Today we have two senior dogs, who are available from the Gwinnett County Animal Shelter. 25950 is a male Golden Retriever and 25931 is a Female German Shepherd. There’s nothing in the world better than the love of an older dog, and Gwinnett County is doing $40 adoptions through the end of the month.
Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections
Beginning next week, satellite early voting stations open in some jurisdictions, and tomorrow, July 21st, is the only Saturday early voting for the July 31st elections.
The Secretary of State’s website has “My Voter Page” where you can sign in and find advanced and early voting information, as well as your new districts for State House, Senate, County Commission and other offices. This page will help you find contact information for your county board of elections if you have questions.
In Gwinnett County, Saturday voting is available at the County Elections Office, located 455 Grayson Highway, Suite 200, Lawrenceville, GA 30046, and four satellite early voting locations will open Monday through Friday.
IMPORTANT REMINDER: Any candidate in the July 31st election receiving a contribution of $1,000 or more, between July 1 and July 31st MUST report the contribution electronically or by facsimile within two business days of receipt to the Campaign Finance Commission. There is no grace period for late filing. [Campaign Finance Act §21-5-34(c)(2)(C).]
Washington state has teamed with Facebook and Microsoft to develop an application to allow voter registration via Facebook. No word on whether it will include a handy little paper-clip helper.
Expected to launch as soon as next week, it will “put a screen from the official state website into a user’s Facebook page, and…automatically add some of the information already in a Facebook profile, including name and date of birth,” according to Mashable.
Users will still need to enter personal information, such as a driver’s license or state ID card number, to verify their identities.
cynical ploy to restore trust in promises made by politicians in order to pass the T-SPLOST tax hike striking reversal, Governor Nathan Deal announced yesterday that the tolls on GA-400 will be removed by the end of 2013. Here’s the entire press release:
Fulfilling his promise to commuters, Gov. Nathan Deal today announced that he will have the state pay off its bond debt on Dec. 1, 2013, and move rapidly after that to remove the Ga. 400 toll by the end of that year. This will stop collection four years earlier than previously planned.
“Ga. 400 commuters have paid more than their fair share already, and this is the earliest we can bring it down without paying a penalty for early repayment of the bonds,” Deal said. “When the Ga. 400 toll went up, the state of Georgia promised commuters that it wasn’t forever. If we don’t keep that promise, we lose the faith of the people. We face many challenges when it comes to paying for new capacity, particularly in the Atlanta region. There are no easy answers, no secret pots of money, but it is imperative that governments build the trust of their people. As your governor, I will keep the promises I make to you.”
The Ga. 400 toll was originally scheduled to come down after 20 years, ending in 2011. In 2010 – after then-candidate Deal promised to end the toll the following year – the state issued new bonds tied to the toll revenue in order to pay for needed improvements in the Ga. 400 corridor, including a new connector to I-85. The $40 million in new bonds were issued Dec. 1, 2010, and they mature June 1, 2017. But at the three-year mark the state can repay the bonds without a penalty. Further, the state needs time to plan for physically bringing down the gates and the dramatic restructuring that will be needed in the toll area.
“As I have said many times before: I inherited a situation where we could not bring down the gates immediately, and we face a situation where we would have to pay a penalty for early repayment,” Deal said. “This timeline gives commuters a finish line, while still allowing us to meet our obligations. Moving forward, we’ll need to continue to work on long-term solutions to congestion in the 400 corridor. And I look forward to doing that in a transparent fashion that commuters can trust.”
The governor’s proposal requires approval of the State Road and Tollway Authority.
Gov. Deal also swore in Keith Blackwell as a Justice of the Georgia Supreme Court. Blackwell may run for a full six-year term in 2014.
The AJC has some information about ballot questions being asked of each parties’ voters.
- Should Georgia have casino gambling with funds going to education?
- Do you support ending the current practice of unlimited gifts from lobbyists to state legislators by imposing a $100 cap on such gifts?
- Should active duty military personnel who are under the age of 21 be allowed to obtain a Georgia weapons license?
- Should Citizens who wish to vote in a primary election be required to register by their political party affiliation at least thirty (30) days prior to such primary election?
- Should the Constitution of Georgia be amended so as to provide that the paramount right to life is vested in each innocent human being from his or her earliest biological beginning without regard to age, race, sex, health, function, or condition of dependency?
- Should the Georgia Constitution be amended to allow the state to override locally elected school boards’ decisions when it comes to the creation of charter schools in your county or city?
- Do you support ending the current practice permitting unlimited gifts from lobbyists to state legislators?
- Should Georgia adopt an income tax credit for home energy costs to support the economic security of our families?
- Should Georgia reduce sales taxes on Made in Georgia products so as to support the growth of small businesses in our state?
The Savannah Morning-News has the first pro-Personhood ballot question opinion piece I’ve seen in the media. Debbie Blackburn, president of the Coastal Empire Chapter of the Georgia Right to Life Committee, Inc. writes:
This proposal is about respecting all life. Any society that claims to be civil can’t take it upon itself to decide which innocent beings live and who die. When humans play God instead of following God, everyone suffers.
As for critics, such an amendment would not ban all contraceptives, would not deny women essential health care, would not prohibit in-vitro fertilization and would not prohibit abortions to save the life of the mother.
I encourage all those who value the precious gift of life to vote “yes” for the constitutional amendment.
If you want to read an editorial about why to vote against the Personhood question, head on over to Peach Pundit.
More unattributed direct mail is appearing in the Senate District 21 Primary, this time criticizing Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers. Jim Galloway writes:
The Rogers mailer, which arrived at a Canton address, contains no claim of authorship and directs voters to www.don’tbetonchip.com – which also doesn’t offer any clues about who’s putting up the money behind the effort.
The Rogers mailer mostly concentrates on Rogers’ gambling connections that have come to light over the last few months, and contains some misinformation:
– In a past life, Rogers could be described as a “sports tout.” He pushed television viewers to a pay-per-call phone service that offered odds on football games and such. But there is no evidence – none – that he was a bookmaker. He did not accept bets or pay out winnings. Here’s more background on the topic.
– The charge that Rogers harbored illegal aliens at his hotel in Gordon County, which quickly went bust, is undocumented, so far as I know. No pun intended.
Washington, DC developer and smart growth consultant Chris Leinberger did more to hurt T-SPLOST than help:
Leinberger told the Cumberland Area Community Improvement District board last week that “MARTA really stands for ‘Moving African Americans Rapidly Through Atlanta.’ You’ve racialized it. The white suburban neighborhoods and places have completely ignored the economic development potential that MARTA could have been and will be in the future.”
He also said “Ultimately, real estate developers are building for middle-class and upper-class folks.”
He also said “the goal of having a rail system is not for traffic relief, but for economic development.” He also said “You do not build it to move people.”
Cumberland CID is proposing to pay Leinberger $190,000 to do a study regarding urbanization. The CID usually prefers to “leverage” its money by getting other governmental agencies to pay part of the cost. I guess the CID can spend its money however it wants. Cobb County should not contribute any tax dollars toward a study tainted by last week’s race-baiting.
Two members of the Cobb County School Board took to the podium to denounce actions by fellow board member David Banks:
[Board member Kathleen Angelucci said,] “I believe that (Banks) willfully and knowingly compromised the Cobb County School Board and Cobb County School System administration by violating the rules, policies and protocols that were agreed upon by the Cobb County Board of Education and submitted to SACS (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools), of which he is a member,”
Banks said, “If I didn’t know better, I think Mrs. Angelucci is campaigning for one of my opponents, which has fabricated a lot of this stuff that Mrs. Angelucci alluded to today, which is all totally false and really nothing but a bunch of garbage. There’s no fact to any of it. If you’re gonna have some facts, get your facts right and what Mrs. Angelucci alluded to was just totally false and no merit to it what so ever. If you want to campaign for my opponent, go ahead but you don’t need to do it here.”
In Cherokee County, the Cherokee Tribune has stories on fundraising totals in the race between Jeff Rusbridge and Michelle Homier for a seat on the State Court.
Incumbent State House member Sean Jerguson (R-Cherokee) has outraised opponent Scot Turner and State Rep. Charlice Byrd outraised Michael Caldwell.
What you won’t read yet anywhere are stories about the donations and expenditures of Citizens for Transportation Mobility, the pro-T-SPLOST campaign, as they have not yet filed at of 7:15 AM today.
The campaign team working for passage of the transportation sales tax has not filed its report on its campaign finances, according to the report of filings maintained by the state’s Campaign Finance Commission.
A campaign financial disclosure that was due Monday has not been filed by advocates of the transportation sales tax. The grace period ends July 23, eight days before the election. Credit: Citizens for Transportation Management
The filing deadline was Monday. A grace period extends the final day of submission to July 23 – eight days before the election. The campaign committee must file an electronic report if more than $500 have been raised.
Late fees are charged for disclosures filed July 24 and later. The late fee is $125 for reports filed by July 30; $250 for reports filed on election day; and $1,000 for reports filed by Aug. 30. After August, there is no penalty published on the website of the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission.
Cherokee Commission candidate Channing Ruskell apparently enjoys suing the County he seeks to help govern.
Ruskell, a practicing trial attorney and partner in the law firm of Carson & Ruskell in Woodstock, is running for Post 2 in the July 31 primary. He has made numerous court filings since mid-2010 on behalf of his clients that require the county to legally defend itself.
When interviewed, Ruskell said that he hasn’t seen Jarrard & Davis’ bill so he can’t comment on it, but did say “the county attorneys the commissioners have hired have outrageous fees.”
According to the county budget, the county attorney’s expenditures were $562,614 in 2010 and $435,282 was forecasted for 2011. The nine-month budget for 2012 shows $243,750, which would be $325,000 if the budget covered 12 months. County Manager Jerry Cooper said legal fees are expected to go up by $350,000 for 12 months in 2013 (up from the nine-month 2012 budget).
Jarrard & Davis specializes in government law, and currently serves as general counsel for Cherokee County, the city of Milton, Forsyth County and Barrow County, among other entities.
The county, at press time, had filed a motion to dismiss what it calls “abusive litigation,” and has notified Bill Dewrell, the citizen on whose behalf Ruskell filed a mandamus lawsuit, it would seek legal fees if the motion isn’t dropped by the July 17 court date.
At press time, according to the Cherokee County court docket, the mandamus action had not been dropped, but County Commission Chairman Buzz Ahrens said he got an e-mail July 15 from Canton Tea Party Patriots Chair Carolyn Cosby, saying Dewrell was willing to dismiss.