The blog.

27
May

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for May 27, 2014

On May 27, 1813, Thomas Jefferson wrote a letter to John Adams to let Adams know of the death of a mutual friend.

On May 27, 1863, Chief Justice Roger Taney, sitting as a federal district court judge, issued a decision in Ex parte Merryman, which challenged President Abraham Lincoln’s suspension of the right of habeas corpus. Lincoln ignored the ruling.

Today is the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Pickett’s Mill in Paulding County, Georgia, where Sherman’s forces attacked Johnston’s Confederates on May 27, 1864. Among the combatants on the Union side was Ambrose Bierce, who would later write The Crime at Pickett’s Mill. On Saturday, May 31, 2014, the battle will be reenacted at Pickett’s Mill Historic Battlefield Site.

On May 27, 1864, the Federal Army, having been stopped in its advance on Atlanta two days earlier by the Battle of New Hope Church, attempted to outflank the Confederate position. Some 14,000 Federal troops were selected for the task, and General Howard was given command. After a five-hour march, Howard’s force reached the vicinity of Pickett’s Mill and prepared to attack. Waiting were 10,000 Confederate troops under the command of General Cleburne.

The Federal assault began at 5 p.m. and continued into the night. Daybreak found the Confederates still in possession of the field. The Federals had lost 1,600 men compared to the Confederate loss of 500. The Confederate victory resulted in a one-week delay of the Federal advance on Atlanta.

Here are some photos of the battlefield and links to additional material.

On May 27, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt said the United States was in an unlimited national emergency and laid out conditions under which Germany’s expansionism would constitute an attack on the United States.

On May 27, 1976, former Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter blasted the “Stop Carter” movement in a speech in Cincinnati.

Actor Christopher Reeves was thrown from his horse in an equestrian competition in Culpepper, Virginia on May 27, 1995, becoming quadraplegic.

One year ago, a poll by Rasmussen showed Democrat Michelle Nunn beating both Jack Kingston and David Perdue in a General Election matchup and Democrat Jason Carter beating Gov. Deal.

Georgia Politics

John Kasich at Fulton GOP

Ohio Governor John Kasich spoke yesterday to the Fulton County Republican Party. I attended and had planned to attend the Walton GOP Barbecue last night, but my 15-year old dog was injured and had to be taken to the animal hospital. She’s recovering well, but with her age, I thought she should be taken care of immediately.

I’ve been a follower of Gov. Kasich for a number of years, having (mis)spent part of my youth in the Buckeye State. Generally speaking, when it comes to the Presidential race, I think a Governor brings a lot of experience that makes them better candidates and ultimately, better Presidents.

Here are my three takeaways from Kasich’s speech.

First, he’s not yet in fulltime Presidential campaign mode. His speech wasn’t scripted to the extent that we saw from the GOP candidates at the Convention. It was good, but it didn’t bear the hallmarks of a much-rehearsed stump speech. As a Governor and long-time Congressman, he’s good on the stump, but this wasn’t the processed product of a slew of political consultants.

Second, he’s genuinely funny. Not just prepared laugh lines, but impromptu riffs on things like his daughter’s first campaign trail trip outside Ohio. It was like he had an 80s sitcom laugh track.

Third, if you ask him a tough question, he doesn’t flinch. Sixth District Chair Michael Fitzgerald asked about Kasich’s expansion of Medicaid, and whether it’s a sustainable model. Obviously, expanding Medicaid goes counter to the policy preferences of Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal and most conservatives here. Kasich’s response, in part:

Here’s how it works, we are bringing back $14 billion the first two, three, four years. The federal government just sends our money back, it’s our money, and then the next year the [state] match is like 10%. On my normal Medicaid program, the [state] match is like, don’t hold me to the numbers, 40%, so it’s absolutely affordable.

And what we’re doing with it, we are reducing some of our prison population. Think about this, if I don’t treat the mentally ill, they come out and guess where they end up? Back in. If I don’t treat the drug-addicted, guess where they end up. Back in. At $22,500 a year. Now, if I don’t provide some kind of healthcare for the working poor, where do we see them? The emergency room. Are they healthier or sicker? We are now seeing emergency room visits decline.

And I understand that there are people that are concerned about this, but look, I was the Chairman of the Budget Committee when we balanced the federal budget. I took Ohio from an $8 billion hole to a $2 billion surplus. If the federal government fools around and changes the formula, I told the people of the state we’ll get out of it, because I’m not going to hamstring us…. I’m not going to let my budget get put into the hole, or even on the precipice of going into the hole.

Yesterday, Kasich made a lot of ground with the hundred or so people at the Fulton GOP lunch, and probably did so at the Walton GOP. People I talked to ranged from, “I liked what I heard and I’m going to look at his record,” to gushing fanboys.

I’ve posted audio from the speech online here, for your listening enjoyment.

Leading up to the 2000 Presidential Election, Kasich formed an exploratory committee but had dropped out by this point, exiting the race due to lagging fundraising and before the Iowa straw poll. I don’t know why he failed to catch on then. As a Governor and as a former Congressman, he has a stronger resume than any of the other candidates. What I thought might be a failure of charisma was proven wrong yesterday.

Should John Kasich make the decision to run for President, his first three challenges are fundraising, fundraising, and fundraising. His next challenge is to break the top ten among announced or likely candidates in order to be included in the August 6th GOP Presidential Debate in Cleveland.

One presence at the luncheon that I haven’t seen elsewhere is Libby Kingston, whose husband Jack served with Kasich in Congress. Now that I think of it, Kasich sounds a good bit like Jack Kingston.

If Kasich can make a real run of it, he’s a formidable candidate, but the biggest political impact is that he potentially puts Ohio in play. No Republican has ever won the presidency without carrying Ohio.

Bruce Thompson might be Batman

Senator Bruce Thompson’s initials are BAT, which should have clued me in that he might actually be Batman. But this past weekend, he was seen in action, apparently helping his local police stop a bad guy.

Even before this, he was on my list of top ten Georgia politicians to not get into a physical confrontation with. His background as a scholarship wrestler in college and an Army tank commander make him one of the legislators least likely to be a pushover.

Bibb County Board of Education getting nasty?

Last week, two members of the Bibb County Board of Education got confrontational in a meeting, according to the Macon Telegraph.

Tom Hudson and Lester Miller had a heated discussion over what Hudson called “very low minority participation” when it comes to awarding service contracts to businesses.

Miller is chairman of a review committee created to look at reworking board policy to include more minority businesses.

“We do have inadequate representation, but we’ve done everything we can do,” Miller said, adding that he has reached out to local minority business owners but they haven’t shown up to meetings or responded.

“You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink,” he said.

“I’m sick and tired of awarding contracts not representative of the school district’s population,” Hudson said, adding that just 1 percent of service contracts are awarded to minority businesses.

Responding to Miller’s complaints, Hudson told The Telegraph it was “a bunch of bull.” He said he doesn’t like to conduct school board business over email and that Miller was making excuses.

That “you can lead a horse to water” remark sparked outrage among some in the community.

Controversy is brewing over what some call a small number of minority vendors getting contracts with the Bibb County School District.

This time, that controversy comes with a twist: a flier asking minority business owners to demand an apology from one of the board members, among other things.

The flier from the Concerned Clergy of Middle Georgia asks minority business owners to demand a retraction and apology from Bibb County School Board Member Lester Miller for what they call insulting statements he made at Thursday night’s school board meeting and to the Macon Telegraph.

It says that “minority business owners are not horses.”

The flier also calls for Miller to be replaced as chair of the review committee designed to increase minority participation.

27
May

Adoptable Georgia Dogs for May 27, 2015

The following dogs are available for adoption from Girard Life Saver in Burke County, Georgia, a county the size of Rhode Island. This small, rural shelter has had a large influx from a hoarding case and is facing a shortage of dog food. Please consider making an online donation via their website.

I’ve created an Amazon wish list with the brand of dog food if you’d like to have a sack of dog food delivered directly to Girard Lifesaver, with the bonus of Amazon’s secure transaction processing.

Click here to send a bag of dog food.

We don’t get anything if you use that Amazon link above, we just thought it would be convenient.

Pilgrim

Pilgrim is a Clumber Spaniel mix, a beautiful big boy with long wavy hair. He was found in deplorable condition and was so malnourished that his front paw turned under when he walked. He wore a brace and was nourished back to health. He had major hair loss and was afraid of everyone and everything. He has come a long way and is looking for his new forever home and family. Pilgrim would do best in a country setting with plenty of room to run and play.; He loves to fetch and will make a great lifelong companion to the right home. If interested in meeting Pilgrim please contact Samantha at (706) 871-8273. or e-mail for a pre-adoption application. [email protected]

Pilgrim is available for adoption from Girard LifeSaver in Girard, GA.
Lightning

Lightning is a a one and a half year old Whippet/Labrador Retriever mix who has already been neutered. He is an awesome boy who loves attention and he’s looking and anxiously waiting for his very own home and family. Lightning would make the perfect companion and running partner for a runner or active person who loves the outdoors. He is scared of thunder and lightning and quickly retreats to his “safe place” when he hears the first rumble. (But so do I) He is a beautiful brindle with red, brown and white in his coloring. He’s short haired and sheds very little. If you would like to meet our Lightning please contact his foster for a pre-adopt application at [email protected] Our boy has waited long enough and says: “I’m a good boy and I would love to be your best friend!’

Lightning is available for adoption from Girard LifeSaver in Girard, GA.
Trail

Trail is a little Papillon/Chihuahua mix who was found at a church in the middle of nowhere with lots of trails through the woods. There were owls and coyotes in the woods that night. He weighs only four lbs. and was so frightened. Trail has now become a well adjusted little guy and gets along with all the dogs and cats here but he DOES have “Little Man Syndrome”. He thinks he is as big as a Rottweiler or pit bull and does not hesitate to show it to the larger dogs! For this reason, we are searching for the perfect environment and home for little Trail Blazer. We would like for him to have a home knowledgeable of small breeds and how easily they can get hurt by larger dogs especially when he decides to show his little attitude toward them. Preferably a home with another small female would be ideal or as an only dog.

Trail is available for adoption from Girard LifeSaver in Girard, GA.

26
May

Ohio Governor John Kasich at the Fulton County Republican Party

John Kasich at Fulton GOP

26
May

Southern GOP ‘Super Tuesday’ could be a 2016 game-changer | MSNBC

If Southern Republican leaders get their way, the GOP electoral landscape could be radically altered in 2016 by moving up the primary dates for several southern states, creating a regional super primary to rival early voting states like Iowa and New Hampshire. The Southern “Super Tuesday” – nicknamed the “SEC Primary” after the Southeastern Conference in college athletics – would significantly increase the political clout of southern voters, creating a lifeline for the party’s more conservative candidates and a major roadblock for the Republican establishment.

Five of the largest Southern states – Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia – have already committed to participate, following a Republican National Committee rule change that allowed states to vote in caucuses or primaries as early as March 1, 2016. North Carolina’s date is up in the air and Louisiana will hold its primary on March 5.

[T]hese rules in combination with an SEC Primary could make it harder to ignore those “less well-known” conservative candidates, who would get to hang on longer and cobble together delegates for the nomination.

As a result, we could actually see four different winners emerge from each of those early contests, giving conservative candidates an advantage on Super Tuesday and Southern voters a strong say in who walks into Cleveland with an edge, if not the nomination itself.

Suddenly, the impact of an SEC Primary is real, and what it means for the large mix of GOP presidential contenders not insignificant.

With a six- or seven-state SEC Primary, several conservative candidates could find themselves well positioned to make a more-than-credible run for the nomination. Social conservative and evangelical voters could hand former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee more than a couple of notable wins (he performed well in 2008 caucus contests and won the Georgia primary). Social conservatives could also opt for longshot Dr. Ben Carson, who surprisingly tied for first place with Huckabee in a recent [] poll of Georgia GOP voters.

via Southern GOP ‘Super Tuesday’ could be a 2016 game-changer | MSNBC.

26
May

Update: Asa Hutchinson Details Special Session Agenda | Arkansas Business News | ArkansasBusiness.com

A special legislative session focusing on economic development incentives also will include an effort to move up Arkansas’ primary, a reorganization of some agencies and a change in the state’s driving while intoxicated law, Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Wednesday.

Hutchinson is backing a proposal to move Arkansas’ primary from May to March, part of an effort to create a regional presidential nominating contest among southeastern states that supporters have dubbed the “SEC primary.” Unlike a bill that stalled in the Legislature earlier this year, the proposal would move up all of Arkansas’ primaries and not just the presidential contest.

The proposal also would move next year’s legislative session from February to April. Hutchinson spokesman J.R. Davis said the governor is backing the move because it would be revenue-neutral compared to splitting the primaries.

 

via Update: Asa Hutchinson Details Special Session Agenda | Arkansas Business News | ArkansasBusiness.com.

26
May

Adoptable Georgia Dogs for May 26, 2015

Adidas

Adidas (above) and his brother Nike are flat-coated retriever brothers who came in together as strays. Adidas is about 3 years old and weighs 60 pounds. Unfortunately both dogs did test positive for heartworms so they will need to be treated for those as soon as possible. Adidas’s ID # is 574519 and they can be found together in cage 803. They are available for adoption from the Cobb County Animal Shelter.

AdidasNike

Nike

Nike is about 2 years old and weighs 55 lbs. The brothers are definitely a little freaked out to be locked up in a cage right now. They bark and get anxious, however once outside they totally relax and are very sweet dogs. They both sit and stay and walk easy on a leash. They are available for adoption from the Cobb County Animal Shelter in Marietta, GA.

Marley

Marley is a female Great Pyrenees who is about 5 years old and weighs 92 lbs. She’s a big girl with a big heart! She knows sit and stay and does know how to walk on a leash although will pull you at first until she understands that you are going for a walk and settles down a bit. She is current on her vaccines and micro chipped. Upon adoption she will be spayed and heartworm tested. Marley’s ID # is 574485 and she is staying in cage 831 at the shelter. Come meet this lovely lady of snow white fur and beauty that shines from the inside out!

Marley is available for adoption from the Cobb County Animal Shelter in Marietta, GA.

Rhianna

Rhianna is a real sweetheart and a beauty too! She is is a Labrador Retriever mix puppy just 6 months old and currently weighs 33 lbs. She will sit, stay and lay down when asked and walks well on a leash (pretty advanced for a 6 month old huh!). She is an exceptionally smart puppy with a very sweet personality. She really is a well rounded dog sure to make anyone super proud and happy to have her as their own. Rhianna is current on her vaccines and upon adoption will be spayed, heartworm tested and micro chipped.

Rhianna is available for adoption from the Cobb County Animal Shelter in Marietta, GA.

26
May

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for May 26, 2015

Huckabee Georgia Interview GaPundit

John Hancock was elected President of the Second Continental Congress on May 24, 1775.

The Constitutional Convention of 1787 convened at Independence Hall in Philadelphia on May 25, 1787.

With George Washington presiding, the Constitutional Convention formally convenes on this day in 1787. The convention faced a daunting task: the peaceful overthrow of the new American government as it had been defined by the Article of Confederation.

The process began with the proposal of James Madison’s Virginia Plan. Madison had dedicated the winter of 1787 to the study of confederacies throughout history and arrived in Philadelphia with a wealth of knowledge and an idea for a new American government. It featured a bicameral legislature, with representation in both houses apportioned to states based upon population; this was seen immediately as giving more power to large states, like Virginia. The two houses would in turn elect the executive and the judiciary and would possess veto power over the state legislatures.

William Patterson soon countered with a plan more attractive to the new nation’s smaller states. It too bore the imprint of America’s British experience. Under the New Jersey Plan, as it became known, each state would have a single vote in Congress as it had been under the Articles of Confederation, to even out power between large and small states.

Alexander Hamilton then put forward to the delegates a third plan, a perfect copy of the British Constitution including an upper house and legislature that would serve on good behavior.

Confronted by three counter-revolutionary options, the representatives of Connecticut finally came up with a workable compromise: a government with an upper house made up of equal numbers of delegates from each state and a lower house with proportional representation based upon population. This idea formed the basis of the new U.S. Constitution, which became the law of the land in 1789.

Georgia Militia under General John Floyd began rounding up Cherokee Indians on May 26, 1838.

General Robert E. Lee wrote a letter dated May 26, 1861 to Georgia Governor Joseph E. Brown asking the state to send any weapons available for Georgia volunteers who arrived in Virginia unarmed.

The Battle of New Hope Church was fought near Dallas, Georgia May 25-26, 1864 between Confederates under General Joseph E. Johnston and Federal troops under General William T. Sherman.

On May 25, 1907, an equine statue of John B. Gordon was unveiled on the grounds of the Georgia State Capitol.

President Calvin Coolidge signed the “Comprehensive Immigration Act” on May 26, 1924.

Many Americans saw the enormous influx of largely unskilled, uneducated immigrants during the early 1900s as causing unfair competition for jobs and land. Under the new law, immigration remained open to those with a college education and/or special skills, but entry was denied to Mexicans, and disproportionately to Eastern and Southern Europeans and Japanese. At the same time, the legislation allowed for more immigration from Northern European nations such as Britain, Ireland and Scandinavian countries. A quota was set that limited immigration to two percent of any given nation’s residents already in the U.S. as of 1890, a provision designed to maintain America’s largely Northern European racial composition. In 1927, the “two percent rule” was eliminated and a cap of 150,000 total immigrants annually was established.

The law particularly angered Japan, which in 1907 had forged with U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt a “Gentlemen’s Agreement,” which included more liberal immigration quotas for Japan. By 1924, strong U.S. agricultural and labor interests–particularly from California, which had already passed its own exclusionary laws against Japanese immigrants–favored the more restrictive legislation signed by Coolidge. The Japanese government viewed the American law as an insult, and protested by declaring May 26 a national day of humiliation in Japan.

Fort Frederica National Monument was established on St Simons Island, Georgia on May 26, 1936.

May 26, 1949 was named Clay Day in Marietta, Georgia in honor of General Lucius Clay, who spoke at the courthouse square.

On May 23, 1954, the NAACP petitioned the Fulton County Board of Education to desegregate after the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education.

The United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia held on May 25, 1962 that the Georgia General Assembly was malapportioned and ordered the reapportionment of the State House and Senate.

Former Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter won the Virginia Caucus on May 23, 1976, gaining 24 delegates. On May 25, 1976, Carter won the Arkansas, Tennessee, and Kentucky Primary Elections for President.

Star Wars opened on May 25, 1977.

Then-Lt. Governor Marvin Griffin announced his candidacy for Governor on May 24, 1954.

John Smoltz tied the record for most strikeouts by a Braves pitcher, throwing 15 Ks against Montreal Expos on May 24, 1992.

Georgia Politics

Georgia State Senator Hunter Hill (R), who chairs the Senate Veterans, Military, and Homeland Security Committee, spoke at the Walk of Heroes/Veterans War Memorial at Black Shoals Park in Rockdale County yesterday.

State Rep. Bruce Williamson, recently elected Secretary/Treasurer of the State House Republican Caucus, spoke to the Memorial Day ceremony held by American Legion Post 64.

Dacula’s Memorial Day commemoration included a flyover by a C-130 out of Dobbins.

Marvin Atherton expected the first-ever military flyover for the annual Dacula Memorial Day Parade would be big, but even he was left a little speechless.

Atherton, the parade’s organizer, had been trying off and on for two decades to get a flyover for the parade. His wish was finally granted when a C-130 from Dobbins Air Reserve Base flew at 1,000 feet over part of the parade route on Dacula Road as Katie Wolf finished singing the Star-Spangled Banner.

It proved to be a hit with the crowds lining the street. They cheered and waved small American flags in a show of patriotism as the massive cargo plane flew overhead with a load and powerful roar.

“Awesome. Awe-some. Can we see it again?,” Atherton joked to Air Force Reserve officials from Dobbins who were in the crowd.

As the plane flew off into the distance, it did something unexpected. It turned around and flew back along the parade route on Dacula Road for a second, unplanned flyover. It was heading in the other direction this time. The response from the crowd was even more delirious than the first time.

Ohio Governor John Kasich will appear at a luncheon from 11:30 AM to 1:30 PM with the Fulton County Republican Party at the Heritage Room, Heritage Sandy Springs, 6110 Blue Stone Road, Sandy Springs, GA 30328. This evening, he will appear at the greatest Republican event of the year in Georgia, the Walton County GOP Barbecue at 54 Nunnally Farm Rd. Monroe, Ga. 30655.

The Washington Post wrote about the SEC Primary, acknowledging its proper title, as the “Waffle House Primary,” and discussing how it might affect the nomination process.

[Georgia Secretary of State Brian] Kemp spearheads an effort to have a half-dozen or more Southern states hold their primaries on March 1 — right on the heels of the first-in-the-nation contests in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. Kemp calls it the “SEC primary,” a nod to the collegiate Southeastern Conference.

Such a primary could be an opportunity for a conservative candidate to rack up delegates early, especially with such a crowded GOP field and an infusion of super PAC money that could keep campaigns alive longer. It also could have a profound effect on the eventual nominee, increasing the odds that candidates take harder-line stands to appeal to conservative Southern voters.

Georgia is on track for a March 1 primary, as Kemp has the unusual power of being able to set the date himself. Alabama, Tennessee, Oklahoma and Virginia are also likely to join. (Yes, Kemp knows that two of those states are not members of the SEC, but just roll with it. Another suggested name: the Waffle House Primary.)

Strategists say a Southern primary has the potential to buoy a more conservative candidate and be a challenge for candidates considered too moderate or too affiliated with the establishment — such as Jeb Bush, who will not denounce the loathed Common Core education standards and has taken a more moderate stance on immigration.

Several Southern states have high rates of poverty and could benefit from an infusion of jobs, although Republicans in the region also like to rail against social welfare programs, and Obamacare is still wildly unpopular. There are worries about terrorism and a desire for an aggressive commander in chief. Evangelical voters are also a major force and are looking for a candidate who will not back down in opposing gay marriage and abortion.

To many Southerners, such views are not to the right of the party — they think those stances should be at the heart of the party.

The biggest SEC primary cheerleader among the candidates thus far is Huckabee, who plans to campaign aggressively in the South.

“I think that idea is a gift from God. I think it was inspired out of heaven,” Huckabee said in an interview with GaPundit.com in January as he promoted his book, “God, Guns, Grits and Gravy.” “It is the Southern states and the Midwestern states that really form the bulk of the presidential genesis in November. . . . If a Republican doesn’t carry the heartland, he’s not going to win.”

But if the South builds an SEC primary, will candidates show up? Or will the attention still go to the biggest states or purplest states?

But Kemp remains hopeful: “The South is the new heartland of America. The road to the White House should run through the South.”

You can add Alabama the the states joining the SEC Primary, as the legislature there moved the 2016 Presidential Primary to March 1, 2016.

The Alabama Legislature passed a bill that will allow the state to enter the “SEC presidential primary” set for March 1, 2016.

Moving the primary up a week is expected to make Alabama a bigger player in election process; it allows Alabama to join circuit of southern states to attract more visits from presidential candidates.

Bill sponsor Sen. Quinton Ross, D-Montgomery, has said the legislation is “an economic stimulus bill because it will cause the state to generate more tourist revenue.

The legislation is awaiting Gov. Robert Bentley’s signature.

In Washington, a Senate subcommittee voted for a measure that would allow the Veterans Administration to recommend medical cannabis for veterans suffering from a variety of conditions.

Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.), who introduced the legislation, argued that forbidding VA doctors from talking about the option of medical marijuana is unconstitutional. He said that First Amendment rights include the right of patients to discuss whatever they want with their doctors.

“They can’t discuss all the options available to them that they could discuss if they literally walked next door to a non-VA facility,” he said. “I don’t believe we should discriminate against veterans just because they are in the care of the VA.”

While medical marijuana is legal in the District and 23 states, the federal government classifies marijuana as a Schedule I drug, like heroin and LSD. That means it has no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.

VA physicians and chronic-pain specialists say they often want to suggest the drug but haven’t been able to.

Several studies have shown that states that allow medical marijuana for health purposes also found a decrease in the number of painkiller-related overdoses.

22
May

Alabama to join ‘SEC primary’ in 2016 presidential race | AccessWDUN.com

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama lawmakers have voted to join the “SEC primary” as southern states band together to try to get more attention from 2016 presidential hopefuls.

Alabama legislators on Thursday gave final approval to a bill that would move the state’s 2016 primary elections to March 1, 2016. Some Southern states are trying to build a regional super primary. The SEC primary nickname is a reference to the Southeastern Conference in college athletics.

Sen. Quinton Ross, D-Montgomery, said it has been difficult for small Southern states to garner much attention from presidential candidates.

“We’ll be on the map,” Ross said.

Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill says he is excited about what the super primary could mean for the state.

“The primary thing is to improve traffic flow of candidates through our state,” Merrill said.

via Alabama to join ‘SEC primary’ in 2016 presidential race | AccessWDUN.com.

22
May

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for May 22, 2015

On May 22, 1856, Congressman Preston Brooks of South Carolina beat Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner with his cane. Brooks used the cane as the result of injury sustained in a previous duel, and found Sumner at his desk in the Senate Chamber. In the course of a two-day Senate speech on the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which would have nullified the Missouri Compromise on the expansion of slavery, Sumner had criticized three legislators, including a cousin of Rep. Brooks, Senator Andrew Butler of South Carolina.

On May 22, 1819, the steamship Savannah left the port of Savannah for Liverpool, England. After 29 days, it became the first steamship to cross the Atlantic. On May 22, 1944, the United States Postal Service issued a stamp commemorating the voyage of the Savannah.

Yesterday, a memorial service at Robins Air Base paid tribute to service members who worked there.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Horace Hudgins announced last week that he was resigning as Mayor of Ocilla in  order to run for State House District 155, the seat vacated by former Rep. Jay Roberts.

“With the support and encouragement of family, friends and state leaders, I am confident in my decision to run for Office of State Representative.”

Hat tip to Mr. Joe Sports, who brought this candidate to my attention.

In House District 55, a residency challenge has been raised to the candidacy of Tyrone Brooks, Jr., who is seeking the seat vacated by his father who plead guilty to federal charges. From the AJC Political Insider,

The complaint notes that the younger Brooks was a registered voter outside House District 55, located in Atlanta, last November.

The special election is June 16. The final decision on the matter will be made by [Georgia Secretary of State Brian] Kemp, though a spokesman said he wasn’t sure when that would happen. Scroll through the complaint below:

Brooks, Jr. responded that he has lived in the district more than the require year.

Advance voting in State House District 55 and District 24 begins Tuesday, March 24.

In District 24, voters may cast ballots at the following times and places:
County Administration Building
110 E. Main Street; Cumming, GA 30040
Voting Hours:
Tuesday, May 26, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Wednesday, May 27 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Thursday, May 28, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Friday, May 29, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Monday, June 1, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Tuesday, June 2, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Wednesday, June 3, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Thursday, June 4, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Friday, June 5, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Cumming City Hall
100 Main Street; Cumming, GA 30040
Voting Hours:
Tuesday, May 26, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Wednesday, May 27 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Thursday, May 28, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Friday, May 29, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Monday, June 1, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Tuesday, June 2, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Wednesday, June 3, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Thursday, June 4, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Friday, June 5, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Beginning Saturday, June 6, a third Advance Voting location will be available. In addition to the Forsyth County Administration Building and Cumming City Hall, a third location at the Midway Park Community Building located at 5100 Post Road will be open for voting during Advance Voting for the June 16 Special Election.

In State House District 55, the advance voting places and time follow:

Monday through Friday, May 26 – June 12, 2015, 8:30 AM to 5 PM 

Fulton County Government Center
130 Peachtree Street SW
Atlanta, GA 30303

Monday through Friday, June 10 – June 12, 2015, 8:30 AM to 5 PM 

Buckhead Library
269 Buckhead Ave, NE
Atlanta, GA 30305

SouthWest Arts Center
915 New Hope Rd, SW
Atlanta, GA 30331

Note: *****Weekend Voting on Saturday, June 6th, at the Fulton County Government Center from 9 AM to 4 PM.

Please note there is no voting of any kind the Monday prior to any election.

The Ocilla Star ran an extended interview with former Rep. Roberts discussing the Transportation Finance Act and Roberts’s new job as GDOT transportation planner.

Q: What do you feel like your biggest accomplishments have been?

A: There is no doubt the biggest piece of legislation that I’ve ever carried was the Transportation Funding Bill. You know, I can look back and look over the years, and I served as the governor’s floor leader, I was vice chairman of our caucus, chairman of our caucus, and then became transportation chairman 6 years ago. During the time I was the governor’s floor leader and since, I’ve been involved in a lot of legislation that served to simplify the tax code in the state of Georgia. Early I had some big accomplishments, working with legislation to put a conservation and use program here in the state. And this year, not only did we do transportation, but we did fireworks. We allowed fireworks in our state of Georgia, and that was my bill as well.

Q: With this transportation bill, did that play any part to this? On one hand, it’s almost like you’re going out on a high. But on another hand, there’s been a lot of pushback from the more conservative parts of the state about the bill. Did it play any part in your decision?

A: I mean, contrary to a lot of the reports, you know, this is not a quid pro quo. I didn’t talk to the governor. I had not had a conversation with the governor or his staff about this position until about a week after session when he called me and asked me to come meet with him. You know, I realized there was going to be some pushback from this, but it was the right thing to do. I didn’t let it worry me as to what the political ramifications might be. I knew that something had to be done, and we’re elected to go up there and do what’s right, do what’s best for the people of the state. The biggest problem with the transportation bill is people still aren’t educated and don’t understand it. You know, they just really don’t understand the bill. And you know, I’ll say this, you know the funny thing about even Facebook or whatever:?Social media is great, but social media is also not good. It’s great now ‘cause more people are informed, they know what’s going on and they’re paying closer attention, and that’s great. But, on the other hand, there’s people that get on social media and they claim to be experts but they really don’t know what they’re talking about, yet everybody believes it, you know, because it’s on the internet, so it must be true. I talk about when I first went to Atlanta, I had a pager, and now I have an iPhone which everything’s right there in the palm of your hands, and that’s good. I?mean it really is, that people are more informed and really know what’s going on, and I think that is a good thing. But like I say, on the flip side of that you have people that claim to be experts, and I’ve read about all about stuff, “Well, this was a trade-off,” you know, “He agreed to do this in order to get this,” and that’s absolutely 100 percent false and not true. And if they go back and look at it, we started this process last summer going around the state of Georgia.

Q: The transportation bill

A: Yeah, and at the time, the governor was running for re-election. And then we didn’t know if he was going to be re-elected or not be re-elected. So this was something that was started way back then. But, well, I’ll just let people draw the conclusions that they want to draw. That’s left to them.

Q: You considered not even running this time?

A: Yeah, I had. I considered not running last time and I considered not running this next time, you know. I’m one of these who believes there’s a point in time in your career when you need to sometimes step aside and allow somebody else to come in. I’ve watched people stay in Atlanta, in the House and all, too long. It’s down to where they probably should retire and run on home, and my children have long been now graduated from high school. Sarah and I are empty nesters. We’re getting to the point where we kind of wanted to enjoy things a little more. We wanted to be able to go out and do without the issues of being in the legislature, as far as all the meetings I had to attend and those kind of things. Where we were having to set our schedule around the legislature, now, you know, we can set our schedules around ourselves.

State Rep. Earl Ehrhart (R-Powder Springs) is looking into how reports of campus rapes are investigated.

State Rep. Earl Ehrhart (R-Powder Springs) is the chairman of the subcommittee that oversees appropriations for public universities. Ehrhart said he read a report in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that described a “secret process for judging sexual misconduct allegations,” which troubled him because it outlined what he considers a violation of the right to due process as its laid out by the Fifth Amendment.

“If somebody commits a crime, that’s the purview of trained professional jurists, district attorneys (and) law enforcement. The universities absolutely don’t need to be in that business, so I want to make sure that they’re not,” Ehrhart said. “They don’t need a secondary system of justice on university campuses. That’s the issue.”

“It might be convenient to lock up everybody accused of murder really quickly without any due process, but can you imagine the screams and cries if we did?” Ehrhart said. “We have a system of juris prudence in this country for a reason, and universities don’t need to be involved in star chamber proceedings without due process on a criminal offense.”

Ehrhart said he wants to go to universities across the state — such as Kennesaw State University or the University of Georgia — and find out how those cases are handled.“What they need to be doing is supporting the individual students, not determining criminal guilt or innocence,” he said. “I want to find out if they are.”

Hillary Clinton will be in Atlanta May 28, according to the AJC Political Insider.

Two Democratic insiders say hosts are being lined up for the May 28 visit, which is likely to be a breakfast event. A Clinton aide later confirmed the report.

Republican National Committee spokeswoman Ali Pardo responded to news of the Clinton visit by attacking her for hobnobbing with donors instead of commoners:

“Hillary Clinton’s campaign has been full of hypocrisy, flip-flops, and scandals, so it’s no surprise she would prefer to avoid interacting with real voters. The truth is that Clinton is more comfortable schmoozing with millionaire donors than pretending to relate to average Americans.”

Hillary Clinton is likely to be flying commercial into Hartsfield-Jackson, but it won’t be like you and I fly commercial, according to NBC News,

Hillary Clinton has traded private jets for seats on commercial airlines as she embarks on her second, humbler presidential run.

Clinton does not fly the commercial the way you fly commercial. Thanks to strict security concerns, Clinton is insulated from the public from the moment she arrives at one airport to the time she leaves the second one. And even when trapped in a metal tube in the sky with fellow passengers, there are few opportunities for public interaction.

On Tuesday afternoon in Dubuque, Iowa, a few dozen passengers waited for their routine American Airlines flight to Chicago, one of only three flights scheduled from the tiny airport that day. Suddenly, a small motorcade pulled up, just outside the floor-to-ceiling windows that separate the airport’s only gate from the tarmac.

Secret Service agents piled out, followed by aides. And then Hillary Clinton emerged from a red minivan. On the tarmac, she shook hands and chatted with a woman in a red jacket and her campaign’s state director.

[S]he was lead onboard and took a window seat in the first row. The small commuter plane had only one class.

She did not pass through TSA screening, though some of her campaign aides did.

The seats around were filled by Secret Service agents, and then campaign staff further back. No one approached her during the short flight.

Upon arrival, Clinton and her entourage were quickly whisked off the plane.

Clinton had only to travel about 50 feet across the terminal and into a secure area, where she disappeared from view before the other passengers on her flight had even collected their gate-checked luggage.

There were no opportunities for a reporter who happened to be on her flight to speak with her. Earlier in the day, she had taken questions from the press for the first time in 28 days.

Bizarrely, Atlanta’s Waka Flocka Flame, who endorsed Republican David Perdue for Senate last year, has endorsed Hillary Clinton for President.

On Tuesday, Doug Sorrells took office as a member of the Cumming City Council, the first new member in 20 years, according to the Forsyth News.

Doug Sorrells became the first new member on the Cumming City Council in more than 20 years when he was sworn in Tuesday night.

It was the first of what likely will be just two meetings for Sorrells, who is serving as an interim appointee until the June 16 election to fill the remaining 18 months on the Post 1 term of longtime Councilman Rupert Sexton.

Sexton stepped down last month to enjoy retirement after 44 years in office. Four candidates are vying for the post, but they do not include Sorrells.

Education

The Georgia State Board of Education will revise the Georgia Performance Standards for Math and Science, according to the Gainesville Times.

Earlier this year, the board revised English language arts and mathematics standards. Now, it is updating standards for science and social studies.

The state board is asking for teacher input into the new revisions, and a survey was posted April 16 asking for teacher evaluations. It closes June 15, at which point input will be considered and the revision process will begin.

“The survey data will be analyzed and hopefully, by early 2016, we will be able to ask the board to post revised standards for 60 days of public comment,” said Matt Cardoza, director of communications for the Georgia Department of Education. “ … Teacher training and resource development will be provided prior to implementation.”

The revisions will be determined by a working committee representing Georgia public school teachers, post-secondary staff, parents and instructional leaders.

Diane Acker, biology, environmental science and forensic science teacher at North Hall High School, said she does not think the current standards are adequate.

“They do not address all of the content that needs to be taught to provide an adequate coverage of the subject, especially in biology,” Acker said. “They do not allow for the way an intentional teacher teaches her class. I find myself struggling to provide content in a way that addresses the standards so that my students will do well on standardized tests and providing rich, meaningful lessons that capture my students’ imaginations.”

Dr. Jeremy Peacock, who heads the Georgia Science Teachers Association and was Georgia High School Science Teacher of the Year for 2010-11 penned an editorial in the AJC on the new standards.

Georgia is sitting on a gold mine of opportunity for its young people but if we are asleep at the switch, that opportunity will be better realized elsewhere.  You have heard the term before… STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.  It’s not a new concept but today its potential is greater than ever.

Just a few years ago, Georgia’s students could do OK with just a high school education.  Not so now.  Times have changed and so has our economy, which relies more heavily on careers in science and technical fields. Yet, our schools are not preparing enough graduates to pursue STEM college and career opportunities.  The result is that Georgia’s STEM companies must hire many of their workers from out of state.  We must take action now to stop that.

The Georgia Science Teachers Association believes the time has come for our science teachers, business leaders, and community members to revisit our science standards in a process designed to move toward a vision for science education that best serves our students and our state.  Under the current Georgia Performance Standards – adopted between 2004 – 2006 – teachers still struggle to engage students in doing and thinking about science while they focus on learning about science.

The state Department of Education has begun a process to review and revise the science standards. Superintendent Richard Woods has a solid plan in place.  The survey, open now to science teachers, will lead into a revision process that will include classroom teachers, higher education faculty, business partners, and community members.  GSTA strongly supports these efforts and the objective to ensure Georgians have a voice.

DeKalb Ethics

The DeKalb County Ethics Board voted to move forward with a case against County Commissioner Stan Watson that also implicates Vaughn Irons, who is running for Commission District 5.

The DeKalb County Board of Ethics moved forward Thursday with a case accusing DeKalb Commissioner Stan Watson of acting unethically when he voted to award a $1.5 million contract to a company he was working for.

The board voted 3-1 to advance the complaint to a full hearing to determine whether Watson broke the county’s code of ethics. The board has the power to reprimand, suspend or remove public officials.

Board of Ethics Chairman John Ernst said Watson’s alleged breach was clear to him.

“He was paid as an APD Solutions employee, and he voted to approve money to APD Solutions,” Ernst said. “He has admitted that it was a direct conflict of interest, and that he’s sorry that he did it.”

Watson didn’t disclose his relationship with APD Solutions before the county commission voted 7-0 on April 10, 2012, to give the company a $1 million contract to buy, rehab and sell homes in a neighborhood hit hard by the economic recession. He also voted nine months later to award the company an additional $500,000 to rehab homes in a different neighborhood.

“He did not stand up and say, ‘I have to step back.’ He went ahead and voted,” Browning told the board. “He said that he missed it … he dismissed it that it was APD Solutions being considered.”

APD Solutions is run by Vaughn Irons, the company’s CEO and founder who is running in a special election next month to represent the southeastern part of the county on the DeKalb Commission.

Irons faces an ethics complaint of his own alleging that he had a conflict of interest when he accepted county business while also serving as a board member for the DeKalb Development Authority. The Board of Ethics voted 4-0 Thursday to decide that it had jurisdiction in that case, which will now be investigated further. Irons has said he didn’t do anything wrong.

The DeKalb County Commission is considering replacing all members of the economic development board, including the chairman, Vaughn Irons, according to the AJC.

Interim CEO Lee May announced he would nominate new board members of the DeKalb Development Authority in March, days after The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Channel 2 Action News reported on a suspicious document that allowed Irons’ company, APD Solutions, to bid on a housing rehab contract.

The six nominees are:

  • Don Bolia, a member of the Brookhaven Zoning Board of Appeals and a partner with a lobbying firm
  • Kevin Gooch, an attorney who handles loan documentation
  • Miranda McKenzie, an executive with Atlanta Technical College who previously worked as a director for community affairs for Anheuser-Busch Inc.
  • Tyrone Rachal, the president of a finance firm who serves as a board member for several civic associations
  • Keisha Taylor, senior director of entertainment marketing for Turner Broadcasting
  • Baoky Vu, an investment strategy executive who serves on the board for the Technical College System of Georgia

No one has been nominated yet for the seventh seat on the board.

 

22
May

Adoptable Georgia Dogs for May 22, 2015

Twiggy

Twiggy is a 9-week old female Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from Macon-Bibb County Animal Welfare in Macon, GA.

Major

Major is a 9-month old Chocolate Labrador Retriever puppy who is available for adoption from Macon-Bibb County Animal Welfare in Macon, GA.

Minnie

Minnie is a 5-month old female Labrador Retriever puppy who is available for adoption from Macon-Bibb County Animal Welfare in Macon, GA.

Scooter

Scooter is a 7-month old male Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from Macon-Bibb County Animal Welfare in Macon, GA.

The City of Brookhaven is holding its first Bark in the Park on Saturday from 10 AM to 2 PM at Brookhaven Park, 4158 Peachtree Road, Brookhaven, Georgia 30319. From the City’s website:

A variety of pet companies will be on hand to give out treats and goodies, and all dogs will receive a bandana. Academy Dog Sports, which has been competing and showing dogs for more than 10 years, will put on trick shows at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Dean Werts with ADS is a current world record holder for distance and accuracy with Skyhoundz and has competed and qualified at the world level for the past three years

Human treats will be available for purchase from Perhaps A Wrap food truck and Kona Shaved Ice.