The blog.

27
Apr

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for April 27, 2015

On April 25, 1734, James Oglethorpe won reelection to Parliament despite being in Georgia.

On April 27, 1773, the British Parliament enacted the Tea Act, granting a monopoly on selling tea to the American colonies.

On April 26, 1866, the Atlanta Ladies’ Memorial Association held a Confederate memorial observance at Oakland Cemetery for the first time.

On April 25, 1996, Governor Zell Miller signed legislation making English the official language of Georgia.

Senate Bill 519, sponsored by Sen. Mike Crotts (R-Conyers) and Rep. John Mobley (D-Winder), passed the Georgia House of Representatives by an overwhelming margin (135-31). The legislation will set in place a policy regulating the use of languages other than English in most state operations.

The Augusta Chronicle has an article about the Bon Air Hotel, which has hosted U.S. Presidents William Howard Taft, War­ren G. Harding and Dwight Eisen­hower.

Georgia Politics

United States Senator David Perdue will make his debut speaking formally from the Senate well today, with an expected launch time of 6 PM following a 5:30 vote. You can watch his debut on C-SPAN2 or online here.Continue Reading..

27
Apr

Adoptable Georgia Dogs for April 27, 2015

Xena

Xena is an adult female Hound who is available for adoption from the Humane Society’s Mountain Shelter in Blairsville, GA.

Coral

Coral is a young female Hound puppy who is available for adoption from the Humane Society’s Mountain Shelter in Blairsville, GA.

Clover

Clover is a young female Hound puppy who is available for adoption from the Humane Society’s Mountain Shelter in Blairsville, GA.

Daisy

Daisy is an adult female Hound who is available for adoption from the Humane Society’s Mountain Shelter in Blairsville, GA.

26
Apr

Rule of law must trump political agendas for liberty to thrive | Mobile Augusta

We often think of the Constitution as protecting the rights of the people, but that document also provides the foundation for our liberty by securing a structure of government.

Over the past six years we have seen President Obama govern with seemingly total disrespect for the Constitution, and the roles of the states and the legislative branch. What he cannot achieve legislatively, he accomplishes through unilateral action without regard for Congress or the states.

While this may be the most expeditious way to achieve his agenda, it leads to lawlessness and flies in the face of the constitutional principles of the rule of law, federalism and separation of powers upon which our democracy is built.

STATE ATTORNEYS GENERAL are the last line of defense against the burdensome, and oftentimes unconstitutional, policies of the Obama administration. We have banded together time and time again to protect our states and constituents from the unconstitutional executive overreach of the federal government. Currently we are engaged in two high-stakes challenges to what we believe are unlawful actions by the Obama administration.

The first case is a direct challenge by a coalition of more than half of our states to the president’s proposed revision of the nation’s immigration laws by regulatory action. The Department of Homeland Security directive issued last fall usurped the power of Congress to make and change laws. That rule not only puts on hold deportations of 4 million undocumented immigrants, but also grants affirmative rights that Congress has not debated or passed.

As the complaint itself states, the lawsuit is not about immigration. It is about the rule of law. We are a nation proudly strengthened by immigrants, and everyone agrees that immigration reform is sorely needed. But we are also a nation of laws. The president simply does not have the authority to bypass Congress and single-handedly change the law. As the president himself recognized on April 20, 2011, “I can’t solve this problem by myself. … We’re going to have to change the laws in Congress… .”

On Feb. 16, federal Judge Andrew Hanen granted the injunction sought by the states to block the implementation of the president’s directive, saying “the public interest factor that weighs the heaviest is ensuring the actions of the Executive Branch … comply with this country’s laws and its Constitution.”

via Rule of law must trump political agendas for liberty to thrive | Mobile Augusta.

25
Apr

Jeb Bush’s Social Media Casualty Creates an App to Save Other People From His Fate – Bloomberg Politics

Ethan Czahor never even got to Miami. In February, the 31-year old developer became the chief technology officer for Jeb Bush’s presidential exploratory committee. He was welcomed with a Time magazine exclusive, reporting on the cute code he’d created to promote a Bush speech, and how he’d cut his teeth on Hipster.com.

Hours later, Czahor got a request for comment on his old tweets. He ignored it–he’d deleted some of them, anyway. “I wasn’t hired to do any public social media outreach or any of that,” he remembered last week in a conversation with Bloomberg. “It was a purely technical position.”

Czahor’s benign neglect failed to stop Andrew Kaczynski, a Buzzfeed reporter who toils in the social media salt mines, from finding 45 deleted tweets. They were mostly from 2009 and 2010, and mostly jokes.

One day later, after the Huffington Post dug up Czahor’s old blog posts from his days as a campus conservative, he resigned. He declined media interviews, including one from Bloomberg. Czahor only returned, this month, when he had a product designed to save other millennials from his fate. Clear, an app that works as an add-on to Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, is meant to “make sure situations like mine never happen to anyone ever again.”

via Jeb Bush’s Social Media Casualty Creates an App to Save Other People From His Fate – Bloomberg Politics.

25
Apr

Rome’s city manager answers questions on Facebook – Rome News-Tribune: Local

Rome’s city manager made the most out of his lunch hour Thursday without leaving City Hall.

Sammy Rich took to the Internet and answered questions posted by people on the city’s Facebook page.

Topics were varied, but a few focused on the city’s role in the new joint recreation agreement and what online services the city offers.

via Rome’s city manager answers questions on Facebook – Rome News-Tribune: Local.

25
Apr

DeKalb News: Interim CEO Lee May Calls for Investigation

Statement: Interim CEO Lee May Calls for Investigation

“When I assumed the position as Interim CEO for DeKalb County in July 2013, my number one priority was to restore the peoples’ trust in their government.  My commitment to reform our government and root out any corruption or malfeasance is firm and unwavering.

That is why I retained former Attorney General Mike Bowers and Richard Hyde to provide top to bottom systematic review of DeKalb County Government; recommend specific ways to make DeKalb County Government more transparent, efficient and ethical; and expose any corruption of malfeasance in the course of the investigation and findings.Continue Reading..

24
Apr

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for April 24, 2015

The Library of Congress was founded on April 24, 18000 and is the largest library in the world today.

Jack Kingston was born on April 24, 1955. He was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives in 1984 and served four terms and in 1992 was elected to the United States Congress.

“Georgia On My Mind” became the official state song on April 24, 1979, when Governor George Busbee signed legislation designating it.

IBM introduced the Personal Computer Model 5150 on April 24, 1981, though some authorities date the introduction to April 12. It sported an Intel 8088 processor at 4.77 Mhz, a whopping 16k of RAM, which was expandable to 256k, and a clicky keyboard. The initial price tag was $1565, equivalent to more than $4000 today.


Elections

The City of Locust Grove, Georgia has called a Special Election to fill the City Council seat vacated by the death of City Council Member James Rosser.

The special election will be held on June 16.

Qualifying for the special election shall be held at the Locust Grove City Hall, 3644 Hwy. 42, Locust Grove, Georgia, beginning at 8:30 a.m. April 27 and ending at 12:30 p.m. April 29. Each candidate shall file a notice of candidacy in the office of the city clerk of the city of Locust Grove and must meet the qualifications of the charter of the city of Locust Grove, as well as all applicable state and constitutional laws.

Pursuant to O.C.G.A. §21-2-131 (a)(1), the qualifying fee shall be three percent of the total gross salary of that office paid the preceding calendar year. The qualifying fee for councilmember is $252.

Several of the folks who are mulling a run for Mayor of Macon-Bibb in 2016 could wear t-shirts that say, “I lost an election to Robert Reichert and all I got was this lousy t-shirt.”Continue Reading..

24
Apr

Adoptable Georgia Dogs for April 24, 2015

Adopting a dog from Walton County is one of the best bargains available – for $40, you get your new best friend, complete with vaccinations, deworming, and discounted spay/neuter from a local vet. If you’re not near Walton and you adopt one of these puppies, we can help you find low-cost spay/neuter near your home.

Here’s the story of how these three puppies ended up at the Walton County shelter.

“[Walton County Animal Control] picked up three puppies off of Highway 81 going toward Oxford. I was the one who called them in and stayed with them until the officer came. Hannah from Monroe Animal Hospital stopped to help as well. I wanted to give you a little background. When we got there, only one of the males would approach us. We were able to get a leash on him easily, but other two were too skittish. When they saw your officer take him to the truck, they darted into a drainage pipe that they had obviously been living in. We were able to coax one out and your officer got him but the third female was very frightened. She hid in the drainage pipe for over an hour. When she saw an opening, she darted out and took off running. We were able to surround her and get a leash around her and your officer came back and picked her up. All three were very skittish and hard to approach, but after they were caught they did very well and let everyone pet them.”  All three are very sweet and are enjoying their kennel and free food with wagging tails!

Axel

Axel is a 4-month old, 15-20 pound yellow male mixed-breed puppy who is available for adoption from Walton County Animal Control in Monroe, GA.

Apollo

Apollo is a 4-month old, 15-20 pound yellow male mixed-breed puppy who is available for adoption from Walton County Animal Control in Monroe, GA.

Buttercup

Buttercup is a 4-month old, 15-20 pound yellow female mixed-breed puppy who is available for adoption from Walton County Animal Control in Monroe, GA.

FixGeorgiaPetsLogo

Fix Georgia Pets is a 501(c)(3) that raises money for grants to provide free or low-cost spay/neuter services and educate Georgians about the need to fix their dogs and cats.

Please consider making an online donation to FixGeorgiaPets.org

23
Apr

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for April 23, 2015

William Shakespeare was born April 23, 1564 and died April 23, 1616.

Lucius D. Clay was born in Marietta, Georgia on April 23, 1898, the son of Georgia U.S. Senator Alexander Stephens Clay, who served in the Senate from 1896 until his death in 1910. Clay graduated West Point in 1915 and eventually rose to serve as Supreme Allied Commander Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Deputy for Military Government. During the Berlin Airlift, Clay helped keep Allied-occupied West Berlin supplied with food for almost a year after Soviet forces blockaded all land routes into the city.

Hank Aaron his his first home run in major league baseball on April 23, 1954, playing for the Milwaukee Braves against the St. Louis Cardinals.

New Coke was announced on April 23, 1985.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Save the Date: May 26, 2015 from 5-8 PM

The Walton County Republican Party will hold its annual barbecue, hosted by Chairman Roy Roberts at the Nunnally Farm at 74 Nunnally Farm Rd. Between Walnut Grove and Monroe just off HWY 138. This is the best political event of the year.

Confirmed attendees: Senator Isakson, Gov. Deal, Sec. of State Brian Kemp, Ag. Com Gary Black, Attorney General Sam Olens, Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens, Labor Commissioner Mark Butler, Public Service Commissioner Tim Echols, Congressman Jody Hice, and Georgia Republican Party Chairman John Padgett.

Tickets this year will be $15.00 or a table of 9 for $180.00


From Senator Charlie Bethel (R-Dalton) and Anna Bullard, mother of Ava, we learned that Governor Deal will sign Ava’s Law, requiring insurance coverage for children with Austism age 6 and younger. The bill signing will be held Thursday, April 29 at 11:30 AM at the Georgia State Capitol.
Georgia Unfiltered writes that Rafer Johnson will run in 2016 for the State House District 62 seat currently held by Ladawn Blackett Jones, who announced previously she will not seek reelection.

Whatever the top court ultimately decides, Olens said he is prepared with his advice to those parties the decision affects, since it will become the law of the land.

“We’re going to encourage all of those agencies that have a policy role that they immediately follow the law,” he said.

Olens, who defended Georgia’s own gay-marriage ban in a federal case that is still pending, said that he merely represents state government in court and doesn’t try to make policy himself.

“I cringe just as much when an attorney general seeks to defy the law as when anyone else does it,” he said. “When the United States Supreme Court rules, it’s not time for criticism, it’s not time for banter. It’s time for the lawyer to play lawyer and to assure that everyone follows that law.”

On the related issue of religious-liberty legislation that caused much controversy during this year’s legislative session, Olens said it was possible to draft a bill that would protect an individual’s religious beliefs without opening the door to discrimination. However, he declined to say how the wording would read.

Toll lanes on I-85 in Gwinnett County are likely to be extended further out to Hamilton Mill Rd exit.

[Georgia Department of Transportation Commissioner Russell] McMurry came to Gwinnett on Wednesday to address the county’s Chamber of Commerce about recently passed legislation that increases gas taxes and reworks the state’s new funding model for transportation projects. After the presentation, he talked with Daily Post about the state’s plans for more toll lanes.The toll lanes project will be underway before the new funding model goes into affect, but the lanes illustrate the one type of work state leaders want to accomplish with new revenue streams.

The decision pending before the state transportation board in May will be the selection of a company to design and build the lanes. The new lanes will be managed access lanes, with designated entry and exit points, that will be built in an existing median. It is similar to toll lanes under construction in Henry County.

The new toll lanes will be accompanied by new free-to-use lanes which will be built between Ga. Highway 20 and Gravel Springs Road, McMurry said.

The Marietta Daily Journal writes that Secretary of State Brian Kemp’s “SEC Primary” will help bring presidential contenders to the Peach State.

“Things are coming together fairly well,” Kemp said at a Madison Forum luncheon in Marietta on Monday. “Regardless of what happens, we have gotten some great press about our SEC primary idea. The sole reason I came up with this idea is to try to have more of us go first. That will give us a little more say (in the election). The problem in the past is that the race would already be over when it got to us, or we’re on the same day as New York and California and nobody pays attention to us.”

Georgia captured a bit of that attention during the 2012 campaign, when surprise front-runner Newt Gingrich, hot on the tail of a win in the South Carolina primary, won our state’s primary a week later.

But Kemp’s proposal would put Georgia and the other participants on the minds of the candidates and the media long before primary week, and likely would result in multiple trips by most of them to the Peach State in the months leading up to voting day. That would translate not just to more exposure for our state, and more influence, but also more spending here by the various campaigns and those covering them.

“There is a great opportunity. I don’t think the candidates can ignore us,” Kemp said. “They’re going to know that the South marks the first … at least on the Republican side. Regardless, we’ve already seen more candidates, more action in Georgia as of now than we did in any cycle that I can remember. I think that bodes well for us. We’re going to continue to see candidates have to pay attention to the South.”

Ann Coulter spoke to a sold-out house at Kennesaw State University last night.

One questioner from the audience asked Coulter about the possibility of the U.S. becoming more socialist in the next five to 10 years if a Democrat was elected to the presidency.

Coulter said it wasn’t a matter of a Democrat being elected, but existing U.S. immigration policy.

“I mean, our legal immigration is amnesty on the installment plan,” she said.

If the U.S. had the same demographics now that it did in 1980, Mitt Romney would have won the presidency by a larger landslide than Ronald Reagan did, she said.

“Democrats couldn’t win elections any more so they brought in new voters,” Coulter explained. “And I don’t understand how my party, the Republican Party, got on the wrong side of the question: ‘Should Democrats be allowed to establish their political hegemony for all time?’ But apparently we did.”

More than 40 million new voters have been brought into the U.S., Coulter said.

“And by definition any immigrant who comes to America makes America a more statist, less free place,” she said.

Coulter blasted presidential hopeful Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida), who she said ran as “the tea party savior” in Florida on a ticket opposing a pathway to citizenship.

“That’s a code word for amnesty,” Coulter explained. “And then he got to Washington and spent three years pushing nothing but amnesty. And lying about his bill going around saying, ‘No, we have to have enforcement first, enforcement first.’”

Governor Deal spoke to a lunch in Marietta, where he touted Georgia’s economy.

Deal said he was pleased his plan for the state to take over failing public schools in Georgia and place them in an “Opportunity School District” was approved by the legislature. The state would have the authority to take over up to 20 schools each year if they score below a 60 on the College and Career Performance Index for three straight years.

Deal said the plan has to be implemented with a constitutional amendment because of a Georgia Supreme Court decision, “as opposed to other states like Louisiana and Tennessee who can simply do it statutorily.”

Deal said if approved by voters when it is placed on the ballot in November 2016, the Opportunity School District will show Georgia is dedicated to improving education.

“I think it’s time we recognize that there is a direct link between failing schools, school dropouts and those dropouts being a menace to your community because they have no marketable skills,” Deal said. “That’s why 70 percent of our inmates in our state prison system are high school dropouts. There is a direct correlation, and it’s time we start doing something about it.”

The General Assembly this year passed a bill increasing funding to the Georgia Department of Transportation by about $900 million this year, which Deal called a “major achievement.”

“I know that most of you understand that we have not kept pace with the demands that have been placed on our infrastructure,” Deal said. “This will allow us the opportunity to do that. I think it is a responsible thing to do.”

“Are there those who will not like it because they claim it’s a tax increase? That is true. That has already happened … but remember, we have not increased excise tax on gasoline since 1977 or somewhere like that,” Deal said. “It’s been a very, very long period of time, and many things in terms of cost of construction and all the other things that are associated with maintaining and especially developing and improving your transportation system has become even more expensive as time goes by.”

After he concluded his remarks, Deal was asked to speak on the controversial religious liberty bills that failed to become law during this year’s legislative session. The governor said the state should take care to avoid the situations in states that passed similar laws this year, where fears that the bills could result in discrimination caused a backlash.

“I don’t think we want the spectacle that occurred in Indiana,” he said. “I don’t think we want to go through what Arkansas went through either. I think there should be some way that we can reconcile that.”

“I think there are circumstances, over which none of us have any real control, that have distorted the arguments surrounding (the bills),” Deal said. “I am hopeful that we can dispel that and deal with it in a meaningful and forthright manner.”

Judge Tilman Self said he will dismiss a lawsuit by the Crawford County Coroner and entertain a motion by the defendants to recover attorney fees.

Former Milledgeville Mayor Richard Bentley is facing a dozen charges alleging insurance fraud.

Earlier this week, the Public Defender Standards Council settled a lawsuit by the Southern Center for Human Rights.

Lawyers with the Southern Center for Human Rights filed a lawsuit in January 2014 against the four-county Cordele Judicial Circuit and other defendants. Among the problems they cited were juvenile defendants often appearing without a lawyer or represented by lawyers who met with them only briefly, public defenders unable to spend more than a few minutes per adult case, and chronic underfunding and understaffing.

The Southern Center says the agreement with the Georgia Public Defender Standards Council, its director, the Cordele Circuit public defender and the circuit’s four county governments was filed Monday. If it is approved by a Fulton County Superior Court judge, it will go into effect July 1 and will run for three years.

According to the Southern Center, the remedies proposed in the settlement include the following:

— Children will be represented by a lawyer specializing in juvenile law and childhood and adolescent development.

— People arrested in the circuit will see a lawyer within days.

— The circuit public defender’s office will go from two assistant public defenders to four and from one investigator to two.

— Every public defender will attend annual training to keep abreast of developments in criminal and juvenile defense.

Emory University School of Law is creating a John Lewis Chair in Civil Rights and Social Justice, which will be endowed by $500,000 the University will raise to fund it.

A Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax in Floyd County is bringing in more money than expected for the County, along with the cities of Rome and Cave Spring.

The Bryan County Development Authority was briefed on a proposed extension of the Palmetto Pipeline.

About 20 attendees raised pointed questions about several key issues at the meeting at the Bryan County Sheriff’s Office complex near Richmond Hill. Jimmy Burnsed, chairman of the Bryan County Commission, began with one that has been a major talking point.

“Will you use eminent domain, or do you think you will be able to accomplish everything without eminent domain? …That is the biggest issue I heard from folks last night,” Burnsed said.

“Our goal is to not use it all,” Kinder Morgan representative Allen Fore said. “We are working with individual landowners now. A good indication of the reception is that over 90 percent of people approached have granted Kinder Morgan access to survey their property.”

Earlier in the week, hundreds showed up to a Georgia Department of Transportation meeting to discuss the pipeline extension.

The Houston-based energy company Kinder Morgan wants to build the 360-mile pipeline to carry oil and gas through South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. As a first step, the Georgia Department of Transportation is considering a request for a certificate that would allow the company to use eminent domain to acquire land.

Nancy Cunningham of Savannah was among roughly 500 people who filled the Richmond Hill City Center.

“The Kinder Morgan pipeline does not benefit anyone in Georgia,” she said. “It is not convenient. It is not necessary. We don’t need it, we don’t want it, and we’re not gonna have it.”

Dozens of other opponents spoke of concerns about environmental damage and the risk of an oil spill. A representative of a union that represents pipeline construction workers stood up to defend the plan.

This weekend, the United Daughters of the Confederacy Valdosta Chapter will observe Confederate Memorial Day.

Lawsuits by elected officials against the City of Columbus government have cost nearly a half-million dollars in legal fees so far, according to the Ledger-Enquirer.

Sheriff John Darr, Clerk of Superior Court Linda Pierce, Marshal Greg Countryman and Clerk of Municipal Court Vivian Creighton-Bishop are suing the city because they say their budgets are not sufficient to cover all of their mandated duties.

Stone Mountain Superior Court Judge Hilton Fuller, appointed to hear the case because of conflicts of interest with Muscogee Superior Court judges, is currently studying preliminary motions in the cases, including motions filed by the city asking him to dismiss the cases.

Fay presented the tally of attorney fees so far incurred by the city in the cases, which total $478,600. Broken down, the suit filed by Pierce has cost the city about $217,755. The suit filed by Darr has cost about $111,600 and the suit filed jointly by Countryman and Creighton-Bishop has cost a little over

23
Apr

Adoptable Georgia Dogs for April 23, 2015

Helena

Helena is a gorgeous 6 year old Irish Setter mix girl and weighs only 33 pounds. Just a perfect size for any type home. She sits so very quietly in her run watching all the action going on around her. Helena is a well mannered girl and aims to please, she sits and stays when she is told and walks very well on a leash, no pulling at all. Her coat is soft and silky. She came to the shelter as a stray with ID on 04/15 and her family chose not to come for her when they were contacted. She is current on her vaccines and micro-chipped. She will be spayed and tested for heart worms upon adoption. She is waiting for you in run 849 and her ID# is 573805.

Helena is available for adoption from the Cobb County Animal Shelter in Marietta, GA. When calling the shelter about a cat or dog, please use THE ID NUMBER, the names are oftentimes made up by volunteers.

Sabrina2

Sabrina is a precious 6 month old, 33 pound Pointer mix baby girl. She lost her way and has found herself in a bad situation, stuck in a very loud and scary place. Her family taught her so much before she got lost but they did not think to come looking for her in the shelter. She knows sit, stay and lay down on command. She walks nicely on the leash and would love to go on daily walks or runs. Sabrina has been spayed, tested negative for heart worms and will be micro-chipped when adopted. She is current on vaccines. Sabrina would like so much to get out of the shelter into a home of her very own with a nice soft bed and lots of toys to play with. She is waiting in run 303 and her ID# is 573803.

Sabrina is available for adoption from the Cobb County Animal Shelter in Marietta, GA. When calling the shelter about a cat or dog, please use THE ID NUMBER, the names are oftentimes made up by volunteers.

Romeo

Romeo is a sweet young male Chihuahua mix. And they both are well behaved and know to sit. Romeo was still recovering from his neuter surgery so a little out of it for his photo session. Romeo and Juliet arrived at the shelter as strays on 4/16/15 and sadly no one came to find them. Romeo is up to date on shots, now neutered, heartworm tested negative and will be microchipped when adopted. His ID is 573658, he is in cage 904 in the Puppy Room with Juleit, he’s 1 1/2 years old and weighs 12 lbs. Come by soon to meet these little sweeties!

Romeo is available for adoption from the Cobb County Animal Shelter in Marietta, GA. When calling the shelter about a cat or dog, please use THE ID NUMBER, the names are oftentimes made up by volunteers.

Juliet

Juliet is a sweet young female Chihuahua who was found stray with Romeo. Her ID is 573659, she is in cage 904 in the Puppy Room with Romeo, she’s 1 1/2 years old and weighs 11 lbs.

Juliet is available for adoption from the Cobb County Animal Shelter in Marietta, GA. When calling the shelter about a cat or dog, please use THE ID NUMBER, the names are oftentimes made up by volunteers.