Proceedings of the Georgia Political Science Association 
Annual Meeting

2012 Edition


Contents and Abstracts

Links to full articles in PDF

Public Virtue–Public Vice
Jerry Herbel, Georgia College and State University

"David Is Going to Beat Goliath": An Analysis of the 2012 TSPLOST Referendum in Georgia 
James LaPlant, Valdosta State University, & Kristina LaPlant, Valdosta State University

The Atlanta BeltLine: Public Administration and Politics, a Cultural Clash—the Case of Tenth and Monroe
Gerald M. Neumark, Georgia State University

Public Virtue–Public Vice

Jerry Herbel
Georgia College and State University

Since Machiavelli, the notion of public virtue, especially as it relates to standards of individual character, has been viewed with skepticism, and contemporary ethics principles no longer enshrine reverence for virtue as among the noblest qualities of civic life. At the same time, public vice has become a robust and lively conception linked to such essential facets
of governance as betrayal of public welfare or the spirit of the laws in the broadest sense. The transformation of both concepts began in earnest with Machiavelli, who understood vice as hesitation to use any means necessary to acquire and hold power, effectively separating the concept from its classical roots. Several centuries later, David Hume presented a
utilitarian notion of public virtue that called for calculating the consequences of employing public virtue rather than appreciating virtue’s inherent value. This article seeks to reconcile the resulting mismatch between public virtue and public vice by considering the concepts together. It will make possible a way to understand public vice in meaningful contrast to public virtue by lowering the sights of the former and elevating those of the latter.


"David Is Going to Beat Goliath": An Analysis of the 2012 TSPLOST Referendum in Georgia

James LaPlant
Valdosta State University
Kristina LaPlant
Valdosta State University

This study examines the summer 2012 referendum in Georgia to create a Transportation Special Pur-pose Local Option Sales Tax (T-SPLOST). Our study of this rather unique regional transportation proposal provides insight into direct democracy and voting behavior on tax referenda by confirming the utility of the analytic scheme articulated by Sears and Citrin (1982). We initially examine the Transportation Investment Act of 2010, which gave birth to the T-SPLOST referendum. We also explore the forces and funding that lined up in support of, and opposition to, the referendum. The heart of our study employs a multivariate regression analysis to examine the demographic, economic, transportation "need" and political predictors of the percentage "yes" vote across the counties of Georgia. The average GOP presidential vote and percentage of the population age 65 and older are powerful negative predictors of electoral support for T-SPLOST. We uncover mixed results in relation to transportation "need." As expected, the percentage of unpaved roads is a statistically significant and positive predictor of electoral support for T-SPLOST. Surprisingly, as average commuter time increases, voter support for T-SPLOST decreases. Contrary to the literature and our assumptions, voter turnout in the July 31 primary was a strong positive predictor of electoral support for T-SPLOST. When the 10 counties of the Atlanta Regional Commission are removed, percentage African American emerges as a positive and statistically significant predictor of electoral support. The other findings remain the same in the truncated model with Atlanta excluded. In light of the resounding defeat of T-SPLOST, rejected by over 60 percent of the Georgia electorate, it is unlikely another regional transportation tax referendum will be presented to voters anytime soon. However, future planners should take note that in the state's largest metropolitan area, the T-SPLOST proposal attempted to satisfy commuters and advocates of mass transit, leaving both major Atlanta constituencies unsatisfied. The three regions where T-SPLOST did pass in central Georgia offer the potential to serve as “laboratories of experimentation” for how successful T-SPLOST may be in addressing transportation needs and fueling economic development.



The Atlanta BeltLine: Public Administration and Politics, a Cultural Clash—the Case of Tenth and Monroe

Gerald M. Neumark
Georgia State University

Progress on the implementation of the Atlanta BeltLine was stopped cold by two intown neighborhoods for two years. This article will argue that the animosity between these neighborhoods and Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. (ABI), the implementing agency, can be explained by the cultural anthropological concept of culture clash. In this case, the clash is between two academic disciplines. From one perspective, ABI seems to ignore many political considerations, particularly those emanating from the neighborhoods. From another point of view, it is doing exactly what it should be doing to successfully complete the project. Both points of view are mutually exclusive. One particular such disagreement, how to
develop a piece of land at Tenth and Monroe in Northeast Atlanta, serves to illustrate this clash.