Georgia Pundit http://gapundit.com Georgia Politics, Campaigns and Elections Wed, 27 Aug 2014 11:51:02 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 Deal recommends computer programming satisfy core requirement | Governor Nathan Deal Office of the Governor http://gapundit.com/2014/08/27/deal-recommends-computer-programming-satisfy-core-requirement-governor-nathan-deal-office-of-the-governor/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=deal-recommends-computer-programming-satisfy-core-requirement-governor-nathan-deal-office-of-the-governor http://gapundit.com/2014/08/27/deal-recommends-computer-programming-satisfy-core-requirement-governor-nathan-deal-office-of-the-governor/#comments Wed, 27 Aug 2014 11:23:34 +0000 http://gapundit.com/?p=40270 GaPundit:

Governor: Georgia businesses say skilled computer progr […]

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Governor: Georgia businesses say skilled computer programmers, software developers in demand

Gov. Nathan Deal today recommended the State Board of Education amend state policy to allow computer programming courses to satisfy core requirements — math, science or foreign language — for receiving a high school diploma. Deal is asking the Board of Regents of the University System to follow suit by accepting these courses for admission into institutions of higher education.

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

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

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

Deal this year created the Governor’s High Demand Career Initiative, which regularly brings together the heads of Economic Development, our university and technical college systems and key leaders in some of our private-sector industries to hear directly from the employers of our state about what they expect their future needs will be. It also give our institutions of education the chance to get ahead of the curve in preparing tomorrow’s workforce.

“As Georgia’s workforce and education leaders have traveled the state meeting with businesses, they have heard repeatedly that there is a need for skilled computer programmers and software developers in the state,” said Georgia Department of Economic Development Commissioner Chris Carr. “Our goal with the High Demand Career Initiative is to support Georgia companies with their workforce needs and provide our students with the resources and programs to secure job opportunities in Georgia.”

“As the state’s leading voice dedicated to the promotion and advancement of Georgia’s technology industry, the Technology Association of Georgia recognizes that we all have to do more to meet the future demand for a tech-ready workforce,” said TAG President and CEO Tino Mantella. “It’s imperative that we prepare Georgia’s kids today for the jobs of tomorrow. To that end, TAG supports this initiative to strengthen coding and programming for k-12 students in the state.”

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

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

via Deal recommends computer programming satisfy core requirement | Governor Nathan Deal Office of the Governor.

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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 27, 2014 http://gapundit.com/2014/08/27/georgia-politics-campaigns-elections-august-27-2014/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=georgia-politics-campaigns-elections-august-27-2014 http://gapundit.com/2014/08/27/georgia-politics-campaigns-elections-august-27-2014/#comments Wed, 27 Aug 2014 10:46:32 +0000 http://gapundit.com/?p=40260 GaPundit:

Advertising in the rights of way of state roads and pla […]

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

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

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

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

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

Elaine Boyer indicted

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

She could produce none.

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

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

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

More on Polling

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Governor Deal in Braselton

Governor Deal Braselton

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

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

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

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

Sam Olens notches a win for open government

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is nothing less than a political amateur hour blunder.

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

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

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

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

Computer Programming as a foreign language

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Adoptable Georgia dogs for August 27, 2014 http://gapundit.com/2014/08/27/adoptable-georgia-dogs-august-27-2014/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=adoptable-georgia-dogs-august-27-2014 http://gapundit.com/2014/08/27/adoptable-georgia-dogs-august-27-2014/#comments Wed, 27 Aug 2014 10:11:30 +0000 http://gapundit.com/?p=40261 GaPundit:

Enos is a hound dog, about 2 years old who loves everyo […]

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Enos

Enos is a hound dog, about 2 years old who loves everyone and plays well with other dogs. He especially love to play in the water. If it is a nice day outside, you might find him playing in the kiddie pool at the shelter. Enos is available for adoption from the Humane Society’s Mountain Shelter in Blairsville, Georgia.

Ellie Mae

Ellie Mae is a 2-year old Treeing Walker Coonhound. Ellie Mae is available for adoption from the Humane Society’s Mountain Shelter in Blairsville, Georgia.

Lulu

Lulu is a nearly-five year old Treeing Walker Coonhound who is available for adoption from the Humane Society’s Mountain Shelter in Blairsville, Georgia.

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2010 and 2012 General Election Voter Turnout by Race http://gapundit.com/2014/08/26/2010-and-2012-general-election-voter-turnout-by-race/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=2010-and-2012-general-election-voter-turnout-by-race http://gapundit.com/2014/08/26/2010-and-2012-general-election-voter-turnout-by-race/#comments Wed, 27 Aug 2014 02:08:29 +0000 http://gapundit.com/?p=40251 GaPundit:

2010 General Election Voters by Race Black White Asian- […]

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2010 General Election Voters by Race

Black White Asian-PI Hisp-LT NativeAm Other Unknown All non-W/B Total Voters
2010 General 740,997 1,738,521 16,596 19,320 402 17,407 89,284 143,009 2,622,527
28.26% 66.29% 0.63% 0.74% 0.02% 0.66% 3.40% 5.45%

2010 Data Source: Secretary of State

 

2012 General Election Voters by Race

Black White Asian-PI Hisp-LT NativeAm Other Unknown All non-W/B Total Voters
2012 General 1,168,287 2,399,345 39,699 51,829 1029 33,962 213,899 340,418 3,908,050
29.89% 61.39% 1.02% 1.33% 0.03% 0.87% 5.47% 8.71%

2012 Source: Secretary of State

 

Note: in each of the above tables, “All non-W/B” combines the numbers for Asian-Pacific Islanders, Hispanic/Latino, Native American, “Other,” voters and voters whose race in unknown.

 

 

 

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How timely – Attorney General Sam Olens Prevails in Lawsuit Defending Open Government http://gapundit.com/2014/08/26/timely-attorney-general-sam-olens-prevails-lawsuit-defending-open-government/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=timely-attorney-general-sam-olens-prevails-lawsuit-defending-open-government http://gapundit.com/2014/08/26/timely-attorney-general-sam-olens-prevails-lawsuit-defending-open-government/#comments Tue, 26 Aug 2014 14:06:56 +0000 http://gapundit.com/?p=40248 GaPundit:

via Press Release: On August 21, 2014, Judge Robert Ada […]

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via Press Release:

On August 21, 2014, Judge Robert Adamson ruled in favor of Attorney General Sam Olens in a lawsuit filed in June 2012 against the City of Cumming and Mayor Henry Ford Gravitt for violations of the Open Meetings Act. Judge Adamson ordered the defendants to pay $12,000 in penalties, the highest amount possible under the law. Defendants have also been ordered to pay attorney’s fees in an amount to be determined at a later hearing.

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

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

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

Attorney General Olens is a long-time advocate of open government. In 2012, he championed the first overhaul of Georgia’s Open Meetings and Open Records Acts in over a decade, which was signed into law with sweeping approval by the Georgia General Assembly. The revised sunshine laws are more user-friendly and provide tougher penalties for violations. Additionally, the updated law allows the Attorney General to bring civil actions for violations of the sunshine laws. This lawsuit marks the first civil action brought by the Attorney General under the revised law.

“The Georgia First Amendment Foundation (GFAF) is thrilled to see the ‘new’ open government law in action. Enforcement of the state’s Open Meetings and Records Acts are a critical component of the duties of the Office of the Attorney General, and we are delighted to see access rights preserved. We were particularly pleased by the use of the new civil penalties provisions of the new open government laws, and look forward to seeing more of these types of cases,” said Hyde Post, President of GFAF.

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#DraftNancy – Nancy Jester for DeKalb Commission http://gapundit.com/2014/08/26/draftnancy-nancy-jester-dekalb-commission/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=draftnancy-nancy-jester-dekalb-commission http://gapundit.com/2014/08/26/draftnancy-nancy-jester-dekalb-commission/#comments Tue, 26 Aug 2014 13:40:22 +0000 http://gapundit.com/?p=40243 GaPundit:

In the vacuum left by Elaine Boyer’s resignation […]

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In the vacuum left by Elaine Boyer’s resignation yesterday from the DeKalb County Commission, now more than ever, we in DeKalb County need a principled fiscal conservative we can trust.

In my opinion, Nancy Jester is the right choice.

Nancy Jester Josh McKoon Molly Dye

In her race for State School Superintendent in this year’s Republican Primary, Nancy Jester carried nearly 40% of DeKalb County votes in a nine-candidate race.

Because more than 180 days remain in the unexpired term of Elaine Boyer, the seat will be filled by Special Election, if I am correct.

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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 26, 2014 http://gapundit.com/2014/08/26/georgia-politics-campaigns-elections-august-26-2014/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=georgia-politics-campaigns-elections-august-26-2014 http://gapundit.com/2014/08/26/georgia-politics-campaigns-elections-august-26-2014/#comments Tue, 26 Aug 2014 11:56:34 +0000 http://gapundit.com/?p=40232 GaPundit:

On August 26, 1864, having withdrawn from trenches and […]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More easy listening and a question for readers

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

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

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

Elaine Boyer resigns from DeKalb Commission

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

Elaine Boyer touted herself as a crusader for fiscal conservatism, railing against government waste and blasting other elected officials’ spending.

But late Monday, with an FBI investigation pending and questions mounting about her own spending of taxpayer money, the longtime DeKalb County commissioner abruptly resigned.

“I’ve betrayed the people and I’ve abused my position of power,” she told Channel 2 Action News in an exclusive interview.

“It’s a very hard decision, and I’m heartbroken and saddened, but I need to resign,” she said.

The federal investigation started with an investigation by the AJC:

The first part of the newspaper’s investigation, published in March, revealed that she had spent nearly $17,000 in taxpayer funds on herself and her family using her county Visa card. Her purchases included airline tickets, a ski resort booking, a rental car and personal cell phone expenses.

Following the March stories, the FBI launched an investigation into the commission’s discretionary spending. Federal prosecutors subpoenaed thousands of documents in June related to purchasing card spending by county commissioners as well as nearly 300 county employees.

The AJC also has continued drilling into questionable office expenses, pressing Boyer for answers on more than $90,000 in payments she authorized to consultants. She has been unable to produce any reports, memos, correspondence or other evidence of the consultants’ work.

Boyer ran up the questionable expenses as she and her husband, John, were having personal financial problems. In 2009, they lost a Stone Mountain strip mall they owned to foreclosure after defaulting on an $886,600 loan, court documents show. Her husband, a chiropractor, had an office there.

In the past three years, she has filed for bankruptcy twice and her husband has filed for bankruptcy five times, subsequently dropping cases each time in an apparent tactic to stall foreclosure of their home in Smoke Rise, near Stone Mountain.

Despite the moves, in April a bank foreclosed and the family was ordered to vacate by this week. The house appeared to be empty on Monday, and a neighbor said a moving truck backed into the driveway on Sunday.

She said she could not explain why she repeatedly pulled out her county P-card to pay for things that had nothing to do with DeKalb County business.

“I don’t have a reason,” Boyer told the AJC in March. “I’ve never had any intent of doing anything (wrong). I have been totally honest and trying to be transparent in returning the funds.”

When serious questions came up about Boyer’s own activities in office, she claimed ignorance of the rules. She said she didn’t think the county’s P-card policy, which forbids using the cards for personal purchases, applied to elected officials.

“It never dawned on me that what I was doing was wrong,” she said in a March interview with WSB.

I’ve known Elaine Boyer for much of her time in office – some 16 years – and considered her a positive influence on the Board of Commissioners for many years. When something like this happens to a political opponent, it’s easy to demonize them, but it’s harder to figure out when it’s someone who has been a friend.

Weighty matters

We’ll be discussing weighting of polls in more depth, as it’s been brought up in regards to a poll by Landmark Communications that appears to be an outlier in its assessments of the elections for United States Senate and Governor of Georgia.

First, some perspective from another source. Georgia’s Republican National Committeewoman Linda Herren sent along the following information from the Republican National Committee when she asked them about recent polling in Georgia. It’s excellent information.

Our internal track of the GA  polls has Perdue up about 4 pts. The latest poll I have seen shows Purdue up about 8 pts and the general trend of polls for Purdue is good. Having said that the poll you site does have African American turnout #’s at 29%. That is about 4 pts higher than the historic average but I don’t know that it is impossible. (historic #’s below)  This is their game plan and this is what they are doing.

We know they have bodies on the ground concentrated in AA areas of ATL. We know that $$ is flowing to Black pastors for this purpose. Fair or unfair I have no doubt the events in Ferguson, MO will be utilized to ‘rally’ AA voters to the polls by the opposition. Remember in 2012 the dem pollsters (PPP) and others kept sharing polls w/them winning the election and we thought they were bogus polls. BUT they turned out those voters that our pollsters didn’t have showing up and their pollsters did. The point being is that this is their game plan and we need to stay diligent on our game plan to turnout our own low-propensity voters as well. We need to turnout lo-propensity Republican voters to the poll.

In Georgia we have identified approximately 594,000 such low propensity Republican targets. The focus of our staff on the ground is primarily talking to THOSE voters. We need to turn them out in order to offset whatever the other side is capable of doing to turnout their lo-propensity voters. They will try to to bump the AA turnout from 25% to 29%. Its hard but not impossible and we need to plan as if they will because they did it in 2012.

African American turnout and election results below:
2006: 16% (Pre-Obama) – Perdue +19%
2008: 30% (Obama 1) – McCain +5%
2010: 25% (Obama-midterm 1) – Deal +10%
2012: 30% (Obama 2) – Romney +8%
2014: 25% (Obama-midterm 2) – Deal +???

Last night, Landmark sent an email discussing the poll:

The difference between our poll and the others is due to demographic weighting: we believe that the model for our poll more accurately matches the demographics of a Georgia general election.

We believe that other firms are aware of the issue and that they will ultimately modify their weighting to account for it.

WHAT HAPPENS IN A GEORGIA GENERAL ELECTION TODAY IF ONE RELIES ON A MODEL BASED UPON 2010 TURNOUT PERCENTAGES?

In 2010 the percentage of the general election voters that was African-American was approximately 28.5% (though it must be taken into context that voters who haven’t provided their ethnicity on voter registration applications are also disproportionately minority voters, meaning that the ‘real’ minority vote would have been about 30%).

In fact, if the 2010 election were held today using today’s voter registration numbers, and if the demographic turnout for white, black, and non-black minority voters were the same percentages as the 2010 election, then about 30% of voters would be African Americanabout a 1.5% higher than 2010’s general election black turnout.

Many other polling firms have projected a 26% “black vote” turnout in November.

But the percentage of the black vote in Georgia hasn’t been 26% of the electorate since 2006more than three elections ago. We do not agree with this model.

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

So, there seems to be a difference in opinion on the historic figures for African-American turnout as a percentage of all voters. The difference between the RNC’s 2010 figure or 25% and Landmark’s 2010 figure of 28.5% is very significant in this setting. We’ll do some research on this issue today and present our findings tomorrow morning.

In October 2012, I wrote about how weighting works and when and under what conditions it should be applied:

Weighting is a statistical process used to compensate for differences between the makeup of a survey sample and known [or predicted] qualities of the electorate.

For example, if our survey yields 65% female respondents and 35% male respondents, while historical turnout figures peg women as around 53-55% of most iterations of the electorate, we know that our sample is gender-biased. We might weight each male respondent by a factor of about 1.28 so that after weighting, males account for about 45% of the weighted sample. We would likewise weight female respondents by a factor of about .846 so that they represent about 55% of the electorate.

My belief and general practice is that it is appropriate to weight survey results when they are out of line with known historical facts and trends. The example above involving gender would clearly qualify.

I think that Landmark’s prediction that African-Americans will constitute roughly 28-30% of the electorate in November 2014 is sensible and weighting to that target is methodologically defensible.

If you’re interested in seeing exactly how weighting works, in August 2013, I took a survey I performed and weighted it in line with another pollster’s preferences to show how weighting moves poll results.

We found in our unweighted results that if Michelle Nunn is the Democratic nominee, she starts today in the range of 31.55 to 34.70 percentage points and the major GOP nominees range from 50.47 to 54.26.

This contrasts strikingly with PPP results showing Nunn in the range of 38% to 41% and GOP contenders in the range of 36% to 41%. I said I think my results are closer to correct, and pointed to PPP’s Party Identification numbers showing self-identified Democrats at 38% to Republicans at 39% as suspect. I believe that they weighted their results to arrive a near-parity between the parties.

So I weighted my results to bring them much closer to what PPP believes is the accurate Party mix and here’s what happens.

After weighting my results to bring them into line with PPP’s party identification numbers, Michelle Nunn’s strength rises about eight points and now ranges from 39% to 42%, very close to PPP’s 38% to 41%. In the weighted scenario, GOP contenders are now in the 44% to 48% range, closer to PPP’s 36% to 41%.

Another issue people like to discuss is the role of IVR or “robo-polls” versus live agent polls, which are considered the “gold standard” by many both within politics and without. A 2011 article in DailyKos discussed the differences and attitudes toward robopolls.

Years ago, critics laughed at the notion that “robo-pollers” could generate good numbers. But that line of attack is finished. SurveyUSA and PPP were ranked the second and fourth most accurate pollsters in 2010 by Nate Silver – above such traditional stalwarts as Mason-Dixon and CNN/Opinion Research. And that accuracy was particularly impressive given that those two IVR pollsters focused extensively on harder-to-poll down-ballot races, while traditional firms stuck with statewide contests like senate and governor.

I asked Jon Cohen, the Washington Post‘s polling director, why he wouldn’t let his writers run IVR polling. He responded via email:

“Our editorial judgments are based on how polls are conducted, not on their results, or apparent accuracy. Now, we flag polls that have really bad track records, but end-of-campaign precision is a necessary, not sufficient condition in our assessments,” said Cohen.

“On the methods front, the exclusion of cellphones is a big – and growing – cause for skepticism about IVRs,” said Cohen.

I asked polling guru Mark Blumenthal of Huffington Post Pollster what he thought about the Washington Post‘s refusal to publish IVR results.

Blumenthal noted several potential problems with IVR polling — that excluding cell phones could provide a more Republican sample since 30 percent of households don’t have landlines (a problem also shared with most traditional horserace polling, since very few of those polls include cell phones). He also noted that the inability to target people specifically in a household makes weighing more important to IVR pollsters (though the much larger sample sizes possible mitigate his problem).

“But that said, short (2-5 minute) public polls that we have examined over the last 4-5 election cycles have generally produced horse-race vote estimates that have been as accurate in comparison to election outcomes — in the final weeks of the campaign — as those obtained using live interviewers,” said Blumenthal.

“I believe those accuracy measures argue against outright bans on reporting of such polls in the final weeks of the campaign,” said Blumenthal.

Here’s how I explain the difference between live agent polling and robopolling. It’s like the difference between a Rolex and a Timex. A Rolex is vastly more expensive than a Timex, though it performs the same basic functions. But it looks better, feels better on the wrist, and provides some bragging rights. A Timex is less expensive but omits braggadoccio, though it’s timekeeping is relentlessly accurate, and your average quartz watch, whether it’s a $2 bargain bin cheapie, or a $2000 plus Omega Seamaster, keeps time more reliably than any Rolex that hasn’t just been factory-calibrated.

But the differences in cost, construction or timekeeping don’t tell you whether any given watch is accurate. As my friend, former Congressman Buddy Darden said last week on Political Rewind, “a broken watch is right twice a day,” and a working watch improperly set will always be wrong.

 

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Adoptable Georgia Dogs for August 26, 2014 http://gapundit.com/2014/08/26/adoptable-georgia-dogs-august-26-2014/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=adoptable-georgia-dogs-august-26-2014 http://gapundit.com/2014/08/26/adoptable-georgia-dogs-august-26-2014/#comments Tue, 26 Aug 2014 11:04:22 +0000 http://gapundit.com/?p=40231 GaPundit:

Sonny is an American Bulldog/Foxhound mix who is one lo […]

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GaPundit:

Sonny

Sonny is an American Bulldog/Foxhound mix who is one loving boy, he gets along with everyone and just makes everyone smile. He likes to swim, loves to hike, and would be the perfect exercise partner. Sonny is available for adoption from Dixie Dog Rescue in Vidalia, GA.

Cher

In February, Cher was struck by a car on I-285 in Cobb County, Georgia. One of Furkids/SmallDog Rescue’s volunteers spotted Cher on the side of the road and stopped. With the help of several police cars and officers, the volunteer was able to get Cher to an emergency veterinarian hospital. Thousands of dollars were raised to help pay for Cher’s medical treatments.

Cher is finally healed from her double hip surgery and heartworm treatment and she now weighs 40 lbs. Cher is very playful, still acts like a puppy, and is good with dogs that are smaller in size. Cher’s DNA test found her to be 50% Staffordshire Terrier, 25% Akita and 25% Belgian Malinois. Cher is available for adoption from Small Dog Rescue (A Division of Furkids) in Atlanta, GA.

Babe

Babe is a 1-2 year old husky/shep mix (she looks very much like a blonde husky) who was found near death by a good samaritan. Poor Babe had been shot and the wound was starting to fester. Thankfully, she was taken in for veterinary care in time to safe her life.

Babe is a very friendly, outgoing and affectionate dog. She is a true testament that most dogs do not hold grudges about their previous mistreatment-she loves everyone and just has a great temperament. She is playful and fun loving and would be a fantastic pet for a home with kids. She is good with most other dogs (untested with cats). She is intelligent and learns quickly. Babe is spayed, current on shots, on heartworm prevention and crate trained/housebroken.

Babe is available for adoption from the Humane Society of Terrell County in Dawson, GA.

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Gov. Nathan Deal: Recommends Computer Programming Satisfy Core Requirement http://gapundit.com/2014/08/25/gov-nathan-deal-recommends-computer-programming-satisfy-core-requirement/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=gov-nathan-deal-recommends-computer-programming-satisfy-core-requirement http://gapundit.com/2014/08/25/gov-nathan-deal-recommends-computer-programming-satisfy-core-requirement/#comments Mon, 25 Aug 2014 22:44:42 +0000 http://gapundit.com/?p=40196 GaPundit:

Your Georgia Desk From Governor Nathan Deal Deal recomm […]

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GaPundit:

Your Georgia Desk

From Governor Nathan Deal

Deal recommends computer programming satisfy core requirement

Governor: Georgia businesses say skilled computer programmers, software developers in demand

Gov. Nathan Deal today recommended the State Board of Education amend state policy to allow computer programming courses to satisfy core requirements — math, science or foreign language — for receiving a high school diploma. Deal is asking the Board of Regents of the University System to follow suit by accepting these courses for admission into institutions of higher education.

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

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

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

Deal this year created the Governor’s High Demand Career Initiative, which regularly brings together the heads of Economic Development, our university and technical college systems and key leaders in some of our private-sector industries to hear directly from the employers of our state about what they expect their future needs will be. It also give our institutions of education the chance to get ahead of the curve in preparing tomorrow’s workforce.

“As Georgia’s workforce and education leaders have traveled the state meeting with businesses, they have heard repeatedly that there is a need for skilled computer programmers and software developers in the state,” said Georgia Department of Economic Development Commissioner Chris Carr. “Our goal with the High Demand Career Initiative is to support Georgia companies with their workforce needs and provide our students with the resources and programs to secure job opportunities in Georgia.”

“As the state’s leading voice dedicated to the promotion and advancement of Georgia’s technology industry, the Technology Association of Georgia recognizes that we all have to do more to meet the future demand for a tech-ready workforce,” said TAG President and CEO Tino Mantella. “It’s imperative that we prepare Georgia’s kids today for the jobs of tomorrow. To that end, TAG supports this initiative to strengthen coding and programming for k-12 students in the state.”

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

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

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GA – 1 Buddy Carter: An Earth Day Surprise http://gapundit.com/2014/08/25/ga-1-buddy-carter-earth-day-surprise/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=ga-1-buddy-carter-earth-day-surprise http://gapundit.com/2014/08/25/ga-1-buddy-carter-earth-day-surprise/#comments Mon, 25 Aug 2014 21:45:46 +0000 http://gapundit.com/?p=40194 GaPundit:

Your Washington – GA 1 – Desk From GOP Cong […]

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GaPundit:

Your Washington – GA 1 – Desk

From GOP Congressional- nominee  Buddy Carter

An Earth Day Surprise

 

For many environmental organizations in Georgia, Earth Day will never be the same.

On April 22nd of this year we celebrated Earth Day, a day traditionally set aside to appreciate our world and protect our environment.

Also on Earth Day this year, Jud Turner, Director of the Environmental Protection Division (EPD) of Georgia, announced a new policy that the Department would be implementing to decide how buffers will be determined along the coastal marshlands.

The new policy announced by Turner deals with buffers along saltwater marshes and where they are measured from.

Buffers along state waters was first addressed by the state legislature in 1975 when the Erosion and Sedimentation Act (E&S Act) was passed.

The E&S Act called for a 25 foot buffer along the banks of all state waters, as measured horizontally from the point where vegetation has been wrested by normal stream flow or wave action.

In interpreting the E&S Act, EPD had determined that two elements must be present to establish a buffer- a bank to waters of the state and wrested vegetation. Unfortunately, neither of these are defined in the E&S Act.

Webster’s Dictionary defines “banks” as “the rising ground bordering a lake, river, or sea forming the edge of a cut or hallow or as the slope of land adjoining a body of water,” and “wrested” as “to pull, force or move by violent wringing or twisting movements.”

The question of buffers along tidal creeks in Coastal Georgia is easily determined since they run both adjacent to uplands and throughout the saltwater marsh, almost always meeting the requirements of a bank to state waters and wrested vegetation.

Determining whether there are buffers along saltwater marshes is a much more difficult exercise.

After struggling through the process for many years, in 2004 then EPD Director Carol Couch issued a memo clarifying that buffers surrounding coastal marshlands would be measured from the jurisdictional line and not the point of wrested vegetation.

Jurisdictional lines were established by the Coastal Marshlands Protection Act (CMPA), created in 1970 to protect the marsh areas of our state.

While this did bring some clarity to the process, CMPA is administered by the Coastal Resources Division of the Department of Natural Resources and therefore they would set the jurisdictional line, meaning that yet another agency besides EPD would now be involved in the buffer process.

This is where the new policy issued by current EPD Director Turner came into play.  Citing numerous examples of the 2004 guidelines causing controversy, including pending buffer cases in Grady County involving a 960 acre fishing lake and Chatham County involving pending improvements to the Turner Creek boat ramp, Director Turner reversed the 2004 guidance and determined that buffers along saltwater marshes will be measured from the point of wrested vegetation and not jurisdictional lines.

This ruling upset many environmental organizations, since where there is no evidence of “wrested” vegetation present- which is the case in many marshland areas- no buffer will be required.

And, although two Superior Court rulings upholding the new policy adopted by EPD has been reversed by the Georgia Court of Appeals, Director Turner has instructed the EPD staff to continue to adhere to his April 22nd guidance in making buffer determinations since the state is appealing the ruling.

So where do we go from here?

First of all, many local governments have passed ordinances restoring the 25 foot marsh buffer, essentially negating the new EPD guidelines.

Secondly, the Georgia Supreme Court could decide to hear the case and make a final decision on the current rules and regulations.

Thirdly, and perhaps most appropriately, the state legislature can address the situation during the next session and bring consistency and clarification to what at least one legislator describes as “a fine mess.”

Fortunately, the Coastal Georgia delegation, a bi-partisan group of state legislators who represent the Coastal areas of our state, has indicated that they will be working on comprehensive legislation to be presented next session.

Everyone agrees we must protect our delicate marshlands while maintaining personal property rights.  Having our elected citizen legislature clean up this “fine mess” will help do that.

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