Monday, May 2, 2016

My Voting Guide for May 2016 - Part 2

Moving on to Public Service Commissioner, District Attorney, Sheriff ,and Coroner

Public Service Commissioner
  • Kellie Pollard Austin
    • Number one issue is lack of transparency with the PSC. Votes are not currently recorded in any publicly accessible form. Transcripts of meetings are only available in paper format in the commission office, are not available to be photocopied, and there is no tagging or indexing. In this day and age, meeting transcripts can easily be made available online and streaming. State and federal legislatures make their voting records available online, it makes sense that the PSC should be able to do the same.
    • Other issues include opposing Federal overreach and reducing energy costs
    • Finally, she makes allegations (and presents evidence) on her website that the incumbent, Echols, has taken money and favors with potential conflict of interest, and has advocated for increasing the PSC’s authority to include internet regulation.
  • Tim Echols (Incumbent)
    • Incumbent since 2010
    • Number one “issue” on his website is his involvement in the fight against sex trafficking in Atlanta. Admirable, but not part of his job in the PSC.
    • Big advocate for “alternative fuel” cars. Has hosted a “roadshow” driving around the state to advocate for these cars. I have nothing against these cars, I like the idea of having options other than traditional gas, if they are much cheaper and cleaner. But let the market produce cars that I don’t have to be bribed into buying with federal tax dollars out of my own wallet. And please don’t spend my tax money telling me how great these cars are, either; Let the car companies pay for their own advertising.
  • Michelle Miller
    • Degree in “energy and sustainability policy”
    • Working with a farming cooperative to redevelop farmland with energy crops
    • Sees the taxpayers/electric bill payers as “shareholders/investors” in the state and PSC.

    In many ways, the PSC has just as much power as the Legislature over issues and decisions that affect individual citizens day-to-day. According to their own website, their role is part legislative (rule-making), part executive (issuing orders), and part judicial. Everyone needs energy and communications, unless you live “off the grid”, and even that can be highly regulated it seems.
Of these three candidates, I am drawn to Kellie Pollard Austin. I’ve tried searching around the PSC’s website, and as she says, I can’t find any record of what has actually taken place at meetings. There are links to “download audio files”, but the ones I’ve looked at so far lead to “http/404” errors. (In other words, links to nowhere.) I can perform searches for titles of documents that have been filed with the PSC, and statuses on those documents, but the documents themselves are not available. It’s all -very- non-transparent.

District Attorney of the Griffin Judicial Circuit
  • Useful info:
  • Ben Coker
    • Only candidate to have worked in all counties within the district
  • Rudjard M. Hayes
    • Mentions specific convictions achieved, and work on cold cases
  • Cindy Manning
    • Has highlighted her “side work” helping juvenile offenders avoid falling into repeat offense patterns.
In this race, it looks like all of the choices are pretty solid. All three have worked both in private practice and as Assistant DA's. I think I lean towards Hayes, but I wouldn't be disappointed with any of them.

  • Useful info:
  • Barry H. Babb (Incumbent)
  • Chris Stevers
I am leaning towards Babb in this race. I like his position on gun permits. From what I can tell, he's been doing a good job on bringing down crime without crossing boundaries.

  • W. Bee Huddleston
    • Current Interim Coroner
    • Has worked at Mowell & Sons for many years
  • Robbie G. Waits
    • No information found
I still can't get over the fact that Coroner is a partisan race for some reason. Huddleston has a Facebook page with his basic bio, and that's more than I can find out about Waits. But, since I haven't heard about any crazy trouble or politics with the coroner's office, I don't see any reason to lose sleep over this race right now.

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