The Wall Street Journal this morning has piece on the jaded side of the free market that’s showing itself to the residents of Douglas, Ga.
This spring, Pilgrims Pride Co. announced it would shut down its local chicken-processing plant as part of its bankruptcy filing. To Coffee County, it was a loss of 1,000 jobs and $300,000 a year in county tax revenues.
Local officials have been trying to find a buyer, but the company has resisted, to the point of keeping one prospective buyer from touring the plant. “The standoff shows how two important imperatives in a recession — creating jobs and cutting excess capacity — can collide,” according to the WSJ.
In an email to the city of Douglas, Pilgrim’s President and Chief Executive Don Jackson said, “With declining demand for chicken in this terrible economy we need to remove chicken from the market. This would not be accomplished with a sale.” While he said he recognized the “devastating impact” a closing would have on Douglas, “the actions do strengthen the company and help protect the jobs” of the company’s 40,000 U.S. employees and farmers.
In other words, workers in Coffee County have the opportunity to be doubly helpful to their exiting employer. Once by being laid off. And again by staying laid off.
A significant feud is building between former GOP legal counsel Randy Evans, who sits on the State Elections Board, and Secretary of State Karen Handel, who heads that same board.
Handel, as you might have heard is a Republican candidate for governor. Evans has done legal work for Handel’s rival Eric Johnson — and has shown up in Johnson’s campaign literature.
Evans has previously objected to that system that Handel developed to spot non-citizen voters — the one the U.S. Justice last month slapped down as inaccurate and discriminatory.
In an editorial column this week meant for publication in the state’s smaller newspapers, Evans lumps Handel in with other ambitious secretaries of state, including Democrats Max Cleland and Cathy Cox,
Here are a few choice paragraphs:
No other office provides more direct contact with voters than the Secretary of State. Yet, this never seems to be enough. There is a built-in temptation for occupants of the office across the hall from the governor to go one step beyond the boundaries of the office by (politically) cashing in on its unique access to voters. This temptation exists regardless of political party, and it is indeed unfortunate….
Now comes another election cycle and another sitting Secretary of State campaigning in a contested primary to become Georgia’s next governor.
Same song, second verse.
Secretary of State Karen Handel adopts a voter citizenship verification
program and helps push through the legislature a corollary proof of
citizenship requirement for voter registration….
On May 29, 2009, the Department of Justice completed its review of
Secretary Handel’s program and concluded flatly that it violated Section
5 of the Voting Rights Act…
Secretary Handel’s response was not to consider that her system was, as the DOJ put it, “seriously flawed.” Instead, from her gubernatorial campaign website, she responded with a petition drive to “Help me send a message” that “Georgia election law is not a tool for Obama’s corrupt cronies at ACORN.”
Now, this petition is from a person charged with impartially enforcing
election laws free from political or partisan bias…..
The fact is that it was not right for a Democratic Secretary of State to
use the Office of the Secretary of State to achieve personal political
objectives, and it is not right now.
While you ponder the above, consider these items found while perusing this morning’s ajc.com:
Clayton County commissioners are considering a property tax hike large than the one that prompted a revolt in Gwinnett. Atlanta council raises taxes, ends furloughs.</li> U.S. Supreme Court delays Troy Davis decision. Atlanta Masons sue state body over discrimination. Georgia Tech neighbors fearful as muggings continue. Garage builder was fined in deadly walkway collapse.
Your Luckovich fix. Jay Bookman on the internal clash within the DOT. Wyc Orr says much is riding on Sonny Perdue’s pick for Georgia’s high court. Christina Mayville says a code of conduct is needed for health insurers, too.
From elsewhere in Georgia:
WP: Mark Sanford creates a scandal beyond sex. NYT: In a coup in Honduras, the ghosts of past U.S. policies. LAT: Five states brace for shutdowns this week.
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