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


Chattanooga Is A Blessed Community

I am an American by birth and a Chattanoogan by the Grace of God. (A phrase I borrowed from the late Lewis Grizzard and modified) I grew up in Chattanooga / East Ridge – Anna B. Lacey Elementary, Dalewood Junior High, Brainerd High, degree UTC.  My family lived in Chattanooga until March of this year but I’m still up every month visiting friends.   I have been following ... (click for more)

An Alternative To Economic Development

If local and state politicians are truly interested in improving the lives of the poor they should take a look at the recent study by Steven Horwitz of the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. Breaking Down the Barriers:  Three Ways State and Local Governments Can Improve the Lives of the Poor.  The study takes a look at the regressive effects of occupational ... (click for more)

$40 Million Traffic Improvement Set To Connect Hamilton Place More Directly With I-75 And Ease Congestion On Shallowford Road

The city, state and CBL & Associates are cooperating on a $40 million plan to make the Hamilton Place section more accessible to Interstate 75. The upcoming project will provide a direct connection for southbound I-75 traffic with Hamilton Place Boulevard. The project will also provide a new connection for those on Hamilton Place Boulevard to enter I-75 northbound. ... (click for more)

Report Says Truck Driver Who Caused Wreck That Killed 6 People At Ooltewah Exceeded Allowable Driving Hours

A preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board on a June 25 wreck at the Ooltewah exit that killed six people says the driver of the truck that caused the multiple-vehicle wreck "had exceeded the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulation hours-of-service when the crash occurred." It says Benjamin Brewer began his return trip to London, Ky., from Florida at 4:30 ... (click for more)

CFC Returns To National Championship With 3-0 Semifinal Win

The Chattanooga Football Club didn't score until the 69th minute but after Chris Ochieng's first goal, they would score two more to earn a 3-0 win over visiting Indiana Fire.   The NPSL national semifinal win, before more than 9,200 fans, gives Chattanooga another shot at a national championship after losing to the New York Red Bulls U23 team in the 2014 final.   ... (click for more)

PHOTOS: Chattanooga FC Shuts Out Indiana By 3-Nil