This was Deputy Attorney General MacInnes’ response to the August 2009 letter.
Just a few items to note, maybe a question or observation to this specific document.
Notice the first question about the specific procedure and the fact that it was unsigned. I began thinking back that I have never seen a signature on any policy I’ve been given to read. In a company where management continually touts taking responsibility, could the lack of a signature be a way to have some deniability in court? Or does a set of policies and procedures exist with the current CEO’s signature on them, to show he/she has read them and agrees with them?
Here’s my opinion on the matter. When a new CEO takes over the reins of the company, he/she should have to read and understand the existing policies of that company and then sign the policy to acknowledge he knows the policy and is in agreement with its legitimacy. This very well may be what’s done, but it would sure be a good Ask Stan question for someone to ask to make sure that is indeed the case. Or you could even ask the ethics concern committee whether this is done or not. Or you can just be fat, dumb and happy and not care at all. You’d probably be in the majority then. A nice comfortable place to be. For now at least.
The next point, Mr. MacInnes asks about the letter from Dean Anderson. I have a copy of that letter which I received from the AG’s office so will go over that when it is posted.
I believe the other two items were Mr. MacInnes offering a type of professional courtesy to the GP lawyers to get their facts correct. He already knew how far I had to walk and had a Google Earth printout that I created showing parking lots and distances etc. In other words he knew that “just 500 ft” statement was incorrect.
not much on this page just communication between the two parties.
Not much here either, note the warning about Florida’s broad public record laws at the end of the email.
This post is a continuation of the previous one. We will now look at Page 3 of the 4 page document.
As you can see the company lawyers are using the presence of coal and touting it as a combustible. Now technically coal is a combustible but any sane person would realize that a firearm in a locked vehicle does not pose any danger here. Rather, at a time when groups like the Sierra Club and the EPA and others are involved in a “war on coal” they now have something written by a coal user insinuating coal is so dangerous that a loaded gun in a vehicle poses some type of threat where coal is used and stored. It should also be noted that I personally don’t normally work or park near the coal plant.
Of course, now anyone injured in an accident where coal and welding or cutting equipment are present and has a sharp lawyer could use this written response from a company lawyer to an Attorney General to prove the company was negligent in allowing or requiring an employee to cut or weld in such a dangerous environment. After all your honor “This coal is so dangerous employees cannot even have firearms in their locked vehicles” and then the lawyer might point out that this is the company’s words not his.
We’ve all heard sayings like “reap what you sow” and “live by the sword, die by the sword.” Karma or whatever you want to call it usually provides that for those that get cute with the law in trying to subvert its original intention end up getting bit in the ass when they aren’t looking from someone just as smart as them as they twist the law or your interpretation of it back against you.
In any case I remember the first time I read this letter when shown it by the Deputy Attorney General, I thought it was such a hillarious excuse for an exemption, he had to wait for me to stop laughing before we could keep talking. Much like something any parent has heard when their children try to interpret a rule to benefit themselves or get out of trouble.
If ever in court, which very well may happen someday, I would love to watch a CEO explain how keeping an employee from parking in a parking lot helps protect a facility that burns coal. I doubt no matter how hard one would try, they could come up with something a judge or jury would believe unless either or both were stacked with anti gun folks.
Now further down you see where the company lawyer says no one has to walk more than 500 ft. He’s basically now trying to say even if the employee does have to park outside the gate it’s no big deal. They only have to walk just 500 ft. As one of the few people that walk that distance. I say categorically whoever wrote that statement lied or didn’t know what they are talking about. Of course the AG office recognized that because I measured out my walking distance and provided them with google earth photos of where everything was.
Remember this paragraph we will get back to it later when I make some final observations of this four page document.
The final page has nothing really to comment on. I included it only in the interest of being fully transparent.
Shortly, there will be a following post of my observations on this document. I thought it was important to finish this before I commented on my experience with ASK Stan, since I will refer to this document in that post.
This next document was in answer to the AG’s office inquiry about Gulf Power policy on firearms. This is a multi page document.
A few comments here, notice that at the top of page 2 only Plant Smith and Crist are listed. Plant Scholz was not. Keep this in mind as we progress through these documents.
In the very next paragraph the company invokes the age old Homeland Security exemption. Next to pulling the race card this is the next general excuse big corporations and the government use as an excuse to take our rights. I think we can all remember when the EPA had a report by all plants on the conditions of their ash ponds. Southern Company and Duke asked that questions 5,6,7 and 8 be blocked from public view. And what did they use as an excuse? You got it! Homeland Security. Read it here for yourself.
The next paragraph describes Plant Smith and Plant Crist as areas where substantial homeland security operations take place. This was later rejected by the Attorney General’s office as the Generated MWs were below the limit to be classified as critical infrastructure.
Now here is how US Code defines critical infrastructure
e) Critical infrastructure defined
In this section, the term “critical infrastructure” means systems and assets, whether physical or virtual, so vital to the United States that the incapacity or destruction of such systems and assets would have a debilitating impact on security, national economic security, national public health or safety, or any combination of those matters.
That hardly defines either plant which have both been offline during hurricanes and after. Not because the plants couldn’t run but because of the transmission lines being destroyed. I think anyone with a general knowledge of the electrical grid knows that power plants going offline is most times just a blip as the load is switched via switching schemes on the electrical grid. Of course some government lawyer in an office might be swayed by this fairy tale excuse but the AG office was not swayed and did not accept this excuse.
This letter from Dean Anderson when read was noted to only be Crist Plant and not Smith and Gulf Power Attorneys tried to say Smith was like Crist so it should be assumed it had the same critical value. The critical nature at Plant Crist was a Transmission item not a power plant thing. This was shot down too by the AG office.
The next paragraph talks about Plant Smith being classified as a Tier 3 Chemical Facility. I pointed out to the AG office, the homeland security document that clearly stated guns could be searched for in states that had no laws restricting the facility from doing so. In other words state law trumps this Tier 3 stuff. Tier 3 and 4 are the less critical facilities where Tier 1 and 2 are higher.
It makes you wonder if all Southern Company Power Plants are on this list, after all most of them have the same chemicals etc. . I should hope so or some zealous Homeland security official may do some checking. If they aren’t then this could be one of those unintended consequences I was referring to.
For instance there are guidelines to follow for Tier 3 facilities many of which are not being followed. Now generally I’m not a big fan of the Federal Government butting into local issues but… There’s always a but isn’t there? But if you’re going to use something as an excuse to take away people’s rights or discriminate against them, then I feel I have a “duty to act” to make sure you follow the guidelines and bring it to the attention of the people that protect us from the “wrongdoers” as the company likes to call them sometimes.
I will cover the rest of the pages of this August 2009 document in my next post. It gets more desperate and silly as it goes, as you’ll see.
I should note one thing. In the process of trying to defend their position, the Gulf Power Attorneys sent the company policy on firearms to the Attorney General’s office. That made this specific policy a public record which I will also be publishing in this blog. I put that here only so everyone one will know I did not publish a confidential document. That’s another one of those unintended consequences I was talking about. But probably a minor one compared to what some of the others could be.
As many of you are aware I submitted a question to Ask Stan. It’s always been my policy to not try and make posts when I am angry. I’ve found the emotion is a distraction from the main points. So in a few days I will disect the answer. Of course it’s on the company website if you’d like to read it. Feel free to make any comments on here if you like.
I think it’s important to give a disclaimer here as the rest of the correspondence between Gulf Power attorneys and the Attorney General’s office proceeds. These are all public records I received directly from the AG’s office. I bear no responsibility if some zealous regulator reads these legal and official statements and as a result finds other areas to regulate not only Gulf Power but other family companies in the Southern Company fold. There are sometimes unintended consequences when you get cute with the law to win your own single point. Of course it should also be noted that Gulf never received a written exemption from all this work.
There is not much to disect in this next letter but I attached it in the interest of keeping the chain of events as intact as possible.