Being honest about taxes and fees

Thinking Right’s weekend free-for-all. Pick a topic:

● It’s obscene that court reporters on the public payroll are allowed to pocket the substantial fees paid by those who need transcripts of court proceedings, as the AJC’s Janel Davis reported. It’s quite amazing that archaic provisions of state law go unchallenged that provide sweetheart financial arrangements to individuals and groups that wield power in courthouses — laws, for example, that provide two or three public pensions, some funded with fines and add-on fees. Republicans, when they came to power, didn’t own that system. But now they do. They’ve done little or nothing to change it.

● A pleasant surprise, since much of the media tends to cheerlead for bigger government, is the front-page story Tuesday by AJC transportation reporter Ariel Hart. Headline: “Not all MARTA cuts are so bad,” followed by the smaller headline, “Halting low-ridership routes should help budget, efficiency.” This is the beginning of honest, rational and informed public discussion. The question always to keep in mind in advocacy-group-provided anecdotes about the impact of proposed cuts: Is it an accurate reflection of the overall truth? Answer: Often not. As Hart points out, five of the 40 MARTA routes to be eliminated carry one person per mile on weekdays. But for the economic crunch, discontinuing service on those routes would never have been allowed.

● Granted, people being arrested for DUI on a public street have no reasonable expectation of privacy in matters related to the offense. But what the salacious detail that former UGA athletics director Damon Evans had a pair of woman’s red panties between his legs has to do with whether he was driving drunk is beyond me. It’s not relevant to the issue of his arrest and including it in the report was an invasion of his privacy.

● Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Beverly Hall paid $200,000 over the last two years in regular pay and overtime to a driver/security aide, the AJC reports. From the school house to the halls of Congress, we have a regal government. How did we get to the point in this country where low-level government functionaries — city, county and local school officials among them — require entourages, drivers and security teams?

● The U.S. Postal Service, which cut 40,000 positions and still lost $3.8 billion, proposes to raise the price of stamps to 46-cents in January. Its increases stampede customers to alternatives. Two-day-a-week home delivery is OK by me. We need a drastic reinvention of the first-class mail business model.

● DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis wants to refill 235 positions vacated by employees given financial incentives to retire early. That’s in addition to 200 hired to refill public safety and 100 hired to refill court-related jobs. Early retirement incentives for public employees are just phony paper-savings gimmicks. When you look away, the payroll’s back where it was and the pension hole’s deeper.

● OK. Final word. A fee is a charge imposed on the sole beneficiaries of a government service. It’s a tax when there’s no direct correlation between the payers and the service. The $10 levy on the purchaser of auto tags that Georgians are being asked to approve this November to fund trauma centers is a tax — and it’s unbecoming of Republicans to pretend otherwise. It’s hypocritical to criticize President Obama and Congressional Democrats for dishonesty on, say, cap-and-tax pass-alongs while calling this tax a “fee.” It’s a fee if it’s imposed just on users — or, I suppose, if it’s imposed on autos, four-wheelers, power equipment, swimming pools, ladders, knives, guns, mad dogs, snakes and other objects associated with traumatic injury. And, by the way, the sum to be raised will never be enough.

74 comments Add your comment

Aquagirl

July 8th, 2010
7:12 pm

Police reports are much shorter when you don’t try to influence the cop, refuse a breathalyzer, and have the panties’ owner mouthing off. I don’t blame the State Trooper for including details which might seem immaterial to the rest of us. When the arrestee starts covering his @&$ immediately, you better do the same.

Darn, that Federal judge should have released his ruling on DOMA earlier. I’m sure Jim would have rejoiced in the upholding of States rights.

RedPantiesRedFace

July 8th, 2010
7:18 pm

Jim says “But what the salacious detail that former UGA athletics director Damon Evans had a pair of woman’s red panties between his legs has to do with whether he was driving drunk is beyond me. It’s not relevant to the issue of his arrest and including it in the report was an invasion of his privacy.” Maybe Jim, visualize panties off, Damon’s right hand off the wheel and otherwise preoccupied, car crossing the centerline, police officer alert to crossing centerline, pulls Damon over. Just maybe the officer was trying to do Damon a favor by finding a reason other than alcohol to pull him over. Too bad Damon was in fact drinking. Might have saved Damon’s job, but probably not his marriage. Jim is so naive.

J. Kase

July 8th, 2010
7:38 pm

How do we know the red panties weren’t his?

Lawrence

July 8th, 2010
8:03 pm

If the panties don’t fit, you must acquit.

Bill

July 8th, 2010
9:06 pm

Well, the usual hate filled, name calling, vile remarks are not here. Congratulations Jim, maybe you are growing up in retirement and can see people as people instead of objects!! NOT!!

Moderate Dem

July 8th, 2010
9:36 pm

Oh my God! I actually agree with all of the comments in your blog this week. Start the Green Tea Party Movement! Especially the comments on MARTA. The cuts this year should only be the beginning. Not only was the police report unfair, but tell me the last time you saw a State Trooper on Roswell Rd. Obviously he was tipped off, but Damien put himself in that situation and he “loss!” I mistook your blog for a Left Turn instead of Right. You wear retirement well!

Tall

July 8th, 2010
9:37 pm

Does anyone know if Beverly Hall will be adding additional drivers/sercurity aides? At that rate of pay, I would like to apply. I’ve been unemployed for awhile and it would help.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

July 8th, 2010
10:03 pm

Good evening all. My experiences with court reporters have been uniformly positive, so I think I would prefer to not focus on their efforts, rather expand the context of Jim’s argument. Our host’s comments are all factually true, but much broader than his comments reflect. Look into DUI schools and private probation systems. Impoverishing the populace should never be an obvious end to the efforts of our courts, but it is the inevitable end of the system erected by our diligent legislature. Unless/until we abolish fines and probation – if it is really a crime, put ‘em in jail! – the corrupt system will continue to grow.

In any discussion of efficiency, any public transit system will serve as a bad example.

Re: Pantygate, I respectfully disagree with our host, in part. I think every arrest should be recorded with current technology, and surely the detail of the panties between Mr. Evans’s legs should have be so-documented. The policeman is not to serve as editor, that is the function of the court (or perhaps a task for discrete newspaper writers.) On the larger issue, I argued on this blog last week for abolition of DUI laws anyway, so the red panties would never have surfaced in jbmlawland.

Inquiring minds want to know, why is Beverly Hall not being prosecuted for misuse of public funds? You wouldn’t have to so-jail more than 200-300 of these crooked politicians before the rest would get the message.

Agree with the curtailment of USPS services. Having said that, they do a magnificent job delivering to my son in the Persian Gulf.

The voters of Dekalb County deserve the governments they elect.

An even more final word, there is no rational reason to require a license tag for vehicles. It was never anything more than “just another tax.”

JDW

July 8th, 2010
10:13 pm

WOW I actually agree with some of that.

Amen to court reporters sticking it to us, the invasion of Evans privacy, and the Dekalb rehires.

Not sure Beverly Hall needs $200K in car/security fees but calling her a low level government functionary sheds lots of light on your position on Education in this state. She runs a business, yes a business, with 12,000 employees educating 50,000 students. You better hope she isn’t low level.

If the price of a stamp goes to a dollar we still need mail every day.

$10 for trauma care…sign me up don’t care if it is $100.

David Granger

July 8th, 2010
10:17 pm

“…why is Beverly Hall not being prosecuted for misuse of public funds?”

Because, Ragnar, then the people prosecuting her might be shamed into having to give up THEIR drivers and security aids.

dawggie stile

July 8th, 2010
10:48 pm

hey, at least the panties were Georgia bulldawg red!!!

joan

July 8th, 2010
10:54 pm

I run a business and don’t need mail every day. Most of my work is done by email these days, and the fax is there for anything that requires speed. So cut the deliveries. Cut the trash pickups too, while you are at it. And yes, I agree with Ragnar, if more of these governmental functionaries were prosecuted for their misuse of public funds, maybe they would slow down. Of course if they were, then Vernon Jones would be in jail for a long, long time. By the way, someone in MY neighborhood has a Hank Johnson sign in his yard. I can only assume it is because he believes Hank is better than Vernon and in Dekalb if you aren’t black you aren’t elected. So sad what we are forced to send to Congress. How very very sick.

J. Kase

July 8th, 2010
11:12 pm

Hell, if ya got the legs ya can wear any color ya want.

atlmom

July 9th, 2010
12:21 am

joan: you must be kidding re: garbage pickup. Seriously? I only get it once a week. I will say that in the last year, in the city – it’s gotten MUCH better. They come early in the morning on the day they are supposed to! but it’s only one day a week and for what I’m paying – it should be at least twice a week (i’d love three days, but well, I’m not going to be greedy right now). Seriously – the private companies do it for less than what i’m paying, for more service. *sigh*
Well, is Vernon better than Hank? Seriously? That district. Well, at least you keep sending new people to congress. I’ve got Mr. Lewis. He’s been the one sent for what? 30 years? time for new blood. No one should be in the same govt job for more than 10 years (and that’s even pushing it).

Mid-South Philosopher

July 9th, 2010
5:13 am

Good morning, Jim.

Just a comment on a topic you did not touch today.

We have known for sometime that using employer equipment or employer time to post on social networking sites was a no-no. Employers have the right to know everything about you, up to and including how many times you pass gas, while on their clock!

Now comes word that some employers are using technology to spy on employee social networking site activities from the employee’s own computer and on the employee’s own time. A classic case of “corporatism”…aka…capitalistic communism.

Saul Good

July 9th, 2010
6:22 am

The BIG problem I see is not that Evans got caught drunk and cheating on his wife… it’s that he was getting paid half a million+ to run a University’s athletics program. What a waste of money and backwards logic to pay sums of money like that to ANY school athletic director or coach. Let me ask… how much does the head of the English or Science department get paid? No wonder our nation continues to slip further and further behind other nations in test scores. With “priorities” being as they are…it all “adds” up.

Dave

July 9th, 2010
6:54 am

Jim, you’ve been pointing out the danger of our state (public) retirement benefits as long as I can remember. I didn’t like it that much when I worked for the state, but now that I’m in the private sector its too bad we didn’t do something about it back then. Where you stand depends on here you sit.

Eric

July 9th, 2010
7:58 am

I’m a strong supporter of the U.S. Postal Service, since I do not trust online bill pay and other data bases with my info. However, Mr. Wooten is right, if a stamp goes up to $.46 without ending at least Sat. delivery, I will look for other options.

Everyone, let’s vote “no” to auto tag tax. Ad Valorem tax is already too expensive!

Gordon

July 9th, 2010
8:27 am

I think Aquagirl is disappointed you didn’t comment on the DOMA ruling, Jim. It’s obviously very important to her and she wanted to argue with you about it.

Dr. Stan (The Black One)

July 9th, 2010
8:36 am

A Georgia State Patrolman had probable cause to initiate a traffic stop; a very dangerous part of a peace officer’s duty. He/she has to be extremely careful. Only God knows who the driver is. It could be the best of saints, or the worst of sinners; or anyone betwixt the twain.

After a traffic stop is initiated, a patrolman radios his base of operations etc and simultaneously ascertain what’s taking place in the stopped car; excessive movement etc. The patrolman exits his car with caution and touches the trunk of the stopped vehicle leaving his finger prints in case the traffic stop turns out to be a worst case scenario.

The patrolman asked the driver for his license. The driver fumbled through his cards and dropped some items before locating it. At the same time, the officer makes a cursory inspection of things in plain view when appropriate. The officer observes a female passenger in the car. And he sees a woman’s red panties between the driver’s legs. He’s cautious. It’s a distraction. The red panties might be concealing a weapon. It’s out of the ordinary.

Peace officers have to take mental pictures of what he/she comes face to face with. They must record those mental images and put them in written form on an incident report. If it is done correctly, the court, prosecutors, and defense attorneys can determine if they acted competently and within the law.

In a court of law, the passenger testifies the driver forced her to remove her red panties and put them between his legs under threat of violence. After that testimony, a patrolman would not be worth his salt if he saw the red panties between the driver’s legs, but did not include it in the incident report.

In a court of law, lawyers ask the patrolman whether or not he saw any red panties between the driver’s legs, or anywhere in the stopped vehicle. The patrolman would almost be compelled to say no even if it’s the contrary. It would be problematic not to have made a record of it.

By the way, I would love to read an article on the Damon Evans story written by an alumnus of the University of Georgia. Like a peace officers’ incident report, anyone reading it can determine if he/she has the wherewithal to be impartial.

Aquagirl

July 9th, 2010
8:45 am

Arguing with Jim about gay marriage would be a waste of time; it’s more about the fun of watching his head explode.

Moderate

July 9th, 2010
8:46 am

Regarding postal service, go into any post office now and watch the glacial pace at which business takes place. There are two work forces, the delivery folks who have a challenging job in all weather conditions; and the sullen, slow-moving store staffs. Maybe the postal unions want to help their employees avoid stress or overwork, but the customer lines that form drive away business (perhaps their goal). Even where there are automated service kiosks, they are frequently out of order or out of materials. Most of these folks would be terminated if they worked for a productive company.

Peter

July 9th, 2010
8:55 am

Well it came out today…….The Biggest defaulters on Home Mortgages are the RICH……The Republican Types…..Ruining the Housing market.

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Biggest-Defaulters-on-nytimes-3203153456.html?x=0&sec=topStories&pos=4&asset=&ccode=

Courtesy of the New York times…….

KA

July 9th, 2010
8:58 am

At least Beverly Hall is getting work done for the school system while someone is driving. And everyone is keeping their panties on in that car.

Adam

July 9th, 2010
9:55 am

At last Dr. Stan puts forth a rational post. It’s a bit hypocritical for an AJC columnist to criticize the police report as an invasion of privacy and ignore the fact that it was the AJC that put it online for everyone to see.

Aquagirl

July 9th, 2010
10:07 am

Someone is reading Dr. Stan’s posts?

bill

July 9th, 2010
10:17 am

why do leave krauthammer off all the time?

Dr. Stan (The Black One)

July 9th, 2010
11:14 am

Water girl, that’s a good college try. But you don’t know what you’re saying.

When the truth is sent out into the universe, regardless of who is speaking or writing, even the inanimate objects hears it, reads it, and responds.

There is a ripple effect throughout the universe that no person or persons can impede.

Dr. Stan (The Black One)

July 9th, 2010
11:46 am

And when he was come nigh, even now at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen;
Saying, Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest.

And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples. And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out…

Dr. Stan (The Black One)

July 9th, 2010
1:40 pm

Live Broadcast | Legislative Search | Legislation | House | Senate
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09 LC 94 1558

House Resolution 1078
By: Representative Golick of the 34th

A RESOLUTION

Recognizing and commending Mr. Jim Wooten on the occasion of his retirement; and for other purposes.

WHEREAS, Mr. Jim Wooten has served as the conservative voice for the Atlanta-Journal Constitution for the past three decades; and

WHEREAS, a native of McRae, Georgia, Mr. Wooten is a graduate of the University of Georgia and has dedicated his career to journalism and the news print media; and

WHEREAS, Mr. Wooten worked for newspapers in Athens, Macon, and Atlanta before he joined U.S. News & World Report for six years, covering seven Southeastern states; and

WHEREAS, he served in several leadership positions during his tenure with The Atlanta Journal before he was named editorial page editor for the newspaper in January, 1992; and

WHEREAS, a dedicated and talented journalist, Mr. Wooten was appointed associate editorial page editor for the Atlanta-Journal Constitution upon the Atlanta Constitution and The Atlanta Journal’s merger in 2001; and

WHEREAS, Mr. Wooten served as a guardian of this nation’s freedom and liberty with the Georgia Army National Guard for over 20 years and valiantly and bravely served in the Vietnam War; and

WHEREAS, devoted to uplifting the field of journalism, Mr. Wooten is past president of the Georgia Press Association and is a trustee of the Georgia Press Education Foundation; and

WHEREAS, during his prestigious career, Mr. Wooten has received wide acclaim and numerous honors, including the 1996 Outstanding Alumnus award by the University of Georgia’s College of Journalism and Mass Communications, a 100 Most Influential Georgian by Georgia Trend magazine, and recognition as among Georgia’s most influential by James magazine; and

WHEREAS, his significant organizational and leadership talents, his keen sense of vision, and his incredible views and grasp of politics and government have earned him the respect and admiration of his colleagues and associates; and

WHEREAS, it is abundantly fitting and proper that the outstanding accomplishments of this remarkable and distinguished Georgian be appropriately recognized.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES that the members of this body commend Mr. Jim Wooten for his years of outstanding editorials and his devotion to the print news industry.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Clerk of the House of Representatives is authorized and directed to transmit an appropriate copy of this resolution to Mr. Jim Wooten.

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This information is provided in electronic format by the Georgia general Assembly as a public service. This information does not constitute an official record of the General Assembly and no warranty or guarantee of any kind is provided.

Hillbilly Deluxe

July 9th, 2010
1:45 pm

It’s obscene that court reporters on the public payroll are allowed to pocket the substantial fees paid by those who need transcripts of court proceedings

What about the Clerk of the Court being allowed to pocket part of the Passport fees. Been lots of shenanigans with that one, up here in the Hills.

But what the salacious detail that former UGA athletics director Damon Evans had a pair of woman’s red panties between his legs has to do with whether he was driving drunk is beyond me. It’s not relevant to the issue of his arrest

It could possibly explain “failure to maintain lane”.

retiredds

July 9th, 2010
2:05 pm

Hey Jim, taxes are rising. Duh! that has been predicted for years as the conservative Republicans also couldn’t keep their grimy hands out of the federal till. The cows have come home to roost … the US of A charge card is maxed out because of the last 40 years of borrowing by everyone over the age of 25.

Atl Girl

July 9th, 2010
2:56 pm

Jim, I’m very disappointed in your toeing the line with Jay Stephenson on court reporters. He’s either embarrassingly uninformed or is intentionally misleading people about us. He keeps referring to the court reporters as “county employees,” but how many county employees do you know who have to buy their own equipment, buy their own supplies, pay for their own continuing education, pay for additional training, and pay support staff such as proofreaders and editors, ALL out of our own income? Most court reporters working in court do their take-down in court (which is what their salary is for) and produce transcripts ON THEIR OWN TIME. Jay Stephenson and Richard Belcher fail to tell anyone all of this. I went to school to learn court reporting for 13 quarters full time. The drop-out rate runs around 75 percent. PLEASE learn more about this before making your disparaging comments about us.

GayGrayGeek

July 9th, 2010
3:42 pm

Atl Girl @ 2:56 – PLEASE learn more about this before making your disparaging comments about us.</i.

Jim. "Learn".

Jim? "Learn"?

LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL.

Bammer

July 9th, 2010
4:13 pm

So sorry to you dog stupes, but the panties were crimson.

Brad Steel

July 9th, 2010
4:27 pm

Pretty good points, Wooten. And finally without the petty divisive sniveling and the wing-nut pandering.

Too bad you can’t claim to be a “true conservative” without pandering and Obama slandering.

It's a shame what he did to that dog.

July 9th, 2010
6:21 pm

“Too bad you can’t claim to be a “true conservative” without pandering and Obama slandering.”

Hey, if Mort Zuckerman can slam Obama, then the rest of us can.

It's a shame what he did to that dog.

July 9th, 2010
6:22 pm

Anybody going to see Predators?

Dr. Stan (The Black One)

July 9th, 2010
6:26 pm

It’s a shame before God Almighty!

African American integrationist leaders have taken to exploiting elderly African American women for that Arab oil money. Their leaders are paid with Arab oil money for the purpose of exploiting racial animosity in the United States. They meander from town to town and from city to city exploiting unsophisticated integrationist African Americans.

Like many confused integrationist African Americans, elderly African American women think the integrationist African American leaders are following the example of Martin Luther King Jr. They have no idea that they are conversing with Dr King’s enemies. They are the kind of integrationist African American leaders that follow the example of the devil.

You integrationist African Americans out in radio land had better put on your thinking caps. If not, these African American criminal integrationist leaders will sift you like wheat.

It’s a shame before God Almighty!

@@

July 9th, 2010
8:43 pm

Jim, your account of the court reporters’ situation reminded me of when I worked for the Clayton County Commissioners. I was but 17. It was an after school job.

Anyhoo, since the copy machine was nearest my desk, I was responsible for running copies for those taxpayers who visited the Commissioners office. They were always free until some scandal ensued. All of a sudden I was to charge anyone who requested copies, 20 cents a page. Even to a 17 year old it was obvious why…it was a way to discourage seeking documentation.

Heck! I thought it was obscene. The taxpayers were already paying my salary, the Commissioners salaries, their staff’s salaries, payments on the building, utility costs, the cost of paper and ink. I continued running copies for free.

Man, the ensuing scandal went full blown. Hope it was nothing I allowed to slip out the door FOR FREE!

Schnirt

@@

July 9th, 2010
8:46 pm

Oh, and there were only two court reporters at the time. They were both pervs…always wanting to massage my neck.

eewwww

An Inconvenient Constitution

July 9th, 2010
10:31 pm

National Lottery – The USA ought to have one. The money goes to fixing roads and bridges only.

Norman

July 10th, 2010
6:49 am

I too could be happy with mail twice a week but also feel the junk mailers and all others should pay First Class rate. The Post Office would gain huge revenues and/or we would not be deluded with junk mail.

Norman

July 10th, 2010
6:51 am

Meant deluged

retiredds

July 10th, 2010
8:48 am

Jim, I just wanted you and some of your anti-Obama readers to know that our President is doing something about illegal immigration. Seems like his quiet approach is working. Seems like a former Republican President had something to say about that, “walk softly but carry a big stick”.

“The Obama administration has replaced immigration raids at factories and farms with a quieter enforcement strategy: sending federal agents to scour companies’ records for illegal immigrant workers.

Employers say the audits reach more companies than the work-site roundups of the administration of President George W. Bush. The audits force businesses to fire every suspected illegal immigrant on the payroll— not just those who happened to be on duty at the time of a raid — and make it much harder to hire other unauthorized workers as replacements. Auditing is “a far more effective enforcement tool,” said Mike Gempler, executive director of the Washington Growers League, which includes many worried fruit growers.”

Dr. Stan (The Black One)

July 10th, 2010
1:19 pm

At a function last night, I took it upon myself to ask a pack of integrationist African American Obamanoids their opinion of the gravity of two moral flaws: parents who murder their babies via abortion or dead beat moms and dads.

They said in no uncertain terms, with a far away satanic look in their eyes, that dead beat moms and dads is by far the greatest moral flaw-sin. The children are here and someone has to take care and support them economically… It is awful to have children in the United States who feel unloved and unsupported by one or both parents, they said.

Do you care to comment on the murdered babies via abortion, I asked. They said it’s our pleasure Dr. Stan, the black one. No one is suffering here. It was a responsible choice by the parents. I take issue with you calling abortion murder. We just believe getting an abortion is a better choice than being dead beat moms and dads.

Let Dr. Stan, the black one, provide you with a summary. The integrationist African American Obamanoids believe it’s better to murder your child if you don’t love her enough to care for or support him economically; rather than birth the child into the world and allow other human being to love and support the child economically.

Using that logic, one could reason if you have a family and don’t want to love the children and support them economically any longer, the best thing to do is kill them. For the sake of God, don’t become a dead beat mom or dad. Notwithstanding there are many good human beings in the United States that would provide a loving home for the unwanted children.

From my vantage point, allowing children to live is preferable to summarily murdering them; not to mention it’s an evil Ungodly act.

Integrationist African Americans and others had better put on your thinking caps. If not, the integrationist African American civil rights leaders and their elitist American and the Arab oil money boys will sift you like wheat.

@@

July 10th, 2010
2:31 pm

Excellent post, Dr. Stan!!! EXCELLENT!

atlreporter

July 11th, 2010
12:27 am

what’s “obscene” is that you or anyone uninformed would even attempt to comment on something they know nothing personally about and gained their information from a one-sided report. hopefully, the grand jury will convene on jay stephenson and all the original transcripts that his office has “lost” and “misplaced.” that is one of their job functions to file and be accountable for original transcripts. when jay’s office lost the transcripts, the court reporter had to reproduce a whole trial’s worth of transcripts and billed accordingly. if they hadn’t lost them in the first place, he wouldn’t have been billed.
an official court reporter is in session at all times his/her judge is sitting. if they’re a floater, they are assigned to many different courts. they are paid a salary to be in court transcribing proceedings. they stay working as late as their judge does. it doesn’t end at 5:00. when a trial is appealed, the transcript is then requested to be produced. it takes about 1.5 times the amount of time to produce the transcript as the actual hearing. so a three-week hearing could take 4-5 weeks to produce. we’re talking thousands of pages.
now, when do you suppose the court reporter is producing that transcript??? at home on nights and weekends. they don’t get to tell their judge, “oh, sorry, i now have a transcript to produce and it will take me 4 weeks, so go find yourself another court reporter while i’m producing that transcript.” oh, and most official reporters hire proofreaders at about 70 cents a page to cut down the time. our software (once you purchase it for about $5,000) has a fee of $500-$600 a year in licensing update agreements. the steno machines are over $5,000 and they take a pounding and have to be replaced regularly. have you checked out what one ream of paper costs? most reporters replace their laptops every couple years as they take a horrible beating. they are turned on 8-9 hours a day in court and then – again – at night when those pesky transcripts are being prepared at HOME.
that is why an official court reporter has the unique situation of being both an employee for the court and then a self-employed reporter as they prepare the transcripts. hence, the dual status.
the courts would bog down if all the reporters worked a 9:00 to 5:00 job and said, oh, sorry that transcript is going to take 6 months to get to you for your appeal. you can sit in jail in the meantime because i’m sitting in court with my judge and just don’t have time to work on that transcript you want.
the court reporters in cobb county courts have had a hate/hate relationship with jay for years. he’s a jealous little troll. anyone can do his job. only a handful can do a court reporter’s job.

atllawyer

July 11th, 2010
9:14 am

Jim, perhaps you’d like to rejoin the discussion and explain exactly what you think the sweetheart deal is that court reporters have. is it sitting in court for hours on end, typing every word that is said for as long as the judge allows the proceedings to go on? Is it having lawyers ask you to transcribe a day’s testimony so he or she can use it the next day at trial? Is it putting together trial transcripts with often hundreds of pages of testimony and exhibits in a timely fashion to send to the appellate court? Sure, they get paid for their time sitting there, but that isn’t the end of the job. Nights and weekends are involved quite often. And there’s no transcription service at the courthouse. They get to do it themselves. And don’t forget about the danger they subject themselves to. Just remember Julie Brandau, Judge Roland Barnes’ court reporter. Please, before you stop writing, just once use more than a knee jerk to determine what you say about issues.

Dr. Stan (The Black One)

July 12th, 2010
8:37 am

First of all, Clayton County Commissioner Eldrin Bell needs to understand that there is an acceptable way to greet married women. You definitely can’t address them in a flirtatious tone…

On the other end, married women should respond to flirtatious greetings as an insult to their integrity rather than an acceptable compliment.