Tag Archives: SEC

Harrisburg just keeps getting worse

After Harrisburg, PA defaulted on its incinerator bonds, started selling off pieces of itself, and threatened bankruptcy (twice), now the SEC is suing the city for fraud.

James O’Toole wrote for CNN Money 6 May 2013, SEC sues financially troubled Harrisburg,

The Securities and Exchange Commission has sued the city of Harrisburg for fraud, alleging that officials in the Pennsylvania capital misled the public about the city’s financial condition.

The SEC says the misleading statements came in the city’s 2009 budget report, its annual and mid-year financial statements and a “State of the City” address. The case marks the first time the SEC has charged a municipality with misleading investors in statements made outside of securities documents.

Harrisburg has been mired in

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Southern Company CEO got 62% raise in 2011

What did Southern Company (SO) do to justify a 62% raise for its CEO last year? Could it be lots of special financing for the proposed new nukes at Plant Vogtle on the Savannah River?

Bill Murphy wrote for citybizlist Atlanta 16 April 2012, The Southern Company CEO Thomas Fanning Got 62% Raise in 2011 – cbl

The Southern Company (NYSE: SO) Chairman, President and CEO Thomas Fanning got a 62 percent jump to $9.75 million last year, according to an SEC filing. He got $6.02 million in 2010.

Fanning, who has led the Atlanta-based energy company since December 2010, received a base annual salary of $1.06 million, shares worth $2.25 million, stock options worth $1.50 million, $2.46 million in non-equity incentive and $2.42 million representing a change in pension value and nonqualified deferred compensation.


How to end the epidemic of incarceration

There are historical reasons for why we lock up so many people, some going back a century or more, and some starting in 1980 and 2001. Knowing what they are (and what they are not) lets us see what we can do to end the epidemic of incarceration that is damaging education and agriculture in Georgia.

Adam Gopnik wrote for the New Yorker dated 30 January 2012, The Caging of America: Why do we lock up so many people?

More than half of all black men without a high-school diploma go to prison at some time in their lives. Mass incarceration on a scale almost unexampled in human history is a fundamental fact of our country today—perhaps the fundamental fact, as slavery was the fundamental fact of 1850. In truth, there are more black men in the grip of the criminal-justice system—in prison, on probation, or on parole—than were in slavery then.
In Georgia, 1 in 13 of all adults is in jail, prison, probation, or parole: highest in the country (1 in 31 nationwide). Georgia is only number 4 in adults in prison, but we’re continuing to lock more people up, so we may get to number 1 on that, too.
Over all, there are now more people under “correctional supervision” in America—more than six million—than were in the Gulag Archipelago under Stalin at its height. That city of the confined and the controlled, Lockuptown, is now the second largest in the United States.

The accelerating rate of incarceration over the past few decades is just as startling as the number of people jailed: in 1980, there were about two hundred and twenty people incarcerated for every hundred thousand Americans; by 2010, the number had more than tripled, to seven hundred and thirty-one. No other country even approaches that. In the past two decades, the money that states spend on prisons has risen at six times the rate of spending on higher education.

And we can’t afford that, especially not when we’re cutting school budgets. That graph of education vs. incarceration spending is for California. Somebody should do a similar graph for Georgia.

The article does get into why we lock up so many people: Continue reading

Marijuana prohibition had nothing to do with smoking it

It had everything to do with the king of yellow journalism newspapers not wanting competition for his yellow paper and the king of the new plastics not wanting competition with them: competition from hemp.

Kathleen Murphy wrote for the Washington Free Press 3 June 2009 about How Marijuana Became Illegal,

As the methods for processing hemp into paper and plastics were becoming more readily available and affordable, business leaders including William Randolph Hearst and DuPont stood to lose fortunes. They did everything in their power to have it outlawed. Luckily for Hearst, he was the owner of a chain of newspapers. DuPont’s chief financial backer Andrew Mellon (also the Secretary of the Treasury during President Hoover) was responsible for appointing Harry J. Anslinger, in 1931 as the head of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs.
Anslinger and Hearst made up whatever propaganda they thought might scare the public into supporting prohibiting hemp: Continue reading

“We may face community opposition to facility location” —CCA

Look who cares about community opposition!

In CCA’s 2010 Annual Report to the SEC:

We may face community opposition to facility location, which may adversely affect our ability to obtain new contracts. Our success in obtaining new awards and contracts sometimes depends, in part, upon our ability to locate land that can be leased or acquired, on economically favorable terms, by us or other entities working with us in conjunction with our proposal to construct and/or manage a facility. Some locations may be in or near populous areas and, therefore, may generate legal action or other forms of opposition from residents in areas surrounding a proposed site. When we select the intended project site, we attempt to conduct business in communities where local leaders and residents generally support the establishment of a privatized correctional or detention facility. Future efforts to find suitable host communities may not be successful. We may incur substantial costs in evaluating the feasibility of the development of a correctional or detention facility. As a result, we may report significant charges if we decide to abandon efforts to develop a correctional or detention facility on a particular site. In many cases, the site selection is made by the contracting governmental entity. In such cases, site selection may be made for reasons related to political and/or economic development interests and may lead to the selection of sites that have less favorable environments.
CCA doesn’t like community opposition, because it reduces CCA’s ability to site prisons, which adversely affects their bottom line. Funny how that happens because a private prison company’s main goal is profit, not rehabilitation, public safety, or justice.

We don’t have to accept a private prison in Lowndes County, Georgia. If we tell the Industrial Authority and CCA no, CCA will probably go away.

And the more communities that tell CCA no, the less profitable they will be.


Time to divest from private prison companies

It’s time to stop private prison profiteering by refusing to take their profit: divest private prison company stock from personal, pension, and church funds.

There’s no need to speculate that private prison companies have incentive to keep more people locked up: CCA says so. Kanya D’Almeida wrote for IPS 24 August 2011, ‘Profiteers of Misery’: The U.S. Private Prison Industrial Complex:

CCA’s 2010 annual report states categorically that, “The demand for our facilities and services could be adversely affected by the relaxation of enforcement efforts, leniency in conviction or parole standards and sentencing practices or through the decriminalization of certain activities that are currently proscribed by our criminal laws — for instance, any changes with respect to drugs and controlled substances or illegal immigration could affect the number of persons arrested, convicted, and sentenced, thereby potentially reducing demand for correctional facilities to house them.”

CCA continues, “Legislation has been proposed in numerous jurisdictions that could lower minimum sentences for some non-violent crimes and make more inmates eligible for early release based on good behaviour, (while) sentencing alternatives under consideration could put some offenders on probation who would otherwise be incarcerated. Similarly, reductions in crime rates or resources dedicated to prevent and enforce crime could lead to reductions in arrests, convictions and sentences requiring incarceration at correctional facilities.”

What’s this got to do with Georgia? Continue reading