Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for September 2, 2014

On August 31, 1864, Confederates charged Union forces at the Battle of Jonesboro, in which the CSA suffered more than 1400 casualties in one hour.

Atlanta Mayor James Calhoun surrendered the city to federal forces on September 2, 1864.

Calhoun’s two-sentence letter, directed to Brig.-Gen. William Ward stated:

“Sir: The fortune of war has placed Atlanta in your hands. As mayor of the city I ask protection of non-combatants and private property.”

The cornerstone of the Georgia State Capitol was laid on September 2, 1885.

The last hanging in Atlanta took place on September 1, 1922 outside the Fulton County jail.

Author John Ronald Reuel Tolkien died on September 2, 1973.

On September 1, 2004, United States Senator Zell Miller, a Democrat, spoke at the Republican National Convention. (more…)

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 29, 2014

General Robert E. Lee’s Confederates met General John Pope’s federal forces at the Second Battle of Manassas on August 29, 1862.

Union General William T. Sherman’s forces tore up 12 miles of railroad between Red Oak and Fairburn on August 29, 1864.

The United States Air Force Academy moved to its permanent home in Colorado Springs on August 29, 1958

The Beatles played their final concert at San Francisco’s Candlestick Park on August 29, 1966.

On August 29, 1971, Hank Aaron broke the National League record for most seasons with 100 or more RBI, as he drove in his 100th run to make 11 seasons hitting that mark.

On August 29, 1977, Lou Brock stole his 893d base, to surpass the record set by Georgia-born Ty Cobb.

Georgia Politics

A State Senate Study Committee met yesterday to hear about disciplinary issues in Georgia schools.

In Milledgeville, two years ago, a kindergartner was handcuffed at school. Last year in DeKalb County, a child was beaten at middle school. A few months ago, a child was confronted by another child with a knife in Newton County.

In each case, it wasn’t just the just the incident, but how the school handled it that angered parents. Either over-reaction – or no punishment at all.

Now, the state Senate committee is looking into criticism that the disparities and discipline across the state are harmful to certain kids.

There are five more public hearings planned across the state in the coming months.

The Study Committee is chaired by Sen. Emanuel Jones and includes Senators Hardie Davis (D-Augusta), Bill Heath (R-Bremen), Lindsey Tippins (R-Marietta) and John Wilkinson, (R-Toccoa). (more…)

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 28, 2014

August 28, 1929 saw Governor Lamartine Hardman sign a Constitutional Amendment authorizing the levy of a state income tax. On August 28, 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered the “I Have a Dream Speech” on the Mall in Washington, DC. http://youtu.be/jw1R_JBuHEQ If you’re interested in the structure of speeches, Nancy Duarte has done an excellent analysis of the speech, which you can watch here: http://youtu.be/1nYFpuc2Umk?t=11m49s

An obscure college professor named Newt Gingrich began his political career on August 28, 1976, as he kicked off his first campaign against Congressman Jack Flynt.

Old Newt Pic On August 28, 2008, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools revoked the accreditation of the Clayton County Public Schools. Later that day, Governor Sonny Perdue removed four members of the Clayton County Board of Education upon the recommendation of an administrative law judge.

What have Republicans done?

My friend, Leo Smith, serves as Minority Engagement Director for the Georgia Republican Party. He wrote on Facebook:

As I travel the state to speak with civic organizations, churches, and black leadership groups about the Republican Party, the most prevalent question is this: “What have Republicans done to better the lives of African Americans in Georgia?”

And, of course, he went on to answer the question. I’d like to offer my own answer of three things the Georgia Republican Party has done to improve the lives of African-Americans. (more…)

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 27, 2014

Advertising in the rights of way of state roads and placing signs on private property without the owner’s approval were prohibited in the first Georgia law regulating outdoor advertising, which was signed by Governor Richard Russell on August 27, 1931. Over the years, both practices would become enshrined in Peach State political strategy.

Former Georgia Governor Lester Maddox was nominated for President on the American Independent Party ticket on August 27, 1976, making the race probably the only one to ever feature two former Georgia governors. During the campaign, Maddox described Jimmy Carter as “the most dishonest man I ever met.”

On August 27, 1982, Oakland Athletics outfielder Rickey Henderson broke the record for stolen bases in a season, nabbing number 119 against the Milwaukee Brewers.

Georgia Governor Zell Miller addressed the Democratic National Convention on August 27, 1966. In 2004, Miller would address the Republican National Convention, likely becoming the first Georgian to address both major parties’ national conventions. Congressman John Lewis and Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney also addressed the ’96 DNC.

On August 27, 2008, Barack Obama became the Presidential nominee of the Democratic Party, the first African-American nominee of a major United States political party.

Elaine Boyer indicted

A day after she resigned from the DeKalb County Commission, federal wire fraud and conspiracy to commit mail fraud charges were filed against Elaine Boyer.

The information charges Boyer with participating since at least September 2009 in a scheme to defraud the county by submitting false invoices for consulting services that were supposedly performed by an unnamed adviser whom Boyer had hired to assist her with her public duties.

According to the information, for at least two years invoices were submitted to Boyer’s office for the adviser’s consulting services, but no such services were performed. Boyer used the invoices to authorize payments—and mail 35 checks totaling more than $78,000—to the adviser who, the information said, funneled about 75 percent of the funds, an estimated $58,000, into Boyer’s personal bank account.

Boyer then used the money to pay personal expenses, including purchases at hotels and high-end department stores, the information said.

The criminal information also charges Boyer with using a county-issued Visa purchasing card, which was intended for county-related purchases, to make more than 50 personal purchases totaling more than $15,000 that included airline tickets and hotel rooms for personal travel for herself and her family.

United States Attorney Sally Q. Yates said she intends to ask for prison time.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the consultant in questions is likely Marion Rooks Boynton.

[A]n Atlanta Journal-Constitution investigation that began months ago found that only one consultant received those kinds of payments from Boyer.

It’s Marion Rooks Boynton, a 72-year-old evangelist who ran unsuccessfully for DeKalb County offices 30 years ago. In recent weeks, the AJC had been asking Boyer for proof of the work Boynton had performed.

She could produce none.

Tuesday afternoon, Boyer told a federal magistrate judge she will plead guilty to a mail fraud charge in connection with that scheme. Boynton has not been charged.

Boyer also plans to plead guilty to another scheme first revealed in the AJC in March: using her county purchasing card to pay for personal expenses.

It is my personal hope that Nancy Jester will run for DeKalb County Commission to fill the seat vacated when Boyer resigned. During her service on the DeKalb County Board of Education, Nancy Jester uncovered millions of dollars in fraud, and sacrificed her political career on the School Board to bring the fraud to light. DeKalb County deserves an honest, principled public servant, not another political hack with ties to Elaine Boyer.

More on Polling

Yesterday, I wrote about a difference between the recent poll released by Landmark Communications, and those by other polling firms.

The Landmark poll projects a 29% ‘black vote.’  Frankly, anywhere from 28% to 30% would be reasonable, but we believe 26% is too low and has caused other polls to incorrectly display higher support for Republican candidates at this stage of the election.

The Republican National Committee apparently wrote to a member of the RNC from Georgia:

Having said that the poll you site does have African American turnout #’s at 29%. That is about 4 pts higher than the historic average but I don’t know that it is impossible.

So, there seems to be a difference in opinion on the historic figures for African-American turnout as a percentage of all voters. The difference between the RNC’s 2010 figure or 25% and Landmark’s 2010 figure of 28.5% is very significant in this setting.

It might be correct that an historic average of the percentage of Georgia voters in a General Election who are African-American is 25%, but that’s the wrong number to use as a predictor for 2012 turnout. The clear trend among the Georgia electorate is rising African-American turnout. Additionally, as Mark Rountree of Landmark Communications pointed out,

Since 2010, there have been 925,000 newly registered voters (net) in Georgia. Based on voting behavior by all demographic groups, this registration has added approximately 200,000 net new behaviorally Democratic voters to Georgia’s voting rolls. This means approximately 50,000 net registered voters added each year to the voting rolls in Georgia since the 2010 election.

The most relevant actual numbers are from the 2010 General Election, in which at least 28.29% of voters were African-American, and the 2012 General Eleciton, in which at least 29.89% of voters were African-American. On that basis, I’d say that if your pollster is using 25% as the percentage of the 2014 General Election that is likely to be African-American voters, they’re clearly wrong, essentially more than doubling the margin of error.

Here are three fundamental facts to understand when you’re looking at polling:

1.) the nature of polling is such that you can be wrong in the weighting and still have numbers that accurately represent the state of the electorate

2.) you can have everything absolutely correct methodologically and still be dead wrong on the numbers that count – the margin of error you read about whenever you see a poll is calculated at the 95% confidence interval, meaning that one in 20 polls will be outside the margin of error. Another word for “outside the margin of error” is “dead wrong.” Read that again – 1 in 20 polls is wrong.

3.) a single poll, even if absolutely correct, is a reflection of a point in time, and not a predictor of the future.

Governor Deal in Braselton

Governor Deal Braselton

Yesterday, Governor Nathan Deal spoke to a lunch held by the Jackson County Republican Party in Braselton, Georgia. Lunch was catered by Higher Grounds Coffee House, a very nice shop that I’ll visit again when in Braselton. Second from the right, next to Gov. Deal is Jackson County Sheriff Janis Mangum.

I’ll listen to the recording later today and see if I can pull out a couple segments to transcribe, but here’s what I took away from what Governor Deal said:

Voter turnout is absolutely critical, Republican voters must go to the polls….I’m afraid [changes in the primary schedule] may have desensitized people in this election cycle to the point where they just stay home, and we can’t afford to have that happen. Our base needs to turn out…. I would urge you to try and make sure that your family, and anybody you have any kind of contact or influence with, please stress to them the importance of this election.

Now this is a precursor to [2016], where we have a Presidential election. So, if Georgia shows any signs of vulnerability, then we are going to be deluged as a state that can no longer be counted on in the Republican column, and that has rather devastating effects for us, so we need to make sure that we do get the [voter] turnout this time.

Sam Olens notches a win for open government

Yesterday, Attorney General Sam Olens announced that his office prevailed in a lawsuit under the Open Records Act against the City of Cumming and Mayor Ford Gravitt.

Judge Adamson ordered the defendants to pay $12,000 in penalties, the highest amount possible under the law. Defendants have also been ordered to pay attorney’s fees in an amount to be determined at a later hearing.

“This ruling is a major victory for government transparency,” said Olens. “Georgians deserve a government that operates openly and honestly. The essence of our democracy is that elected officials are held accountable to the citizens and that citizens are allowed to exercise their rights granted by the First Amendment.”

At a Cumming City Council meeting on April 17, 2012, Mayor Gravitt demanded that citizen Nydia Tisdale cease filming the meeting and subsequently ordered her to leave the meeting. Ms. Tisdale returned to the meeting with another hand held camera and was again told to stop recording the meeting. Georgia’s Open Meetings Act expressly provides that visual and sound recording during open meetings shall be permitted.

“My office takes very seriously our responsibility to enforce the Open Meetings and Open Records Acts. The actions by the mayor in this circumstance were egregious, and it is essential that he be held responsible for his actions.”

Nydia Tisdale, who was ordered to stop video recording a public meeting was also at the center of the dispute this past weekend at an event held on private property, where she was arrested and charged with criminal trespass and obstruction.

Here’s the lesson for folks in politics: video recording devices are everywhere, and if you’re holding a public meeting at which candidates or elected officials are speaking, they will be recorded. In fact, the whole incident at Dawson County was recorded, and at least audio and photos are available. See, there’s this thing called an iPhone that combines a video recorder, audio recorder and camera.

If the candidates speaking this week had simply ignored Ms. Tisdale, there would be no issue. Instead, some well-meaning folks handed Gov. Deal’s opponent, Jason Carter, yet another stick with which to scourge our Republican Governor over something he and his campaign had nothing to do with.

The Democratic Party of Georgia, through spokesman Michael Smith, sent us word last night that they, too have seized on the issue. Smith coupled the reporter’s ouster with the GOP’s all-white ticket to try to make the case that Republicans are “rejecting huge swaths of the public.”

Said Smith: “They continue to alienate women, people of color, the LGBT community, and immigrants with hostile rhetoric and policies. Just this year, the Georgia Republican Party overwhelmingly rejected women and people of color on their Primary ballot. And now—in an apparent attempt to conceal what they say behind closed doors—it seems the GA GOP is purging itself of the press as well.”

This is nothing less than a political amateur hour blunder.

Pro-tip: the media can’t hold a circus if you don’t act like a clown.

Here’s a video shot a couple weeks ago by the lady who was forcibly removed from the Dawson County event. It’s well done and embarrasses no one. In fact, if I were one of the candidates in the video, I’d be grateful, and I’d be forwarding it to my friends and supporters to share with their friends and family.

Best of all, nobody embarrassed themselves or their fellow Republicans.

Professionals on-stage do not get flustered or distracted by video recordings, or even hecklers. They continue with their remarks, and for goodness sake, they don’t embarrass their Governor with whom they share a ticket in November.

Computer Programming as a foreign language

Earlier this week, Governor Deal announced that he is asking the State Board of Education to allow computer programming classes to satisfy part of the requirements for a high school diploma.

“Students need to acquire the 21st century skills necessary to thrive in the modern workforce,” Deal said. “Computing is currently one of the fastest growing occupations in the country with average salaries nearly twice the national rate. In fact, more than half of the projected job growth in the STEM fields will be in computing occupations. We must begin training our young people in these areas prior to their post-secondary education so they are prepared to fill these high-wage, in-demand positions.”

“This change will support our STEM efforts — science, technology, engineering and mathematics,” said University System of Georgia Chancellor Hank Huckaby. “It is a recognition of the evolving dynamics of our increasingly technologically dependent world.”

“If Georgia is to maintain a world-class workforce, then we must ensure that our students can understand and apply sophisticated technology,” said Technical College System of Georgia Commissioner Ron Jackson. “I applaud Governor Deal for this change that will improve the education of students and build a better future for Georgia.”

Currently, Georgia allows Advanced Placement Computer Science to satisfy the fourth and final science credit in high school. Only 18 percent of Georgia high schools offer this class and less than one percent of students took the course in 2013. Other coding courses can count only as elective credit and access to these courses is limited.

“I am working to keep Georgia the No. 1 place in the nation for business and we must have a strong education system that responds to the needs of companies across our state in order to do so,” Deal said. “Computer science should no longer be just a high school elective. With the help of strong partners like Georgia Tech, we can develop these valuable courses and better prepare our students for college and the workforce.”

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 26, 2014

On August 26, 1864, having withdrawn from trenches and fortifications outside Atlanta the previous day, U.S. General Sherman sent most of his forces westward around Atlanta and toward the south of the city.

On August 26, 1920, the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was adopted. Ratification took place on August 18, 1920, as the Tennessee House of Representatives adopted it, but adoption became official on August 26, when United States Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby certified the Amendment. It reads:

The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.

Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

On August 26, 1939, the first televised major league baseball game aired, as the Brooklyn Dodgers and Cincinnati Reds split a doubleheader in Ebbets Field.

On August 26, 1961, the 718th Engineer Light Equipment Company of Fort Valley and the 210th Signal Base Depot Company of Augusta were called up to take part in the American response to the crisis in Berlin.

President Lyndon B. Johnson was nominated for President by the Democratic National Convention in Atlantic City, New Jersey on August 26, 1964.

On August 26, 1965, Sonny & Cher were at No.1 on the UK singles chart with ‘I Got You Babe’, the duo’s only UK No.1. Sonny Bono was inspired to write the song to capitalize on the popularity of the term “babe,” as heard in Bob Dylan’s ‘It Ain’t Me Babe’.

On August 26, 1996, President Bill Clinton signed a Welfare Reform bill, called the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996.

More easy listening and a question for readers

Last week, we had a great discussion of the week’s developments in Georgia Politics. You can listen on Fridays at 3 PM on 88.5 FM in Atlanta or on the GPB radio network statewide. They’ve also started posting the show on the GPB website.

Click here for last week’s show, when Bill Nigut hosted me, Republican Eric Tanenblatt, Democrats Buddy Darden and Tharon Johnson, and AJC Political Insider Jim Galloway.

Here’s my question for you: do you listen to podcasts? If so, what are your favorites?

Elaine Boyer resigns from DeKalb Commission

Yesterday, Elaine Boyer resigned her seat on the DeKalb County Commission, where she has served since her election in 1992. From WSB-TV: (more…)

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 25, 2014

On August 25, 325, the Council of Nicea adopted the Nicene Creed.

On August 25, 1864, Union troops stopped artillery bombardment of Atlanta and withdrew from fortifications around the city. On the same day, in Virginia, Confederate forces attacked Federals under Gen. Grant at Ream’s Station.

On August 25, 1877, delegates to the state Constitutional Convention approved a new post-Reconstruction state Constitution, the seventh in state history, to be submitted to the voters on December 5, 1877.

The all-time highest score in a professional baseball game was recorded on August 25, 1922, as the Chicago Cubs beat the Philadelphia Phillies by 26-23.

Paris was liberated from German army control on August 25, 1944.

On August 25, 1950, President Harry S. Truman ordered the seizure of the nation’s private railroads by executive order.


Our photo selections from Gould Hagler show two different shots of the same monument, the state’s second oldest Confederate monument in Griffin, Georgia. Here’s what it looked like before a cleaning and restoration.

Gould Hagler

And after cleaning and restoration:

Gould Hagler Griffin2

Gould’s book, Georgia’s Confederate Monuments: In Honor of a Fallen Nation, is available for ordering online from Mercer University Press. We receive no compensation for running these, and paid for our own copy.

 


 

Happy Birthday to Georgia Governor Nathan Deal

I didn’t get you anything, but you have my support and on November 4, 2014, I’ll vote to re-elect Governor Deal.

Nydia Tisdale arrested at Dawsonville GOP Rally

Nydia Tisdale is a Forsyth County political activist who has made a name of herself by shooting video at public meetings and political events and posting them on YouTube.

She’s not always welcomed. In 2012, Cumming Mayor H. Ford Gravitt had her removed from a meeting of the Cumming City Council.

Attorney General Sam Olens disagreed with the City’s video policy.

Olens filed suit in Forsyth County Superior Court against the city of Cumming and Mayor H. Ford Gravitt for the alleged violation of Georgia open meetings law on June 5, 2012.

On the same day of the alleged [2012] violations, Gov. Nathan Deal signed into law the updated version of Georgia’s Sunshine Law.

The law says that a person is allowed to make visual and audio recordings at a public meeting. The new law, which went into effect the same day, provides for visual and sound recordings of public meetings and authorizes the attorney general to sue violators and seek penalties.

This past Saturday, Tisdale uploaded to YouTube a video she shot of Gov. Nathan Deal, Senate candidate David Perdue and others at the North Fulton Victory 2014 Rally held earlier this month. (more…)

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