By John Schaffner
Memorial Day has come and gone, and, if you live in Buckhead, the City of Atlanta or Sandy Springs, you may have hardly noticed.
The City of Atlanta and the new City of Sandy Springs did not have any public observances for Memorial Day. That is astonishing!
I guess I never realized that Atlanta was “too busy to care” about those who have not only sacrificed to join the armed forces and defend the liberties and futures of their fellow Americans, but then made the ultimate sacrifice. They gave their lives so that we might enjoy our lives the way we like to live them.
I have lived for the past 22 years in Roswell, a city that has built a monument at city hall to honor those who have sacrificed their lives for our liberties and which has for the past decade held a ceremony on Memorial Day that has drawn thousands to say thanks.
In the metro Atlanta area, Roswell was again one of just a few communities that traditionally, year after year, have chosen to honor those who have sacrificed on the battlefield so that all of us can feel safe at home.
In fairness, there was a “History Live! World War II Remembrance Day” exhibit at the Atlanta History Center in Buckhead. However, it was held the day before Memorial Day and certainly was not a program arranged or sponsored by the City of Atlanta or any of Buckhead’s quasi-official organizations.
DeKalb County had a Memorial Day service at Liane Levetan Park at Brook Run in Dunwoody on Monday.
The little community of Duluth also had a Memorial Day celebration honoring Korean War veterans.
Marietta, which rivals Roswell each year for the biggest Memorial Day ceremony, again had its event at the Marietta National Cemetery. Boy Scouts placed an American flag at every grave in the cemetery and the featured speaker was Nicholas Snider, chairman of the National Museum of Patriotism.
There also were observances in Lawrenceville and at Stone Mountain. But there were none in the City of Atlanta and the new City of Sandy Springs.
I wonder how many soldiers from Atlanta and the Sandy Springs area, over the years and wars, have sacrificed their lives in battle. I don’t know the answer to that. But, over 100 from Georgia have now died in Iraq.
Don’t they deserve our support, our honor, our gratitude and our recognition of their sacrifice?
I hope the City of Atlanta and the new City of Sandy Springs will see fit next year to honor these men and women for their sacrifices, instead of concentrating their efforts on jazz festivals and bike races. Prove you are not too busy to care.
Thanks for a little caring
After years of watching financial and construction overruns after overruns on just about every project at Atlanta’s Hartsfied-Jackson International Airport, it was gratifying to finally see the City Council’s Finance Committee recently call for an audit of the latest building program.
This time, the overruns have to do with a future rental car facility that was supposed to open in December of 2008, but now will likely not open until the summer of 2009 at the earliest.
But that is not the most troubling news. The $211 million construction cost the council approved for the project in 2005 has now risen to $235.6 million and could hit $275 million after final construction contracts are approved by Labor Day.
That cost is too high for Councilwoman Felicia Moore, who represents northwest Atlanta. Moore is one to always question cost overruns and overruns on deadlines for completion of projects. And, that is her job—to look out for the good of her constituents and the entire city. That means not throwing away time or money.
Because of her dogged attitude on these financial matters, Moore has been a real thorn in the side of airport General Manager Ben DeCosta. However, it appears she has finally gotten DeCosta’s attention and that is a good thing.
In case you are wondering just what could possibly cost so much for a rental car facility at the airport, the facility is to provide garage parking for 1,800 vehicles across I-85 from the airport and car renters will be whisked between the airport and the new facility by a train.
The mayor’s family affair
I have a great deal of respect for Mayor Shirley Franklin as a civil servant and I think she is a good person—although sometimes a bit arrogant. But what about the family she chose and brought into this world?
Now it becomes known that federal agents are investigating the oldest daughter of Mayor Franklin to determine if she helped launder tens of thousands of dollars of money her former husband received from cocaine deals in 2004 and 2005.
According to court records and testimony in South Carolina, Kai Franklin, 34, twice received bags of drug money—one containing $25,000 and a second $20,000—at the direction of her then husband, Tremayne Graham.
In addition, a defendant in the case said Kai Franklin received portions of $150,000 in drug money invested in an airport concessions company run by her father, and the mayor’s former husband, David Franklin.
Franklin divorced Graham in 2005 and there have not been any formal charges filed against her. David Franklin said the investment in his business never happened.
However, this is not the first time there have been questions raised about David Franklin’s airport operations. It seems it is time for the city to cut the strings with that member of the Franklin family. As for Kai Franklin, that remains a story to watch.
More about connections
Grady Memorial Hospital may be financially strapped and cutting experienced staff who make the maximum of $55.47 an hour, but the board that oversees the hospital has hired an outside public relations firm for $250 an hour to put a happy spin on cutting staff and services at the hospital.
That is on top of the internal PR staff the hospital has on board—a staff of PR people trained in dealing with healthcare issues.
The new outside PR agency which can earn up to $6,500 a month is FirstClass Inc. The main thing it has going for it is the owner is Bunny Jackson-Ransom, former wife of the late Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson. Her firm has never represented a hospital, but it’s often more important who you know than what you know.