Georgia Politics, Campaigns & Elections for November 26, 2013

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Georgia Politics, Campaigns & Elections for November 26, 2013

On November 26, 1922, British archaeologists Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon became the first people to enter the tomb of King Tutankhamen in millenia. On November 4th of that year, they discovered a step leading to the tomb’s entrance; nineteen days later they broke through a door and discovered the passage that would lead them to the boy king’s final resting place. When they entered the burial chamber, they found it had not been looted and appeared to show the footprints of builders who had been in the tomb 3000 years earlier.

On November 26, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed legislation marking the fourth Thursday in November as Thanksgiving. Previously Thanksgiving had been celebrated as the last Thursday in November, which had been used since 1863. The first Thanksgiving recognized by the United States government was declared by President George Washington in 1789 as a day of thanksgiving for the Constitution.

Three months after signing the Thanksgiving bill, Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, under which the federal governments eventually established concentration camps in the western United States where American citizens of Japanese ancestry were interned for the duration of World War II.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns & Elections

Time is getting short for early voters in the December 3d runoff elections. Check your local Elections Board for days and times you can still vote.

Fox 5 Atlanta and InsiderAdvantage released a poll yesterday on Cobb citizens’ reactions to the Braves stadium and the timing of the County Commission vote.

According to the poll, 48 percent of residents said they favor the new Braves stadium, 38 percent opposed it; 14 percent were undecided or had no opinion.

As for whether the Cobb County Commission should vote about the proposed stadium on Tuesday or take more time, 58 percent of those surveyed said more time is in order, 34 percent said the vote should go on as planned and 8 percent are undecided or had no opinion.

Senator Don Balfour will face a jury of citizens next month on the 18-count indictment that charges him with receiving improper reimbursements. From the Gwinnett Daily Post:

Balfour’s attorney Ken Hodges filed a demand for a speedy trial Monday on 18 charges of false statements and theft by taking involving per diem expenses for legislative work. A Dec. 16 trial date has been set.

“The evidence will show that Mr. Balfour was entitled to many more reimbursements than he took in error and he has reimbursed the State for all known errors. He admits there were errors and he regrets those errors,” Hodges said, pointing out that the Senate Ethics Committee found the errors to be inadvertent in a hearing earlier this year.

“Mr. Balfour looks forward to Dec. 16 when, in a court of law, he expects a jury to reach the same conclusion,” Hodges added. “He is not guilty of these charges and looks forward to continuing his more than 20 years of exemplary public service to the citizens of the state of Georgia.”

Supreme Court upholds DeKalb School Board suspensions

The Georgia Supreme Court upheld the suspension by Gov. Deal at the recommendation of the State Board of Education, of six members of the DeKalb County Board of Education after SACS placed DeKalb’s accreditation on probation.

“Today’s ruling provides an added layer of security for students, parents, homeowners and business leaders all across Georgia,” Deal said.

Deal said he believed a governor should use such power rarely and only in worst-case scenarios, such as when school systems risk loss of accreditation. “The results can be catastrophic for the community, particularly for the innocent students who have a red flag on their academic record because of the actions of adults,” he said.

Deal said that in the cases he has been involved in so far, “we’ve seen dramatic improvements in school governance after the state stepped in.” The governor said he believed it would be best if he did not need such authority, “but it’s an unfortunate necessity.”

As the people of Georgia seek to improve the state’s educational system, “this court must be mindful of the broad discretion granted by the Constitution to local school boards to manage and control local school systems,” the court’s opinion said. But the law used by the governor “is not an unconstitutional infringement upon the governing ability of local school boards, nor is it a violation of any other constitutional provision or right.”

Nancy Jester, who was the first person to bring to light financial irregularities that were cited in the SACS action placing DeKalb’s accreditation on probation and leading to the removal by Gov. Deal, released a statement:

Today, the Georgia Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the law that provides for the removal of local boards of education. I am thankful for the closure that this opinion now provides the citizens and parents of DeKalb County. At every turn I opposed the proliferation of legal entanglements, including this case.

While the Supreme Court’s ruling is one step down the path to improving education in DeKalb, it is just the beginning. Georgia must implement an effective and meaningful system of quality assurance for education.

As the Georgia Supreme Court stated today, “(T)he State has a substantial interest in ensuring that those local boards function competently and in a manner that does not imperil the education or future prospects of the students enrolled in the school systems.”

Every state that borders Georgia has a  higher graduation rate and spends less per pupil. Georgia’s rate stands at  67% and that number is proof that we have imperiled the education and future prospects of too many of our children.

Barr releases video

Bob Barr’s campaign today released a video highlighting a supporter of his who is a combat veteran and discusses why he is supporting Barr.

There is also a longer form of the video that clocks in at a full minute.

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