Something is very wrong in the Land of Cotton



Dr. Robert Bullard
Environmental Justice Movement Founder

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Politics of Mean & PSC Candidate Kathy Peterson - Part Deux

In a previous article, we laid out the venomous nature of Kathy Peterson's campaign against Lucy Baxley in her bid to become president of the Public Service Commission (PSC). Ms. Peterson confirms our premise of 'mean queen' in her latest Internet ad with her gun-toting, Tea Party nut job husband Dale playing the lead role of  'I'll shoot your ass' sidekick.

If you're looking for some of that fabled southern graciousness, or maybe just a little bit of plain old reasonable, clearly the Peterson's aren't it. 

Dale Peterson made big media waves with his own AG Commissioner Internet ad in 2010. It was an ad that put him in the national spotlight. Unfortunately for Dale, that media wave didn't translate into votes in his home state. Alabamians told him what they thought of his 'shoot 'em up style' by handing him his hat (and gun) at the voting booth. Peterson was soundly defeated by fellow republican John McMillan and he wasted no time flipping his gun of support for McMillan.

What does the Peterson approach say about Alabama republican/Tea Party voters? If this is the type of campaigning that works in Alabama, then we deserve the ridicule of the nation as being backwoods, bible-thumping, logic-at-the-end-of-a-gun loon label that's constantly aimed at us by the rest of the country.

Nowhere in Kathy Peterson's ad does calm and steady leadership blast through. In fact, she comes off as an overbearing, mean woman who won't be open to any ideas or suggestions to best serve the public if they're not accompanied by her approved brand of extremism.

Republicans have used the "job killing EPA" phrase over and over as cover for the benefit of their corporate campaign gifters ad nausea. Peterson's ally in this endeavor, PSC member Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh, was taken to the factual woodshed over her own inflammatory industry backed rhetoric that mirrors Peterson's. Cavanaugh's 2011 public editorial talking points came directly from an Alabama Power (APCO) 'power point presentation.'  BamaFactCheck roundly exposed her for the Pinocchio-nosed truth stretcher that she is.

In typical GOP fashion, she didn't learn a thing from the take-down. She just doubled down instead and maintains her nonsensical version of facts to Alabama voters in her own current PSC campaign.

What's interesting to ponder is why these two utility shills don't just take a job in the army of lobbyists APCO employs. The pay is much better than a public service job on the Alabama PSC. The perks are quite profitable, and allow for a whole host of unchecked power brokering with political insiders and influencers. 

And it's cushy job when compared with the demands of elected office duties.

In our opinions, there may be a couple of reasons for public office over private lobbying:  elected officials frequently masquerade as public servants first and enter the revolving door after. The path to becoming a lucrative legal briber lobbyist is easier if  'elected official'  is a part of one's resume.

Of course, value to the corporation is measured by the officials political status while in office, the ability to be bought persuaded by the wants of industry, and one's effectiveness in ramming through favorable legislation into law. Some are better at it than others, and if you aren't 'politcally effective,' post elected office lobbying job prospects diminish in availability.

The real reason may be simpler - Peterson and Cavanaugh aren't the sharpest knives in the box and any value they have as potential lobbyists is commensurate with their lack of cerebral firepower. Their value is better utilized on the notoriously corrupt PSC, an agency that has enjoyed the dubious distinction of 'always on' for APCO wants.

Having these 'yes boss' types in office is cost effective from the utility companies standpoint for a more sinister reason that escapes most party-blind-to-a-fault voters - the taxpayer pays the officeholder's salary subsidizing the utility company's roster of defacto lobbyists.

With Lucy Baxley on the PSC, APCO has been denied four rate increases over the last few years. They're not happy about it, and the upcoming election is key to increasing their enormous profits with an official who holds a more favorable view of  "making the utility companies successful."

Kathy Peterson has promised to do just that, in fact, the above quote is directly from Ms. Peterson.

What you don't hear from Peterson is that she will help consumers be successful in staving off the predatory ways of the utility companies. Instead, she alludes to helping the ratepayers in a bastardized style of pointing the finger of blame at EPA regulations and it's those 'damn liberals' fault, not mine, if rates do increase:
"...the greatest threat to Alabama utility rates is the Obama administration with its agenda of Cap and Trade and what Peterson calls “a clever regulatory sleight of hand” known as Utility MACT, short for Maximum Achievable Control Technology."
“Every household in this state will face financial ruin with utility bills exceeding $1,000 a month,” Peterson said. “This is if Obama and the liberals succeed with their agenda of shutting down our coal-fired electric generation plants in Alabama and across America.”  
Peterson goes on to say she's the one who will organize a coalition of public service commissioners (hopefully not armed) to beat back the e-vil Obama administration:

She added that by organizing public utilities commissioners from other Southern and Southwestern states to oppose the Obama agenda would be the first important item on her agenda to protect Alabama consumers and small businesses. “Obama and the liberals have done enough damage to our economy,” she said. “It’s up to us in the states to lead the fight for affordable energy. Washington has four decades to do the job and it just gets worse.”

Pardon us Ms. Peterson but saving the world from liberals is no where to be found in the PSC's job description. What you're doing is pandering to the republican & Tea Party base, with shrill, factually dishonest rhetoric as your only chance at getting elected.

It's disgusting and we wish you would just stop. Politicians who resort to these kinds of tactics are desperate, not qualified, because if they were qualified there wouldn't be a need for all the fear mongering and saber-rattling every time you open your mouth.

The power company has big boys in their employ. They don't need a mean queen fighting their battles for them. Get a grip Ms. Peterson. And you too Ms. Cavanaugh.

We're still waiting for an explanation from Peterson of why those same job creators she's so enamored with have slashed hundreds of meter reader jobs through the implementation of so-called "Smart" meters. The answer is simple if you're aware. Unfortunately for transparency's sake, it's been pushed purposefully outside the ability of public understanding, and you'll never hear Peterson or APCO admit it.

The "inconvenient truth" is that power/gas/water companies make a bundle from "Smart" meters. These devices are not without controversy and some communities are fighting back against them. Not Alabama. Not Ms. Peterson. Or Ms. Cavanaugh or anyone else on the PSC.

They just don't "give a rip" about it. 

APCO, and other utility giants, have been trying to dissolve the meter reader jobs for years. Fewer employees equals more profit to the bottom line. So do "Smart" meters.  They're just another way the utilities use to manipulate state government funds to increase their profit margins. It's a sneaky shell game and a big wet kiss to the generous power brokers from the politicians and commissions they hold captive.

California is a prime example of the problems with so-called "Smart" meters. Alabamians shouldn't hold their breaths that any news outlet or watchdog agency will seriously delve into the true cost of these "Smart" meters in Alabama. If APCO does it in-house, it will result in a predictably favorable outcome to them.

Ms. Peterson also refuses to believe that pollution from power plants is costing the American people billions in increased health care costs. The utility companies she is cheer leading for, namely Alabama Power, have just been pegged the worst of the worst according to the 2010 EPA Toxics Release study.

Ms. Peterson should "give a rip" that Alabama is number one in toxic metal releases because of the 20th century minded coal ash cads running APCO.

We don't doubt she'll continue to run around with her bullet-headed husband, downplaying any danger of air pollution, because APCO tells her too. Industry shills like Andrew Breitbart's Big Government conservative writers will give those lies deflective (and deceptive) cover. The ALGOP will fund and enable Peterson's propaganda-based campaign in their frenzied zeal to "turn Alabama completely red."

And no one will be the wiser because of blind party loyalty. Or maybe just because they don't want to know the truth. We think that's exactly what Peterson is counting on to get her into the presidents chair at the PSC.

There's no doubt in anyone's mind that this year's PSC race is one of the "hottest races in Alabama" and it promises to be an all out war to remove Lucy Baxley, the last democrat elected to statewide office in Alabama. The amount of money that will pour into the race will dwarf the amount Baxley spent on her last election, and could run as high as $750K.

Maybe the nineteen year-old University of Alabama sophomore with "years of experience" Peterson's recently hired as her political director will be able to help her convince the public of her pious moral character. He claims he believes in "honest campaigns" and we'll soon see what he's made of.

And if that doesn't work out, well, she can always call the trigger happy jackwagon Dale. He can just round up the voters at the point of his rifle and force the vote.

Here's something we 'give a rip' about: get out and vote in this election if you live in Alabama. If the PSC goes all the way red, one thing you can count on is that the business friendly republicans will raise your rates. They will look the other way on strict regulation of the utilities under their purview.

Voters shouldn't forget that in 2004, the PSC gave Alabama Power the right to raise rates by one percent a year through 2013, to have ratepayers foot the entire bill for the environmental improvements to their coal-fired plants. One of the very things that Peterson, Cavanaugh and APCO use as a tool to scare voters, rate increases due to required improvements, has already been happening.

The annals of Alabama's history and the PSC prove that this commission almost always comes down on the side of the utility companies.The notorious Bull Connor once ran the PSC and since his reign, corruption and the agency have been closely aligned.  It won't be any different with Peterson, Cavanaugh and Dunn in charge of the commission. In fact, Dunn better hold onto to his stones, because the two APCO 'mean queens' will soon have them in a jar if he isn't careful.

Ms. Peterson's claims of protecting Alabamians from unfair increases in utility rates, along with most of what she says, is just a lot of hot air. From our point of view, her campaign is an endeavor that's loaded with dishonesty, deception and the politics of mean.

So Say We The Opinion Board Of The Vincent Alabama Confidential
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  1. I can't believe she said "it's about the people not the special interests" with a straight face!
    Who the hell does she think Alabama Power and Energen are? Bridge club members?

  2. Stupid ad, stupid people, stupid message.
    Any politician or their spouse who resorts to waving a gun in their political ads ought to be automatically disqualified.

  3. Here's an idea: tie the rate increases to CEO salaries and campaign donations. For every up in increase on ratepayers, the utility has to decrease by the same amount their CEO's salary and political donations. Throw lobbying in there too for good measure.
    Do that and let's see how often the hogs keep coming to the trough.

  4. Where does she get off with claiming $1000 dollar a month utility bills? What is that? Tea Party logic? Hey Kathy, about the I'll never lie to you thing. Think maybe you blew it with that nonsense.
    Maybe you've been standing too close to the end of Yosemite Dale's gun.

  5. Ratepayers are always paying for utility companies dirty deeds. If I were Lucy Baxley, I would remind people about who has been paying for AP's environmental improvements. That would take a lot of gas out of the republican wind bags claims that regs will make rates go up.
    She'll keep her seat if she has enough fight in her to expose their lies.


  6. The only honest person I can remember on the PSC board besides Baxley was George Wallace, Jr.
    Look what happened to him, he dared to go against Luther Strange and the machine in his last attempt at public office and got himself drummed right out of politics for it.
    I don't subscribe to GW's party line but he was a good and decent man fighting for ratepayers while he was on the PSC.
    He was also the lone vote in 2004 against the crook Jan Cook who believed APCO should pay for some of their upgrades.
    Do the right thing you're out. Do the wrong thing you're in. It's the Alabama way.
    Get rid of the PSC. It's a corrupt agency that serves no purpose other than allowing the power company to get fatter and richer.
    Tennessee got rid of their PSC and as a consequence their power rates are lower than Alabama's.

  7. Let's close our eyes for moment and imagine a world with no Peterson's....crap. Doesn't work, can't get those bony claw hands crawling out of the video out of my mind.....that woman is frightening!

  8. If stupid can win an election she's in like Flynn.

  9. I don't understand why the media won't catch on to the bait & switch being pulled off by APCO.
    APR's reveal that Alabama Power Co's rates average 6.3% and 16.3% higher respectively for residential and commercial customers compared to sister utility Georgia Power, even though APCO's fuel cost is 1.1 cents/kwh less than GPCO and APCO has 4 1/2 times the hydro production.
    APCO is allowed almost a 50% higher return by the Alabama Public Service Commission than GPCO is allowed.
    Is one to assume that GPCO has poor reliability or that the APSC may be owned by Alabama's regulated utilities?
    Is someone were to really examine this and extrapolate the figures out going to the parent company in Ga, and not benefiting Alabama's coffers, some heads would roll for sure.

  10. Fun with the Peterson's is catching around the web!

    Wonkette: Alabama Nut Will Shoot Anyone Who Steal His Campaign Signs

  11. i'myourhuckleberryJanuary 9, 2012 at 3:14 PM

    "Vote for meeeeee!" she screeches. Because Alabama deserves even more power company pollution in its environment and government.
    Seriously, Dale, as much as you might want to, we do have laws against mentally disturbed people owning guns and 'going postal' over stupid shit like yard signs.

  12. I know these clowns, trust me, they're even crazier than the video shows.
    It's all about them and what's in it for them and their Shelby County buddies.

  13. I'm suddenly hit with an overwhelming urge to go tear up some yard signs. Can't imagine what brought that on.

  14. Man what I wouldn't give to have Jon Stewart get a hold of this ad.
    The rest of us can all chip in, buy a slew of Red Riders and go hunting in the sign forest for Dale.


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