Former Mayor Shirley Franklin Starts Blog

10:24 AM, Feb 17, 2011   |    comments
Shirley Franklin launches her political blog, "Blogging While Blue"
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ATLANTA -- The question is not if a mayor of Atlanta will go on to grander political ambitions after office, but what.

Shirley Franklin has no such appetites. Just ask her. But that does not mean she is ready to exit the political scene altogether.

When she finishes class at Spelman College where she teaches, she sits down to blog. On Wednesday, she launched "Blogging While Blue", a site she says she will write with longtime communications director Beverly Isom and her son, Cabral.

She already regularly reads The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Jim Galloway, and blogger Maureen Downey. On her blog, she plans to write about transit, the Beltline, and democratic issues and will even publish public opinion polls.

But Twitter. No.

"I'm just 30 years too old for that", she said.

In an interview Wednesday, Franklin was relaxed, eager to talk about the city she moved to from Philadelphia decades ago, but still has the spark of a politician now only arm's length from her old office.

"I'm really upset about anyone that thinks guns and concealed weapons belong in an airport that serves 200,000 people. They don't belong there whether they're licensed or not," she said. "Recently the Mayor said his reading of the law was that it was allowed. I still am opposed to it, and I really regret very much we're not fighting it."

Now, the two-term mayor finds herself on the same side of the podium as the media with whom she shared an often contentious relationship at the end of her tenure.

"I think there were times when crime was sensationalized," she said. "The truth of the matter is homicides were lower in my last year than they are in Atlanta today. But that didn't matter. People want them lower and it's an emotional issue."

Still, she said, the "best way to reach everyday folks is through TV and radio", and is quick to point out that mostly she looks back fondly on her dealings with Atlanta media.

She is also quick to shoot down any suggestions she may be the one to lead Democrats out of an historic electoral funk in the state, handed their most complete defeat across the board in 2010.

Instead, Franklin works with four other faculty to teach an interdisciplinary class to 15 Spelman students on the Beltline, a project she called an investment in Atlanta that will pay dividends over the next 50 years.

"Those that thought it would spring up one day like a snowstorm --like you wake up and the ground is covered in snow -- really didn't understand," she said. "It's a 25-year project."

She believes the Beltline will be a boon to property values in years to come, and that the Old Fourth Ward, among other intown communities, will see its assessments rise because of it.

But for all the conversation, all the politics, Franklin makes it clear, she enjoyed her eight years in office, but is glad to be done.

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