The blog.

13
Apr

Adoptable Georgia Dogs for April 13, 2016

Kirby

Kirby (above, male) and Kyra (below, female) are 3.5 month old Plott Hound mix puppies who are available for adoption from Clover Run Rescue in Jefferson, GA. Both are friendly and love people. They weigh 20 pounds each and will be large dogs when fully grown.

If you are interested in Kira, you can meet her at adoptions which will be on Saturdays – 11:00a.m. – 5:00p.m. and Sundays – 12:00p.m. – 5:00p.m. PetSupermarket, Johns Creek 5805 State Bridge Road, Duluth, GA 30097. Please check the website www.cloverrunrescue.com first, to verify the place of the next adoptions.

Kyra

Snookie

Snookie is a 9-week old Dachshund and Chihuahua mix female puppy who is available for adoption from Clover Run Rescue in Jefferson, GA.

13
Apr

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for April 13, 2016

Thomas Jefferson was born on April 13, 1743 in what is now Albemarle County, Virginia. Jefferson served as Governor of Virginia, United States Secretary of State, delegate to the Second Continental Congress, and Third President of the United States. Jefferson is credited with writing the first draft of the Declaration of Independence.

Union troops at Fort Sumter in Charleston’s harbor surrendered on April 13, 1861.

On April 13, Jack Nicklaus won his fifth Masters in 1975 and his sixth in 1986; Tiger Woods won his first (1997); Seve Ballesteros won in 1980; Billy Caspers in 1970; Mike Weir in 2003; and Bubba Watson won in 2014.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Deal signed Senate Bill 255, passed in the wake of a decision by a federal judge holding Georgia’s garnishment statute unconstitutional.

From the AJC,

The new law is intended to fix a number of issues. The previous law didn’t require creditors to tell debtors that some money — such as Social Security benefits, welfare payments and workers’ compensation — is off-limits to garnishments.

From an earlier story by the Fulton County Daily Report,

“What you had before was a confusing law,” said Rep. Wendell Willard, R-Sandy Springs, a supporter of the bill. “This really restructures the whole thing.”

The bill was modified in the House Judiciary Committee to allow banks to hold garnished funds for five days. Prior law allowed banks to hold garnished funds for 20 days.

While the bill does not change any of the funds that can or cannot be garnished, it provides for standardized forms that make clear the exemptions to garnishment, in following with then-Senior Judge Marvin Shoob’s order.

Gov. Deal also spoke more about his veto of religious liberty legislation,

Deal has been showered with praise from business groups, gay rights advocates and others since the veto on March 28. But it infuriated religious conservatives and strained his ties with rank-and-file Republican lawmakers who overwhelmingly supported the legislation. In the interview, he said the criticism has taken a toll.

“Well, I think all of us want to be liked by everybody,” he said. “But when you come to issues like that, you can’t be liked by everybody because people have such divided opinions about something. My job as governor is to do what I think is best in the overall interest of the state of Georgia and its citizens as a whole. And that’s what I did.”

The two-term Republican is pondering another divisive debate as he considers whether to sign “campus carry” legislation that would allow permit holders to carry guns on the campuses of Georgia’s public colleges and universities.

Another veto could deepen the tension between the governor and GOP legislators, and Deal is torn over what to do after lawmakers defied his personal requests for changes that would exempt on-campus childcare centers and make other exceptions to the law.

“Admittedly, it’s another tough decision. Would I have preferred they not put that on my plate (without the changes)? Yes, I would have preferred that,” he said. “But they did. And I have to come, once again, to doing what I think is in the best interest of all the citizens of the state.”

House Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge) and his primary opponent Sam Snider both spoke at the Fannin County Chamber of Commerce.

Mr. Snider’s platform was more about personal beliefs and the political philosophy he would use to shape his decisions.  Speaker Ralston’s answers mainly focused on economic drivers and infrastructure development that he has been able to arrange for District 7.

Speaker Ralston said that he was running to be a representative for District 7 and did not emphasize that being Speaker brought greater access to political perks for the District.  From his examples, though, it was clear that if District 7 was no longer the home district of the Speaker of the House, projects and funds would slow to a trickle.  Some examples of home district projects Speaker Ralston cited was ending 30 years of state inaction on improving Hwy. 5 and bringing  a  top-tier public university education option to a central location in District 7 with University of North Georgia’s new campus in Blue Ridge.

Mr. Snider, on the other hand, made it clear that if elected, his focus would be lower taxes, reducing government size, less top-down regulations, and use of sales taxes rather than income tax to fund the state.  Mr. Snider did not comment on how he would bring Georgia tax dollars to work in District 7.

Speaker Ralston picked up on Mr. Snider’s brushstroke  comments about how he, Mr. Snider, would vote in office.  Speaker Ralston said that it is easy to use bumper sticker slogans, but a representative needs to look at innovative ways to solve problems.

Mr. Snider’s statements caused Speaker Ralston to justify his statewide actions on supporting a gas tax to increase Georgia Department of Transportation budget.  The tax is based on the volume of gas that a person buys, not the end total cost of the gas.   Speaker Ralston said, “People know that we don’t have a transportation fairy up there dropping money out of the sky.”  He continued that GDOT’s revenue streams had not been recalculated in 40 years and the lack of adequate funds were showing in poor road conditions all over the state.  Also, Speaker Ralston saw increasing GDOT’s budget as a way to move the state out of federal control over Georgia’s roads and bridges.

The Marietta Daily Journal takes a look at the lopsided fundraising reports in the Cobb Commission Chair race, where incumbent Tim Lee faces challengers Mike Boyce and Larry Savage.

Macon-Bibb County Mayor Robert Reichert took on challenger Lonzy Edwards in a forum.

The event lacked the same kind of fiery accusations of a recent news conference where Edwards accused Reichert and the county of using pension funds to help cover the general fund budget. Reichert and other county officials called that assertion patently false.

During Tuesday’s forum, Reichert said he wants to continue the progress that’s taken place in Macon, while Edwards said a new leader is needed to move a stagnant community forward.

“We have united the people,” Reichert said. “The consolidation was a physical structure, but people throughout Macon-Bibb recognize, realize and understand that we are in this boat together.”

Edwards, who served on the Bibb County Commission from 2007-2013, countered that he doesn’t think consolidation has led to more unity.

“We put the government together, but by no means brought the people together,” Edwards said. “Race relations is worse than it’s ever been.”

Georgia State Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens issued a consumer alert about a 25 percent rate hike by Allstate.

Hudgens warned policyholders that the 25 percent figure is only an average rate change for the entire state, and that many policyholders should be prepared to see a rate change as high as 58.3 percent.

“I am deeply concerned about this filing and the impact it could have on consumers,” Hudgens said. “Georgia law prohibits me from stopping or delaying this increase unless an actuarial examination proves the rate to be legally excessive.”

Hudgens directed Georgia department staff Monday to initiate a professional level examination of the Allstate filing to determine if the rate increase is defendable under state law. If the results of the examination show that the filing cannot adequately support the increase, he intends to take every measure allowed to him by law to protect policyholders.

Chatham County elections officials may ask legislators for changes in procedures to fill vacancies in local elections, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Now four months into what could be a record-breaking year for elections in Chatham County, the local elections board says it wants to have a chat with state legislators about reducing the burden of mandatory special elections to fill vacancies.

Since March, the Chatham County Board of Elections has administered three elections, and it is set to hold at least two more with the May 24 primaries and the Nov. 8 general election.

Throw in a runoff in July for the primaries and the county has tied its record of six elections in one year, Elections Supervisor Russell Bridges said Monday.

In addition, it’s possible for at least two more runoffs after the Nov. 8 general election — one for state and local and one for federal races — Bridges said, bringing the possible number of elections when all is said and done to eight.

During the past year, two elected officials have died in office, and in both cases, the law required a special election to fill the remainder of the term — despite what little time was left of it.

That’s a tremendous burden on local taxpayers and candidates, Heimes argued during the Board of Elections’ monthly meeting Monday, not to mention the headaches created for the local office last month when two elections were held simultaneously.

The AJC Political Insider reports on an improving financial picture for the Georgia Republican Party.

A flood of filing fees from candidates running in the May 24 primaries and some of the usual special-interest donors have helped the party pay off most of its debt, according to state disclosure reports filed this week.

At the end of 2015, the party reported having only $11,000 in the bank and $231,000 in debt. Three months later, on March 31, Republican officials reported almost no debt and about $170,000 in the bank.

The state Democratic Party, meanwhile, reported having $476,000 left on hand heading into the primary season, the first time it has listed more in state filings than the GOP on March 31 of an election year in at least a decade.

The Democrats were buoyed enough by their success to put out a press release announcing a field program helmed by a pair of veteran staffers from battleground states. It’s financed partly by a $100,000 donation from New York investor Philip Munger, a deep-pocketed backer of President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

Hope springs eternal, but so does delusion. Georgia Democrats, despite 2014 to the contrary, think they’ll be competitive this year and plan to spend even more Other People’s Money in 2016.

The Chairman of the Georgia Democratic Party made an emergency conference call Thursday to reveal that the polls may be turning in their favor. Richmond County Democratic Chair Lowell Greenbaum is confident. “These people giving money feel very secure that their polling shows that the Democrats can beat the Republicans in the state,” he says.

Georgia is typically a Red state with both state houses and the Governorship dominated by Republicans. But confident, liberal investors think they have a chance to change the tide. “They have given the state party an initial sum of about six figures. But the plan is to go up to seven figures,” says Greenbaum.

The Georgia State Ethics Commission shows that the Democrats have raised 300,000 more dollars than Republicans. Heavy investments by leadership and potentially favorable polling data has inspired a new energy in Georgia Dems that they haven’t had in a long time. “If we can see the polling which is coming out in a week or so that shows that the Democrats can win Georgia, we’re going to go out and win it.”

12
Apr

Adoptable Georgia Dogs for April 12, 2016

Slade Greenville

Slade is a medium-size, adult male Beagle who is available for adoption from Meriwether County Animal Shelter in Greenville, GA.

He is pretty shy, so we will need a little TLC, but he is finally walking on a leash, which is a big improvement! His adoption fee is only $50.00.

Georgia Manchester

Georgia is an female adult Shepherd mix who is available for adoption from Manchester Animal Control in Manchester, GA.

She was once on the euthanasia list, but a kind person came to her rescue and offered to pay for her heartworm treatment. She feels like a new girl now! She is almost done with her treatment and so ready to find a forever home. She is currently in a foster home and doing great. She is a very sweet girl.

Email: mistydunn10@gmail.com or call/text: 912-536-2565.

Roxy Manchester

Roxy is a 60-pound adult female who is listed a Rottweiler mix, but I think she may be more Coonhound mix – she is available for adoption from Manchester Animal Control in Manchester, GA. She is a sweet girl and is current on her vaccinations, as well as spayed.

12
Apr

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for April 12, 2016

On April 12, 1861, Confederates in Charleston, SC opened fire on Federal-held Fort Sumter opening the Civil War.

During the next 34 hours, 50 Confederate guns and mortars launched more than 4,000 rounds at the poorly supplied fort. On April 13, U.S. Major Robert Anderson surrendered the fort. Two days later, U.S. President Abraham Lincolnissued a proclamation calling for 75,000 volunteer soldiers to quell the Southern “insurrection.”

“The General” Locomotive was hijacked at Big Shanty (now Kennesaw), Georgia on April 12, 1862, leading to “The Great Locomotive Chase.” The locomotive is now housed in the Southern Museum in Kennesaw.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt died on April 12, 1945 in Warm Springs, Georgia.

On April 12, 1961, Russian Commienaut Yuri Gagarin became the first human being to go to outer space and the first to orbit earth.

The triumph of the Soviet space program in putting the first man into space was a great blow to the United States, which had scheduled its first space flight for May 1961. Moreover, Gagarin had orbited Earth, a feat that eluded the U.S. space program until February 1962, when astronaut John Glenn made three orbits in Friendship 7.

Martin Luther King, Jr. was arrested in Birmingham, Alabama on April 12, 1963; while there he would write his famed, “Letter from Birmingham Jail.”

The Braves played their first home game in Atlanta on April 12, 1966.

The Space Shuttle Columbia became the first reusable orbital vehicle when it launched on April 12, 1981.

The old clocktower in Gwinnett County’s Historic Courthouse includes graffiti from more than 100 years ago.

Some of the messages show graffiti, as an art form, is not a late 20th-century or early 21st-century concept. One artist, presumably nicknamed “Doc,” wrote his moniker as a large drawing, dated 1913.

“If that’s accurate, then that’s pretty neat to know that before there was no allowance of public access, that folks did have the freedom and felt like they could come up here and mark their spot (and say), ‘Hey I was here,’” Arant said. “No, when you look at train tracks and trains themselves, people are tagging I guess is what they call it now.

The messages cover a wide period of time. The earliest message is dated “August the 12th, 1908,” which is the year that the current clock tower was built. Although the staff at the courthouse tries to keep the door to the stairway locked so the public can’t get into the tower, sometimes the door is left open just long enough for someone to sneak in.

The most recent marking reads “DW 2016” in vivid purple ink. It’s a small marking, but it stands out as the only one that isn’t done in pencil or as a carving in the wall.

A World War II-era B-17 might be seen buzzing the beaches near Savannah, but fear not.

he Texas Raiders, a B-17G, was one of the last of the iconic bombers built. The plane was finished in May 1945, and it never saw the combat that claimed so many lives in Europe’s air war. But, says crew member Michael Hart, it’s about as close to authentic as a history buff can get. The plane was commissioned to the Navy and spent time flying up and down the East Coast looking for submarines. Then it was sold to private sector businesses, and it flew around the world for use in aerial photography and topography.

The B-17G Texas Raiders is at Sheltair at the Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport through Thursday. The hangar is located at 100 Eddie Jungemann Drive.

Tours — both on the ground and aerial — will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

Tours of the B-17 while it’s on the ground are $10 for adults, $5 for children and $20 for families.

Aerial tours, which last about 30 minutes, vary in price, and there’s only room for eight people per flight. Sitting in the bombardier seat costs $850, sitting in the navigator seat costs $700 and sitting in all other areas costs $475.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Deal has signed two more bills – one local bill for Waycross and Ware County, and a second that protects from disclsoure some documents related to economic development.

That last bill is actually the legislation that protects University of Georgia athletic recruiting records by delaying their required release.

College athletic departments in Georgia will now have 90 days — instead of three — to respond to almost all open-records requests under a new state law.

First-year University of Georgia football coach Kirby Smart told reporters at a recent news conference that he was asked during a visit to the Capitol this session about the differences between the university and other football programs.

Smart previously worked at the University of Alabama. That state’s open records law allows for a “reasonable time” for responses.

Rep. Earl Ehrhart, a Powder Springs Republican, proposed the change and said it would give schools more time to respond to records requests during peak recruiting months.

Georgia First Amendment Foundation executive director Hollie Manheimer called the change “an affront to the purpose of Georgia’s open records act.”

“The amendment is so broadly written, it makes secret contract terms, letters of complaint or inquiry from the NCAA, plans for the expenditure of university and athletic association funds, and even more,” Manheimer said. “No other public agency in Georgia is given 90 days to conduct its business in secret.”

State Senator William Ligon (R-Brunswick) wrote for the Wall Street Journal about the uproar from large companies against religious liberty legislation.

Simply look at the reaction to Georgia’s H.B. 757, a religious-freedom bill that my colleagues in the legislature and I voted to pass on March 16.

In 2014 and 2015, Georgia also attempted to pass RFRA, but then, as now, opponents claimed that these efforts would enable discrimination. Just when did the freedom to follow one’s religious beliefs in daily life become redefined as discrimination?

No matter. Disney and Marvel threatened to pull production of the “Avengers” film franchise from the Peach State, and the cable channel AMC vowed to take its “Walking Dead” series elsewhere. The NFL warned that it might drop Atlanta from consideration to host a Super Bowl. Dozens of Georgia companies urged Gov. Nathan Deal to veto the bill, which he did on March 28.

Why are businesses and sports leagues suddenly championing leftist ideologies that oppose not only religious liberty but even legislation that protects the safety of women and children in restrooms? They are systematically and deliberately misrepresenting these legislative efforts.

Too many business leaders are embracing a politically correct social agenda, trying to force every state and every citizen to walk in lockstep. The private economy would be foolish to reject America’s heritage of liberty, which has powered the greatest engine of economic success in history. And if corporations want the benefits of a business-friendly environment, with lower taxes and less regulation, they would do well to recognize who enacts such policies: people with center-right social values, not the hard left.

Senator Mike Crane (R-Coweta) has responded to criticism of his comments on no-knock warrants.

When asked about the controversy Friday, Crane said that, while his comments were probably “not the best-phrased thing I’ve ever said, I’ll never apologize for defending my home or anybody else’s right to defend their home.”

Crane said he is very much opposed to no-knock warrants, which he thinks are dangerous for law enforcement and dangerous for the public, as well as unconstitutional.

Crane said that he hasn’t caught much flack from the speech and the video. “I’ve gotten so many comments of support because people understand the underlying issue. They get that I may not have used the best phraseology, it may have been a ‘Trump’ moment. But at the end of the day, the question is are no-knock warrants good policy and practice?

“No-knock warrants are meant to protect officers. When you have information that someone could be armed or other evidence presented to a judge that we need to do it this way for security of everyone, that’s what it’s about,” [Coweta County Sheriff Mike] Yeager said.

Crane doesn’t think the no-knock warrants make things safer for law enforcement. “Is it worth putting law enforcement officers’ lives on the line to make sure drugs aren’t flushed down the toilet?” Crane asked. “I believe law enforcement has the tools and the manpower they need to safely apprehend people without kicking down doors in the middle of the night.”

Here’s the entire discussion – judge for yourself.

Snellville Mayor Tom Witts was greeted by a supportive crowd – pretty unusual for Snellville.

Mayor Tom Witts entered the council chambers to an ovation Monday night for his first meeting since news broke of an investigation targeting his finances.

The crowd, many of whom wore saved “Tom Witts for Mayor” T-shirts from the run-up to the November election, cheered and clapped eagerly.

Only last week, the news dashed Witts’ hopes of keeping Snellville controversy-free since he beat longtime rival Mayor Kelly Kautz, who had locked in power struggles with the council. Gwinnett County District Attorney Danny Porter has filed no charges but said he is trying to determine if Witts committed tax evasion or campaign fund misuse.

Now, in the council chambers, a broad smile crept across the mayor’s face. He waved softly.

“Thank you very much from the bottom of my heart,” he said. “Thank you.”

“Make no mistake,” Witts said, “I plan on remaining your mayor.”

Bernie Sanders supporters are taking to Facebook to target Democratic party Superdelegates, according to the Rome News-Tribune.

Rome City Commissioner Wendy Davis is a superdelegate to the Democratic National Convention, and she’s pledged her vote to Hillary Clinton.

But her name and contact information appears on a Facebook page set up by Bernie Sanders supporters, who have launched a campaign to urge superdelegates to switch their votes to their candidate. Davis said she isn’t concerned about being harassed, as she hasn’t received any phone calls or emails yet, but she is offended by the tactic.

“Superdelegates are free to vote any way they want,” Davis said.

At this point, Clinton has racked up 1,287 pledged delegates to Sanders’ 1,037, according to the Associated Press tally.

She also has commitments from 469 superdelegates to his 31.

Sanders’ campaign hasn’t employed a good strategy for going after superdelegates, Davis said. No one from Sanders’ campaign has even contacted her, asking for her vote.

The Hall County Board of education is considering teacher raises in the 3 percent neighborhood, according to the Gainesville Times.

11
Apr

Adoptable Georgia Dogs for April 11, 2016

Maui

Maui is a female Australian Shepherd & Pit Bull Terrier Mix puppy who is available for adoption from Madison Oglethorpe Animal Shelter in Danielsville, GA.

Panama

Panama is a male Australian Shepherd & Pit Bull Terrier Mix puppy who is available for adoption from Madison Oglethorpe Animal Shelter in Danielsville, GA.

Bermuda

Bermuda is a female Australian Shepherd & Pit Bull Terrier Mix puppy who is available for adoption from Madison Oglethorpe Animal Shelter in Danielsville, GA.

Bahama

Bahama is a male Australian Shepherd & Pit Bull Terrier Mix puppy who is available for adoption from Madison Oglethorpe Animal Shelter in Danielsville, GA.

11
Apr

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for April 11, 2016

On April 11, 1768, Benjamin Franklin was named Georgia’s agent “to represent, solicit, and transact the affairs of this province in Great Britain.” Arguably, this makes Benjamin Franklin the first American lobbyist.

Napoleon Bonaparte, Emperor of France, was exiled to Elba Island in the Mediterranean, on April 11, 1814

On April 11, 1853, John Archibald Campbell was appointed Justice of the United States Supreme Court by President Franklin Pierce. After graduating from the University of Georgia at 14, he attended West Point, where his fellow cadets included Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee. After the beginning of the Civil War, Campbell resigned from the Court and was appointed Assistant Secretary of War for the Confederacy by Confederate President Jefferson Davis.

The American Third Army liberated Buchenwald concentration camp in Germany on April 11, 1945. Among the survivors of Buchenwald was Elie Wiesel; in 1986, Wiesel won the Nobel Peace Prize.

Apollo 13 was launched on April 11, 1970.

The craft was launched on April 11, 1970, at 13:13 CST from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, but the lunar landing was aborted after an oxygen tank exploded two days later, crippling the Service Module (SM) upon which the Command Module (CM) depended. Despite great hardship caused by limited power, loss of cabin heat, shortage of potable water, and the critical need tojury-rig the carbon dioxide removal system, the crew returned safely to Earth on April 17.

Congratulations to the following winners of the Masters Tournament who donned the green jacket on April 11: Seve Ballesteros (2d – 1983), Jack Nicklaus (2d in 1965; 3d in 1966), Ray Floyd (1976), Nick Faldo (1996), Jose Maria Olazabal (2d – 1999), Phil Mickelson (1st -2004; 3d – 2010), and Claude Harmon (1948), the first Georgian to win the Masters.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Last week, charges of false imprisonment were dropped against Wright  McLeod, who is running for State Senate.

A special prosecutor looking into the case against McLeod says the state can not prove its case, so the charges are being dismissed. District Attorney Dennis Sanders says the facts show Jamison was free to leave at the time of the incident and there is insufficient evidence to convict Palowitch and McLeod.

Sylvia Cooper of the Augusta Chronicle took a closer look at the charges,

McLeod was put through the criminal justice wringer by former Augusta Warrior Project employee Janice Jamison who got fired, got mad and decided to hang McLeod out to dry.

But it all came out in the wash Thursday when Toombs Circuit District Attorney Dennis C. Sanders dismissed Jamison’s charge of false imprisonment against McLeod and Augusta Warrior Project Director Amy Palowitch.

Everyone involved agreed that neither McLeod nor Palowitch touched or restrained Jamison. And that day, Jamison did not tell the deputies that they’d kept her from leaving. And when they specifically asked whether she wanted a police report done, Jamison declined.

McLeod called the entire episode a “colossal waste of taxpayer dollars.”

“My wife is mad as hell,” he said. “I’m still a believer that truth prevails. I don’t think my children will ever get over it. If this could happen to me, it could happen to anybody, any small business owner. But at least I was prepared to handle the pressure. Most people would not be.”

Floyd County Republican Party Chair Layla Shipman has stepped down, according to Northwest Georgia News.

Andy Garner, vice chairman of the party, will serve as interim chairman for 30 days before a new chairman in elected.

“We greatly appreciate her service over the last three years,” Garner said.

The party’s committee will meet within the 30-day period and elect a new chairperson. The committee is made up of the executive board of the party and local elected Republican officials, Garner said.

Layla was a model of good leadership for a local party and they were blessed to have her. We wish her well in her next endeavors, and have no doubt she will continue to lead our party in some capacity.

Walter Jones writes for the Augusta Chronicle about the upcoming Georgia Republican Party State Convention in Augusta June 3-4, 2016.

The process began in Feb­ruary when large counties held precinct-level meetings to elect delegates to the March county conventions. The number of delegates at each level is determined by a formula based on the votes for the Republican nominee from there in the previous presidential election. ­

The county conventions pick delegates to the district and state conventions. Preference usually goes to reward past campaign volunteers, but in many counties there were enough delegate slots for anyone wanting to go. Some of the new faces might have been relegated to being non-voting alternates.

The 14 district conventions will be held April 16. The 12th District meeting will be in Douglas, three hours south of Augusta. Having to drive that far to arrive by 8 a.m. on a Saturday discourages some people from becoming delegates.

Each district elects three delegates to the national convention. Then at the state convention, the remaining 34 delegates are elected.

District 12 is hosting the state convention, District Chairman Michael Welsh said events will be planned for Friday and Saturday evenings and a brunch on Sunday.

“We’re trying to make ours more of a destination, get people to stick around and enjoy the city,” he said.

And Walter Jones again, in the Savannah Morning News, on the Georgia GOP Convention,

If Trump, the current leader in delegates, can’t win on the first ballot, then the question is how delegates will vote on subsequent ballots.

“We believe that seasoned Republicans are deserving of the delegate slots, and we believe that Ted Cruz will fare very well with those people,” said Scott Johnson, a former chairman of the Cobb County and 11th District committees and the state grassroots coordinator for the Cruz campaign.

“These are the diehards,” Johnson said. “They are committed. They’re going. They’ve spent a lot of their personal money to fly, stay in the expensive hotels, and they are committed to the task.”

Some old hands at politics dismiss the grumbling, like Michael Welsh, 12th District chairman.

“They are unhappy because they feel like they’re being cheated,” he said. “A lot of that is they just don’t understand the rules, but the rules have been out there a long time.”

Cruz’ Johnson says there have been Trump fans at the county conventions around the state, but he says they weren’t as organized.

“We have been clear on some things that are very important: making phone calls and turning people out to vote in the primaries,” he said. “The other thing we’ve been saying for months and months is you’ve got to attend your county and precinct meetings and your county convention in March. … We’ve been saying those all along because we’re seasoned, party-building Republicans.”

Clayton County will be awash in campaign signs from now until at least the May 24th Primary Elections, with more than 40 candidates on the ballot.

Some 40 people have qualified to run for county commission, district attorney, school board, sheriff and other local offices. It is the most candidates of any election season in the last decade and residents will have a chance to hear candidates’ views at several political forums in coming weeks. The May 24 primary essentially will be the main election for local candidates since no Republican chose to run for any local offices in Clayton.

“It’s going to be an exciting year,” said Pat Pullar, chairperson of the Clayton County Democratic Party and a political consultant who tracks southside politics. “People are paying more attention to what’s going on and who wants to be an elected official.”

A federal district judge struck down Georgia’s requirement that third party candidates seeking a slot on the presidential ballot collect signatures from 50,000 registered voters.

U.S. District Judge Richard Story’s March 17 order in the four-year-old case brought by Georgia’s Green Party and Constitution Party would significantly lower the qualifying threshold for third-party candidates seeking a place on this year’s presidential ballot.

Randy Evans, a Dentons partner in Atlanta who is also a member of the Republican National Committee’s rules committee, called Story’s order “particularly noteworthy” given that it “comes at a time when institutional powerbrokers are meeting in Washington, D.C., to discuss the creation of another party should Donald Trump become the GOP nominee.”

Atlanta attorney Doug Chalmers, who served as counsel to Mike Huckabee’s presidential campaign, concurred, calling the timing of Story’s order “extremely interesting given the discussion going on nationally among Republicans who are dissatisfied with Trump as the potential nominee.”

Story’s 80-page order, handed down Thursday, permanently bars Georgia’s secretary of state from making political organizations that want to place candidates on the statewide presidential ballot first collect signatures from 1 percent—or more than 50,000—of the state’s registered voters. Instead, Story set the bar for the 2016 presidential race at just 7,500 signatures.

The judge wrote that the 7,500-signature requirement is an interim measure that will expire when the Georgia General Assembly enacts a permanent—and constitutional—provision.

Georgia and Florida negotiators met in an 8-hour conference looking to settle a decades-old suit over water in the in the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin, (ACF) which includes Lake Lanier.

“The Governor’s office, the Attorney General’s office and Georgia’s Environmental Protection Division have participated in each of the phone calls and were present at the mediation,” the brief states.

A second in-person mediation session is scheduled for this month.

“In advance of that session, Georgia officials will continue to devote time and resources to developing and considering specific solutions that might allow the parties to resolve their dispute,” Georgia lawyers say in the filing.

Well-known Georgia Republican Harris Blackwood has written a column on the death of Merle Haggard that’s worth reading.

I met and spent a short time with Haggard in 1996. He was heading to a concert in Myrtle Beach, S.C., when Hurricane Fran decided to show up at the same time. His road manager called and asked if he could come a couple of days early to Hiawassee for a concert at the Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds. I gladly obliged.

Haggard asked if we had any fishing tackle and if we could get him a license. I went to town and accomplished both. I sat with him for a little while on the banks of Lake Chatuge. I don’t remember much about the fishing or the conversation, but I enjoyed the time.

The Gainesville Times covered a debate matching Congressman Doug Collins (R-9) and his four opponents in the May 24 Republican Primary.

On taxes, foreign policy, immigration and social issues, the five candidates on the May 24 ballot played to an audience in little need of convincing about the broad policy positions the party stands for.

The candidates generally agreed, for example, on a desire to implement a flat tax; the need to build a border wall with Mexico and increase deportations; and stricter vetting of immigrants and refugees entering the country, particularly Muslims.

It was in their personalities, however, where incumbent Doug Collins and challengers Paul Broun, Roger Fitzpatrick, Bernie Fontaine and Mike Scupin carved out their niche.

“I’ve never run from my record and never will,” Collins said by way of introduction.

Collins’ re-election message is centered as much on what he will do with another term as what he has done in office thus far.

Broun, a former congressman from Georgia’s 10th District, spared no opportunity to question Collins’ votes, often foregoing the microphone to deliver his critiques.

“I have a proven record of fighting for the people,” Broun said.

Collins, versed in Broun’s record, also went on the offensive, calling for facts and truth in the most heated moments of the debate.

The candidates sparred over who best represented the pro-life position before Fontaine took the opportunity to make peace among them all by saying that in-fighting was just what the Democrats wanted to see.

8
Apr

Adoptable Georgia Dogs for March 8, 2016

Gwinnett County police received five donated bulletproof vests for K9 officers.

Men and women who serve in the Gwinnett County Police Department units have been protected from dangerous criminals by bulletproof vests, but the unveiling of some new vests on Thursday was a little different.

These vests aren’t meant to be worn by mankind, but rather by Man’s Best Friend, including one named for the Greek god of love, Eros.

Eros got a break from busting bad guys on Thursday to model one of the new bulletproof dog vests donated to the police department by Project Paws Alive. The group has donated five vests, which cost $1,400 a piece, to the department in recent months. The vests were bought with money raised by Project Paws Alive.

“The vests are customized for each dog, and precise measurements had to be taken to ensure comfort and effectiveness,” police said in a statement. “Once the vests were made, they were embroidered with the K9’s name.”

Project Paws Alive donates similar products for dogs, including first aid field trauma kits, cooling vests, vehicle heat alarm pro systems, working dog protective boots and pet oxygen mask kits, to police department for use in their K9 units.

Gwinnett police said the group also donated 11 trauma kits, worth $350 apiece, to the K9 Unit.

I’d like to know if GaPundit readers would be interested in raising funds to donate a vest to a local police department in Georgia. I’ll start looking for a charity that will take donations directly and earmark them for a specific project if there is sufficient interest from our readers.

Dixie

Dixie is an 8-month old Staffordshire Terrier mix girl who is available for adoption from Catoosa Citizens for Animal Care in Ringgold, GA.

She is a playful pup who loves to run. Dixie loves to play with other dogs and is great with kids. Dixie is spayed, current on vaccincations, and heartworm negative. If you are interested in adopting Dixie, please email her foster mom at CivicSiChic17@aim.com.

Sugar

Sugar is a 7-year old female Border Collie mix who is available for adoption from Pet Friends in Chickamauga, GA.

Her foster writes:

Sugar is one of the best house dogs I have had. She is not destructive and is very calm in the house. You wouldn’t know she is 7 years old when you meet her. She is very active and shows no sign of age. The shelter where we pulled her told us she was 7 and we are not sure where they got their information. Sugar loves to be with people. She likes to stay where the people are where ever that may be. She gets along well with all the rescue dogs we have. When she first met them she was a little apprehensive, but there are been no arguments with any of them. She is afraid of thunder storms and trains. She will climb in your lab when she gets scared, but she calms really fast. If you are interested in giving this wonderful girl a forever home please fill out an application. She will be your best friend for life.

Pug Diddy

Pug Diddy is a 6-10 year old male Pug who is available for adoption from Pet Friends in Chickamauga, GA.

My story starts when these shelter people found me wandering the streets. You see, I had been there a long time living a rough life, but then my angel came along and decided I deserved better than that. So here we are with me, a 6-10 year old fella, looking for what they call a forever home.

I may not have been in the best shape, but I’m still pretty handsome if I do say so myself. When my foster human found me, I had a horrible ear and eye infection, along with some baldness from a flea allergy. She took me to this nice Lady called Mrs.Vet, and she said I have something called a Grade 1 heart murmur. Nothing to worry about, just something to keep an eye on and to let my future vet know about.

I love running around with toys in my mouth and being silly! I also like every dog I have met so far, and I LOVE going on car rides with my humans.

Gwinnett County Animal Control has been a great success story as they successfully reduced the euthanasia rate, now new management hopes to continue that record.

Facial recognition software to reunite lost dogs with their owners. Soothing music piped through kennel walls. School kids reading books to animals.

These are just a few of the ideas Curt Harrell and Cynthia Wiemann are hoping to implement as the new management team at the Gwinnett County animal shelter. They’ve been on the job about two weeks, after county officials decided to bring them on following the departure of Chip Moore, who left last year.

Harrell is serving as the animal welfare manager and brings 23 years of law enforcement experience at various agencies, as well as two master’s degrees. Wiemann is filling the new assistant manager position, with 16 years of knowledge and experience in animal welfare and enforcement.

“The whole makeup of animal control has changed greatly,” Wiemann said. “There’s a lot improvements. There’s a lot more emphasis put on adoptions and on releasing animals alive and really lowering the euthanasia rate.”

A low euthanasia rate is the “main goal,” she said.

And Harrell said the county is already doing far better than the national average of about 30 percent, with a local rate of 12 percent in 2015.

8
Apr

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for April 8, 2016

Hank Aaron hit home run number 715 on April 8, 1974 to become the all-time home run champion, a title he holds to this day.

Governor Zell Miller signed legislation proclaiming Gainesville, Georgia the Poultry Capital of the World on April 8, 1995.

The Square Dance became the official state folk dance on April 8, 1996, when Gov. Zell Miller signed legislation recognizing it.

On April 8, 2005, Eric Rudolph agreed to plead guilty to the fatal 1996 bombing at Atlanta’s Centennial Olympic Park.

The Masters Tournament was won on this date by Gene Sarazen (1935), Jack Burke, Jr. (1956), Nick Faldo (2nd win – 1990), Tiger Woods (2nd win – 2001), and former University of Georgia player Bubba Watson in 2012.

A local variation of the “no white before Easter” rule was proposed, which I can support. It holds that the wearing of white may commence in Augusta, Georgia, upon the opening of the Masters Golf Tournament, beginning with the practice rounds. This year, the Masters is after Easter, but often is begins before the holiday and on a number of occasions, the final round of the tournament has been held on Easter Sunday.

Erratum: It was 1995, not 1985, when Governor Zell Miller signed legislation designating the Peach as Georgia’s official state fruit.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

State Senator Mike Crane (R-Coweta) finds himself in a difficult position after comments he made regarding no-knock warrants.

Crane then said about those police raids: “You come to my house, kick down my door and I have an opportunity, I will shoot you dead. And every one of you should do the same.”

Crane made it clear he feels no-knock warrants are illegal in Georgia and an infringement of citizen’s rights.

He repeated what he said earlier about police conducting a raid at his house: “If somebody kicks down my door unannounced they will meet with resistance, I guarantee you.”

Randy Robertson of the Georgia Fraternal Order of Police took issue with the statement, writing on Facebook.

Wow. Promoting the murder of law-enforcement officers, never a good idea.

Later adding,

My issue with State Senator Mike Crane and his comments encouraging citizens to shoot law enforcement officers has nothing to do with politics. It has everything to do with my commitment and loyalty to the men and women who wear the badge, who put their lives on the line every day, and with whom I have served for over 30 years.

This is about the Fraternal Order of Police advocating and standing with Law Enforcement Officers and standing against those who wish harm on us. This is about ensuring that the members of our organization have all the information they need on Election Day so that they can choose leaders who support Law Enforcement.

Jim Pace, a competing candidate for the Republican nomination in the Third Congressional District issued a statement,

“Sen. Mike Crane crossed a red line when he threatened the Thin Blue Line that protects our families and our communities,” Pace said. “Officers often risk their lives daily taking on violent criminals. Our elected officials should thank them, not declare open season on them for carrying out the laws passed by those exact same career politicians. Words have consequences and intemperate words can have deadly consequences. It’s totally inappropriate that a state senator would double down on comments that it’s OK to shoot police officers carrying out the laws of this state.”

“I’d like for Sen. Crane to explain where in the 3rd District police are kicking in doors ‘at random,’” Pace said. “These are warrants issued by judges who studied strong evidence. At a time when liberals across the nation are attacking the honor of police and second-guessing their decisions in life-and-death scenarios, Sen. Crane has planted himself on the wrong side of this debate. His inflammatory remarks serves to heighten the tension law enforcement already faces, and I think his position should give voters pause.

“Law enforcement needs the ability to carry out these warrants to protect themselves – and the rest of us – from large-scale meth manufacturers to heavily armed criminal gangs to would-be terrorists making bombs. I stand with them, as do the vast majority of voters in the 3rd District.”

The AJC Political Insider writes that additional candidates qualified during the reopened qualifying period with the Georgia Republican Party.

In House District 3, the withdrawal of Republican incumbent Tom Weldon, R-Ringgold, initially left DeWayne Hill as the only candidate in the contest. There is no Democrat in the race. Hill remains in the race, and will face new challengers Zachary Hobbs, Jeremy Jones and Jeffery Holcomb, all of Ringgold.

In House District 52, 16-year Republican incumbent Joe Wilkinson, R-Sandy Springs, withdrew after facing unexpected opposition from former Sandy Springs city councilman Graham McDonald. With no Democrats in the race, McDonald will face new candidate Karen F. Beavor and original challenger Deborah Silcox, a local attorney and community activist who has already been endorsed by Wilkinson.

Georgia Democrats have collected $100k in out-of-state money to try to turn Georgia blue, according to the AJC Political Insider.

The Democratic Party of Georgia unveiled a new statewide organizing field program on Friday helmed by a pair of veterans from battleground states. Democratic operatives describe it as a first-of-its kind organizing effort to identify voters, recruit volunteers, rally them around base-pleasing issues and corral them into votes in November.

It’s financed partly by an initial $100,000 donation from New York investor Philip Munger, whose contribution was revealed Thursday in the party’s latest financial disclosure. Munger, the son of billionaire Berkshire Hathaway partner Charles Munger, is a substantial donor to Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton and has written four checks totaling $1 million to Virginia’s Democratic party.

Jeff Moody withdrew from the election for Bibb County Board of Education President, paving the way for incumbent Lester Miller’s reelection.

Haralson County Chief Magistrate Judge Brandon Heath faces a reelection challenge from Steve Stovall.

Candidates for Athens-Clarke County Commission met in a forum to discuss issues with voters.

Attorney General Sam Olens will not offer his opinion on whether Gov. Deal should sign legislation protecting the disclosure of information from University athletics programs under the Open Records Act.

In the waning hours of Georgia’s legislative session, lawmakers approved an amendment to the state’s Open Records Act that, if signed into law, would give college athletic programs 90 days to process requests for information.

Now, they have up to three days to respond to such requests.

While he was in Macon on Wednesday, Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens told The Telegraph that his office hasn’t weighed in on the bill and doesn’t plan to become involved in whether Gov. Nathan Deal signs it into law.

“I play a bigger role in potential bills that I think strongly need to be vetoed,” said Olens, the state’s chief law enforcement officer. “There’s enough bills that they pass each year that I have legal concerns about — equal protection, etcetera — that I need to use the political capital where it’s strictly in our lane.”

Making hay while the sun shines, Georgia’s economic development officials are treating prospective companies to a “Red Carpet Tour,” complete with a stop at the Masters golf tournament in Augusta.

Industry observers say recruiters are no doubt emphasizing Georgia’s newly burnished reputation for tolerance at every turn, even though a new “religious liberty” bill is likely to come up in Georgia next year.

They may even use it to try to lure payments technology firm PayPal, which announced it was no longer planning a 400-person operations center in Charlotte.

“Timing is everything in economic development,” said John Boyd, a site selection expert at The Boyd Company in New Jersey. “The timing is opportune for those states that were going to be bridesmaids but could re-enter the fray.”

Boyd said Deal “dodged a bullet” by vetoing the Georgia bill.

Clarkston Mayor Ted Terry is proposing treating marijuana possession “like a traffic ticket” with a $5 fine.

Gainesville will postpone discussion of a “rain tax” to later in the year in order to concentrate on the city budget first.

First Lady Michelle Obama visited Burke County Middle School in Waynesboro, Georgia yesterday.

Georgia Department of Transportation is actively seeking small businesses, as well as women- and minority-owned businesses as partners for maintenance contracts.

Courts appear to be failing to report felony convictions of concealed carry permit-holders, allowing some to continue to hold permits despite losing the right when convicted.

7
Apr

Linda Clary Umberger running for Republican National Committeewoman

Dawsonville, GA – Former Dawson County Republican Party Chair Linda Clary Umberger announced her candidacy for Republican National Committeewoman, which will be elected at the 2016 Georgia Republican State Convention in Augusta, Georgia on June 3-4. Current GOP Committeewoman Linda Herren is term limited after serving in the role of 12 years.

Umberger is a veteran of Republican politics having served in the Reagan Administration in the Office of Private Sector Initiatives and has been active in all levels grassroots politics serving as Dawson County Republican Party Chairwoman; a Georgia GOP state committee member; third vice-Chair of the Georgia Federation of Republican Women; and a founding member and past president of of the Foothills Republican Women.   In 2014 Linda was tasked by National GOP Co-Chairman Sharon Day to spearhead the GOP’s 14 in ’14 Initiative to drive female voter turnout in the midterm election. Most recently, Linda worked in the field as a staffer and Congressional District and Regional Field Director in Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina for Marco Rubio for President and CARLY (Fiorina) for America PAC.

“Republican values of personal responsibility, respect for the Constitution, sanctity of life and limited government are at risk if we do not keep working with an eye not just on the next election, but also on the next generation of leadership,” said Umberger. “It is important that our next Committeewoman is a tested leader who can continue to amplify Georgia’s voice and espouse Georgia values at the national level. Outgoing Committeewoman Linda Herren has built a tremendous foundation for our state and I look forward to continuing her great work.”

“I recognize that I am coming late to this race, but I am confident that I will be able to tap my many friends and colleagues in the Republican party to demonstrate – not just describe, but demonstrate – the kind of leadership Georgia needs on the RNC,” said Umberger.

7
Apr

Adoptable Georgia Dogs for April 7, 2016

Julip

Julip is a female Pit Bull and Labrador Retriever mix puppy who is available for adoption from Athens Area Humane Society in Athens, GA.

Mimosa

Mimosa is a female Pit Bull and Labrador Retriever mix puppy who is available for adoption from Athens Area Humane Society in Athens, GA.

Mojito

Mojito is a female Pit Bull and Labrador Retriever mix puppy who is available for adoption from Athens Area Humane Society in Athens, GA.