Friday, April 27, 2007

Let's Commit Citizen Journalism!

Got a couple of citizen journalism irons in the fire: One being micro... about the ludicrous water bills residents in the NW corridor, Underwood Hills and Berkley Park areas, are receiving from the City of Atlanta water department. Our condo association's has tripled since Dec. of 2006, blowing our entire budget for 2007. We are hardly alone.

One neighbor's absurd story is here on WXIA -- thanks to our e-organizing efforts to get some sunshine on this, uh, draining issue. Many many thanks to Jerry Carnes for paying attention to our issues here in intown Atlanta! You're the best. Keep up the work, 'cause we got lots more where than came from. (I'm shooting video of our condos' saga too, in hopes that some MSM will want some of that to supplement their own hard work.)

In other less micro matters... that marvelous Wilson Smith from What Is Going On in Lyons, Georgia, interviewed Sally Bethea from Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper a couple of days ago on his show/podcasts about her being fired from the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Board. Sally's interview with Wilson is here.

Sally was on Governor Perdue's Office of Executive Appointments for this year's state boards and commissions, as she has been for the past 8 years.

But Sen. Tommie Williams (R-Lyons), the State Senate Majority Leader and Chairman of the Committee on Assignments, managed to jettison Sally from the list this Legislative session, saying that since she's also a lobbyist, for an environmentally-minded non-profit, she shouldn't be on the Department of NATURAL RESOURCES board, although she's been both since 1999.

So that kinda begs the question... is Tommie Williams now going to purge all state boards and commissions of their lobbyista? He should do unto others as he did to Sally, right? He surely is quite the ethically-minded politician, and obviously feels a burning need to clean house right about now... especially of those pesky environmentalists!

Wilson and I want to get a master list of the 300+ Governor appointees to state boards for 2007, and just run a quick lil 'ole check of names on that list by the list of registered state lobbyists -- just to make sure there are no other conflict-of-interest discrepancies he may have overlooked. If there are any conflicts, Wilson wants to interview them too!

So I called the Governor's Office of Executive Appointments (404-656-1776) yesterday to try to get me that list. A woman named "Celine" (she wouldn't give her last name) refused to give me the list, saying it wasn't "released to the public."

So I then called Josh Willis, a cool guy and very interested in social media, who's the Senate Majority Leader's Chief of Staff, and I proceeded to have a nice chat with him, mostly about high-speed access across Georgia. But he eventually said he didn't have The List, go figure, and referred me instead to the Lt. Governor's office.

At that point, I needed a nap! So I will resume trying to find The List today... so we can just make sure Sally Bethea isn't the only Governor appointee to a board who is also a lobbyist. Call me a silly girl, but I get the nagging feeling she's not the only one.

I think that Senator Tommie Williams, from Wilson's neck of the woods, just needs a little citizen journalism help in getting rid of EVERYONE on a Georgia state board with some of those pesky "conflicts of interest." So I'm so glad we bloggers and podcasters are here to help our Senate Majority Leader with this rather annoying little task, eh!?

Anything you can add to this, uh, effort and conversation, please lemme know.

UPDATE: Thanks to the cache of PP, and not the SGR, as of 1:45pm Friday, I have an UPDATE for ya:

Celine The Intern! Bless her heart. She’s got a great career in politics (or journalism) I must say. Young bulldog & excellent gatekeeper. I’d hire her in a sec.

The Governor’s Office of Executive Appointments, Celine’s boss in other words, almost immediately contacted me (on my cell too) as soon as this post went up on PP. (Thanks Erick!) They are going to fax me the list of names first thing on Monday. I’d get it now from ‘em, but I gotta run go be mom for the rest of this lovely day.

Enough name calling and blogging! Going to go commence weekend of fun.

I’ll get back on this list thingee first thing Monday. If anyone else needs The List sooner, then you’ll have to contact the office of Execu- Appointments (404-651-7735) yourself.

And see folks, Republicans and Democrats can work together! Even in this state.

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