Tag Archives: gerrymander

Underfunded ethics commission makes mistakes

Underfunding of Georgia’s ethics commission has led to numerous inappropriate fines, some of which are still being straightened out after many months. Maybe the legislature should fund the ethics commission to a working level and make it independent of the legislature.

David Rodock wrote for the VDT 29 September 2011, Transparency Confusion: New campaign contributions system leads to officials owing fines,

The Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Commission posted a seven-page list online earlier this week ethics.ga.gov of local government officials who have supposedly failed to submit their campaign contribution information this year.

According to the state organization’s website, each late filer owes fines of different amounts.

Various elected officials were quoted in that article saying the fines were inappropriate. Many of those fines had already been removed from the list by the time that article was written.

There have been calls to properly fund that agency and to make it independent of the legislature. The Columbus Ledger-Inquirer wrote 25 January 2012, Ethics panel needs funding and independence,

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Georgia and Florida Railway (GFRR) – Valdosta to Willacoochee Rehabilitation $6.25 million T-SPLOST

Now here’s a T-SPLOST project I like: upgrading the railroad that runs from Valdosta to Moody AFB and on to Ray City and Nashville in Berrien County, and Willacoochee in Atkinson County. This proposal is to aid freight, but with this upgrade to the track, the same track would be even more readily usable for passenger rail. That same track was used for passenger travel up into the 1950s. My mother used to catch the train at Barretts (just north of Moody) to go visit her relatives in Pearson (a bit east of Willacoochee).

It’s true the project sheet talks about “potential customers in the region”:

This project will provide for more efficient train operations along the rail corridor to accommodate the increase rail traffic serving the existing and potential customers in the region.
However, rail promotes development in existing population centers and at stations, unlike all along automobile roadways.

This project is also another example of how the economic area of Moody AFB includes Continue reading

Jack Kingston has a green tongue —Gretchen Quarterman

VDT LTE today. -jsq
Georgia has gained enough population in the past ten years to add a congressional seat. This means redrawing the Congressional district lines not only to balance population, but to also add another representative in Congress. Lowndes County has been split between the first and second districts, and all spring rumors of where we might end up were circulating. Eventually we saw a draft map that had Lowndes completely in the 8th District,

along with other counties along Interstate 75. That map made some sense south of Macon. Some communities of interest were preserved (most of the Lowndes-Valdosta MPO was in the same district) and the hospitality corridor of I-75 was in one district, along with the rural farms that surround it. Valdosta to Macon is easier to traverse than Valdosta to Savannah, or Valdosta to Columbus.

But then Congressman Jack Kingston stuck out his green tongue.

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Private prisons considered harmful —Gretchen Quarterman to Jack Kingston

Gretchen Quarterman
3338 Country Club Road #L336
Valdosta GA 31605
26 August 2011
Hon. Jack Kingston
Member of Congress
First District of Georgia
Dear Mr. Kingston,

You asked me last week in Tifton to provide you with evidence that private prisons have fewer guards per prisoner than public prisons.

Here is an example:

“The largest juvenile prison in the nation, Walnut Grove Youth Correctional Facility houses 1,200 boys and young men, between the ages of 13 and 22, and is run by a private contractor, the GEO Group based in Boca Raton, FL. … State audits over the last several years had already indicated the burgeoning problem. While it is recommended at youth facilities to have an inmate-to-guard ratio of 10:1 or 12:1, Walnut Grove had a ratio of 60:1.”
“When the Wolves Guard the Sheep,” by Mariah Adin in Kids and Crime, 28 March 2011
It’s not just less staff, it’s less qualified staff: Continue reading