Your island jolt: Wood chips fly over charges of theft in governor’s race

From the veranda of the Jekyll Island Club – An island debate among the Democratic candidates for governor this afternoon, hosted by the Georgia Press Association, is highly likely to include charges of theft.

On Thursday, former Gov. Roy Barnes launched his sixth TV ad – this one proposing that Georgia Power and other utilities be required to burn wood pellets from Georgia pines to generate some of their power. Thousands of jobs could be created, he said.

House Minority Leader DuBose Porter of Dublin this morning says Barnes is guilty of intellectual poaching.

“I have been advocating wood-fired power for years. I know it will create thousands of jobs in Georgia — foresters, skidder operators, mechanics — and help landowners by creating a market for timber.”

Porter said. “Coal produces jobs for people outside of Georgia. Wood-fired power doesn’t poison Georgia’s rivers and streams. Coal-fired power does. Wood-fired power doesn’t create pollution that harms unborn children. Coal-fired power does.”

Porter also points out that one of Barnes’ legal clients is attempting to build a coal-fired power plant in Georgia – an effort opposed by environmental groups.

As for the charges of copyright infringement, the Barnes campaign pleads nolo contendere. Writes Chris Carpenter, campaign manager:

“This is what is wrong with Georgia politics. It is not about who get credit or petty politics. It is about moving this state forward adding jobs, educating our children and making Georgia work for families all across our state.”

Here’s the TV ad in question:

Alan Abramowitz, the Emory University political scientist, is among those blowing the whistle on Barnes. “I heard Porter talk about this in 2009,” he e-mailed this morning. (Cell phone coverage is lacking on Jekyll.)

Abramowitz is also out with an analysis, posted on Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball, in which he argues that control of the U.S. House is within reach of Republicans this November. A taste:

“[W]hile the GOP’s chances of gaining the 10 seats needed to take control of the upper chamber appear to be remote, the 39 seats required to take back the House of Representatives may be within reach.

“There are some striking similarities between the mood of the American people today and the mood of the country 16 years ago. The most important similarity is that President Obama, like President Clinton in 1994, has seen his approval ratings fall below 50 percent which is generally considered the danger zone for an incumbent president and his party.

“The Democratic-controlled 111th Congress, like the Democratic-controlled 103rd Congress, is very unpopular with an approval rating of 21 percent in a May Gallup Poll. And only 24 percent of Americans according to the same poll are satisfied with the way things are going in the country.

Given these results, it is not surprising that Republicans have been running either even with or ahead of Democrats when voters are asked which party they want to control the next Congress. That was true in the summer of 1994 as well.”

Here on Jekyll, Republican candidates for governor will go first in the three-hour debate fest hosted by the GPA. Former secretary of state Karen Handel will not be among them – given Ray McBerry’s presence on the stage.


Which means she’ll have to find other ways to get attention. Treading ground plowed by Sarah Palin, Handel toured a Heckler & Koch assembly plant in Columbus on Thursday, posting a few snaps on her Facebook page.

“Here I am checking out an HK416 — 5.56 mm. Nice!” she writes.

My AJC colleague Nancy Badertscher has a good look at Brad Bryant, the state school board member tapped by Gov. Sonny Perdue to replace departing state School Superintendent Cathy Cox – and run an independent campaign aimed at a four-year term.

The piece includes this:

Jeff Hubbard, president of the Georgia Association of Educators, said Bryant is well-respected for his service on the state and local school boards.

“But we are deeply concerned that his appointment is being used for political purposes by Governor Perdue,” Hubbard said. “There were many capable individuals who could have served in the interim without the need to also run as a candidate for the permanent position.”

GAE has just endorsed candidate and attorney Joe Martin in the Democratic primary, who expressed similar reservations about the appointment.

This morning, Martin has taken issue with the use of the word “reservations.” Writes the Democrat:

“I don’t have a ‘reservation’ about the way in which this appointment was made. I think it stinks….

“[T]he real point is that the person being appointed will owe his or her allegiance not to the voters but to the kingmaker who put him or her in this position to begin with and even made it a condition of the appointment. The obvious intent is to perpetuate the current governor’s control over education in Georgia. I leave it to you and others to decide whether that is good or bad, but it is what it is.”

Some strange things are going on up in north Georgia, reports the Chattanooga Times Free Press:

A Catoosa County magistrate judge who filed a complaint about a fellow judge and feared retaliation was removed from the courthouse by law enforcement personnel Wednesday and no one would say why.

Magistrate Judge Anthony Peters was taken into custody Wednesday afternoon, according to Catoosa County Commission Chairman Keith Greene. Mr. Greene said he could not discuss why Judge Peters was taken into custody because it was a personnel matter.

Catoosa County Sheriff Phil Summers did not answer calls or return messages Wednesday.

Witnesses said more than a dozen cars from Ringgold police, the Georgia State Patrol and the Catoosa County Sheriff’s Office swarmed the courthouse just before 3 p.m.

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18 comments Add your comment


June 17th, 2010
11:08 am

Nothing like chicks and guns!

Julie Camp

June 17th, 2010
11:13 am

Candidates steal ideas all the time. DuBose needs to man up and realize that what ever he says will be repeated if it makes sense.


June 17th, 2010
11:21 am

Seeing politicians with guns always makes me think of countries like Iraq and Iran. It seems odd to see our leaders with guns. Its unsettling.

Disavantaged Insider

June 17th, 2010
11:23 am

“Wood-fired power doesn’t create pollution that harms unborn children. Coal-fired power does.” Huh? This makes no sense to me. Smoke is smoke, pollution is pollution. Jim, you need to get the Truthyness Squad on this one.

Griffin W.

June 17th, 2010
11:24 am

DuBose talked about wood fired power plants as early as last fall when he visited the College Dems at Georgia Tech last fall, and he’s brought it up the other 3-4 times I’ve heard him speak since then. It’s a great idea; I wish more politicians would steal it!

[...] Click here to read more: [...]

Where's Herman Talmadge When You Need Him?

June 17th, 2010
11:52 am

Look at me! I’m not a moderate! I like guns! I don’t like gays! Please! Vote for me! Girl, please…


June 17th, 2010
11:59 am

Is Karen Handel married?

Ron Revog

June 17th, 2010
12:17 pm

“Porter also points out that one of Barnes’ legal clients is attempting to build a coal-fired power plant in Georgia – an effort opposed by environmental groups.”

I feel like this was a huge part of Mr. Porter’s claim that went unanswered…


June 17th, 2010
12:23 pm

Imno, yes. And her husband, Steve, is no Todd. He’s actually a really cool dude. Have no idea what he does though.

No Teabagging

June 17th, 2010
12:30 pm

Let’s see more of Roy’s client list!

No Teabagging

June 17th, 2010
12:32 pm

Hey Dubose! You got credit for a good idea, now stop whining and give some more great ideas that will get our attention and possibly our votes.


June 17th, 2010
1:31 pm

DuBose Porter isn’t whinning – it is important that the person with ideas and hope for the future of Georgia gets credit and gets elected!

Why would anyone elect Barnes when after an 8 year absence, he can’t think of 1 idea on his own to create jobs?

take that weapon away from her

June 17th, 2010
2:09 pm

i know it was a photo op but dont even pretend you know how to handle that weapon

get your GD finger off the trigger

carry it a bit higher on your shoulder ; weapon to eye not the other way around


June 17th, 2010
3:34 pm

Environmentalists impose a burning ban in Georgia as an anti-pollution measure (CO2, essential to plant life, is now a pollutant) while their brothers-in-arms Dems want wood-burning power plants instead of coal because they would pollute less. Even though anyone with sense knows it would take much more wood than coal for every kilowatt produced. As usual with liberals, the left hand doesn’t understand what the right is doing.


June 17th, 2010
6:07 pm

Nathan Deal is looking more real every time Karen Handel puts a gun in her hand.

Just Nasty & Mean

June 18th, 2010
8:02 am

If burning wood pellets for power was practical and viable, private enterprise and the free enterprise system would have taken this on already. The politicians would not have to be involved.

Barnes and Porter are just examples of government bureaucrats thinking they can legislate innovation. (Obama??)

Even if it is a good idea—If government gets involved, you can BET it will be screwed up, cost more, and for the benefit of the well connected.

Folks, we are in big trouble as a country and state. It is time to vote for serious people for political office–and not these cheap rip-offs blabbering on about something where the government should not be involved.

Porter also supports solar and off-shore wind

June 18th, 2010
8:39 am

Give Porter some credit, he’s the only candidate to appear (alongside concerned citizens) at one of the public comment sessions regarding the construction of a coal-fired power plant near Sandersville.

He was clear in his opposition to coal-fired power plants, as we all should be. These plants have already contaminated every waterway in our state with mercury (according to the USGS reports).

He has publicly stated his support for solar and off-shore wind.

About 67% of our electricity comes from burning coal. We import all of that coal. In other words more than $2 billion dollars per year leave this state to pay for those black rocks. Producing electricity with Georgia resources would be a major boon to our economy.

It’s a shame that the purportedly business friendly folks on the Republican side don’t see the obvious economic benefits.