Monday, July 30, 2012

TSPLOST: Pure Genius

"The significant problems we face cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them."
-- Albert Einstein
Don't give the people who created Atlanta's problems more of your money. They will make the problems worse and are intellectually unequipped to make anything better.

TSPLOST: It's About Trust

We already know it isn't about traffic, it isn't about congestion relief and it isn't about the right way to do the right thing.

It is all about trust.

Do you, as a voter, trust the folks who are pushing for approval? Do you trust the folks who will collect the tax? Do you trust the folks who will take that money and "use" it? Do you trust the folks that will "oversee" these operations?

Do you trust that any of the money you will be asked to pay will do any good?

Sunday, July 29, 2012

TSPLOST: Just Plain Silly

TSPLOST is a sales tax and one would like to think that would be it. Plain and simple. Tax on every sale. You buy something -- you pay the penny. But nothing created by the losers who cooked up this plan can be anything but cocked up.

While this sales tax does apply to milk, bread and aspirin, it does have at least one notable exemption. Gasoline!

So we have before us an initiative alleged to address all our traffic woes and the one group not asked to pay their fair share are drivers.

Folks, you simply cannot make this up. No sir, something this silly requires the unholy alliance of greedy developers and self-serving businesses whose hands are firmly wedged up the arses of sock puppet politicians.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

TSPLOST: Get Your Story Straight

Unless you've been Rip Van Winkled you cannot help but notice the $8Million carpet bombing of media adverts in support of TSPLOST. These suffer not only from the overall flexibility of the message -- "It's about,'s about, really IS about development" -- but more importantly the messages are self contradictory.

In one advert we're told "The Yankees are comin! The Yankees are comin!" and that it is inevitable that the region's population will grow by "X" million over a mere "Y" years. It's like a cancer that just won't go into remission no matter how hard we don't try. They're coming and they can't be stopped. Therefore, and here's the hook, we just MUST pass this sales tax to handle the onslaught!

But in a competing advert we're told something quite different. We're told that Charlotte, Dallas, Houston, Jacksonville, and a host of other third tier American cities[1] are going to clean our clocks and steal away any hope we have of continued growth. THIS is presented as the uncontestable reason we MUST pass this sales tax -- if we don't then growth will pass us by!

REALLY??!!!???? Puhleeze. Get your story straight. These garbled, contradictory messages have us wondering not WHICH of these two fools are experts on the issue, but whether the TSPLOST-ers have any expertise at all.

Seems like the pro-taxers are hellbent on getting this thing pushed through and will prostitute themselves in the most obscene ways to make it happen. But just because they're tax whores doesn't mean the voters are all DFCs.

[1]Yes, you must set aside the prevaricating politicians' pontifications about Atlanta being an "international city" in which case we should be competing with the likes of Tokyo, Paris, London, Bejing, Sidney, ... and not "Ship Dit, Alabama". Golly how the truth doth out.

Friday, July 27, 2012

TSPLOST: Untying the Nots

As the TSPLOST vote nears we know more about TSPLOST, particularly what TSPLOST is NOT about.

TSPLOST is NOT about Atlanta traffic, NOT about improving Atlanta traffic and definitely NOT about congestion relief.

TSPLOST is NOT about a world class public transit system, NOT about adequate arterials and definitely NOT about bypasses to address unnecessary thru traffic.

TSPLOST is NOT about redress to years of infrastructure neglect born of short sighted politicians, greedy developers and whoring businesses.

TSPLOST is NOT about improving your quality of life and NOT about making Atlanta a better place to live.

And finally, TSPLOST is absolutely without a doubt NOT about you.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

TSPLOST: All Show and No Go

Recent reporting in the AJC has revealed the true reasons behind this TSPLOST movement and it certainly is not about traffic in and around Atlanta. 

A site relocation consultant is quoted as saying "who wants to be in an area where you don't do anything about this sort of issue?" Exactly what issue? Given the state of the local economy, especially the jobless rate, traffic is not as bad as the boom years. So this "issue" is largely made up by the Tax and Transit forces behind TSPLOST.

A Georgia bureaucrat makes the big reveal. "If TSPLOST doesn't pass [...] it's going to limit growth for Georgia." Another Atlanta dignitary decries the alleged competitive disadvantage: "They'll continue selling against us, but they'll compound that message by saying that our community can't get its act together." Spot on there. If we had ever had our "act together" we'd not have kicked this can so far down the road.

So it is really all about PR and "messaging". We simply must let it be known that Atlantan's will do anything, make any sacrifice--even a regressive tax on every resident--to keep businesses coming, because a slow in growth would expose the decades old ponzi scheme we've been running.

Golly how the truth will out.

Saturday, July 21, 2012


Trust is earned, not bought.

This appears beyond the understanding of Georgia's Governor who on the eave of the TSPLOST vote has announced a "date certain" for eliminating the Georgia 400 tolls. Naturally this "date certain" is so far in the future that the good Guv might easily backslide on this commitment just as he has in the past.

His campaign platform included a pledge to hold down taxes and eliminate the Ga 400 toll which had been reinstated during the run-up to the election. Had he sincerely wished to earn our trust he would have abolished the 400 tolls in his first week in office, allocating other funds to retire the bonds. Instead he now uses this political side show to mask his support for another new tax, a regressive tax, after coming under fire for failing on his "no taxes" pre-election commitment.  Based on what we've seen from this administration the voters in Georgia passed up the opportunity for  trustworthy, credible governance when we took a pass on Karen Handel.

And let's be very clear. If you take Ga 400 downtown you had better have some change in your pocket, because the toll is still in effect. And based on this politician's ability to hew true to his own promises the smart money says it will be in effect forever.

Friday, July 20, 2012


Since unlike Atlantans most of us will get back many fewer dollars than we will pay in TSPLOST taxes it seems like we would be better off just paying to fix our own problems instead of buying choo-choos and playgrounds for the little boys and girls in the A-T-L.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

DCSS: BOE Intellectual Deficit

DCSS had been grappling with a looming budget deficit which was expected to be handled by operating cost reductions due to retirements and layoffs. This balancing act was predicated on the estimate that "X" number of employees would abandon their paychecks. Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, significantly less than "X" found freedom from their daily grind.

For argument's sake, let say the actual number was "one half X". That means from a budget point of view, an approved budget, there would be a surplus of "one half X" employees. In the real world this is viewed as a very real opportunity. The first "one half X" chose, on their own, to leave. The system had no say and no influence on whether those leaving were "desired departures" or eligible for a retention program. They just left. Here's the opportunity: the other "one half X" can be selected for surplussing based on their contribution, based on their merits, based on their value. Outside the cloistered environment of government this is known as "cleaning out the deadwood".

Yet this opportunity was soundly rejected by the Board. Why? The Board was already aligned with the political and operational consequences of a system with "X" fewer employees and had approved a budget based on that level of staffing. They cannot now rise up in opposition. Or can they?

It isn't clear who the Board is pandering to, but even teacher organizations have rightly come out in favor of the cuts based on the logic that now is better than later as it allows surplussed employees time to find another job. Furthermore it is clear to even the teachers that the current level of staffing is unsustainable. Clearly the Board is not pandering to common sense and logic, so the only alternative is they pander to exactly the opposite: outspoken parents.

Perhaps the Board should remember they have fiduciary responsibilities to DeKalb taxpayers and not just a few whiny parents whose child "really enjoyed the field trip to Fernbank". Or perhaps we just need a new Board.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

When TSPLOST Wins, Atlanta Wins

And you lose.

See, the City of Atlanta is the only constituent of its region that will see more money flow in than its residents and visitors will pay out. This is particularly egregious insult to the rest of the region when one considers the amount of sales tax collected in the City of Atlanta that comes from folks who live elsewhere. Atlanta is all take and little give.

So if you are a resident of Atlanta proper, you win big on the TSPLOST lotto. If you don't, well, now you know how THEY can afford trolleys and beltline projects.

Friday, July 13, 2012

What Cost Ethics?

Apparently ethics is a luxury, something to be afforded only when money flows like water or if it comes at a very small price. Or so one would conclude from the statements coming out of City Hall.

These statements generally revolve around "waste of time and money" which is a bit difficult for the general population to abide as this is the same city that pissed away five million dollars on the Peachford Property to nowhere. The money pissed away on purloined branding and logos, while pale in comparison to the Peachford fiasco, nonetheless dwarfs the "cost of ethics". Ensuring the public is well served and in an ethical manner is money well spent.

More troubling are the comments taking the "no harm no foul" tack which asserts that since the likely penalty is small, the actual offense must be minor and no money, or even effort, should be "wasted" in review or remediation. This kind of reasoning is consistent with not investigating murders because it won't bring the victim back to life. Is someone at City Hall suggesting we've spent far too much on investigating a double homicide? Probably not since all Smart People know that balancing the scales of justice is not done by stacking coins on each side.

Perhaps we need to remind City Hall that this kerfuffle is of their own making. To hire friends and family is something we like to condemn as we point our wagging fingers towards Decatur, but it is a time bomb we built with a fuze we lit. Choosing comradery over competence is always a poor selection and that this bomb blew up splattering muck all over the City should come as no surprise. It is more surprising how little damage was inflicted and how little it has cost.

Cleaning up this mess and doing it properly is non-negotiable. We deserve no less than transparency and absolute certainty that our elected officials and city employees are held to the highest standards and subject to the severest consequences when they fail their duty. And as sure as the sun rises in the morn there will be a move afoot to "fix" our ethics ordinances. The Citizens of Dunwoody must be on high alert because when politicians lower the ethical standard to which they are held, it is impossible to ever raise that bar.

Thursday, July 12, 2012


This isn't (just) about the incessant barrage of nonsensical Pro-TSPLOST ads on TV. The folks behind this tax and spend boondoggle are so desperate they've added an promotional advertisement right on the ballot.

Now if J. Q. Public went to the polls sporting a "No TSPLOST" tee shirt or button, he (or she) would be hauled off for violating the ad-free zone. But these fools get their ad on the ballot. Now to be fair ballot issue language has always had a favorable, manipulative and even deceptive tone, but this is way over the top, literally and figuratively.

Do you ever wonder why these folks are so desperate?

Monday, July 9, 2012

Georgia Races to the Bottom

Of integrity.

Knowing full well what was required and what rules would apply, the State of Georgia aggressively pursue Federal "Race to the Top" grants and was awarded $400M to participate in the program.

Now that they have the money they don't like the rules and they want them changed. They claim that teacher evaluations under the federal rules would result in lawsuits -- tells you something important about "educators" in Georgia, namely that litigation is directly proportional to incompetence. For the teachers out there who didn't get that it means that the more worthless the teacher the more likely they are to sue whenever their inadequacies become an issue.

And is a litigious employee base some kind of recent occurrence? Hardly. But the state is hiding behind "a new administration" claiming it was an old administration that agreed to the rules with which the current administration takes issue. Which is to say that the integrity of the Sovereign State of Georgia is little more than a wind sock.

Perhaps the folks down in the ATL should be told to man-up and if they don't like the rules give back the money. Only honorable thing to do. And while they're at it they should consider growing a pair and rid us of the incompetence dominating our education systems. That should be worth $400M.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

TSPLOST: Not About Transportation

If you don't already know this, you really must be bereft of what little sense god gave a pigeon to s(h)it on a statue, but the TSPLOST is about "transportation" in name only.

And now it is official.

In a recent commentary in the Dunwoody Reporter a local (wannabe?) politician declares it an investment "in our childrens'(sic) future".

He posits that a "no" vote declares us incapable of "attracting industries supporting higher paying jobs". OK, big boy, HIGHER than what? Than the illegal, lo siento, "undocumented" worker changing toilet paper in the hotel? Wow.

Are we really sure that high paying jobs rely on ground transport more than low paying jobs? REALLY??!! Telecommute, perhaps? Seriously, do that many high-wage "industries" really require a ground based transportation infrastructure? And if so, perhaps these simply are no longer appropriate for this region. The inn is full.

But it continues: "a 'yes' vote means we will be competitive to take on any region, anywhere". Now that's just unadulterated balderdash. Compete on exactly which playing field and by what rules? Are we in a competition to build more roads than LA or sprawl wider than Mexico City? Create more stacked and twisty intersections? More cul de sacs? Well, maybe the last one.

See, this is not and has never been about transportation, congestion or you getting more time with your family. We're not untying any knots here and we're not getting anything to improve our quality of life. It is about our addiction to growth and satisfying our ugly, destructive habit. And like any other druggie we'll commit heinous criminal acts to feed our demons. This tax is just one of many.

But this is more than just a habit and on this point the politico is correct. We have mortgaged everything...our present, our future and yes, our children's future...on ever escalating growth. Not just growth, but growth of growth without regard to the base for that growth or the consequences of that growth. This is the ultimate in unsustainability (witness the housing bubble) but in desperation the powers that wannabe in this region wannabe on their growth binge just a little bit longer.

Then they're cashing out and retiring to St. Simons.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Call To The Altar

Then there were those Baptisms—that's when someone wants to be converted by joining the Church and get religion. So they have to be Baptized. Dig this—I remember one Sunday the Church had a great big guy they had to Baptize. So these Deacons all standing in this river—in water up to their waist in their white robes. They had Baptized several women and a few men—saved their Souls. When in walks a great big burly sinner who came down the line. So—these Deacons whom were very strong themselves, they grabbed hold of this cat and said to him as they ducked him down into the water, as they let him they asked him—"Brother 'do you believe?" The guy didn't say anything—just looked at them. So they ducked him down into that river again, only they held him down there a few minutes longer. So when the Deacons looked in the guy's eye and said to him—"Do you believe?" This guy finally answered—he said "Yes—I believe you Son of Bitches trying to drown me."
Louis Armstrong
Down to the Wholly Sanctified Church of the Congestion Congregation the Righteous Reverend T. S. Plost is holdin a gawd fearin Revival. There's gonna be a heapin helpin o singin and praisin alongside a few good doses of hellfire and damnation. Lawd a mercy.

For this is a great call to the altar, the likes of which we ain't never gonna see again in a decade or more. Maybe even less. And this is more that just a sweltering summer savin of souls--the Reverend gonna be drivin out demons. Puttin the fear of gawd into the devil hisself. Those caught up in the moment will feel the power of his call and will deliver themselves up at that altar with a joyful noise.


Those possessed of evil will be dragged by his Deacons to the presence of our Most Righteous Reverend who with the power of the Lord herself flowin through his every vein will lay on hands and drive that devil out, casting him into a dark place far from that promised land where all good things flow without end. After regaining consciousness these newly vacated vessels will be filled with his glory, forevermore protecting them from the evil that threatened their everlastin life. Or at least til the next revival. Without fail and without delay these freshly baptized believers shall go forth into the community spreading the gospel according to our Righteous Reverend T. S. Plost.

Ernest Angley would be proud.