Tag Archives: lobbying

Lowndes County Bird Supper, Atlanta, GA 2019-02-13

Annually Lowndes County and its cities including Valdosta feed quail to state legislators at the Georgia Railroad Freight Depot in Atlanta: this is the Bird Supper.

Lowndes County Chairman Bill Slaughter, Valdosta Mayor John Gayle, Inside
Lowndes County Chairman Bill Slaughter, Valdosta Mayor John Gayle

Valdosta describes the Bird Supper: Continue reading

Bird Supper this Wednesday in Atlanta

On the county’s front page:


For more than 50 years, local citizens have met face to face with members of the General Assembly during the Lowndes County Bird Supper. Hosted by Lowndes County and the City of Valdosta on behalf of our community’s local legislative delegation, this year’s Bird Supper promises to be one of the best yet!

The event will be held Wednesday, February 12, 2014, at 5:00 p.m. at the old railroad depot, downtown Atlanta. Tickets are $50.00 and include refreshments and a quail dinner. Attendees will enjoy the music of the Valdosta State University Faculty Jazz Ensemble, while meeting with state officials in a business casual atmosphere.

The Lowndes County Bird Supper is our community’s chance discuss upcoming or pending legislation with lawmakers, with an opportiunity to explain how legislative decisions impact South Georgia. For more information, please contact Lowndes County Clerk, Paige Dukes, at 229-671-2400, For tickets, please contact Event Coordinator, Belinda Lovern, at 229-671-2400 or blovern@lowndescounty.com.

Colter Anstaett wrote for WALB 8 January 2014, Valdosta Mayor looking forward to “Bird Supper” next month, Continue reading

Bird supper tickets on sale

Once a year busloads of people go to Atlanta from Lowndes County and Valdosta to lobby their legislators with small birds. It’s curious we only hear about this from Valdosta, not Lowndes County. -jsq

Bird Supper 2013 Tickets on Sale Now
Posted Date: 1/3/2013

Sementha Mathews, Public Information Officer
Phone: (229) 259-3548
E-mail: smathews@valdostacity.com

Tickets are on sale for the 2013 Bird Supper, scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013, at the historic Georgia Railroad Depot, in Atlanta, beginning at 5 p.m. The tradition—over 50 years old—brings together hundreds of state officials and local business, professional and government personnel for a dinner of quail and important conversation.

The event, sponsored by the City of Valdosta and the Lowndes County Board of Commissioners, allows local professionals the opportunity to have an impact on the current legislative agenda through face-to-face conversations with those who will make some very important decisions impacting our local area and entire state.

Tickets may be purchased

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The power of going solar —John S. Quarterman

Solar panels on farm workshop --John S. Quarterman My op-ed in the VDT today. Remember to vote today or Tuesday. -jsq

This spring, the University at Buffalo turned on 750 kilowatts of solar electricity. Rutgers U., in New Jersey, installed 1.4 megawatts in 2009 and started on 8 MW this summer. Down here with a lot more sun, how about solar panels on VSU parking lots?

There’s plenty of private solar financing available. Also in New Jersey, a company installed 6 MW of solar on high school land and leased the power to the school supplying most of its needs win-win. You can go see a solar farm already working fine here, 200 kilowatts at Mud Creek Wastewater Plant. Why not do the same

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at Lowndes High School, where all the world on I-75 could see, attracting business to our community?

Why not?

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4 of 5 incumbent GA PSC Commissioners accept massive utility campaign contributions

Could contributions produce influence? Neither of the incumbent Public Service Commissioners showed up for last night’s GPB debate, just as they didn’t show up for the previous weekend’s GIPL debate. Saturday the AJC examined the incumbents’ campaign finance and regulatory records, and let’s look a bit into how they’ve acted as regulators towards their biggest indirect contributors: Georgia Power.

Kristi E. Swartz wrote for the Augusta Chronicle or AP 21 July 2012, Donors to Georgia Public Service Commission members vested in decisions,

Four of Georgia’s utility regulators have accepted at least 70 percent of their campaign contributions from companies and people that could profit from the agency’s decisions, a review of five years of campaign finance records by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution revealed.

The fifth member of the state Public Service Commission, Tim Echols, campaigned on the promise that he wouldn’t take money from employees or lobbyists for businesses regulated by the agency.

Even so, nearly one in five dollars in Echols’ contributions came from people or companies whose business is affected by PSC decisions, the review found.

Together, the PSC commissioners took in nearly $750,000 in the last five years, records show. Two of them — Stan Wise and Chuck Eaton — are seeking re-election this year to their $116,452-a-year posts.

Wise and Eaton would be the two incumbents who can’t be bothered to show up for debates. Doesn’t make them look very responsive to the people, does it? Who do they respond to, then?

A review of major decisions that have come before the PSC in the past five years shows utilities have received much — but not all — of what they have asked for.

Georgia Power donors

In the past five years, for example, Georgia Power’s rates have risen 24 percent, although they dipped in June. The PSC must sign off on the company’s rate changes.

Current and former employees of Georgia Power, its parent Southern Co. and its law firm, Troutman Sanders, poured $52,650 into the campaign coffers of four of the sitting PSC members.

A Georgia Power spokeswoman argued that including Troutman Sanders and other company vendors in an analysis of spending “is false.” But critics say including them is critical to capturing the full influence of the utilities on the PSC.

Influence like this? Melissa Stiers wrote for GPB News 19 July 2011, PSC Nixes Vogtle Cost Check,

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I want you! to dump ALEC

This petition does not, unfortunately, list Southern Company.

But you can send SO a letter anyway!

For the past year, the Center for Media and Democracy has worked to expose the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), through its ongoing www.ALECexposed.org investigation into ALEC’s operations, lobbying, and “model” bills voted on behind closed doors by corporate lobbyists and legislators voting as equals. ALEC’s extreme agenda has included templates to change our laws to make it harder for juries to hold vigilantes who kill people accountable, for American citizens to vote, for Congress to limit the distorting and corrupting influence of money in our elections, and numerous other bills that undermine the rights and opportunities of Americans. Please join us in reaching out to corporate members of ALEC to demand that they stop bankrolling ALEC and stop corrupting the democratic process. Tell them to dump ALEC!

Here’s Southern Company’s contact form.


How long until solar beats gas?

We’ve heard even German coal importers say solar beats coal. How long until clean solar beats dirty natural gas fracking?

Southern Company has already cut energy production from coal in half, from 70 or 80% to 35%. Unfortunately, SO did that mostly by shifting to natural gas. Natural gas produced through “a revolution in shale gas”, commonly known as fracking. Do we want to trade dirty water for clean air?

Unlike Johnson & Johnson and Dell (and Coke and Pepsi and Amazon and and more than a dozen more, including even Wal-Mart), the Southern Company has not cut ties with ALEC and its pro-fracking and anti-solar campaign. Why is the Southern Company betting on a dirty horse?

How long until SO CEO Thomas A. Fanning’s “one day” when renewable energy becomes economical? Sooner than his prediction of next decade, as in two years ago solar crossed nuclear, wind is already at parity with nuclear, and even Southern Company realizes coal doesn’t beat anything anymore.

How long before solar beats natural gas, relegating gas to much-reduced use as a backup for sun and wind power, as John Blackburn already projected in March 2010 can happen in North Carolina?

How long will it take for the sun and the wind, with a little water and even less natural gas, to power the world? How long? Not long.

Because the arc of the solar Moore’s Law is long, but it bends down for price per watt, while the price of fracking, no matter the quakes and dirty water for ever, does not.


Johnson & Johnson and Dell dump ALEC: where’s Southern Company?

J&J and Dell ditched ALEC, for two dozen bailing out of that ship of dubious lobbying. Where's The Southern Company? Still supporting ALEC's pro-fracking and anti-solar campaign?

A week ago Rebeka Wilce reported for PR Watch that Johnson & Johnson 19th Company, 23rd Private Sector Member, to Cut Ties with ALEC. Today Scott Keyes reported for ThinkProgress that Dell Becomes 21st Company To Drop ALEC. So many companies have ditched the corporate-legislative private-public partnership American Legislative Exchange (ALEC) that it's hard to keep count. Yet we still haven't heard from The Southern Company (SO), even as ALEC continues its drive to dismantle incntives for renewable energy and preserve fracking loopholes, and The Southern Company continues expanding use of natural gas (knowing it comes from fracking) while putting off solar and wind until "one day" some time next decade maybe, and (through its subsidiary Georgia Power) actively opposing fixing Georgia legislative hurdles to renewable energy. All that plus wasting Georgia Power customer cash and taxpayer dollars on useless new nukes at Plant Vogtle.

Come on, Southern Company and CEO Thomas A. Fanning: you can do better than that! Turn to the sun and the wind for clean green jobs for community and profit.

If you're a Georgia Power customer and you'd like to help persuade SO, you can pay your Plant Vogtle Construction Work in Progress (CWIP) charge in a separate check and write on it what you'd like instead. Even if you're not, it's election season, and every member of the Georgia legislature is running: you can contact your candidate and find out what they're willing to do to get us solar and wind for energy independence, jobs, community, and profit.


ALEC loses 8 more, including Wal-Mart

Even Wal-Mart ditches ALEC! What about the Southern Company?

ALEC Exposed is keeping a list of Corporations Which Have Cut Ties to ALEC, and since the ten we last counted, eight more have jumped the sinking lobbying ship: Blue Cross Blue Shield, YUM! Brands, Procter & Gamble, Kaplan, Scantron, Amazon, Medtronic, and Wal-Mart. That’s right, even Wal-Mart. Jason Easley wrote for Politicus USA yesterday, Wal-Mart Dumps ALEC and Outs Them as Un-American,

In a statement, Wal-Mart representative Maggie Sans wrote, “Previously, we expressed our concerns about ALEC’s decision to weigh in on issues that stray from its core mission ‘to advance the Jeffersonian principles of free markets…We feel that the divide between these activities and our purpose as a business has become too wide. To that end, we are suspending our membership in ALEC.”

Wal-Mart claimed that ALEC was no longer as interested in Jeffersonian free market principles as they were other partisan political issues. Two of those unnamed political issues are most certainly voter ID and stand your ground laws.

When even Wal-Mart complains that ALEC isn’t “free market” enough, Wal-Mart, which Continue reading

Coal ash and political spending transparency shareholder resolutions defeated @ SO 2012-05-23

Defeated, but with increased shareholder support this year, two shareholder transparency resolutions have been introduced year after year at Southern Company (SO), one on coal ash and the other on political spending. Here’s video of the political spending resolution being presented at the meeting, and here’s the text of the resolution. This year as usual the SO board opposed both resolutions, and as you can hear SO CEO Thomas A. Fanning announce in this video, both were voted down, with these percentages:

The reasons the board gave for opposing the political spending transparency resolution include that SO claims it is already disclosing everything it needs to. Much of that disclosure started in 2006 due to shareholder and outside pressure to do so. Center for Political Accountability press release 5 April 2006,

McDonald’s (NYSE: MCD) and Southern Co. (NYSE:SO) agreed to disclose and have their directors oversee soft money political contributions made with corporate funds, shareholder activists announced today. The groups, Washington-based Center for Political Accountability (CPA), socially responsible investment firm Trillium Asset Management Corp., and the Central Laborers’ Pension Fund, are part of a nationwide campaign to bring transparency and accountability to company political spending.

In its own 2012 statement of opposition, the SO board noted shareholder pressure is having an effect on transparency:

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