Tag Archives: district 56

What Happened to Milton County?

If you were active in last July’s primary election for Senate District 56, you remember a key issue for all of the candidates: Milton County. For those of you who are not aware of the concept of Milton County, it would essentially cut Johns Creek, Milton, Mountain Park, Alpharetta, Roswell and part (maybe all) of Sandy Springs out of Fulton County to create a new Milton County.

Personally, I am not a proponent of Milton County, mostly because it would cut me out, but I do understand the want of those taxpayers in North Fulton to keep their money where they feel it can benefit them.

Over the course of the election season, it appeared that all 3 of the candidates (John Albers, David Belle Isle and Brandon Beach) fully supported the idea of Milton County. After the run-off, those who did not win the seat went on to pursue other important issues, while the Senator-elect was supposedly ‘getting right to work’.

During the election, Albers launched a massive campaign initiative called ‘The Contract for Milton County’ complete with it’s own website, Facebook page and poster-size copy that voters could sign. The Facebook page still exists (http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=105925269440670) and it has the link for the website, www.contractformiltoncounty.com, listed, but for some *odd* reason, the website is no longer up. Also available during the election was the VoteAlbers website, but that too is no longer available, you are simply directed to the Senator Albers webpage, which has no mention of Milton County except for a small paragraph stating, ‘Albers supports the recreation of Milton County to include the cities of Roswell, Sandy Springs, Mountain Park, Milton Alpharetta and Johns Creek. The residents of North Fulton have long endured an inequitable relationship with Fulton County government and will make Milton a reality’.

What I found rather interesting during my online search for resources regarding Milton County was a webpage started in April of 2009 called Milton County Rising. (www.miltoncountyrising or http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=69245732854#!/group.php?gid=69245732854&v=wall ). Mr. Albers didn’t create his ‘Contract for Milton County’ until early 2010. Oh the irony.

According to the Facebook page, over 1,500 people signed the contract in 5 days. Clearly this is something that the people of North Fulton wanted their elected official to work towards. I really thought Albers would fight harder for something the people wanted. Thankfully, Albers did propose and pass a bill requiring at least 3 feet of space between bikers and cars. You can see other things Mr. Albers tacked his name onto here: http://www.legis.ga.gov/Legislation/en-US/Search.aspx. His bill made it nowhere. And to date, he’s proposed nothing during the special session.

So why hasn’t Mr. Albers delivered? Why isn’t he fighting for Milton County? And what happened to that poster-size copy of the contract? Maybe these are questions we need to ask when November 2012 rolls around.

http://votealbers.com/pdf/Albers_Promotes_Contract_For_Milton_County.pdf

Town Hall Meetings & Why You Shouldn’t Go to Them

What do you think of when you hear the phrase “Town Hall Meeting”?? Democracy? Voicing your opinion? One-on-one time with your representative? Nope. Not me. I think…”Re-election”.

It may just be me, but I think that town hall meetings (here on forward referred to as THM) are becoming more and more popular, or maybe we’re just hearing about them more in a vile attempt on our representatives parts to reach us, the constituent, “the people”. It seems like everyone from Barack Obama to Rep. Gabby Giffords to our glorified city councilmen & women (a.k.a. State Senators) are hosting them.

Have you every been to one? Luckily, I have, so I can share my experience with you. As someone with an interest in North Fulton County, I attended a town hall meeting hosted by Senator John Albers. It was formally arranged with a venue, newsletter invitation and a decorous start time. I was greeted by about 5 other constituents and about 15 volunteers from the Albers campaign team (this I know because I was one of them). People were scattered around seats like a 3pm viewing of the new Fast & Furious movie. The Senator was then “introduced” (wait, I thought this was supposed to be some community get-together, not an event to honor a celebrity?) . He began talking to at the crowd few constituents that braved the event and there was a question and answer session to follow (brief, because whats to talk about?) Then we left.

Not much was accomplished, not much was established…just a little gloating on the part of a local politician. The same one that is “one of us” and “wants to hear from us”. I can say with confidence that 5 people don’t represent the greater population of Roswell. But BOY OH BOY would you think they did. Of course this event (yes, we went from THM to event) was highly publicized–with photos–and let me tell you, from the angle the photo was taken, you would have thought that house was PACKED!

That leads me to the why. Why do politicians host town hall meetings? They aren’t to sway an elected officials’ opinion on a topic. They may be for constituents to present ideas for officials to work on legislation for…but I’m not convinced. They may be an opportunity for constituents to complain about legislation that was passed during session (like, maybe about a bike law that was passed in such a vague fashion it makes you want to cringe because you know that a 5 year old could pick out the issues with the contents (or lack there of) of the bill) but the legislation is already passed, so there isn’t really much action that can be taken. That really only leaves one thing: re-election.

Town hall meetings aren’t about the people, they are about the politician. They are about looking like they are constantly out in the public, talking, mingling, etc. They are an image thing. It’s all about staying in the public eye. Thankfully, voters are wising up. Stepping up to the plate and doing their research and realizing that image isn’t everything and it’s more about what legislators can actually do for the community and its’ people.

Thumbs up, Geraldo!!

I had originally planned to discuss the recent fabrication by Senator John Albers (R-56) that he had something to do with the implementation of child identification kits in the community (Falsely, seeing as though they were not his idea, nor did he have any larger role in implementing them than any other member of the Alpharetta Public Safety Foundation), but given the events of the last 3 hours (and the fact that Senator Albers needs minimal press due to the fact that he galavants around town tooting his own horn anyways), I felt it was necessary to address the Osama Bin Laden “victory” instead.

I had just finished watching The Real Housewives of Orange County when Andy Cohen started his show ‘Watch What Happens Live!’ with “Where were you when you found out Osama bin Laden was dead?” Hmm, I don’t know. I didn’t think it happend yet?? Oh, but it had! Curious, I changed the channel to Fox News. I don’t always particularly care for them but, hey-it was better than CNN or CBS. Geraldo was on. He always adds a painfully, yet usually unnecesary, emotional spin to things. Multitasking, I thought I heard him say “Obama is dead.” No way. Rewind. Yep, he said it. If you YouTube “Geraldo Obama Osama slip up” you will see not only the nice footage but that this isn’t Geraldos first Obama/Osama slip up.

Irritated with the nonsense, I switched to my Facebook to see what others were saying…sadly, I was met with more nonsense. “Yes we can! Change is here y’all!!”, “It took a Democrat to do it!” and complaints of Obama being referred to as “Mr Obama” instead of “President Obama” flooded my News Feed. Is this really happening??

It may sound extreme, but seeing all the outrageous postings, media and text messages, I really considered throwing my TV, computer and cell phone right off my balcony.

The fact of the matter is….right now our country is more vulnerable than before. Killing Osama bin Laden is not the end of the road, merely a fork. While a figure head, OBL really is no more than that. It seems like a bold statement, but did OBL personally carry out any of the attacks? In fact, he personally never took credit for any of them…Who did? His followers. The intricate web of al-Qaeda ties spread throughout the world is no different than deciphering how you know friend #646 on Facebook. Worried yet?

Right winger, liberal progressive, anti-government tyrant or conspiracy theorist, it really doesn’t matter. You should be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed enough to understand that al-Qaeda is not done. Sleeper cells will wake. Our people have taken to the streets to celebrate. Our leaderS are thrilled. But soon this will fizzle some. The US government will in turn make suggestions about what we should do next. And with suggestions, come legislation. (**It would behoove the American people to pay close attention to legislation in the coming months. The US has a tendancy to lose liberties in times of tragedy, urgency and most importantly, when people are “rallying ’round the flag”, so to speak. The greatest example: the USA PATRIOT Act**)

All of this leaves me with some pretty deep questions. In terms of power plays, this is a victory for the US, a ‘plus one’ on the scoreboard, but at what cost? If you so believe everything the government has told you in the last 10 years (without doing any independent research on your own) then why are you making this political? And why are you not thanking the troops? Why are you sleeping more soundly tonight than you did last night? And most importantly, do you really understand what’s next for our country?

Honor your father and your mother…and all the athletes, the waiters and the guy down the street…

Do you remember when you were in middle school and every night you wished you would meet Nick from the Backstreet Boys? Or Britney Spears? Or Kobe Bryant? You planned what you would say if you got that chance, knew exactly what you would wear…it would be just magical!

Well, today our Georgia Senators got a little taste of that magic. So thank you for paying your taxes!!

Today, March 29th, the Georgia Senate honored the Atlanta Falcons during session. Yes, you read correctly…honored. On tax payer time and money, a sports team was honored at the Capital. On the count of three…you can get mad…1…2…3!!

Why on God’s green Earth are we honoring professional athletes in the middle of the business day while the Senate is in session?? What have they done for the state of Georgia?? Some argue their playing abilities and successes bring a great deal of revenue to Georgia. Okay, yes, they do. So now we are honoring people because they do their job?! You score a touchdown, manage a team effectively, coach a winning season and now you all get a giant pat on the back down at the Capital!!! Next week, we’ll be bringing in all waiters that did not spill any drinks in the month of January!

With illegal immigration climbing every day, public school education lagging-with many of our schools closing their doors, Medicare and Medicaid fraud costing us millions every year and a pending national health care act that stands to change all medical practices as we know it, I find it hard to believe that we have any time to honor the Falcons.

And what’s more…why are we honoring professional athletes (who again are simply “living the dream” and doing their jobs)?? What happened to honoring service men and women who lay their lives on the line for us, their fellow soldiers and our freedom? THAT justifies honor.

What a disgrace.

Thoughts??

—————–***UPDATE***——————4/2/2011

More MAGIC!!

On Friday, the Georgia Senate once again honored an athlete. This time, it was Auburn quarterback, Cam Newton. Even as a loyal Auburn fan, I still do not see a place for this in the Senate. Senator John Albers (R-56) stated on his Facebook page during the FIRST blog that they honored the Falcons because “they were a huge source of revenue for the state”. If that is the justification, then what business does Cam Newton have being honored in the Senate? It’s true that he is from College Park, but any subsequent revenue he would have produced would be directed toward Auburn, no? So it appears that even the justification that Senators provided does not always apply. (Note- Senator Albers responses were directed toward the questions of another constituent on his Facebook page, not mine. He chose not to respond to my inquiries on his page, despite his declaration that he was willing to answer questions that ANY ONE may have…it appears that he does not like to be challenged, as I was consequentially deleted from his Facebook page for asking questions.)

Georgia SB-63…Preventing Fraud…and a bunch of other hidden stuff too

On March 14th, the Georgia Senate passed SB-63 which “requires that Medicaid cards integrate a computer chip that includes a digital photograph of the card holder”. Sources claim that Medicaid fraud costs U.S. tax payers $60 billion a year, and $26 million just in Georgia.

According to Senator Albers, a Republican from Roswell, the legislation will “preserve the Medicaid program for those who truly need it”. It is apparent that an overhaul of the current system is necessary to save Medicaid (if that is what we, as a state, intend to do), but this bill is nothing short of inappropriate. Unfortunately, it was introduced, sponsored and pushed through the entire process by Republicans.

The original bill stated that “patients will also provide a fingerprint scan when they enter the office and before they leave”. Supporters of the bill claim this will prevent providers from charging Medicaid for services that were not rendered since the patient will verify everything before he/she leaves. At some point in the process, the Senate Health & Human Services Committee dropped the fingerprint ID stipulation and it was not included in the final bill.

Thankfully, this is only going to be used as a pilot program to ensure that it is beneficial and cost effective…but even in a trial period, one must ask:
1) How is this any different from a national ID card that so many conservative representatives vehemently oppose?? While it will only apply to Medicaid participants, I can’t help but be incensed by the idea of a photo and computer chip installed on a card that people will be carrying in their wallets. Who’s to say that this won’t be used by the government in a more overbearing manner later on down the road??
2) Many opponents to this legislation claim that there will be a significant administrative burden on the offices when this is implemented. The doctor’s will be required to have the appropriate technology to facilitate the new measures this legislation requires. According to Senator William Ligon, the program will initially cost about $26 million to implement (Note: this is the same amount of money the state loses each year on the Medicaid fraud). By increasing the cost of doing business for these medical offices, we risk further increasing the costs to the patients, which in turn affects the Medicaid program.
3) How much will these “smart cards” cost the Medicaid program and it’s participants?????????????? Who will eat the cost? The program? The participants? The tax payers?

The Republicans in the Georgia Senate very much so missed boat on this legislation. It is imperative that we establish programs that are cost-effective and efficient. I’m not so sure Senate Bill 63 is going to facilitate in this movement……

————**UPDATE**————
————(3/23/2011)————-
I spoke with Senator Albers last week in regards to both this blog and his legislation (SB-63).

Senator Albers wanted to clarify that the cost of implementing the legislation would only be $3 million, contrary to the $26 million his colleague earlier stipulated. He claims the reduction in cost is due to the elimination of the fingerprinting portion of the program.

Senator Albers continued to point out that I did not have a “better solution” for the Medicaid program despite my assertion that this blog is analytical and an editorial and that I am not an elected official.

Senator Albers also emphasized that Medicaid is a voluntary program that participants do not pay in to, unlike Medicare. He used this to justify the implementation of computerized chips in the cards and compared them to credit cards.

After our conversation, Senator Albers and I agreed to disagree on this issue. I stand firm on my implications that this program is vulnerable for misuse down the road and does not seem to be cost effective. Senator Albers maintains that this is the best plan for Georgia and that it is not a fascist move. He mentioned the use of a similar proposal in the future for the food stamps program. For more information, or to contact Senator Albers, visit www.senatoralbers.com

————-*UPDATE*————
————-(3/28/2011)———–

This article was sent to me after the posting of this blog and it’s update by two different readers.

http://www.ajc.com/news/georgia-politics-elections/medicaid-smart-card-idea-885664.html