No School

Erick and I were in Washington, DC together Friday afternoon when I received a text message from my father about the cancellation of schools. At the time, we were detached from the news reports of Rita, and had no idea how to react to the news. It’s becoming a lot clearer now that he probably wants a ‘do over’.

Now that we’re getting a fuller picture of Hurricane Rita’s impact and Sonny’s decision – tell me what you think. Gambit or prudence? Does this undo any goodwill from the gas tax suspension?

UPDATE by Clayton: I’m going to be interested to see how the dynamic plays out between Purdue and Kathy Cox, seeing as how her name was mentioned as part of the decision. At the end of the day, though, this sits on Sonny’s desk, and it seems the initial response is very negative. As a parent of two elementary schoolers, my take is this: Two days of childcare scrambling, lost wages, inconvenience, etc. is going to stick very heavily in a voters mind. If I were running against Sonny next year, I’d put a little sticky note in my calendar in September 2006 about this event.

16 comments

  1. Melb says:

    On the AJC blog there were 160 something comments within an hour and only a very small handful were positive. I personally think it is stupid and apparently so do most working parents. I think this just shows were the governor’s priorities are not – education.

  2. Chris says:

    I’m sure it will get him lots of votes with the grade school kids. 🙂

    It sounds to me like Press Release Policy Making – If it sounds good in a press release, make it policy. I also don’t see how this isn’t going to cause people to worry about fuel shortages. After all the Governor is worried enough to close school for two days, he must know something we don’t.

  3. Hammertime says:

    Diesel Is Real Reason for School Closure Request
    (9/23/05) Bulletin:
    Not understanding the full reason for Governor Sonny Perdue’s request that School systems throughout the State close down Monday and Tuesday, motorists at this hour are beginning to line up at gas stations and convenience stores throughout the State. InsiderAdvantage Georgia has learned that gasoline is NOT the main cause for the Governor’s request. Georgia’s supply of diesel fuel, critical to schools and farming industries (which are at a crucial point in their harvesting seasons) has dropped to extremely low levels. The Governors move was an absolute necessity, given the diesel supply situation. However, gasoline supplies are not at critical stage.

    From Insider Advantage…..

  4. Bill Simon says:

    But, apparently, the Governor didn’t specify in his release that the fuel he was most concerned about was DIESEL fuel. No, instead he just urged people to conserve when he should have said, and repeated himself several times, that what concerned him was the availability of diesel fuel only.

  5. emily says:

    Friday, September 23, 2005.  Atlanta, Georgia.
     
    Georgia residents on Friday were stunned to witness the bizarre and sudden appearance of the phenomenon known as ‘Tropical Depression Perdue.’  The onset of the storm initially caused people to think it was a hurricane, until the shock wore off and experts were able to properly assess the damage.  “Frankly, it just didn’t have quite enough power – or oomph, if you will – to be a hurricane.  The arrival of the storm, though sudden, lacked the long-lasting effect of a major weather force.

  6. RandyFMT says:

    As I said in an earlier (off-subject) post, this was incredibly stupid. He just lost the vote of every working Georgian who has to scramble for childcare with this stunt. Do you know how many folks are going to have to take off work to stay home with children now?

    It’s chaos. Some districts are in, some are out. No one knows what’s going on.

    This is what he gets for listening to an isolated pack of kids for advice. Can’t you just hear the dialogue over there?

    “Well, Governor, you looked good with the tax suspension . This is the next step! You’ll look tough and we’ll win the election this week! And if we don’t, let’s just invade Florida! Yee-Ha!”

    Please mark your calendars. This was the week that Perdue lost the election for sure.

  7. Hammertime says:

    My sources confirm that the rumor that Insider Advantage reported is apparently true. If the Governor stated that diesel was in danger of running out, it would have caused a panic run and been self-fulfilling. Let’s see how this plays out. If true, Perdue may have taken a political bullet for doing something to prevent trucks, tractors AND school buses from running out of fuel.

  8. Bull Moose says:

    This was a knee jerk response and not well thought out. 2 days of not running the buses isn’t really going to make that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things.

    It is a shame that everyone is scared to run in a primary against Perdue. We need a Republican Governor with strong conservative credentials.

  9. Warrior says:

    Hammertime is correct. Here are the Governor’s Talking Points…Bill, see paragraph 8. Superintendents were consulted in a conference call. Colonial Pipeline shut down due to Rita. Leadership means taking tough positions.

    Governor Perdue requested all schools in the state take an early snow day on Monday and Tuesday in an effort to conserve fuel because of expected spot shortages that may occur due to Hurricane Rita.

    The Governor made this request because even without damage to refineries from Hurricane Rita, he had been advised that there will like be at least some supply disruptions in the coming weeks.

    Refinery that began shutdowns associated with Hurricane Rita starting on last Wednesday and ending on Friday represented 99 percent of oil production from the Gulf and 72 percent of daily natural gas production.

    This is considerably higher than Katrina figures. With Katrina 55.8 percent of the daily oil production in the Gulf was shut down and 33.7 percent of the natural gas production.

    Colonial Pipeline that serves 2/3 of the fuel to Georgia announced on Thursday that while its still has operational capacity, the source of its fuel will be disrupted until the refineries restart.

    All of the 17 refineries in or near the hurricane’s path have shut down compared to about 8 shut down during Hurricane Katrina. These 17 refineries represent 23.5 percent of total U.S. refining capacity. There are still 4 refineries from Hurricane Katrina down, representing a little more than 5 percent of U.S. refining capacity (ConocoPhillips-Belle Chasse; ExxonMobil-Chalmette; Murphy Oil-Meraux; and Chevron-Pascagoula).

    It takes about 6-8 days for fuel via pipeline to make it to Georgia. And it takes about 5 days to restart a refinery. Georgia may feel a disruption mid-week and it could last for about 5 days without damage from Hurricane Rita.

    Diesel fuel is where we have our greatest challenge at this time. For the past 3 weeks, the state has been actively working to cover spot shortages around the state and to keep school systems open with adequate diesel fuel supply. Given the increased strain on supply it was better to give parents the weekend to make plans for their children’s care than have them caught off guard with little to no notice mid-week. (From News Release: By taking two early snow days, school systems will save more than 225,000 gallons of diesel fuel per day. )

    We fully understand that we live in a society not used to being inconvenienced and given the current information about supply disruptions this was the best way the state could limit the inconvenience to our citizens.

    We are hopeful that by taking proactive measures any spot shortages next week will be minimal, but we will not know until teams can get back to the refineries and inspect for damage.

  10. emily says:

    I was interested to see the quick reaction of Cathy Cox on Friday. She got on the ball very quickly after the announcement. I think she tapped into the reigning sentiment of most–especially parents–that this ws a political stunt that, frankly, was pulled off sloppily by the guv’s people. Even the way it was reported by the TV press changed from newscast to newscast. Friday at 5 and 6 it was largely positive, but by the 10 and 11 news, it had changed to more questions and accusations. By Saturday, it had shifted to almost all negative. It will be interesting to see what the Sunday talking heads have to say about it.

    There are SOOO many other ways he could have done this if it was, in fact needed. How about Tuesday and Wednesday off rather than Mon/Tuesday? That way, not only does it give parents some time to react, but could also be called off if the move proves unnecessary. Why not close down state govt instead of schools? Certainly childrens’ educations are more important than most of the beauracratic mess that happens most days at state agencies.

    As a side note, why did so many private schools (that do not bus students) close? Makes no sense.

  11. Melb says:

    Warrior — You must work at the capitol because that is the only place that much spin is flying around. I’m sure Perdue had to make a really tough decision, too bad for him!

  12. Warrior says:

    Melb- I’m a long, long way from the Capitol, thank you very much. Sonny is hurt if no shortages or skyrocketing prices occur. He looks brilliant if they do. Just hold on to the keystrokes for a few days.

  13. Bill Simon says:

    I agree with Emily. Government agencies should have shut down before schools. Who gives a sh** whether some bureacrat is around to shuffle a piece of paper from the in-box to the trashcan? That can certainly wait a couple of days.

    By the way, if 25% of this state’s economy is based on agriculture, and the harvesting thereof, shouldn’t we have some contingency planning on a diesel fuel supply to ensure that our farmers get stuff to market?

  14. waterboy says:

    Bill – Please try to pay attention….Governor Perdue was targeting diesel fuel that powers school buses – not total energy conservation. There is no energy shortage…just concerns over diesel fuel supply shortages. Shutting down the Capitol would do nothing for diesel fuel savings.

    By the way, the state’s economy IS based on agriculture – it contributes an annual fiscal impact of over $60 Billion.

    Warrior….looks like you are right about fuel prices. Anyone been to the pump lately? I noticed several stations that were $2.69 this morning are now $2.89 this evening. Just wait until the gas taxes kick back in gear this weekend!

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