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Staples for PSC & Yes on Amendment 1

The author urges voters in South Cobb to vote for David Staples for Public Service Commission, and Yes on the Charter School Amendment to the state Constitution.

As we head into the final days of the general election, the overwhelming focus of the media and the public is on the presidential race.  While this is understandable, there are local races and issues which also have the potential to significantly impact our lives and well-being here in Georgia.

Specifically, the race between republican incumbent Stan Wise, and libetarian party challenger David Staples for the Public Service Commission (PSC) is especially noteworthy.  As an 18 year incumbent, Wise represents the interests of those he regulates, not the ratepayer.  Hence his acceptance of a $10,000 campaign contribution from the law firm that represents Georgia Power.  Not surprisingly, Wise routinely approves passing along cost over-runs for its nuclear reactors to ratepayers, instead of having the money come from Georgia Power's own operating budget.

As Staples puts it: "A business shouldn't be guaranteed a profit when they are not managing projects or certain aspects of that business appropriately."  Just imagine if Home Depot had cost over-runs in building new stores, and had taxpayers make up the difference with those costs passed along in our property taxes.  This principal is not lost on Staples, and consequently he would be a welcome and effective voice on the commission against the good old boy system that currently holds sway at the PSC.

With the higly contentious Charter School Amendment, we have an opportunity to break the public school monopoly, whose local school boards routinely deny charter school applications, regardless of well structured and organized those applications are.  Thus, students in underperforming public schools whose parents cannot afford private school alternatives for their children are forced to accept whatever mediocrity the local school boards give them.  Think Clayton County Pubic Schools. Moreover, think of the sorry state of public education throughout Georgia in comparison to other states, where we rank near the bottom in almost every major category.

With the Charter School Amendment, a mechanism would be put in place to appeal local school board decisions, whose interest is in preserving control and denying choice to those kids and parents who who most desperately need and deserve them.  Competition is always a good thing, and that applies to education, forcing non-Charter public schools to do a better job, or risk losing students to the competition.

So as you go to vote this Tuesday, vote for Staples and Amendment 1.  Better education and lower utility rates are what is at stake.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

J Bart November 06, 2012 at 12:30 AM
Lance, I agree with you regarding the slot on the PSC. That slot is not meant to be a lifetime career. That encourages "conflicts of interest." A person cannot serve 2 masters, the citizens and the special interests. However, I disagree regarding Amendment 1, the charter school amendment. There is already a mechanism in place to approve charter schools. We have almost 200 in Georgia. The amendment and associated legislation H.B. 797 do not limit the number of charters that can be approved each year. These are public schools paid for with our tax dollars. That is like giving politicians a blank check from taxpayers! Also, there is no requirement for certified teachers nor for those teachers to be U.S. citizens. Our children deserve the best teachers. The large amounts of out-of-state special interests donations, approximately $2 million, some of which went to politicians as campaign contributions should also be of concern. The legislation is flawed. Let's do it right. Stop taking federal funds with strings attached. Improve parent involvement. Those 2 things will help improve our schools. These articles give further reasons to VOTE NO to Amendment 1. http://mdjonline.com/view/full_story/20663682/article-The-charter-school-amendment-%E2%80%94-10-Reasons-to-Vote-%E2%80%98No%E2%80%99? http://www.votesmartgeorgia.com/ http://charterschoolscandals.blogspot.com/
Elizabeth Hooper November 06, 2012 at 12:56 AM
Lance, The charter school amendment sounds like a good thing but the devil is in the details. The preamble and ballot question are intentionally misleading. This amendment will merely expand the already considerable power the General Assembly has over education policy - school boards are not a monopoly - the General Assembly sets the budget and the state and federal government set curriculum, class size, teacher requirements and much more. Hardly a monopoly. Amendment 1 is a blank check for "for-profit" charter operators to move in to Georgia faster, accountable to no one except the politicians who appointed them. When did that set up ever turn out well? I will be voting NO on Amendment 1.

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