This post was sent to readers of the Friday Facts on December 4, 2015, by Foundation President Kelly McCutchen.
Nine months ago, Foundation Vice President Benita Dodd headed down the road for a fact-finding day trip to Dublin, Ga., to research an article marking the one-year anniversary of Dublin City Schools’ solar energy project.
“What started out as a commentary on Sunshine Week and the solar project’s anniversary led to a trail of lofty projections, broken promises, unpaid bills, questionable math and taxpayers left on the hook,” we noted back in March.
Nobody had reported yet on the financial mess involving the solar industry in Dublin.
“The financial fallout is likely to grow, but a cloud of hush surrounding the failed deal in the close-knit community of 48,000 in Laurens County,” Benita wrote in March. “As Sunshine Week approaches, it may be that this commentary encourages more investigation, research and revelation.”
It took nine months for that to happen.
This week, the Dublin newspaper finally covered the project, with the headline, “Solar Panels save $100,000 per year, cost taxpayers $300,000 per year.”
When we reported on the project in March, we were accused of libel and threatened with legal action unless we removed the report from our Web site within 48 hours … and issued a retraction.
We did neither.
As I said in March, noting that the Foundation is no media outlet, “The need for sunshine is doubly apparent when the media appear to be selective in what they’ll report to taxpayers. There are lessons to be learned across the state from projects such as these. Policy-makers and taxpayers deserve to know.”
And now, we’re doing it again. In Peachtree City, the City Council is considering installing broadband that will put taxpayers on the hook for millions of dollars. After stellar reporting by Chris Butler, one of our friends at Watchdog.org, and analysis by the Georgia Public Policy Foundation,city officials postponed the vote that was scheduled for Thursday night, citing doubts about the project’s viability.
Yes, we offer 30,000-foot policy proposals, but we also have “boots on the ground,” keeping a close eye on the issues that affect Georgia’s taxpayers’ wallets … even as newspapers cut staff and coverage.
We’re entering our 25th year in Georgia in 2016, and we have big plans! If you have supported our mission already this year, we thank you! If you’re still deciding, I hope I’ve given you a few more reasons to make your tax-deductible donation to us before the end of the year!
P.S. Learn more about our membership levels here.
The best way to make a lasting impact on public policy is to change public opinion. When you change the beliefs of the people; the politicians and political parties change with them.