Your morning jolt: Georgia prepared to go it alone with Savannah dredging?

Savannah and the rest of Georgia will spend the next two weeks praying that President Barack Obama will include $551 million in his budget for the dredging of the Port of Savannah.

But Larry Peterson of the Savannah Morning News thinks a Plan B may be in the works that no one wants to talk about. From this weekend:

[Gov. Nathan Deal] asked for only $563 million in bonds for capital projects such as deepening – down from the nearly $1 billion Perdue sought last year.

Deal says he did so to preserve the state’s AAA bond rating. But it also leaves room for the state to pick up the slack if the feds don’t come through.

For obvious reasons, he doesn’t want to talk about it.

“I don’t want to give the federal government any reason not to be a full partner,” he said….

But the day before, he told a group in Buckhead, “Quite honestly, I hope we don’t have to carry the whole load.”

Which, of course, was an indirect way of acknowledging that the state might do just that.

A bigger bond package wouldn’t be a free lunch. Principal and interest would have to be paid over 20 years, but that probably wouldn’t be a budget buster in any given year.


The first kerfuffle of the race for chairmanship of the state Republican party comes in the form of a language test. Take the phrase, “Free Hotel and Transportation Information.”

Does it mean “free information about hotel and transportation?” Or does it mean “information about free hotel and transportation” – and thus become something of a bait-and-switch?

Over the weekend, mailers from the campaign of Tricia Pridemore began hitting the mailboxes of potential delegates to the state GOP convention in May, directing them to this web site with a scary President Barack Obama and the language above.

Pridemore told us on Saturday that she is not offering free passage to Macon, site of the convention. But all the rooms at the hotel site are booked – and thus controlled – by the state GOP. Which is now under command of one of Pridemore’s two rivals, incumbent Sue Everhart. Shawn Hanley, chair of the of Fulton County GOP, is a third candidate.

Pridemore said she just wants to get lodging and transportation information, at no cost, to the right people, so everyone is assured of housing. Not usually the stuff that anyone charges for.

On Saturday, Michael Berlon, a Loganville attorney and leader of the Gwinnett Democratic party, was elected to replace Jane Kidd as chairman of the state Democratic party. Click here for other officers.

H.B. 87, the bill by state Rep. Matt Ramsey, R-Peachtree City, will get its first committee hearing this week. Already people are choosing sides. The Libertarian Party will stand agin the measure, citing the “huge” cost of enforcement:

[T]he bill could have catastrophic effects on the economic well-being of the state, as well as in the lives of its residents if passed.

As proposed, HB 87 would make criminals of many otherwise law abiding Georgians trying to make a living. The bill makes it a criminal offense by merely “encouraging” an illegal immigrant to enter the state. It also allows almost any citizen to bring a lawsuit against any business, local or State government agency or official by just accusing them of violating immigration law. Further, HB 87 burdens every employer doing business in Georgia with using the Department of Homeland Security’s E-Verify system.

Meanwhile, immigration activist D.A. King says he has begun a drive to press every House Republican to become a sponsor of the bill. From a press release:

With the additional volunteer assistance of many members of various Tea Party groups, civic organizations and other pro-enforcement citizens, the goal will be to contact each state House member multiple times and request they sign on to HB 87 during the coming week with phone calls, email and visits to Gold Dome offices.

“Illegal immigration is a crime that costs Georgia innocent lives, jobs, benefits and is making a mockery of our rule of law while it drains our budget and endangers our common language,” said D.A. King. “Even the least aware observer can see that the crisis is a direct result of illegal employment and a lack of political will to protect everyday, taxpaying Georgians. Many powerful special interest groups will attempt to defeat or gut this bill. We will record who is on the side of We the People.”

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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24 comments Add your comment

Jeff Sexton

January 31st, 2011
11:21 am

The LP has SEVERAL issues with the bill, both its economic impact and its dramatic infringements on Constitutional rights. Under this bill, no longer will it be safe to transport anyone other than your child in any vehicle you operate – including cabs and transit. No longer will it be safe to have anyone other than your child in any building you operate – including schools, churches, and businesses. No longer will it be safe to tell anyone other than your child how GREAT this State is. If you do any of the above, you will risk being thrown in jail.

Oh, and remember those times when you forget your wallet? Under HB 87, prepare to be jailed indefinetly over it.

We very much need immigration reform in this Nation. But we need legislators at the State and National level who will TRULY “get serious” about the issue, and not introduce measures such as this one that only serve to divide and confuse the issue further.


January 31st, 2011
11:27 am

Ms. Pridemore is already becoming good at spinning and she is not even elected yet. The site is very misleading and it would look like the official site. It is a data mining site to collect email addresses of people interested in attending. They used a url similar to the one the GA GOP uses. They did that for a reason.

The GA GOP sends out hotel information in delegate packages. In fact, all of the information offered by MS. Pridemore is sent out by the GA GOP in delegate packages.

Ms. Pridemore has shown herself to be as sleazy as Gov Deal is.


January 31st, 2011
11:34 am

Good for Georgia! Why should we depend on the federal government to improve our best harbour? If it is important to GA, let’s do it ourself. The feds have to stop all but the most necessary of spending. If our federal government does not do a 180 degree turn in its spending habits, we are in deep trouble.


January 31st, 2011
11:38 am

Has the GAGOP changed the rules? The form on the website says “Signup to be a Delegate”


January 31st, 2011
11:42 am

If I were President Obama and had heard all the secessionist, anti-government, anti-federalist, anti-stimulus vitriol the Georgia house and senate delegations had thrown at him over the past two years, the LAST thing I’d do is put the Savannah project in the proposed budget. Way to go, Georgia GOP. You asked for it, you got it. State’s rights. Pay your own way, turkeys. The folks in New York, Philadelphia and even Charleston harbors thank you for your short-sightedness!


January 31st, 2011
11:45 am

This will be an interesting test to determine how many republican legislators are wholly owned subsidiaries of the radical extreme right wing of political thought in Georgia and to see if any republican has the courage to stand up to the hysteria of the moment.

Sure reminds me of the 1960s when democrats in Georgia feel over themselves to see who could be proclaimed the most extreme racial segregationist of the lot.

Maybe you can help me out on this, what are examples of “probable cause”, other than skin color and/or accent, that would warrant immigration checks? Let’s all guess, after six months, how many non-hispanics were subjected to these checks?

The General

January 31st, 2011
11:59 am

@ Jeff Sexton

Jeff, you are really stretching to make the assertions you do. If that’s the best you and the LP can come up with, your stance will easily be dismissed.

@ Retired Soldier

While I usually agree with most of your comments, I don’t with the following:”Why should we depend on the federal government to improve our best harbour? If it is important to GA, let’s do it ourself.” The fact is that a great deal of the stuff brought in through the port at Savannah is transported somewhere other than Georgia. This becomes ‘interstate’ commerce as opposed to ‘intrastate’ commerce. That’s why the feds are being asked to help out with this improvement to our vital port.

Jeff Sexton

January 31st, 2011
12:12 pm


It isn’t stretching at all – it is taking a literal, equal application of the law as it is written. As it is written, if you do not know the exact immigration status of every single person in every single building you control, you risk jail time. 1-7 people would be a misdemeanor, 8 or more would be a felony.

If we combine this with a bill Rep Bearden has introduced creating special licenses for convicted felons, we would have a scenario where every single time a person uses their ID, they are branded as a convicted felon – for having a worship service at their church. Again, this is from a straight, literal application of each of these two bills as written.

Maybe the legislators should write better bills?


January 31st, 2011
12:12 pm

Bonds are deficit financing. The taxpayers are ultimately at risk. The bond market has been wildly unstable in the past few weeks thanks to Newt and his sycophant buddies in Congress threatening to introduce legislation to allow states to bankrupt out of their pension and bond obligations. Newt is only happy when he is creating chaos out of order.


January 31st, 2011
12:17 pm


I agree it is interstate commerce. But disagree with you for two reasons. First the federal government can not afford spending on these types of projects, anywhere, not just Sav. Second it is GA that benefits most and where the jobs are created. Let’s take care of it ourself and let the other states do likewise.

Inman Park

January 31st, 2011
12:22 pm

Does it really matter who is elected as Chairman of the Georgia Democratic Party? Roughly equivalent to being elected as captain of the Titanic.

Gary Holt

January 31st, 2011
12:25 pm

Everhart Agrees to Tuesday’s GAGOP Chair Debate


January 31st, 2011
12:52 pm

So Republicans in Congress are complaining about the Feds spending and Republicans in Georgia are begging for more Fed spending.

Does that make sense?

Did the little piggy cry “Wee! Wee! Wee!” all the way home?

blue dog

January 31st, 2011
1:03 pm

The shipping companies would be paying for this harbor deepening via the ‘use tax’ if these companies had not been given an exemption in the late 90’s thanks to our legislature. I mentioned this exemption on this blog in a previous article and was criticized as being anti business from you on the ‘Right’.
Now, Georgia taxpayers are expected to pay 1 billion dollars due to this exemption…and that is fair.
These are foreign companies, shipping their foreign manufactured goods… further adding to our trade imbalance…and they should get a free ride. GOP adds 1 billion on our backs and says were being ‘business friendly’. At what point does this logic… overkill. Do you from the ‘Right’ think maybe we should pay the Longshoreman who unload these foreign ships for them…maybe exempt these companies truck fleets from the state fuel tax…when does it end. They ‘use’ our port for ‘company business…they can write off these expenses on their corporate tax returns, etc but noooo… it is never enough for you corporate lobbyist…I mean GOP’ers. Why don’t you also include ‘begging, pleading and crying to these companies… offer them ‘liquor’ and ‘women’. Call it want you want… I call it ‘corporate welfare’…bought and paid for…the United States Corporation of America.

Travis McGee

January 31st, 2011
1:09 pm

jconsevative: I’m sure we don’t agree politically or philosophically, but you sure did read my mind. I’d call those who act as you describe good, ol’ fashioned HYPOCRITES which is synonomous with POLITICIAN.

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jim Galloway and TYRONE BROOKS JR., Thomas Burnstein. Thomas Burnstein said: Your morning jolt: Georgia prepared to go it alone with Savannah …: Take the phrase, “Free Hotel and Transport… [...]


January 31st, 2011
1:35 pm

The economic benefits associated with deepening to 48 feet will spread well beyond the State of Georgia. Obama and his team are well aware of that, and will act accordingly.

blue dog

January 31st, 2011
1:54 pm

I would like to know what the timeline is on the need to accommodate these larger ships. Just what % of ‘all ships’ will be this huge, requiring the deeper channel. In other words, what’s the rush. Savannah will still be able to accommodate that vast majority of the shipping industry well into the future. We are not going to see all these smaller ships simply quit being used. Savannah is not a natural deep harbor. Let those that are handle the larger ships. We risk salt water intrusion into our aquifer at the present depth. Hilton Head is having problems with their fresh water supply now. I really think we taxpayers have been duped. Savannah ports will survive at it’s current depth. Anyone have the projections for ‘with’ or ‘without’ deepening.


January 31st, 2011
2:03 pm

And why should the president send any money to GA, we didn’t vote for him.


January 31st, 2011
2:10 pm

so why doesn’t Ms Tricia have the list of the Cobb or DeKalb delegate mass meetings?

light on policy

January 31st, 2011
2:40 pm

@ Blue Dog…good points indeed


January 31st, 2011
3:25 pm

We are the United Serfs of America.

Reagan Conservative

January 31st, 2011
7:26 pm

The question to ask Mrs. Pridemore is why she vote in the 1998 Democratic Primary and 1998 Democratic Run Off.

Saxby Hisself

January 31st, 2011
7:45 pm

We will just make those libtards in Atlanta pay for the Savannah harbor project just like we make them pay for everything else.

har har har