Aye matey! It's Vote Like a Pirate day on July 31, 2012. This is the day Georgians will go to the polls to impose a 1% sales tax on themselves called T-SPLOST. The problem is your vote will not count for much if you live in a small county.
The Georgia Constitution is remarkable in that it allows for "Home Rule" or county self-determination. It has been that way since Georgia started chartering counties.
This Regional vote scheme of T-SPLOST completely dismantles "Home Rule" and disenfranchises thousands of voters. Many believe it violates the Georgia Constitution.
T-SPLOST lumps counties into Georgia's 12 Regions set up in the early 1970's during the Carter administration to deliver social services. These regions are not re drawn and proportionally balanced by population, as we do all congressional districts, state house districts, senate districts, and county commission districts.
This means the votes from rural counties don't count for much. Your vote will be overridden by the large counties in your Region.
For example, in Region 12 if Bulloch, Chatham, and Glynn counties vote 60% YES for the T-SPLOST, it would take 72% of all other counties to vote NO in order to vote it down.
If you live in a rural county with a small population you really don't get a vote and there is no county opt-out clause. 100% of the legislature supported a county opt-out clause, but the sponsors of the Bill successfully blocked an up/down vote.
There is plenty of loot in Piracy. Vote NO T-SPLOST.
Newt's judicial reforms would be dangerous
Newt Gingrich apparently thinks the Founding Fathers made a terrible mistake when they established an independent court system. Under his proposals, judges would please the President, Congress, and the public--or suffer the consequences. Presidents could ignore court decisions they dislike. Congress could haul judges before it to explain their decisions and jail non-compliant judges, and unpopular judges could be fired and their courts abolished.
Even some very conservative judicial critics have expressed outrage at Gingrich's proposals. One of George W. Bush's Attorneys General (Michael Mukasey) called them "outrageous and dangerous;" Another (Alberto Gonzalez) condemned "bringing judges before Congress, like a schoolchild being brought before the principal." Columnist George Will wrote that Gingrich would replace legal reasoning with "raw political power."
The Gingrich plan is not totally untested. Joseph Goebbels, Hitler's Propaganda Minister, argued that German judges tended to rely too much on legal reasoning, too little on public opinion and Hitler's wishes.
For this offense, judges should be fired and their courts abolished. Like Gingrich, Goebbels said these "reforms" would protect "the people" against oppressive courts.
They became law, the last remnants of freedom vanished, and we learned an invaluable lesson. Or did we?
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