ALEC will no doubt try to tar WCTV as “liberal media.” That will be amusing!
Troy Kinsey wrote for WCTV Monday, themselves as members of ALEC. Damien filer with ‘progress florida’ says its time for them to break their ties with a group that’s taking national heat over ‘Stand Your Ground’.
“This is not just about ‘shoot first’ laws; this is about everything from the so-called ‘parent trigger’ law that we saw during the last legislative session, the prison privatization schemes that we’ve seen crop up. It really covers the spectrum in terms of bad policy for people, and policy that’s really aimed at padding the pockets of the corporations that fund this organization.”
Hm, I wonder who in the Georgia statehouse are ALEC members?
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation became the latest high profile backer of the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council to withdraw financial support after pressure from groups opposed to ALEC’s support of “stand your ground” laws and Voter ID.
Roll Call reports that a foundation spokesperson said it does not plan to make any future grants to the organization. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation contributed more than $375,000 to ALEC in the past two years.
ALEC’s more than three hundred corporate sponsors pay annual membership dues ranging from $5,000 to $50,000 to advance their agendas, plus additional fees of $1,500 to $5,000 a year to participate in ALEC’s various task forces, where, according to an ALEC publication, “legislators welcome their private-sector counterparts to the table as equals.”
That’s the very model of a bad public-private partnership and crony capitalism. (More detail by ALEC Exposed.)
So what excuse does the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have? Jessica Pieklo’s article says:
A negative externality occurs when an individual or firm making a
decision does not have to pay the full cost of the decision. If a good has a negative externality, then the cost to society is greater than the cost consumer is paying for it. Since consumers make a decision based on where their marginal cost equals their marginal benefit, and since they don’t take into account the cost of the negative externality, negative externalities result in market inefficiencies unless proper action is taken.
When a negative externality exists in an unregulated market, producers don’t take responsibility for external costs that exist—these are passed on to society.
And that’s what the County Commission is doing: privatizing the profits of trash pickup and socializing the losses onto landowners (who have to pay for fences and gates), onto the general public (who have to pay for law enforcement to catch dumpers), and onto those who can’t afford to pay for private dump fees (who will get stuck with fines instead). That is indeed, as Barbara says, “redistribution of wealth”: redistribution from the rest of us to the private waste pickup companies.
The Commission is ducking its responsibility to find an equitable solution that everyone can afford. Funny how they can deal with special tax lighting districts for subdivisions but they claim they can’t come up with a way to publicly fund waste collection. Could it be because all the voting Commissioners are town-dwellers who don’t understand that rural people don’t have exactly the same needs or resources as city people?
There are many injustices of socialism and redistribution of wealth (or garbage) and I’m glad to see you recognize this in the shifting of illegal dumping costs to landowners. I am also glad to see that at least the county is talking about privatization and not public/private partnerships (so far). When Hahira almost succeeded in placing a regional waste transfer station on city owned property
REZ-2007-32 City of Hahira, 0028 027 6751 Union Road, 2 lots, R-21 to M-2, DRI
I was concerned that the county was complacent in this because the Lowndes Board of Commissioners November 2007 meeting minutes showed they agreed to rezone the property for the purpose of the transfer station against the recommendations of the county planner, Jason Davenport. That rezoning action replaced a DRI (Development of Regional Impact) request for waste transfer station rezoning so it was easy to assume the county and possibly the region had a mutual agenda for the transfer station. During a recent discussion on the dangers of regional government with Valdosta mayor, Larry Hanson, I asked if the transfer station was a regional interest. He assured me the City of Valdosta had no knowledge and no interest in that transfer station prior to articles in the Valdosta Daily Times. I’ve not had an opportunity to discuss the possibility of mutual agenda with the county and if it comes up again in the future I am assuming proper procedures will be followed which mandate public meetings and input into the planning before a third DRI is entered, not after.
I worked a contract for the IT of a Pensacola, FL software company that had waste management software contracts all over the US. It was my job to be
“Our involvement with ALEC was focused on efforts to oppose discriminatory food and beverage taxes, not on issues that have no direct bearing on our business,” Coke spokeswoman Diana Garza Ciarlante said.
…opposes all efforts — federally and on the state level — to impose discriminatory taxes on food and/or beverages.
Now I don’t like food taxes, either: they’re the very model of regressive taxes that affect the poor more than the rich. But beverage taxes? As in taxes on the sugar water Coca-Cola sells? Those might improve public health and increase state revenue.
So how much has Coke supported ALEC in this?
Ciarlante said the company would not disclose its financial support of ALEC but said it was restricted to yearly dues. She said it had been a member for approximately 10 years. The company had received some phone calls protesting its relationship with ALEC, she said, but declined to comment on the decision beyond the company’s statement.
I wonder how much other support Coke provided, as in for example introductions to power-brokers around Atlanta.
Coke’s rival Pepsi also declined to renew its ALEC membership when it expired at the end of 2011, spokeswoman Heather Gleason said. The company’s 10-year membership focused exclusively on tax issues related to the beverage industry, she said.
And Pepsi probably also didn’t want to talk about lobbying for tax breaks for sugar water while legislatures are cutting education budgets.
ALEC seems, however, to have a special interest in privatization
— that is, on turning the provision of public services, from
schools to prisons, over to for-profit corporations. And some of the
most prominent beneficiaries of privatization, such as the online
education company K12 Inc. and the prison operator Corrections
Corporation of America, are, not surprisingly, very much involved
with the organization.
What this tells us, in turn, is that ALEC’s claim to stand for
limited government and free markets is deeply misleading. To a large
extent the organization seeks not limited government but privatized
government, in which corporations get their profits from taxpayer
dollars, dollars steered their way by friendly politicians. In
short, ALEC isn’t so much about promoting free markets as it is
about expanding crony capitalism.
And in case you were wondering, no, the kind of privatization ALEC
promotes isn’t in the public interest; instead of success stories,
what we’re getting is a series of scandals. Private charter schools,
for example, appear to deliver a lot of profits but little in the
way of educational achievement.
Think about that: we seem to be turning into a country where crony
capitalism doesn’t just waste taxpayer money but warps criminal
justice, in which growing incarceration reflects not the need to
protect law-abiding citizens but the profits corporations can reap
from a larger prison population.
Martin Luther King Jr. wrote from a Birmingham jail in 1963:
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
And today we have an organized threat to justice everywhere.
That threat is called ALEC.
You know my main argument against the private prison is I don’t like
public/private partnerships and the sweetheart deals they encourage.
Also, when I requested CCA to provide me with information that
supports private prisons so I could research both sides they did not
respond. This led me to believe they have no concern for community
opinion even when citizens are open minded and seeking honest
information. They seem to prefer back room deals with local
politicians that escape community detection unless citizens are
aggressively observant like LAKE members.
However, we are not on the same page about what I consider
simplistic solutions for reducing the prison population. Education
and good drug treatment programs are definitely positives, but they
are not the silver bullet liberals proclaim them to be. Criminals
evolve from complex heredity and environmental mediums that don’t
magically dissolve via education or intervention protocols.
Certainly these are to be encouraged because they do help some, but
they will never totally replace the need for legal intervention and
penal institutions. In addition to educational and medical
institutions not being a magical replacement solution for crime,
these very institutions often encourage crony capitalism corruption,
which we agree to be a non-partisan enemy.
In summary, I support our criminal justice system which includes
prisons, but I do not support any mixing of government and business.
Public/private partnerships are crony capitalism playgrounds that
undermine free enterprise and citizen control. Unfortunately our
trusted elected legislators have already filled our GA Codes and
State Constitution with government consolidation and multi county
regional partnership initiatives. At present, they are pushing
SB 284, already passed by the senate, and in the house, which will
further enhance Land Bank Authority powers and partnerships. As
citizens we all need to remember that increasing unelected
bureaucratic authorities equals minimized citizen control. We also
need to ask our local, state and federal elected representatives why
they are listening to special interest groups that encourage
authorities and public/private partnerships instead of protecting
-Barbara Stratton Commenter
We don’t have to agree on every point to oppose (private prison) or
support (government transparency) the same things.
Indeed, there will always be criminals, but we don’t need to lock up
more than any other country on the planet.
The big change in the environment that has produced seven times
more criminals now than in the 1960s is the War on Drugs.
Time to end that failed experiment in prohibition.
Meanwhile, indeed crony capitalism corruption is our non-partisan enemy.
CCA has absolute discretion in issuing or withholding the NTP.
What kind of local government body gives a private company “absolute discretion”
on whether to proceed with a project?
What happened to those appointed officials’ own discretion as to the
appropriateness of a project for the community?
What if their due diligence turns up something unacceptable?
For example, that CCA told Decatur County that
both Lowndes and Decatur are getting a private prison (one state and one federal),
so the guff CCA told VLCIA about Lowndes being the primary site was disingenuous at best.
How about if
CCA has already breached the contract
by not supplying a required document?
How about if VLCIA receives
convincing arguments from the community
that a private prison is a bad business deal?
Did the Valdosta City and Lowndes County elected governments appoint these people
to abdicate their authority to a private company?
Maybe they did, since
those elected officials are in cahoots on this deal.
CCA lauded them all for their support after VLCIA signed the contract with that
“absolute discretion” language in it.
Does that seem right to you?
As always, LAKE is doing a fantastic job of uncovering the shadows.
However, please note there is a difference in capatalism & crony
capitalism. Liberals have their fair share of the crony variety also
AKA Soros & Monsanto, GM,etc. Free enterprise & capitalism is why
our borders are being crossed legally & illegally, but crony
capitalism will destroy us. If the government chooses to privatize
there should be clear total delineation between them & the private
business, not fascist public/private partnerships like CCA is
courting. We need to resist P3s totally, but they are being welcomed
with multi grant incentives & blessings of the Dept of Community
Development & its Chamber of Commerce conduits. We are on the same
team always for transparency in government & we can be on the same
team against CCA if we focus on fighting the 3P concept.
Just a reminder, I used to work for CCA & I still love to see bad
men in shackles (emphasis on bad). I don’t share most of what I call
simplistic liberal views on prison reform, but I am certainly with
you against crony capitalism especially the public/private
partnership variety. As I’ve said before they are just the good old
boy system, legalized, subsidized, & on steroids.
Thanks for the compliments, and we’re going to get you carrying a camera yet….
next post for the rest of my response.