Thursday, January 19, 2006

This and That

As I left downtown this afternoon, I spotted a lone protestor patrolling the downtown streets in the vicinity of the Chamber building carrying a sign containing something along the lines of the following (I don't guarantee a verbatim quote, cause I was driving kinda fast for downtown):

Chamber of Commerce: You don't speak for the citizens of Athens-Clarke County!


GOTD: A 2002 archived article about the creation of the WAG wireless cloud network in downtown Athens.

Question: Why doesn't Sonny wanna pay for the Courts? I'm gonna have a longer post on this later, but suffice it to say that Sonny has been giving the courts the shaft when it comes to funding.


Anonymous said...

If local businesses want to manipulate ACC politics via the COC they need to be ready to be held accountable. Is its list of members publsihed?

Anonymous said...

is there another city in Athens that despises it's Chamber the way we do? Just asking...

Publius said...

To be honest, I'm not sure if the same dynamics exist in any other city in Georgia. In Athens, you've got a fairly progressive mayor and a handful of fairly progressive commission, competing with a Chamber that has an agenda that is often more political than economic, not to mention a world-class inferiority complex.

Plus the personalities involved make a difference. For instance, Heidi Davison will not back down when she thinks she's right, and neither will Larry McKinney.

So, short answer, no, probably not.

gap said...

Kind of a useless protest. The Chamber doesn't speak for the citizens; it speaks for it's members and their interests.

Publius said...

Somebody needs to tell the Republicans that, then. According to the ABH, "'The wisdom of the chamber of commerce, given the makeup of the chamber of commerce, may surpass that of the commissioners,' [State Rep. Chip] Rogers said."

Apparently, the Athens Area Chamber of Commerce is setting itself up as a shadow government.

Viva el revolucion!

Dawg Corleone said...

Imagine, if you will, that the map had been redrawn in such a way that Athens stood to gain 2 Democratic Senators.

Think we'd have had quiet as large a crowd at the library Wednedsay night? Think we'd have had protestors downtown Thursday?

hillary said...

Well, it would still be wrong to draw district lines for political advantage, but (that said) at least Athens would have representatives that more accurately reflect its political make-up, no?

Dawg Corleone said...

I'm glad to hear that it would be wrong to draw district lines for political advantage. Thank goodness, we have no reason to think the Democrats would ever do such a thing.

Actually, Athens' "political make-up" is part of the problem. The words "parochialism" and "provincialism" get used a lot, and for good reason.

monticello_pres said...

Amen, Dawg. If I recall the R's took majority off Auburn Avenue sometime in the past few years. But I believe that I also recall at least a few district manipulations in the past. Who might have done such a thing? Probably not the Green Party...

As for the Chamber, and know that I am not a total apologist for their antics, they do represent part of the citizenry of A/CC. Its members are citizens - just like Bike Athens or any other group. So their agenda is just as legitimate.

As far as Athens having officials more representative of our political make-up, there will still be a vote and the majority will win. I don't think the legislation appoints Brian Kemp or Bill Cowsart as czar of SS-46.

hillary said...

I'm glad to hear that it would be wrong to draw district lines for political advantage. Thank goodness, we have no reason to think the Democrats would ever do such a thing.

Please point me to where I said they wouldn't or where I said it was okay.

The Chamber is welcome to agitate for whatever they want, but their position shouldn't be taken as representative of all of Athens.

Publius said...

When you're the majority party, you get to draw the lines. The Dems did it in 2001, the GOP did it in 2004 and again this year.

There are a few differences though. They don't mitigate what the Democrats did 6 years ago, but to my mind, the GOP's offenses are more egregious. Of course, as is the case with all arguments like this, it's a matter of what side you're arguing from. We've been pretty clear about our bias. (Which gives us one point over the Chamber, in our book, since they still try to pretend that their leadership doesn't have a political agenda.)

First of all, the Democrats redrew the lines in 2001, following a census, as the Legislature is mandated to do. Since they took power, the Republicans have either talked about redrawing, or have actually redrawn, lines every year. That's actually counter to the intent of their duty to reapportion. We would also mention that every time they decide to monkey with the district lines for partisan gain (again, when they aren't required to do so) they're wasting your money.

Second, when the Democrats drew the lines according to the Legislature's mandate, it wasn't just the Republicans that were upset. A number of Democrats were pretty hacked off at the way the Democratic leadership (mostly Charles Walker) designed the districts. The local angle on this is the thankfully now-departed 12th Congressional District. If you remember, this monstrosity had Athens, Augusta, and Savannah in the same district. The Democrats hollering about this were not just average shlmiels like us either. For instance, in 2004, John Barrow was pretty critical of the district. Show me any elected Republican who has anything even remotely critical to say about this thing.

Of course, it doesn't really matter. The redistricting will go though and the maps will take effect.

But the folks who present this blog, at least, have been clear. Let's reiterate. You can't trust either party to draw maps that are representative.

So, Democrats, you can bitch and moan, our you can do something about it and work to take the power to redistrict out of the hands of the Legislature. Republicans, you can gloat and pat yourselves on the back, or you can face the fact that you guys will not control the Legislature forever, even if you think you'll control it for the foreseeable future. One day, the Demcorats will get the majority again, because politics is cyclical, and the Democrats will turn around and undo all of this redistricting. If you don't want to see that happen, then get on board and do something about the politicians' power to redistrict.

The point is, no matter which party wins, when it comes to redistricting, the voters always lose.

Jmac said...

What Hillary said.

Listen, my stance is this ... if you want to give Athens-Clarke County two seats in the State Senate, then keep the redistricting solely inside the county limits. True, you'll probably have two Democratic senators come out of such a scenario, but as Hillary pointed out, they are much more representative of the community.

Aside from the craven political purposes I think are behind such redistricting efforts - both for the Democrats in 2001 and Republicans in 2006 - which make this wrong, I also feel the new districts won't be respresentative of a metro area of 120,000 people, the majority of whom are progressive.

Likewise, I don't think it's fair for predominantly Republican voters in the rural counties around Athens-Clarke County to be lumped in with mostly Democratic voters. If you want something to designed to give the most 'fair' representation, you'd increase the number of senate seats and give two to Athens-Clarke County (solely) and then add an additional rural seat for the more conservative areas outside.

Anything else has its roots in partisanship - regardless of the political party behind it.

Dawg Corleone said...

When I say "parochial" and "provincial," let JMac's post be Exhibit A.

"Sure, give us two Senators, but make sure it's for Athens and nobody else. We're Athens. Special us."

As someone who came here from someplace else, I can't tell you how arrogant and condescending that comes off. Face it: somebody a couple hundred years ago decided to put a school here. Otherwise, you'd be Winder, if you were lucky.

Speaking of arrogance: the Dems are acting as though something was being taken from them. Hello: Republicans have won the current district twice in a row, and there's every reason to believe Bill Cowsert was going to extend that streak even if the lines hadn't been withdrawn.

Publius said...

So stipulating for the moment that the current 46th would have gone Republican again, and that Hudgens' D47 seat would have obviously stayed Republican, then was the GOP scared of Jane Kidd, or were they just pissed off that Athens is a blue island in a red sea, and wanted to get their retribution on?

By the way, they did put the college here 200 years ago, and we aren't Winder. So, Athens is different (or, if you want to call it special, you can, but I think JMac meant different) in comparison to the surrounding areas. So, short of caling up Mr. Peabody and firing up the Wayback machine, there's not a whole hell of a lot we can do about that now. Let's deal with the situation as it is. And the situation as it is now is that Athens is going to be represented by two Senators who, if they're Republicans, are going to be far more beholden to the rural areas than they are to their carved-out chunk of Athens. How is my city going to benefit from that?

By the way, the Republicans shouldn't be scared of lil ol' Jane Kidd. I've met her, she's pretty nice, really.

hillary said...

It's not because we're special so much as a matter of population. Unless, you know, that doesn't count anymore.

Jmac said...

Again, what Hillary said.

If you had actually read my post you would have seen that I was speaking about population size. Athens-Clarke County has 120,000 people within its borders, a majority of whom are Democratic. I'd venture to say fair representation for a fairly large community in this state is only a logical thing to request.

If Winder had 120,000 rabid Republicans with Democrats populating the rural areas ... my argument would remain the same. It's only fair for a larger area with a majority ideological bent to not have any undue influence on smaller areas with differing views, and vice versa.

Did you just choose to ignore my suggestion that we add additional seats to the more conservative rural areas? Did you realize it made your argument irrelevant so you decided to pretend I never said it?

By the way, remember it was a Republican in Gov. Sonny Perdue who said he had no desire to split up 'communities of interest' by redistricting. I'd venture to say this is indeed an example of doing so. My suggestion followed Perdue's model, so why fire arrows at me ... go after your own party's state leader.

And what's up with the university reference? I came here from somewhere else as well, being raised in Augusta through age 18 - an area with fair representation, imagine that - and I quite simply don't get what you're talking about. Of course Athens-Clarke County has experienced its growth because of the University of Georgia, but every city in the country emerges as because of some relating factor.

Savannah? It's a port city.

Augusta? It's as far north you can go on the Savannah River before the rapids.

Atlanta? It was a major Southeastern railroad hub.

Macon? It was close to being the geographical center of the state, as well as near a river.

Should I go on? Are we going to bash Augusta because the Good Lord decided to increase the elevation of the state there?

That's one of the most absurd arguments - or complaints - I've ever heard.

Anonymous said...

Face it: somebody a couple hundred years ago decided to put a school here

Yes. Why do you think most of us came here (and are well educated, present company excepted)?