Tag Archives: The AMP

When Did The Koch Brothers Move To Tennessee?

The Tennessee GOP Is Happy With Their Koch Overlords

The Tennessee GOP Is Happy With Their Koch Overlords

Ahh, the Koch Brothers never disappoint and by me saying never disappoint, I mean they do the exact opposite.

Hey KIDS, the Kochs and their baby, Americans For Prosperity, are in your legislature doing all the things.

Let’s make a list:

From Think Progress: 

The Tennessee Senate passed a bill last week that, if approved, would broadly ban mass transit projects in the region, an anti-transit effort that’s gotten some help in the state from Charles and David Koch.

On Thursday, the Tennessee Senate passedSB 2243, which includes an amendment that “prohibits metropolitan governments and any transit authorities created by a metropolitan government from constructing, maintaining or operating any bus rapid transit system using a separate lane, or other separate right-of-way, dedicated solely to the use of such bus rapid transit system on any state highway or state highway.” The amendment is aimed at Nashville’s proposed $174 million rapid bus system called the Amp, but would apply to any mass transit system proposed in Tennessee’s cities.

The Amp, a proposed 7.1-mile bus rapid transit system that would cut commute times along one of Nashville’s major corridors, has been staunchly opposed by the Tennessee branch of Americans for Prosperity, a lobbying organization founded in part by the Koch brothers. AFP’s Tennessee director told the Tennessean that SB 2243 was the result of a conversation he’d had with the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Jim Tracy. In addition, AFP pushed the Senate to vote on the bill — efforts that led to StopAmp.org, one of the lead groups opposing the Amp, thanking AFP in a press release after SB 2243 passed the Senate. The transit system’s opponents say it would create traffic problems and safety issues due to its middle-lane location, a claim that a spokesman for the Amp Coalition disputes.

Holly McCall, Nashville’s Metropolitan Transit Authority’s spokesperson for the Amp project, told ThinkProgress AFP has kept a low profile throughout the campaign for and against the Amp. She said she’d suspected AFP was involved in the Amp’s opposition, but didn’t know for sure until StopAmp.org thanked the group in their press release.

“It’s pretty tough to fight that kind of money — AFP gets funds from the Koch brothers, and they’re billionaires,” she said. “We continue to work our local campaign, and we’re probably going to make some tweaks to the design — we’re interested in compromise, because if we don’t, our entire future transit plan is going to be dictated by people who live out of state.”

The theme I see is pretty simple. Why should, or would they care about mass transit in this state? But wait, there is more.

From The Tennessean (subscription)

By the time this session of the Tennessee General Assembly comes to an end, Tennesseans understandably should feel a little like the animals used in laboratory experiments — at least the ones that survive.

Our state, thanks to the dominance of a single political party, has been selected for a series of not-so-scientific experiments. The objective? Whatever Charles and David Koch want it to be.

The billionaire Kochs do not live in Tennessee and never have. That is not important, as they, through their group Americans For Prosperity (AFP), and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), also not Tennessee-based, are increasingly deciding what laws the General Assembly should impose on the people of our state.

The Kochs are famous nationally for using their fortunes to advance causes that promote their interests or simply their philosophy, and increasingly they are getting involved in state legislatures. Invariably, their agenda is anti-worker protections, anti-environmental regulation, anti-health care reform. In other words, “anti-” the kinds of laws that majorities of Americans tend to support. And ALEC’s lobbyists have been busy in Tennessee for a few years now, usually drafting so-called model legislation such as the failed attempt to emulate Arizona’s unconstitutional 2010 immigration reforms and trying to spread fear of Muslims with anti-Shariah legislation.

I wrote a couple of years ago about the Koch Brothers interfering in local government and in state affairs. Southern Beale has written about them as well as Vibinc.  Competing with the money that the Koch Brothers, or many members of our elected leaders in Nashville has (looking at you, Governor) can be daunting, but we need to speak to power with what we have.

And we have our voices.

I wrote this a while back and I haven’t changed my mind so please let me repeat myself:

All of this talk about ALEC isn’t sexysauce, it’s not, but it is important to know and it is crucial to understand the actual words being used. Tort reform is not tort reform, it is caps-on-damages in lawsuits, for example. The National Federation of Independent Business, well you might want tocheck on that one as well because words matter when it comes to these organizations. Take a few minutes and watch this short video that lays out very effectively how ALEC is trying to obtain influence in statehouses.

I’ve written about ALEC before (man, it was quite spirited in the comments at times,) but the bottom line for me at least is that I don’t want my elected officials being ventriloquist dummies spouting off model legislation that wasn’t even written in this state. And a great deal of this model legislation is pretty much mean rubbish.

Tennessee deserves better and we can’t count on anyone but ourselves at this time. Start talking about legislation that doesn’t pass that sniff test. Take a few minutes to figure out who is working in your best interest and who isn’t.

Guys, we talk more about national government than we do in our own back yards. I know this is a long post, but be mindful that local control of government is being stripped away one piece at a time.

Urban, Rural or Suburban local governments know their communities better than the Koch Brothers do, or Nashville for that matter. How is this legislation going to hit your community?

It’s something to think about before we lose more than we already have..