Mayor Kasim Reed “Let’s Flush Our Money Down the Toilet” UPDATED

February 29, 2012 8:31 am

by Todd Rehm · 21 comments

A group called Citizens for Clean Water 2012, which appears to have not filed any reports with the State Ethics Campaign Finance Commission, mailed an 8.5 by 11 postcard to voters in the City of Atlanta supporting a “Yes” vote on Atlanta’s sales tax for sewer repairs.


The Mayor’s office was kind enough to send over the following:

1.       A report has been filed with the State Campaign Finance Commission with contributions listed as of 2/24/12.

2.       There has been “no advocacy of a tax measure using city resources.”  All city-produced videos, posters and materials have been educational in nature, and convey factual information regarding the MOST as allowed by Georgia law.  The materials do not expressly call for the approval or rejection of the MOST referendum by the voters.

Mayor Reed spoke with Dennis O’Hayer about the tax vote, and is campaigning for voter approval on March 6th.

I agree with Mayor Reed that the renewing the MOST is important to Atlanta’s economic development, and is a sensible alternative to simply having property owners within the City of Atlanta foot the entire bill for needed infrastructure improvement’s in Georgia’s largest economic engine. However, I am not sure voters will be enthusiastic about voting to tax themselves, even if it’s not a new tax, but a continuation of an existing one. I also question whether outright advocacy of a tax measure using city resources crosses the line. Hizzoner was careful in the City-produced video to not actually ask voters to approve the measure, but this may be an example of going right up to the line.

Harry February 29, 2012 at 10:37 am

Why is the only thread that will let me leave a comment today?

Harry February 29, 2012 at 10:40 am

The Atlanta water/sewer tax is one that needs to be extended. I encourage my fiscon friends in Atlanta to support this.

Calypso February 29, 2012 at 10:45 am

Who are you and what have you done with Harry???

Harry February 29, 2012 at 11:17 am

I am not an anarchist and I support public health measures – water and sewer capacity.

Calypso February 29, 2012 at 11:19 am

Just funnin’ with ya. ;)

Harry February 29, 2012 at 11:22 am


wicker February 29, 2012 at 11:26 am


Why water and not transportation? Is it because you personally, directly use and benefit from the former but not the latter?

Incidentally, I am 100% certain that it is possible to contrive an argument – as is made elsewhere – that if we were to cut taxes and reduce regulations, private enterprise would come up with a better solution to the water/sewer issue. If the argument is good for transportation (and for energy … I would imagine that you would oppose the city’s buying a bunch of solar panels, windmills or a biodiesel electric power plant … and oh yes for education and healthcare, as I don’t think that you would support a penny tax for public schools or for Grady Hospital either) then why not water/sewer?

Harry February 29, 2012 at 12:21 pm

I don’t have a problem with transportation tax and school tax, but the problem is, the solutions being offered don’t correctly address the needs. The T-SPLOST is a perfect example. It is a political boondoggle of proposed junky solutions that will do little to address the real transportation deficiencies.

wicker February 29, 2012 at 2:06 pm


All right. Fair enough. Although I will say regarding T-SPLOST that its opponents should come up with their own list of projects, and be willing to fund it WITHOUT the contributions of those that they want to keep T-SPLOST from benefiting.

As far as the CNG thing goes … as it would take heavy government regulation of private industry to bring this about, when are such things necessary and not necessary? P.S. Natural gas is generally found in the same places that you get oil. Hence, the nation with the largest natural gas reserves: Russia. #2: Iran. Next: Qatar, Turkmenstan, Saudi Arabia. USA is #5, but United Arab Emirates is #6, and Venezuela is #7. Algeria, Iraq, China, Indonesia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Malaysia are most of the next 10 (with Nigeria and Australia) plus Uzbekistan, Kuwait, Libya and Egypt are in the top 25, with Oman, Pakistan, Yemen and Brunei in the top 35 (in addition to several more of our Latin American “frenemies”). Despite what T. Boone Pickens claims, were we to significantly increase our demand for natural gas by using it for cars, we would soon have the same problem that we do now for petroleum. ONGEC would soon form with many of the same cast of characters that are in OPEC. Which is why converting to electric cars – and then significantly reducing the amount of oil, coal and natural gas that we use to generate electricity – makes more sense than merely exchanging one fossil fuel problem for another, even if your goal is energy independence as opposed to global warming.

Harry February 29, 2012 at 2:14 pm

Yes, CNG would never completely replace oil but would certainly take a big dent out of our need to import it. And, producing electricity from fossil fuel, nuclear, and green sources to run vehicles is nowhere near as efficient (and cheap) as using the fossil fuel directly in vehicles.

wicker February 29, 2012 at 2:52 pm


No, but we would simply shift from importing oil to importing oil AND natural gas. The increased demand would also cause the cost of natural gas to rise. So where natural gas is now a cheap alternative to electricity (and to other fuels) that would go away. Imagine how much it would cost to run your gas central heating/air and your gas stove if everyone who owned a Chevrolet was putting the stuff into their cars (and trucks and SUVs)?

The focus has to be on two things.
1) Energy generated by things that we can produce or harness entirely domestically.
2) Doing 1) without drastically driving up the price of a currently widely used resource.

Again, if the result of putting natural gas in your Ford or Toyota is A) having to buy natural gas from Iran and China and B) quadrupling your monthly natural gas bill, we achieve neither energy independence or economic benefit.

Harry February 29, 2012 at 4:14 pm

The result of using CNG in vehicles will be to decrease oil imports, and there will be no corresponding increase in imports of natural gas. The US is in great shape with natural gas reserves. US natural gas plant liquids production was 714 million barrels in 2009. Concerning reserves – from “It is important to note that analysts use different methodologies and systems of classification in various estimates. There is no single way that every industry player quantifies estimates of natural gas. Therefore, it is important to delve into the assumptions and methodology behind each study to gain a complete understanding of the estimate itself. The first, compiled by the Energy Information Administration (referred to as the EIA), estimates that there are 2,543 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of technically recoverable natural gas in the United States. This includes undiscovered, unproved, and unconventional natural gas…..proved reserves make up a very small proportion of the total recoverable natural gas resources in the U.S.” That means, according to EIA, the US has approximately 250-300 years supply of technically recoverable natural gas supply at current production rates.

Harry February 29, 2012 at 12:44 pm

And in regard to your energy-saving ideas — Obuma had the perfect chance to force GM/UAW to produce CNG vehicles from cheap, abundant, domestically-available natural gas. He could have required the service stations to provide CNG refills. The US would be well on the road to energy independence instead of sending increasing amounts of cash to OPEC. Why didn’t he do so? My conspiratorial gears are going overdrive on that one.

Harry February 29, 2012 at 12:45 pm

And in regard to your energy-saving ideas — Obuma had the perfect chance to force GM/UAW to produce CNG vehicles from cheap, abundant, domestically-available natural gas. He could have required the service stations to provide CNG refills. The US would be well on the road to energy independence instead of sending increasing amounts of cash to OPEC. Why didn’t he do so? My conspiratorial gears are going overdrive on that one.

Ford has a better idea:
“According to AAA, the price of gas remains about 71 cents higher than at this time last year, which hurts anyone who drives a fuel-thirsty pickup truck for work or play. Fortunately for potential truck buyers, Ford recently announced that 2012 Ford Super Duty pickup trucks will offer a $315 setup kit to convert the base engine to run on compressed natural gas, rather than gasoline.

The F-Series Super Duty trucks already come standard with a 6.2-liter V8 engine that can burn either standard gas or E85 ethanol fuel. However, engines run far less efficiently on ethanol, which raises the annual cost of fuel. For instance, the EPA estimates that owners of a 2011 Chevrolet Suburban with four-wheel drive will spend about $3,100 on gas annually, while they would spend about $3,800 on ethanol annually.

Ford’s addition of a natural gas fuel option is good for shoppers because it will also save them money over diesel fuel. “Natural gas typically costs up to 50 percent less than diesel fuel on a per-gallon basis,” reports Automotive News.

NoTeabagging February 29, 2012 at 7:32 pm

I recommend bio diesel, such as conversion of vegetable oil and used McFry oil, to biodiesel. The diesel engine was originally invented to run on vegetable oil based fuel. Downside: French fry cravings.

The current problem with expanding Natural Gas exploration is the dangerous and destructive practice of Hydraulic Fracking using nasty chemicals that foul the water and air near residents. Thousands of acres are uninhabitable as a result of this practice, aquifers are poisone, and residents have respiratory problems living near the mini-wells installed to extract oil and gas.

Harry March 1, 2012 at 12:21 am

Like many new technologies, fracking needs some time to make improvements.

NoTeabagging March 1, 2012 at 10:34 pm

Oh, but in the mean time it is OK to poison thousands of people, wells, aquifers and make a barren wasteland of this country?

How many Frackin’ lawsuits will it take before we get the truth on all the nasty chemicals and carcinogens that are being pumped into the ground with millions of gallons of previously potable water now rendered lethal?

saltycracker February 29, 2012 at 8:09 pm

Bio-diesel is interesting but there are a lot of technical issues to date.
For heavy trucks there has been a lot of progress with LNG.
Stay tuned.

NoTeabagging February 29, 2012 at 9:53 pm

Thanks, I’ll follow that.

Charlie March 1, 2012 at 3:10 pm

Maria Saporta has more info here

which includes details on the campaign financing and a link to the disclosure.

saltycracker March 2, 2012 at 9:20 am

If it is all on the up and up which it appears to be, why wasn’t the mayor’s office response in the post forthcoming ?

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