Your morning jolt: Phone problems mar water ’summit’

When speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Gov. Sonny Perdue said the federal judge who ruled against Georgia in the tri-state waters war decision had made it clear that the ball was now in Congress’ court.

Perdue said he would explain that, if necessary, when the Georgia delegation met in Washington that afternoon. The governor and his lawyers were to participate via telephone.

In the end, Perdue didn’t get the chance. Five called votes on the U.S. House side cut the bipartisan meeting — a statewide call to arms, or at least buckets — to less than 10 minutes.

Then there was the phone issue, according to my AJC colleague Bob Keefe, who was waiting outside.

Nobody in the conference room at the Canon office building on Capitol Hill could make the speakerphone work.

Ultimately, the Georgia’s two U.S. Senators and most of its 13 congressmen — along with dozens of congressional staffers — crowded around a handheld Blackberry cell phone to make the call back to Atlanta.

The first thing Sen. Saxby Chambliss learned from the call: “Small phones make good speakerphones,” he said.

Added U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson: “BlackBerrys are wonderful.”

Several House members — Sanford Bishop (D), Jim Marshall (D), John Barrow (D) and Paul Broun (R) — were tied up on other issues, including mark-up on a health care bill.

A Republican pre-meeting, however, was held to make sure no fissures were shown to Democrats.

The action now shifts to a 10 a.m. meeting Thursday to be held at the Governor’s Mansion. Members of the Georgia business community have been invited, and representatives of all members of Congress have been encouraged to attend.

We’re not sure about public access. The Governor’s Mansion is the location usually selected when attendance by the press is unwanted.

Late Tuesday, the Associated Press published an article that said an independent investigator had found that Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin may have misused a legal defense fund for “personal gain.”

Palin has been hit with a number of ethics complaints since her nomination as the GOP’s 2008 vice presidential candidate. So far, all have been dismissed.

At the center of this complaint is the Alaska Trust Fund. And that brings into the picture Randy Evans of the Atlanta law firm of McKenna, Long and Aldridge. He’s counselor to Newt Gingrich and other heavyweight Republicans.

And the fellow who created Palin’s legal defense fund. Wrote Evans in a note to the Insider last night:

Having created the trust referenced below, I can tell you the suggestion of illegality below in the AP story is absolutely untrue. It was specifically patterned after well-recognized trusts of prior Presidential candidates as well as high proflile public servants.

As with other public servants, there is no impropriety in the creation or operation of such a trust and any suggestion to the contrary is candidly absurd.

The fight over the F-22 has suddenly shifted from an insurgent rebellion in Congress to a guerilla conflict, if this late Tuesday statement from Chambliss, who led the unsuccessful fight, is any measure:

The authorizers and appropriators in the House have spoken in support of additional F-22s. That means this issue will be on the table as we go to conference. We will continue to pursue the potential for foreign military sales of a scaled-down version of the F-22 if interest persists from our strong allies.

Strategic Vision, an Atlanta-based, Republican-oriented polling operation, is out with a new statewide survey.

State Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine continues to lead the GOP race for governor. Here’s the breakdown:

— Oxendine, 38%;

— Nathan Deal, 16%;

— Karen Handel, 9%

— Eric Johnson, 5%

— Ray McBerry, 3%

— Austin Scott, 2%

And Undecided, 27%.

David Johnson, CEO of SV, says this means Oxendine is “hovering” near 50 percent. Skepticism, common sense, and the rules of rounding, all say no. Oxendine is approaching 40 percent.

Among Democrats, this is the line:

— Roy Barnes, 46%;

— Thurbert Baker, 31%

— David Poythress, 4%;

— DuBose Porter, 3%;

and Undecided, 16%.

Curiously, Barnes is not approaching 50 percent. His status is “declining,” Johnson said.

Overall, the three-day poll of 800 likely Georgia voters has a ±3 MOE. But when results are divided among Republicans and Democrats, the margin of error increases substantially.

While you ponder that, consider these items found while perusing this morning’s ajc.com:

  • Perdue calls on teachers to take furloughs to help fill $900 million hole.
  • Perdue: Georgia will fight for Lanier water.
  • Senate cuts off funding for F-22.
  • Georgia white men hit hardest by recession.
  • Murderer Nichol’s tab: $3.2 million and growing.
  • Gwinnett vote sets stage for $225M in budget cuts.
  • State approves $43 million in water-sewer projects.
  • Families agree: 311 Clayton graves to be moved next month.
  • Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson will get $13.97 million in stimulus.
  • Atlanta cops suspended for fighting.
  • Groups desire stimulus money for streetcars.
  • DeKalb swim team allowed to compete in state meet.
  • AARP to weigh in on Atlanta Gas Light surcharge request.
  • Some opinion:

  • Your Luckovich fix.
  • When cities compete, citizens win.
  • Jeb Bush and others think the nation needs comprehensive, flexible immigration reform.
  • From elsewhere in Georgia:

  • Southern Political Report: In water wars, Georgia meets its Waterloo.
  • And beyond:

  • NYT: Radical Islamists slip easily Into Kenya.
  • WP: Most Mexicans in U.S. stay put despite recession.
  • WSJ: Government meeting? Stay away from Fun City.
  • For instant updates, follow me on Twitter.

    One comment Add your comment

    So it ain't so, Joe

    July 22nd, 2009
    12:56 pm

    Will the sell water rights to the highest bidder, like they do everything else?