The blog.

5
Oct

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for October 5, 2017

Petunia Pickle Bottom

Petunia Pickle Bottom is a young female American Bulldog puppy who is available for adoption from Lowndes County Animal Services in Valdosta, GA.

RubyLowndes

Ruby is a year-old female Beagle mix who is available for adoption from Lowndes County Animal Services in Valdosta, GA.

Wall-e

Wall-e is a 6-month old male American Bulldog and Beagle mix who is available for adoption from Lowndes County Animal Services in Valdosta, GA.

5
Oct

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for October 5, 2017

On October 5, 1864, the Battle of Allatoona Pass was fought in Bartow County, Georgia.

The first televised Presidential address from the White House was broadcast on October 5, 1947.

The Georgia Supreme Court outlawed use of the electric chair as “cruel and unusual punishment” on October 5, 2001.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Nathan Deal earlier this week named a new Executive Counsel.

Gov. Nathan Deal [] announced the departure of David Werner, executive counsel to the governor. Beginning Nov. 1, Werner will become the director of state and local government relations for Delta Air Lines.

“Werner has been an instrumental member of my administration since the 2010 campaign and I’m grateful for his service to our state,” said Deal. “During his tenure, Werner has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to the well-being of our citizens and his efforts as executive counsel have helped to advance the interests of many Georgians. His knowledge and experience have been assets to the State of Georgia and I wish him the best as he transitions to the private sector.”

Deal tapped Carey Miller, deputy executive counsel and public safety policy advisor, as Werner’s replacement. Miller will assume this position on Oct. 15.

Congressman Doug Collins (R-Gainesville) and eight of his Georgia Republican colleagues voted to ban most late-term abortions.

The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act passed 237-189, largely along party lines. Republicans control 240 seats in the House, and Democrats hold 194.

Speaking on the House floor Tuesday, Collins referred to his own experience as a father being told that he and his wife should abort the pregnancy of their now-25-year-old daughter, Jordan, who was diagnosed with a form of spina bifida while still in the womb.

The timeframe of the ban is based on research that shows children begin to feel pain at 20 weeks, or about five months, into the pregnancy.

“When modern medicine leads doctors to administer anesthesia to children at 20 weeks’ gestation, basic integrity gives us no way to ignore their personhood,” Collins said in an announcement after the bill cleared the House. “Science leaves us no room to justify their slaughter, and our Founding Fathers leave us no path to disregard their right to life.”

Both of Georgia’s senators, Johnny Isakson and David Perdue, are co-sponsors of the Senate bill and have supported similar bills in the past. The most recent vote was taken 2016.

“We have a moral obligation to protect unborn life, and it is unconscionable that federal law currently permits unborn babies to feel such unimaginable pain,” Perdue said in 2016. “It is likewise reprehensible that we would even have to require doctors to save every newborn’s life.”

Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp has a 2018 campaign issue teed up by the federal voting rights lawsuit filed this week.

The suit was filed by the National Redistricting Foundation against Kemp, in his role as the state’s top elections official, in U.S. District Court Tuesday.

In a statement released by Kemp’s gubernatorial campaign, the secretary of state pointed to past battles his office had with the U.S. Department of Justice while Barack Obama was president. Holder was Obama’s first attorney general.

“I took on the Obama Justice Department twice — and won — to implement our common sense Voter ID and citizenship check laws,” Kemp said in a statement released by his gubernatorial campaign. “I’m ready to fight for hardworking Georgians again as Eric Holder and his team of liberal lawyers attempt to turn Georgia ‘blue’ through the court system.”

The suit targets redistricting done in 2015 for Chandler’s district, as well as the district represented by state Rep. Brian Strickland, R-McDonough, arguing they were redrawn by Republican lawmakers to dilute African-American voting strength and keep Chandler and Strickland in office.

Kemp’s department also recently opened a field office in Cartersville.

Clermont business owners want state legislators to step-in as they fight for alcohol sales.

A political battle that’s been brewing in Clermont for years is coming to a head as prominent business owners are lobbying state leaders to help them with the town council’s unwillingness to allow a referendum that would let voters decide whether beer and wine can be sold within city limits.

Business owners wanted to have the issue placed on the ballot of the Nov. 7 municipal elections, but with election day a month away, it’s too late for that to happen.

Chris Nonnemaker — owner of Papa’s Pizza To Go, 6483 Cleveland Highway, and Mark Kirves, whose wife Valerie operates nearby Iron Accents — are so fed up with what they perceive as an affront to their rights as property owners that they want to de-annex their businesses from Clermont.

Kirves and Nonnemaker said they have petitioned state Rep. Lee Hawkins and Sen. Butch Miller, both Republicans from Gainesville, to file legislation that would allow them to exit Clermont and be under Hall County jurisdiction, which allows alcohol sales

Rome City Council candidates spoke to the Floyd County Republican Women about their campaigns for three open seats.

Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital spoke about their results from the state rural hospital tax credit program.

The tax credit program, known as the Georgia HEART Program, that went into effect in January is meant to benefit the state’s rural hospitals by giving taxpayers who direct their tax dollars to hospitals that meet a certain criteria a 90 percent credit. An update heard on the program by the Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital Board of Directors on Wednesday included a push for taxpayers to contribute to the program.

Among this year’s 49 eligible hospitals are Phoebe Sumter Medical Center, Phoebe Worth Medical Center and Southwest Georgia Regional Medical Center. Brian Church, chief financial officer for the health system, said the latest numbers on the Georgia HEART donations were $64,777 for Phoebe Sumter, $41,421 for Phoebe Worth and $3,719 for Southwest Georgia Regional.

The program — anticipated to expand to about 60 hospitals in 2018 — is expected to provide $60 million in tax credits annually, with individual hospitals being able to receive up to $4 million.

“(The current Phoebe hospital figures) are well below the $4 million they could receive,” Church said.

The deadline to contribute to the tax credit program for this year is Nov. 1. More information can be found at https://dch.georgia.gov/rural-hospital-tax-credit.

[Phoebe Putney chief financial officer Brian] Church segued to address funding sources, including the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), Disproportionate Share Hospital, or DSH, and the “cliff” for federally-qualified health centers, all of which were facing major monetary gaps in recent days when windows expired due to inaction from legislators to close those gaps.

The CHIP lapse impacts a portion of families supported by Medicaid, and DSH provides compensation for indigent care. The DSH gap alone reflects a $2 million loss for Phoebe.

“There is nothing predictable in Washington,” Phoebe CEO Joel Wernick said. “If anything is clear, it is that it is (difficult) to get a majority on anything.”

Chatham County Commissioners are considering proposals to provide healthcare at the county jail.

As amended midway through the day Wednesday, the agenda for the commission’s Friday meeting indicates commissioners will have to determine whether to extend their current contract with Atlanta-based CorrectHealth, approve a new contract with the company, or end it and hire a new provider by emergency procurement. The Chatham County Manager’s office is not making a recommendation one way or the other, and the county did not immediately respond to requests for comments on the matter.

For his part, Sheriff John Wilcher said Wednesday he is satisfied with the work CorrectHealth has done at the jail since the company came on board last August, but he will not intervene in the negotiations between the company and the county. The contract was being developed before he was elected sheriff in a special election last April, Wilcher said, and is between the county and CorrectHealth.

If nothing is done, however, documents indicate the current contract with CorrectHealth will expire Oct. 17, leaving more than 1,000 inmates without a critical and constitutionally mandated service.

Dalton candidates for City Council, Board of Education, and State House will meet voters in a series of public forums.

On Monday at 6:30 p.m. at Dalton City Hall, the Daily Citizen-News, the Coalition of Latino Leaders (CLILA) and the League of Women Voters of the Dalton Area will host a forum for candidates for the City Council, the Dalton Board of Education and the special election for state House of Representatives District 4, which covers most of the city of Dalton as well as four surrounding precincts. Bruce Broadrick stepped down as representative recently, citing health concerns.

On Thursday, Oct. 12, at 6 p.m. at City Hall, the Daily Citizen-News and the League of Women Voters of the Dalton Area will host a forum for candidates for House District 4.

On Monday, Oct. 16, at 6 p.m. at the Mack Gaston Community Center, CLILA, the Concerned Citizens of Dalton, the Concerned Clergy, the Dalton-Whitfield NAACP and the Woman’s Community Club will host a forum for candidates for the Dalton Board of Education and the City Council.

The League of Women Voters of the Dalton Area will hold its annual political picnic on Thursday, Oct. 19, at 6 p.m. at the Dalton-Whitfield Senior Center. While not a formal forum, candidates will have the opportunity to give a brief presentation and to meet members of the public.

Cobb County Juvenile Court’s Gang Suppression Program said through a spokesperson that gang activity is rising.

“We’re seeing gang activity pick up, and it’s not just in this district, it’s in the whole entire county,” she said, speaking at a town hall meeting held by Commissioner Lisa Cupid Tuesday night. “We’re seeing a lot of kids coming in from Fulton County. They’re coming into our county and they’re trying to recruit. We’re a thriving county, so they’re going to come where they’re going to find other people.”

District Attorney Vic Reynolds said gangs are present in every high school in the county, and their activities contribute to other types of crime.

“We know that gang activity is prevalent in Cobb County, and that it is a major factor in every type of crime, including violent crimes, drug distribution and theft,” Reynolds said. “As an example, in many car break-ins, also known as entering autos, thieves are specifically looking for firearms, and those investigations often reveal gang connections.”

Grantville Sign Police are cracking down on campaign signs in rights-of-way.

The signs were removed on Friday, Sept. 29, according to Mayor Doug Jewell, because the signs were not in compliance with city code of ordinances, which says that signs should be at least 10 feet away from the right-of-way of line of any street or highway to which it orients.

Sandra Luttrell, Dee Berry and Alan Wacaser are running for the Post 4 seat currently held by Leonard Gomez, who did not qualify for re-election. Barham Lundy, a former member of the Grantville City Council, is challenging Post 3 Councilman Mark King.

Jewell said city workers were instructed to pick up the signs. He recalled his time of campaigning in 2014.

“I had several of my signs removed,” Jewell said. “Like these candidates, I felt they were in the right spot. Evidently they did not comply, and they picked them up, and I came to city hall and picked them up.”

The city elections will be held Nov. 7. Also on the ballot will be the extension of the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax for Coweta County.

4
Oct

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for October 4, 2017

Fred

Fred is a young male Hound dog who is available for adoption from IMAGINE Pet Rescue in Savannah, GA. Fred is super sweet, friendly with dogs of all sizes, and has even been trained to use his doggy door! Will you give this sweet boy a home?

Goldie

Goldie is a female Terrier mix puppy who is available for adoption from IMAGINE Pet Rescue in Savannah, GA. This sweet girl was given up by her owners when she was diagnosed with the deadly Parvovirus. Thankfully for Goldie and her brother, Prince, they have made a complete recovery and are completely healthy now! Goldie is like any other 16 week old puppy and she is ready to find her furever home!

Millie

Millie is a young female Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from IMAGINE Pet Rescue in Savannah, GA.  Millie was rescued from a shelter in Alabama when she had a severe case of mange. Millie’s skin is all healed up and she is ready to go to her furever home! Millie will do well in a home with kids, cats, and other dogs!

4
Oct

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for October 4, 2017

On October 4, 1918, President Woodrow Wilson sent a telegram to the Georgia Democratic Party Convention delegates in appreciation for their support of his admininstration.

The Savannah River Bridge opened on October 4, 1925.

Beverly Hills, 90210 debuted on October 4, 1990.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Nathan Deal has appointed former State Rep. Reqina Quick as a Superior Court Judge for the Western Judicial Circuit, filling the vacancy created by Judge David Sweat’s resignation.

Former State Rep. B.J. Pak was confirmed by the Senate as United States Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia.Continue Reading..

2
Oct

Adoptable Georgia Dogs for October 2, 2017

DukeRR

Duke is a young male Shepherd & Labrador Retriever mix puppy who is available for adoption from Refuge Rescue, Inc. in Woodstock, GA. He’s a funny little boy that likes to play with his toys and chase the mop!

DixieRR

Dixie is a young female Shepherd & Labrador Retriever mix puppy who is available for adoption from Refuge Rescue, Inc. in Woodstock, GA. She loves to be play with her siblings, cuddle close and be held. She’s a wiggly little girl who loves to give kisses!

NatalieRR

Natalie is a young female Australian Cattle Dog/Blue Heeler & Beagle mix puppy who is available for adoption from Refuge Rescue, Inc. in Woodstock, GA.

KellyRR

Kelly is a young female Hound and Boxer mix puppy who is available for adoption from Refuge Rescue, Inc. in Woodstock, GA.  She is an absolute sweetheart. She loves to be outdoors and on the go! She’s looking for an adventurous family that will play with her and take her camping, hiking and fishing!

2
Oct

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for October 2, 2017

On October 2, 1789, President George Washington signed a resolution transmitting the (then-twelve) amendments constituting the Bill of Rights to the states that had ratified the Constitution. Click here for the letter from Washington to Governor Charles Pinckney of South Carolina that accompanied the amendments.

On October 2, 1835, Texans and Mexicans met in the first military battle of the Texas Revolution, the Battle of Gonzales.

In 1831, Mexican authorities gave the settlers of Gonzales a small cannon to help protect them from frequent Comanche raids. Over the next four years, the political situation in Mexico deteriorated, and in 1835 several states revolted. As the unrest spread, Colonel Domingo de Ugartechea, the commander of all Mexican troops in Texas, felt it unwise to leave the residents of Gonzales a weapon and requested the return of the cannon.

When the initial request was refused, Ugartechea sent 100 dragoons to retrieve the cannon. The soldiers neared Gonzales on September 29, but the colonists used a variety of excuses to keep them from the town, while secretly sending messengers to request assistance from nearby communities. Within two days, up to 140 Texians gathered in Gonzales, all determined not to give up the cannon. On October 1, settlers voted to initiate a fight. Mexican soldiers opened fire as Texians approached their camp in the early hours of October 2. After several hours of desultory firing, the Mexican soldiers withdrew.

Texas Cannon Flag 600

On October 2, 1879, Wallace Stevens was born. Stevens would become a renowned poet and insurance industry lawyer. My favorite poem of his is “Connoisseur of Chaos.”

A. A violent order is disorder; and
B. A great disorder is an order. These
Two things are one.

President Woodrow Wilson suffered a stroke at the White House on October 2, 1909.

Thurgood Marshall was sworn-in as an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court on October 2, 1967.

Betty Talmadge, then wife of Senator Herman Talmadge, hosted a fundraiser with Rosalynn Carter and Joan Mondale on October 2, 1976.

Ground was broken for The Carter Presidential Center in Atlanta on October 2, 1984.

The last Braves game at Turner Field was played on October 2, 2016, with the Detroit Tigers besting the Braves by 1-0.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Tonight, First Baptist Church of Woodstock will host Georgia Connects and a forum on the opioid crisis.

Cherokee County Opioid & Heroin Community Awareness Forum to be held this Monday evening October 2nd from 7:00 – 9:00 PM at First Baptist Church Woodstock.  Event is open to the public and children/teens are invited to attend.  This event will be very educational and informative.

In addition to our guest speakers, we will have an addiction recovery testimony and a skit to promote the Georgia 911 Amnesty Law.
Guest speakers:
>    Senator Renee Unterman – Senate Chair, Health & Human Services Committee (District 45 – Gwinnett County)
>    Nelly Miles – GBI Director Public Affairs
>    Judge Ellen McElyea – Superior Court Judge – Blue Ridge Judicial System and Cherokee County Felony Drug Court
>    Dr. Tim Simpson, MD - Emergency Medical Services Director for Northside Hospital – Cherokee
>    Dr. Susan Blank, MD – Atlanta Healing Center
First Baptist Church Woodstock
Building A – Chapel  (EVENT IS IN CHAPEL, NOT SANCTUARY)
11905 Highway 92
Woodstock, GA  30188

Tom Price resigned as Secretary of Health and Human Services on Friday.

Price submitted a four-paragraph resignation letter in which he said he regretted “that the recent events have created a distraction” from the administration’s objectives. “Success on these issues is more important than any one person,” he continued.

Not long after, HHS staff received a message from Price praising employees as “dedicated, committed” and saying it had been “a great joy” to serve with them.

He closed: “Duty is Ours — Results are the Lord’s!”

But Trump had also directed some of his frustration at Price over the inability of Republicans in Congress to pass a health-care replacement bill. House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) and former House speaker Newt Gingrich of Georgia had pushed for the then-congressman to lead HHS, arguing that Price’s medical and policy expertise and congressional ties could help Trump deliver on his vow to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Several congressional Republicans praised Price on Friday: Ryan called him “a good man. He has spent his entire adult life fighting for others, first as a physician and then as a legislator and public servant. He was a leader in the House and a superb health secretary.”

From The New York Times:

The resignation of Tom Price as secretary late Friday over his use of costly chartered jets capped a week of setbacks on health care for a president who made the issue a centerpiece of his campaign and his first eight months in office. Mr. Trump’s decision on a successor could be an opportunity to shift the debate, but he faces the prospect of an arduous confirmation battle.

The president has sent mixed signals since the latest effort to repeal and replace President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act collapsed in the Senate. He asserted that he had the votes to pass the repeal legislation in early 2018, while offering to negotiate with Democrats who are adamantly against it. One adviser said on Saturday that Mr. Trump was serious about compromising with Democrats and would pick a secretary who would help make that happen.

Democrats urged him to pursue such a course. “Let’s get a new H.H.S. secretary who’s finally devoted to improving health care, move past these debates and come to bipartisan agreement on how to stabilize markets and make health care cheaper,” said Senator Christopher S. Murphy of Connecticut.

The White House had no comment on Saturday, but two advisers who asked not to be identified discussing internal matters said two top candidates were Scott Gottlieb, the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, and Seema Verma, the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Both have previously been vetted by the White House, nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate to their current jobs within recent months, a significant selling point.

Other names have been floated as well, including David Shulkin, the secretary of veterans affairs and a favorite of the president’s. But he has been criticized for a European trip with his wife that mixed business and sightseeing and was partially financed by taxpayers, and Mr. Trump may be reluctant to move him because he has been critical to fixing veterans’ care.

Federal funding for several components of healthcare expired last week.

Meanwhile in Georgia, a clinic network funded by regular federal grants halted replacement of badly needed dental chairs and stopped work on a planned contract to recruit a pediatrician.

A Houston County couple watched their health insurance crumble. The Georgia commissioner of community health drew up contingency plans.

All of that is happening here now because Congress — absorbed over the past few months in undoing the Affordable Care Act — has not approved funding for other long-standing, bipartisan health care programs that affect millions of patients and faced Sept. 30 expiration or crucial deadlines.

• Community Health Center subsidies such as Miracle’s fund 35 centers in Georgia with about $86 million a year, perhaps 70 percent of which was cut. Nationally, the program is facing a $3.6 billion cut, and that cut will be distributed among the states.

• Subsidies for rural hospitals, called “rural extenders,” have expired to the tune of at least $11.7 million in this state this coming year. The small facilities say that represents a large portion of their bottom lines.

• Subsidies for hospitals that treat a disproportionate share of indigent patients, such as Grady Memorial Hospital, are cut by $49 million in Georgia for the coming year. The figure depends on changing variables but is to expand to approximately $149 million by 2025.

• Subsidies for working-class kids, called the Children’s Health Insurance Program nationally and PeachCare in Georgia, face cuts of $427 million in Georgia this year.

• In addition, some companies offering policies on the Obamacare exchange market said they raised rates and pulled back coverage because of uncertainty about federal subsidies for lower-income customers.

“It’s a real concern,” [Georgia Commissioner of Community Health Frank Berry] added. “If we lose potentially millions — hundreds of millions — of dollars of federal funds, it will have an impact on Georgia.”

Gov. Nathan Deal’s chief of staff, Chris Riley, said the governor “is confident that Congress will meet its obligations and reauthorize the CHIP program and not place hundreds of thousands of Georgians in jeopardy.” He did not address the other lapsed programs.

Some, but not all, of the federal programs are expected to be taken up starting in a U.S. House hearing in the coming week.

Hospitals that treat a disproportionate share of the poor are particularly concerned. They benefit from a federal program called DSH, or Disproportionate Share Hospital grants. A long-planned funding cut is scheduled to go into place Sunday, and there’s been no mention on Capitol Hill about staving off the cuts as they have three times before.

U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson of Georgia said he was working to attach DSH money onto other legislation moving through the Senate so that “it doesn’t hurt our hospitals.”

Meanwhile, more than 220 members of the House — representing more than half the chamber — wrote Thursday to leaders of both parties urging that the House act swiftly to delay the DSH cuts for at least two years or until a more permanent solution can be found.

On the state level, the Legislature might be able to replace some of the federal money, but at great cost, Unterman said.

“The fiscal part of it has huge implications,” she said. “Because then it bleeds over literally into education. The money is going to come from somewhere. Do you take it from public safety? Do you take it from roads? Do you take it from natural resources? Health care is a priority.”

Unterman asks one thing of Washington: “To have a plan of action.”

“To be definitive,” she said. “We’re either going to help you, or we’re not going to help you. The ambiguity is devastating.”

The AJC piece by Ariel Hart and Tamar Hallerman is must-read if you’re interested in health policy.

The United States Department of Energy announced it approved an additional $3.7 billion in loan guarantees for the nuclear reactor construction at Plant Vogtle.

The commitments include $1.67 billion to Atlanta-based Georgia Power, which owns almost half of the plant; $1.6 billion to Oglethorpe Power and $415 million to subsidiaries of the Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia, the project’s other two large partners. A sliver is also owned by the city of Dalton.

“Advanced nuclear energy projects like Vogtle are the kind of important energy infrastructure projects that support a reliable and resilient grid, promote economic growth, and strengthen our energy and national security,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry.

In a statement, Georgia Power hailed the move as welcome support for the Vogtle expansion that will provide $500 million in “present-value benefits to its customers” through savings on debt costs for the project.

“The (Trump) administration, Secretary Rick Perry, the entire cabinet and members of Congress from both sides of the aisle have been exceedingly helpful with the construction of the Vogtle 3 and 4 project,” said Georgia Power CEO Paul Bowers.

Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., said he is “doing whatever I can to ensure that the Plant Vogtle project stays on track for completion.” That includes pushing for an extension of a separate tax credit for the project, he said, that is expected to otherwise expire before the plant in completed, because of new project delays.

The new guarantees are in addition to $8.3 billion in earlier Energy Department loan guarantees for Plant Vogtle, including $3.46 billion for Georgia Power.

Governor Nathan Deal announced last week that the number of Georgians receiving GEDs increased to 10, 128 from the previous year’s 9,842.

“An educated workforce provides a strong foundation for a prosperous economy, and we are dedicated to providing Georgia citizens with high-quality educational options,” said Deal. “A GED diploma opens doors to a brighter future and greater opportunities, and I applaud these graduates for embracing those opportunities. The graduates this year have each accomplished a praiseworthy feat and are now better equipped for Georgia’s workforce as a result of their hard work.”

United States Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) spoke to First Congregational Church of Atlanta yesterday.

California Sen. Kamala Harris told a Georgia congregation founded by former freed slaves that the United States remains wracked by racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination that flout the nation’s core values.

But the rising Democratic Party star added that Americans aren’t as split as “forces of hate and division” suggest. “I believe it is time we replace the divide-and-conquer,” she said from the pulpit of First Congregational Church in downtown Atlanta, adding that national unity comes from citizens’ recognizing their share priorities while still honoring diversity.

From the pulpit, Harris criticized “the attorney general,” without naming Sessions, for renewing the push for harsher sentences in nonviolent drug crimes and for rolling back some of policing overhauls from the Obama administration.

Her calendar is noticeably devoid of visits to the early nominating states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. But she’s also met in recent months with key Democratic donors and hired aides who worked for 2016 presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

And her path to the Democratic nomination would certainly run through voters like those she addressed Sunday in Atlanta. Obama in 2008 and Clinton in 2016 each lost the cumulative white vote in Democratic primary states, according to exit polls, but both of the eventual nominees won black voters overwhelmingly, propelling them to key victories in Southern states that gave them early delegate leads they never relinquished.

United States Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) spoke on behalf of Vincent Fort’s campaign for Mayor of Atlanta.

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders lent Atlanta mayoral hopeful Vincent Fort some of his star power Saturday in a rousing rally that was part sermon for “the 99 percent” and part call to arms to fight back against Washington.

Enthusiasitc Sanders fans — many of them white millennials — crowded into the sanctuary of Saint Philip AME Church to hear the man for whom they packed arenas and outdoor stadiums during his unsuccessful presidential run in 2016.

The throng, more than 2,400 in number, gave Sanders — Hillary Clinton’s rival for last year’s Democratic presidential nomination — and special guest, Atlanta rapper Killer Mike, the rock star treatment with screams and defeaning applause that shook the rafters as the duo entered the room with Fort.

“What this campaign is about is not just electing a progressive mayor,” Sanders said. “This campaign is about bringing forward a political revolution that revitalizes democracy and gives the people the hope and the belief that in this democracy we can have a government of the people, by the people and for the people.”

“Vincent, when the Democrats regain control of the Senate, I’m going to invite you as the mayor of this great city to testify why the people of Atlanta need a Medicare for all, single-payer system,” he said.

The Muscogee County Jail kitchen has been closed due to needed repairs.

City Manager Isaiah Hugley sounded the alarm on behalf of the Muscogee County Sheriff’s Office at a recent Columbus Council meeting. He requested approval for authorizing the spending of Other Local Option Sales Tax dollars to bring in a mobile kitchen from California while the floor is being repaired.

“The tile floor in the kitchen at the Muscogee County Jail is both a safety hazard and in violation of health codes,” according to information provided by the city. “The floor is cracked/chipped, missing grout, and has areas of pooling with standing water and continues to deteriorate. The Sheriff’s Office is working with the Engineering Department to remove the existing floor and install new floor drains along with the new flooring system.”

“If an AC goes out in the Government Center building, and we have to order a part out of Atlanta, we might be able to wait until tomorrow,” [Hugley] said. “But if it goes out in the jail we have to drive to Atlanta and get it tonight because of their protection and their rights. So it has to be done right.”

Councilor Thomas asked why the funding was coming out of the public safety OLOST contingency fund instead of funds designated for infrastructure.

“The bottom line is while it’s a public building, it’s a public safety facility, and it makes sense to use public safety OLOST to fund this need for public safety,” said Hugley.

“I don’t have a problem using OLOST money for this purpose,” Thomas said. “I’m just questioning because it is construction, if you will, and why would it not be coming out of the infrastructure side? I don’t want us to get into the habit of just whoever happens to have money, we’ll take it.”

Savannah City Council approved a resolution asking the General Assembly to rename the Talmadge Memorial Bridge.

While proposing the resolution, Mayor Eddie DeLoach said he wants the city to be united and on the right side of history.

“We will drive over the iconic bridge that leads to our city that will no longer be named for a man that divided us, but for the city that we are all proud to call our home,” DeLoach said.

As part of the resolution, the council recommended the bridge be named “The Savannah Bridge,” a name Alderman Brian Foster said the business community had advocated for when the current bridge across the Savannah River replaced an older one in 1991.

“We are an international city,” Foster said. “Let’s use this opportunity to promote our city, our state, and our Georgia Ports Authority by naming the bridge the Savannah Bridge.”

The resolution will now be sent to Georgia’s lawmakers, who will have the final say over whether the state bridge’s name is changed. A bid by the previous council to get the state legislature to change the name failed to get the support of enough state lawmakers to pass.

Tom Barton of the Savannah Morning News writes about Georgia’s Air National Guard 165th Airlift Wing, currently serving relief missions to Puerto Rico.

28
Sep

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for September 28, 2017

HenryMacon

Henry is a male Terrier (or Lab?) mix puppy who is available for adoption from Macon Bibb County Animal Welfare in Macon, GA.

Darlin

Darlin is a female Labrador Retriever mix puppy who is available for adoption from Macon Bibb County Animal Welfare in Macon, GA.

Duke

Duke is a male Labrador Retriever mix puppy who is available for adoption from Macon Bibb County Animal Welfare in Macon, GA.

Dude

Dude is a male Labrador Retriever mix puppy who is available for adoption from Macon Bibb County Animal Welfare in Macon, GA.

28
Sep

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for September 28, 2017

William the Conqueror, Duke of Normandy, invaded England on September 28, 1066.

Washington Yorktown

General George Washington led continental troops into the siege of British forces under General Cornwallis at Yorktown, Virginia on September 28, 1781.

On September 28, 1863, two Union generals lost their commands after the Confederates routed federal forces at the Battle of Chickamauga.

On September 28, 1889, Georgia Governor John B. Gordon signed legislation designating January 19th a state holiday in honor of Robert E. Lee’s birthday. Lee’s birthday is still a state holiday, though it has become “a moveable feast.”

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Macon Bacon was announced yesterday as the name of the middle Georgia city’s new baseball team. From 1996 through 2002, Macon hosted a minor league hockey team called the Macon Whoopee.

Governor Nathan Deal announced yesterday that Nestle Purina Pet Care will hire as many as 240 and invest $320 million in a new manufacturing and distribution facility in Hartwell, GA.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency will open a disaster response center at Ballard Park in Brunswick today.

Representatives of the U.S. Small Business Administration will also be available at the recovery center. The SBA offers low-interest disaster loans to businesses, renters and homeowners. The SBA also opened a business recovery center at the UGA Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant Center at 715 Bay St. in Brunswick.

FEMA opened centers in Camden, Chatham and Liberty counties as well. They are in the Camden County Recreation Center at 1050 Wildcat Blvd. in Kingsland; in the Tybee Island YMCA gym at 202 5th Street on Tybee Island; and 9397 E. Oglethorpe Hwy. in Midway. They adhere to the same schedule as Ballard.

Ballard Park is at 323 Old Jesup Rd. For more information, call 800-621-3362 or visit FEMA’s website at disasterassistance.gov.

President Trump’s voter fraud panel will pay the standard $250 fee to the Georgia Secretary of State for a copy of the voter registration file.

State Rep. Jason Spencer (R-Woodbine) and former State Rep. LaDawn Jones (D-Douglasville) offer suggestions for addressing Confederate monuments.

In what Spencer calls the meat of the bill, control of Confederate monuments would be vested with the cities and counties that have monuments on their properties. Other states — North Carolina, for example — passed laws doing the opposite, putting all the control with the legislature. Jones said they made a conscious decision to make sure people did not have to go back to the General Assembly regarding monument removal.

“(Local governments) can do one of two things in this bill — they can decide if they want to remove a monument that they consider offensive, that’s a Confederate monument, they can decide to move that to an interested private party to sell it or auction it, but it would have to be to a person who has a bonafide interest in preserving that monument and that history,” Spencer said.

He said the other part is that if a local government cannot find a buyer, they can send the monument to Stone Mountain to be a part of the park, and Stone Mountain “would serve as the repository” of the removed monuments. The bill also includes tougher penalties for defacing Stone Mountain, and changes Stone Mountain Park from a “memorial to the Confederacy” to a “historical memorial.”

“We don’t need a Confederate park in Georgia,” Jones said. “What we do need is a historical park that talks about all the Civil War. This will allow us to expand the history there, will allow us to discuss the contributions of not just the Confederate war or Confederate army soldiers, but the African-Americans who were free and enslaved that contributed, to the women who contributed, to the Native Americans who contributed during the Civil War era.”

She added, “I believe that when that when history is not erased, but put into full context, is given to the state, it makes it all better.”

Army veteran Carmen Baldrich is walking every day this month to raise money for, and awareness of, homeless veterans.

The event is part of her larger campaign to “Ruck for a Good Cause.”

“The purpose behind the marches for this month is to bring people together, talk about any issues us veterans are facing, and to bring awareness about our homeless vets out there and to hopefully help them as much as we can,” she said.

In 2016, there were more than 39,000 homeless veterans across the country, according to the National Alliance to End Homelessness.

And while that number has been on a steady decrease, it’s still a concerning statistic locally, according to Chris Lancia, community engagement director of Team Red White and Blue, which joined Baldrich during a march around Forsyth Park on Wednesday afternoon.

“Our mission is to enrich the lives of veterans by connecting them to their community through physical and social activity,” he said. “Social activity can be hard for veterans when they return home. While you’re in (the service) you do everything together. But it’s different when you come home and it can be difficult.”

The Georgia State Ethics Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission will hold a special called meeting today at 10 AM to discuss issuing an Advisory Opinion on “Independent Expenditures and Coordination between Candidates and Non-Candidate Committees.”

Georgia College and State University will host a debate on October 7 among Republican candidates for Governor in 2018.

Five hopefuls on the Republican side are scheduled to attend a gubernatorial forum scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 7 in Georgia College’s Arts & Sciences Auditorium.

The public is invited to attend the event sponsored by the 10th District Republican Party and hosted by Georgia College’s chapter of College Republicans.

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, Sec. of State Brian Kemp, state Sen. Hunter Hill (6th District), state Sen. Michael Williams (27th District), and Marc Urbach are all vying to be the Republican candidate for governor and will be in attendance.

“This is the first forum of its kind for this election and voters have to decide which candidate they believe is the best for the state of Georgia,” said Baldwin County Republican Party Chairman Joannah Hollis. “It’s the first opportunity of its kind with this election cycle to hear directly from them face-to-face and see how it is that they interact with the other candidates. It won’t just be based on hearsay or how someone looks on TV — this is an opportunity to see them live and in person.”

Hollis said that although it seems early in the process to hold an event such as this it’s important for the candidates to get a jumpstart so their messages can reach as many voters as possible.

“It’s something that the Georgia GOP has endorsed because it’s good to have things throughout the state so some of the more rural areas have access to these candidates and be able to meet them in person,” she said.

“I really want it to be positive thing for Milledgeville because it’s not every day that we get this much political attention and concentration in our community,” she said. “I hope that we will have a good turnout and I hope that people will be respectful and learn something. That’s the ultimate goal.”

Georgia Court of Appeals Judge Carla Wong McMillian spoke to AP Government students in Columbus.

Don’t be afraid to take calculated risks so you can seize opportunities during your career, and make sure you take time to thank and help others along the way. That’s the main message the Southeast’s first Asian Pacific American state appellate judge gave students at a Columbus private school Wednesday.

Georgia Court of Appeals Judge Carla Wong McMillian, who in 2014 also became the first Asian American to be elected to statewide office in Georgia, visited the Advanced Placement Government class at Calvary Christian School. The teacher, Craig Johnson, invited her because he’s been following her career since he taught her history at Westminster School of Augusta in the late 1980s.

“She was a top student, a very hard worker, sharp, inquisitive and just an academic leader, so it’s not a surprise that she has succeeded in the legal profession,” Johnson, also Calvary’s upper school principal, told the Ledger-Enquirer before McMillian’s presentation. “It’s important for students to have someone they can look to and say, ‘Maybe I can do that.’ It’s inspirational. They get kind of locked into thinking their world is the next week or two versus many things they could be doing in the future.”

Andy Miller of Georgia Health News reports that Georgia insurance officials approved rate increases for plans offered on the federal exchange.

The Georgia ACLU disputes accusations that Bryan County has more registered voters than eligible citizens.

Marietta City Council members declined to move forward with a measure that would allow some open alcohol containers in public.

Cobb County Commissioner Lisa Cupid will hold a Town Hall Meeting on October 3d at 7 PM.

Gwinnett County Commissioners deferred action on a proposed farm-oriented development near Grayson.

27
Sep

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for September 27, 2017

Moon

Moon is a young female Beagle who is available for adoption from Effingham County Animal Shelter in Springfield, GA.

Anja

Anja is a senior female Labrador Retriever who is available for adoption from Effingham County Animal Shelter in Springfield, GA.

Chewy

Chewy is a male Terrier mix who is available for adoption from Effingham County Animal Shelter in Springfield, GA.

Asher Effingham

Asher is a 4-month old male Labrador Retriever mix puppy who is available for adoption from Effingham County Animal Shelter in Springfield, GA. Asher was found caught in fence after hurricane

27
Sep

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for September 27, 2017

On September 27, 1779, John Jay, who previously served as President of the Continental Congress, was appointed minister to Spain to seek Spanish support for the revolution.

President Franklin Roosevelt made his ninth visit to Warm Springs, Georgia on September 27, 1927.

September 27 is a red-letter day for the Atlanta Braves and pitcher John Smoltz. The team won a record 14th straight Division Championship on this day in 2005. Smoltz set a team record for regular season wins (24) on September 27, 1996 and extended his team record for strikeouts hitting 276. On September 27, 2002, Smoltz set a National League record with 54 saves.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Senator Johnny Isakson is working to retain the US role in commercial development of nuclear power.

Georgia Power and other sponsors of the Vogtle expansion are eligible for an $800 million tax credit if the reactors are up and operating by Jan. 1, 2021.

The tax credit is essential to making the expansion economically viable. But hope of meeting that deadline has dried up. Georgia Power says the new reactors will be operational by late 2022, at a cost of $28 billion — about double the original estimate.

Isakson said he’s likely to tack an extension for the nuclear energy tax credit to “catch-all” legislation in late December, perhaps coupled with tax breaks targeted for wind, solar or biomass interests.

“There are plenty of opportunities. There are also plenty of folks who have an interest in tax credits in the Senate who will need help getting theirs through,’ Isakson said. “I know who they are and where some of them live.”

Isakson’s new role as a protector of nuclear power has an element of karma. In the early 1980s, at the beginning of his political career and when he first became the House minority leader in the state Capitol, Isakson was a key supporter of legislation that allowed the first nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle to be built.

Retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Robert “Bob” McMahon has been nominated as assistant secretary of defense for logistics and materiel readiness.

He retired from his position at Robins Air Force Base in 2012 and has remained in the community, serving as president of the 21st Century Partnership more than a year following his retirement.

President Donald Trump’s nomination is pending Senate confirmation, and McMahon said he isn’t sure how long that might take.

“I am honored that the president and the secretary of defense have given me this opportunity,” he said. “If confirmed by the Senate, I’ll be humbled to once again serve our nation with those who protect our freedoms.”

“I think it will be a good thing for Robins and the Air Force,” Brooks said. “He is the right guy, and I don’t think President Trump could have made a better choice. I think it’s always good to have friends of Robins and friends of Middle Georgia and the Robins community in high places.”

“General McMahon and his wife Hope have contributed their time, talent and treasure to the Museum of Aviation Foundation for many years,” Chrissy Miner, president of the Museum of Aviation Foundation, said in a statement. “His demonstrated leadership, not only at the Museum of Aviation Foundation but in Middle Georgia as a whole, shows that he is the absolute right person for this appointment, and we couldn’t be more proud.”

Congressman Doug Collins (R-Gainesville) introduced legislation to name the Clermont post office after Zack T. Addington, a marine who was killed in action in Vietnam.

Six University System of Georgia professors are suing over campus carry legislation.

The professors hope to overturn the controversial guidelines using a legal argument that the “campus carry” law usurps the University System of Georgia’s constitutional authority over its campuses. Their complaint was filed Monday in Fulton County Superior Court against Gov. Nathan Deal and Georgia Attorney Georgia Chris Carr.

The professors, who’ve been teaching at various University System of Georgia (USG) campuses between 16 and 40 years, believe guns in the classroom stifle discussion on contentious issues, will lead to more student suicides and could create a safety hazard if a firearm is accidentally discharged in areas with hazardous materials.

University of Georgia geography professor John Knox, who is described in the complaint as a gun owner, said guns on campus “make the learning environment less safe for everyone and negatively impact his educational mission.” Valdosta State professor Michael Noll fears “armed intimidation or gun violence from students who receive failing grades.” Noll has posted a “no weapons” sign on his faculty office door, according to the complaint. Aristotelis Santas, a Valdosta State professor, said he “will no longer promote discussion of hot-button issues in his classroom” and allows students to leave his class if they don’t feel safe.

The Georgia State Road and Tollway Authority received an award from the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association.

The International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association chose SRTA as the recipient of the Presidents Award for its Commuter Credits Pilot Program. The program is designed to offer drivers an alternative to driving by themselves on the interstate during peak traffic hours.

“SRTA is pleased to be recognized by our peers for our work on the pilot program,” SRTA executive director Chris Tomlinson said in a statement. “Results show us that commuters are willing to try new methods of transportation given the right incentive.

“We hope that transit agencies use our experience as a best practice to highlight the benefits of collaboration and cross promotion of services.”

State officials said the credits program was designed to get drivers to consider either riding transit systems such as Gwinnett County Transit or Xpress buses on I-85, shifting their driving schedules away from peak traffic times or participating in carpools.

The idea, at least in the transit option is to give riders toll lane credits for taking a buses rather than driving during peak hours.

State House District Four received two additional candidates for the November Special Election.

Kasey Carpenter, owner of the Oakwood Cafe and Cherokee Pizza and Brewing, and computer programmer Peter Pociask qualified Tuesday for the Nov. 7 special election for the District 4 seat in the state House of Representatives that became open when Bruce Broadrick stepped down for health reasons recently.

Carpenter unsuccessfully challenged Broadrick in the 2016 Republican primary.

Republican Party activist Beau Patton, who had previously announced plans to run for the District 4 seat next year, was the sole qualifier on Monday, according to the Secretary of State’s website.

The race is nonpartisan, but the candidates have the option of listing a party identification. Carpenter and Patton listed Republican. Pociask listed the Democratic Party.

Cobb County Commissioners adopted a $403 million dollar budget for FY 2018.

Chairman Mike Boyce’s $403.4 million budget for fiscal 2018 was approved by a 3-2 vote with Lisa Cupid and Bob Ott voting against.

“When you defund challenged populations, you are paying for it, whether or not you want to. And I’m very concerned about the fallout of not paying for or not continuing to pay for some of these services that impact the population,” Cupid said, but added that some residents in her district had shared concerns that the distribution of nonprofit funding was inequitable as their organizations of choice were not getting any county dollars.

Commissioner Bob Ott kept his comments on the matter brief, saying he did not see in Boyce’s budget a way to continue to fund operations without needing one-time funds.

“I just don’t see that in there. That’s all I really need to say,” he said, referring to the $20.8 million the county is using to balance the budget.

The Valdosta Police Department will hold public meetings to discuss a proposed curfew for youth.

The ordinance would make it where “juveniles from the age of 7 to 16 are prohibited from roaming the street from midnight to 5 a.m. unless they have a legitimate excuse to include being accompanied by a parent/legal guardian,” according to a statement from VPD.

It would also hold parents and legal guardians responsible for failing to properly supervise juveniles.

The ordinance is designed to prevent juveniles from being charged with serious crime, prevent serious injury to juveniles, help parents who may require assistance with supervision of their juvenile and reduce crime in the city at night, according to the VPD.

Dalton State College celebrated its 50th anniversary.

Gwinnett County Public Schools had higher SAT scores than the state average,

Gwinnett’s Class of 2017 received an average score of 1084 out of a possible 1600. That’s 24 points higher than the national average and 34 points higher than the state average.

The Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science and Technology scored highest on the SAT in Gwinnett with a 1315.

Gwinnett students scored an average of 545 on the evidence-based reading and writing score and 539 on the mathematics section. Possible scores in both section range from 200 to 800.

Muscogee County schools also posted higher than state average numbers.

The Muscogee County School District’s average total score on the SAT beat the state average for the first time (by 1 point) and the average of Georgia’s three other second-tier cities by more than 50 points – and is 9 points shy of the national average.

MCSD’s average total score is 1051, Georgia’s is 1050 and the nation’s is 1060, according to results for the graduating class of 2017 released Tuesday by the New York-based College Board, which administers the SAT college entrance exam.

The Columbus public schools in Muscogee County outperformed the school districts in Georgia’s three other second-tier cities: Bibb County (Macon) scored 909, Chatham County (Savannah) 978 and Richmond County (Augusta) 996.

Georgia Department of Revenue approved the tax digest for Muscogee County, which will send property tax bills today.

The Georgia Elections Board settled a complaint involving a 2014 Cobb County election.

[T]he State Election Board signed off on a consent order that publicly reprimands former Tybee Council Candidate Stephen Friedman and resolves all matters involving his 2015 candidacy for public office, along with his participation in an election in Cobb County, Ga., in 2014.

The election board also ordered Friedman to “cease and desist from further violations of the Election Code” and levied a civil penalty of $500.

The state board was first brought on to review Friedman’s candidacy and earlier voting habits in 2016, when Tybee Island City Councilman Monty Parks brought the case to its attention.

Originally at issue was whether Friedman made a false statement under oath when he qualified to run for Tybee City Council in September 2015. Tybee requires its candidates to have lived on the island for a full year before they’re eligible to run for municipal office, but eagle-eyed city residents discovered that Friedman had actually participated in another election in Marietta, Ga., one day short of a year before the 2015 general election.

During the hearing before the election board in Savannah last summer, Friedman described casting the ballot in Marietta as an oversight and stressed that he considered himself a resident of Tybee as of September 2014. That assurance, however, raised further questions about whether he intentionally deceived polling officials when he voted in Cobb County in 2014. After a long discussion of the issue, the election board voted last year to continue the investigation at hand.

Rincon City Council continued 20 years of rolling back the property tax millage rate entirely.

Bryan County has more registered voters than eligible residents, according to a lawsuit.

According to the [Public Interest Legal Foundation] registered voters in Bryan County for the 2016 Election equaled 101 percent of the adults in the county of voting age.

“During the 2016 Election, 24 states had bloated voter rolls,” PILF President and General Counsel J. Christian Adams said. “Voter fraud begins with corrupted voter rolls. Our nation’s voter rolls have records that cannot be distinguished between living or dead; citizen or alien; resident or relocated. We hear about possible cyber-attacks, but we aren’t doing enough to fix voter rolls that are certainly corrupt. The voter rolls are so bad in some states that election officials would have a hard time telling the difference between sabotage and negligence.”

After learning of the accusation Bryan County Election Supervisor Cindy Reynolds released a statement saying that the Bryan County Board of Elections is not aware of the data used by the PILF to make the claim. And, that in Georgia, voter rolls are maintained by the state through the Secretary of State – not local the elections boards.

“On July 28, 2017, the SOS purged our files, and removed 2,934 voters from our roll due to no activity for two General Election cycles. This is a regular process of the SOS provided by Georgia laws to ensure that our voting rolls are as accurate as possible. The SOS also uses the vital records to remove, on a regular basis, individuals who have passed away,” said Reynolds.

“The board takes its obligations very seriously and makes every effort to make sure that all citizens have their right to vote,” she added.

Warner Robins City Council candidates met in a forum last night.

Post 3 Councilman Keith Lauritsen and his challenger, Terri Murray, were the first to take the stage. They were followed by three of the four candidates for the open Post 1 seat, which is a citywide post. Those candidates were Eric Langston, Daron Lee and Jim Taylor. The no-show was Jeffery Walker, who called in earlier and said he couldn’t make it due to an illness.