Posts Tagged ‘joe manchin’

Manchin butting into the PSC

January 21, 2010

Apparently Joe Manchin thinks negotiating telephone deals is more important than negotiating a budget or laws through the Legislature. He’s had the administration “doing very little else for the last 10 days. Working with the companies, trying to get comfortable with the terms of the deal” between Frontier and Verizon.

Unfortunately, the PSC has been busy trying to work through this deal. The PSC has had meetings and received “thousands of pages of documents from proponents and opponents” and as soon as the Governor steps in, he stops all that process. There are deadlines to file briefs with the Commission, but now that Joe has butted in, nobody can do anything.

“Any agreement Manchin orchestrates would have to go back to the commission for approval to proceed. That probably would not be a problem.” I’m not sure I’m happy with that. Does the PSC represent the interests of the Governor or of the public?

Apparently Manchin wants WV wired for broadband across the state by 2010. He’s not likely to make that goal, But my question is: does he think that responsibility falls to the phone carrier? Typically, broadband coverage is a combination of wire and cable access.

Broadband coverage maps are a joke anyway. They don’t account for blank spots within a region that a cable or wire carrier claims they have coverage. DSL has a distance limit from a switch where it just quits working, so people up hollows that have phone service may just be too far away from the switch. OTOH, there are people in very high-rent subdivisions that don’t have cable because there’s not enough homes to make it worth the money to run cable (and internet) out to those homes. They already have satellite TV and get by with dialup. Is it Verizon’s responsibility to provide the high speed internet when the cable company says they just don’t want to bother?

There’s also figures that show that actual signups for broadband access are lower than normal in WV. A lot of people have it available, but don’t see the need or don’t want to spend the money. So it’s not just a problem of access (every school and library in WV has broadband), it’s a problem of interest.

What difference does it make if Frontier has a “92% reach” on broadband in the area it serves? Maybe it only serves a few square miles. Verizon has only “60% reach.” How much does Frontier think it’s going to cost to make up that other 38% over the state of WV? How long does it think it’s going to take?

The PSC wants to advise that Verizon front $300M in quality of service improvements. Frontier said it plans on spending $12M this year. There’s a big difference between those two figures and the amount of work they represent.

All Manchin wants to do is close the deal. The question is whether the deal will be good for the public.

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The Heir to the Throne

June 20, 2009

Governor Manchin officially annointed Earl Ray Tomblin as the next governor of West Virginia.

He didn’t say it in so many words, but at today’s ceremony at the Capitol, Kay Goodwin twice referred to Earl Ray as the “Lieutenant Governor.” When Joe spoke, the first time he mentioned Earl Ray he called him the Senate President, did a little double-take, then called him the Lieutenant Governor. He proceeded to refer to him at least four more times as the Lieutenant Governor.

Further, in his talk, Manchin gave great praise to Tomblin for his role in helping renovate the Capitol building, and about how Tomblin is on board with Manchin’s plans to add a mural and otehr artwork to the Capitol rotunda.

West Virginia doesn’t have a Lieutenant Governor. The Senate President is next in line should the Governor vacate the office, but nowhere in the West Virginia Constitution is a Lieutenant Governor mentioned. If you search the Legislature’s website you can find several bills proposing an amendment to the Constitution from the 1990’s, but that’s never happened. Section §6A-1-4. Additional successors to office of governor of the state code  says

(b) The Legislature recognizes that pursuant to the provisions of subsection (a) of this section, the president of the Senate is charged with the responsibility of first successor to the governor in the event the governor is unable to exercise the powers and discharge the duties of his or her office and in that regard, the president of the Senate is functioning similarly to a lieutenant governor. Therefore, the Legislature determines that the president of the Senate shall be additionally designated the title of “lieutenant governor” in acknowledgment of the president’s responsibility as first successor to the governor.

I can’t seem to find when that was added, but I wonder if it was very recently. In any case, today was the first time I’ve ever heard anyone refer to a Lieutenant Governor in West Virginia. Manchin and Earl Ray will be at various events this weekend around the state, and I expect you’ll hear more of the same. Earl Ray’s Legislative webpage refers to him as “Senate President – Lieutenant Governor Earl Ray Tomblin.”

Of course, the idea is to start associating “governor” with Earl Ray Tombin. He’ll need that association up in Wheeling and Harper’s Ferry if he expects to be the heir to the Manchin throne.

Joe Manchin and the Museum

May 28, 2008

After pounding his nail, Governor Joe tells WV Public Radio “I’m committed to getting this completed. I really have been. And I’ve been very vocal about it.”

Apparently, he’s a recent convert, since he told Acting Commissioner Troy Body that he wasn’t going to sink any more money into that “million dollar hole in the ground.”

Joe Manchin pounds a nail

May 24, 2008

Well, perhaps in answer to the museum in limbo, The Culture Palace announced today that the Gov is going to pound the ceremonial first nail in the museum next week. One wonders what he’s pounding a nail into, since if the museum is going to be built with wood, what is the other $16.5 million of renovation money going for? A “world class museum” is not built out of wood.

The Governor speaks

May 19, 2008

STATEMENT FROM THE GOVERNOR REGARDING CONTINUING DISCUSSION OF WVU E-MBA DEGREE REPORT

Joe Manchin continues spin control with phrases like:

“this controversy all started because our daughter sincerely believed that she had her degree, because of a meeting that everyone admits took place with the program’s director in 1998, and when she contacted the university last year, she was simply asking them to find the records that she believed would confirm that. Had they told her that after looking through their records they didn’t have the proper documentation on file, we honestly believe that while she may not have liked that answer, she would have accepted it and moved on with her life.”

and

“Gayle and I are both angry, in particular, at the fabrication of grades that took place, because it unfairly damages our daughter’s reputation as much as it does the University’s.”

and

“the WVU Board of Governors members are not under my control and remain free, as they always have been, to make their own individual and collective decisions on this or any other situation.”

Sure they’re free to decide, but they all know the Governor and know which way the wind blows. As for Heather, I’m pretty sure her calls to the University didn’t sound like she was happy they couldn’t back up her “graduation.”

Helping out Brickstreet

March 22, 2008

Joe Manchin is our privatizing governor, eager to cut state payrolls by passing those jobs off to private industry or by using contractors to replace state employees. Unfortunately, news today shows the state giving up a lot for that privilege.

So far, Brickstreet has saved $76M by not paying the state any taxes, plus the state loaned Brickstreet $200M in startup money. “Starting in July, BrickStreet will start competing for business from private insurers, though it will retain its monopoly for insuring state employees.” How nice for them.

WV broadband dreams

February 19, 2008

Joe Manchin proposed legislation for a Broadband Deployment fund that “would pay groups and others who successfully apply to pursue expanding access in under- or unserved parts of the Mountain State.”

About a year ago, he thwarted plans for municipalities to create their own broadband internet service, claiming that John Chambers said Cisco would be helping develop rural high speed internet in West Virginia. Whatever happened to that plan?

Governor’s tent

February 3, 2008

If it’s true that the “Oil Marketers and Grocers Association and the West Virginia Truck Association are hosting a joint reception in the governor’s mansion party tent” this week, that’s a serious breech of ethics.

The intent, so Governor Joe has told us, of the party tent is to host affairs of state on behalf of the Governor. If he’s going to rent it out to lobbying organizations, that makes a lie out of his need for a permanent structure there.

Only the Governor should be hosting a reception at the Governor’s Mansion.

“Deteriorating” relationships

January 24, 2008

I really don’t give a damn about football, but watching the Rich Rodriguez-WVU fiasco is like watching a train wreck in slow motion, as the event evolves with something new every day.

The latest is the AP report about the deteriorating relationship between Rod and the WVU administration, as revealed by emails all last fall. Two points:

If Rod wanted “total control” of the football program, he obviously forgot who he was dealing with his. Joe Manchin is the reincarnation of Arch “all power emanates from me” Moore; he will be personally involved in anything he wants to be. Witness his takeover of the various boards in state government, like the Parkways Authority and the EBA. He only uses the chain of command Caperton developed to shield himself from problems.

As a taxpayer, it’s kind of insulting that so much of the negotiating was being done between the WVU administration and Rod’s agent Mike Brown, and his financial adviser Mike Wilcox. It’s bad enough that Garrison excluded the athletic department from the discussions, using only his Chief of Staff to talk to Rod’s side, but why are state employees discussing state money issues at a state-funded institution with some dude’s personal money people? Rod worked for the state; he should have been doing the talking.

Which just goes to show how colleges (especially athletics) have become big businesses and lost their way when it comes to educating young people.