On the Presidential campaign trail, Franklin Delano Roosevelt arrived in Atlanta on October 23, 1932, speaking to 10,000, and continued on to his “second home” at Warm Springs, Georgia.
FDR campaigning in Atlanta and Georgia in 1932.
When he arrived at Warm Springs, FDR gave a short speech:
“Two more weeks to go. . . . First, let me say this: this old hat, a lot of you people have seen it before. It’s the same hat. But I don’t think it is going to last much longer after the 8th of November. I have a superstition about hats in campaigns, and I am going to wear it until midnight of the 8th of November. . . . Well, it’s fine to see, and I’m looking forward to coming down here for the usual Thanksgiving party at Warm Springs, and having a real old-fashioned Thanksgiving with my neighbors again. I thank you!”
On October 23, 1971, the Coca-Cola Company launched the advertising campaign “I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke.”
Georgia-born Clarence Thomas was sworn in as an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court on October 23, 1991.
Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections
Quote of the Week is a tough contest between former President Jimmy Carter and State Rep. Betty Price. Via The New York Times, Carter’s offering:
“I think the media have been harder on Trump than any other president certainly that I’ve known about,” Carter replied. “I think they feel free to claim that Trump is mentally deranged and everything else without hesitation.”
State Rep. Betty Price (R-Roswell) certainly spiced-up an otherwise routine off-season House Study Committee meeting last week.
During a Tuesday study committee meeting, State Rep. Betty Price (R-Roswell) asked Dr. Pascale Wortley, director of the Georgia Department of Public Health’s HIV epidemiology section, “Is there an ability, since I would guess that public dollars are expended heavily in prophylaxis and treatment of this condition, so we have a public interest in curtailing the spread … Are there any methods legally that we could do that would curtail the spread?
“I don’t want to say the quarantine word — but I guess I just said it.”
Price immediately came under fire from Price’s comments drew rebukes from human rights and LGBTQ groups, with some calling for her immediate resignation.
“I made a provocative and rhetorical comment as part of a free-flowing conversation which has been taken completely out of context,” Price said in her statement. “I do not support a quarantine in this public health challenge and dilemma of undertreated HIV patients.”
“I do, however, wish to light a fire under all of us with responsibility in the public health arena – a fire that will result in resolve and commitment to ensure that all of our fellow citizens with HIV will receive, and adhere to, a treatment regimen that will enhance their quality of life and protect the health of the public.”
In 2015, only four states had more adults and adolescents living with HIV than Georgia, according to a fact sheet on the state’s Department of Public Health website. The total number of people living with HIV infection in Georgia on Dec. 31 of that year was 54,574, and nearly two-thirds of them lived in the Atlanta metro area.
Conyers voters give high marks to experimental voting machines in use for local elections as a pilot program.
With the system being used in the pilot program, called the ExpressVote Universal Voting System, voters are issued a paper ballot that they insert into a touch-screen voting machine, prints their choices onto the ballot.
Voters can then review their selections on the paper ballot before inserting it into a tabulation machine, which scans the ballots and secures them in a locked box. If there’s a mistake, the voter is issued a new ballot.
“Our voters are spoiled now,” Cynthia Welch, supervisor of elections in Rockdale County, said in an interview on Thursday after four days of voting. “My poll workers and my voters are saying, ‘Do we have to go back to the old system next year?’ And my answer is, ‘Yes, unfortunately, we will have to go back.’
“It’s like test driving a new car for a whole week. You get used to it and then you have to take it back,” she added.
Georgia is likely still years away from replacing its voting machines. Lawmakers last overhauled the state’s election system in 2002 when they agreed to spend $54 million on what is called direct recording electronic equipment, which is what voters now see at the polls.
“As the existing system approaches the end of its life-cycle, it is appropriate to start exploring future options,” said Jared Thomas, a spokesman for the Secretary of State’s Office.
It would likely cost more than $100 million to buy a new system, train officials in all 159 counties and securely dispose of the now 15-year-old equipment, Thomas said.
Candidates for House District 117 and 119 in the Athens area will be at a forum tonight at the Athens-Clarke County Library, 2025 Baxter Street in Athens.
Three Republicans and one Democratic candidate are in the running to fill the unexpired term of Chuck Williams in House District 119, which spans parts of Clarke and Oconee counties.
One Democrat and one Republican are in the running to replace Regina Quick in District 117, which includes parts of Oconee, Clarke, Barrow and Jackson counties.
Quick and Williams, both Republicans, resigned from their seats this fall — Quick after she was appointed to a vacant Superior Court judgeship by Republican Gov. Nathan Deal and Williams after being tapped to become director of the Georgia Forestry Commission.
In Monday’s forum, first up will be the two District 117 candidates — Republican Houston Gaines and Democrat Deborah Gonzalez. After a 15-minute intermission beginning at 6:45 p.m., the four District 119 candidates will make their cases. They are Democrat software engineer and entrepreneur Jonathan Wallace, and three Republicans — funeral home owner Tom Lord, homebuilder Marcus Wiedower and communications executive Steven Strickland.
The University of Georgia College Republicans endorsed Houston Gaines for HD 117.
“Gaines’ youth and energy present a unique perspective and will contribute a fresh voice to the Georgia General Assembly,” the release reads. “His invaluable experience in the public sector and dedication to the people of the 117th District make him exceptionally qualified to be their next state representative.”
Chairman of UGACR Ben Grayson added his thoughts on Gaines to the press release.
“Houston has been a long-time friend of the UGA College Republicans, and he is a champion for higher education,” Grayson said. “We proudly support his candidacy, and we encourage everyone in the district to do the same.”
Other elections in Athens-Clarke County include a countywide T-SPLOST.
Early voting has started for the Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax, which is slated to raise $109.5 million for transportation and infrastructure improvements in Athens over the course of five years if approved.
The referendum, if successful, would add an additional 1 percent to the sales tax in Athens and fund 19 projects chosen by the Athens-Clarke County Commission and a TSPLOST Citizen Advisory Committee.
The collection of the TSPLOST tax would begin on April 1, 2018, if approved, and would bring the sales tax in Athens-Clarke County up to 8 percent.
Voters will decide the fate of the tax during the Nov. 7 election.
Registered voters in Athens can cast their ballots in advance on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the ACC Board of Elections on 155 E. Washington St. Early voting polls will also be open Saturday, Oct. 28, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the same location.
Watkinsville and Winterville also host contested elections for City Council.
Early voting ends Nov. 3.
The Marietta Daily Journal looks at the three candidates for Chairman of the Fulton County Commission.
Political veterans Robb Pitts, Gabriel Sterling and Keisha Waites are battling for the District 7 (chair) seat on the Fulton County Board of Commissioners in the Nov. 7 special election. They seek to replace incumbent John Eaves, who resigned in August to run for Atlanta mayor. The District 7 post is countywide.
Pitts, a Buckhead resident and Democrat, is running for the chair’s seat for the second time in three years.
Pitts said his top three issues are property taxes, transportation improvements and criminal justice reform. He said his political experience, including as Atlanta council president, is one reason he stands out as a candidate.
Sterling, a Sandy Springs resident and Republican, is the District 4 Sandy Springs City Council member, a post he has held since being elected in 2011 and reelected two years later. But as far back as 1990, Sterling has volunteered or worked on several political campaigns. In 2005, he negotiated for the new city of Sandy Springs with the county on assets being transferred from Fulton to the new city.
“With nearly all of Fulton County being incorporated into one of 15 cities, we have to reinvent the role of the county,” Sterling said. “It is an amazing opportunity. When we launched Sandy Springs we had a clean sheet. The next chair needs to be someone not tied to the dysfunctional functioning of Fulton’s past. I want to introduce innovative ideas to better run the county at lower costs to taxpayers.”
He said his top three issues are to protect homeowners from skyrocketing property tax assessments, reform Fulton government and partner with cities and neighboring governments to bring traffic relief.
Waites, a southwest Atlanta resident (Sylvan Hills community) and Democrat, served as the District 60 Georgia House of Representatives member from her 2012 election until resigning in September to run for this seat. She previously unsuccessfully ran for a Fulton commission district seat in 2010 and for county chair in 2006.
“As a homeowner and small business owner, I know firsthand the experiences and difficulties that taxpayers are facing with respect to navigating a flawed system,” Waites said of why she’s running this year.
Seven Gwinnett County municipalities agreed with the county on how to divide revenues from the 2017 SPLOST.
Senator David Perdue (R) introduced the Promoting Responsible Oversight of Transactions and Examinations of Credit Technology Act of 2017 (PROTECT Act).
National security freezes of protected consumers’ files and credit records would also be allowed under the legislation.
By the end of the decade, credit reporting agencies would also be barred from using Social Security numbers as a way to identify someone under the bill, which is also referred to as the PROTECT Act. The bill comes in the wake of a data breach at Equifax.
“In today’s economy, technology and banking are intertwined,” Perdue said in a statement. “It’s critical the credit bureaus and federal agencies that collect sensitive consumer data store this information properly. If not, the consequence could be severe as we’ve just seen.
“Millions of Americans were recently impacted by a massive cybersecurity breach at one of our nation’s largest credit bureaus. We cannot afford for something like this to happen again. These simple steps will protect Americans’ credit history and they should’ve been in place long ago.”
A new car tag honors utility line workers and raises funds for the Southeastern Firefighters Burn Foundation.
“It is your shoulders that we all stand on,” [Fran] Forehand, vice president of the East Region office for Georgia Power, said Wednesday. “I could not be more proud of the utility work that you do every single day on behalf of us.”
“One of our contract lineman had received a burn and was treated at this center in Augusta,” Forehand said during the special tribute to the workers at the burn foundation.“During storms you get out of bed, you leave your families and you hope and pray that they’re going to be okay for the sake of others, and I can’t think of any other selfless act than that.”
The plate was part of a two year effort that led to House Bill 260. The bill was sponsored in the House by Rep. Alan Powell (R-Hartwell), carried in the Senate by Sen. Steve Gooch (R-Dahlonega) and signed into law by Gov. Nathan Deal in May.
“Those are the kinds of things that we like to do because it puts a lot of emphasis and attention on those men and women that work across the state and put their lives on the line every day and night just like the firemen, EMS and police officiers,” Gooch said Wednesday. “You’re the first responders that come out in the middle of the night after a storm. While everyone else runs for shelter you and all of our other first responders run into the danger.”
All proceeds from the plate will benefit the foundation in Augusta to provide assistance to burn patients and their families at the Joseph M. Still Burn Center at Doctor’s Hospital. Electric Cities of Georgia, Georgia EMC and Georgia Power worked together on the new license plate.
The City of Milton says that a council member misused a public email list for his fundraiser.
The incumbent running in a contested race on the Milton City Council used a database of emails collected as part of the city’s veterans memorial recognition program to inform those residents about an upcoming fundraiser for his re-election campaign. That’s according to the city of Milton, which sounded the alarm late Thursday evening to residents.
Bill Lusk, who is running for an additional four-year term for the District 2, Post 1 seat, is in hot water after he used personal emails provided for the city’s annual veterans marker program — an initiative he’s been instrumental in promoting — to inform residents about the fundraiser he was hosting in his bid to defeat challenger Laura Bentley.
In a statement emailed Friday afternoon, Lusk said the distribution was an “honest oversight on my part resulting from my efforts” with the program.
“I began that program more than 10 years ago, solely at my expense,” he said. “Over time, some people applied to the city of Milton for inclusion in the program. The city forwarded those applications to me. I contacted the applicants during the course of fabricating the crosses and as a result, accumulated email addresses which I included in my contacts. I used my complete contact list to send out invitations to my campaign events. I did not use a city email list. I have removed all applicable names from my contact list.”
For its part, the city in its message sent Thursday said that it’s taken “immediate steps” to inform program participants of the situation and to “ensure that these email addresses will no longer be used for any purpose other than for their intended purpose.”
A Sandy Springs Council candidate has rescinded a claim of a third-party endorsement.
One of two women running for the District 4 seat on the Sandy Springs City Council has retracted a quote she claimed was provided the Georgia Stonewall Democrats in the organization’s endorsement of her campaign.
In a press release issued last week, Le’Dor Milteer claimed Stonewall Democrats Secretary Juliana Illari said the following about her bid to win the Nov. 7 election:
“Le’Dor’s commitment to LGBTQ equality is clear, she is running a diverse campaign that is leading the way on addressing issues facing all residents in Sandy Springs, and has a passion for serving her community. Le’Dor will be an ally to the LGBTQ community in Sandy Springs.”
The problem? Illari said that statement was not provided to Milteer’s campaign when it announced its endorsements for the upcoming municipal elections. With this in mind, the organization asked the candidate’s campaign to rescind their initial press release and send out a new announcement.
“There were no individual quotes given,” Illari told Patch.
Steen Kirby of Bold Blue Campaigns, which is working with Milteer on her bid for the City Council, said the candidate “did not have anything to do with” the quote that appeared in her press release.
Kirby notes an “inexperienced staffer,” brought on as a volunteer with the campaign, compiled the information — including the quote — and distributed the news in a form of a press release. The issue, Kirby states, has been dealt with and that volunteer will no longer be in charge of the communications component of Milteer’s campaign.
Despite the fabricated quote’s circulation, Kirby reiterated that the Stonewall Democrats’ endorsement of Milteer remains valid and that Milteer is proud of the organization’s support of her campaign.
Representatives Barry Loudermilk (R-Cassville) and Karen Handel (R-Roswell) spoke to the MDJ about the possibility of passenger rail from Chattanooga to Atlanta.
U.S. Reps. Barry Loudermilk, R-Cassville and Karen Handel, R-Roswell, weighed in on the latest study by the Federal Railroad Association concerning a proposed $8.76 billion high-speed rail service from Atlanta to Chattanooga.
Loudermilk said he’s been aware of the idea since his days in the Statehouse when they considered using maglev technology. He said it wasn’t financially viable at the time.
Loudermilk was far more positive about the idea of placing passenger cars on the CSX line, as state Sen. Lindsey Tippins, R-west Cobb, has suggested.
“That is more viable. (State Rep. Ed Setzler, R-Acworth) actually proposed that when I was in the Statehouse, and the rail line is already there. It’s already used. At the time, we were talking about a line from maybe Kennesaw into Atlanta. I thought that was a good idea, at least worth studying because that’s something I would have used at the time going to the state Capitol. Instead of leaving the house at 5:30 or 6 in the morning to beat the traffic, I could get to Kennesaw and read legislation on the way down instead of having to drive. And also you’re talking about a portion of the cost because it’s already there.”
Handel said she knew very little about the Atlanta to Chattanooga proposal, but questioned whether it would do that much to ease congestion.
“What we do have to do is really rethink where we are in the metro region and how we can move forward, and I take my lead on what’s going to happen from a transportation standpoint from the local governments. My job is to be a partner to them when they have come to the conclusion — with input from the citizens — about ‘the what,’ and then I’m the partner on ‘the how.’”
Augusta-area officials are stepping up their monitoring of opioid-related overdoses.
Sgt. Joel Danko, with the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Division, said overdoses from opioids that are cut with drugs have increased from 45 over the first 10 months in both 2015 and 2016 to 63 so far this year.
“I can’t say if these people all survived but there are already 18 more (overdoses) and this is only October,” Danko said.
The Richmond County Coroner’s Office averaged 20 deaths in relation to drug overdose. A portion of those deaths are a result of a newly introduced drug known as U-47700, coroner Mark Bowen said.
“It seems to me like we’re getting them just about every week,” Bowen said. “It’s more than it has been in the past and it makes it so much harder to have to sit down and tell family members that they’ve lost a loved one to drugs.”
Staff Sgt. Michael Williamson, with the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office, reported 14 arrests in 2014 and 2015, five in 2016, and 14 to date in relation to heroin cases.
“It might come up a little this year but if you go further than that you’d see we didn’t have it for so long so yes, it’s coming back,” Williams said. “So we’re monitoring the traffic of the drug and making the appropriate arrests.”