Tag Archives: Tennessee

Georgia statehouse and the anti-sustainability astroturf talking points (aka “Agenda 21”)

Somebody wrote me a week or two ago:

I saw in todays paper Chip Rogers and other Senate leadership was changed yesterday. Thank goodness!

Well, don't cheer too soon. According to Jim Galloway in the AJC 15 November 2012,

"Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers of Woodstock withdrew his re-election bid and endorsed Ronnie Chance of Tyrone, the governor's floor leader, for the position."

Ronnie Chance is not only also ALEC, Chance is the other ALEC state Senator who put both the charter school amendment and the multi-year amendment on the ballot. Is this leadership "change" improvement? Meet the new boss; same as the old boss.

Why must we get fooled again? When will the people of the state of Georgia get tired of government by astroturf and elect some legislators who will represent the people?


Who will let the sun shine on Georgia?

Someone asked who to vote for who will represent the people more than the electric utilities, on Elect Georgia legislators and Public Service Commissioners who will let the sun shine on Georgia! OK, here’s my opinion.

Sec. State provides you with a sample ballot.

For PSC, vote for somebody who isn’t an incumbent (the incumbents are marked on the ballot). The election today is a primary, so you need to select a Democratic ballot (Steve Oppenheimer District 3 is not an incumbent) or a Republican ballot (Pam Davidson District 5 and Matt Reid District 3 are not incumbents).

For the legislature, here is a list of who voted for the nuke stealth tax as a charge on Georgia Power bills for electricity nobody will get for years if ever. On your ballot, see if somebody else is running against them. Around here, somebody is: Bikram Mohanty for State Senate District 8, Teresa Lawrence for State House District 174, and JC Cunningham for State House District 175, all Democrats, since the incumbents switched parties after being elected last time.

So, if you want solar and wind energy for jobs, energy independence, and profit in the state of Georgia, instead of Georgia Power’s bet-the-farm nuclear risk at Plant Vogtle and Southern Company’s natural gas fracking, that’s who I would vote for.

If, like me, you didn’t already vote early, today is the final day to vote in this primary, and you and I’ll be going down to the precinct polling place to cast a ballot. Today’s the day!


Elect Georgia legislators and Public Service Commissioners who will let the sun shine on Georgia!

Solar PV prices have dropped so much they’re competitive with coal, natural gas, and nuclear. The only thing that stops Georgia from leading the country and the world in solar energy is our legislature and Public Service Commission kow-towing to the electric companies instead of serving the public. How about we elect Georgia legislators and PSC members who will change that?

How about if we elect legislators who will stop approving nuclear boondoggles for Southern Company through a stealth tax on Georgia Power customers? How about we elect Georgia Public Service Commissioners who will stop giving Georgia Power a guaranteed profit through charging cost overruns (already $400 million) for the Plant Vogtle boondoggle to Georgia Power customers?

How about instead we fully fund the existing 35% state tax rebate for renewable energy? Last year Georgia legislators did double the money in that fund, but it’s still only $5 million a year and the funding for 2012 has already been used up. $5 million a year for power after it’s installed, while Georgia Power and Southern Company have already run $400 million over budget on nuclear energy that nobody will see for years, if ever! We need Georgia legislators who understand that Moore’s Law for solar means fast growth; growth in jobs, energy independence, and profit for Georgians.

To bring Georgia to the lead in renewable energy in this country and the world, all we really need to do is to pass something like SB 401 to modify that arrogant dinosaur of a 1973 Georgia Territoriality Electric Service Act that prevents you from getting financing to install solar generation and selling it through the grid at a profit, with the electric utility taking a cut and bragging rights.

It is time to let the south Georgia sun break through the clouds of power utility disinformation and regulatory capture. It is time for us to elect Georgia legislators and Georgia Public Service Commissioners who will let the sun shine on us in Georgia!


Solar PV costs dropped 50% last year: time for south Georgia to lead in solar power

Solar energy continues to grow by leaps and bounds worldwide. Except in Georgia. Maybe we should change that. There’s an election going on right now.

Frank Jordans wrote for AP 11 June 2012, $257 billion invested in renewable energy in 2011,

Global investment in renewable energy reached a record of $257 billion last year, with solar attracting more than half the total spending, according to a U.N. report released Monday.

Investment in solar energy surged to $147 billion in 2011, a year-on-year increase of 52 percent thanks to strong demand for rooftop photovoltaic installations in Germany, Italy, China and Britain.

Large-scale solar thermal installations in Spain and the United States also contributed to growth during a fiercely competitive year for the solar industry. Several large American and German manufacturers fell victim to price pressure from Chinese rivals that helped to halve the cost of photovoltaic modules in 2011.

Lower solar PV module price should mean more people can afford to install solar electricity, which should mean more jobs for people to install it. How much lower? According to the report:

Continue reading

Unemployed need public transit to get to jobs: T-SPLOST doesn’t help

If you're unemployed, you may not be able to afford a car: then how do you get to work even if you can find a job? As our own Industrial Authority's Community Assessment of last October said, we need public transportation to promote business by getting employees to jobs. T-SPLOST doesn't do that: it would widen more roads and build no public transportation.

Peter S. Goodman wrote for Huffington Post today, Unemployment Problem Includes Public Transportation That Separates Poor From Jobs

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — In the two months since he lost his job driving a delivery truck for a door company, Lebron Stinson has absorbed a bitter geography lesson about this riverfront city: The jobs are in one place, he is in another, and the bus does not bridge the divide.

Stinson lives downtown, where many of the factories that once employed willing hands have been converted into chic eateries. The majority of jobs are out in the suburbs, in the strip malls, office parks and chain restaurants that stretch eastward. Most of this sprawl lies beyond reach of the public bus system, and Stinson cannot afford a car.

The report Janus Economic did for VLCIA 11 October 2011, Community & Economic Assessment: Lowndes County says:

There is a plan for a public transportation system in Valdosta-Lowndes County but it currently lacks funding for implementation. Under current budget constraints it will be difficult to implement such a project, but businesses in the industrial parks and outlying areas may want to implement a limited transportation system if they discover that employee attendance is an issue.

That would be the plan for $7.5 million for a four line bus system that got cut first pass from the T-SPLOST project list, while widening a few miles of Old US 41 North got raised from $8 million to $12 million and is still in the final list.

T-SPLOST would promote more sprawl of exactly the kind we don't need. Let's not do that.


CCA is a functional equivalent of a government agency —TN court

A government agency is subject to open records laws. Alex Friedman of Prison Legal News sued CCA for not satisfying an open records request. CCA lost in local court, then lost again on first appeal. On a second appeal, CCA lost even more abruptly.

Knoxville News editorial of 14 March 2010, Chalk two up for open government

CAA[sic] maintained it wasn’t the functional equivalent of a government agency, but the Appeals Court rejected that claim and the Supreme Court refused even to hear it.

“With all due respect to CAA[sic],” Appeals Court Judge D. Michael Swiney wrote in his opinion on Friedman’s case, “this Court is at a loss as to how operating a state prison could be considered anything less than a governmental function.”

So eventually CCA will have to surrender at least some of the records, although there is still haggling in court over which exceptions CCA can use for which records. (And there’s always the old “we didn’t keep them that long” trick.)

The Tennessee Supreme Court had already ruled about government contractors:

“When a private entity’s relationship with the government is so extensive that the entity serves as the functional equivalent of a governmental agency, the accountability created by public oversight should be preserved.”
I wonder if Georgia will accept a Tennessee precedent?


The private prison game: Banking on Bondage

Rania Khalek wrote for AlterNet 29 November 2011, The Shocking Ways the Corporate Prison Industry Games the System
Just a decade ago, private prisons were a dying industry awash in corruption and mired in lawsuits, particularly Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), the nation’s largest private prison operator. Today, these companies are booming once again, yet the lawsuits and scandals continue to pile up. Meanwhile, more and more evidence shows that compared to publicly run prisons, private jails are filthier, more violent, less accountable, and contrary to what privatization advocates peddle as truth, do not save money. In fact, more recent findings suggest that private prisons could be more costly.

So why are they still in business?

In a recently published report, “Banking on Bondage: Mass Incarceration and Private Prisons,” the American Civil Liberties Union examines the history of prison privatization and finds that private prison companies owe their continued and prosperous existence to skyrocketing immigration detention post September 11 as well as the firm hold they have gained over elected and appointed officials.

We’d already heard from Bloomberg that Continue reading

School consolidation as disaster capitalism

School consolidation would set up an artificial fiscal disaster that could force the “unified” public school system to turn to private foundations for funding, at the price of control of public education by private entities. This is disaster capitalism, or the shock doctrine, right here in Valdosta and Lowndes County.

What’s the Shock Doctrine? It’s been around for a long time, but Naomi Klein researched it for her book of the same name. It’s

“the rapid-fire corporate reengineering of societies still reeling from shock”
She was writing mostly about wars, terrorist attacks, and natural disasters. Locally here we haven’t had any of those. But we may be about to create a disaster, a shock, at the ballot box in November, if voters fall for the school “unification” snake oil.

What’s the next step after CUEE has accidentally revealed that Continue reading

The promises that are impossible —Barbara Stratton

Received 6 October 2011 on LCBOE did its homework about consolidation. -jsq
CUEE has staked their efforts on catch phrases & false promises that look & sound good. All of their info is at best a half truth. The promises that are imposible to keep are lies. I was raised believing a promise broken is a truth untold, which is a lie.

Unfortunately this tactic will work for today’s lazy voters who won’t even take the time to go to a website where the true facts are posted much less do their own research. Surely don’t ask them to leave the comfort of their homes & entertainment & personal addictions to attend any public meetings on either side when they should be visiting both sides at least once. They are part of the convenient idiot masses that facilitate take overs by the clever greedy for money & power few.

Both school boards [VBOE, LCBOE] and their supporters have done a great job of researching to produce true evidence that dissolves all the CUEE false rhetoric & print.

We cannot assume that truth will prevail because it is much easier to believe the fast sell that requires no personal effort. CUEE is banking on this. Most of the school consolidations that have occurred had many that were shocked when they passed because they did not account for the money/power ruses of the facilitators working so well with the lazy voter public. Many will not even show up claiming they have no stake since they have no children in either system. They are too lazy to check the researched facts to see they will be paying higher taxes for a handicapped unified system.

-Barbara Stratton

Chattanooga deja vu —Karen Noll

Received yesterday on How did we get here? apparently referring to Barbara Stratton’s comment since reposted as Hauntingly familiar Tennessee Waltz. -jsq
After reading the Ed Weekly article, [slightly earlier version quoted here, referred to here. -jsq] I was struck by a very strong dejavu feeling. I checked the date twice and only to realize ( twice) that this consolidation went on more than 15 years ago.

The city schools were in bad shape financially and educationally in Chatnooga city. That is the major difference with our situation here. As much as some want you to believe that Valdosta city schools are not doing well, there are many that can point to the school improvement plan and it being recognized as one of the best in the state, or other notable achievements that differ front the view of VCS propagated by the folks on CUEE.

Other than that we are looking at the same issues; racial segregation, neighborhood schools, professional development monies in the different district, curriculum changes, busing to attain integration requirements, and the concerns about redistricting and moving kids to other schools.

Again this was 15 years ago, yet we are now faced with the same issues. At the time of the article consolidation had passed (19k to 21k). Teachers and parents Interviewed expressed concern about the poor kids of the city not getting a fair shake because the county (largely white) schools had little connection to the issues of the city kids. We would be faced with that just on a smaller scale.

The other strange likeness to this 15 year old consolidation is that Steve Prigozhy seems to have some very vague notions of school reform today that he did back then. These notions have been found to be less than successful in the ensuing 15 years.

Distancing himself from his failures does not make him a success at anything but manipulation of facts. The education of my children is not going to be reformed by a man that spins the truth and panders to the wealthy.

Thank you for sharing the Edweekly article.

-Karen Noll