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It's not like you can be too obvious in Georgia politics anymore, can you? Perdue and the Republican leadership, bless their little black hearts, barely even try to deny that lobbyists run the place. Pretty soon I expect the state to be claimed for naming rights, like college football games.

The Georgia Power $tate of Georgia!
Or... Georgia, Inc.
Or... Linger Longer Georgia, bought to you by The Reynolds family!

Ah, the Reynolds family and Republican leadership. When a Macon Democrat introduced an amendment that would take $2.14 million from the $25 million in state funds directed towards Jekyll Island State Park (to build a convention center/park in concert with and adjacent to Reynolds big development project for the publicly owned island), using it instead to for a veterans home in Milledgeville, well... they didn't take too kindly to that idea. Vets? Thanks but no thanks. Politically connected developers? Here's $25 million. Oh, and  here's 25 more.

Perdue is one of the Southern Govs that made noise about rejecting the stimulus money. Belt tightening. Living within our means. Unless it comes to his friends who were handed a pretty sweet "public/private" development contract. The state can magically pony up $50 million for them. No problem.

And as they talk about eliminating the corporate tax, the Georgia legislature passes SB 31. Georgia Power will be allowed to charge consumers finance charges for nuclear reactors- before they even finish building them.

SB 31 allows Georgia Power to charge customers an estimated $1.6 billion in financing charges and an additional $400 million in related taxes between 2011, when construction of two nuclear reactors begins, and 2017, when the reactors are done.

The utility’s portion of the total estimated $14 billion cost will be $6.4 billion.

Score Georgia Power! (By the way, if you don't already, check out tondeestavern for a great blog on all these shenanigans)

“This happens because lobbyists are allowed to give, literally, completely unlimited gifts to senators and representatives,” said Rep. Rob Teilhet (D-Smyrna), who called SB 31 a “breathtakingly bad bill for Georgia consumers.”

Georgia Power hired some deeply connected lobbyists to help make its case, including former Senate Majority Leader Pete Robinson, former Senate Minority Leader Arthur “Skin” Edge and former Natural Resources Commissioner Joe Tanner.

Joe Tanner, Joe Tanner, where have I heard his name before? Oh yes- he's also the lobbyist for Linger Longer, the guy who helped Mercer and Jamie Reynolds get that amazing private/public partnership deal with the state to develop Jekyll Island State Park. Mercer is of course, John McCain's former national finance chair; Jamie is currently Eric Johnson's finance chair for Johnson's LT Gov campaign. Jamie and Joe used to be on the DNR together. How cute.

(more adorableness? Steve Croy- one of the more caustic members of the Jekyll Island Authority, appointed by Perdue, one who tried to paint Senator Jeff Chapman as a liar when he merely pointed out that the JIA was fudging numbers to try and sell the public on the dire need for more development on the island- is Casey Cagle's finance chair for his run at the Gov's seat)

About that belt tightening:

Sen. Robert Brown (D-Macon) tried to make a point on how the state spends money during final passage of the state 2010 budget Wednesday. He pitted money for Jekyll Island development against money for sick veterans.

Brown offered an amendment that would take out $2.14 million meant for Jekyll Island and give it to the Milledgeville domiciliary unit of the Georgia War Veterans Home.

Eighty-one veterans, all with health problems, lived at the domiciliary unit, which the Georgia Department of Veterans Affairs closed because of budget cuts.

The state did find money in the budget to help a politically-connected development company with plans to redevelop Jekyll Island. Legislators have put money in the budget to pay to upgrade the island convention center and build an ocean-side park as part of the project. The developers plan to replace older buildings along the beachfront with new hotels and condos.

Brown’s amendment failed and the budget passed.

The state found $50 million, btw, between this budget and the money appropriated last year. $50 million.

It was pretty obvious the amendment wouldn't pass. I mean, 81 sick vets compared to the Reynolds family? Duh. But why stop there!

Democrats tell us that Senate Appropriations Chair Jack Hill (R-Reidsville) is kindly informing his colleagues in the opposite party of the money he has yanked from projects in their districts, in retaliation for a Wednesday vote that pit Jekyll Island developers against a Milledgeville home for 81 veterans.

Senate Minority Leader Robert Brown (D-Macon) has been on a tear throughout the session over the closing of the veterans home because of budget cutbacks.

On Wednesday, Brown offered an amendment that would have taken out $2.14 million meant for Jekyll Island development — which has been placed in the hands of a Republican-connected firm. The cash would have been used to maintain the Milledgeville domiciliary unit of the Georgia War Veterans Home.

The amendment lost handily, and now Democrats appear to be paying the price.

So now not only won't they even entertain the notion that it might be better to care of our vets rather than millionaires, they are also screwing districts out of money for what I'm sure are needed projects for the same millionaires.

Bless their little black hearts indeed.

Originally posted to seaturtles on Sun Apr 05, 2009 at 12:54 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  seaturtle, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ckntfld, MKSinSA, whaddaya

    I live in Brown's district in middle GA and though I don't always agree with him, he was absolutely right about this issue.  I wanted Purdue and his cohorts out in the last few elections, but alas, the uninformed keep on voting these bozos into office and they keep allowing them to screw over the most vulnerable in the state, including themselves.  They will never, ever get it through their thick skulls that these people only care about them when they are running for election/re-election.  We need to find a way to expose their dealings to the general public, and I think your diary could be step 1 in the process.  This information should be archived and made available to the best dem candidate in next year's gubernatorial contest.

    •  Thanks for reading! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MKSinSA, whaddaya

      It's just getting ridiculous. Honestly, I'm surprised half of them just don't have lobbyists sub for them while in session.
      I pointed out Tondeestavern in the diary because they do a great job of following GA politics in general (I definitely have a more "Jekyll Island" interest) but they are also up on candidates for Gov. The AJC also points out a lot of this stuff but sadly, no one reads the newspapers anymore.

  •  Yeah, this is the same crew who took over GA (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chemicalresult

    government saying they were going to reform things.  They now control everything and still haven't come up with a funding plan for transportation.  Perdue wants to politicize transportartion issues by having the governor appoint the membvers of the state transportartion committee and have politicians decide which projects should be funded. Looks like more guarenteed work for politicvally connected lobbyhists to me.  

    Obama would be perfect if he were a Cubs fan.

    by Georgia Liberal on Sun Apr 05, 2009 at 02:34:46 PM PDT

  •  on the other hand, frozen embryos (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chemicalresult

    can now be adopted in GA. The venality and incompetence are breathtaking.

  •  I live here (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    frandor55, chemicalresult

    and despair. I just spent a week in Pensacola with some lefty friends who went on and on about their abysmal representation. I told them they couldn't hold a candle to Georgia's idiot legislature. I won the argument when I started running down the list of Georgia Congressidiots. They had no choice but to agree.

    We suck.

    It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are 20 gods or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg. -- Thomas Jefferson

    by AtlantaJan on Sun Apr 05, 2009 at 08:41:56 PM PDT

  •  Having lived in Georgia most of my adult life, I (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chemicalresult

    have come to the sad conclusion that our horrible educational standards have raised a constituency unable to understand basic issues.  How else can you explain our State's general election results--re-electing Saxby Chambliss, Perdue, etc.

    "The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled." -Plutarch

    by DEQ54 on Mon Apr 06, 2009 at 03:06:44 AM PDT

  •  GA Politics (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chemicalresult
    Observing GA politics reminds me of why REAL conservatives want limited government.  Limited (small) government gives politicians fewer opportunities to screw things up.  Or for that matter, to reward well connected friends.

    The only real solution is to replace these pseudo-conservatives with principled progressives!

    There are no atheists in foxholes and no libertarians in financial crises. - Jeff Frankel

    by DrJohnB on Mon Apr 06, 2009 at 05:15:58 AM PDT

  •  dirty poliics, the vets, and the Jekyll deal (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chemicalresult

    The Republican response to Sen. Robert Brown’s effort to spare a vets' home from closure is just about the worst case of political cronyism I’ve yet to see in the Gold Dome. Brown simply proposed that $2.1 million of the second of two $25 million bonds dished out to the Jekyll Island Authority and Casey Cagle's buddy Mercer Reynolds should be set aside to prevent 81 vets from being evicted from the Milledgeville Domiciliary due to budget cuts. The JIA and its political allies have already said that $25 million would be plenty to build the infrastructure needed for the Reynolds project.  Now, all of sudden, the infrastructure price tag has doubled. Why? Did any of our fiscally conservative Republican friends even blink an eye before voting to add $25 million in gravy to the Linger Longer/Reynolds project? No! They would rather pick some more meat off the bare bones of the budget for veterans’ affairs than cough up a mere one-tenth of that second $25 million State bond for fear of being punished by the party’s leaders, Lt Gov. Cagle and Sen. Johnson in particular, who, as "Sea Turtle" points out, have financial ties to the JIA board and the Reynolds family.

    The simple truth is that Sen. Brown tried to get between Reynolds' profits and the welfare of our vets; he lost and so did the vets and Georgia. The winners in the April Fool’s Day fiasco are Perdue's developer-connected appointees on the JIA board,  Reynolds, and the politicians linked to Reynolds’ money. This shameful episode in Georgia politics must not be forgotten. The candidates running against Cagle for Governor in 2010, and those running against Johnson for the office of Lt. Governor, need to make Cagle and Johnson pay a political price for what they did to both kill Brown’s amendment and punish those who voted for it. Sen. Chip Rogers too should pay a political price for saying, during the debate over Brown’s amendment, that the vets have to make sacrifices like everybody else during these tough budget times. Sen. Rogers, the vets have already made their sacrifice!

    Oh, did anyone notice that Sen. Jeff Chapman (Brunswick), whose district includes Jekyll Island State Park, was one of two Republicans who voted for Brown’s amendment? I guess he figured that the well-being of Georgia’s vets counts for more than fattening the profits of the Reynolds family. I’ll bet he’ll pay a political price for "embarrassing" his Republican colleagues, but since he’s consistently shown himself to be more concerned with  the common good than with being a team player for Cagle, Johnson and crew, I doubt if he gives a rat’s rear end about what his superiors might try to do his political career.

    Isn't there anyone out there in the Republican political arena, besides Chapman, willing to stand up for ordinary Georgians (including our veterans) and against a billionaire developer and his political pals?

  •  Sen. Brown's good intentions (0+ / 0-)

    God bless Sen. Brown for his good faith effort on behalf of our veterans.  

    What has happened to the Republican Party in GA?  I thought they had identified with the Christian Coalition, meaning they subscribed to Christian principles.

    The action on the part of Sen. Hill that saw to it that Sen. Brown's bill was defeated is the most UN-Christian act I've seen taken by a legislator in quite a while.

    Sen. Hill sold the veterans who live in the facility in Milledgeville for the equivalent of 30 pieces of silver.  Perhaps when we attend Maundy Thursday services later this week, we will hear those 30 pieces of silver thrown onto the pavement by Sen. Hill.

    We all need to think of how we might help Sen. Brown reach his goal of helping those who cannot help themselves.  A good social justice project for some churches who have a major interest in social justice.

    Beachwalker

  •  More shafting of the public by legislators (0+ / 0-)

    There has been a recent additional, underhanded betrayal that the elected legislative representatives have effected upon the citizens of Georgia (a piece of legislation encouraging the privatization of State parks in Georgia was sneaked into a big budget bill, fide the Dublin, GA newspaper).  The good coastal senator, Jeff Chapman, warned Georgia’s citizens that this would happen.  He warned that the transfer of Jekyll Island State Park to a very wealthy private developer wouldn’t be the last theft of public parks from the public.  He was so right.  We citizens have to pull our avaricious, venal legislators out of Atlanta ASAP.  And we must replace our Governor, with his scurrilous snatching of real estate through abuse of his administrative power, with someone honorable.  Perhaps we might even see the replacement of the two Georgia U S Attorneys with men who aren’t willing to turn a blind eye to "pay to play" crimes.  Note that Jason Holcombe of the Dublin newspaper points out that the Commissioner of DNR helped stop the privatization of Little Ocmulgee State Park.  That Commissioner has retired, and Governor Perdue has replaced him with a man whose background is in economic development, and who has no natural science credentials.  This is a very transparent move to further subvert the mission of Georgia DNR and participate in real-estate-oriented, self-enriching damage to natural ecosystems of Georgia, a goal that our Governor has had from day-1 of his administration.

  •  Georgia legislature (0+ / 0-)

    By the time enough Georgians wake up to the shenanigans of the Republican power structure that has this state in a vice-like grip, there may not be much of a state left.

    We'll be building four-lane roads though the Okefeenokee Swamp while Atlanta strangles in traffic.  And only too late will people even in the hinterlands realize that Atlanta is the engine that drives this state and keeps it from being 50th in nearly everything.  Our legislature doesn't bat an eye at floating $50 million in bonds for Jekyll to be made into some pseudo-Reynolds Plantation, but heaven forbid they try to keep alive a home for veterans or adequately fund trauma centers.  And hey, Georgia Power wants us all to pay forward for two nuclear plants that may never get built or if they do, they are certain to be massively over budget.  But, wait.  Not all of us will pay. No, no, can't ask businesses to do that.  Unh, uh.  Just us ordinary Georgians.  You know---the kind of people that Jekyll Island was once designated for before the governor put a bunch of cronies and party flaks on the Jekyll Island Authority and voted to turn the island over to fatcat Republican Mercer Reynolds and his Linger Longer outfit.

    All I can say is that it's way past time to start voting this crew out of office!

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