Your morning jolt: On the need for a ‘watermaster’ to knock heads in three states

We’re overflowing with material on water this morning:

— Another group of stakeholders has been spotted in the tri-state water negotiations. Electrical co-ops say they’ve been shortchanged by U.S. Army Corps of Engineer decisions to reduce water flow to generate power, giving it instead to metro Atlanta for drinking purposes.

The co-ops say they’re owed $59 million, according to my AJC colleague Kristi Swartz.

— We haven’t heard this one before. Michael Campana of the American Water Resources Association is arguing for a court-appointed “watermaster” to help knock heads until Georgia, Florida and Alabama come to an agreement over Lake Lanier:

The watermaster would not only help the three states reach an agreement, but would also be in charge of managing the basin’s water. That’s an unusual dual role – my limited experience suggests that a watermaster is appointed to enforce an agreement, not to help broker one.

This step might be viewed as some as an unwarranted federal intrusion, but it needs to be implemented; the states have shown that they can’t do it alone. The stakes are high. And these are indeed unusual times.

In today’s print edition, I’ve got a piece on Gov. Sonny Perdue and his call to make this next round of water negotiations more public. Currently, all details of past negotiations are under court-ordered lock and key.

A couple outtakes are worth airing. First, former Gov. Roy Barnes, now a Democratic candidate to succeed Perdue, stands in rough agreement with the Republican who beat him in 2002. Said Barnes:

“At least after the negotiations are done, or that session is over, or you’re no longer negotiating, that should be open to the public. All the stuff we have right now – we don’t know where we are. And there’s nothing pending. There could be some public pressure.

Should you have the right to go behind doors and talk a little? Sure. But it should not be something that’s just closed to the public and never made available.”

And U.S. Rep. Nathan Deal, now a Republican candidate for governor, noted that the secrecy issue has made it difficult for Georgia’s delegation to get its arms around the situation. Even members of Congress are barred from knowing details of past water negotiations. Said Deal:

“One of the problems is, We don’t know what our bottom line is, and we surely don’t know what their bottom line is. Somebody knows it, but it’s not publicly disclosed.”

— And someone is intent on fomenting the boundary battle between Georgia and Tennessee. A border marker has disappeared.

We’ve got another measure of how Cobb County politics is changing. Over the weekend, former county Demcratic chairman David Wilkerson sent a note announcing he would engage long-time incumbent state Rep. Don Wix of Mableton in a primary challenge.

Wix’s southwest Cobb seat was once held by Roy Barnes. Wix is white. Wilkerson is African-American.

On Saturday, Republican candidate for governor Eric Johnson told party stalwarts described himself as a forceful conservative more likely to ask forgiveness than permission.

“I’m pretty direct,” he said, according to the Rome News-Tribune. “People tell me I’m the political equivalent of Jack Bauer on ‘24.’”

Which means, if Season Four is any guide, we can expect a Governor Johnson to invade the Chinese consulate, fake his own death to avoid retribution, then — once captured — keep his mouth shut while enduring mind-numbing torture.

On Peach Pundit, Buzz Brockaway has posted photos and video from Saturday afternoon’s rally sponsored by Ralph Reed’s new Faith and Freedom Coalition.

“God doesn’t call perfect people. He calls humble and contrite people,” the resurgent political strategist and 2006 candidate for lieutenant governor told the crowd, according to my AJC colleague Mary Lou Pickel Reed was rewarded with an “amen” from the audience that number more than a thousand.

Thanks to Twitter, we know that two politicians in search of a comeback met at the Marlins-Brave game after church. This came from Reed, at 2:20 p.m. Sunday:

Roy Barnes just stopped me to say hello as I took my seat. Just goes to show baseball crosses party lines. Good!”

One last word: Jason Pye, the Libertarian blogger, has posted a compilation of all polling conducted so far in the 2010 race for governor at Georgia Legislative Watch. Someone is going to be very embarrassed about how Democrat Thurbert Baker has been rated — anywhere from 8 to 41 percent, depending on the polling firm.

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

  • Agreement with state benefits Nathan Deal’s firm.
  • A look at Atlanta candidate for mayor Mary Norwood.
  • Most metro Atlantans agree something must be done about health care — just not how or what.
  • Businesses wary as immigration enforcement agency announces audits.
  • Millions face shrinking Social Security payments.
  • State can’t afford to defend Gwinnett capital murder case.
  • East Point: Council member’s firm can’t hire officers.
  • Some opinion:

  • Your Luckovich fix.
  • Cynthia Tucker thinks it’s time to repeal Bob Barr’s defense of marriage.
  • Kyle Wingfield talks with Lynn Westmoreland about the hunt for GOP candidates.
  • Iskason: Give housing buyers a bigger tax credit.
  • From elsewhere in Georgia:

  • InsiderAdvantage: Ethics watchdog a victim of statehouse politics?
  • And beyond:

  • NYT: U.S. military says its force in Afghanistan is insufficient.
  • WP: Obama team is still lacking most of its top players.
  • WSJ: Budget pain spreads to energy-rich states.
  • For instant updates, follow me on Twitter.

    3 comments Add your comment

    GoOx

    August 24th, 2009
    9:48 am

    Deal, Real, Steal

    Technocrat

    August 24th, 2009
    10:33 am

    First your Health Care, them your Energy, and now your Water, next your Sewage. Obviously a Socialist agenda………..he who controls your basic needs. Drilling water wells, thermal wells, and septic tanks will be outlawed.
    They will figure a way to tax wind and solar and only allow permitted installations.

    Glenn

    August 25th, 2009
    9:39 am

    Love how Mike won’t open comments on his sketches. He can give heat but he sure can’t take it!