Environment

Georgians Celebrate First Victory against Permanent Tolls, SRTA Credit to Private Parties (SB183)

celebrate pic 2

PRESS RELEASE
Contact: Garland Favorito
Phone: 404-664-4044
March 17, 2017

Georgians Celebrate First Victory against Permanent Tolls Extension of Credit to Private Parties also struck down

ATLANTA GA – Citizens activists are cautiously celebrating their first victory today in a battle to prevent Georgia from becoming a permanent toll road state. On Thursday, the House Transportation Committee voted to strip the permanent toll road language from the highly controversial SB183. The committee also voted to further revise the bill language so that the State Road and Tollway Authority (SRTA) could not extend credit directly to private organizations and individuals, another controversial point. The new, amended bill also appears to close a loophole that may have allowed tolls on existing road capacity.

Citizens had spoken out against another clause that removed the competitive bid requirement however, that clause was included in the committee substitute bill that was passed Thursday. Proponents argued that the original language was consistent with current Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) procedures that allow “value engineering” in lieu of competitive bidding.

The original SB183 sailed through the Senate by a 50-1 vote before hitting a brick wall of vocal activists who discovered the bill content as it reached the House Transportation Committee. A rubber stamp of approval was expected for Sen. Brandon Beach’s bill in the committee since it was co-sponsored by three of Gov. Nathan Deal’s floor leaders.

However, committee members significantly altered the bill before passing it Thursday, much to the pleasure of attendees who had unanimously spoken against the bill in the first hearing on March 9. Those attendees were particularly complimentary towards Committee Chairman Kevin Tanner who they felt made a concerted effort to understand the bill, listen to their concerns and find common ground to make the legislation as palatable as possible for all viewpoints.

The revised bill now moves to the Rules Committee where it will likely receive passage to the House floor for a vote. Georgians cannot relax if the House votes to pass the measure. Once SB183 passes the House, the House and Senate versions will be sent to a Joint Committee that will decide which version should be adopted. That committee could discard the House version and send the Senate version to the House for a floor vote.

gov deal close toll roads pic

Action Alert SB 183: No Public Debt Financing Private Gain

SB183

ACTION ALERT: Attend the GA House Transportation Committee Hearing

Thursday 3/16, 1:00 PM
614 Coverdell Legislative Office Bldg., Room 506
Atlanta, GA 30334

The people of Georgia must show up in strength to defeat #SB183 the “For Whom the Road Tolls” bill. The Governor’s bill proposes the State of Georgia to loan private parties moneys out of taxpayer funds, AT RISK, to build and operate unlimited numbers of toll roads all throughout the state, and for these private concessionaires to collect tolls in perpetuity, even after the state loans are paid off. The people need to show up and stand against the crony-capitalist exploitation of the Georgia Taxpayer.

Read SB183

Section 2 allows SRTA to extend credit to private individuals and organizations
Section 3 legalizes permanent toll roads in Georgia.
Section 3 allows mandatory tolls to be imposed on Georgia roads in the same manner as implemented in states like New Jersey and Florida. It also allows tolls to be placed on existing road capacity.
If you can’t attend in person, please call the committee members and let them know how you feel about the state loaning money to private corporations and tolls in perpetuity.

HOUSE TRANSPORTATION COMMITTEE MEMBERS
(click link for representative website and contact info)

Tanner, Kevin Chairman
Watson, Sam Vice Chairman
Epps, Bubber Secretary
Ballinger, Mandi L. Member
Benton, Tommy Member
Burns, Jon G. Member
Carson, John Member
Coomer, Christian Member
Corbett, John Member
Cox, Clay Member
Deffenbaugh, John Member
Dempsey, Katie M. Member
Frye, Spencer Member
Gardner, Pat Member
Gilliard, Carl Wayne Member
Hanson, Meagan Member
Harrell, Brett Member
Hitchens, Bill Member
Jones, Sheila Member
Jones, Vernon Member
McCall, Tom Member
Newton, Mark Member
Nimmer, Chad Member
Prince, Brian Member
Rutledge, Dale Member
Rynders, Ed Member
Setzler, Ed Member
Taylor, Darlene K. Member
Taylor, Tom Member
Waites, Keisha Member
Williams, Al Member

P.S. Please forward to your lists and share/tweet on social media.

Action Alert by Field Searcy with In Defense of Liberty.TV

SB183 Testimony – March 9, 2017
House Transportation Committee

SB183: STATE LEGISLATURE TRYING TO ELIMINATE SEALED BIDS & EVADE PUBLIC SCRUTINY BY GIVING TAXPAYER MONEY TO OTHER ENTITIES TO DO WORK

SB183: STATE LEGISLATURE TRYING TO ELIMINATE SEALED BIDS & EVADE PUBLIC SCRUTINY BY GIVING TAXPAYER MONEY TO OTHER ENTITIES TO DO WORK

Posted on March 9, 2017

March 9, 2017
Hearing on SB183 March 9, 2017 at 2PM
https://livestream.com/accounts/19771738/events/6811894/videos/151342386

catherine bernard

The following information was sent from Catherine Bernard, a lawyer and political activist. This information shows you how desperately we need to drain the Georgia swamp!

“…to preserve [the people's] independence, we must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt.” -Thomas Jefferson

Dear Friends,

With a Republican-controlled state legislature and Republican officials occupying all executive offices in Georgia, you’d think we might get some fiscally conservative policies. This legislative session continues to show how wrong that expectation would be. Other than a few targeted tax breaks for wealthy special interests, like yacht owners and Delta, the 2017 legislative session has been new taxes, more taxes, regulations, and scariest of all – new powers to borrow and lend public money.

Today at 2:00 p.m., in Room 506 of the Coverdell Legislative Office Building at the Capitol, the House Transportation Committee will hear testimony onSB183. Most of the coverage of this bill so far has focused on how it would create permanent mandatory toll roads, but that’s only part of the issue. What’s even more dangerous are the provisions eliminating the public competitive bid and sealed bid process requirements for State Road and Tollway Authority (SRTA) projects, combined with the massive new grants of power to SRTA: to extend credit and make loans to any type of entity, to incorporate multiple non-profit corporations as subsidiaries of SRTA, and to expand the definition of “self-liquidating project” to include not just projects by cities and counties, but by any “person, firm, corporation, limited liability company, or other type of entity”. I.e., they can take your money and give it to literally whoever they want to, and they might even do it through private corporations set up to evade public scrutiny.

The permanent mandatory toll road part is pretty bad too. Georgia law only authorizes the state to charge a toll until the road construction project is fully paid for, e.g. GA 400, where tolls were collected from 1993 to 2013 (and even then, it took dedicated citizen activists holding the government to its promise). Changing this would be a big deal, deserving of much more public debate than we’ve seen on this important topic.
Send an email to the Committee chair, Rep. Kevin Tanner, and the bill sponsor, Sen. Brandon Beach, letting them know what you think of this bill.Email Rep. Tanner Email Sen. Beach Or give them a call: 404.656.3947 and 404.463.1378

Good news on the no-knock search warrant bill, though: I showed up at the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee hearing ready to testify against SB94, but the bill sponsor didn’t show up and it was removed from the agenda. Since it didn’t pass the Senate before Crossover Day, technically it’s dead for the session – but this legislation has already been revived too many times, so I’m keeping a close eye on it.

Thanks for engaging with these important issues, so that together we can make our political world more reasonable and thoughtful.

Warm regards,
Catherine
============================

TWG
Citizens, be informed and stay informed! Only by being informed, can the citizens understand what is being done and talked about, and then press our officials to make good decisions for everyone in Jasper County. That is our goal with the Taxdogs blog.

www.taxdogs.wordpress.com;www.taxdogs.wordpress.com

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Suspicions surround DeKalb’s ‘missing’ millions by Mark Niesse

Suspicions surround DeKalb’s ‘missing’ millions
By Mark Niesse – The Atlanta Journal Constitution, August 9, 2016

The item is buried on a 4-year-old DeKalb County Purchasing Department spreadsheet: an eyebrow-raising $72,348,739.04 to build a sidewalk.

The actual cost? Just under $1.26 million.

DeKalb officials say the discrepancy is some kind of error — a baffling but harmless mistake.

But the citizens group Unhappy Taxpayer & Voter is more wary. In a county that has seen one government corruption case after another, members of the group say, it’s obvious a comprehensive audit needs to be conducted.

Read entire article at link: http://www.myajc.com/news/news/local-govt-politics/suspicions-surround-dekalbs-missing-millions/nsCqL/

https://www.scribd.com/document/317834011/Where-is-the-70-Million-Dollars-that-s-Missing-from-DeKalb-County-Watershed-Department

Violation of Citizens 1st Amendment Rights Places DeKalb County in National News

CBS46 News

Violation of Citizens 1st Amendment Rights Places
DeKalb County in National News
By Viola Davis, July 11, 2016

Memorial Day gives honor to our fallen soldiers that risk their all to protect our Constitutional rights against all enemies, both foreign and domestic. Who would ever guess that DeKalb County would make national news for violating one of the most important Constitutional rights of them all, the 1st Amendment (Freedom of Speech).

DeKalb County Board of Commissioners in Georgia instituted a new rule prohibiting citizens from using the names of commissioners during the public comment portion of the county meeting.

This rule carried little weight with Ruby Bozeman Davis, co-founder of the Unhappy Taxpayer and Voter ministry. Davis appeared at the May 10th Board of Commissioners meeting to speak during the public comment to simply state the board members’ names. Her first attempt to call the name of the Presiding Officer, Commissioner Larry Johnson, was met with an episode of chastisement.

The interaction was televised throughout our nation, particularly on CBS stations and made national news to include:

1. Conservative Tribune article titled, “County Leaders Get Brutal Surprise After Ordering Voter to Keep Their Names Secret” at link -http://conservativetribune.com/county-leaders-names-secret/

2. The Blaze.com article titled, “County Commissioners Prohibit Citizens From Saying Officials’ Names During Public Meetings — the New Rule Doesn’t Go Over Well” with 673 shares – http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2016/05/18/county-commissioners-prohibit-citizens-from-saying-officials-names-during-public-meetings-the-new-rule-doesnt-go-over-well/#

Taxpayer Ruby Davis told WGCL-TV, “That’s my First Amendment right of freedom of speech.”

first amendment violation pic 2

DeKalb Co. commissioners ask for names not to be mentioned at public meeting. @MurphyCBS46 > http://bit.ly/1qsrcZ6

By Adam Murphy
✔‎@MurphyCBS46

Taxpayers blast #DeKalb commissioners for prohibiting them from mentioning their names during public comment.@cbs46
9:49 AM – 17 May 2016

first amendment violation pic 3

“They forget that they’re supposed to work for the taxpayers,” Davis said. “They believe the taxpayers work for them.”
“You’re getting an ethics complaint, each of you, on violation of our freedom of speech,” said taxpayer Jerry Jackson.

During a meeting, taxpayer Jeff Long noted that “the county’s own written comment policy does not address using a commissioner’s name during public comment time.”

“If you don’t want your name mentioned during public comment time, then stop doing outrageous, offensive, illegal and, quite frankly, stupid things,” Long said.

Also during a recent meeting, taxpayer Beth Long said, “With this rule, the message that you’re sending to us the public is that you hold yourselves above our constitutional rights,” adding, “We the public are the ones who put you in those seats.”

barnes sutton head shot

(Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton Picture)

WGCL noted that one of the commissioners — Sharon Barnes Sutton — found a creative way to avoid hearing her name at the meeting: She arrived two hours late.

Read entire article and view the video at the link:

http://www.cbs46.com/story/31999475/dekalb-county-commissioners-ask-for-names-not-to-be-mentioned-at-public-meeting

http://www.cbs46.com/story/32329960/70-million-allegedly-missing-dekalb-taxpayers-demand-audit

CBS46 News

Top Nine Zip Codes for Section 8 Housing in DeKalb County, Georgia

Top Nine Zip Codes for Section 8 Housing in DeKalb County, Georgia
By Viola Davis, May 11, 2016

DeKalb County - Section 8 Housing Pic 1

Red Dots – Section 8 Housing in DeKalb County…Glenwood Road, Covington Hwy, Redan Road, and Rockbridge Road…

We have the top nine zip codes for Section 8 Housing to include:

Dekalb County Zip Code; Total Section 8 Housing
1. 30032; 906
2. 30058; 878
3. 30034; 677
4. 30083; 503
5. 30035; 443
6. 30038; 400
7. 30088; 343
8. 30021; 333
9. 30319; 215

DeKalb County - Section 8 Housing Pic 3

Red Dots – Section 8 Housing outside City of Atlanta around Candler Road, Glenwood Road, and Columbia Drive

Thank You to District 1 Office in 2012 for Section 8 Stats

Viola Davis and Ruby Bozeman-Davis CrossRoadsNews 2016 Community Kudos Award Honorees

April 22, 2016

Viola Davis and Ruby Bozeman Davis
Founders of Unhappy Taxpayer & Voter
909 Rays Road
Stone Mountain, Georgia 30083

Jennifer Ffrench Parker and Curtis Parker
Crossroads Newspaper
2346 Candler Road
Decatur, Georgia 30032

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Parker:

We wanted to take a moment to extend our most sincere thanks for choosing us to receive the CrossroadsNews 2016 Community Kudos Award. We are writing to express our sincere gratitude to you for a memorable and wonderful evening that will stay with us forever. You have no idea how happy you made us when you handed us the award.

We are truly humbled and honored you recognized us with your “Making a Difference Award with Dedicated Service”. Once again, we are very grateful for this reward, which is an excellent morale-booster that will encourage us to continue doing our community ministry work. We are also very appreciative to everyone who helped you make the gala a “must attend” yearly event.

Yours sincerely,

Viola Davis
Co-Founder

ATTENTION: Do You Want Radioactive Waste Stored in Georgia?

Attention logo - red and gold color

A US Department of Energy Consent-Based Siting Public Meeting

Place: Georgia Tech Hotel and Conference Center, 800 Spring Street N.W., Atlanta, GA 30308

Time: April 11, 2016, 12:00 Noon to 6:00 PM

Why: The federal government is looking for places to dump tens of thousands of tons of radioactive waste from the nation’s commercial nuclear power plants. They are looking for volunteer communities who would consent to taking this waste.

Questions: Why would any community volunteer to take this dangerous waste? What does the Department of Energy mean by consent? Whose consent is the agency seeking? Is the waste being managed safely at power plant sites where it’s stored now?

These and many more questions should be raised at the meeting. The US Department of energy is holding a series of meetings at different locations across the country. The meeting in Atlanta is our opportunity to ask questions and give our opinions.

nuclear-waste pic

Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League
www.BREDL.org PO Box 88 Glendale Springs, North Carolina 28629 BREDL@skybest.com (336) 982-2691

If we leave the field open to the vision of those who are imposing their way upon us without challenge, we will lose everything.

Environmental Justice

It is important to include EJ specifically and consistently in all our principles, comments, correspondence, position papers and talking points during these consent-based meetings. Why? Because all the communities which have ever been selected for radioactive waste have been EJ communities: African American, Hispanic, Appalachian, Native American etc.

In the South, studies of the locations of nuclear generating plants also reveal disproportionate impacts prohibited under the Civil Rights Act. It is of particular interest to us in the Southeast because of the perennial magnet for nuclear waste known as the Savannah River Site in South Carolina. We have the right to say “NO!”

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin in programs receiving federal assistance. This overview provides a foundation for our approach to DOE’s so-called consent-based process:

If a recipient of federal assistance is found to have discriminated and voluntary compliance cannot be achieved, the federal agency providing the assistance should either initiate fund termination proceedings or refer the matter to the Department of Justice for appropriate legal action. Aggrieved individuals may file administrative complaints with the federal agency that provides funds to a recipient, or the individuals may file suit for appropriate relief in federal court. Title VI itself prohibits intentional discrimination.

President John F. Kennedy said in 1963: “Simple justice requires that public funds, to which all taxpayers of all races [colors, and national origins] contribute, not be spent in any fashion which encourages, entrenches, subsidizes or results in racial [color or national origin] discrimination.”

Technology Questions

The DOE should choose the best available technology for radioactive waste storage. This should be based on long term safety, not short-term cost savings as is now the case. The DOE must exceed Nuclear Regulatory Commission standards to avoid radiation leaks and potential explosions. Most of the rest of the world uses thick metal storage/transport casks (10” to 20” thick) and stores them in reinforced buildings. They are designed to be maintained. The DOE plans to use inferior thin-walled canisters.

Rather than consent-based siting, DOE efforts and public meetings should be focused on the storage, transport, funding, and states legal authority issues. It would be folly for any community to consent to the transportation and storage of high level spent nuclear fuel until all these issues are resolved.

Stop Throwing County Employees Under the Bus and Making Them Scapegoats

KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: newswest9.com |

Stop Throwing County Employees “Under the Bus” and Making Them Scapegoats

By Viola Davis, April 5, 2016

I recently viewed several news reports on the Wade Walker YMCA and Roy Wilson with major concern and disbelief because I knew some major facts were not included in the report. I am writing this article in hopes of making some corrections that will remove the appearance of making Roy Wilson a “scapegoat” and/or “throwing Wilson under the bus”. Wilson was not employed with DeKalb County when the decision was made on the YMCA construction.

The future move to build a library at Wade Walker Park also made us very uncomfortable with the manner in which this was reported. Both of these issues involve questionable actions of our local county government of DeKalb and clearly have cost the taxpayers and voters over $100,000. However, it is not right to place the blame on county employees such as Roy Wilson.

I also read the column wrote online and strongly disagreed with blame being placed on Roy Wilson, the Director of Parks and Recreation for the following reasons:

· The Public-Private Partnership agreement that helped with the construction of the YMCA at Wade Walker Park was voted on in August and September of 2008.

· The agreement originated under the administration of Vernon Jones, Chief Executive Officer of DeKalb County. Jones had a totally different staff to include:

o Richard Stogner – COO

o Marilyn Drew – Director of Parks and Recreation

o William Linkous – County Attorney

· The September 9, 2008 Board of Commissioners business agenda and minutes will show that Commissioner May made the motion and Commissioner Ellis seconded, and the agenda item passed 6-0-0-1 to authorize the Chief Executive Officer to execute the Master Agreement with the Development Authority of DeKalb County and the Young Men’s Christian Association of Metropolitan Atlanta, Inc.

· Commissioner Elaine Boyer, Commissioner Jeff Rader, Commissioner Larry Johnson, Commissioner Burrell Ellis, Commissioner Lee May, and Commissioner Kathie Gannon voted in favor of the item. Commissioner Connie Stokes was absent.

· The contact person on this agenda item was Morris Williams. The agenda item was listed under Commission District 5 and 7.

· Marilyn Drew was the Director of Parks and Recreation until CEO Burrell Ellis fired her in 2009. Ellis hired Roy Wilson in 2010.

· The major decisions were made on the construction of the YMCA prior to Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton taking office in 2009.

· I was present during the Board of Commissioner meeting when the issue of the YMCA was discussed.

We are very concerned that placing the focus on Roy Wilson makes him appear to be “guilty” of a serious issue that he has no direct power to control. Wilson is a department head and must report to the COO and/or the CEO. Wilson does not report to the Board of Commissioners unless directed by his superiors.

The questions we are asking involve our legal department. Did anyone in our legal department provide guidance and/or warn our elected officials against building the YMCA in violation of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ restrictions? Where was our legal department during this year’s budget process when the decision was made to move forward with the library?

It is wrong to blame county employees and bypass the “true” decision makers. Did Roy Wilson give the report to Executive Assistant/COO Zachary Williams and/or ICEO Lee May? This would be Wilson’s first course of action. Wilson is not obligated to report to the Board of Commissioners. Zachary Williams is mandated through the Organizational Act to report to both the CEO and BOC.

Furthermore, Mr. Roy Wilson spoke of retiring long before the issue of the YMCA and the building of the Library came to light. It is unfair to make it appear that this was a sudden action Wilson did following these reports.

I am forwarding copies of documents that will provide a better understanding of what happened in 2008 with the construction of the YMCA at Wade Walker Park. Please view the attachment. I hope this will clear up any misunderstandings and restore Roy Wilson’s reputation.

If you have any questions, please contact me at 770-256-0034 or via email at UnhappyTaxpayers@gmail.com.

Unhappy Taxpayer & Voter Founders 2016 Community Kudos Awards Gala Honorees

community kudos award gala

March 4, 2016

Viola Davis and Ruby Bozeman Davis
Founders of Unhappy Taxpayer & Voter
909 Rays Road
Stone Mountain, Georgia 30083

Jennifer Ffrench Parker
Crossroads Newspaper
2346 Candler Road
Decatur, Georgia 30032

Dear Mrs. Parker:

We are writing this letter to let you know that we have received your notification that we are one of the 2016 Community Kudos Awards Gala Honorees. We are very pleased and grateful to accept the award. We are honored you are recognizing us with your “Making A Difference Award”.

We are very grateful for this reward, which is an excellent morale-booster that will encourage us to continue doing our community ministry work. We are also very appreciative of those who recommended us to you and for the time and effort you have put into this yearly award process.

Yours sincerely,

Viola Davis
Co-Founder

For More Information on Tickets, Please visit: http://tinyurl.com/2016KudosGala
or call 404-284-1888

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