Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 13, 2017

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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 13, 2017

President George Washington returned to the City of Washington on November 13, 1789, ending the first Presidential tour.

On the same day, Benjamin Franklin wrote a letter to his friend Jean-Baptiste LeRoy, in which he said,

“Our new Constitution is now established, and has an appearance that promises permanency; but in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”

On November 13, 1865, the United States government issued the first Gold Certificates.

The Georgia General Assembly adopted a resolution against ratifying the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution on November 13, 1866.

In deciding not to ratify the 14th Amendment, the General Assembly adopted a committee report explaining that: “1. If Georgia is not a State composing part of the Federal Government known as the Government of the United States, amendments to the Constitution of the United States are not properly before this body. 2. If Georgia is a State composing part of the Federal Government … , these these amendments are not proposed according to the requirements of the Federal Constitution, and are proposed in such a manner as to forbid the legislature from discussing the merits of the amendments without an implied surrender of the rights of the State.”

Excavation began for a new Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta on the site of the former City Hall/Fulton County Courthouse on November 13, 1884.

Walt Disney released “Fantasia” on November 13, 1940.

Georgia Governor and Constitutional Commission Chair Ellis Arnall moved that a home rule provision be included in the new draft of the state Constitution and his motion passed 8-7 on November 13, 1944.

On November 13, 1956, the United States Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling that struck down a law requiring segregation on buses in Montgomery, Alabama.

Ronald Reagan announced his campaign for the Republican nomination for President of the United States on November 13, 1979.

“The people have not created this disaster in our economy; the federal government has. It has overspent, overestimated, and over regulated. It has failed to deliver services within the revenues it should be allowed to raise from taxes. In the thirty-four years since the end of World War II, it has spent 448 billion dollars more than it has collection in taxes – 448 billion dollars of printing press money, which has made every dollar you earn worth less and less. At the same time, the federal government has cynically told us that high taxes on business will in some way “solve” the problem and allow the average taxpayer to pay less. Well, business is not a taxpayer it is a tax collector. Business has to pass its tax burden on to the customer as part of the cost of doing business. You and I pay the taxes imposed on business every time we go to the store. Only people pay taxes and it is political demagoguery or economic illiteracy to try and tell us otherwise.”

“The key to restoring the health of the economy lies in cutting taxes. At the same time, we need to get the waste out of federal spending. This does not mean sacrificing essential services, nor do we need to destroy the system of benefits which flow to the poor, the elderly, the sick and the handicapped. We have long since committed ourselves, as a people, to help those among us who cannot take care of themselves. But the federal government has proven to be the costliest and most inefficient provider of such help we could possibly have.”

“I believe this nation hungers for a spiritual revival; hungers to once again see honor placed above political expediency; to see government once again the protector of our liberties, not the distributor of gifts and privilege. Government should uphold and not undermine those institutions which are custodians of the very values upon which civilization is founded—religion, education and, above all, family. Government cannot be clergyman, teacher and parent. It is our servant, beholden to us.”

“We who are privileged to be Americans have had a rendezvous with destiny since the moment in 1630 when John Winthrop, standing on the deck of the tiny Arbella off the coast of Massachusetts, told the little band of pilgrims, “We shall be as a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us so that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken and so cause Him to withdraw His present help from us, we shall be made a story and a byword throughout the world.”

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial was dedicated on November 13, 1982 in Washington, DC.

On November 13, 2006, groundbreaking began for a memorial to Martin Luther King, Jr. on the National Mall in Washington, DC.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

President Hillary Clinton brings her blamestorming tour to Atlanta today.

Hillary Clinton is headed to Atlanta on Monday for an hourlong conversation as part of her book tour.

Her visit to the Fox Theatre is part of a 16-city nationwide tour where she’s mixed self-deprecating humor with analysis of her 2016 defeat to Republican Donald Trump.

The tour is part of ongoing Democratic hand-wringing about last year’s vote, marked by new questions about whether the Democratic National Committee favored her campaign over Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ insurgent bid.

Stephe Koontz became the only openly-transgender person currently elected to local office in Georgia.

When Stephe Koontz knocked on doors ahead of the Doraville City Council election, she was pleased to find people who wanted to talk about potholes and code enforcement, not her gender identity.

Koontz likes to stick to the issues of local government — she lists ensuring the city’s growth while maintaining the hometown feel as what spurred her to run — but she is proud of the bit of ground she’s breaking.

“One of the reasons I ran is, I feel transgender youths need a role model and to be able to see that they do have a future,” she said Thursday. “I’ve been getting dozens of messages since the election from parents of trans youth who are in tears. I tear up every time I read one.”

Koontz is believed to be the second trans person elected to office in Georiga.

Michelle Bruce was sued over her candidacy for the Riverdale City Council in 2007. The trans woman had first been elected unopposed in 2003, but an opponent to her re-election filed the suit, claiming she had misled voters about her identity, though other officials said it was well-known around town that she was transgender.

The Georgia Supreme Court eventually sided with Bruce, but she had already lost the election.

Voter turnout surged in Loganville over past years.

More than 1,100 voters cast ballots in Loganville’s city elections Tuesday, surpassing the number of ballots cast when the mayor’s seat was contested in both 2010 and 2013, according to city officials.

City spokesman Robbie Schwartz said 1,148 of the city’s 7,876 registered voters cast ballots in this year’s election. By comparison, 1,011 ballots were cast in the 2010 election and 780 ballots were cast in the 2013 election.

Niko’s Wine Corner in Snellville is urging a referendum to allow package liquor sales in the Gwinnett County municipality.

The shop’s Scott Danos said the store wants to expand into packaged liquor sales. He also said state law requires a referendum be held in the city on whether Snellville officials can issue permits for those sales to take place.

And the referendum has to be requested via a petition signed by a certain number of registered voters — the number being equal to 35 percent of number of people registered to vote in the city’s last election.

Hence the reason why residents will begin seeing people asking for their signatures.

“We work at a high-end wine and beer store in Snellville and want to expand the liquor side of it, so to do that, we have to jump through these hoops,” Danos said. “So we’re beginning. We’re paying people. We’re hiring people to go door-to-door. We’ve already begun this.”

If the referendum passes, the City Council will have the authority to determine how many packaged liquor sales licenses will be handed out each year. Officials at Niko’s Wine Corner are optimistic about their chances of eventually getting a license though.

“We wouldn’t be doing this if we didn’t think we’ve have a good chance,” Danos said.

U.S. Representative Karen Handel (R-Roswell) did a Q&A with Georgia Trend.

GT: What would you like to see in a tax reform bill?

Handel: Making sure corporate relief is coupled with individual relief, because I believe firmly that middle-class Americans and middle-class Georgians need relief. Individual relief is how we ensure that smaller companies and companies organized as S corps and LLCs also are able to benefit from lower rates.

GT: What else?

Handel: Permanent repeal of the death tax. Relief for companies to be able to repatriate dollars that are sitting overseas, to get those dollars back here on the ground in the U.S. That’s investment, and investment means jobs.

GT: It sounds as though you are comfortable with the work of the House.

Handel: Making legislation is not so different than at the statehouse. The real work is not all that sexy and interesting – it’s just hard. When we take up the appropriations bills, instead of all 12 individually, we’re taking them as a package, which I think is going to help the process. There are going to be a lot of amendments. Several human trafficking bills will go to the floor.

GT: You are co-sponsoring one of those human trafficking bills, aren’t you?

Handel: My friend [Missouri Republican Rep.] Amy Wagner’s bill. It will give local law enforcement a little more latitude in how they can investigate and try to make the arrest case for predators on social media. You can imagine some of the First Amendment challenges and privacy challenges. It’s a really, really solid piece of legislation. I’d like to think it would have some fairly significant number of Democrats supporting it, so it’s a bipartisan bill.

State Senator Josh McKoon will introduce legislation to change Special Election “jungle” rules.

State Sen. Josh McKoon, a Republican candidate for secretary of state, said he’ll file legislation next week that would require both parties to nominate their own candidates in a special election.

It was spurred by the results in Tuesday’s vote to replace Republican Hunter Hill, who vacated the Atlanta-based seat to run for governor. The district was becoming increasingly competitive — Hill only narrowly carried it last year — but few predicted the two top finishers would be Democrats.

That’s exactly what happened with a field of five Republicans splitting the GOP vote, while the two leading Democrats — Jaha Howard and Jen Jordan — carved up the Democratic support. That helped them finish atop the field, even though Republicans narrowly outvoted Democrats overall.

McKoon’s measure would establish party primaries in special elections rather than employing the wide-open races that state law now requires. He called Tuesday’s results “an injustice to the citizens of this state to be denied fair representation.”

The State Committee on Compensation has recommended pay raises for state legislators.

State lawmakers would receive $12,000 raises in 2019 under a proposal by a compensation committee that is also recommending that statewide elected officials and the House speaker see their pay bumped up by $20,000 to $43,000.

The latest compensation committee recommended that legislative pay rise to $29,908. The lieutenant governor, who serves as president of the Senate, would be paid $135,000, rather than the current $91,000.

Ralston is not running for higher office. He, or whoever is speaker in 2019, would see the pay jump from $99,000 to $135,000. Probably just as importantly, the panel recommended the person holding the post be allowed to receive a pension from the State Retirement System.

Other statewide elected officials would receive raises of between about $20,000 and $26,000. The state attorney general’s salary, for instance, would rise from $139,000 to $165,611. The secretary of state’s pay would go to $147,128 from $123,637.

State Rep. Emory Dunahoo (R-Gainesville) writes in favor of religious liberty legislation.

We are being sold a bill of goods that says we must go along in order to compete; we have to be friendly to draw these corporations to provide jobs, we must grow as a state economically and can’t commit economic suicide. Many people in Georgia like our values the way they are and wish them to stay this way.

We are allowing small groups of people in our society to overrule the majority. Why is it that if a conservative statement is made that it is intolerant and if an opposing statement is made it is called the right to free speech? Why are there so many double standards? Where has common sense gone? People find offense in every form, where will it end?

Our founding fathers limited religion in government not because they were opposed to religion but because they didn’t want any one religion to come into power over another religion. After all, that was why they left the Church of England, not because they were agnostics. I truly believe they never thought we would not be a Christian nation and could have never envisioned the path we are currently traveling down.

Judas sold his soul for 30 pieces of silver for what he thought was right. God help us if we make the same mistake.

 The Hall County Board of Tax Assessors is suing the County Board of Equalization over 16 assessments made this year.

The Savannah Morning News reports that this year’s baby snakes are now out in the area.

For those passionate about snakes, discovering a brood of newborn pit vipers is the Holy Grail. A few years ago, while conducting a gopher tortoise survey on a remote part of Fort Stewart, I noticed some colorful, rubbery-appearing objects coiled on saw palmetto fronds 2 to 4 feet off the ground. I had stumbled into a litter of timber rattlesnakes.

I hollered to my tortoise survey colleagues, “Watch your step, these are brand-new; Mom has to be close.”

Sure enough, as the little vipers began dropping from their palmetto perches like so many fanged grenades (upon hitting the ground they slithered, all eight of them, into an old armadillo burrow) one of my colleagues spotted her. She was on the ground, one big step to my right, well-hidden under hanging fronds, curled tight as rattlers are wont to do.

I’m so glad I didn’t read that until after returning from a short trip to Coastal Georgia.

Brunswick officials considering creation of a Tax Allocation District are up against an approaching deadline.

The tax allocation district proposed for the city’s historic core, its waterfront and Gloucester Street and U.S Highway 17 corridors must be approved by the county commission and school board by the end of the year, if they choose to participate.

City commissioners approved the plan Oct. 4. The county commission and school board will vote on the matter Nov. 21 and Dec. 12, respectively.

At stake is whether or not the school board and county commission will contribute future incremental tax growth from properties within the district.

The school board heard about the proposal in October and is still considering the issue, said board spokesman Jim Weidhaas last week.

County commissioners will hear about the proposal at a work session later this month, County Manager Alan Ours said.

Cobb County Commissioners will consider fee increases at their Tuesday meeting.

Smyrna voters will choose between city council candidates Travis Lindley and Maryline Blackburn in a December 5 runoff.

Lindley picked up nearly 32.2 percent of the vote, but below the 50 percent threshold needed to avoid the runoff. Blackburn garnered nearly 28.8 percent of the vote in the five-person race.

Albany Commission Ward 2 incumbent Bobby Coleman meets challenger Matt Fuller in a runoff election.

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