Clyde is a hound dog mix approximately 8-10 months old and 51 pounds. He walks great on a leash, sits on command, and gets along with other dogs. He is available for adoption from Walton County Animal Services beginning tomorrow at 3 PM.
Stanley is Clyde’s best friend, and probably his brother. They were turned in stray together, and Stanley also walks well on a leash, sits on command and gets along well with other dogs. He will also be available for adoption from Walton County Animal Services tomorrow at 3 PM. How awesome would it be to rescue both of these dogs and keep them together?
Georgia Politics, Campaigns & Elections
prized embarrassing endorsement by a Georgian, Honey Boo Boo, who is not quite old enough to vote, goes to “Marack Obama”.
A runoff redux? After losing the August 21 runoff for Baker County Sheriff, challenger Tim Williamson sued incumbent Dana Meade, who won the election.
On Tuesday, Dougherty Senior Superior Court Judge Loring Gray, who was appointed to hear the election challenge, issued a ruling calling for a new runoff election on Nov. 6, the date of the General Election. A day-long hearing on the case was conducted Oct. 3 at the Baker County Courthouse.
In his order, Gray cited a number of concerns brought out during the hearing, including allegations of vote-buying by Meade and Van Irvin, a Baker County commissioner, and others; incomplete “oaths” which failed to designate the disability of electors which would authorize a person to assist the elector, and evidence of an unqualified “helper” who assisted eight voters presumed to be disabled. Irvin said that witnesses who said he had paid them for votes came by his tractor repair facility, but denied giving them money or liquor for votes.
According to the order, Gray’s greatest concern was 14 absentee ballot stubs which “clearly appear to be altered in such a way as to totally obliterate a possibly intended vote for the Contestant,” with testimony indicating they were “re-voted” for Meade.
“I’m glad Judge Gray was listening to the evidence.” said Jimmy Skipper, Williamson’s attorney. “Hopefully, when we have the new election it will be fair and avoid these types of irregularities. The people of Baker County can make their own decisions.”
Congressman John Barrow (D-12) has a $1.74 million in the bank to $174k for Republican Lee Anderson, but the money imbalance is not what it seems:
Political parties and outside groups have invested a combined $3.14 million on the race, according to the Federal Election Commission.
The biggest third-party spender is the National Republican Congressional Committee, which has spent $1.2 million in the 12th District – mostly on attack ads targeting Barrow. That’s nearly three times the $430,801 the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has spent.
Anderson and the NRCC have focused their efforts on tying Barrow to President Obama.
Republican Doug Collins has about twice as much money for the General Election as his doomed Democratic opponent.
The Republican, Doug Collins, listed contributions of $209,485.12 and expenditures of $150,265.28.
Democrat Jody Cooley, meanwhile, reports contributions of $38,699 and expenditures of $12,615.
Georgia Power notified the Public Service Commission that it will file for another rate decrease based on fuel cost savings, mainly in natural gas.
Because of lower natural gas prices, Georgia Power has collected nearly $200 million more from its customers for fuel than what it needed to pay for it, according to the letter the utility sent to the PSC, which must approve any rate changes up or down.
Environmental and political pressures have forced Georgia Power to shift away from getting most of its electricity from coal, which used to be among the cheapest and most stable forms of fuel. The utility’s fuel mix, which mirrors that of parent Southern Co., now uses natural gas for about 47 percent of its fuel and coal for about 35 percent.
Evolving technologies such as horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing have allowed gas to be extracted from places that it hasn’t before, such as Ohio and Pennsylvania. This has nearly doubled U.S. supply and kept prices stable.
The AJC informs us that white voters in Georgia vote differently than those in Virginia and Maryland.
In Obama’s first bid for the White House he received just 23 percent of the white vote here, compared to 39 percent in Virginia and 34 percent in North Carolina, according to exit polls. As of last week, Obama had the support of just 22 percent of Georgia’s likely white voters, according to a poll conducted for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and released Sunday.
Political analysts cite several factors as explanations for the difference: demographics, culture and organization.
The demographic calculus centers primarily on education.
Non-Hispanic whites in North Carolina and (especially) in Virginia are more likely to have college degrees than their peers in Georgia, according to census figures.
Both Virginia and North Carolina have large pockets of highly educated, socially liberal white voters with strong connections to government, and they tend to vote Democratic. In Virginia they cluster in the D.C. suburbs of northern Virginia and in the Tidelands; in North Carolina they’re concentrated in the university-rich Research Triangle of Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill.
Whites in Virginia also enjoy a considerably higher average household income than in Georgia, although North Carolina lags both.
“I’m pretty sure, despite Atlanta, that Virginia’s educational level among whites is higher than Georgia,” said Larry Sabato, a national political expert at the University of Virginia. “It’s not income so much as it is education. The higher the education level, the more likely they are to vote Democratic.”
I didn’t know you could write a story about politics and demographics in Georgia without quoting Merle Black or Charles Bullock.
It appears that the Mike Jacobs v. MARTA matchup is becoming a battle royal as the MARTA unions have jumped into the ring and are going to work on MARTA management.
MARTA union leaders don’t see the recent management audit of the financially troubled transit agency as a blueprint for survival. They see is as an assault on labor.
“It is a clear attack on labor, and ultimately it is an attack on the community,” said Curtis Howard, president of the Amalgamated Transit Union chapter at MARTA. “We’ve been giving concessions (for years) to keep our jobs. We don’t have any more to give. … We’re down to the bone.”
Howard said the audit — which says the transit agency is spending $50 million above the national average for employee benefits — glosses over realities and management shortcomings and makes it appear that employee benefits and loafing workers are pushing the transit agency toward insolvency. Bad management is the root of the problem, he said.
On Tuesday, the union lashed back publicly when it released a statement saying privatization plans threaten service and rider safety.
“Many of these companies look to pay the lowest wages without regard to safety and service,” Howard said. “It is a lose-lose proposition.”
Attorney General Sam Olens (R) has joined with forty other state AGs in asking Congress to refrain from legislation that would allow payday lending to return in states like Georgia that have outlawed it.
The Georgia General Assembly essentially outlawed payday lending in 2004. About a dozen other states have done the same.
But a bill pending in Congress would allow it, though regulate it heavily.
Nels Peterson, Georgia’s Solicitor General, says the Attorney General’s office opposes the bill as a matter of principle. “The Georgia General Assembly has made the policy judgment, that payday lending ought not to be permitted in Georgia under the circumstances and conditions that they put in the statute. And this federal law would essentially undo that,” said Peterson. “And the Attorney General believes that it’s the prerogative of states to make those sorts of policy judgments without the federal government coming in and overruling it.”
Second Amendment advocates GeorgiaCarry.org are asking the US Supremes to hear their case challenging Georgia’s prohibition of guns in church.
GeorgiaCarry.org asked for a hearing before the high court on the basis that there is a split among lower courts: the Third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that covers Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and the 11th U.S.Circuit Court of Appeals that includes Georgia, Florida and Alabama.
It is not known how quickly the justices will decide if they will hear the case.
The GeorgiaCarry.org case stems from a lawsuit filed after the 2010 Legislature replaced the prohibition against guns at “public gatherings” with a list of specific kinds of places where people cannot carry their firearms. One of those was places of worship. GeorgiaCarry.org and a Baptist minister from Thomaston said the prohibition interferes with the free exercise of religion promised in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Georgia Court of Appeals Judge Mike Boggs, who co-chairs the Governor’s council on juvenile justice reform told members of the Atlanta Bar Association that the current focus is on measures to reduce youth recidivism.
Boggs, co-chairman of the reform council and a former Waycross Circuit Superior Court judge, said among the strategies being considered by the council are establishing ways to incorporate youth offenders back into their communities, revising the designated felony act to give judges more sentencing options and studying school referrals of delinquent youth into the juvenile court system.
“The earlier in the continuum that we can address criminal justice reform to keep people out of the adult criminal justice system, I think the better off this state will be,” Boggs said.
Housing youth offenders in youth detention centers costs the state roughly $91,000 a year per offender, Boggs said. The bulk of the cost is due to mandate on the juvenile justice system to provide a certified education to juveniles in custody.
The state currently has 619 offenders in youth detention centers, he said.
“By the time they get out, 65 percent will be back within three years,” said Boggs. “They don’t graduate from high school, but they sure do from juvenile court to superior court.”
“Mandatory minimums take away discretion from that very judge who is in the courtroom who can see witnesses and who can judge the evidence and who can determine best aggravating and mitigating circumstances and who can decide best in that setting what is an appropriate sentence,” Boggs said.
Republican Mark Post, who is challenging incumbent Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit District Attorney Julia Slater, questioned the incumbent’s leadership during a forum yesterday.
“In order to effectively be an administrator and effectively lead, you have to have the experience to be able to impart what you have learned over the years in the courtroom to the people who are doing the job,” said Mark Post, Republican candidate for Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit District Attorney.
Secretary of State Brian Kemp is touring county elections offices across the state to gain first-hand knowledge of how elections are running this year.
“We are all in this together, so I like to stop by and help them (local elections officials) do a better job,” Kemp said. “On these county visits, we visit with the chamber and elected officials.”
“We want let people know we are aware of Terrell County. We know there is more to Georgia than Atlanta.”
Before his stop in Dawson, Kemp paid a visit to officials in Seminole County. He is set to stop into some counties in central Georgia before making his way back up to Atlanta.
Overall, Kemp said, things were going smoothly in Terrell County, noting that its elections office has an exceptional setup for in-person early voting.
Early voting began Monday and will continue through Nov. 2, including a Saturday opportunity to vote on Oct. 27.
“(Oct. 27) would be a good time for voters to bring their kids in and teach them about voting,” Kemp said.
For the most part, the early voting period got off to a smooth start in Georgia, Kemp said.
“The strong turnout (for early voting) shows that there is awareness of this election,” he said. “I think this will be an election where there is at least a 70 percent turnout.”
Madison County is one of about 50 in Georgia where elections are overseen by the Probate Judge rather than a Board of Elections, but that may change.
Madison County probate judge and election superintendent Cody Cross asked county commissioners Monday to consider stripping him of his election duties and creating an election board instead.
The judge is running unopposed this year. But in years where he faces opposition, he could be tasked with overseeing his own race.
Cross suggested that all election responsibilities be placed under the supervision of the registrar’s office, which is overseen by the chief registrar, an appointed, not elected, position.
“This is in essence combining everything under one roof,” said Cross. “I think they have an excellent staff. I can think of no one else better capable of handling it.”
Candidates for Senate District 30 discussed taxes and gambling.
HOT Lanes in Gwinnett County hit a high price point yesterday with tolls of $6.05 from 6:54 AM to 8:29 PM.
Those numbers represent the peak after prices fluctuate based on traffic in an attempt to ensure the lanes are free-flowing.
Record rates for the HOT lanes have steadily increased in the last year, from $4.70 in February to $5 in April.
The HOT lanes are a 16-mile stretch north and southbound between Old Peachtree and Chamblee-Tucker roads.
The one-year anniversary of the HOT lanes was earlier this month, and the SRTA has said it had collected $3,053,867 from the toll lanes through August.
In Albany, Lorenzo Heard is trading a long-shot lawsuit against the Board of Elections seeking a slot on the ballot for Dougherty County School Board for a longer-shot at winning as a write-in candidate.
The lawsuit by a homeowners’ association over a little girl’s pink backyard playhouse has been dismissed.
The board said the color was against covenants in the Evans subdivision. The lawsuit, filed Aug. 2, claimed that Rogers-Peck didn’t get permission from the association’s Architectural Control Committee before she built what the board of directors considers an outbuilding. She considered it a piece of play equipment, built for her granddaughter, Aubree, for Christmas.
The playhouse is only slightly visible from the road, but is clearly visible to her immediate neighbors and a few homes across the pond behind her house.
The board said neighbors complained about the color and tried to get Rogers-Peck to conform to the neighborhood covenant by repainting the playhouse a color more appropriate to the home. The ACC agreed to retroactively approve the playhouse construction if it is repainted.
Rogers-Peck said she believes a new board, seated in a recent election, opted not to pursue the suit.
“I get tired of the little man having to do what the rest of the world thinks is right,” Rigers-Peck said. “Something as harmless as a pink playhouse, come on.
“Just the fact that the color of it was pink, here’s no reason for them to be able to control that.”
Command Sergeant Major Basil Plumley, called “America’s Soldier,” was laid to rest with full honors yesterday at Fort Benning.
Plumley was one of only 324 to earn the rare honor of a Combat Infantryman’s Badge with two stars, signifying his efforts in three wars. This compares to the 3,476 recipients of the Medal of Honor.
Although the video is five years old, I had not seen the tribute by Gene Simmons to our troops until a reader fowarded it. If you have a few minutes, it’s worth watching. Here’s Simmons on his 2008 vote for President.