Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for October 17, 2016

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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for October 17, 2016

Friday, October 15, 1582 marked the beginning of the adoption of the Gregorian Calendar – the previous day was Thursday, October 4th.

The Pennsylvania Gazette published a criticism against the British Tea Act on October 16, 1773.

The Tea Act of 1773 was a bill designed to save the faltering British East India Company by greatly lowering its tea tax and granting it a virtual monopoly on the American tea trade. The low tax allowed the company to undercut even tea smuggled into America by Dutch traders, and many colonists viewed the act as yet another example of taxation tyranny. In response, the “Philadelphia Resolutions” called the British tax upon America unfair and said that it introduced “arbitrary government and slavery” upon the American citizens. The resolutions urged all Americans to oppose the British tax and stated that anyone who transported, sold or consumed the taxed tea would be considered “an enemy to his country.”

Five thousand British and Hessian troops surrendered to patriot militia on October 17, 1777, ending the Second Battle of Saratoga, and leading to France recognizing American independence and sending military aid.

George Washington left New York, the nation’s capitol, on October 15, 1789, embarking upon the first Presidential tour to New England.

An editorial published pseudononymously by Alexander Hamilton on October 17, 1796, accused Thomas Jefferson, then a Presidential candidate, of having an affair with a slave.

Happy birthday to the Texas Rangers, created on October 17, 1835.

In the midst of their revolt against Mexico, Texan leaders felt they needed a semi-official force of armed men who would defend the isolated frontier settlers of the Lone Star Republic against both Santa Ana’s soldiers and hostile Indians; the Texas Rangers filled this role. But after winning their revolutionary war with Mexico the following year, Texans decided to keep the Rangers, both to defend against Indian and Mexican raiders and to serve as the principal law enforcement authority along the sparsely populated Texan frontier.

On October 16, 1854, Abraham Lincoln, a candidate for Congress, spoke against the Kansas-Nebraska Act and called the practice of slavery “immoral.”

Lincoln, who was practicing law at the time, campaigned on behalf of abolitionist Republicans in Illinois and attacked the Kansas-Nebraska Act. He denounced members of the Democratic Party for backing a law that “assumes there can be moral right in the enslaving of one man by another.” He believed that the law went against the founding American principle that “all men are created equal.”

The world’s first combat submarine, CSS Hunley, sunk during testing in Charleston Harbor on October 15, 1863.

On October 16, 1918, visitors to the Southeastern Fair at the Lakewood Fairgrounds were required by the Georgia State Board of Health to don face masks in order to prevent the spread of the Spanish flu.

Paul Anderson, known as the “World’s Strongest Man,” was born in Toccoa, Georgia on October 17, 1932. From his New York Times obituary:

As the unknown substitute for the injured American champion at the first Soviet-American dual athletic competition, in Moscow in 1955, the 5-foot-9-inch Anderson was scorned by his hosts.

The scorn turned to snickers when Anderson called for a weight of 402.4 pounds, more than 20 pounds above the world record. The snickers stopped when the 340-pound Anderson lifted the weight. By the time he set another record, in the clean and jerk, he was being hailed by Soviet fans.

The stunning achievement at the height of the Cold War made Anderson an instant American hero, and it was largely an anticlimax when he set three more world records at the world championships in Munich, Germany, later that year.

Although virtually conceded the gold medal at the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne, Australia, Anderson was stricken with a severe inner-ear infection.

Competing at 304 pounds and with a 103-degree fever, he fell so far behind his chief rival that on the final of three required lifts, he needed to clean and jerk 413.5 pounds, an Olympic record, to claim the gold. Twice he tried and failed. On the third attempt he asked God for a little extra help and got it.

“It wasn’t making a bargain,” he said later, “I needed help.”

Paul Anderson Memorial Park in Toccoa is a private park supported by a 501(c)(3) organization.

The 20th Amendment to the United States Constitution took effect October 15, 1933, changing the Presidential term of office to begin and end on January 20th following each quadrennial election and Senate and Congress to January 3d following biennial elections, both from March 4th.

Billy Graham launched his national ministry on October 15, 1949 in Los Angeles, California.

On October 15, 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed legislation creating the United States Department of Transportation. May God have mercy upon his soul.

Interstate 285 around Atlanta was completed on October 15, 1969.

The Omni opened in Atlanta on  October 15, 1972, as the Hawks beat the New York Knicks by a score of 109-101.

Maynard Jackson was elected Mayor of Atlanta on October 16, 1973. Jackson was the first African-Amercian Mayor of Atlanta; he served eight years, and was elected for a third, non-consecutive term in 1990.

On October 16, 1976, Jimmy Carter campaigned in Youngstown, Ohio.

Former Secretary General of the Communist Party of the USSR Mikhail Gorbachev won the Nobel Peace Prize on October 15, 1990

Georgia-born Clarence Thomas was confirmed as an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court on October 15, 1991.

On October 15, 2014, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie came to Georgia to support Gov. Nathan Deal’s reelection.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

In-person early voting begins today. You can sign in to the Secretary of State’s MVP page to find early voting locations near you and see a sample ballot.

YouGov has an election model that shows Hillary Clinton winning Georgia’s electoral votes. In news that’s every bit as serious, my wife’s Dachshund mix Finster has an election model that shows him being elected “King of all Dogs.”

A federal district court judge in Savannah has ordered Georgia to extend voter registration in Chatham County through Tuesday, October 18th.

U.S. District Judge William T. Moore Jr. ruled that while Georgia’s governor and secretary of state may not be under any obligation to provide Chatham County residents with an extension, it was “the right thing to do.”

He granted an emergency preliminary injunction in response to a suit filed by attorneys for several civil rights groups who complained that Hurricane Matthew had deprived potential voters of their right to register to vote in the Nov. 8 general election.

“What is clear to the court, however, is that granting the extension would have been the right thing to do,” Moore wrote in a five-page order filed in Savannah. “Extending a small degree of common decency by allowing impacted individuals a few extra days to register to vote seems like a rather small consolidation on behalf of their government.”

He rejected arguments by an attorney for Secretary of State Brian Kemp that extending the Oct. 11 deadline by a week would present significant administrative burdens on the Chatham County Board of Elections because early voting begins on Monday.

“The court does not discount that the extension wold present some administrative difficulty (to the board of elections),” Moore said. “However, those adminstratrive hurdles pale in comparison to the physical, emotional, and financial strain Chatham County residents faced in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew.”

Because “common decency” is a valid legal ground for an unelected federal judge to set aside state law.

Gwinnett County voters will have two opportunities to vote on a Saturday during this year’s early voting.

Voting will take place Oct. 17 to Nov. 4, including two Saturday voting opportunities on Oct. 22 and Oct. 29, at the Board of Voter Registrations and Elections Office, 455 Grayson Highway, in Lawrenceville. Voting hours will be 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Oct. 17 to Oct. 28 and 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Oct. 29 and from Oct. 31 to Nov. 4.

There will be no voting on Sundays.

Several satellite locations will also be open on Oct. 29 and Oct. 31 to Nov. 4. Those locations include the Bogan Park Community Recreation Center, Dacula Park Activity Building, George Pierce Park Community Recreation Center, Lenora Park Activity Room, Lucky shoals Park Community Recreation Center, Mountain Park Activity Building and Shorty Howell Park Activity Building.

Most of the newly-registered Paulding County voters signed up at the very end of the registration period, according to the West Georgia Neighbor.

The county’s registered voters increased from more than 93,000 in May to an estimated 99,000 before early voting begins for the Nov. 8 election, county election supervisor Deidre Holden said.

More than 4,500 Paulding residents registered to vote in the final 48 hours before the voter registration deadline Tuesday, county elections officials said.

“The past two days have been absolutely crazy,” [Holden] told the Paulding Board of Commissioners on Tuesday.

Other than the obvious attraction — the presidential election — Paulding’s Nov. 8 election also will include a high-profile state constitutional amendment allowing the state to “intervene in chronically failing public schools,” and two local special elections asking voters to approve a $77 million bond issue for a new county jail and sheriff’s office administration building, and Sunday alcoholic beverage sales in unincorporated Paulding County.

Congressman John Lewis (D-Atlanta) will march today with fellow Democrats to draw attention to the opening of in-person early voting.

Lewis, Fulton County Chairman John Eaves and state Rep. Park Cannon, D-Atlanta, will lead young Democrats on a march from the Nelson Street Bridge, 309 Nelson St. SW, to the Fulton County Government Center, 30 Peachtree St. NW.

“On Monday, I will join dozens of young people who are doing their part by marching to the ballot box and exercising their right to vote,” Lewis said in a statement. “In all my years, I’ve never seen an election like this one. It is more important now than ever before for Georgia’s young people to march to the polls so that generations yet unborn can continue to fulfill the promise of America.”

The campaign of Democrat Hillary Clinton asks the public to RSVP for the march here.

Donald Trump, Jr. appeared at a rally in Augusta on Friday.

Congressman Rick Allen (R-Augusta) visited Effingham County as the area recovered from Hurricane Matthew.

Allen visited the Effingham Emergency Management Agency (EMA) headquarters and toured the county with Commissioner Reggie Loper, who lives on Stillwell Clyo Road and still did not have power.

“Chatham, Bryan and Glynn got the brunt of it,” Allen said. “We (in Effingham) are very fortunate.”

Fallen trees killed two people in Bulloch County and one in Chatham County, while no one was injured in Effingham when the storm blew through last Friday and Saturday.

Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture Gary Black and Georgia Farm Bureau President Gerald Long joined Allen in touring Screven County Wednesday. Allen also toured Bulloch County.

He said early estimates are that about one third of the peanut, cotton and pecan crops were damaged by the storm.

He urged farmers and local government officials to keep detailed records for federal disaster applications.

“Local pecan farmers today asked me, ‘How do you harvest with trees down all around the pecan trees?’ People are hurting.” Allen said.

Brian McDuffie, Republican candidate for Richmond County Sheriff filed an ethics complaint against incumbent Democrat Richard Roundtree.

McDuffie called a news conference to announce the action and provided a copy of the complaint dated Thursday. In it, he contends that the sheriff violated state law because on-duty deputies or even off-duty deputies who were later given compensatory time cannot take part in such political advertisements because it is considered to be a person acting on behalf of an agency making a contribution to a candidate.

Such violations fall under the jurisdiction of the state ethics commission, McDuffie said.

The Marietta Daily Journal has endorsed the passage of Amendment #2, which creates the Safe Harbor for Sexually Exploited Children Fund.

Hundreds of Georgia children from across the state are exploited and trafficked every year. The average age is 13, and they can be as young as 9.

Georgia Cares, the nonprofit agency connecting services and treatment care for child victims of sexual exploitation and trafficking, reported 387 confirmed cases in 2015 and 1,386 between 2009 and 2015. But the number of children actually enduring this nightmarish life is unknown.

Many of the children have already been sexually abused, often by people they know, and have run away, said Attorney General Sam Olens, president-elect of Kennesaw State University.

And when a child runs away, they have no one to take care of them, making easy prey for traffickers. The pimps pick these children off the streets and give them a place to stay, food to eat and clothes to wear so that by the time they advertise them for sex, many of the victims have become indoctrinated, said Cobb District Attorney Vic Reynolds.

The amendment would create a dedicated source of funding for the services needed to help child victims of sex trafficking return to a normal life. The fund is estimated to raise $2 million annually for restorative services such as safe housing, trauma counseling and medical treatment. Such treatment is not inexpensive and can cost as much as $80,000 for one year.

We join [Senator Renee] Unterman, Olens, Reynolds and others in supporting this amendment that will help restore the shattered lives of abused children. Vote Yes on Amendment 2.

Richmond County voters will cast ballots on a Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax for Education (E-SPLOST V).

The Richmond County Board of Educa­tion’s Education Local Option Sales Tax 5 includes several of those same schools for capital improvements, including $11.3 million for Josey and $2.8 million for Butler.

The 283-word ballot question clears the school board to collect up to $225 million over five years and issue up to $156 million in general obligation debt. Its largest projects are $27 million for a new pre-K through eighth-grade school and $22 million to replace Wheeless Road Elementary, which is on the failing list.

Crawford County Coroner Allen O’Neal faces a criminal trial this week while running for re-election to the job from which he has been suspended by Gov. Nathan Deal.

Jury selection is set to begin Monday in Hamilton, the county seat for Harris County, located north of Columbus and near the Georgia-Alabama border.

O’Neal was arrested May 6, 2016, and indicted about a month later on two counts alleging he violated his oath of office. He’s accused of not responding to a May 2, 2015, death call and firing a deputy coroner because he did respond.

Gov. Nathan Deal suspended O’Neal from office in August 2015 after appointing a panel made up of two coroners and the attorney general to consider the case. The panel unanimously recommended O’Neal’s suspension.

The suspension will stand while the criminal case is pending or until O’Neal’s term expires Dec. 31, 2016.

O’Neal, who’s been the county’s coroner for more than 24 years, is running for re-election as an independent against Republican challenger Sheldon Mattox and Democrat challenger Arnold Walden.

Gwinnett Medical Center-Duluth will celebrate its ten-year anniversary.

Kennesaw City Council member Jimmy Dickens stood during a council meeting to protest a budget that he voted for.

The City Council last month adopted a $28.3 million budget, which took effect Oct. 1 and included a 3 percent cost-of-living raise for employees. Councilman Jimmy Dickens was among the council members who voted to approve the budget, but he said Friday that the budget, though it raised all employees’ salaries, did not raise many workers’ pay rates to where they needed to be. He aims to see salaries increased for those in the city’s public works and parks and recreation departments, as well as those on the police force.

Dickens stood and remained standing at Wednesday’s council work session to highlight the issue, and he told the MDJ Friday he also intends to do so at the council’s meeting tonight. Prior to Wednesday’s meeting, he had announced in an Oct. 5 post on his Facebook page his intention to stand at meetings.

State Rep. Emory Dunahoo (R-Gillsville)  faces a Democratic opponent for the first time since winning a special election in 2011.

“I run on the pretense of not being scared,” he said. “I’m seeking re-election because I ran five years ago on a promise that I would work on changing the tax system in Georgia.”

Dunahoo said he has filed a bill to implement a “Fair Tax” in Georgia and continues to support reductions to the state income tax.

[Michelle] Jones, meanwhile, highlights the re-emergence of the Hall County Democratic Party in the past two years. Party members prodded her to run for office, given her active involvement in the local community.
Dunahoo said he hopes to continue working on reforming the state’s criminal justice system, which has been a priority of Gov. Nathan Deal, by tightening domestic violence laws and curbing underage drinking.

He also intends to continue supporting changes to the state’s medical marijuana law, including proposals to allow in-state cultivation and distribution.

State Rep. Rich Golick (R-Smyrna) also faces a Democratic challenger next month.

State Rep. Rich Golick, R-Smyrna, and Democratic challenger Erick Allen both realize traffic is a problem in Cobb County and within House District 40, which each hope to represent come January. But the two candidates for the office differ in their strategies for improving the state of transportation in and around the county.

“It’s only going to get worse,” Allen said of Cobb’s traffic woes, which he said is one effect of a net positive: the explosion in development in and around his district.

Golick says that while traffic should improve with the completion of various projects around Cumberland Mall, Windy Hill and Atlanta roads, as well as the managed lanes under construction on I-75, any potential long-term solutions will need to consider some form of mass transit, though any such addition had to “make sense” and be cost-efficient for taxpayers. A rail system, he said, may not be the answer.

“We must not build rail just for the sake of building it, because that would be a potentially colossal waste of the taxpayers’ money,” Golick said. “It may be that some sort of express bus service — both north-south and east-west tracking traffic patterns — would make the most sense from a fiscal management and effectiveness standpoint, but the result must be that fewer cars are on the road, and any such a system certainly cannot make the commute of those who remain in their cars more difficult than it is now.”

“I support the Opportunity School District Amendment because it provides a mechanism to rescue a child from a chronically failing school,” Golick said. “One need only look at the example of the Atlanta Public Schools cheating scandal to see what happens when schools chronically fail, and then are ignored. We don’t have that problem in Cobb due to good management and fundamentally committed teachers who we appreciate, but the truth is that there are school systems where this is a problem, and we can’t ignore it.”

But Allen said he does not believe the Opportunity School District, listed on the ballot as Amendment One, is the solution struggling schools need.

Incumbent Hall County District 4 Commissioner Jeff Stowe faces off against Democrat Angela Thomas Middleton.

Stowe, in his first re-election bid, is looking to stamp his campaign promises on the electorate.

“I have a track record now,” Stowe said, adding that his opponent is not subject to the same scrutiny he faces.

Stowe said he promised to solidify a firm plan to develop a park in the area when first running for office four years ago and that he’s stayed true to that commitment.

“I can’t do anything I promise without two other votes,” Stowe said. “It’s about working with your fellow commissioners.”

He believes this is one of his greatest strengths and what will help see the park to completion.

“It’s going to take working with my fellow commissioners to make that happen,” Stowe said. “We all have needs in our districts.”

Walker County Commissioner Bebe Heiskell may return nearly $20,000 in excess contributions, according to the Times-Free Press.

The confusion arose from Heiskell’s decision in March to seek re-election as an independent, after running as a Republican since taking office in 2001. She decided this year to run as an independent and avoid the primary, even though records show she had been raising money for that election since the summer of 2014.

Of the $120,000 she has received since then, $80,000 was intended to go toward her primary campaign. When she left the Republican Party to run as an independent, those contributions transferred to her general election fund, said Robert Lane, an attorney for the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission.

But even so, some contributors — like Audia — gave more than the $2,600 legal limit for the primary. Others made separate donations for the primary and general elections that totaled more than the limit for one race.

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