Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for May 12, 2016

12
May

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for May 12, 2016

On May 12, 1740, Georgia forces under James Oglethorpe took Fort Diego in Florida from the Spanish and mocked the defenders jean shorts.

The worst American defeat of the Revolutionary War occurred at Charleston, South Carolina on May 12, 1780. American Major General Benjamin Lincoln, who surrendered that day would later accept the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown, Virginia.

On May 12, 1789, the Society of St. Tammany was founded in New York and would grow to a dominant home for political bosses. Plunkitt of Tammany Hall: A Series of Very Plain Talks on Very Practical Politics (Signet Classics) remains one of the best historical versions of how political machines worked.

George Washington visited Georgia on May 12, 1791. From Purysburg, South Carolina, Georgia officials escorted Washington on a barge twenty-five miles down the Savannah River to Savannah, where he would stay four days.

On May 12, 1864, Confederate General Joseph Johnston pulled his Army of Tennessee and Georgia back to Resaca, Georgia. In Virginia, Major General John B. Gordon saved the life, or prevented the capture of General Robert E. Lee at Spotsylvania. After the war, Gordon would serve as Governor of Georgia and United States Senator.

On May 12, 1865, the Virginia Military Institute Corps of Cadets awoke in Staunton, where they had marched from Lexington 18 miles the previous day; after another 19 miles headed north up the Shenandoah Valley, the would make camp at Mt. Crawford, near Harrisonburg. The cadets ranged in age from fifteen to twenty-five years.

On May 12, 1970, Georgia National Guard troops were mobilized to end race riots that had broken out the night before in Augusta. On that same day, Ernie Banks of the Chicago Cubs, my father’s favorite player as a youth, hit his 500th home run.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Qualifying for State House District 68 will be held today from 9 AM to 5 PM at the Georgia Republican Party headquarters at 3110 Maple Drive, Suite 150, Atlanta, GA 30305, (404) 257-5559. Candidates must present a picture ID at the time of qualifying. The qualifying fee is $400.00.

Villa Rica Mayor J. Collins became the first announced candidate yesterday, when he resigned his current seat to announce for State House.

Within hours of the Georgia Secretary of State office posting a notice on its website, Collins stood at a podium in Villa Rica City Hall with his wife Kim and their two young daughters to make the announcement.

Collins was first elected in November 2003. The 39-year-old owner of J. Collins Funeral Home and Cremation Service in Villa Rica reflected on the challenges he overcame as one of the youngest mayors in the state, and said his proudest moment in office was bringing order to the Villa Rica Police Department which he described as “in shambles” when he took office.

Collins said he chose to resign as mayor before qualifying for the House seat after speaking with legal counsel. He realized that qualifying first would mean that he would vacate the mayor’s office by default. By resigning, he said, he had the opportunity to give Villa Rica a formal thank you and notice, and that his lasting legacy would not be that he vacated by default.

Collins acknowledged that he does not have any time to waste in campaigning. He said that he would like to get his message out, but he is very proud that he has a 13-year record of success, especially in the area of economic development.

You can watch the entire press conference here.

Yesterday, Newt Gingrich endorsed Donald Trump for President.

Not surprisingly, the gas tax bill that passed in 2015, which some call the biggest tax increase in Georgia history, has become an issue in the reelection campaigns of some legislators who voted for it.

[M]any Republicans lawmakers are getting pounded in their primaries because they voted to raise taxes to pay for the transportation projects.

Some say it could even help topple incumbents in districts where the transportation taxes are a campaign albatross. But those being threatened are getting major financial help from businesses that are benefiting from the road-spending spree.

Proponents of the transportation taxes, including business leaders and highway contractors, have contributed more than $350,000 to Republican and Democratic incumbents as well as political action committees and groups supporting those who voted for the measure in the final hours of the 2015 legislative session.

While the political spending has favored those who voted for the bill, opponents have also opened their wallets. Among them is the Georgia Hotel & Lodging Association, which has given at least $26,000 in the same period and opposed the $5-per-night fee.

“Look, you have to understand if you’re a smaller property and especially if you’re on the state border, if your rate is $50 a night — that’s a 10 percent increase,” said Bill Henderson, the chairman of the hotel association’s board and general manager at the Westin Atlanta Airport hotel. “Somebody, instead of staying in Columbus, Georgia, may keep going and stay in Phenix City, Alabama.”

Marietta City Council approved spending $7.7 million on a public soccer complex.

In January, the city entered a deal with Arthur Blank’s Major League Soccer club, Atlanta United Football Club, to build its headquarters and training complex along the Franklin Gateway corridor. Under the terms of the deal, the soccer club will build six lighted soccer fields and an expected 28,300-square-foot headquarters building with construction completion estimated by early 2017, in time for the club’s first game that is expected to be played at the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. The deal also requires the city of Marietta to build a complementary public sports complex with three lighted multipurpose soccer fields on a 1.3-acre Franklin Gateway site near the soccer club’s training complex.

Coweta County employees should see a 3 percent pay raise under the FY 2017 budget. A three percent pay raise is also in the cards for Lowndes County schools.

Legislation by State Rep. Mandi Ballinger (R-Cherokee County) goes into effect July 1 and aims to increase reporting of suspected child abuse.

The new law is known as House Bill 905 and was signed into law by Gov. Nathan Deal on May 3. In addition to providing increased protection for those who report child abuse, it also has requirements of local law enforcement agencies and public health entities.

“I am thankful that Gov. Deal signed this imperative piece of legislation that will not only protect our most vulnerable citizens from harm, but also protect the brave citizens those who report child abuse,” Ballinger said.

House Bill 905 provides criminal immunity for those who report child abuse if they are in good faith possession of child pornography and immediately notifies law enforcement or mandatory reporters.

Representatives from local law enforcement agencies and other public health entities will be required, by means of the new law, to be included in established local child abuse protocol committees.

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Jim Barksdale is expected to attend the opening of the Gwinnett County Democratic Party headquarters on Saturday.

Jim Barksdale is expected to visit the new Gwinnett Democratic Party Headquarters at 535 Indian Trail Road, Suite I during its grand opening breakfast from 9-11 a.m. Attendees will be able to enjoy bagels, coffee and “other goodies” during the gathering.

Barksdale will face Cheryl Copeland and John F. Coyne in the May 24 Democratic Primary. The winner of that election will then go on to face the winner of the Republican Primary, where Sen. Johnny Isakson is being challenged by Derrick Grayson and Mary Kay Bacallao, in November.

Middle Georgia rejoice: Uber has launched in Macon. We’re waiting for a companion app that allows you to catch a ride in the back of a pickup truck. It’s called Guber.

Three candidates for Lowndes County Sheriff spoke to the Valdosta Daily Times about issues in their campaign.

Dougherty County’s Assistant County Administrator alleges that District 2 Commissioner John Hayes attacked him verbally and physically.

In the complaint, which outlines events McCoy said took place at a Savannah hotel on April 29, the county official said Hayes, who was in Savannah for an Association County Commissioners of Georgia conference, attacked him both verbally and physically.

“… Commissioner Hayes violated my personal space, cursed me incessantly, called me a (racial epithet), pointed his finger in my face and advised that he would fire me if I worked for him,” McCoy wrote in the complaint. “He also advised that (t)he first thing he was going to do on Monday when he returned to Albany was to meet with my supervisor and get my ‘black a— fired from my position.’

“I moved away and asked why he was angry. He continued to curse me and advised that he had ‘four votes’ and that I didn’t know who I was (expletive) with.”

As The Herald previously reported, McCoy also said Hayes made physical contact with him.

“He made several remarks and I asked him if he was threatening me,” McCoy wrote in the complaint. “He immediately sprinted toward me with his fist balled up and again violated my personal space. He cursed me, put his finger in my face and pressed it against my nose and advised me he would ‘(expletive) me up.’”

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources has an opening for an alligator trapper.

Through May 16, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources will be accepting applications for a nuisance alligator agent trapper for the metro area. It is looking for a brave soul with a special appreciation for this once-endangered crocodilian, its place in our ecosystem and the skills to live capture the elusive beasts when even their presence becomes a threat.

“When we get a complaint, unless it is a bona fide emergency where the alligator needs to be removed immediately, people call in to the game management office in the county where they are located,” said DNR’s Greg Waters. “Rather than the DNR personnel spending the time and the energy to catch the alligator and relocate it, we now issue a collection permit to the alligator agent trapper. They spend their own time going out and catching the alligator. We don’t pay them any money but anything they can make for selling the alligator live to a licensed alligator farm or zoo or killing the alligator, skinning it and selling the hide or meat if it is processed in an approved facility, that’s their monetary reward for handling that alligator complaint.”

According to senior wildlife biologist I.B. Parnell, the agent trapper will be under contract with DNR to remove nuisance alligators in response to complaints in Richmond, Columbia, Burke, Glascock, Jefferson, Jenkins, McDuffie, Screven and Warren counties. The applicants should reside in one of these counties.

Waters said an alligator has to be at least 4 feet long to qualify as a nuisance.

Maybe the new trapper could apprentice under the folks who caught the gator in the Chattahoochee near Atlanta.

The state Department of Natural Resources on Tuesday ended a decade-long hunt for the big creature living in the river flowing through Atlanta. They trapped a 6-foot-8 alligator and sent the creature to South Georgia — a better place, say the experts, for Alligator mississippiensis.

They got the alligator at Cochran Shoals in the Chattahoochee River National Recreation area, said DNR biologist John Bowers.

“We didn’t hurt it,” Bowers said. “It was healthy.”

The ‘Hooch gator, he said, was missing about 8 to 10 inches of her tail. If she’d had a full complement of that appendage, the animal would have been well over seven feet long — about 8 years old.

Scientists have speculated about this creature’s origin. The best theory: someone had a pet alligator. That someone realized what a sorry pet alligators make. That someone slid the pet into the Chattahoochee. There it remained, its length — like its reputation — growing.

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