Wastewater Authority Is Octopus From Recombinant Genetics Lab

Wednesday, February 6, 2013 - by David Tulis

The City Council’s wish to create a regional wastewater authority made progress Tuesday in a vote to spend $100,000 in taxpayer money for a consultant to create the Moccasin Bend Clean Water Authority.

That deed is contingent on a bill rippling through the General Assembly to allow creation of “regional water and wastewater treatment [authorities]” in the Tennessee Code Annotated.

That bill, sponsored by Senator Todd Gardenhire and Rep. Joanne Favors broadens the definition of municipality to include such an agency to be given the muscle of government.

Mr. Gardenhire’s bill, No. 480, envisions “the creation of a single local regional authority having a single office and staff to address all matters related to the provision of clean water and storm water management.”We have before us a legislative effort at recombinant genetics. A joint efforts in two hothouse labs will generate a creature that is a hybrid, perhaps a bit of a monster.

First, the city is hiring MWH Americas Inc. to construct a mountain of memos, accords, protocols and specifications to create the Moccasin Bend authority. Secondarily, state legislators are weaving toward a bill giving MWH’s creature legal authority.

Weird agency to offer white collar welfare


Current law enumerates 15 grants of authority for the proposed agency, but the listing “is not limited to” these 15. In other words, the agency is given an internal self-conscious government exercising implied powers for its own survival and cash flow. We have before us the birth of one more actor in commercial government.

Let’s manhandle the protean octopus of the Moccasin Bend authority before it is born. If we plunge hands in utero, we will manipulate the fetus and examine its features. It’s sort of like a sonogram, but with our own hands. Yes, we’ll wear gloves.

The octupus’ tentacles are not smooth and featureless, like the gums of an old man with no teeth. They bear suction cups, ready for action. Let’s check them out.

— The agency is able, as a corporation, to have eternal life, what’s called “perpetual succession” as an artificial person, a corporate avatar.

— It can create plans for pension, disability, hospitalization and death benefits for officers and employees — white collar welfare for civil engineering types with master’s degrees and doctorates. Such streams of revenue are called a sinecure, a legacy benefit such as those that saddled U.S. automakers that collapsed.

— The agency has no power to levy a tax, but it has control over fees, rates and other charges “not inconsistent with the rights of the holders of its bonds.” It has power to charge money to cover expenses and obligations to bondholders. Theoretically, in a bankruptcy, the board could propose confiscatory levies to repay corporate lenders and members of the public who bought its IOUs on the municipal bond market.

— Officials decide their own pay. According to industry standards, let’s hope.

— The agency will be a free spirit. It has liberty “to enter any lands, waters or premises that, in the judgment of the authority, may be necessary for the purpose of making surveys, sounds, borings and examinations to accomplish any purpose *** , the authority to be liable for actual damage done.”

— Here’s the biggest suction cup of all. The agency will “adopt regulations by majority vote of the board.” Yes, we have one more power created to establish the finest and best material the democratic West provides — legalese, subparagraph (b)(12)s and garden-variety regulation. Pages and pages of it, to cover the authority’s dominions, from edge to glimmering edge, across one or more state lines.

What might we do?


Two naysayers on the Chattanooga City Council voted to oppose — Pam Ladd and Deborah Scott. Mrs. Scott says the regional authority is being erected apart from involvement with “other stakeholders.”

Mrs. Scott nails the problem. How can the City Council of Chattanooga, a municipal corporation that is a creature of the Tennessee General Assembly, establish an authority to tell people in Alabama and Georgia what do to?

Tennessee’s laws do not have projectory power. I’m trying to say that Tennessee does not have the power to project its authority across the state line through one of its agencies. Tennessee per se and its agents may enter contracts with foreign entities. But where does the legislature obtain authority to operate in an alien place such as Bridgeport, Ala.?

I am not sure what we commoners can do. If you have any ideas, please advise. I suspect Andy Berke, the leading mayoral candidate, is not averse to the ambitious proposal.

The authority looks like a trial balloon or case study for regional government such as that envisioned by the 16-county Thrive 1055 scheme that impresses so many of us.

Regionalism works if legislators muzzy up the map. Regionalism works if state lines and state “sovereignty” are ignored as antiquated concepts. Regionalism works if its genetically altered offspring are gawky creatures with weird powers whose glories as corporate creatures are promised to be of perpetual succession.

Regionalism works if we care nothing for our identity as Chattanoogans and local economy.

— David Tulis runs Nooganomics.com, a talk show 1-3 p.m. weekdays at 1240 AM Copperhead radio. He covers local economy and free markets in Chattanooga and beyond.

Sources
Chattanoogan.com, “City Council Votes 7-2 To Approve Consultant Help For Launching Moccasin Bend Clean Water Authority,” Feb. 6, 2013
Cliff Hightower, “Consultant OK’d for cleanwater plan,” Chattanooga Times Free Press, B1, Feb. 6, 2013
TCA 68-221-1307. Power of authority — prohibited actions — county growth plans
Todd Gardenhire, Tennessee Senate bill 480



Legislators, One Last Thing Before You Go

The 110th Tennessee General Assembly is nearing the end, and for many the end cannot come soon enough. There are political races waiting and they are ready to hit the campaign trail as election season is about to launch in earnest. But before they exit Nashville, there is one last thing left for them to do: finish protecting our educators. Unfortunately, these flawed test scores ... (click for more)

Advocating For School Testing

Dear Teachers.  Clearly, the Tennessee Legislature has no idea what it’s doing when it comes to making policy about education. They have no idea what really goes on in classrooms in terms of teaching and learning.   That being said, I’m here to advocate for testing, whether the state says it “counts” or not.  It’s important to have standards in public ... (click for more)

Man Who Killed 4 At Waffle House Is In Custody

Travis Reinking, 29, the suspect in the shooting at a Waffle House near Nashville on Sunday, has been taken into custody, according to police. Reinking, who killed four people and injured two others at a Waffle House near Nashville on Sunday morning was on the loose Monday morning and had been added to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation's ‘Top 10 Most Wanted’ list. ... (click for more)

Man Says He Was Beaten With Hammer For "Disrespecting" Woman

A man told police he was beaten in the head and face with a hammer after he allegedly "disrespected" a woman earlier in the day. Bobbie J. Boston, 62, of 2819 Morgan Ave., was charged with aggravated burglary. Police said they took out warrants against Derrick Boston for aggravated burglary and aggravated assault. In the incident early Friday morning, a resident of Cannon ... (click for more)

McCallie Hires Former CCS Coach David Conrady

Veteran coach David Conrady will take over as the McCallie Blue Tornado varsity basketball coach for the 2018-2019 season, bringing an experienced leader and motivator to the Ridge to lead the Blue Tornado basketball program, school officials said. Conrady, who comes to McCallie from Prestonwood Christian Academy in Plano, Texas, replaces John Shulman, who left McCallie following ... (click for more)

GPS Graduate Jasmine Brown To Return To Alma Mater As Varsity Head Volleyball Coach

Jasmine Brown, GPS Class of 2009, has been named the varsity head coach at Girls Preparatory School. Her experience as a GPS student-athlete, NCAA Division I volleyball player, high school coach, K2 Volleyball Club head coach, and Division I college coach gives her a wealth of skill and understanding to help her thrive in her new position, school officials said. “I am really ... (click for more)