Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 10, 2014

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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 10, 2014

Today we celebrate the birth of the United States Marine Corps, which traces its lineage to the Continental Marines, formed by a resolution adopted by the Second Continental Congress on November 10, 1775. Here, former Georgia Governor and United States Senator Zell Miller tells of his decision to join the Marine Corps and the change it made in his life.

On November 8, 1860, Savannah residents protested in favor of secession following the election of Abraham Lincoln.

President Abraham Lincoln (R) was reelected on November 8, 1864.

General William Tecumseh Sherman issued Special Field Order No. 120 on November 9, 1864.

Headquarters Military Division of the Mississippi, in the Field, Kingston, Georgia, November 9, 1864

5. To corps commanders alone is intrusted the power to destroy mills, houses, cotton-gins, etc.; and for them this general principle is laid down: In districts and neighborhoods where the army is unmolested, no destruction of such property should be permitted; but should guerrillas or bushwhackers molest our march, or should the inhabitants burn bridges, obstruct roads, or otherwise manifest local hostility, then army commanders should order and enforce a devastation more or less relentless, according to the measure of such hostility.

6. As for horses, mules, wagons, etc., belonging to the inhabitants, the cavalry and artillery may appropriate freely and without limit; discriminating, however, between the rich, who are usually hostile, and the poor and industrious, usually neutral or friendly. Foraging-parties may also take mules or horses, to replace the jaded animals of their trains, or to serve as pack-mules for the regiments of brigades. In all foraging, of whatever kind, the parties engaged will refrain abusive or threatening language, and may, where the officer in command thinks proper, given written certificates of the facts, but no receipts; and they will endeavor to leave with each family a reasonable portion for their maintenance.

7. Negroes who are able-bodied and can be of service to the several columns may be taken along; but each army commander will bear in mind that the question of supplies is a very important one, and this his first duty is to see to those who bear arms.

8. The organization, at once, of a good pioneer battalion for each army corps, composed if possible of Negroes, should be attended to. This battalion should follow the advance-guard, repair roads and double them if possible, so that the columns will not be delayed after reaching bad places.

Former Confederate General John B. Gordon was sworn-in as Governor of Georgia on November 9, 1886.

Franklin D. Roosevelt made his 15th trip to Warm Springs, Georgia on November 8, 1928 after winning the election for Governor of New York.

A monument to Nancy Hart was dedicated in Hartwell, in Hart County, Georgia, on November 10, 1931. Hart was an active Patriot in the American Revolution.

Richard B. Russell, Jr. was elected to the United States Senate on November 8, 1932 and would serve until his death in 1971. Before his election to the Senate, Russell served as State Representative, Speaker of the Georgia House, and the youngest Governor of Georgia; his father served as Chief Justice of the Georgia Supreme Court. On the same day, part-time Georgia resident Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected President of the United States.

The next day, November 9, 1932, President-elect FDR addressed a national broadcast to the American people and mentioned that he would spend Thanksgiving at his “second home” in Georgia.

On November 10, 1934, two years after his election as President, FDR made his 28th trip to Georgia.

On November 9, 1938, Kristallnacht began the organized destruction and looting of Jewish businesses and homes in Munich, Germany.

United States Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-Moultrie) was born on November 10, 1943. Chambliss was elected to Congress in 1994 as part of the “Republican Revolution” led by Newt Gingrich.

The iron ore freighter SS Edmund Fitzgerald sunk in a winter storm on Lake Superior on November 10, 1975.

On November 9, 1989, the former East Germany announced that citizens could cross the border to West Germany. That night, crowds began tearing down sections of the wall that divided the city. Earlier this year, former State Senator Chuck Clay spoke to the Georgia Public Policy Foundation about his grandfather’s role in leading the Berlin Airlift that kept the western part of the city supplied during the beginning of its Cold War blockade. Hans Rueffert of The Woodbridge Inn in Jasper, Georgia told of his father’s experience in East Germany and his flight across the wall to freedom in the west.

On November 8, 1994, Republicans won control of the United States House of Representatives and Senate in what came to be called the “Republican Revolution.”

Former State School Superintendent Linda Schrenko was indicted by federal prosecutors on November 10, 2004 on eighteen counts.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns & Elections

Columbus City Council Member “Red” McDaniel died and was buried last week after being hospitalized several weeks ago.

McDaniel’s good friend and pastor, Jimmy Elder of First Baptist Church, captured the spirit of a career politician who never faced “even the hint of scandal.”

“Red McDaniel got it right,” Elder said. “He really got it right. He got public service right in a way few ever understand, much less practice. He knew how to serve people, putting them in front of everything else. … He lived to serve.”

In his 38 years on Columbus Council, McDaniel served with 10 different mayors. Mayor Teresa Tomlinson and former mayors Jim Wetherington, Bobby Peters and Bob Hydrick sat the front of the church as Elder eulogized McDaniel. The only living mayor not in attendance was Bob Poydasheff, who was out of town.

I believe a Special Election will be announced to fill the vacancy caused by Mr. McDaniel’s death.

State Representative Lynne Riley (R-Johns Creek) has been named by Gov. Deal to succeed Doug MacGinnitie as Commissioner of Revenue, effective January 11, 2015.

“Lynne brings three decades of accounting experience and expertise on tax policy from her time on the House Ways and Means Committee,” Deal said. “I’ve seen Lynne’s effectiveness and know-how up-close while she served as my floor leader in the House, and I know the department will continue to run smoothly and provide great customer service to the taxpayers of Georgia under her leadership. I appreciate her willingness to take on this new challenge, and I thank Commissioner MacGinnitie for the great job that he has done and wish him the best as he returns to his successful private-sector career.”

John Creek City Council Member Kelly Stewart announced she will seek Riley’s seat in the Special Election that will be required. Stewart’s candidacy will, of course, require her resignation from City Council, triggering another Special Election. Expect to see a number of candidates announcing in the coming days, some of whom may also trigger special elections.

Brace yourselves, Columbia County, as District 3 Commission candidates Trip Derryberry and Mack Taylor campaign in a runoff election to be decided December 2d.

Trip Derryberry garnered the most votes in Tuesday’s special election, but was unable to draw the more than the 50 percent required to win outright. He will face Mack Taylor, a lawyer in private practice, who came in second with about 23 percent of the vote.

A total of three Republicans and one Democrat were vying for the District 3 seat, which was vacated in March when Commissioner Charles Allen resigned.

Derryberry garnered 4,618 total votes, or 41 percent. The next highest total was collected by Taylor, with 2,652 votes.

Floyd Everett, the lone Democrat in the race, came in third with 2,521 votes, or 22 percent.

Bill Morris was reelected to the Columbia County Commission.

Wayne Bridges will serve as Columbia County Tax Commissioner after winning the election following the resignation of former Tax Commissioner Kay Allen.

Republican Susan Thayer won a seat on the Cobb County Board of Education.

Republican Bob Weatherford won the general election after a spirited Primary for Cobb County Commission District One, vacated by Commissioner Helen Goreham.

Renee McDowell will serve the remainder of the Grovetown City Council term ending in 2015 after Council member Dale Stoddard died in office.

Exit polls suggest that a majority of Georgia voters support raising the minimum wage.

Georgia Republicans are hostile to raising the minimum wage, but a majority of voters favor increasing it.

An exit poll conducted Tuesday by The Associated Press suggest a significant slice of the electorate takes a more moderate stance on labor issues than the Republicans who set economic policy in Georgia. Federal law requires most employers in the state pay at least $7.25 per hour. A smaller number of firms only have to pay Georgia’s minimum wage of $5.15.

On Election Day, 57 percent of voters said they would favor raising the minimum wage, while 40 percent opposed it. The lead is statistically significant since the poll of 790 people had a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percentage points.

“Georgians should be ashamed of themselves for paying such a low minimum wage,” said state Sen. Donzella James of Atlanta, a Democrat who failed in attempts to increase it. No Republicans have supported Democratic proposals last year for a wage hike.

“I don’t think that’s going to be something that is going to show up on our legislative agenda,” Republican Gov. Nathan Deal told reporters Wednesday after beating Democrat Jason Carter.

Expect more protests from Moral Mondays and allied Democratic groups during the legislative session that begins in January.

When ethics rules become cumbersome and inconvenient, why not do away with them? The Augusta Commission is considering waiving conflict of interest rules a year after three members of the Commission were censured for violating the rules.

Mayor Deke Copenhaver said allowing commissioners to do business with the city “overly-politicizes the process” and could further public distrust as it is asked to approve a sales tax package next year.

What’s next for the Georgia legislature?

In the first year of a second term for Governor Nathan Deal, expect to hear about structural changes in K-12 education funding.

In his second term, he’s thinking big and somewhat geeky. He hopes to update the state’s 30-year-old school funding formula that educators have long felt short-changed Georgia students.

He wants to remake the state ethics commission, an agency that has for years been a political thorn in his side.

And he plans to continue his much-lauded criminal justice reforms started in his first term.

Exit polling suggested jobs and the economy are the most important issue to voters, followed by education.

Schools have faced austerity spending cuts for about a decade, forcing systems to reduce school days, furlough teachers and raise property taxes.

Deal put more than $300 million extra into this year’s budget in hopes of softening the cuts and, in at least some districts, help pay for teacher raises. He will likely push to continue that funding in 2015, in part to show that it wasn’t an election year gimmick.

But Deal has more ambitious plans. He wants to update the formula that determines how much Georgia schools receive from the state. The state spends more than $7 billion on k-12 schools, and the equation for determining who gets what — called the QBE formula — was developed in the 1980s.

Updating QBEis an unsexy endeavor likely paid attention to only by school superintendents, system finance directors and policy wonks, but Deal sees it as vital to the state’s future. He has pledged to spend much of his political capital to get it done.

Addressing what is called significant needs for repair, maintenance, and expansion of Georgia’s road transportation network will be a priority for legislators.

[L]leaders in both the House and Senate have dropped broad hints that they’re willing to consider what many Republicans viewed as unthinkable only a few years ago: an increase in the state’s gasoline tax to produce the billions of dollars needed to address Georgia’s woefully underfunded system of roads and bridges.

The increase would come by an act of the Legislature. There would be no repeat of the messy multiregion referendums that were attempted with the transportation sales tax vote in 2013 — which failed in all but a few areas of the state.

Supporters of the venture were encouraged by Tuesday’s vote — with a 53 percent margin — to renew a special option local sales tax in Cobb County, a heavily Republican enclave. And by the overwhelming, 63 percent approval of a $200 million transportation bond referendum in Forsyth County, which is arguably the most Republican county in all of Georgia.

The call for an increase in the gasoline tax would come in December or early January through a legislative/civic animal called the Joint Study Committee on Critical Transportation Infrastructure Funding, which has been holding meetings across the state since July. Call it the Plan B Committee.

In a debate shortly before last week’s election, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle was asked what he expected from the body. “This committee is going to come back with significant recommendations,” Cagle said. “And it does need to be big, and it needs to be bold.”

What are the odds that Savannah politicians will convince the legislature to allow casino gambling on an island in the Savannah River? I suspect the odds are long, but they’ll try anyway.

Savanannah state legislators confirmed on Wednesday that an effort is under way to allow gambling casinos on Hutchinson Island.

The topic came up during the Savannah City Council’s legislative luncheon on Hutchinson, after Alderman Tom Bordeaux asked about rumors of a plan to legalize gambling there.

“I think it would be a horrible mistake,” Bordeaux said.

State Rep. Mickey Stephens, D-Savannah, said he expects legislation to be introduced next year by state Rep. Ron Stephens, R-Savannah, to legalize gambling on Hutchinson, which he supports as a way to generate jobs and revenue.

However, the decision should go to residents in the form of a referendum, Mickey Stephens said.

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