Golden Sleaze Award Rep. Matt Dollar

[One in a series of the 2008 Golden Sleaze Awards. View the rest of this legislative session’s winners Wednesday in the paper or online here.]

The Watch Out for Those Shovels and Pitchforks Award

It’s a shame the video of Matt Dollar presenting his much-ridiculed billboard legislation, which would place cities and counties at the mercy of the owners of massive signs and potentially hamstring local zoning decisions, is oddly listed as “not working” on the House’s Web site. News reports said the baby-faced Republican legislator from Marietta had difficulty defending his bill to colleagues; witnesses said he gave such a cringe-worthy performance that people were waiting for a trap door to open. The bill Dollar stammered about, which thankfully failed in a House vote, was a billboard owner’s dream. Essentially, if a road had to be widened and a billboard stood in its way, cities or counties would have to recoup the owner of the roadside monstrosity for any lost revenue incurred while its loud advertisements were silenced – stretching on into the future ad infinitum. According to one estimate, a stretch of I-75 would cost Marietta and Cobb County – Dollar’s stomping grounds – up to $75 million. Who helped put Babyface in his place? The Garden Club of Georgia, the soft-spoken band of well-connected ladies who wield power as handily they do spades. Dollar’s bill worked in Florida, but thankfully, this ain’t the Sunshine State.

(Photo courtesy of the House of Representatives)