Redistricting continues to be the story of the day, and the “wee protest” outside the Chamber notwithstanding, we think the backlash on this has been impressive. Here are a couple of nuggets for you to mull over.
ABH Executive Editor Jason Winders thinks that Ralph Hudgens has bitten off more than he can chew, and that Eric Johnson and Chip Rogers should be embarrassed, if they aren’t already. More important, he gives us the inside skinny on what the gentlemen said in an editorial meeting with the ABH, where they apparently got just a little desperate to prove their case. Here’s what Ol’ Man Winders has to say:
“…Rogers claimed if you pulled aside University of Georgia administrators they would support this idea. For our friends inside the Ivory Tower, thought you might like to know.
He said if you asked our county commissioners off-the-record they would all voice support of this idea. For our friends behind the rail, a little FYI for you.
Rogers also said he wouldn't make a move unless the sitting senator gave his approval. Thought Sen. Brian Kemp, R-Athens, might like to know since he has said all along he had nothing to do with this plan.”
Read his whole column here, and yes, it’s worth the read.
Now, as to what the Senators said, UGA has yet to take a public position on the whole matter. We’d bet that they don’t really care that much either way, because they know the truth: UGA’s funding is not contingent on the representation of one Senator, or even two, if Hudgens and the Chamber get their way. UGA has more lobbyists in Atlanta than any other organization in the State – for instance the Governor, most of his staff, and a good number of your elected senators and state representatives. UGA has never put all of its legislative eggs in one senator’s basket, and they never will.
Similarly, the ACC Government itself has not taken a formal position, and it never will. But that hasn’t stopped individual members of the ACC Commission from taking a position. If you check out the petition located here, you’ll see that as of this writing (4:05 pm on January 23), two of our elected officials, Carl Jordan and Heidi Davison, have signed on. We encourage you to do the same, even though it will probably do no good. We imagine that Carl and Heidi would encourage you to do so as well.
Chamber of Commerce President Larry McKinney weighs in to give the party line on redistricting, while failing to prove that increased representation would actually give UGA a better chance to get its hands on even more of our tax dollars. He also addresses the same old wage argument. We’ll say it again. If you think that an increase in funding will cause UGA to raise wages for the workers that need it, then you probably also believe that an increase in state dollars will keep UGA from raising tuition every time they want a shiny new learning center, or a parking deck, or some new pictures for Michael Adams’ office. If so, we’ve got some lovely mixed use land on Cedar Shoals Drive that Stu Cofer would like to sell you. Read Larry McKinney’s drivel here.
Finally, Don Nelson addresses the issue in his column today as well. Don comes as close as we’ve seen yet to asking the question: What did the President (of the Chamber of Commerce) know, and when did he know it? We hope that this line of questioning will make its way from the editorial columns into the hard news pretty soon. Notice that, when asked how many of the Chamber’s members support the redistricting, Chamber President Larry McKinney refused to give a number. We would speculate that it’s probably far less than half, and that further, we doubt whether most of the Chamber’s members were even consulted about this particular legislative priority.
Read Don’s piece here.