Tuesday, March 31, 2009

"Rocking in the nude| I'm feeling such a dude| It's a Rip Off

Even us recent alumni with no 1970s connections to the University know about THIS.
An interesting article about something that will continue to amaze UGA alumni--especially those of us who know what the University is turning into these days.
Unfortunately, my wife's parents weren't involved in this, either, as they graduated sometime in the 60s. But as Political Insider said, you'd be surprised to know who was involved.

Friday, March 27, 2009

The cat is about out of the bag

Give it to the good people at Lucid Idiocy, they're the first to have the details on the new new governance plan at the Department of Transportation.
The state House has dramatically altered the governor's plan to create a new planning and oversight board to handle the state's transportation system.
According to Lucid Idiocy, the plan leaves the DOT board in the same planning and oversight role it has today, but there will be a new DOT planning department and a planning director to be appointed by the governor. The director will be tasked with creating a transportation plan with projects and allocations to be approved by the governor. The General Assembly will then appropriate the funding for projects, basically assuring legislators an up or down on what gets done.
Lucid Idiocy says that he hasn't yet seen the legislation, but is going off of words by state Rep. David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge.
Here in Milledgeville, I haven't been able to get in touch with Rep. Bobby Parham,D-Milledgeville, to see if this version of the plan would keep him in the House or move him to the state Transportation Board, to which he was elected this session.
In previous conversations he's said he wouldn't make the jump should the board be neutered. But with three or so days left in the session, there's still no telling what will happen on the transportation front.
However, Dick Pettys at Insider Advantage says that there is yet another version of the governance bill lurking out there to be sprung on an unsuspecting public should DOT reform make it to a conference committee between the two chambers.
Still a lot to happen and a lot of time to do it.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

with the top down screaming 'money ain't a thing'

All my friends in the Big A better take warning...
After years of consideration (at least one), the General Assembly finally passed the super speeder legislation to tack a big fine on speeders caught doing more than 85 on I-85, and all other major interstate highways for that matter.
And just in case you're outside the metro area, it's 75 mph for all those two lane black tops traversing the state.
As for me, I roll out in a Buick Le Sabre, and drive accordingly.

Friday, March 20, 2009

But will it actually happen this time

The Gold Domeosphere is ripe with speculation that the General Assembly will be reconvening sometime between April 3 and January 2010 to cut more from the state budget in order to overcome the state's economic freefall.

“People aren’t making any money, and they aren’t paying any taxes, and they don’t have any money to pay taxes,” the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports Speaker of the House Glenn Richardson, R-Hiram, as saying yesterday during discussion on the FY2010 budget.
“It’s getting worse every day. The cuts you see today are the tip of the iceberg of what we’re going to have to do.
“I’m afraid this won’t be our last visit to this building this year,” he said. “I am afraid we’re coming apart at the seams.”

Legislators threatened to go back into session last summer when news about the faltering economy was still news to people. But Gov. Sonny Perdue told Georgians that a special session would be a waste of money that would offer few solutions. Perdue tried to handle it himself using executive prerogative to withhold funding in the FY2009 budget, including funding promised to local government through the Homeowners Tax Relief Grant. (Yes I've finally learned what it's called.)
But with February revenue figures down 26 percent from a year ago and speculation that March ain't gonna be much betta, legislators may have to think about rethinking the budget they are just about to sign off on.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The House budget is in

State Rep. Bobby Parham, D-Milledgeville, just phoned in from the capital to list off the projects the FY2010 budget will bring in to Baldwin County.
We reported yesterday that the $18 million for the new health sciences vocational technologies school at Central Georgia Technical College didn't make the list of bonded projects. But even still, the budget promises almost $15 million worth of bonded projects for Baldwin County.
Winners include Georgia College & State University, Central State Hospital, the Georgia War Veterans Home and the Georgia War Veterans Cemetery.
There'll be some more money benefiting any of the four or so Department of Corrections facilities in the community as well.
But don't let that tell you that things are alright under the Gold Dome. Lucid Idiocy is advocating all but the end of times as far as the state of the state is concerned.
When asked about next year, Parham said we're going to be in real trouble when the federal government is not there to bailout state governments.
If downturns like the one we're in now continue, it's liable to get real bad, he said.
By his calculations, the Revenue Shortfall Reserve is down to about $800 million.
"We can eat up that kind of money real quick," Parham said.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Not to be outdone

In a announcement curiously timed with similar bad news coming from the Macon Telegraph, Community Newspaper Holdings Inc. announced today that all employees will be furloughed for five days between April 1 and June 30.
Union-Recorder Publisher Keith Barlow told employees that furloughs were being enacted to keep from having to lay employees off.
While not a disclosure of financial insolvency about the paper itself, Barlow stressed that the furloughs are a sign of times in an economy that has battered the City of Milledgeville.
Milledgeville has seen the closing of two major manufacturers in the last three months resulting in about 850 layoffs.

A tale of appropriation

Sometimes even the General Assembly can teach you something new.
While reading over the state House of Representatives Daily Report, I learned that there has been a gross oversight in almost every aspect of my daily life.
I, like the state House, have been neglecting to pledge allegiance to the state flag.
Although there is no Georgia Flag in the Union-Recorder newsroom--the staff in 2001, like people across the rest of the state, probably decided Georgia's flag didn't exist after they took away the confederate battle flag--it never occurred to me that I was overlooking my daily opportunity to pledge allegiance should one be present.
But if we ever get a Georgia Flag, or if you have one yourself, here's what you can say to join the state House in setting forth a guiding principle for your day:

I pledge allegiance to the Georgia flag and to the principles for which it stands: Wisdom, Justice, and Moderation.

Thank you state Rep. Bobby Franklin, R-Marietta, at least members of the state House will do their duty observing what is truly important: Wisdom, Justice, and Moderation.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Politics is politics

Friday, state Sen. Johnny Grant, R-Milledgeville, returned from the last of this session's three-day work weeks to check in with the local organ.
In addition to talking about his take on the proposed reorganization/privatization of the state's mental health system, he told me about why he voted against the wholesale transportation reform brewing in the State's Capital.
He said he opposed it because with state Rep. Bobby Parham, D-Milledgeville, on the state's Transportation Board, maybe we'd see some shovel-ready opportunism on some of the transportation projects that have been long promised to Baldwin County.
This is quite a turnaround in Grant as word around the office was that Grant supported and nominated the governor's candidate in secret caucus to elect a board member for the 12th Congressional district.
I'm not saying this to cast aspersions on Grant, I personally think he's a great guy who does his best to promote the interests of all of the members of his community. But I think he said it best himself:
"Whether we like it or not, politics play a big part of where transportation projects go. It's true now and it's true under the plan [Gov. Sonny Perdue's plan to create a new authority to plan and construct the state's transportation system]," he said. "It all depends on who has the power to move a project forward and how that power can be exerted."
Last week, the state Senate passed S.B. 200.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Does this mean we'll be moving that special election up?

The General Assembly amended it's calendar to adjourn in early April.
Let's see if that quiets some of the controversy concerning the empty seat on the state Transportation Board.

Milledgeville MainStreet Ex-Pat making news in Macon

Milledgeville's former MainStreet Exec Heather Holder made the Telegraph talking about the creation of a MainStreet affiliate in Macon.
And from my own recent visits to Mac Town, I would say the city needs some kind of revitalization in the downtown area. It's like a ghost town over there.
My wife and I attended the Macon Film Festival on a Sunday, and even with a film festival going on, it was hard to find a place to eat, the streets were deserted, etc.
It's a sad day when Milledgeville seems like a happening place to spend a Sunday afternoon on the town.

Parham Stirs the Pot 3

The people at the Savannah Morning News are not so happy about state Rep. Bobby Parham's, D-Milledgeville, dedication to fighting for the people of the 141st District.
If Mr. Parham thinks it's essential for him to serve out his term in the House, that's fine. Then he should resign his seat on the DOT board.
He can't serve two groups at the same time - not when a once-in-a-lifetime gusher of federal funds are headed to Georgia. He should have the decency to surrender his DOT seat now so that a more willing candidate can serve.