GaPundit Georgia Politics, Campaigns and Elections Fri, 18 Aug 2017 13:17:55 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for August 18, 2017 Fri, 18 Aug 2017 12:16:56 +0000 GaPundit:

Lifeline Animal Project is waiving all adoption fees tomorrow to “Clear the Shelters.” Lifeline operates the DeKalb County Animal Shelter and Fulton County Animal Shelters. Sabrina is a baby pit bull female, and she and her sisters, Precious and Storm are available for adoption from the Fulton County Animal Shelter. Mate is a male American

GaPundit - Georgia Politics, Campaigns and Elections


Lifeline Clear Shelters

Lifeline Animal Project is waiving all adoption fees tomorrow to “Clear the Shelters.” Lifeline operates the DeKalb County Animal Shelter and Fulton County Animal Shelters.


Sabrina is a baby pit bull female, and she and her sisters, Precious and Storm are available for adoption from the Fulton County Animal Shelter.


Mate is a male American Foxhound mix who is available for adoption from the Fulton County Animal Shelter.


Sugar is a sweet female Pit Bull (or Boxer?) mix who is available for adoption from DeKalb County Animal Shelter.


GaPundit - Georgia Politics, Campaigns and Elections

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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 18, 2017 Fri, 18 Aug 2017 11:45:13 +0000 GaPundit:

On August 18, 1591,the English settlement at Roanoke Island in the Outer Banks of what is now North Carolina was found deserted. On August 20, 1781, General George Washington sent Continental troops from New York toward Yorktown, Virginia to engage British troops under Gen. Cornwallis. On August 18, 1795, President George Washington signed a treaty

GaPundit - Georgia Politics, Campaigns and Elections


On August 18, 1591,the English settlement at Roanoke Island in the Outer Banks of what is now North Carolina was found deserted.

On August 20, 1781, General George Washington sent Continental troops from New York toward Yorktown, Virginia to engage British troops under Gen. Cornwallis.

On August 18, 1795, President George Washington signed a treaty with Great Britain called the Jay Treaty, after Supreme Court Justice John Jay who negotiated it. Thomas Jefferson and James Madison led opposition to the treaty.

USS Constitution earned the nickname “Old Ironsides” in battle against the British ship Guerriere off the coast of Nova Scotia on August 19, 1812. Launched in 1797, Constitution is today the oldest commissioned vessel in the United States Navy. Live oak from St. Simons Island were cut and milled for timber used in the constructions of Constitution. From a 1977 New York Times article:

The Constitution won her way into Americans’ hearts in 1812, when she defeated the British Guerriere off Nova Scotia in an exchange of broadsides. The spirit of the Constitution crew was noted by the Guerriere’s commander, James Dacres, who boarded the Constitution to present his sword in surrender.

”I will not take your sword, Sir,” the captain of the Constitution, Isaac Hull, replied. ”But I will trouble you for your hat.”

In the battle, a sailor — whether British or American is disputed by historians — is said to have cried out, ”Huzzah, her sides are made of iron!” as he watched an English cannonball bounce off the side of the Constitution. It was the birth of her nickname.

Part of the ship’s secret lay in the wood used in the design by Joshua Humphreys. He picked live oak, from St. Simons Island, Ga. The wood has proved so strong and resistant to rot that the original hull is intact, said Anne Grimes Rand, curator of the Constitution Museum in Charlestown, Mass.

On August 18, 1862, Confederate Major General of Cavalry J.E.B. Stuart was nearly captured, losing his distinctive hat and cloak and written copies of Lee’s orders near Verdiersville, Virginia.

On August 20, 1906, Gov. Joseph Terrell signed legislation to build a statue of Georgia founding father James Oglethorpe in Savannah and a bill to build a statue of former Confederate General and Georgia Governor John B. Gordon at the State Capitol.

The Georgia General Assembly adopted a joint resolution urging the creation of a federal Health Department on August 18, 1908.

The Georgia Department of Insurance was created on August 19, 1912 when Governor Joseph Brown signed legislation regulating companies selling policies in the states.

On August 18, 1916, the Cherokee Rose was designated the official state flower of Georgia by a joint resolution of the State House and Senate.

Governor Nathaniel Harris signed the first state law requiring school attendance for children 8-14 years of age on August 19, 1916; on the same day, Harris also signed legislation authorizing women to practice law in Georgia.

The practice of tipping service employees was outlawed by legislation signed on August 18, 1918.

The Georgia Department of Archives and History was created by legislation signed by Georgia Governor Hugh Dorsey on August 20, 1918.

Georgia Governor Hugh Dorsey signed legislation regulating the practice of architecture and licensing practitioners on August 18, 1919.

The Georgia Board of Public Welfare was also created on August 18, 1919 when Gov. Dorsey signed legislation establishing that body and a companion bill that created the Community Service Commission.

On August 20, 1920, the American Professional Football Association, which would later be renamed the National Football League, was formed in Akron, Ohio.

“Georgia” was designated the official state song on August 19, 1922 with Gov. Thomas Hardwick’s signature on a joint resolution passed by the General Assembly; in 1979, “Georgia On My Mind,” replaced it.

On August 20, 1923, Georgia Governor Clifford Walker signed legislation requiring state schools teach the United States and Georgia Constitutions and students pass an exam on the documents before being allowed to graduate.

Adolf Hitler became President of Germany on August 19, 1934.

The United States Central Intelligence Agency supported a coup in Iran that restored the Shah of Iran on August 19, 1953.

On August 18, 1924 Gov. Clifford Walker signed legislation that would allow a referendum on a Constitutional Amendment to allow Atlanta, Savannah, or Macon to consolidate their respective municipal governments with their county governments. Macon-Bibb County merged in 2014 after voters passed a referendum in July 2012.

The Beatles played at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium on August 18, 1965. has a couple images from the night.

On August 20, 1965, “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” by the Rolling Stones was released in the UK.

On August 20, 1974, President Gerald Ford nominated Nelson Rockefeller as Vice President of the United States.

On August 19, 1976, President Gerald R. Ford was nominated for President by the Republican National Convention in Kansas City, Missouri. Ford received 1,157 (52.6%) delegates to 1,087 for Ronald Reagan (47.4%). Georgia’s 48 delegates voted for Reagan on the first ballot.

Dr. Betty Siegel became the first female President of a state college or university in Georgia when she was named President of Kennesaw College on August 19, 1981; under her leadership, it became Kennesaw State University in 1996. Siegel served until 2006. Kennesaw State was recently named the 4th best college for food in the nation.

Also on August 19, 1981, President Ronald Reagan nominated Sandra Day O’Connor as an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court.

On August 19, 1984, President Ronald Reagan was nominated for reelection by the Republican National Convention in Dallas, Texas.

On August 18, 1991, hardline Commies in the Soviet Union arrested Prime Minister Mikhail Gorbachev as part of a coup against Gorbachev’s reforms.

On August 18, 2015, Jeb Bush visited The Varsity in Atlanta. Here’s the funniest line from the CBS46 story:

Recently, Bush put a series of “Jeb No Filter” videos on YouTube and some say it’s a way to bring up his popularity.

“We’re going to work hard to earn the support of Georgians in the March 1 primary. It’s the second largest state in the primary, it’s our neighbor to our north, we’re going to be working hard,” Bush said.

While the instinct behind “Jeb No Filter” may have been good, it would take Donald Trump to show what No Filter really means.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

The Georgia House Rural Development Council met in Dalton on Wednesday to hear from local leaders.

Brian Cooksey, director of operations training and development at Shaw Industries, briefed council members on how in Whitfield County representatives of industry, the local school systems, Dalton State College and Georgia Northwestern Technical College are working together to provide students with the skills that industry needs.

He said that up until a few years ago, Dalton State College was serving as both a technical college and a university.

“They did a really good job. But that’s a tough situation,” he said.

Cooksey said leaders at Dalton State, the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia and local leaders worked together to allow the college to focus on its core strength as a university and to create programs in areas of demand by the floorcovering industry, such as bachelor of applied science in chemistry.

The next step, Cooksey said, was getting a campus of Georgia Northwestern in Whitfield County. Whitfield County Schools offered space inside the Northwest Georgia College and Career Academy and local industry provided equipment.

State Sen. Chuck Payne, R-Dalton, who sat in on some of the proceedings, said he was happy to hear how much cooperation is going on.

“We are working together here, and I hope that what we are doing can be expanded on in other places,” he said.

Rep. Rick Jasperse, R-Jasper, a member of the council, said the presentations they heard in Dalton and in other cities where the council has met should result in new legislation next year.

“We want to see what we can do to make it easier for our citizens to get the education and the skills they need to succeed,” he said. “Education is the key to a better life and the key to a higher income. We want all of Georgia to succeed, not just metro Atlanta.”

Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson responded to requests to remove memorials in the city.

[T]he mayor said the city wouldn’t remove the memorial to the Civil War dead on Broadway.

“I investigated it and its history some time ago, before the horrific events in Charlottesville,” she wrote. “I do not advocate its removal for these reasons: It was erected in 1879, not during the pushback from the civil rights movement or in conjunction with Jim Crow. It was erected 14 years after the cessation of war and after Confederate soldiers (other than Jefferson Davis, Robert Lee and the Confederate Secretary of War) had been pardoned by two presidents in an effort of national reunification — to not forget, but to move forward as one nation.”

Tomlinson said the memorial was not erected by the city, county or state, but by family and friends of the dead.

“I am distinguishing between the memorial for the dead and these memorials that glorify and encourage the themes of the war and continue its upraising as a celebration,” she said in an interview with the Ledger-Enquirer.

Later in a news conference, she said state statute prohibits the removal of public monuments, which might apply to the one on Broadway.

Savannah Mayor Eddie DeLoach wants the state to change the name of the Talmadge bridge.

The city is now planning to host a forum to discuss the Confederate monument in Forsyth Park and the Eugene Talmadge Memorial Bridge in the wake of the violence that occurred in Charlottesville, Va., over the weekend when white supremacists marched to protest the removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

Staff was directed on Thursday by the Savannah City Council to schedule the forum after Mayor Eddie DeLoach spoke about the “acts of violence committed in the name of hate and racism” during the weekend’s tragic events, which included injuries and the death of a 32-year-old woman when a speeding car rammed into anti-racist protesters. Two law enforcement officers died when the helicopter they were using to monitor the event crashed.

“We all must denounce these forms of domestic terrorism and rally around each other in the name of peace and unity,” DeLoach said. “We must not just be on the right side of history, but we must write the right version of history.”

DeLoach went on to propose that the council send a resolution calling for the state legislature to rename the Talmadge Bridge to be a more inclusive name that represents the entire community. Georgia law requires the state must give approval to rename the bridge.

In addition, DeLoach called on city staff to find a way to “expand the story” of the Confederate monument to be inclusive of all Savannahians, regardless of race, creed or color, who paid the ultimate sacrifice in the Civil War.

Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr announced he will work with the National Association of Attorneys General on strengthening laws against elder abuse.

“The abuse, neglect, and exploitation of at-risk and older citizens is a tragic and evolving issue that is plaguing not only Georgia, but our entire country,” Carr said. “When I learned of NAAG President and Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt’s intentions for the working group, I was eager to get our office involved.

“This type of collaborative effort is exactly what we need to create real results, and we look forward to working with our national partners to crack down on this malicious behavior in all its forms.”

Glynn County Commissioners heard from residents on a proposed property tax millage rate increase.

The commission approved a budget in June that relies on the millage increase.

Resident Chuck Cook said the public should more- critically weigh the benefits of the millage rate increase, as the county provides a lot of services that many see as necessary, such as 24-hour public safety services.

Another resident said that she liked living in the Golden Isles when she moved here because she was able to find a job and live comfortably. Now, however, times are tougher and she isn’t sure she’ll be able to swallow the cost of a property tax increase.

This hearing on the millage was the first of three. Another will be held at 11 a.m. on Aug. 22 in the St. Simons Island Casino and the third will be held at 6 p.m. on Aug. 24 in the Old Glynn County Courthouse, 701 G St. in Brunswick.

Flowery Branch will hold weekly events to promote voter registration.

Don McKee writes in the MDJ about another voter registration effort.

While the new SEC Primary gained a lot of attention and confirmed Kemp’s creativity, the secretary of state also started up a smaller program relating to voting within Georgia in 2016. It’s the Student Ambassador Program for “encouraging civic engagement and voter registration among young adults.” The pilot program began in January 2016 with just 14 Georgia high schools and 160 students participating.

After the program was started, electronic voter registration among 18-year-olds more than doubled using the state’s online platform and a free “GA SOS” mobile app. “Prior to the program’s pilot year in 2016, only 8,132 young adults registered to vote using the state’s electronic platforms,” Kemp announced this week. “Now, 16,737 young adults — and counting — have electronically registered to vote in Georgia.”

This year, 175 high schools and organizations in 94 Georgia counties will take part in the program, and beginning in September, more than 1,500 sophomores, juniors and seniors will receive training in how to register other young people and “engage with their local officials” — which no doubt will be respectful, aimed at gaining information, in contrast to the anger and yelling of insults at the town hall meeting held by U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-GA, and other members of Congress. On that point, civility should be a part of civics lessons — maybe including a crash course for people attending town halls before the meetings start.

Competition is a tried and true key to the Student Ambassador Program. Teams of students compete against those from other schools in statewide and regional events to win points by “hosting voter registration drives and volunteering within their communities.” Last year’s statewide winner was Newnan High School. Surely, one of our outstanding Cobb County schools has what it takes to be a winner.


Campaigns & Elections

Jessica Tarlov and Evan Roth Smith write for Fox about how Democrats could start winning elections again.

The problem is simple, but deeply entrenched: the Democratic Party is overcentralized, run from Washington and other power centers where established party elites and career operatives dispense favors, funds, and a party line that fails to reflect the needs, wishes, and priorities of actual Democratic voters.

Democratic elites and big-money donors continue to back bad candidates in winnable races, instead of letting local Democratic leaders build the party from the ground up.

Put another way, Democratic elites support well-connected carpetbaggers like Jon Ossoff, or comically underqualified political novices like Rob Quist, over actual local Democratic elected officials, activists, organizers, business owners, or community leaders.

In June’s special election for Georgia’s 6th Congressional district, Democrats spent a staggering, record-setting $23 million on Jon Ossoff’s losing campaign. Ossoff, who had never run for as much as school board, was a former D.C. congressional staffer who hadn’t lived in the district for over a decade and couldn’t even cast a ballot for himself.

Nonetheless, party elites anointed Ossoff over a slew of truly local candidates, including a former Georgia state senator, a black businesswoman running as a government reformer, an accomplished doctor running on her genuine health care expertise, and a college professor who served in the first Gulf War.

Ossoff lost to an experienced campaigner with a clear local constituency, former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel.

Now it’s time for another warning that Democrats should heed: run your local talent.

Doraville City Council Member Robert Patrick will seek reelection in District 1.

This year in Doraville, three seats, occupied by Patrick (District 1), Dawn O’Connor (District 2) and Sharon Spangler (District 3) are up for election. The qualifying fee is $252. The election will be held Nov. 7.

Jill Fisher will run for Rome Board of Education.

Jill Fisher, a mother of three Rome city school students who is active in the community while acting as bookkeeper in her husband’s dental practice, announced her intention to run for Rome City Board of Education Thursday.

“I am excited to enter the race to become a Rome City School board member. My husband, Mark, and I have three kids: one at Rome High, one at Rome Middle, and one at East Central Elementary. For the last ten years, I have served RCS in many ways, including two terms as PTO President. I have also served on several advisory committees designed to bridge the school system and parents.

GaPundit - Georgia Politics, Campaigns and Elections

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Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for August 17, 2017 Thu, 17 Aug 2017 12:28:30 +0000 GaPundit:

Bosco is a 4-year old, 50-pound male low-rider who is available for adoption from Walton County Animal Control in Monroe, GA. He is friendly and social and gets along with cats. Mocha is an eight-month old, 45-pound female puppy who is available for adoption from Walton County Animal Control in Monroe, GA. Moo Moo is

GaPundit - Georgia Politics, Campaigns and Elections



Bosco is a 4-year old, 50-pound male low-rider who is available for adoption from Walton County Animal Control in Monroe, GA. He is friendly and social and gets along with cats.


Mocha is an eight-month old, 45-pound female puppy who is available for adoption from Walton County Animal Control in Monroe, GA.


Moo Moo is a 1-year old, 50-pound female dog who is available for adoption from Walton County Animal Control in Monroe, GA. Moo Moo is good with other dogs and children.


Cheyenne is a 4-year old, 55-pound female dog who is available for adoption from Walton County Animal Control in Monroe, GA. Cheyenne was turned in by her owner, who had become homeless.


Dobby  is a 3-year old, 15-pound male dog who is available for adoption from Walton County Animal Control in Monroe, GA.

GaPundit - Georgia Politics, Campaigns and Elections

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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 17, 2017 Thu, 17 Aug 2017 12:19:12 +0000 GaPundit:

Georgia Governor Joseph Terrell signed legislation creating the State Board of Health on August 17, 1903. Georgia Tech was designated the State School of Technology on August 17, 1908 by joint resolution of the State Senate and State House. In a quaint bit of Georgia history, on August 17, 1908, Governor Hoke Smith signed legislation

GaPundit - Georgia Politics, Campaigns and Elections


Georgia Governor Joseph Terrell signed legislation creating the State Board of Health on August 17, 1903.

Georgia Tech was designated the State School of Technology on August 17, 1908 by joint resolution of the State Senate and State House.

In a quaint bit of Georgia history, on August 17, 1908, Governor Hoke Smith signed legislation prohibiting corporate donations to political campaigns. Cute!

On August 17, 1998, President Bill Clinton testified as the subject of a grand jury investigation.

The testimony came after a four-year investigation into Clinton and his wife Hillary’s alleged involvement in several scandals, including accusations of sexual harassment, potentially illegal real-estate deals and suspected “cronyism” involved in the firing of White House travel-agency personnel. The independent prosecutor, Kenneth Starr, then uncovered an affair between Clinton and a White House intern named Monica Lewinsky. When questioned about the affair, Clinton denied it, which led Starr to charge the president with perjury and obstruction of justice, which in turn prompted his testimony on August 17.

Neither History Nor Politics

Researchers at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the Mayo Clinic announced they have identified the basic pathology behind Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.

The disease-causing mutation identified is the first of its kind, [Dr. J. Paul] Taylor said. Unlike in other genetic diseases, the mutation does not cripple an enzyme in a biological regulatory pathway. Rather, the mutation produces an abnormal version of a protein involved in a process called phase separation in cells.

There is currently no effective treatment for ALS/FTD. However, the researchers believe their finding offers a promising pathway for developing treatments to restore neurons’ ability to  disassemble the organelles when their cellular purpose has ended.

The TIA1 mutation was discovered when the scientists analyzed the genomes of a family affected with ALS/FTD. Tracing the effect of the mutation on TIA1 structure, the researchers found that it altered the properties of a highly mobile “tail” of the protein. This tail region governs the protein’s ability to aggregate with other TIA1 proteins. Taylor and his colleagues previously identified such unstructured protein regions, called prion-like domains, as the building blocks of cellular assemblies and as hotspots for disease-causing mutations.

In further studies, the researchers found that TIA1 mutations occurred frequently in ALS patients. The scientists also found that people carrying the mutation had the disease.

“This paper provides the first ‘smoking gun,’ showing that the disease-causing mutation changes the phase transition behavior of proteins,”  Taylor said. “And the change in the phase transition behavior changes the biology of the cell.”

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Former Atlanta Mayor and Ambassador Andrew Young said it’s too expensive to fight the civil war again.

Said Young:

“I think it’s too costly to refight the Civil War. We have paid too great a price in trying to bring people together…

“I personally feel that we made a mistake in fighting over the Confederate flag here in Georgia. Or that that was an answer to the problem of the death of nine people – to take down the Confederate flag in South Carolina.”

Specifically, Young was speaking of Gov. Roy Barnes’ decision to pull down the 1956 state flag that prominently featured the Confederate battle emblem. The move was a primary reason he lost his bid for re-election, split the state Democratic party, and ushered in the current season of Republican rule. Said Young:

“It cost us $14.9 billion and 70,000 jobs that would have gone with the Affordable Care Act – which we probably would have had if we hadn’t been fighting over a flag…

“It cost of us the health of our city because we were prepared to build a Northern Arc, 65 miles away from the center of the city of Atlanta – an outer perimeter that would have been up and running now, if we had not been fighting over the flag.

“I am always interested in substance over symbols. If the truth be known, we’ve had as much agony – but also glory, under the United States flag. That flew over segregated America. It flew over slavery….”

The Georgia Conference of the NAACP is calling for the removal of all Confederate memorials on public property.

On Wednesday, state conference President Phyllis Blake issued a statement calling for elected officials to remove all confederate symbols from public property owned by the state and local governments.

“The traitors of the Confederate States of America were soundly defeated over 150 years ago and today we as diverse Georgians must send a message once and for all, that Georgia is the state too busy to hate,” Blake said in a statement. “We call on all mayors within this great state, including (Atlanta) Mayor Kasim Reed, to remove all symbols of the confederacy from city government property.”

Valdosta residents will rally in response to Charlottesville at 11 AM on Saturday at Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park.

Bill Torpy at the AJC writes about fighting among Georgia Democrats.

When I first saw the video of activists shouting down Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Evans at the Netroots Nation convention last weekend, I had one thought: Hello, Governor Cagle.

The event was just the latest example of why the Democratic Party seems ready to relegate itself to permanent bridesmaid status, not only here in Georgia but from sea to shining sea. And the Republican front-runner in the governor’s race, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, was no doubt grinning big time.

Lisa Coston, who told me she’s a progressive Dem from Lawrenceville, responded to Abrams’ post, saying: “What the protesters did was to disrupt Rep. Evans’ speech, for no apparent reason but to try and shut her up. There is no need for that, nor an excuse for that behavior.

“This is the explicit problem with the Democratic Party in general, both at the state and national level. Infighting based on race, religion, whatever else. It prevents progressives from being united, and thus we lose and lose and lose.”

However, [Stacey] Abrams’ deputy campaign manager, Marcus Ferrell, used to be CEO of an activist org called MPACT. And his deputy director at MPACT was a woman named Anoa Changa.

Not long after the shout-down, The Washington Post talked with “protester” Anoa Changa. “An interruption is not necessarily promoting one person over another,” Changa told the newspaper.

Allen Fort, Superintendent/Principal of Taliferro County Schools, wrote about the challenges of rural Georgia in a letter that Maureen Downey ran in her AJC blog.

Taliaferro is the smallest county in Georgia with the smallest school system. There are 175 students, Pre-k-12, who attend this tiny school located about half way between Atlanta and Augusta on I-20. It is hard to imagine a county of just 1,700 citizens exists only miles from two cities that have more than six million people, but it does.

Many people will wonder why this school system even exists. Why it doesn’t consolidate? Why it doesn’t just close?

One of the greatest challenges of educating 21st century youth is that, while technology has increased access to information and experiences, students are increasingly disconnected from education. This dilemma is exacerbated in rural communities where jobs are few and opportunities appear limited. Therefore, our teachers and students must have everyday meaningful opportunities to use technology not to surf the internet, but to teach and learn, creating teachable moments and unique instruction.

We understand we may be our own worst enemy as these students graduate and move on to college (all of our last year’s graduates were accepted and are attending four-year, two-year or technical college at this time). Unfortunately, we may never see them back in Taliaferro again.

What is here to bring them back? We have no adequate housing, no viable businesses and no real industry to entice a young college graduate or recently discharged veteran to return to our community as a working citizen. When the local name for the Dollar General is the “Crawfordville Mall,” you understand your limitations.

Federal grants for the two new nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle are caught up in larger budget matters in the U.S. Senate.

Boosters of the estimated $25 billion project, the only one of its kind left in the U.S., think the federal bill could throw an economic lifeline to the companies behind the venture as they decide whether to move ahead with construction or abandon work amid major cost overruns and deep delays.

Under current law, newly constructed nuclear reactors can receive federal tax credits for producing electricity only if they are put in service before 2021. The bill before Congress would lift the deadline.

The extension would help preserve the roughly $800 million in tax credits that Georgia Power, which has a nearly 46 percent share of the project, has been counting on as it builds a pair of new reactors at Plant Vogtle near Augusta.

A bill extending the tax credits sailed through the U.S. House nearly unanimously back in June, but it needs the Senate’s approval before it can be sent to President Donald Trump’s desk. And that’s where the bill appears to be stuck, not because of outright opposition but the greater gravitational pull of a broader tax overhaul.

Meanwhile, a 1.4 million-pound steam generator was installed at Vogtle Unit 3.

Georgia Power announced … that a 1.4 million pound steam generator was lowered into the nuclear island of Unit 3 on Tuesday. The nearly 80-foot generator was built in South Korea and shipped to the Port of Savannah and delivered to the site by rail, the company said in a news release. The generators use heat from the nuclear core to convert water into steam for power generation. Each of the two new-generation AP1000 reactors will require two steam generators, all of which are currently on site, the company said.

Southern Nuclear, a division of Georgia Power parent company Southern Co., now has oversight over the expansion after contractor Westinghouse declared bankruptcy in March. Southern Nuclear operates the other two reactors at Vogtle.

Thousands of voting machines may be out of commission due to a lawsuit filed over the 6th Congressional District elections earlier this year.

The suit, filed over the July 4 holiday, demands that Republican Karen Handel’s win in a June 20 runoff be thrown out and the contest redone over concerns some election integrity advocates have about the security and accuracy of Georgia’s election infrastructure.

The machines and related hardware are central to that system, and the three metro counties with areas in the 6th District — Cobb, DeKalb and Fulton — have stored the machines used in the special election after plaintiffs sought to preserve electronic records that could have bearing on the suit.

That includes keeping intact memory cards — which might otherwise be wiped clean in preparation for a new election — as well as residual memory on the machines. Voting on the machines is anonymous — the records can’t be used to identify personal information about a specific voter — but they do track and tally how many votes are cast on individual machines or in the election overall.

Advocates who filed the suit said they aren’t trying to derail the state’s elections schedule or any of those counties’ preparations ahead of November. But their request has also resulted in a litigation hold on 1,324 voting machines in Fulton, nearly 1,000 machines in DeKalb and 307 machines in Cobb.

Gwinnett County Magistrate Judge James Hinkle resigned his office after being suspended for comments on Facebook.

Chief Magistrate Judge Kristina Hammer Blum said in a statement at about 6:30 p.m. that Judge James A. Hinkle “offered his immediate resignation from his position as a part-time Magistrate.”

“For 14 years, Judge Hinkle has dutifully served this Court. He is a lifelong public servant and former Marine,” Blum said. “However, he has acknowledged that his statements on social media have disrupted the mission of this court, which is to provide justice for all.”

Governor Nathan Deal will return to Gainesville to recognize a new state law allowing direct sales of beer to consumers.

Deal will join local elected officials at the brewery on Atlanta Highway to ring in Georgia’s new law allowing direct sales of beer, from pints to cases, at breweries.

The law was approved in the most recent session of the Georgia General Assembly and signed into law by Deal. It’s being celebrated as a major step forward for Georgia breweries.

The event runs from noon to 10 p.m. Deal will make an appearance later in the afternoon, according to Datta.

The business owner is calling it a new era for Georgia breweries, heretofore restricted to selling tours of their facilities and offering “samples” of their beer. Almost all of Georgia-made packaged beer is distributed to wholesalers, but that will change come September.

“Just as with the state’s wine industry, craft breweries are becoming travel destinations, and tourists from within and outside (Georgia) are seeking out breweries to enjoy the local flavors and offerings unique to each brewery,” Datta said in his Wednesday announcement.

Thirty Georgia businesses joined the Business Alliance for Protecting the Atlantic Coast.

Not quite a year old, the South Carolina-based organization boasts the support of more than 41,000 business and 500,000 commercial fishing families for its efforts to protect the Atlantic Coast from offshore oil/gas exploration and drilling.

Michael Neal, owner of Bull River Cruises, is among the local participants.

“Both the beauty of Coastal Georgia and the nature of Coastal Georgia have more importance that the potential of offshore drilling,” said Neal, whose 19-year-old business employs five people for its educational and historical cruises to places such as Ossabaw Island. “Plus, there are potential impacts if anything goes wrong.”

In April, President Donald Trump revived the prospects for offshore drilling and exploration with an executive order. It calls for a review of the current five-year program for oil and gas development on the Outer Continental Shelf and directs the administration to fast-track the permitting process for seismic airgun blasting for an area stretching from Delaware to Florida.

Along with businesses, local governments along the coast have expressed opposition to both offshore drilling and seismic testing. Among those passing resolutions are Savannah, Tybee, Hinesville and Brunswick. The governors of both North and South Carolina have voiced opposition to drilling off the Atlantic coast.

But state and federal elected officials in Georgia still back drilling.

State Rep. Lee Hawkins (R-Gainesville) appeared at the Gainesville City Council meeting to present a state resolution.

“Whereas the State of Georgia lost one its finest citizens and most dedicated law enforcement officers with the tragic passing of Officer Henry Tilman Davis,” Hawkins began reading.

Hawkins continued, “When his life was tragically cut short in September of 1972 after his patrol car was struck from behind and forced into oncoming traffic while traveling on Dawsonville Highway in Gainesville…”

“Be it resolved…that the intersection of Beechwood Boulevard NW and State Route 53/Dawsonville Highway in Hall County is dedicated as the Officer Henry Tilman Davis Memorial Intersection.”

In Gainesville, qualifying for Mayor and two Council seats opens Monday, August 21st.

Cobb County Commissioner Bob Ott will hold a Town Hall tonight at 7 PM at the East Cobb Library, located at 4880 Lower Roswell Road in Marietta.

Voters in Athens-Clarke County will decide on November 7, 2017 whether to levy a Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tac (T-SPLOST).

With little discussion, Athens-Clarke County commissioners gave final approval to a Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax during a special-called meeting Tuesday.

Officials expect to accrue $109.5 million in collections over the course of the sales tax window to fund road-paving projects, an extension of the Firefly Trail, fixes to the Oconee Rivers Greenway and much more.

The TSPLOST list will go to voters as part of a referendum that also would allow county officials to seek a $95 million bond to get started on some of the projects. Proceeds from the tax would be used to repay the bond.

If voters approve the referendum, collections on the sales tax will start April 1.


Northside Hospital and Gwinnett Health System have filed plans to merge, possibly beginning joint operations in 2018.

The hospital systems have filed their proposed merger agreement with the Georgia Attorney General’s office.

Northside has hospitals in Atlanta, Cherokee County and Forsyth County. The Gwinnett Health System has Gwinnett Medical Center campuses in Duluth and Lawrenceville. The hospitals expect to have nearly 21,000 employees and 3,500 physicians once the merger is complete.

The Dougherty County Commission voted 5-2 to oppose the opening of a hospital in neighboring Lee County.

Dougherty County Commission voted Wednesday at a special called meeting to send the state Department of Community Health a notice of opposition to a certificate of need sought by the group that plans to build the Lee hospital.

After Dougherty Attorney Spencer Lee told the board, “You need to act today if you want to be part of this process,” the board voted 5-2 to send a notice of opposition to the Lee CON to the state Department of Community Health.

Commissioners Lamar Hudgins, who said he “could not vote against a fellow county that is so entwined with us,” and John Hayes, who said he’d had a number of county citizens — including physicians — express their support for the proposed hospital, voted against the resolution to oppose the CON.

[Dougherty County Commission Chair Chris] Cohilas made it clear during discussion of the notice of opposition that Dougherty County’s primary reason for taking the action is to protect the interests of citizens and the health care provided by Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital, which cannot speak out against the CON application because of an agreement the Hospital Authority of Albany-Dougherty County reached with the Federal Trade Commission while in the process of purchasing Palmyra Medical Center in Albany. In fact, one of the stipulations included in a letter Lee sent to DCH Commissioner Frank Berry asked that body to allow Phoebe to offer its opposition to the application.

The Times-Georgian in Carrollton looks at the struggles of a local rural hospital and its patients.

Part of the nonprofit Tanner Health System, Higgins General Hospital doesn’t have shareholders — every bit of revenue is reinvested into the facility, financing new equipment, new facilities like the new surgical services center that’s now under construction, and to provide care for people in the community who cannot otherwise afford it.

Each year, Higgins General Hospital alone spends about $10 million on charity and indigent care, ensuring everyone in the community has care when they need it. But like many of their patients, the hospital, too, has to make ends meet.

“It’s unfortunate, but cost is a real barrier to care for a lot of people,” said Bonnie Boles, MD, MBA, administrator of Higgins General Hospital and Tanner Medical Center/Villa Rica. “I saw it first-hand when I was in practice, and I see it now in administration. Having regular access to care, especially for people with chronic diseases like COPD or diabetes, is essential for keeping those diseases under control. And when you can’t, you end up needing a much more acute level of care, like a hospitalization. But you’re not better off financially when you leave the hospital, so the cycle just continues.”

But the cost of providing uncompensated care is making things difficult for hospitals, too.

Since the beginning of 2013, six Georgia hospitals have closed, and others — especially those in rural areas — are struggling to keep their doors open. The most recent Georgia Department of Community Health Hospital Financial Survey found that 42 percent of all hospitals in Georgia had negative total margins in 2015, while 68 percent of rural hospitals in the state lost money in the same year.

Much of that strain is coming from uncompensated care — care hospitals provide but for which they receive little or no reimbursement. According to the Georgia Hospital Association, in 2015 the state’s hospitals absorbed more than $1.7 billion in costs for care that was delivered but not paid for.

Senate Bill 258 — the Georgia Rural Hospital Expense Tax Credit program — allows Georgia taxpayers to make contributions to select rural hospitals in Georgia, including Higgins General Hospital in Bremen. Originally providing a 70 percent credit, lawmakers in the General Assembly this year passed Senate Bill 180, extending the credit to 90 percent and making it retroactive to Jan. 1, 2017.

Under the enhanced rural hospital tax credit, by contributing to Higgins General Hospital in exchange for a 90 percent tax credit, Georgia taxpayers can pay substantially all of their Georgia income taxes — up to the maximum amounts allowed.

Higgins General Hospital is among the rural Georgia hospitals that qualify for the credit. Tanner’s leadership has been making the rounds, visiting civic groups and hosting meetings with local tax advisors and accountants to extol the benefits of the program. The health system has also launched a website,, with information about how people can donate and benefit from the program.

“We are grateful that our state’s lawmakers have signaled that they understand the importance of our rural hospitals to the communities they serve by supporting this innovative program,” said Loy Howard, president and CEO of Tanner Health System — and also a certified public accountant. “This is a unique opportunity for residents to keep their tax money local and do something positive for their community.”


Leo Smith, former Director of Minority Engagement for the Georgia Republican Party, will run for the state Senate seat being vacated by Hunter Hill.

Leo Smith said Thursday he’s running as a “conservative bridge builder with a unique set of skills” to serve the district, which stretches across parts of north Atlanta and Smyrna. He would be the first black Republican in the Georgia Senate in modern times.

The seat is a juicy target for Democrats. Republican Hunter Hill, who is vacating the position to run for governor, only narrowly held it in November. And Hillary Clinton carried the affluent district in November.

Three Democrats are already in the contest. Pediatric dentist Jaha Howard is making a comeback bid after his slim defeat last year. Trial lawyer Jen Jordan has already announced her candidacy.  And political newcomer Nigel Sims has entered the race.

Newt Gingrich endorsed David Shafer for Lieutenant Governor in the 2018 election.

Former U.S. Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich endorsed Shafer on Tuesday. The veteran Georgia politician and ex-presidential candidate, known for his Contract With America that helped lead to Republicans taking control of the House in 1994, praised Shafer for his conservative credentials.

Shafer led the Georgia Republican Party in the early 1990s and has championed issues such as zero-based budgeting and limiting tax increases.

“David Shafer is an effective, innovative legislator with a solidly conservative record to back up his campaign promises,” Gingrich said. “He has proven time and again that he will fight for us. David Shafer will make an outstanding Lieutenant Governor for Georgia and I am proud to endorse him.”

Gingrich’s endorsement of Shafer is the latest person who, one time or another, had a national profile in Republican politics. U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and former congressman and ex-presidential candidate Bob Barr have announced their support for the state senator, as has former Rep. John Linder.

State Rep. Geoff Duncan (R-Cumming) announced that former Coca-Cola Enterprises chief executive John Brock has endorsed his campaign for Lt. Governor.

John Brock … said he wanted to back a candidate for lieutenant governor who “knows what it’s like to sign the front of a check and not just the back of one.”

Brock, who retired as the bottling giant’s chief executive in 2016, said in the statement that he’s endorsing the state legislator because of his entrepreneurial experience. Duncan led several health startups before seeking to succeed Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, who is running for governor.

John Bradberry will run for Johns Creek City Council Post Three in November 2017.

Johns Creek small business owner and former United States Marine, John Bradberry, has announced his intention to run for City Council Post 3 in this November’s election.
“Whether it is zoning or road improvement projects, every decision made by the City of Johns Creek should ask “How will this affect our residents’ quality of life?”  said Bradberry.

Bradberry’s campaign slogan is “Preserve Johns Creek…Protect Our Quality of Life!”  Bradberry said, “This is more than just a slogan to me.  Our community is at a critical juncture.  It is vital that we return to our original vision for Johns Creek.  We are a high-end residential community with great schools, low crime, and a high quality of life.  As long as we continue to be the best at that, then there will always be high-demand for our ‘product’.   It sets us apart and makes us unique.  We love it and call it home.”

The highlights of Bradberry’s platform are:
* Restore trust in local government
* Focus on traffic relief for OUR residents
* Stop high density development, billboards and widenings that create cut-through highways
* Term limits for locally elected officials

“These issues are critical to my family and the future of Johns Creek.  I’ll be an independent voice for the residents.”

Warner Robins Mayor Randy Toms has launched his reelection campaign.

Warner Robins Mayor Randy Toms officially began his re-election campaign Wednesday by saying he had kept his lone campaign promise, which was to bring more calm to city government.

Although he admitted before his announcement that the last City Council meeting wasn’t a good example, Toms said overall he has kept that promise.

“I believe the environment has calmed down and I believe this calmness has facilitated a resurgence in growth in the area,” he said.

Monday is also the day that qualifying for the Nov. 7 election begins. Joe Musselwhite, the city’s former public works director who lost to Toms in the 2013 election, has said he is making another try as mayor. Councilman Chuck Shaheen said during the debate on the city administrator that he plans to run for mayor, but he declined to confirm that afterward and has not officially announced.

Toms was a city firefighter for 27 years and won the mayor’s seat in a 6-way race.

GaPundit - Georgia Politics, Campaigns and Elections

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Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for August 16, 2017 Wed, 16 Aug 2017 12:31:52 +0000 GaPundit:

Adele is a young female Jack Russell Terrier puppy who is available for adoption from the Fayette Humane Society in Fayetteville, GA. Babe is a young male Terrier puppy who is available for adoption from the Fayette Humane Society in Fayetteville, GA. Anna is a female Border Collie mix puppy who is available for adoption

GaPundit - Georgia Politics, Campaigns and Elections



Adele is a young female Jack Russell Terrier puppy who is available for adoption from the Fayette Humane Society in Fayetteville, GA.


Babe is a young male Terrier puppy who is available for adoption from the Fayette Humane Society in Fayetteville, GA.


Anna is a female Border Collie mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Fayette Humane Society in Fayetteville, GA.


Elsa is a female Border Collie mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Fayette Humane Society in Fayetteville, GA.

GaPundit - Georgia Politics, Campaigns and Elections

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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 16, 2017 Wed, 16 Aug 2017 12:16:00 +0000 GaPundit:

The State Highway Department was created on August 16, 1916 to comply with federal funding requirements, when Georgia Governor Nathaniel Harris signed legislation by the General Assembly. Georgia Governor Hugh Dorsey signed legislation creating the State Department of Banking on August 16, 1919. Georgia Governor Clifford Walker signed legislation changing the method of execution in

GaPundit - Georgia Politics, Campaigns and Elections


The State Highway Department was created on August 16, 1916 to comply with federal funding requirements, when Georgia Governor Nathaniel Harris signed legislation by the General Assembly.

Georgia Governor Hugh Dorsey signed legislation creating the State Department of Banking on August 16, 1919.

Georgia Governor Clifford Walker signed legislation changing the method of execution in Georgia from hanging to the electric chair on August 16, 1924.

On August 16, 1974, The Ramones played their first public show at CBGB in New York.

Elvis Presley died on August 16, 1977.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Nathan Deal appointed Douglas Chalmers, Jr. to the Judicial Nominating Commission. Congratulations and concolences to Doug.

Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr spoke to the Athens Republican Party meeting.

Among other topics, Carr discussed his role in Georgia politics.

“It’s a little bit legal, a little policy, a little communications and awareness and a little bit managerial,” he said after being appointed in October 2016.

Carr is set to run for attorney general in the 2018 election and said that over the course of his time in the position, his main priorities are social security, concealed carry and prayer in the legislature.

Looking to the future, Carr hopes to tackle human trafficking, opioid abuse and elder abuse.

“From June 1, 2016 to June 1, 2017, 541 million illegal doses—that’s 51 illegal doses for every man, woman and child in the state of Georgia,” Carr said. “This issue is ravaging families, communities and companies.”

More than 100 people marched in Gainesville in response to Charlottesville.

Josh McCall organized the event after violent clashes in Virginia on Saturday ….

People began trickling into Roosevelt Square near the Hall County Courthouse a bit after 4:30 p.m. for the 5:15 p.m. march, called A March for Equality and Dignity.

The group was a cross-section of Gainesville, including members of both political parties, white, black and Hispanic residents, old and young, long-timers in the community and students new to the area.

Appeals to Christian beliefs bookended the demonstration by preachers and other speakers at the end of the march.

“All human beings in this country are equal,” McCall told the crowd at the beginning of the event. “Every human being in this country deserves dignity.”

McCall announced earlier this year he is running against U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, R-Gainesville, next year.

The Hall County Board of Tax Assessors appeared in the Georgia Supreme Court in a case involving ad valorem tax appeals.

Attorneys for the Hall County Board of Tax Assessors and the companies argued before the Supreme Court of Georgia in Atlanta. The case involves Westrec Properties, PS Recreational Properties, Chattahoochee Parks, March First and AMP III-Lazy Days on their 2015 tax assessments.

A law effective Jan. 1, 2016, amended the Georgia code regarding ad valorem tax assessment appeals, which must first go to the Board of Equalization for an appeal.

Within 45 days of receiving an appeal on the Board of Equalization’s ruling and “before certification of the appeal to the Superior Court, the county board of tax assessors shall send to the taxpayer notice that a settlement conference” will be held, according to the code.

The marinas’ attorney J. Ethan Underwood said his clients believed the floating and movable docks should have been taxed as personal property, leading to the initial appeal.

University of North Georgia Police Chief Justin Gaines held another Town Hall to discuss campus carry.

Gaines has done more than a dozen of the meetings over the past few months on UNG’s five campuses. Like the last one in Gainesville in June, Gaines dealt with some faculty and staff members concerned that people could walk on campus with a concealed handgun.

“Where is our rights?” asked one person who did not identify herself but said she was concerned she is not allowed to know who has a gun in her classroom.

“It’s not for me to answer,” Gaines said. “All I can tell you is what the law is.”

Gaines recommended that students and faculty take cellphones into classrooms so they could alert officials about police or medical emergencies either through a call or by using the school’s public safety app, Rave Guardian.

“It may not be a person with a gun; it may be someone seizing on the floor in your classroom that needs (attention for) a medical emergency right then and right there,” he said.

Gaines said he hopes the town halls in recent months have been beneficial to those who attended.

“The whole point of it is for voluntary compliance,” he said. “We protect and serve, but we also educate. Education is a big part of what we do. By investing the time to educate, I think it has been a benefit. Time will tell if it has been.”

Gwinnett County Magistrate Judge James Hinkle has been suspended over Facebook posting.

“After reviewing the Facebook posts brought to my attention this morning, I suspended Judge (James) Hinkle effective immediately while I consider the appropriate final action,” Chief Magistrate Judge Kristina Hammer Blum said.

Hinkle reportedly called protesters concerned about Confederate monuments in Charlottesville “snowflakes.”

“As Chief Magistrate Judge, I have made it clear to all of our judges that the Judicial Canons, as well as our internal policies, require judges to conduct themselves in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity, impartiality and fairness of the judiciary,” she said. “I consider any violation of these principles and policies to be a matter of utmost concern.”

From the AJC:

“Another compelling argument to not engage in social media,” longtime Gwinnett County District Attorney Danny Porter said of Hinkle’s posts. “I think that the comments could raise questions about the judge’s impartiality, and I think [Chief Magistrate Judge Kristina Hammer Blum] did exactly the right thing suspending him immediately upon learning of the posts.”

Joe Sawyer will run for Peachtree Corners City Council Post 4 this November.

The Lowndes County Board of Education adopted the rollback millage rate for property taxes.

The City of Dalton will keep the same millage rate as last year, which under state law must be advertised as a property tax increase.

Augusta Commissioners voted 10-0 to allow small breweries and distilleries in business districts.

The Macon-Bibb County Planning & Zoning Commission approved an application for a “beer garden.”

The Society Garden at 2367 Ingleside Ave. plans to sell beer and wine and have occasional live entertainment, according to co-owner Megan Evans.

It also will offer gardening supplies, plants and outdoor furniture for sale, said Evans and co-owner Andrew Collier.

“It will have a very small retail (space) with some small, easy-to-pick up things,” she said, addding that she wanted to get the beer garden portion opened first.

The business will not prepare any food on site except for popcorn and Popsicles, the staff report said.

The Varnell City Council has become my favorite soap opera. From the Chattanooga Times Free Press:

In the middle of a city council meeting Tuesday night, an elected official stood up to leave, blocking any further votes.

“I’m calling this meeting,” Varnell City Councilwoman Ashlee Godfrey told the crowd at a local gym. “There is no longer a quorum developed. No more city business can take place. Thank you.”

In the bleachers, a crowd of about 100 people rose and cheered as Godfrey walked outside, ending the meeting just as the council’s two other members planned to vote to put a referendum on the Nov. 7 ballot. Councilmen Jan Pourquoi and David Owens want residents to decide whether to eliminate the city’s police department.

At the same time, voters would also decide whether to eliminate property taxes, which sit at about 2.4 mills. But Godfrey and Mayor Anthony Hulsey objected to the wording on the potential referendum, as did some residents who spoke during the meeting. They feel as though the councilmen should not tie the elimination of the police department to the elimination of taxes.

“It’s kind of like a bribe,” Hulsey said.

In Varnell, the council needs three members present to conduct public business. In the last two months, two other council members have already resigned. This means all three current members have to appear. On July 25, when Pourquoi and Owens tried to vote on this same referendum, Godfrey did not show up, canceling the meeting.

Savannah’s Coastal Center for Developmental Services hosted Labor Commissioner Mark Butler and Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black.

“Our mission is very simple,” CCDS executive director Ken Boyd told the group assembled for lunch. “It’s to place individuals with developmental disabilities into community-wide employment. The more we can assimilate individuals into the community, the better.”

CCDS works with 132 employers in the area and currently has approximately 225 individuals working either full-time or part-time in the community or training with CCDS in anticipation of community employment.

“One of the biggest advantages for an employer is that we provide an on-site job coach, so that when the individual goes out on a job, one of our job specialists is with them, making sure they are fully aligned with the needs and requirements of the job,” Boyd said.

For Butler and Black, Tuesday’s program provided an eye-opening look at the potential and abilities of people who are “differently abled.”

“It’s clear that there is opportunity for everyone, but we have to make people aware of this,” Black said, adding he’d like to explore the application of CCDS’s approach to agricultural employers down the road.

“But certainly there are opportunities in food processing and retail …,” he said. “We just have to recognize that there is opportunity for everyone, if we are just willing to invest in them.”

Butler said he had visited many similar programs around the state and called CCDS “one of the best I’ve seen in both organization and effectiveness.

“We have to do a better job of highlighting these types of programs, because we have a lot of employers who aren’t aware of them,” he said. “These are individuals who are getting the training, and the soft skills will make them the kinds of workers that employers are looking for.”

Savannah will accept applications for citizen members of several boards and commissions.

Congressman Austin Scott (R-Tifton) met with local farmers to hear their needs.

The congressman, who represents the 8th Congressional District that includes Macon-Bibb County, said he wanted to hear farmer’s concerns ahead of the new farm bill that’s in the works.

The average age for a Middle Georgia farmer is 60 years old, said Andrew Bahrenburg, policy director for the National Young Farmers Coalition.

“As the U.S. farm population rapidly ages … there’s a great deal of farmland that’s ready to transition and will need a new farmer,” Bahrenburg said. “It’s estimated that a 100 million acres of farmland will transition over the lifetime of this upcoming farm bill, so over the next five years.”

About half of the farmers invited to sit on the panel with Scott were first-generation farmers.

Julia Asherman, who operates Rag and Frass Farm in Jeffersonville, said a shift in paradigm is to be expected, but the agriculture industry should “expect and invite people you don’t expect” to farming.

Broadband internet was also a concern for farmers, which often work in rural areas.

Bobby Losh-Jones and his wife, Chelsea, said they need internet to operate their boxed farm food subscription.

The Georgia Public Service Commission has instructed Georgia Power to answer a series of questions regarding nuclear construction at Plant Vogtle.

Georgia’s utility regulating agency voted Tuesday for an action intended as a show of support for the struggling Plant Vogtle.

This vote today sends a message to the company, the company’s partners, ratepayers, and Wall Street that the commission continues to be supportive of this project – provided it can be done economically,” Stan Wise, chairman of the Georgia Public Service Commission, said in a statement.

In addition, the PSC voted Wednesday for an action that requires Georgia Power, the primary owner of Plant Vogtle, to state in its next Vogtle monitoring report whether or not it intends to proceed with Vogtle’s construction. The PSC expects that report to be filed on Aug. 31. Wise sponsored the action.

Wise’s action includes an amendment that enables the PSC to revise or rescind any future PSC action if Plant Vogtle is abandoned. PSC Vice-Chairperson Tim Echols sponsored the amendment.

Wise’s measure cites 14 issues that must be addressed in the upcoming report. They include:

“Should the commission approve revisions to cost and schedule?
“What is the company’s new estimate to complete the project and what is the new schedule for commercial operation of the two units if the commission decides to go forward with one or both units?”

“This information will help us in deciding the appropriateness of whether this project should go forward or not go forward,” Wise said.

2018 Elections

Tom Crawford writes that 2018 may see a Democratic Primary that tears the party apart.

You could easily have a situation where Abrams wins the primary by energizing black voters, but in the process turns off white voters who don’t bother to vote for her in the general election.

Similarly, if Evans were to win a bitterly contested primary race over Abrams, that could result in demoralized black voters staying at home during the general election.

We’ve seen this kind of division tear apart the Democratic Party before.

Back in 2006, the party’s two major candidates for governor were Lt. Gov. Mark Taylor and Secretary of State Cathy Cox (both of the candidates were white).

It became a political bloodbath between two candidates who clearly had a deep personal dislike for each other. Cox and Taylor both aired hard-hitting commercials that accused each other of lying and double-dealing. Taylor’s campaign, for good measure, also filed two civil lawsuits against Cox and her aides.

Taylor eventually prevailed in the slash-and-burn primary, but it was an empty victory. The nastiness of that campaign turned off quite a few Cox supporters who either sat out the general election or voted for the Republican incumbent, Sonny Perdue.


Georgia’s state Medicaid chief, Linda Wiant, has left the Department of Community Health.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded a $2.3 million dollar grant to Georgia health centers.

The 32 centers receiving the funds will look to improve performance in the following categories: improving quality of care; increasing access to care; enhancing delivery of high value health care; addressing health disparities and achieving patient-centered medical home recognition.

The recipients include centers in Albany, Athens, Marietta, Palmetto, Ringgold and Swainsboro.

GaPundit - Georgia Politics, Campaigns and Elections

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Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for August 15, 2017 Tue, 15 Aug 2017 12:46:01 +0000 GaPundit:

Diesel is a 4-year old, 51-pound male Hound mix who is available for adoption from the Cobb County Animal Shelter in Marietta, GA. Roxy is a 4-year old, 58-pound female Terrier mix who is available for adoption from the Cobb County Animal Shelter in Marietta, GA. Her former family reported she is GOOD WITH KIDS

GaPundit - Georgia Politics, Campaigns and Elections



Diesel is a 4-year old, 51-pound male Hound mix who is available for adoption from the Cobb County Animal Shelter in Marietta, GA.


Roxy is a 4-year old, 58-pound female Terrier mix who is available for adoption from the Cobb County Animal Shelter in Marietta, GA.

Her former family reported she is GOOD WITH KIDS and HOUSETRAINED.


Tyson is a 1.5 year old, 50-pound male Flat-Coated Retriever mix who is available for adoption from the Cobb County Animal Shelter in Marietta, GA.

GaPundit - Georgia Politics, Campaigns and Elections

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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 15, 2017 Tue, 15 Aug 2017 12:04:35 +0000 GaPundit:

On August 15, 1903, Georgia Governor Joseph Terrell signed legislation requiring that Georgia schools teach elementary agriculture and civics. Two days later, on August 17, 1903, the General Assembly condemned the practice of whipping female inmates. The Panama Canal opened on August 15, 1914. On September 7, 1977, President Jimmy Carter signed a treaty promising

GaPundit - Georgia Politics, Campaigns and Elections


On August 15, 1903, Georgia Governor Joseph Terrell signed legislation requiring that Georgia schools teach elementary agriculture and civics. Two days later, on August 17, 1903, the General Assembly condemned the practice of whipping female inmates.

The Panama Canal opened on August 15, 1914. On September 7, 1977, President Jimmy Carter signed a treaty promising to give the Canal to Panama.

Georgia Governor Thomas Hardwick signed legislation creating the Georgia State Board of Forestry on August 15, 1921.

On August 15, 1969, the Woodstock Festival began in upstate New York.

Apocalypse Now by Francis Ford Coppolla was released on August 15, 1979.

Paul Anderson, known for years as the “Strongest Man in the World” for his weightlifting feats, died on August 15, 1994 in Vidalia, Georgia. Anderson was born in 1932 in Toccoa, Georgia. He won an Olympic gold medal in the sport of weightlifting in 1956.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Nathan Deal issued an Executive Order suspending Walton County Sheriff Joe Chapman from office for thirty days for thirty days.

From CBS46:

Gov. Nathan Deal has suspended Walton County Sheriff Joseph Chapman for 30 days following an investigation into his May 2016 arrest in Florida.

Surveillance video shows Chapman and Major Kipling Mercer get into a scuffle last May.  Both men were arrested.

Our investigation found they never reported the incident to the Peace Officer Standards and Training Council within 15 days as required.

Attorney General Chris Carr investigated the incident and according to a letter he sent to the governor, “Sheriff Chapman indicated to the committee that he regretted not having reported this matter to P.O.S.T. at an earlier time, but stated he was unaware of the 15-day reporting requirement.”

The Sheriff’s suspension will take effect on Wednesday, August 16. CBS46 asked the governor’s office if the suspension will be with or without pay and a spokesperson said it’s a county decision.

In addition, P.O.S.T. is investigating the incident and could take up the issue in October.

Senator Johnny Isakson held a Town Hall at Kennesaw State University last night.

Isakson’s first remarks were a stern rebuke of the racist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend and received a standing ovation for doing so. The senator singled out the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis and other racist groups as having no place in American discourse.“We can have differences over a lot of things, but there’s never going to be a difference over human dignity, the right to life and the right to live in the freest, greatest country on Earth without fear of intimidation because of your race, your religion, your sex, your national origin or any other factor,” Isakson said.

One of the hottest topics of the night was health care. An advocate for people with developmental disabilities from Temple asked Isakson why he voted for the failed Senate health care plan that would have stripped insurance from millions of Americans, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Isakson said he did not like the bills, but voted for them with the belief that the plan would be improved in a conference committee.

“I couldn’t get to where I wanted to go unless I followed the road that led me there,” Isakson said. “If I was going to downtown Atlanta and didn’t get on 75, I probably couldn’t get there. But getting on 75 and fighting traffic would eventually get me where I wanted to go. And where you are is where I wanted to go.”

Many of the questioners said they wanted Congressional leaders not to repeal the Affordable Care Act and to expand Medicaid in Georgia.

Isakson did not commit to either of those actions, but said he will work to ensure Americans have access to health care.

“I know how lucky I’ve been all my life, how fortunate to live in America,” he said, adding that he does not intend for the government to cut services for people with disabilities.

Isakson said he wants to replace the individual mandate with “something better,” and gave the example of how requiring drivers to have auto insurance to get their license increased the number of people with auto insurance in Georgia.

The Fulton County Board of Elections voted against a proposal to change some voting precinct locations.

The Fulton County Board of Elections met on Monday to discuss proposed changes to several polling locations in predominately black neighborhoods in Fulton County.

The board voted to reject those changes for now.

After many voters said the changes would affect mainly African-Americans, the American Civil Liberties Union fired back with a lawsuit, claiming voters weren’t given proper notice of the changes. That lawsuit was filed on July 18.

Georgia law requires election officials to publish proposed polling place changes for at least 14 consecutive days before approving them. The Board had published the proposed changes just 6 days in advance.

State Rep. Betty Price (R-Roswell) now says she’s unlikely to run for Mayor of Roswell.

Dr. Price, the former City Council member and wife of U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Tom Price, said she is considering the run “like anything else,” but the likelihood of her running is not a great one.

“I’m very happy where I am in the legislature, and our issues there are in line with my experience,” she said, adding it would not be “wise” to abandon the State House District 48 seat to run for mayor. “I can’t imagine running, but a lot of people are encouraging me.”

The man who filed the lawsuit against Wood, Michael Litten, has already declared his candidacy several months ahead of next week’s qualifying period.

When asked if she planned to endorse anyone, Price said she will most likely sit on the sidelines, as it will be a “good sport to watch” candidates battle for the hearts and minds of Roswell voters.


The Muscogee County School District will ask Board of Education members to approve a loan to address a delay in property tax collections.

The Muscogee County School District administration plans to ask the school board next week to approve a resolution authorizing a short-term loan that would plug the expected gap in delayed local revenue as the Columbus Consolidated Government deals with thousands of appeals from property owners upset about their assessments soaring by as much as tenfold.

The delay is a bigger issue for the school board than the Columbus Council because MCSD receives a larger percentage of the Columbus property tax revenue than the Columbus Consolidated Government, approximately a 60-40 split, and 41 percent of MCSD’s fiscal year 2018 revenue is expected to come from local property taxes while the figure is 31 percent for CCG.

Although the school district previously announced it postponed nonessential expenditures while CCG deals with the property tax controversy, MCSD chief financial officer Theresa Thornton told the Muscogee County School Board during its monthly work session Monday evening the administration now recommends securing a Tax Anticipation Note.

If the board approves the resolution during its Aug. 21 meeting, Thornton said, the administration must decide by the September meeting whether to seek the loan through a request for proposals or an invitation to bid for the funds to be available by October and for MCSD to pay back the loan by the end of December.

The University of Georgia New Faculty Tour stopped in Tifton and Griffin, where Georgia Agriculture was highlighted.

The tour, which introduces new UGA faculty members to economic mainstays throughout the state during a five-day trip, visited the Food Product Innovation and Commercialization Center (FoodPIC) at UGA-Griffin Wednesday. Thursday, the tour stopped at UGA-Tifton, where faculty visited the energy-efficient Future Farmstead home and learned about peanut breeding and dairy research, according to a UGA press release.

“We are very happy the New Faculty Tour made a stop at the Griffin campus this year,” said Lew Hunnicutt, assistant provost and UGA-Griffin director. “They had a great tour and a great meal and I think they left impressed with what we offer at the Griffin campus.”

n terms of Georgia agricultural production, which totaled $13.8 billion in farm gate value in 2015, UGA-Tifton is an important stop on the tour every year, said Joe West, assistant dean for UGA-Tifton.

“What makes Georgia agriculture unique is its diversity,” West said. “Multiple commodities dominate the agricultural landscape and I’m glad we are able to showcase a few of those.”

“It is important for these new faculty members to learn about the importance of agriculture to the state and the many ways the University of Georgia is helping Georgia farmers sustain their operations,” said Laura Meadows, UGA interim vice president for public service and outreach. “Most of the faculty members on the tour are new to Georgia, many are new to the South, and they need to understand the major drivers of the economy here.”

Forest Park Mayor David Lockhart is on the defense for allegedly partying at a strip club.

While partying at Rumors strip club on a Friday night, several customers recognized him and called a local Forest Park councilwoman.

“They said he was a mess, dancing on stage, twirling his shirt around, walking around, and falling over on people. People holding him up,” said Latresa Wells.

We caught up with Mayor Lockhart at the ribbon cutting for a new restaurant in the city.  He explained before he was Mayor, he was a lead singer in a band and he likes to entertain people.

Then, we showed him a picture sent to us of him, apparently wearing a bra in the middle of the barroom.

“That’s just outrageous, isn’t it? It looks outrageous to me,” admitted Lockhart. “Not sure if that’s a tank or what. In any case, would I advertise that? No, absolutely not. I wouldn’t advertise that, but it’s ok to act silly from time to time, in the right circumstances.”

City Councilwoman Sandra Bagley defends her Mayor and believes all the attention is due to the fact that David Lockhart is up for reelection.

“I don’t think it’s fair. I think its trial in media.  Exactly what I feel, trial in media during an election year,” said Bagley.

But councilwoman Wells, an admitted political adversary sees it differently.

“You represent everyone who voted for you to be Mayor of our city. It’s not only embarrassing to your family and council members; it’s embarrassing to the entire city.”

The Hall County Board of Education voted to fund a program called “We Celebrate All That Unites Us” in response to Charlottesville.

Augusta National Golf Club is suing to prevent the sale of a green jacket.

Augusta National Inc. filed the federal lawsuit against Florida-based Green Jacket Auctions Inc. seeking to stop the company from selling a champion’s green jacket and two member green jackets, as well as silverware and a belt buckle bearing Augusta National’s map and flag logo.

The jacket may not be removed from the Augusta National grounds except during the first year after it is presented, according to the lawsuit. After that first year, the jacket must be stored on Augusta National premises and can only be used on the grounds and during the annual tournament. Augusta National said it owns the jackets, and the champions have “possessory rights” when they’re on Augusta National grounds.

The same rules apply to the member green jackets, except they may never leave Augusta National grounds, the lawsuit says. Each jacket is marked for identification and authenticity.

“It appears that Augusta National Golf Club is attempting to assert ownership claims to every green jacket ever produced, regardless of who currently owns or possesses the jackets,” Green Jacket Auctions co-owner Ryan Carey said in an email. “Obviously we at Green Jacket Auctions dispute such claims, and will litigate the matter, if necessary.”

The jacket was where it was supposed to be, in storage at Augusta National, during a physical inventory in 2009. But a recent check determined that it is now missing, the lawsuit says. It is unclear how the jacket and other items ended up on the auction block.

By mid-afternoon Monday, the online bidding on the jacket, which closes at 8 p.m. Saturday, had reached $114,874.

Former Bibb County Superintendent Romain Dallemand pled guilty to taking a $100,000 bribe.

Grand jurors indicted Macon-Bibb County Industrial Authority Chairman Cliffard Whitby, 54, of Forsyth on charges of conspiracy to pay a bribe to an agent of an organization receiving federal funds, conspiracy to launder the proceeds of unlawful activity, and five counts of paying a bribe to an agent of an organization receiving federal funds, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

In a move related to the indictment, former school Superintendent Romain Dallemand, 49, pleaded guilty in Florida Wednesday to filing a false tax return for 2012, under-reporting his income and over-reporting his itemized deductions, according to a statement from federal prosecutors.

The indictment, unsealed Friday morning, said Whitby approached Dallemand sometime between August 2011 and June 2012 “to ensure Dallemand would support” the Promise Neighborhood plan. That was an ambitious project designed to help transform the impoverished Unionville and Tindall Heights neighborhoods so students there — and their families — would have better lives.

Later, Whitby “offered Dallemand $100,000 for his support.” Dallemand, the indictment said, “accepted this offer and agreed to support” the program.

Later, Whitby offered Dallemand 10 percent of the $1 million the school district would contribute to the Promise Neighborhood program each year, the indictment said. “Thus, Whitby indicated that Dallemand would be paid $100,000 every year for 10 years for his continued support” of the program.

Dallemand accepted this offer and “understood that he needed to ensure the (Bibb County school district) continued to financially support” the Promise Neighborhood plan.

Dallemand received a $100,000 check from Whitby on Nov. 19, 2012, “with assistance from” Harold Knowles, part owner of Pinnacle/CSG, a Florida-based construction company that was contracted to provide software to the Bibb school system in 2012, according to Dallemand’s plea agreement.

2018 Elections

State Rep. Stacey Abrams (D-Atlanta), a candidate for Governor in 2018, called for the removal of the Stone Mountain carving.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams called for the removal of the giant carving that depicts three Confederate war leaders on the face of state-owned Stone Mountain, saying it “remains a blight on our state and should be removed.”

“We must never celebrate those who defended slavery and tried to destroy the union,” Abrams said in a series of tweets posted early Tuesday, a response to the deadly violence sparked by white supremacist groups in Charlottesville, Va.

The Georgia code has a clear mandate for the memorial, saying it should be “preserved and protected for all time as a tribute to the bravery and heroism of the citizens of this state who suffered and died in their cause.”

Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle (R-Gainesville) held a rally in Buford last night.

Atlanta resident Angelic Moore considers herself a “huge supporter” of Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and his wife, Nina — so much so that she hopped in her car and drove to Buford on Monday night to show it.

Moore was among the supporters who attended the Women for Cagle Rally at the Buford Community Center. The event was a launch of sorts for the Cagle campaign’s effort to reach out to women voters, although there were a few men and several children in the crowd as well.

More than 60 people attended the rally, including local officials, grassroots Republican activists and families. The event was first of several campaign events Cagle will attend around north Georgia throughout the week.

It was sort of a hybrid between a political rally and an end of summer party, with the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office showing off its Jail Dogs program in the parking lot and a balloon artist making balloon animals and play toys for kids.

Cagle also laid out his vision for the state as he addressed the crowd. He said he wanted to address Medicaid issues to make sure groups such as senior citizens, the blind and people with disabilities can get medical care while still being fiscally responsible.

Cagle also pledged to cut taxes by $100 million for a family of four, to create 500,000 new jobs, to invest infrastructure, such as building out the road system, and to focus on workforce development.

“When you look at Georgia, there is so much opportunity, so much chance, to be first in class in every category, and we’re going to do that,” he said.

Buford-based Sen. Renee Unterman, who is the Women for Cagle chairwoman, said the idea behind the group is to highlight women-related topics, such as health issues, medical care and issues facing the elderly.

“Women for Cagle is focusing on those types of issues, and we have Nurses for Cagle and different groups to get women out to vote,” Unterman said. “We’re excited about it.”

GaPundit - Georgia Politics, Campaigns and Elections

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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 14, 2017 Mon, 14 Aug 2017 09:32:07 +0000 GaPundit:

On August 14, 1784, Russians invaded settled Alaska, founding the first permanent Russian settlement at Three Saints Bay. Dentist, gambler, and gunfighter Doc Holliday was born on August 14, 1851 in Griffin, Georgia. On August 14, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln hosted a group of African-American men at the White House to discuss emancipation of American

GaPundit - Georgia Politics, Campaigns and Elections


On August 14, 1784, Russians invaded settled Alaska, founding the first permanent Russian settlement at Three Saints Bay.

Dentist, gambler, and gunfighter Doc Holliday was born on August 14, 1851 in Griffin, Georgia.

On August 14, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln hosted a group of African-American men at the White House to discuss emancipation of American slaves outside the United States as colonists.

The Second Battle of Dalton was joined on August 14, 1864.

The County Unit System of elections was created on August 14, 1917 when Governor Hugh Dorsey signed legislation by the General Assembly.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act on August 14, 1935. The road to perdition is paved with good intentions.

On August 14, 1945, the Japanese surrender to the Allies was made public in Japan.

In the afternoon of August 14, Japanese radio announced that an Imperial Proclamation was soon to be made, accepting the terms of unconditional surrender drawn up at the Potsdam Conference. That proclamation had already been recorded by the emperor.

A Special Session called by Governor Miller to address legislative redistricting after the United States Supreme Court threw out Georgia’s Congressional redistricting map was convened on August 14, 1995.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Netroots Nation attendees this past weekend shouted down Democratic State Representative Stacey Evans.

Democrat Stacey Evans’ speech to a conference of progressive activists descended into chaos on Saturday, as protesters interrupted her repeatedly and she struggled to make herself heard over chants of “support black women.”

Almost as soon as she took the stage, a ring of demonstrators – some holding stark signs criticizing her – fanned out in front of Evans. The chanting soon followed. Pleading repeatedly for the room to speaks – “let’s talk through it,” she implored – the demonstrators at times drowned her out.

One of the demonstrators, Monica Simpson, said she made her stand because she wanted to show she was “true to progressive values.”

Asked why Evans hasn’t met that standard, Simpson couldn’t point to any votes or policy stances. But she said she wants “a candidate that truly speaks to my community.”

“This is our opportunity, especially as black women, to make it known or clear that this is standing on true progressive values,” said Simpson, who lives in Atlanta. “And if you’re not, we’re going to make that clear.”

Abrams said in a statement that she would not “condemn peaceful protest” and that the demonstrators were voicing their concern with Evans’ support for a Republican-led effort to give the state new powers over struggling schools.

“From what I observed from Savannah, activists in Atlanta peacefully protested this morning on the critical issue of preserving public education for every family in our state,” she said. “The mantra of ‘trust black women’ is an historic endorsement of the value of bringing marginalized voices to the forefront, not a rebuke to my opponent’s race.”

Georgia Republicans spent Saturday coming together in Rome.

Georgia GOP Chairman John Watson called [Rome City Council candidate Randy] Quick up to the front of a crowd of over 350 at the Tillman Hangar and said even though the commission seats are nonpartisan his presence at the rally meant something. Quick, the general manager of Rome Radio Partners LLC, with a 42-year career in radio, will aim to grab one of the three Ward 2 commission spots up for grabs in November’s municipal election. He would be up against incumbents Jamie Doss, Sue Lee and Wendy Davis — who have said they intend to seek re-election — and Monica Sheppard, a freelance graphic designer and beekeeper, is campaigning as well.

The four announced GOP gubernatorial candidates — Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, Secretary of State Brian Kemp and State Sens. Hunter Hill, of Atlanta, and Michael Williams, of Cumming — attended the rally put on by the Floyd County Republican Party. Of the four, Cagle spoke first, following up an address from U.S. Rep. Tom Graves, of Ranger.

Augusta residents came together in response to events in Charlottesville, Virginia.

About 50 to 60 people gathered in downtown Aiken at the Newberry Fountain, and 50 to 75 came out to the Columbia County Amphitheater. About six people from Augusta’s Unitarian Universalist Church came downtown “to bear witness” to the city’s Confederate Memorial on Broad Street.

The gatherings were organized on social media Sunday, some prompted by a national group called Stand in Solidarity with Charlottesville, others springing up locally as people shared Facebook posts.

Senator Johnny Isakson will hold a Town Hall meeting tonight at Kennesaw State University.

“The reason town halls are so exciting is you never know what to expect, so I think given the issues of the day from health care to North Korea, I think it will probably be a very interesting evening,” Isakson told Around Town on Friday. “I do telephone town halls every six weeks in Washington, so that’s six to eight a year, and I do town halls in August when I’m traveling the state, and I do town halls in campaign years. It’s been 40 years. I’ve done a lot.”

What is his philosophy regarding town halls?

“The whole key to town halls is for you as an elected official to be approachable,” he said. “If you’re running for an office, and you have town halls, that demonstrates that you’re willing to be approachable. If you get elected, and you serve and you have town halls, it demonstrates that you are willing to be approachable. I think the people that have the biggest problem with town halls are the people that don’t have them.”

There is a down side to letting anyone in the door and that is boorish professional agitators. How does he handle rabble-rousers?

“I don’t try and talk over people. If you have somebody that’s trying to disrupt, I just let them try without talking over them and it goes away pretty fast, because it’s kind of like a one-man demonstration. But you don’t let things like that get under your skin because 90 percent of the time when somebody is doing something disruptive, it’s because they want to get under your skin.”

Monday’s town hall begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Dr. Bobbie Bailey & Family Performance Center and is free and open to the public. Seating is limited and will be offered on a first come, first served basis. Doors will open for the event at 6 p.m.

From the AJC Political Insider:

But do not assume that Isakson is walking into a chaotic lion’s den. Cobb County is his home turf. Local Republicans will do their best to fill as many seats as possible. Jason Shepherd, the chairman of the Cobb GOP, is an adjunct professor of political science at KSU. His class will be wrapping up just as the town hall meeting begins.

And then there’s Sam Olens. The KSU president is likely to introduce Isakson on Monday. Olens is the former state attorney general, only recently liberated from the tyranny of Republican primaries. He’ll have a campus police force at his beck and call. If diplomacy fails to reign Monday night, it will fall to Olens to handle the situation — not Isakson.

Hall County Commissioners heard from opponents of short term rentals at Lake Lanier.

Residents from a neighborhood on Lanier discussed the issue with commissioners at a work session on Tuesday and said two homes in the neighborhood are being used only for short-term rentals, with most being for weekends.

“In our neighborhood, we know that the reasons why the neighbors did what they did is because when they were given the choice of selling the property or renting it out, they move out on the weekends and make a whole lot more money than they do annually,” homeowner Randy Kauk said. “So, we’re worried this problem is going to get worse before we do what we need to confine it.”

Kauk and other neighbors said they have encountered issues with excessive noise, trash being left behind and having renters host parties that go late into the night. Neighbors said one property brought a bus full of people.

“These homes are no longer a rented home — they’re a lodging service. They’re an event venue,” Kauk said. “They are renting these things out to weddings, hip-hop parties and longer parties.”

“This doesn’t sound like a nuanced issue to me,” [County Attorney Ken Jarrard] said. “If you’ve got eight boats at a dock and you’ve got folks there until 6 a.m. and you’re advertising it as an event venue and you’ve got weddings and sorority parties and things of that nature, it doesn’t sound to me like we’re on that dicey, thin area between what is truly just a party that went awry versus a dedicated commercial use.”

Jarrard said the county may need to look into an ordinance for short-term rental services, which are not required to pay the same taxes as hotels and that his office working with the county’s code enforcement department may help.

Port Wentworth first responders received training for treating opioid overdoses.

Last week, more than a dozen service members from Port Wentworth police and fire departments completed Naloxone training as a measure of harm prevention. Naloxone, commonly known as Narcan, is medication designed to rapidly reverse opioid overdoses and can restore normal respiration to a person whose breathing has slowed or stopped.

We are going to take action,” said Port Wentworth Police Chief Matt Libby. “We are here for one job and that’s to save people.”

In the past two years, Port Wentworth has had at least 15 overdose incidents, according to Sgt. Kenneth McDonald.

“Some have been fatal and some have not,” he said. “Our main goal with this training was to reduce those fatal incidents to as close to zero as possible. If we can save just one life it will be well worth it. … From a comparison standpoint these types of calls are not as common as many others we see. However, they are becoming more commonplace as the epidemic of addiction continues to spread.”

And the epidemic’s spread is due to an increase of opioids available by prescription, said David Gaskin, a Savannah internist who helped to lead Thursday’s training.

“It is just unbelievable — the logarithmic rise of opiate overdoses,” he said. “ Unfortunately, what happened a few years ago was the burgeoning use of narcotics. You did not used to have a lot of narcotic pain medicines.”

Coweta County Commissioners heard no opposition to a proposed property tax hike.

A public hearing on Coweta County’s proposed property tax increase lasted over an hour, and there were several speakers – but none spoke against the tax hike.

Two more hearings are scheduled for Aug. 22. One will be at 7:30 a.m. and the final hearing will be at 6 p.m., during the regularly-scheduled county commission meeting. The commissioners are set to adopt the millage rate at that meeting.

The county is proposing a property tax millage rate that is an 8.6 percent increase over the rollback millage rate for properties in the unincorporated areas of the county and a 6.7 percent increase for the cities and towns.

The 2016 rate was 6.27 mills for unincorporated areas and 7.47 for incorporated. The proposed 2017 rate is 6.63 mills for unincorporated and 7.63 for incorporated.

The proposed millage rate will mean an increase over last year’s property taxes of approximately $36.68 on a $200,000 home with a homestead exemption in the unincorporated areas, and $33.74 on a home in the cities and towns.

A “mill” is $1 of tax on every $1,000 of assessed value. In Georgia, real estate is assessed at 40 percent of the fair market value.

The 2017 rollback rate is 6.106 for unincorporated and 7.148 for incorporated.

Roswell Mayor Jere Wood blames State Rep. Betty Price (R-Roswell) for his ouster via lawsuit.

The longtime mayor says the reason he is out is because state Rep. Betty Price sabotaged the City Council’s attempts to have the City Charter amended to “clarify” a recent amendment for term limits on the City Council.

Wood said he fully expects Price to take advantage of the situation and run for mayor herself.

“Absolutely I’m considering it,” she said. “I would be happy to serve. It is tempting.”

Wood pointed out Price was a member of the Roswell City Council in 2010 when the charter amendment was crafted and sent to the Georgia General Assembly. So she was in a position to know what the council’s intent was at the time term limits were instituted.

When the lawsuit was filed to declare Wood’s fifth term violated the charter, Price had left her council seat and was a member of the Fulton Legislative Delegation in the Georgia House.

Thus she was one of the arbiters over the “fixes” the current members of the City Council tried to implement that would keep Wood lawfully serving his current term and eligible to serve one more.

Wood said she had to know the City Council’s intent at the time was to allow him two more terms.

Forsyth County is strengthening its ordinance on massage parlors in reaction to allegations of prostitution.

Coweta County municipal election candidate qualifying begins next Monday.

State Rep. Scot Turner (R-Holly Springs) continues the Sisyphean task of building support to reform civil asset forfeiture.

A local legislator is on a mission to strengthen constitutional rights regarding civil forfeiture. State Rep. Scot Turner, R-Holly Springs, held a town hall meeting Thursday and spoke with about 15 residents on House Bill 832.

The piece of legislation would require a conviction before the state could legally seize an individual’s belongings.

The effort, he said, is to “re-establish the concept of innocent until proven guilty.”

“Today the law specifically states that if you are charged with a crime and you are found not guilty of that crime, you are not entitled to have your stuff given back to you,” Turner said. “It literally states in the law, ‘a finding of not guilty, does not entitle the property owner to gain possession of the property.’”

The proposed bill by Turner requires the court to stay the civil proceedings until the criminal case is completed and requires there to be a criminal conviction before the civil lawsuit can advance.

“What I have introduced is a simple one page bill. We will not change anything that law enforcement does — they can still take it and put it in a bank account pending the outcome of your criminal trial,” he said. “If you are found not guilty, then you can come ask for your money back and I am obligated to give it to you because you were found not guilty.”

2018 Elections

Two incumbent Republicans received new opponents over the weekend.

Two Coweta residents and former veterans of Afghanistan and Iraq, Chuck Enderlin and Bryce Remkes both announced their candidacies for 2018 – seeking the offices of Georgia’s 3rd Congressional District and Georgia State House District 71 respectively.

Enderlin, a graduate of the Naval Academy and member of the Marine Corps Reserves, is a resident of Newnan and a pilot with Delta Air Lines.

In his announcement, Enderlin emphasized core democratic principles such as affordable health coverage, a strong public education system and the beliefs veterans fight for.

“The sacrifices made by our vets won’t go unnoticed, and we’ll be safer by the strength of our national character, not through bombast and bluster,” Enderlin said. “We stand up and fight even when the situation is grim, and I can think of no more worthy cause than the principles on which this country was founded. Sharing the same rights and ideals is something I have pledged my life to and continue to fight for to this day.”

Remkes, an Air Force Academy graduate, also served as a pilot during the War on Terror and now resides in north Coweta County. Like Enderlin, Remkes also used the “common sense approach” of the military to get things accomplished on a local level.

“When you’re in combat, you don’t have time to quibble and bicker,” Remkes said. “You come up with solutions and get the job done. The military does that better than anyone else.”

Seeking the seat currently held by David Stover, Remkes said the district deserves better.

“We don’t need the type of representative that demonizes and squabbles with his own party and is unresponsive to his own constituents,” Remkes said. “We need someone who stands up for values we hold dear like quality education, treating our veterans well, and getting along because that’s what local politics are all about.”

Shane Hazel, Republican challenger to Congressman Rob Woodall (R-Gwinnett) was profiled by the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Brookwood High School graduate Shane Hazel has been preparing to run against Woodall as a Republican in recent weeks. The Marine Corps veteran and Cumming resident’s campaign was the topic of a flurry of tweets posted on Twitter late this last week though.

Hazel said on his campaign website,, that he is “excited to bring a Limited Government Republican message to the 7th Congressional District.” He also refers back to military service and takes aim at establishment Republicans on the site.

A statement of candidacy for Hazel could not be immediately found on the Federal Election Commission’s website, but official candidate qualifying for the seat won’t happen until next spring. The FEC’s website shows the last time a Republican filed a statement of candidacy to run against Woodall was for the 2012 election, at the end of the congressman’s first term.

Hazel joins a growing number of people aiming to unseat Woodall, who was first elected to Congress in 2010 when former Rep. John Linder retired. Six people are now running against the four-term congressman, including Democrats David Kim, Steve Reilly, Kathleen Allen, Ethan Pham and Melissa Davis.

Marc Alan Urbach of Dunwoody announced he will run for Governor.

After running in the November presidential election, the Dunwoody resident announced Aug. 12 he is running for governor in the 2018 election.

Urbach went public with his campaign plans at the Georgia Republican Assembly’s convention in Moreland, near Newnan. In an interview four days before his public announcement, he said he is running for governor for several reasons.

He got five votes as a certified write-in candidate in the presidential election but will be on the ballot as a regular candidate in the gubernatorial race once he qualifies.

Urbach was asked how he expects to become governor against Republican opponents that already hold statewide office such as Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and Secretary of State Brian Kemp.

“I know I’m Jewish (he would be Georgia’s first Jewish governor if elected), but of all the times in American history for a person to come out of nowhere to become the governor, this may be it,” he said. “Matt Bevin did it in Kentucky (in 2015). He had no political experience. He was part of the Tea Party.”

Urbach said he’s confident he can triumph.

GaPundit - Georgia Politics, Campaigns and Elections

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Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for August 11, 2017 Fri, 11 Aug 2017 11:48:35 +0000 GaPundit:

Broderick is a male Shepherd and Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from Animal Refuge Foundation of Wayne Co., Inc. in Jesup, GA. Broderick is a people loving, fun loving, active dog! Might make a great jogging companion! House trained! Finley is a young male Shepherd and Labrador Retriever mix puppy who is

GaPundit - Georgia Politics, Campaigns and Elections



Broderick is a male Shepherd and Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from Animal Refuge Foundation of Wayne Co., Inc. in Jesup, GA.

Broderick is a people loving, fun loving, active dog! Might make a great jogging companion! House trained!


Finley is a young male Shepherd and Labrador Retriever mix puppy who is available for adoption from Animal Refuge Foundation of Wayne Co., Inc. in Jesup, GA.

This good looking hunk of a dog LOVES his paddle pool! He is fostered in a family with other dogs of varying sizes and a 3 yr old child – does very well with all of them!


Romeo is a young male Border Collie and Hound mix who is available for adoption from Animal Refuge Foundation of Wayne Co., Inc. in Jesup, GA.

Romeo is one good looking, very unique dog! His blue/amber eyes are always smiling as he is a very happy boy! He is about 1 year old and weighs just over 50 pounds. Romeo enjoys playing ball, is great with children, and does well with other dogs. He even knows some commands!

GaPundit - Georgia Politics, Campaigns and Elections

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