"A popular government without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy; or, perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power knowledge gives."


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Scottsboro Election Results - Melton Potter Wins Mayors Race

Mayor Melton Potter wins- 2393 votes; Council Member Carol McCrary- 947 votes;
Mr. Bob Starkey- 113 votes
Talley Sheet For the Election (click on image for an expanded view)
Council Place 1:  Miller(winner)- 1751, Bell-1625; Council Place 2: Kirkland 985, Speers 913, Stewart 1541(runoff Kirkland-Stewart); Board of Education: Croft 1188, Ferrell 738, Thompson 1479 (runoff Croft-Thompson)
Former Scottsboro Mayor Ron Bailey gives a short election recap.
Dailey Sentinel Election Updates: http://thedailysentinel.com/news/local/ 
 Daily Sentinel Video Productions-Short Film Documentary by Scott Lancaster

 The Daily Sentinel's expansion of product. Excellent! http://thedailysentinel.com/

Jackson County Commission Meeting

The Jackson County Commission held a work session in the commission board room prior to the regularly scheduled meeting. The following video concerns a discussion about surplussing restaurant equipment at the county park. Mr. Barnes, Jackson Country Park Manager, submitted a listing to the commission to make surplus the park's restaurant equipment. Why would they do this? Do they not intend on ever using the restaurant as a restaurant? Does the county commission have an inventory listing of all park property?

Previously, the county park was run by a manager with a park board to offer oversight and approval authority on all actions involving financial expenditures. Now the oversight has become questionable and the park manager has been left with full management with very little oversight. This is the result of the Commission abolishing the park board so they may gain control of the parks funds. The legal suit as a result of the commissions actions cost the taxpayers of Jackson County thousands of dollars. There have been several legal actions spurred on by this commission which have cost the taxpayers, unnecessarily, tens of thousands of dollars. The park issue was one of several.

During the work session a concerned citizen representing a group of citizens in the Bolivar Community, near Stevenson, disclosed a change in the Bolivar landfill located off of County Road 96. There is a request to change the permit at the landfill to include hazardous materials including asbestos and tires. There have been no formal announcements of a public meeting.
ADEM Bolivar Landfill Notice (Click on image for an expanded view.).
A resolution was passed in the regular session to oppose the landfill.

Jackson County Commission Agenda

Important Issues
Item B - Old Business, Ricky Sartin was selected for the Road and Bridge Foreman position
New Business: A) Scott Whitted was hired for a temporary position at the County Park. B) Michelle Prince Willis was selected as the new County Personnel director. According to reports from the county commission, the last candidate refused the job due to low pay. C) Public Works Bid materials bids were tabled. D) County Park Restaurant Equipment, vote to sell or trade county park restaurant equipment. Declaration of equipment as surplus was approved. F) See ADEM notice above, approval to oppose landfill. H) County Attorney to clarify promotion personnel policy.  (I) Commission Clerk entry position was approved. (J) Approval for Mr. Porter to clarify personnel board policy on the removal of Personnel Board Members. Mr Allen stated, "this is an effort by Horrace (referring to Commissioner Clemons.) to remove a Personnel Board member he did not like."
K) The Commission adjourned into an Executive Session for approximately 10 minutes.  The commission emerged declaring there would be a settlement of a court case pending the courts approval of the case. SHH, there are secrets and we don't want the public to know the truth.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Proposed Scottsboro Boys Pardon - Is Not Representative of Justice

Original Photo (owned by G.L. Morgan) Entitled "Enjoying Their Freedom," July 26, 1937: Samuel B. Leibowitz and the 4 Scottsboro Case defendants wave farewell as they leave for New York after viewing a movie in Cincinnati, Ohio. The four which were freed: Eugene Williams, Roy Wright, Willie Roberson and Olen Montgomery.

The proposed "Scottsboro Boys" pardon is a faux pardon. A politically motivated feel good measure which does not represent justice in any sensible terms. http://www.waaytv.com/news/local/story/Morgan-Co-republicans-ask-for-Scottsboro-Boys/0SmrAf1w3U2K2NXR9KleAA.cspx

Legal Definition of Pardon: The action of an executive official of the government that mitigates or sets aside the punishment for a crime. The granting of an unconditional pardon fully restores an individual's civil rights forfeited upon conviction of a crime and restores the person's innocence as though he or she had never committed a crime.

Pardon facts in Alabama: Under the Alabama Constitution, the pardon power is shared between the Governor and the Legislature.The Constitution gives the Legislature the power to regulate the administration of pardons... http://www.pardon411.com/wiki/Alabama_Pardon_Information
--Mason v. State, 103 So.2d 337 (Ala. Crim. App. 1956)(“Instead of blotting out the existence of the guilt of an offender, the very acceptance of a pardon is an implied acknowledgement of guilt . . . .A pardon cannot wipe out the historical fact of the conviction, and as appropriately stated by one court, it involves forgiveness, and not forgetfulness.”) aff’d, 103 So.2d 341 (1958); see also Randolph County v. Thompson, 502 So.2d 357 (Ala. 1987)
--Any arrest or conviction will continue to be part of the criminal history record even if a pardon is granted. Johnson v. State, 421 So.2d 1306 (Ala. Crim. App. 1982), cert. denied, 439 So.2d 1340 (Ala. Crim. App. 1983). Alabama does not have an option for expungement of a conviction.

It is not possible to make the Scottsboro Defendants whole again by the proposed faux pardon. What is the purpose of this pardon and is it possible to acquire Justice in this case? I say, "if you want justice, put your money where your mouth is," I make two suggestions and explore the issues: http://thedailysentinel.com/opinion/letters_to_editor/article_cd5a372e-ed29-11e1-ac96-001a4bcf887a.html

Links to news reports on the proposed faux pardon:

Birmingham News- http://blog.al.com/spotnews/2012/08/pardons_sought_for_the_remaini.html#incart_river_default

Huntsville Times Opinion-

Scottsboro Daily Sentinel- http://thedailysentinel.com/news/article_ba6b64a2-e8bb-11e1-a20a-0019bb2963f4.html   OpEd- http://thedailysentinel.com/opinion/editorials/article_6535445e-eb99-11e1-acad-0019bb2963f4.html 

Scottsboro Stories: http://scottsborostories.blogspot.com/

The 2012 Scottsboro Municipal Election Forum

The Scottsboro municipal elections are less than a week away; it is time for responsible citizens to make some important choices in their elected officials. One of our most important responsibilities we have as citizens is to educate ourselves concerning important issues so that "We the People" may make informed choices in our election process. All to often we forget that we are the government and our government is no more or no less than what "We the People" represent. Please vote on Tuesday, August 28, 2012. 


The Clarions video link index to Municipal election candidates: http://www.theclarion.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=4491&Itemid=203

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Scottsboro Mayor's Race

During the past week I asked each candidate for the Mayor of Scottsboro one question. Why should I vote for you as Scottsboro's Mayor? I asked each to limit their answer to 2 minutes, below are the video results for each candidate for the Mayor of Scottsboro. Below each video you will find The Clarions video interview with each candidate.




Mr. Starkey mentions an interesting term, "shrinkage." What is shrinkage in the business sense?
"Definition of 'Shrinkage"

The loss of inventory that can be attributed to factors including employee theft, shoplifting, administrative error, vendor fraud, damage in transit or in store and cashier errors that benefit the customer. Shrinkage is the difference between recorded and actual inventory. According to the National Retail Security Survey, conducted by the University of Florida, shrinkage in the United States during 2009 represented 1.44% of retail sales. This percentage amounts to billions of dollars in lost inventory each year for U.S. retailers. Security guards, security tags and cameras are used by retailers in an effort to reduce shrinkage."
Read more: http://www.investopedia.com/terms/s/shrinkage.asp#ixzz24UUQwe6F

The Clarions video links to other Municipal election candidates: http://www.theclarion.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=4491&Itemid=203

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Jackson County Economic Development Authority

Web site of the Jackson County EDA: http://www.jacksoncountyeda.org/contact.html

Agenda of the Jackson County Industrial Development Authority with my annotations.
Agenda of the Economic Development Authority with my annotations. Click on image for an expanded view. I will update my discussion of the EDA meeting at a later date. 

Jackson County Economic Development Authority at 817  S. Broad St Scottsboro, Al.

Jackson County EDA/IDB Board Members back to front, left to right at the table: CEO Dus Rogers, Director Jim Green, Director Tommy Harding-Secretary, Director Rudder Williams, Board Attorney John Porter, Chairman of the Board Dr. David Campbell, Director Bruce Purdy-Treasurer, Director James Hastings, Sheila Shepard Vice President. Not present Director Jack Allen.

Scottsboro City Council Work Session

Agenda outline
1) Solid Waste Director Eddie Blizzard discusses further property purchase for the City of Scottsboro Landfill. It was stated this would need to be discussed by the Solid Waste Committee which is the City Council, Mayor and City Attorney.

2) A representative of Carr & Associates Engineering Company discussed the specifics of the facade to the Derrick Building rebuild.

3) The City of Scottsboro opened bids for 110 tons of recycled combined bailed waste. "Rock 10" was high bidder for at $25.50 per ton. The Traylor Group was the other bidder at $10.00 per ton
4) Mayor Potter requested the City Council approve $150,000 for city capital expenditures. 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Republican Party Headquarters Opening in Scottsboro, Alabama

 In downtown Sottsboro, Market Street on the Square, there exists a rare sight. The Republican and Democrat Party Headquarters are separated by 20 feet, one store front. Yesterday I attended the Republican Party office opening. This was a chance chance to meet and listen to the Republican candidates for county political office. Also attending were U.S. Congressman Mo Brooks and State Senator Shad McGill.
Jackson County Republican Party Headquarters

Jackson County Democrat Party Headquarters

Ribbon Cutting of the Jackson County Republican Party Headquarters in Scottsboro, Alabama.
Pictured from left to right: Tim Guffey, candidate for Commission District 1; James Michael Sisk, candidate for Commission District 4 ; Chris Woods, candidate for Chairman of the Jackson County Commission; State Senator Shad McGill (in back); Ms. Ellen O'Connor, Republican Party Women's Committee Chairperson; U.S. Congressman Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) Alabama 5th Congressional District; Jason Venable, candidate Commission District 2 ; Ricky Dooley, candidate for Probate Judge; Phillip Thompson, candidate Commission District 3; Joseph Vaughn, candidate for Jackson County Superintendent of Education.


U.S. Congressman Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) Alabama 5th Congressional District Speaks.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

TVA CEO Tom Kilgore Announces Retirement - Full Report of TVA Quarterly Board Meeting

At today's quarterly TVA meeting TVA CEO Tom Kilgore announced he was going to retire in 4-6 months.
Short video of Mr. Kilgore's announcement.

Knoxville, Tn. TVA Quarterly Board Meeting Opening

Information about the TVA Board of Directors and Quarterly Meetings http://www.tva.com/abouttva/board/index.htm

TVA Board of Directors Listening Session
At the beginning of each TVA Board meeting the Board of Directors conduct a Listening Session. A speaker may sign up to speak prior to the meeting. Yesterday's session was long due to many citizens speaking about TVA's Transmission Line Clearance Policy. Approximately 30 citizens spoke in opposition of the policy and cited examples and photographs of inappropriate incursions onto private property. Another 15-20 citizens spoke on the issue of Energy Efficiency, Renewable Sustainable Energy needs, recreation property usage and 4 called for the resignation or firing of Tom Kilgore.
Listening Session Video link: Video of listening session (Windows Media) 

TVA Board of Directors Meeting
"The Board of Directors guides TVA in achieving the objectives and missions established by the TVA Act for the benefit of the people of the Valley.  As provided by the TVA Act and the TVA Bylaws, the principal responsibilities of the Board are to establish the broad strategies, goals, and objectives, long-range plans, and policies of TVA and to ensure that those are achieved by the TVA staff led by the Chief Executive Officer. Each Director takes an oath to faithfully and impartially perform the duties of office. Directors serve part-time." (TVA Board of Directors description) 
Board of Directors  Video of meeting (Windows Media)
TVA Executives Power Point presentation to the Board of Directors: TVA Presentation (PDF)

TVA News Release
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – "Despite a challenging year, the Tennessee Valley Authority board of directors on Thursday passed a TVA budget for fiscal year 2013 that includes no increase in wholesale electric rates."  http://www.tva.com/news/releases/julsep12/august_board.htm
Video of media briefing (Windows Media)

Knoxville News Sentinel
"Whose on TVA's Board? That firm will presumably consider outside candidates, but here’s a look at the top executives who are already on the agency’s roster. Kim Greene  Janet Herrin  Joe Hoagland  Rob Manning  Ralph Rodgers  Mike Skaggs  Preston Swafford  John Thomas III  http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2012/aug/17/whos-tvas-management-bench/  

Chattanooga Times Free Press
"Kilgore said he will hold off turning his attention to his farm near Knoxville until TVA has chosen his successor. Board members said they will consider internal candidates and launch a nationwide search for Kilgore's replacement. In the meantime, TVA will begin the new fiscal year holding the line on electricity rates...TVA was able to keep rates steady in spite of losing $290 million in the first three quarters of the fiscal year." http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2012/aug/17/tva-keeping-rates-down-kilgore-to-retire/
TVA's ranking in the top 100 utilities in the nation, 39 0f 100.

Knoxville News Sentinel
"After two hours of hearing complaints about TVA's tree cutting policy and other issues, the TVA board of directors approved a budget proposal Thursday that includes no wholesale electric rate increase for fiscal year 2013...[TVA Chief Financial Officer John Thomas] "We are not recommending a rate increase," he told the board. "We have sufficient resources to meet our obligations next year.""  http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2012/aug/17/no-rate-hike-in-tva-budget/
More debt on tap for FY2013.
Chief Financial Officers Budget Recommendation was approved.

Comprehensive report on the current financial state of the TVA as described in their Quarterly SEC 10Q filing as of August 3, 2012 and Government Accounting Office's (GAO) October 2011 summary of TVA regarding a lack of financial planning. Also included is the latest TVA Bond Report from Fitch. http://arklite.blogspot.com/2012/08/talkn-about-tva-finances.html  

TVA Nuclear Problems
Preston Swafford, TVA Vice President of Nuclear Operations commented on several issues relating to TVA's Nuclear Power programs.
Browns Ferry problems continue to mount. "TVA's Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant flagged for more safety issues. August 15, 2012"
"The Athens, Ala., electricity plant powered by three nuclear reactors had a preliminary "white" finding -- NRC's least serious safety flag -- extended from one of the reactors to all three, according to NRC spokesman Joey Ledford."The "white" finding for all three units was based on an NRC inspection that found plant operators and staff would not have been able to satisfactorily perform newly implemented procedures for safe plant shutdown," Ledford said." http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2012/aug/15/chattanooga-flagged-again-nuclear-plant/

Further information relating to the Browns Ferry January 2012 Unit 3 Control Room fire is expested to be released next week by the NRC. "TVA-Browns Ferry Nuclear Power Facility, NRC Meeting Supplemental Inspection Report." http://arklite.blogspot.com/2012/08/tva-browns-ferry-nuclear-power-facility.html

TVA will replace the four steam generators in Unit 2 at the Sequoyah Nuclear Plant. The proposed project would involve off loading the 65-foot-long, 15-foot-diameter cylindrical steam generators from transport barges, the cutting of a 45-foot by 22-foot-oval hole in the roof of the Unit 2 concrete shield building, the removal of the old steam generators through the hole, the installation of the new steam generators, repairing the roof of the shield building, and the on-site storage of the old steam generators in a special shielded building.

According to Dr. Marilyn Brown, TVA Board of Director member and Nuclear Oversight Committee Chair, one of the largest cranes in the world will be erected to remove and replace the steam generators.

It is estimated the Sequoyah Nuclear Plant steam generator replacement project will cost between $320-350 million dollars, tentatively scheduled to begin in September 2012 and will take approximately 90 days for project completion if all goes well.

The next TVA Board Meeting is tentatively scheduled for November 15, 2012 at Scottsboro, Alabama.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Scottsboro City Council Meeting

Monday August 13 was a regular Scottsboro City Council meeting. Agenda synopsis: 1) Vacancies and positions were announced- a)Vacancies for Municipal Judge and Assistant Municipal Judge; b) Vacancy for 2 Municipal Prosecutors; c) 2 Vacancies on the Water Sewer and Gas Board, the WSG Board appointment is for 6 years. All requests for positions must be provided to the Scottsboro City Clerk by Wednesday September 5, 2012 no later than 4:30 PM.  2) A resolution was approved to donate 40 radios to the Jackson County Rescue Squad. 3) Carr Engineering was approved to provide a design plan to the city concerning the rebuild of the old Derrick Building front facade. The Derrick Building on the north side of the square was destroyed by fire earlier this year. The plan was stated to cost $5800.00. Carr Engineering will make a presentation to the City Council next Monday Night. Mayor Potter also stated it has been estimated the building front facade will cost approximately $25,000. The Derrick family donated the property to the City of Scottsboro. 4) The resolution authorizing pay for the City Clerk to serve as the Election Manager for City Elections was rescinded. It was stated it is part of the City Clerks job description to be the election manager.

 Daily Sentinel Report on the City Council meeting:  http://thedailysentinel.com/news/article_180aafd2-e6e1-11e1-b0bb-001a4bcf887a.html

The Scottsboro City Council.

Talk'n About TVA Finances

Lets talk about TVA finances. Below you will find a comprehensive report on the current financial state of the TVA as described in their Quarterly SEC 10Q filing as of August 3, 2012 and Government Accounting Office's (GAO) October 2011 summary of TVA regarding a lack of financial planning. Also included is the latest TVA Bond Report from Fitch.

   TVA SEC 10Q QUARTERLY REPORT, AUG 3, 2012That is the Fitch Report. Let's look at TVA's financial status based on their SEC Quarterly Report, Form 10Q, filed August 3, 2012. It should become apparent why Fitch's report, paid for by the TVA , reads "Rating Outlook Negative."

All report data is as reported by the TVA and is "unaudited as stated." Data may be found at http://investor.shareholder.com/tva/secfiling.cfm?filingID=1376986-12-30 or View TVA Securities and Exchange Commission filings. Data in all reports as of June 30, 2012.

Page 8-9, ASSETS & LIABILITIES: Assets-$46.825 billion; Liabilities- $46.825 billion

Page 18-19,-- "("JSCCG"), a newly formed entity. In connection with this transaction, TVA and the United States of America agreed to lease the John Sevier Combined Cycle Facility ("John Sevier CCF") located in Hawkins County, Tennessee, to JSCCG for a term of fifty years (the "Head Lease"). TVA also entered into a construction management agreement ("CMA") with JSCCG under which TVA was obligated to use commercially reasonable efforts to cause the John Sevier CCF to achieve substantial completion by January 14, 2013, or as soon thereafter as commercially practicable. John Sevier CCF began commercial operations on April 30, 2012."

--"January 17, 2012, TVA and JSCCG entered into a transaction under which TVA agreed to lease the John Sevier CCF from JSCCG (the "Facility Lease") through January 15, 2042."

--"JSCCGSevier CCF through a $ 900 million secured note issuance (the “JSCCG notes”) and the issuance of $ 100 million of membership interests subject to mandatory redemption. The membership interests were purchased by John Sevier Holdco LLC (“Holdco”). Holdco is a newly formed special single-purpose entity established to acquire and hold membership interests in JSCCG. A non-controlling interest in Holdco is held by a third party through nominal membership interests, to which none of the income or expenses of Holdco are allocated."

--"Due to its participation in the design, business conduct and credit and financial support of JSCCG and Holdco, TVA is deemed to have a variable interest in each of these entities...TVA has the power to direct the activities of an entity when it has the ability to make key operating, investing and financing decisions, including, but not limited to, capital investment and the issuance or redemption of debt. Based on its analysis, TVA has determined that it is the primary beneficiary of JSCCG and Holdco and, as such, is required to account for the VIEs on a consolidated basis. Holdco’s membership interests in JSCCG are eliminated in consolidation." (It seems this statement is saying JSCCG & Holdco are both shill corporations established to shield TVA from the Congressional mandated debt restrictions.)

--Total liabilities of the variable interest entity (VIE) carried on TVA's books: $1.022 billion

Page 21 Debt Outstanding: Short term total net debt- $3.937 billion; Long term total net debt- $21.177. 

Page 36 Long term outstanding Power Bonds (Congressional mandated debt cap):
Carried Amount- $21.584 billion; Fair Market Value- $27.078 billion (2011 fair market value of debt was $29.190 billion equals $2,112 billion lowered debt amount between June 2011 and June 2012.)

Page 43 Net Income loss for first 9 months ending June 2012: $-290 million, a 728.6% increase over 2011 which displayed a 35 million income loss. Operating expenses decreased by 3.3% for the same period, while operating income decreased for the same period by 28.1%.

Page 49 Cash flow was (negative) $-260 million for this period as compared to (positive) $214 million for 2011 the same period. The loss is attributed to decreased power sales and in a smaller part investment activity.

Page 50 Total long term commitments and contingencies $65.891 billion reflecting the periods from 2012 thru 2016 and thereafter.

Pages 51 thru 59 of the 10Q report are extremely valuable as they contain a discussion concerning problems faced by the TVA.

One large problem not addressed in any TVA Financial Report Document but identified in the October 2011 report by the General Accounting Office (GAO) and is described as follows: "TVA does not have a formal capital expenditure management plan that identifies assets to be acquired, their costs, and funding sources. The lack of such a plan may impede TVA.’s long range financial planning." This is a serious deficiency by the TVA identified by the GAO and reflects poorly on executive leadership's management capability. GAO-12-107 Tennessee Valley Authority

The GAO summarizes their report regarding the TVA's lack of Capital Expenditure Planning: "TVA’s financial condition may hamper its ability to fund capital improvements. As of September 30, 2010, TVA.’s statutory debt was $23.6 billion, and TVA plans to spend almost $10 billion by fiscal year 2013 for various capital investment projects. Given the significant delays and cost overruns that TVA has historically experienced, these projects could potentially face similar issues. In addition, under a settlement with the Environmental Protection Agency, TVA agreed to invest $3 billion to $5 billion in the next 10 years on new and upgraded pollution controls on existing power plants. TVA also anticipates increases in operating costs. All of these factors could reduce the available funds TVA could use for its planned capital investments. TVA.’s financial condition leaves it with difficult decisions to make in order to meet electricity demand while keeping its debt within the statutory limit."
Flashback: Standard And Poors downgraded TVA's Bond Rating in August of 2011: "Standard & Poor’s rating service downgraded TVA’s rating from its highest level, AAA, to its next highest level, AA plus...Despite the first-ever downgrade TVA debt, the chief financial officer for the Tennessee Valley Authority, John Thomas, said “the fundamental financial strength of TVA is unchanged.” Moody’s Investors Service Inc., recently reaffirmed its top rating for TVA and Fitch rating service has yet to alter its TVA bond rating." http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2011/aug/09/sp-downgrades-tva-bond-rating/

FITCH RATES TVA'S GLOBAL POWER BONDS - (The short term debt is is converted to long term debt notes.) "Proceeds from the 2012 series A bonds will be primarily used to retire existing short-term debt. " (The short term debt is is converted to long term debt notes.)

It is important to consider the disclaimer when reading this report: "The ratings above were solicited by, or on behalf of, the issuer, and therefore, Fitch has been compensated for the provision of the ratings."

>>Fitch Rates Tennessee Valley Auth, TN's Global Power Bonds 2012 Series A 'AAA'; Outlook Negative<<
Link: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/fitch-rates-tennessee-valley-auth-222300108.html

Mon, Aug 6, 2012 - NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Fitch Ratings assigns an 'AAA' rating to the $1 billion 2012 series A Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), TN's global power bonds. The bonds are expected to price around Aug. 6, 2012. Proceeds from the 2012 series A bonds will be primarily used to retire existing short-term debt.

In addition Fitch affirms the following parity global power bond ratings:
--$23.9 billion (as of Sept. 30, 2011) global power bonds at 'AAA'.
>>The Rating Outlook is Negative <<

The bonds are secured by net revenues of TVA's power system.

US OWNERSHIP: The 'AAA' rating reflects TVA's status as a wholly owned corporation of the U.S. government. Fitch takes into account in its assessment the likelihood and degree of government support for TVA and similarly rated government-sponsored entities.

FEDERAL GOVERNMENT LINKS: While the TVA Act requires the utility to be self-funding, and TVA's global power bonds do not constitute an obligation of the U.S. government, Fitch believes that U.S. authorities would use extraordinary efforts to support TVA's operations and its global power bond obligations in the event that the utility encountered financial difficulties.

RING-FENCED SERVICE TERRITORY: Through the Federal Power Act's anti-cherry-picking provision, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is prevented from ordering TVA to provide open-access to its transmission lines for the purpose of serving TVA customers. This provision in essence reduces TVA's risk of customer loss.

POTENTIAL CLOSURE OF LARGEST CUSTOMER: United States Enrichment Corporation (USEC) is TVA's largest directly served customer accounting for 4% of revenue. USEC's Kentucky facility is expected to be operational through May 31, 2013 after which considerable uncertainty exists regarding future operations. The loss of USEC's revenue further increases the need to adjust rates in a sluggish kWh sales environment but will not be material to TVA's overall performance.

EPA SETTLEMENT: Favorably, TVA has settled with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); the states of Tennessee, Kentucky, Alabama, and North Carolina; and various environmental groups on past and potential future new source review (NSR) claims. TVA will incur an expense of $360 million, retrofit some coal units and retire 2200MW of coal capacity as part of the settlement.

DEBT LIMIT: Credit concerns include a reduced flexibility to issue bonds due to the cap of $30 billion, imposed by the TVA Act. This concern is partially mitigated by TVA's past use of alternate financing that does not count against the cap. Although TVA is continuing to work with all stakeholders to increase the debt limit, Fitch believes that it is unlikely that the limit will be increased before the Presidential and Congressional elections in November 2012.

WATTS BAR 2 DELAY: Revised estimates from TVA now anticipate completion of the Watts Bar 2 nuclear unit (WB2) during fall 2015 at a cost between $4 billion and $4.5 billion. Original estimates called for completion in fall 2012 at $2.5 billion. Even if the revised cost estimate holds, Fitch believes that the significant cost increase for WB2 together with potential new safety and security requirements by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) will require rate increases.

U.S. SOVEREIGN RATING LINKAGE: TVA's bonds are payable solely from net revenues of the power system and don't constitute obligations of the U.S. However, the U.S. government's extensive involvement in the operations of TVA, coupled with the vital importance of TVA in its service area results in a direct linkage between the rating on global power bonds and the U.S. sovereign.

CAPITAL RAISING FLEXIBILITY: Flexibility to raise additional debt capital as needed, given TVA's future capital expenditure plans, is important. Fitch will continue to monitor TVA's ability to finance future growth.

Dual Role of Electric Supply and Economic Development
TVA was created in 1933 as a federal government corporation via legislation enacted by the U.S. Congress. TVA operates the nation's largest public power system with a service area that includes seven states in the southeastern U.S. covering a population of more than nine million people. In addition to selling electricity, TVA is tasked with furthering the economic development of TVA's service area, and reducing the damage from destructive floodwaters within the Tennessee River system and the lower Ohio and Mississippi Rivers.

Self-Funded Power System
Initially, TVA's operations were funded by federal appropriations. Direct appropriations for the TVA power program ended in 1959, and appropriations for TVA's economic development and multipurpose activities ended in 1999. Since 1999, TVA has funded all of its operations entirely from the sale of electricity and power system financings - primarily the sale of debt securities. TVA is not authorized to issue equity securities.

All-Requirements Power Supply Contracts
TVA provides wholesale power to 155 municipalities and cooperatives pursuant to individual long-term all-requirements contracts. Revenues from TVA's municipal and cooperative customers accounted for approximately 85% of TVA's total operating revenues for fiscal 2011. TVA also sells electricity directly to industrial customers, accounting for 12% of operating revenue.

Stable Operating Performance
Revenues from sale of electricity were $11.84 billion in 2011, which is 10% higher than 2010 due to fuel and power cost adjustment despite a 3% reduction in kWh sales. Financial performance has remained steady, though debt service coverage (DSC) has fluctuated over the last few years. The fluctuation in DSC is mainly driven by annual variations in the amount of debt service rather than a change in operating cash flow. Days cash on hand remains low at 22 days of operating expenses, but liquidity improves to 105 days of expenses after including available lines of credit.
Link: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/fitch-rates-tennessee-valley-auth-222300108.html

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Jackson County Commission Meeting

The south entrance is now open.

The Chair Dilemma

Once all was settled the commission began their business. Item I was added to the agenda which involved the hire of a new Personnel Manager. A motion was made by Mr. Allen, there was no second nor discussion before the vote. 
Ms. Marilyn Goolesby of Dutton Alabama was selected as the Jackson County Personnel Director.

Agenda of the the Jackson County Commission with my annotations. Click on image for an expanded view.
Alabama Transportation Rehabilitation and Improvement Program
 ATRIP is an ALDOT administered federal aid highway program that funds up to 80% of the construction of important roadway projects. Local sponsors of eligible projects are expected to provide at least 20% of the project construction cost.

Item G on the agenda: Jackson County has already received $1.5 million in the Phase 1 part of the project. Phase 2 the county will receive $3.5 million for road and bridge improvements. The bridge on County Road 151 south of Pisgah will be rebuilt. This is a dangerous, narrow bridge with no side rails.

The next work session will be on August 27, 2012 at 3:30 PM. The regular meeting will be held afterwords.

A 20 minute Executive Session was held concerning the good name and character of an employee. No action was taken after the session and the commission meeting was adjourned.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

TVA-Browns Ferry Nuclear Power Facility, NRC Meeting Supplemental Inspection Report

Tanner, Alabama -Thursday, August 9, 2012. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) conducted a Supplemental Inspection Status reporting session to the "Red Flag" finding which the NRC placed on Tennessee Valley Authority's (TVA) Browns Ferry Nuclear Power Plant operators for failing to correct reoccurring problems of a stuck valve in the Residual Heat Removal (RHR) System of Browns Ferry Unit 1.

The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the status of TVA’s preparations for Part 3 of the NRC’s supplemental inspections of the plant associated with the "Red Flag" finding.  Public input was allowed at the end of the business session.

A "Red Flag" finding is the highest inspection finding indicating degraded conditions exist in a nuclear power plant without the actual closure of the nuclear facility.

The supplemental inspection processes are called a 95003 process - it is a 3 part process: Part 1- Component Testing Programs, completed September 2011; Part 2- Maintenance Programs, completed December 2011, according to the TVA and the NRC; Part 3 formal 95003 completion - the TVA will notify the NRC when they are ready for the final part 3 inspection process.

 The entire process includes a series of comprehensive, intrusive and diagnostic procedures and inspections which are performed by the NRC to insure the nuclear reactor problem(s) identified are corrected; all programs and processes are reviewed during the final inspection.

According to the NRC, the program's correction process is also designed to insure the nuclear facility operator does not repeat the same failure. Athens News Courier report of the session: http://enewscourier.com/local/x1555256858/TVA-says-no-inspection-until-improvement-at-Browns-Ferry-plant

There is a shortcoming to this process, there is no minimal time frame the nuclear facility operator must complete the enhanced improvements/inspection program Part 3 - the formal 95003 final inspection process. TVA tells the NRC when they are ready for the final inspection. The NRC's corrective process could go on for an indefinite period of time or until the laws of statistical probability catches up to a system of repetitive failures and an accident occurs which may have devastating consequences; such as depicted in the photo to the left of Fukushima Unit #3. (photo by Cryptome) The Browns Ferry Nuclear Reactors are the same type which were at Fukushima, Japan which exploded and melted down due to a "station blackout" and a failure of the facility operator to correct known deficiencies in the GE Mark 1 nuclear rector design and resolve problems due to its location near an earthquake fault zone and tsunami area.

Present at the Supplemental Inspection Status report session were the NRC Region 2 officials (pictured below)
(photo by G. Morgan)

and TVA Nuclear Power Executives (pictured below).
(photo by G. Morgan)

A control room fire occurred at the Unit 3 Reactor in January 2012 due to a capacitor failure in the antiquated analog "Warning/Annunciator Panel's" power supply. The TVA reported in its Corrective Action Plan the capacitors have a life expectancy of 8 years. The parts had been in place for more than 30 years. Repetitive failures of the parts were reported in 2008 and 2009. A Corrective Action Program was established in 2011, but no corrective action was taken to replace the antiquated part. (Huntsville Times article by Brian Lawson with official TVA & NRC documentation attached: http://blog.al.com/breaking/2012/07/browns_ferry_nuclear_plant_had.html  )

Prior and after the NRC scheduled meeting I had a discussion about the January Unit 3 control room fire issue with the NRC Public Relations representative and the NRC Senior Resident Inspector assigned to Browns Ferry. The NRC Senior Resident Inspector stated to me," the problem with antiquated capacitors is a problem throughout the Browns Ferry Nuclear Facility." The official report indicates the Maintenance Portion of the 95003 Inspection is complete. Do antiquated capacitors in relays or other power supplies exist in the critical actuators and safety valve systems of the nuclear reactor's Residual Heat Removal system or the High Pressure Cooling Injection systems integral to the reactors safety system?

Relating to the January 2012 Unit 3 Control Room fire: It is significant the NRC does not consider all "Warning/Annunciator Panels" part of the plants safety system, only some panels are chosen to be part of the safety system. The NRC Senior Resident Inspector informed me during our conversation the specific warning panel indicated failures of ventilation systems within the plant. Accordingly, this was a reason not to require the immediate reporting of the power supply fire disabling the warning panel in January of this year in accordance with nuclear safety law.

The NRC has stated they will evaluate TVA's corrective actions and the long term plan for improvement relating to the repetitive Residual Heat Removal system valve failure. TVA's implementation of an Integrated Improvement Plan which follows industry standards established for similar inspections is the basis for improving the degraded plant systems.

Corrective actions displayed by the TVA in improving the Browns Ferry Nuclear facility's performance and a display of positive actions regarding performance improvement will be how the NRC measures TVA's success. All corrective action programs as part of the ongoing reactor oversight process will continuously by verified by the NRC.


TVA's Integrated Improvement Plan addresses 5 focus areas of fundamental problems relating to on site safety culture weaknesses. Moving from center, then left to right within the pink area on the slide- Accountability, Corrective Actions Program, Fire Risk Reduction, Equipment Reliability, Organizational Decision Making. (Click on image for an expanded view.)
The Integrated Improvement Plan is finalized. As indicated on the TVA slide: -"A living plan;" -consists of 1000 action items; -40% of the plans actions are complete; - 75% of the plans actions will be complete by years end. (Click on image for an expanded view.)

During the public input session I asked of the TVA executives present whether a contractor or the TVA executives prepared the Performance Metrics system. Keith Polson, TVA Vice President of Browns Ferry replied: "A TVA contractor and our executive staff developed the Performance Metrics program."

Mr. Polson further commented, "there were 45 performance metrics tied to 18 performance areas, 15 major areas to be evaluated and 3 additional areas, identified for performance evaluations."

Improvements needed - improvements realized:  Operational improvements were not meeting established goals; Corrective Actions Program Health guidelines were below goals (radiation exposures); equipment reliability was improving but still is below goals. The industry standard for equipment reliability is 90%. I asked the TVA staff present, "due to the aging state of Browns Ferry do you think it is possible to reach the industry standard of 90%?" Mr. Polson replied, "we intend on being at 80% equipment reliability by years end and we will reach a 90% equipment reliability rate." It was reported that Browns Ferry equipment reliability was at 55% when the process began and is currently at 75%. Further information reported by the TVA executives present- Unit 2 has operated for 427 days continuously without an outage or SCRAM. Browns Ferry has operated over 5 million man hours without an on the job injury.

Mr. Polson further commented, "we are developing a program to correct 'RAD Waste' problems at Browns Ferry." This was another area I asked the TVA staff present to clarify. Polson stated, "the rad waste problem I speak of relates to cooling water disposal. We will be developing a schedule to correct that problem."

TVA Vice President of Nuclear Operations Keith Swafford made 2 important commitments for improvements: "We will fix the safety culture failures which led to the Browns Ferry problems...it is our goal to rid the station of fire risk problems."

5 citizens voiced their concerns to the TVA and NRC, Jackie Tipper, Nancy Muse, Stewart Horn, an unidentified lady and Garry Morgan spoke about several issues.
Nancy Muse, an area resident, pointed out that she knew several fire fighters and emergency responders in the area and they were not aware of any Emergency Plans or procedures or plans relative to the Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant where an evacuation might become necessary. Ms. Muse stated there is a serious lack of preparedness relating to disaster management. (photo by G. Morgan with Nancy Muse's permission)

Ms. Muse expressed other concerns which were reported in the Florence, Alabama Times Daily on line edition: "Florence resident Nancy Muse attended the meeting and was not impressed by TVA’s presentation. “I have been coming to these meetings for 30-something years,” she said.

“We were always led to think things were as they should be, when it is clear now that things are not as they should be.”Muse expressed concern about the plant’s age. She brought an article by The Associated Press that said most nuclear plants like Browns Ferry were only meant to last about 40 years. The plant began operation in 1974. “Browns Ferry does not get good reviews,” she said. “Now is the time to start decommissioning the aging plants.”"  http://timesdaily.com/stories/Browns-Ferry-under-fire-from-public,194028

An online caller during the public input session of the meeting asked, "how long does the TVA have to complete the improvements and request the NRC's final inspection, will the process continue on indefinitely?" Ms. Jackie Tipper, a resident who lives across the river from Browns Ferry commented, "the NRC appears to be a tool of the nuclear power industry."  Mr. Leonard Wert, NRC Region 2 Deputy Administrative Director replied, "the plant operator must make corrective actions. The NRC personnel are dedicated employees and we will not hesitate to close a nuclear facility if it becomes necessary."

TVA is making long overdue improvements at Browns Ferry. Unfortunately, there seem to be lingering questions regarding management performance indicators, safety culture, maintenance and implementation of Corrective Action Programs.  Obvious management problems which have been reported in the media: The January Control Room fire relates to a trend of continuing maintenance failures and the failure to implement Corrective Action Program plans in a timely fashion to correct known deficiencies. A lack of proper fire safety training resulted in a June White finding. The lack of management focus relating to continuous maintenance, safety and training failure issues are very bothersome. It is this continuous lack of attention to detail in the Browns Ferry Nuclear Facility which very well could begin a chain of non-anticipated events. Particularly when you consider the probability of a natural disaster such as an EF5 Tornado resulting in a station blackout and worse, a direct hit to the nuclear facility.

The TVA has set a performance standard concerning equipment reliability at 90% and they state that is the nuclear industry standard. Currently the TVA's equipment reliability rate is 75% at Browns Ferry and state they will achieve 80% by years end. Is a 10% to 20 equipment reliability failure actually acceptable at a nuclear facility? What if the 20% equipment failure is a critical safety system which must operate properly during a reactor SCRAM?

The official report indicates the Maintenance Portion, Part 2, of the 95003 process is complete. Do antiquated capacitors in electronic relays, switches or other power supplies exist in the critical actuators and safety valve systems of the nuclear reactor's Residual Heat Removal system or the High Pressure Cooling Injection systems integral to the reactors safety system? Although Browns Ferry Vice President Keith Polson indicated the analog systems were being changed out to modern digital systems, the NRC's Senior Resident Inspector indicated there were  problems relating to analog system maintenance and the antiquated capacitor problem existing throughout the nuclear power facility.

There is a continuing failure at the Browns Ferry Nuclear facility to correct maintenance problems and follow through on corrective action plans. The long term nature of continuing maintenance and safety problems reflect a failure in oversight. This is an example of NRC's culture of support to the nuclear industry instead of public health and welfare.

 A continuing lack of attention to detail coupled with a failure to adhere to preventive maintenance programs and corrective action plans are evident in the January Unit 3 control room fire and the recent White Finding issued on June 22, 2012 by the NRC.

The June 22nd White Finding indicated: 1) Operators were not familiar enough with fire safety requirements; 2) a systems approach to training was not properly implemented and the procedures could not be satisfactorily performed by plant operators and staff; 3) there was a failure to adequately identify and perform required training for implementation of procedures for combating plant fire events affected the licensee’s ability to respond to a plant fire.” Reference: http://www.isssource.com/safety-woes-at-browns-ferry-nuke/

The NRC is scheduled to announce later this month the result of the findings regarding the January Unit 3 Control Room Fire. The bottom line, maintenance and safety culture failures are still evident at Browns Ferry and the NRC continues to place the nuclear industry concerns before citizen health and welfare.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Town Hall Meeting with Congressman Mo Brooks at Scottsboro

Mayor Potter introduces Congressman Mo Brooks at last nights Scottsboro Town Hall meeting.

Congressman Brooks presentation was redundant. This was the 3rd Town Hall meeting I have attended. His presentation was a repeat of others with very slight differences. Brooks provided no disclosures as to his current actions on "Capitol Hill" as our 5th Congressional District Representative, or in any committee he is a member.

There were 3 highly questionable statements made by Congressman Brooks at last nights Town Hall Meeting in Scottsboro. (quotes)
1) "Regulation is the epitome of socialism."
 2) "The other side [Democrats] want to make the creation of business evil." 
3) "The Obama administration is transferring heavy weapons to Mexican Drug lords." This comment was made in regards to the "Fast and Furious" program's selling, purchase,  and tracking of firearms which reach Mexico's narco traffickers. Brooks went on to say, "This program began during the Bush administration but tracking chips were placed in weapons by the Bush administration and agents would confiscate weapons."

Our nation has enough problems without the false rhetoric from our political leaders. The riff between the Democrat and Republican Party grows wider and deeper. There are no efforts by political  leadership from either political party to focus on problem resolution for the benefit of our nation.

 Congressman Brooks was provided a letter with information and references concerning 3 specific issues with questions listed below.

Currently there are over 1000 trillion dollars of derivative financial market instruments which are outstanding that have been traded and sold by U.S. and world banks today. The total world economic worth today is between 70 and 80 trillion dollars. The derivative financial market trading and the manipulation of the interest rates of the derivatives were enabled in the U. S. by the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000, Pub.L. 106-554, 114 Stat. 2763A (as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2001).

What are you going to do Congressman Brooks to reverse the 2000 Commodity Futures Modernization Act’s further destruction of the United States economy?

Reference a Reuters News article release link: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/08/01/us-usa-syria-obama-order-idUSBRE8701OK20120801 There are 4 distinct security compromises apparent in the Reuters article: 1) Obama signed the top secret intelligence authorization; 2) Mission disclosure- “Obama's order, approved earlier this year and known as an intelligence "finding," broadly permits the CIA and other U.S. agencies to provide support that could help the rebels oust Assad.” 3) “United States was collaborating with a secret command center operated by Turkey and its allies. This "nerve center" is in Adana, a city in southern Turkey about 60 miles from the Syrian border, which is also home to Incirlik, a U.S. air base where U.S. military and intelligence agencies maintain a substantial presence.” 4) “Free Syrian Army had obtained nearly two dozen surface-to-air missiles...shoulder-fired missiles, also known as MANPADs, had been delivered to the rebels via Turkey.”

This obvious violation of National Security is atrocious, what are you going to do Congressman Brooks to stop the disclosure of Top Secret National Security information which could result in the loss of U.S. Military or Civilian Assets on the ground in the Southwest Asia Military Theater of Operations?

There are serious issues within our government today concerning holding accountable the leadership within the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) regarding nuclear security. The lack of regulatory enforcement has allowed serious short comings related to security surrounding nuclear facilities. The failures involve civilian security contractors and regulatory managers.

(A)    Y-12 Facility, Reuters News Service, August 3, 2012- Officials said the facility was shut down on Wednesday at least until next week after three senior citizen activists, one being a Nun and 82 years old, cut through perimeter fences to reach the outer wall of a building where highly enriched uranium, a key nuclear bomb component, is stored. http://news.yahoo.com/u-nuclear-bomb-facility-shut-security-breach-115609328.html 
The activists painted slogans and threw what they said was human blood on the wall of the facility, one of numerous buildings in the facility known by the code name Y-12 that it was given during World War Two, officials said.
While moving between the perimeter fences, the activists triggered sensors that alerted security personnel. But officials conceded the intruders were still able to reach the building's walls before security personnel got to them.
Civilian contractors- WSI Oak Ridge, the contractor responsible for protecting the facility at Oak Ridge, Tennessee, is owned by the international security firm G4S.
If the senior citizens had been a trained terrorist group the Southeast U.S today would be a much different place. Retraining is not sufficient; this reflects a serious breach of security, not to mention a breach of WSI’s contract to provide security.

(B)    Civilian Nuclear Power Plants Security Violations- CNN June 29, 2011. 24 civilian nuclear power plants are tested annually. “Last year's results are roughly analogous to those in recent years. In the three previous years, between two and four plants were breached and targets "destroyed," NRC records show.” That equates to an 8% to 16% failure rate, which is an unacceptable failure rate for security operations at civilian nuclear power reactor facilities.
Acceptance of contractor negligence by the NRC:  http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/fact-sheets/force-on-force.html The problem once again appears to be civilian contractors and a failure of the regulator to hold accountable those who fail the security exercises. The NRC official’s comment, “We don't characterize (the results) as good or bad because the plants must adhere to our security regulations, period," said NRC spokeswoman Holly Harrington. "If there are these failures, which from time to time occur, they are fixed and the plants are told they have to meet these requirements." That is an excuse; there are repetitive failures at nuclear plants by the civilian security contractors.
“To improve the program, the NRC worked with the nuclear industry to develop a Composite Adversary Force (CAF) that is trained to standards issued by the Commission. The new adversary force has been used for all FOF exercises conducted after October 2004. NRC expects the CAF to be a significant improvement in ability, consistency, and effectiveness over the previous adversary forces. The CAF will be evaluated at each exercise using rigorous NRC performance standards issued in April 2004.”
“The CAF is managed by a company (Wackenhut) that provides much of the security for U.S. nuclear power plants and is, therefore, well-versed in the security operations of power plants. The NRC recognizes that there may be a perception of a conflict of interest where the management company cannot adequately test either the CAF or the plant security force. NRC established a clear separation of functions between the CAF and plant security force to ensure an independent, reliable, and credible mock adversary force. In addition, no member of the CAF may participate in an exercise at his or her home site.”
Utilizing contractors to conduct security testing which have security contracts at nuclear facilities is an example of the ridiculousness and the intentional skewering of security exercises.  Even so, 8-16% fails annual security tests. Special Forces units of Department of Defense should be conducting the tests. Managing security operations testing in the current fashion at nuclear reactor facilities is the epitome of management failure and corruption
QUESTION CONCERNING THE NUCLEAR FACILITY SECURITY ISSUES- Congressman Brooks, what are you going to do to improve the security systems at our nuclear power plants and high security nuclear facilities in the Tennessee River Valley area?

Congressman Brooks assured me he would conduct an inquiry and reply to the issues brought forward to him.

Update: As of August 1, 2014 Mr. Brooks has said nothing about the questions asked of him