King's bookcase

Center for Civil and Human Rights gives us timely inspiration

For me, the Power to Inspire gala – the benefit for the Center for Civil and Human Rights – inspired a sense of gratitude for what we have in our town.

The Center will celebrate its fourth anniversary next month, and it’s hard to imagine an Atlanta without this touchpoint for our community. It combines in one place our unique place in the history of civil and human rights.

Former Atlanta mayors split endorsements

Just ahead of Atlanta runoff election day, three incumbents of the mayor’s office don’t agree on which mayoral candidate is the best one to make sure the city fulfills its promise.

In front of City Hall this morning, Shirley Franklin, who served as mayor for eight years starting in 2002, said she wants Mary Norwood to be the next mayor.



Atlanta-born Purpose Built Communities accelerates work revitalizing neighborhoods

As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on October 6, 2017

OMAHA – Hundreds of people gathered from Oct. 2-4 here in the hometown of famed billionaire investor Warren Buffett to review the accomplishments of Atlanta-based Purpose Built Communities and preview its future efforts.

Buffett told the 500 attendees at the 8th annual Purpose Built conference how he was hesitant when Atlanta real estate developer Tom Cousins first approached him years ago to be an investor in the redevelopment of Atlanta’s East Lake community.

“I was skeptical, but you never want to underestimate Tom Cousins,” Buffett said. “He’s been going around like Johnny Appleseed… He has resurrected neighborhoods. There’s no one I would rather partner with.”

Ceasar Mitchell Mary Norwood

Atlanta’s mayoral race is up for grabs

The 2017 Atlanta mayoral election is unlike anything we’ve ever seen.

And it is anybody’s guess on how it will shake out.

The back-and-forth between Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and Atlanta City Council President Ceasar Mitchell this past week shined a spotlight on several of the complex issues that will influence the outcome.


Blake, Waller and Bastian

Delta savors success at its annual meeting

As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on July 7, 2017

When Delta Air Lines held its annual meeting in New York City at 7:30 a.m. on June 29, former Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin was not there.

Franklin had just spent the better part of two days attending events and meetings for Delta directors including a dinner June 27 to bid her farewell from the board. She, along with fellow director Kenneth Woodrow, had reached the mandatory retirement age of 72.

Willis to Franklin, Woolard, Dickens: Mind your ethics before attacking mine; Franklin fires back

Atlanta City Councilmember H. Lamar Willis said Friday that former Mayor Shirley Franklin, former council President Cathy Woolard and candidate Andre Dickens are hypocrites for saying that Willis is ethically unfit for public office.

Willis made his remarks on the steps of Atlanta City Hall. Willis, who is seeking his fourth term, said he is a human being who has sought to atone for missteps in his personal life, wants the campaign to focus on governance issues, and is pushing back against the two former elected officials.

Willis raised these ethical issues about his accusers: Franklin provided haven in her home to her daughter and her then-son-in-law, who’s now serving a life sentence for his role in smuggling more than a ton of cocaine in a transcontinental operation; Woolard stopped working for Atlanta half way through her term in order to focus on her (unsuccessful) campaign for Congress; Dickens was a resident of Rex, not Atlanta, when he filed for bankruptcy in 2011 and evidently moved there in order to avoid tapping his wife’s assets to pay his creditors.

Willis unfit for office, say Franklin, Woolard; Attack ads possible against Franklin for role in council campaign

Former Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin and former Atlanta City Council President Cathy Woolard said Tuesday that Councilmember H. Lamar Willis is unfit for public office because of his ethical misconduct and should be replaced by challenger Andre Dickens.

Franklin and Woolard, who passed strict ethics legislation in 2002, made their comments at an endorsement event for Dickens, a first-time candidate who seeks to unseat Willis from a citywide post in the Nov. 5 election.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed remains a major backer of Willis, who on Oct. 7 was disbarred from the practice of law by the Georgia Supreme Court for ethical breaches. Recent telephone polls reportedly have tested Franklin’s popularity, an indication that the sitting mayor who backed candidate Reed in the heated three-way 2009 mayoral campaign may come under attack for her involvement in this 2013 citywide council race.

Timing will be just right for Atlanta’s Center for Civil and Human Rights

By Maria Saporta

In August, it will be the 50-year anniversary of the March on Washington and Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

And it is at the “50-year mark” when a major moment in history moves from being a memoriam to part of a legacy that can be connected to contemporary issues, according to Doug Shipman, president and CEO of the National Center for Civil and Human Rights.

If that’s the case, the Center’s timing is just about perfect. Construction on the Center, which will be located on the same block as the Georgia Aquarium and the World of Coca-Cola, began on March 4.

Shirley Franklin joining LBJ School of Public Affairs in Austin, Texas

By Maria Saporta

Former Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin will be splitting her loyalties between Atlanta and Austin.

The University of Texas in Austin announced that Franklin has joined the LBJ School of Public Affairs as the Barbara Jordan Visiting Professor in Ethics and Political Values.

In a Facebook posting Tuesday, Franklin wrote: “I am proud to be joining the University of Texas-Austin LBJ School of Public Affairs as the Barbara Jordan Visiting Professor……..Atlanta will be my home most of the time but it is an honor I simply could not pass up.”


Shirley Franklin’s most amazing Moment just might be her next one

SaportaReport is re-running Season One of Moments for your enjoyment. This column originally published in January 2012.

When we sat down with former Atlanta mayor Shirley Franklin in the conference room of her new office at Purpose Built Communities where she is now the CEO, she was clear she wanted her Moment to be “strategic.” It wasn’t until we were packed up and leaving a little later that we truly understood her meaning – giving us a sense that she’s been strategic since she was a young child in a Philadelphia dance class.
Video Shirley Franklin’s HD Moments Video.


Sharing Clark Howard’s “Moment” recalled one of my own 20 years ago

A few weeks ago, I saw Clark Howard working out at the YMCA. He and I seemed to be on the same every-other-day schedule at the time. I try not to stop and talk to celebrities or well-known people. I have no interest in autographs and I try to respect their privacy. But Clark was a year ahead of me in high school and I had interviewed him once before for our school magazine in the early 1990s.


You are invited to watch our 1-Minute Video: “Moments” on SaportaReport

Please watch our one-minute video preview of “Moments,” our new weekly glimpse into the men and women whose own personal moments have changed metro Atlanta:

Two former mayors, Sam Massell and Shirley Franklin, former Georgia Tech graduate student Ryan Gravel who envisioned the Beltline, radio personality Clark Howard – and many others who aren’t so famous – will share their insights into a time when everything changed in their lives. The videos will last only a minute, but we’ll place them into context with an adjoining column.