been Shirley's biggest downfall since day one at City Hall. She just isn't quite savvy enough to navigate the complex waters of politics beyond Trinity Street. She's as sick and tired as anyone over this sewer mess that never seems to go away and needs all the help she can get -- from Washington and anywhere else. So, why in the world did she feel the need to get involved, no matter how passively, in a race so far outside of Atlanta? Shirley naively responded that it was just one Democrat helping another.
That shows her inability to be a mover and shaker on a grand scale. Some folks on Capitol Hill say they specifically told her not to get involved in Congressional races. She and her administration have already been labeled disorganized in their lobbying efforts. Yet, they've hired one of the best lobbying firms out there -- Patton Boggs. Now, such unlikely characters as Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson have stepped up to help poor ol' Shirley out of a jam.
Shirley's Gay Bashing
The problem with offering criticism about Shirley Franklin, as my gay comrades often remind me, is that she is so damned hard to dislike. And, I don't generally dislike her at all. As I've said before, she's a godsend compared to Bill Campbell.
Long before the Southern Voice published a feature front-page article titled "Where's Shirley" which noted her conspicuous absence from the gay community since being elected, I had already pointed out that Shirley is no ally to the gay community. She used and abused us when she needed to be elected, told us she would make us proud, and has now abandoned us.
Now SoVo reports that the Druid Hills Golf Club gay discrimination matter seems to be at the bottom of Shirley's priority list. She tried to wash her hands of it months ago by sending the parties to mediation. That solution fell apart during the very first meeting with both sides digging in their heels. Now Franklin has sent her legal-beagle Linda DiSantis to chat with the Club's attorneys.
Stop stalling, Shirley! She has said in the past that she's not real sure how she feels about imposing the maximum punishment available by suspending the Club's business and liquor licenses. You can rest assured that if the discrimination had involved black folk or women folk, she'd know exactly how she feels.
I've told my gay friends that Shirley is not an ally for many reasons, this discrimination being only the last example. It's time for her to put her promises to the test. When she supported the non-discrimination legislation, did she think it was just window dressing that none of the gays in this town would ever expect her to actually enforce? Again, the naivete bites Shirley in the ass.
I generally do not believe that it is the proper role of government to tell a business how to conduct its affairs -- whether that be through laws on alcohol sales, smoking bans, or club memberships -- but the city has already made that bed. Now it's time to put up or shut up. Either enforce the ordinance to the maximum extent possible, and thus dare the Club to sue the city and taunt the state to challenge the city on a state law banning such ordinances OR come out publicly in support of abolishing the ordinance all together. Shirley Franklin knows the right course of action here. Now she needs to stop hiding behind her minions and do what she knows she has to do.
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By, at 5/04/2006 12:22:00 AM
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