The blog.

7
Apr

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for April 7, 2016

On April 7, 1776, the United States warship Lexington captured a British warship, HMS Edward, for the first time.

The_Lexington_-_NARA_-_513013_628

On April 7, 1798, President John Adams signed legislation authorizing negotiations between three representatives of Georgia and three Presidential appointees over Georgia’s claim to land west of what is now the Georgia-Alabama state lines. Georgia would continue to claim most of what is currently Alabama and Mississippi until 1802.

Map by Carl Vinson Institute of Government at UGA

Map by Carl Vinson Institute of Government at UGA.

Georgia Map 1795

Above: a 1795 map showing Georgia extending west to Louisiana. “These Parts are little known.”

On April 7, 1995, Governor Zell Miller signed legislation recognizing the peach as the official state fruit of Georgia.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

The Marietta Daily Journal reminds us that the grace period for March 31 campaign contribution disclosure reports ends today.

The deadline for filing campaign contribution disclosure reports for these state and local candidates was March 31, but Georgia has a grace period of five business days before late fees are assessed — a period that ends April 7.

These disclosure reports include all campaign contributions and expenditures for the period covered by the report — in this case, it would include all campaign finances up to and including March 30, according to Janine Eveler, director of the Cobb County Board of Elections and Registration.

“Everything that they earn or spend up until March 31 is reported on that filing,” Eveler said. “They have to wait until that day to actually file it because if they file it early, it won’t include March 31. … It’s actually the 30th because they can file it on the 31st. That’s the first day they’re allowed to file it.”

“If they were on the ball, they would have it ready to go (on March 31), and then if something came in at the last minute, they would just set it in there. But a lot of them have other people doing it, they don’t necessarily do that. … The grace period means that they’re allowed to wait until (April) 7th, and they aren’t fined or anything. It’s not considered late until after the grace period,” Eveler said.

Regardless of when a candidate filed an intent to run for office, they are required to set up a separate account for the campaign, Ritter added.

“You can either have a campaign committee that has the account or you can just do a separate accounting with a separate account, but you do have to have a separate bank account for your campaign from your own personal finances. What the CCDR is going to basically show is the ins and outs on that account.”

It’s worth mentioning that many candidates and their staff believe that holding off reporting until the end of the grace period confers a small strategic advantage.

Vicki Willard Thanks

Yesterday, Vicki Willard announced that she was exiting the race for Republican National Committeewoman.

There are few challenges in life greater than the job of taking care of an elderly parent. Very recently my mother moved in with my husband and me leaving us faced with the 24/7 care of her fragile health and well-being. When I started this campaign for National Committeewoman, my life was settled and my time was easily devoted to most things political. Today, that is not the case.

I have, therefore, decided it is necessary to withdraw from the race and devote my full time and energy to caring for my family. At no time would I want to balance the job of National Committeewoman with the job of being a caregiver to my mother, with one or the other necessarily coming up short.

This was an extremely difficult decision and I want to thank the many, many people who supported me, who considered voting for me and who actively helped with the campaign. I appreciate you and all you did for me. I am truly blessed.

Later in the day, Linda Clary Umberger announced her entry into the election for Republican National Committeewoman.

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.

Ginger Howard spoke to the North Metro Republican Women’s Club at the same meeting Vicki Willard announced her withdrawal.

Over the last several years, we all have seen our fair share of leaders in the Republican party…there have been some strong ones, and those who failed to lead. History has taught us much about what truly strong leadership looks like.

I have spent time reflecting on the kind of leader and Committeewoman I want to be for you, for our state, and for our nation. And the model of the committeewoman I want to be is drawn from:

  • The legacy of great leaders from our past — that I admired from both near and far — many of whom I had the opportunity to work with on campaign trails.
  • My own personal experience in business, politics, and life.

Considering how my personal experiences have equipped me to lead as committeewoman, I am aware of the desperate need we have for UNITY in our country. Reagan, Bush, and Perry were all amazing unifiers, but I believe that given the horrifically divisive nature of the current presidential campaign, the need for unity in our PARTY and our NATION has never been greater.

I believe these experiences of being a small business owner, being involved in politics, and working with young women, have taught me invaluable lessons that I’d like to transfer to the role of being Georgia’s Republican National Committeewoman…to help bring unity back to our party and nation.

The City of Sandy Springs struck a blow for freedom alcohol, passing an ordinance to allow breweries to sell beer-to-go in refillable growlers with a capacity of 12 to 68 ounces.

Also striking a blow for freedom is the City of Demorest, Georgia in Habersham County, which will allow municipal employees to carry guns at work.

Previously, the personnel policy prohibited employees from the same concealed carry afforded to any other citizen under the Safe Carry Protection Act passed in 2014.

“Embedded in that lengthy piece of legislation is the right for individuals who hold a concealed weapon permit to be able to carry that weapon in a government facility as long as ingress is not monitored,” said Mayor Rick Austin. “That would include every building that we have in the City of Demorest.

“However, our personnel policies prevent any employee from carrying in a government building, so in effect our personnel policies were keeping our employees from observing the same rights that other individuals in the state of Georgia have,” Austin said. “It creates a gun-free zone, and it’s just something that we needed to rectify. I’m proud that we are moving forward. We have many stipulations.”

Police Chief Robin Krockum, who said he supports the policy change, will determine whether each employee is proficient enough with a weapon to carry.

Austin said the policy change is in keeping with the equal protection portion of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, and with the Second Amendment.

“There is no cost to the city, but it certainly enables our employees to exercise their Second Amendment rights, as guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States,” Austin said. “It’s something that I feel passionate about.”

There is a list of requirements for city employees wishing to pack heat, and it looks like a reasonable, well-thought out response to a conflict in state laws.

Hall County is preparing for high turnout in the May 24, 2016 Primary Elections and Nonpartisan Judicial Elections, according to the Gainesville Times.

Absentee ballots will be mailed at the end of this week and can be requested until May 20.

Voters can request a Republican, Democratic or non-partisan ballot.

Voter registration deadline is April 26. Nearly 1,800 voter registration applications have recently been received (which includes new voters, changes of address, etc.) while 22 have been flagged for removal (felonies, other prohibitions).

Advance voting begins May 2 and ends May 20 (Monday through Friday each week) at the Hall County Government Center, 2875 Browns Bridge Road in Gainesville.

Early voting will also be held Saturday, May 14 at three locations: Hall County Government Center; North Hall Community Center, 4175 Nopone Road, Gainesville; and Spout Springs Library, 6488 Spout Springs Road, Flowery Branch.

A second Saturday with a fourth location (the East Hall Community Center) may be added in the November general election.

Voters in Peachtree Corners City Council Post 2 will elect a new member on May 24th.

City officials said Eric Christ and Stephen Peet will appear on the May 24 special election ballot. Christ, 48, has lived in the area that makes up Post 2, which was created along with the city in 2012, for 17 years and is a business executive who serves on city’s Zoning Board of Appeals. Peet, 60, has lived in the area that makes up the Post 2 district for 27 years.

Lowe left the council after he qualified last month to run for the open state House of Representatives District 95 seat that is being vacated by retiring Rep. Tom Rice.

Voting in the special election will be held at Peachtree Corners City Hall and the deadline to register to vote in it is April 26.

Eric Christ previously ran for State Senate as a Democrat against Republican Fran Millar (Dunwoody) in 2010.

Fayette County Republicans will hold a series of forums to showcase the candidates for various offices.

Due to the large number of people running on Republican tickets, the Fayette County Republican Party has six events featuring different races planned. The Republican forums will be held at 7 p.m. the offices of the Fayette County Republican Party, located at 174 North Glynn Street in Fayetteville. For more information, visit www.myfayettegop.org.

The Fayette Democratic Committee will have the Meet the Democratic Candidates event during its monthly “Pancakes and Politics” meeting on April 9 at the IHOP restaurant located at 705 North Jeff Davis Drive in Fayetteville. For more information, visit www.fayettedems.org.

The wealth of forums to be held at the Fayette Republican Party headquarters will begin on April 12 with candidates for the District 72 House seat. Candidates include attorney James Clifton, Realtor Josh Bonner and attorney Lisa Inagawa.

Tybee Island City Council tried twice and failed to pass a ban on outdoor drinking during the month of April, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Congressman Tom Price (R-6) will speak on healthcare economics and policy at Berry College.

Congressman Tom Price, M.D., will speak on the “Issues of Healthcare Economics and Policy in the U.S.” at 7 p.m. Monday (April 11) in the Krannert Ballroom at Berry College.

“It is a huge honor to host Dr. Price at Berry,” said Dr. Brad Bushnell, a member of the Berry College Board of Trustees and Chairman of Orthopedic Surgery at the Harbin Clinic. “Tom is a wonderful role model at a time when the world of national politics seems to have gone crazy. He is a voice of reason and wisdom, and especially in the area of health policy – because unlike many of our elected officials, he has actually worked in the front-line trenches of health care for over half of his life. I can think of no one better to help us kick off our new annual symposium at Berry, and I know that his remarks will help us all better understand the complicated issue of health policy.”

A candidate for District Attorney in Floyd County faces an administrative hearing over property tax payments that could result in his being removed from the May 24 ballot.

The Georgia Office of Administrative State Hearings will meet in Atlanta next week to consider a challenge to Democrat Jeremy Salter’s eligibility to run for the district attorney seat in Floyd County.

At issue is the affidavit qualifying candidates were required to sign that states they are “not a defaulter of any federal, state, county, municipal or school system taxes.”

A complaint filed with the state by local financial adviser James P. Orr alleges that Salter signed the affidavit falsely because Floyd County had taken out three tax FIFAs against him.

Salter denied defaulting, saying his taxes are now paid in full.

“When I initially qualified to run for the position of District Attorney it was my truthful belief I was not a ‘tax defaulter’ and such is still my belief today,” Salter said Wed­nesday in an emailed response to the Rome News-Tribune.

Congressman Paul Broun’s former Chief of Staff has been indicted on charges relating to Broun’s Senate campaign in 2014, according to the AJC Political Insider.

The Department of Justice on Wednesday indicted the former chief of staff to then-U.S. Rep. Paul Broun in connection with misusing taxpayer money to finance campaign activities and obstructing a congressional investigation into the matter.

The eight-count indictment charges David Bowser, Broun’s longtime top staffer, with one count of obstruction of proceedings, one count theft of government property, one count of concealment of material facts and five counts of making false statements.

Bowser’s arraignment and initial appearance have yet to be scheduled. The Justice Department said the FBI is investigating the case.

The case has marked the first time someone has been charged with lying to the Office of Congressional Ethics, a quasi-independent body that refers cases to the member-run U.S. House Ethics Committee.

Broun said he is “disappointed” about the indictment and added that he is “not aware of any ethical violations by my staff at any time.”

Our friend, Don Cole, writes about the opening of a Southwest Georgia Republican Party headquarters in Albany.

Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black came to Albany [Monday].  He spoke at the Rotary Club and then came to the Southwest Georgia Regional Headquarters for the Georgia Republican Party. Dougherty County GOP Chair Vicki Barnhill and Tammy McCrary organized the event with the help of many volunteers.

6
Apr

Vicki Willard withdraws from campaign for Republican National Committeewoman

A statement from Vicki Willard:

VICKI WILLARD WITHDRAWS FROM COMMITTEEWOMAN RACE

There are few challenges in life greater than the job of taking care of an elderly parent. Very recently my mother moved in with my husband and me leaving us faced with the 24/7 care of her fragile health and well-being. When I started this campaign for National Committeewoman, my life was settled and my time was easily devoted to most things political. Today, that is not the case.

I have, therefore, decided it is necessary to withdraw from the race and devote my full time and energy to caring for my family. At no time would I want to balance the job of National Committeewoman with the job of being a caregiver to my mother, with one or the other necessarily coming up short.

This was an extremely difficult decision and I want to thank the many, many people who supported me, who considered voting for me and who actively helped with the campaign. I appreciate you and all you did for me. I am truly blessed.

6
Apr

Adoptable Georgia Dogs for April 6, 2016

Johnnie

Johnnie is a medium-sized adult male Pit Bull Terrier mix who is available for adoption from Fulton County Animal Services in Atlanta, GA. All month long, Fulton Animal Services offers discounted $25 adoption for all dogs over 25 pounds or cats. You can also take Johnnie or any of the other dogs at Fulton Animal Services out in their “Dog for the Day” program.

Tyler

Tyler is an adult Australian Shepherd and Labrador Retriever mix male who is available for adoption from STARS Save The Animals Rescue Society of Georgia Statesboro, GA.

Tyler is a very handsome young man. He is a very gentle and loving dog and good with other dogs. A bit shy around people he doesn’t know.

Billy

Billy is an adult male Dachshund mix who is available for adoption from Atlanta Pet Rescue & Adoption Inc. in Smyrna, GA.

Billy is a tenderhearted little guy looking for true love. He may be a little reserved and timid at first, but give him a few treats and he will look at you like you hung the moon! Billy walks very well on leash – he will follow your lead even if you walk past something new and scary. Billy is great with other dogs and is learning how to play with toys. His best skill by far, however, is his ability to snuggle into your lap and take a snooze!
Henry

Henry is a young male Coonhound mix who is available for adoption from Animal Ark in Columbus, GA.

Henry is a white and tan speckled Coonhound mix with one partially blue eye that’s all nose. Sniffing here, sniffing there, sniffing everywhere! Henry’s a guy that needs a job. Need help around the yard? Need someone to chase off the squirrels? Or maybe you just need a good hiking buddy. If so, Henry is your guy! And after a day’s work, he’s totally up for a good snuggle session.

Harrison Jones

Harrison Q. Jones is an adult male Labrador Retriever and Rhodesian Ridgeback mix who is available for adoption from Laskey’s Lucky Ones & Volunteers (LLOV) East Point, GA.

Harrison is a big handsome boy! He loves to go on walks. He lives with an 8 year old doggy foster sister, and loves to play with doggy friends outside. He is very good in the car and likes to go for rides. In the house, Harrison is quiet and mild mannered. He is a complete couch potato. This 3 y.o. love bug has learned commands as well as room and yard boundaries. He has been crate trained, but gets anxious when left alone for too long. Harrison wants nothing more then to be your lap dog!

It’s not a “perp walk,” but a “pork walk.”

Kudos to Peach County Sheriff’s Deputy Jason Spielman who grabbed a leash, put it on a pig and walked the porcine wanderer back home.

As for the pig, a woman called 911 shortly before 6 p.m. Sunday about finding it in her backyard on Gracewood Road, a dirt road off not too far from U.S. 341.

“I’m thinking it’s a wild hog, like one of these feral hogs,” Spielman said. “And I’m thinking, ‘Oh man, I gotta deal with this,’ because those things are nasty.”

But Spielman instead found a friendly domestic pig that took a shine to him.

When the pig started to walk up the road, Spielman decided to walk with him. The deputy did not want the pig to get struck by a vehicle. He used a walking stick to keep the pig near the side of the road.

The pig, a family pet, had escaped from its pen and wandered away from its Norwood Springs Road home.

“Something just struck me as strange because he didn’t act like a farm animal,” said Spielman, who was glad he took the time to befriend the pig.

The deputy named the pig “Pork Chop” and posted photos on his Facebook page.

6
Apr

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for April 6, 2016

On April 6, 1776, the Continental Congress announced that all ports in America would be open to trade with other countries not ruled by the British. The action was taken several months after Britain passed the American Prohibitory Act which forbade trade with the colonies and was intended to punish colonists for the growing rebellion.

John Tyler was sworn in as the tenth President of the United States on April 6, 1841.

Tyler was elected as William Harrison’s vice president earlier in 1841 and was suddenly thrust into the role of president when Harrison died one month into office. He was the first vice president to immediately assume the role of president after a sitting president’s untimely exit and set the precedent for succession thereafter.

The first modern Olympic Games opened in Athens, Greece on April 6, 1896.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

If you think there’s a chance you might be out of town on May 24th or if you’d simply prefer to vote from the comfort of your own couch, you can apply for an absentee mail-in ballot.

Today is the first day absentee ballots can be mailed to Georgia voters for the General Primary and Nonpartisan Election set for May 24. To request an absentee ballot, voters can submit a written application to their local county registrar or log onto the office’s “My Voter Page (MVP)” to print the application and mail the completed form to their registrar.

“Through MVP, requesting an absentee ballot has never been easier in Georgia,” stated Secretary of State Brian Kemp. “I was proud to bring this new innovation to our state along with other helpful web-based platforms, such as the online voter registration system and the ‘GA Votes’ smartphone app. Georgia is a national leader in utilizing technologies to educate citizens about elections, voting, and the importance of participation in the electoral process for all levels of government.”

If you live in Sandy Springs City Council District Three and want to vote by mail, the procedure is different:

The Sandy Springs Special Election will not appear on the absentee ballot you get from Fulton County.

In order to vote by mail-in absentee ballot for the Special Election for City Council, you must request a City Council ballot directly from the city.

Here is the information on requesting a mail-in ballot for this election:

If you live in District 3 within the City of Sandy Springs, you can request an absentee ballot for the City’s Special-Called Election to fill the District 3 City Council seat by downloading the application and either:

  • Hand deliver to the City Clerk at Sandy Springs City Hall, 7840 Roswell Road, Building 500, Sandy Springs, Georgia 30350, or
  • Mail to the City Clerk at Sandy Springs City Hall, 7840 Roswell Road, Building 500, Sandy Springs, Georgia 30350, or
  • Email to the City Clerk at vote@sandyspringsga.gov, or
  • Fax to the City Clerk at 770.206.1420

If you also want a regular absentee ballot for the state and Fulton County offices, you must request that ballot separately also.

Qualifying reopens today and tomorrow for Republicans considering running for State House in District 3 (Upper left-hand corner around Ringgold) or District 52 (Sandy Springs). From the Georgia Republican Party,

Due to the withdrawal of the incumbent in State House District 52, the Georgia Republican Party will reopen qualifying for the May 24, 2016 Republican Primary for State House District 03 on Wednesday, April 6, 2016 and Thursday, April 7, 2016, beginning at 9:00 a.m. and ending at 5:00 p.m. on each day.

Qualifying shall take place at the Georgia Republican Party Headquarters, 3110 Maple Drive, Suite 150, Atlanta, GA 30305, (404) 257-5559. Candidates must present a picture ID at the time of qualifying. The qualifying fee is $400.00.

In South Georgia’s House District 151, Democrat James Williams may be bounced off the ballot as the only challenger against Republican incumbent Gerald Greene.

[T]he Georgia Secretary of State’s Office — which keeps the official records used by political parties to qualify candidates — says its records were wrong about which district Williams lives in, likely disqualifying him from the race.

The mix-up apparently happened four years ago when the state last re-drew district lines in a statewide process known as redistricting, including around House District 151 which includes part of Dougherty County as well as all of Terrell, Calhoun, Early, Randolph, Webster, Stewart, Quitman and Clay counties.

State officials this week blamed local officials for the problem.

“During re-districting, Dougherty County elections officials incorrectly designated Mr. Williams as living in House District 151,” Georgia Secretary of State spokeswoman Candice Broce said in an email. “Mr. Williams lives in House District 154. When alerted to their error, county officials corrected their mistake.”

Lester Tate has resigned as Chair of the Georgia Judicial Qualifications Commission, citing legislative actions to change the JQC’s composition.

Tate, a Cartersville attorney, quit because he says legislative leaders are trying to take over the commission, in order to protect their friends on the bench.

“The bottom line is, judicial ethics and politics simply do not mix,” Tate said in an interview Tuesday with 11Alive News.  “And we have been subject to an onslaught of political interference and meddling” from all three branches of Georgia government, especially the legislature. “A large cloud of political pollution has gathered over the Judicial Qualifications Commission.”

The state constitution set up the Judicial Qualifications Commission decades ago as an independent commission responsible for 1) investigating complaints of judicial misconduct against judges — and anyone can file a complaint with the JQC — and 2) removing judges from office whenever the accusations are confirmed.

The legislature decided earlier this year to put the question to the voters in November — to abolish the independent Judicial Qualifications Commission.  The legislature would then create a new commission with members appointed by legislative leaders.

State Senator Josh McKoon has endorsed his colleague, Mike Crane, in the primary election for the Third Congressional District seat being vacated by Rep. Lynn Westmoreland.

“I have had the honor of serving with Mike in the Georgia State Senate for the past 5 years. In that time Mike has been a friend, a brother in arms, and a true champion for the cause of conservatism,” said McKoon.

“It is imperative that we send a rock solid conservative to Washington. Someone who will hold fast to the principles we hold dear, who will be a champion for small government, lower taxes and less regulation. Someone who will be a champion for life and religious freedom; someone who can stand up to the pressure of the Washington cartel. Mike Crane is that man. I can personally attest to Mike’s character, his conviction, and his courage. He has stood up to the political class in Atlanta, and he will do the same in Washington,” said McKoon.

Dick Yarbrough has an interesting perspective on the religious liberty fight that took place rages on.

In a democracy, there are only two ways a political decision can be made: The application of pressure or the lack thereof. In other words, you either apply pressure on those who are making the decision or you keep the pressure off so they can come to the conclusion you desire.

It was obvious that in the case of the Religious Freedom bill, there was more pressure put on the governor to veto the bill than there was pressure to sign it. Most major companies in the state, along with chambers of commerce, the entertainment industry, the Atlanta professional sports franchises, the National Football League and a number of ministers strongly opposed the religious freedom bill and were vocal in predicting dire consequences if it was signed by the governor.

Having spent most of my life in a large corporation, I can tell you that the last thing a company wants is controversy. Management doesn’t like it and, most importantly, shareholders don’t like it. Big companies are an easy target for special interest groups and it was obvious that many of the corporations had heard from those opposed to the bill and not as many who were in favor.

That leads me to communications. The opponents of the bill were clear and succinct in stating the reasons why the bill should be defeated and if it passed the Legislature, why it should be vetoed.

In my opinion, proponents of the religious freedom bill did a poor job of communicating their case. They stayed on the defensive through much of the debate and seemed unable to clearly articulate the need for such a law.

Proponents of the religious freedom effort say they will be back at it again next session. If they hope to be successful, they need to do a better job than they did this session. Get an articulate spokesperson (someone like Ed Setzler, R-Cobb.) Get some clear and concise messages. Have some tangible examples to cite as to why the legislation is needed. Let businesses know that they will pay the price for their opposition. Threaten to boycott them and their services. Broaden your base of support. Make friends and allies. Talk to civic clubs. PTAs. Garden clubs. Run ads advocating the need for the bill.

I don’t agree with everything Dick writes in that column, but it’s not a requirement that I do in order to recognize some well-written points.

I can’t help but think that Jade Morey’s presence in the greater Warner Robins area is at least partly responsible for the incredibly patriotic new paint job on a Houston County water tower.

Macon-Bibb County could spend more than $800,000 for a cost-of-living adjustment for retirees on the county pension plan.

In Columbus and Muscogee County, an effort is underway to assess the impact of Fort Benning on the surrounding area.

A study is underway to determine the impact of the U.S. Army’s cuts at Fort Benning on the city and surrounding region, with a couple of “town hall” gatherings scheduled this week to solicit feedback from the general public.

The meetings on Thursday and Friday, which will take place at the Columbus Convention and Trade Center, are part of an effort by the Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce and the Valley Partnership Joint Development Authority to ultimately develop a plan for dealing with the downsizing of the military here.

“We really want the people to come out,” Gary Jones, the chamber’s executive vice president of military affairs, said of the two meetings that will include an update from Matrix Design Group, a Denver-based consulting firm with offices across the United States.

The crux of the dilemma facing Columbus and the surrounding communities is the U.S. Army’s reduction of its troop strength from 490,000 to 450,000 due to federal budget cuts. Several brigades are being inactivated, including the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Benning.

The town hall meetings will be held 6-8 p.m. Thursday and 10 a.m.-noon Friday at the Convention and Trade Center, inside Room 104. The overall effort has been dubbed, “Community Impacts Associated with Army Personnel Reductions.” For more information, visit www.fortbenningciar.com.

DeKalb County

Yesterday around 9 AM, Emory University announced it had purchased some 60 acres and 400,000 square feet of office space in Executive Park in the City of Brookhaven.

Brookhaven Mayor John Ernst said, “We are pleased that Emory has acquired Executive Park. We expect Emory’s presence to be a catalyst for revitalization of this great area, which the city welcomed into Brookhaven less than a year and a half ago.”

And it would be only a matter of hours before we learned how much revitalization would be coming with the purchase. At 2 PM, the Atlanta Hawks and Emory announced a joint development for the site.

The Atlanta Hawks and Emory Healthcare on Tuesday announced plans to partner as well as build a first-of-its-kind training and sports medicine center on Executive Park Drive in Brookhaven, which will serve as the team’s official practice site.

The privately-funded facility will feature the most advanced technology in sports medicine and athletic care built within a state-of-the-art training center with amenities. The team expects to break ground this summer on the 90,000-square-foot facility, and the Hawks Basketball Operations Department will be housed in the facility upon its completion.

The entire roster of doctors, surgeons and specialists from Emory’s current Sports Medicine Center will also make Brookhaven its permanent home and treat patients inside the new facility.

“When we became owners, one of our top priorities was to provide the resources necessary to build a world-class training facility—a key element of being a first-class franchise that consistently competes at the highest level,” said Hawks Principal Owner Tony Ressler. “We are thrilled with the partnership that Steve and Bud have forged with Dr. Boden and the Emory team in developing a new facility that will be at the forefront of how professional teams approach integrating sports medical technology in their training centers,”

Additionally, the new Hawks/Emory facility will bring new jobs to the area.

The 90,000-square-foot facility will be located on about five acres at 22 Executive Park Drive, and is expected to bring at least 200 permanent jobs to the city. The development of the Brookhaven site will not require any rezoning action by the city’s planning commission.

“The city of Brookhaven is proud to be home to the Atlanta Hawks and Emory Healthcare,” said Brookhaven Mayor John Ernst. “This innovative training and sports medical facility fits within our city’s vision for smart growth and a high quality of life. Bringing an elite athletic franchise and world class healthcare to Brookhaven fosters investment, visibility and well-being for our vibrant community.

“We welcome the Atlanta Hawks, Emory Healthcare and their visitors to Brookhaven.”

Hawks CEO Steve Koonin was impressed by Executive Park’s location.

“The location of the facility was a significant factor in our search and Brookhaven stood out as an area that perfectly fit many of our needs,” Koonin said. “It is central to many of our players and basketball operations staff and a thriving young community,.

“I would like to thank Mayor Ernst and the city of Brookhaven for how they have welcomed our project and I look forward to working together to create a community partnership.”

Contrast that to the proposed location of a professional soccer facility elsewhere in DeKalb County that cratered. This development will likely see an investment at least equal to that of the soccer field proposal, with taxpayers picking up the tab for none of the costs, while the soccer deal would have cost county taxpayers at least $12 million.

Speaking of taxpayer dollars for athletic facilities, the Warner Robins City Council is considering a proposed sports complex that would cost $22 million, and include 9 outdoor baseball fields, two indoor basketball courts, and an indoor track.

Commissioners Nancy Jester and Larry Johnson are co-hosting a Town Hall for Businesses with Complaints about county government.

Commissioner Larry Johnson and Commissioner Nancy Jester will co-host a countywide Town Hall for DeKalb County taxpayers to discuss and offer public input on businesses who have repeatedly and willfully ignored code violations and businesses which fail to uphold community standards which can have a negative impact on county property values, can propagate criminal activity and can weaken the County’s overall economic development efforts.

This Town Hall falls under the authority of the Study Group appointed by CEO Lee May to study Businesses Facing Numerous Citizen-Initiated Complaints of which Commissioner Larry Johnson and Commissioner Nancy Jester were appointed to.

Wednesday 27 April, 2016, 6:30 PM to 8 PM
Maloof Auditorium
1300 Commerce Drive
Decatur

No word on whether a Festivus Pole will accompany the Airing of Grievances.

Georgia Power Considers New Nuclear Plant

That’s likely a bit of an overstatement – they’re actually considering studying the possibility, but doing so costs millions of dollars and takes years, so the company is laying the groundwork to study the issue and maybe later think about a new plant. From the estimable Walter Jones, reporting for the Augusta Chronicle,

Georgia Power is seeking permission from regulators to look at constructing a new reactor.

“We are committed to preserving the option to build new nuclear generation to meet customers’ electric needs in the most reliable and cost-effective manner,” said company spokesman Jacob Hawkins, noting that Georgia will have an estimated 2.4 million added residents by 2030.

Commission Chairman Chuck Eaton stressed Tuesday that no ultimate decision on additional reactors will be made in the vote on the plan that Georgia Power filed this year.

“The important thing to keep in mind is that if we do ultimately vote on that topic in the IRP, it will be a vote just to study it,” he said. “It’s not a vote whether we move forward or chose not to construct new nuclear in the future.”

The planning request is just to allocate funds to keep the nuclear option open, insiders say.

“It’s not a decision on whether there will be new nuclear,” Eaton said. “It’s just a decision on whether to study, which the costs associated with that are not insignificant.”

5
Apr

Emory Buys Brookhaven’s Executive Park | Patch

Brookhaven Mayor John Ernst said, “We are pleased that Emory has acquired Executive Park. We expect Emory’s presence to be a catalyst for revitalization of this great area, which the city welcomed into Brookhaven less than a year and a half ago.”

via Emory Buys Brookhaven’s Executive Park | Patch.

5
Apr

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for April 5, 2016

President George Washington exercised the veto power for the first time on April 5, 1792.

The bill introduced a new plan for dividing seats in the House of Representatives that would have increased the amount of seats for northern states. After consulting with his politically divided and contentious cabinet, Washington, who came from the southern state of Virginia, ultimately decided that the plan was unconstitutional because, in providing for additional representatives for some states, it would have introduced a number of representatives higher than that proscribed by the Constitution.

The Brown Thrasher was first recognized as the official state bird of Georgia on April 5, 1935 through an Executive Order signed by Governor Eugene Talmadge. Later the designation of official state symbols through executive fiat was challenged and the General Assembly would recognize the Brown Thrasher again as official state bird in 1970.

On April 5, 1962, Governor Ernest Vandiver called a Special Session of the Georgia General Assembly to revise the state’s election code following a decision by the United States Supreme Court in the case of Baker v. Carr.

On April 5, 1977, Wyche Fowler won a runoff election over John Lewis for the Fifth Congressional District, following the appointment of Andrew Young as Ambassador to the United Nations. Fowler would win election to the United States Senate in 1986, and ironically, lose his seat in a 1992 runoff election to the late Paul Coverdell.

On April 5, 1980, the band that would come to be known as R.E.M. played their first show as Twisted Kites in Athens, Georgia.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

The United States Supreme Court unanimously upheld redistricting based on total population rather than only considering eligible voters. From the Washington Post,

The case, Evenwel v. Abbott, was considered one of the most important on voting rights this term, and a decision the other way would have shifted political power away from urban areas, where Democrats usually dominate, and toward more Republican-friendly rural areas.

The court’s ruling left open the possibility that other methods of reapportionment might be constitutional. But the decision was clear that using anything other than total population would face certain Supreme Court review.

“What constitutional history and our prior decisions strongly suggest, settled practice confirms,” Ginsburg wrote. “Adopting voter-eligible apportionment as constitutional command would upset a well-functioning approach to districting that all 50 States and countless local jurisdictions have followed for decades, even centuries.”

She added, “As the Framers of the Constitution and the Fourteenth Amendment comprehended, representatives serve all residents, not just those eligible or registered to vote.”

The general population contains millions of people who aren’t eligible to vote: children, legal and illegal immigrants, prisoners, and those who are disenfranchised. Except for prisoners, they are largely concentrated in urban areas.

Unfortunately, the City of Snellville has not seen the end of its days in the headlines for unflattering stories. From the Gwinnett Daily Post,

Snellville Mayor Tom Witts is under investigation for possible tax evasion and improper use of campaign funds, authorities confirmed Monday night.

Gwinnett County District Attorney Danny Porter said the case, which also involves the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, began after a complaint accusing the mayor of falsely swearing he wasn’t delinquent on taxes when filing to run for office.

“Search warrants have been executed at his house and his business. He has not been arrested or charged at this point,” Porter said. “The investigation is ongoing and I would expect that if we develop the evidence, we’re going to present it to the grand jury.”

“We’re looking at his personal income taxes, we’re looking at if he was withholding taxes from contractors’ or employees’ checks and not paying it to the state,” the DA said. “We’re also looking at campaign account irregularities. There appears to be some commingling of funds, that campaign funds are being used for personal expenses.”

Tomorrow morning, Facebook will be in Gainesville for a “Boost Your Business” event that includes an address by Ninth District Congressman Doug Collins (R) on the importance of small businesses.

Wednesday, April 6, 9:30AM – 12:00 Noon

Gainesville Civic Center
830 Green St., NE
Gainesville, GA 30501

Uber says the Masters golf tournament will drive high usage in Augusta this week, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

Orientation meetings filled an Augusta hotel conference room two days last week with a “ton” of Uber-partner drivers seeking to sign up for the service and learn the critical details for shuttling around thousands of Masters patrons, a spokesman said.

Uber now has a contract with Augusta Regional Airport, which is supplying a parking lot for drivers to stage, and Uber has another staging area for pick-ups near the tournament, in the Friedman’s Jewelers and Southeastern Armory parking lot at 2745 Washington Road, where Uber representatives will give out merchandise starting today.

Airport Operations Manager Tim Weegar negotiated a contract with Uber owner Raiser LLC that pays the airport $2 per ride or $300 a month, whichever is higher, in exchange for use of the long-term parking lot.

Weegar said, however, he expects most Masters guests to board “the next cabbie in the queue” rather than arrange an Uber on a smartphone.

The Augusta airport contract allows Uber drivers to stage only in the designated holding area and not in the taxi queue.

On Monday morning, the app estimated a fare from Augusta Regional Airport to Augusta National Golf Club at $14 to $18.

By comparison, Augusta cab drivers are permitted under a 2012 Augusta Commission action to charge up to $65 for a ride from the airport to the golf club.

After losing the Special Runoff Election for Chatham County Sheriff, Roy Harris has withdrawn from the May 24 election for a full term.

“It was a hard decision,” Harris said Monday afternoon.

The 66-year-old lawman was sworn in late last year to serve as sheriff until a special election could be held to replace Al St Lawrence, who died in office at 81.

Harris soon filed to be a candidate in the special election and for the next four-year term as sheriff. But on March 29, he lost the special election’s runoff to Wilcher by 22 percentage points. On Monday, he withdrew from a May 24 primary that would have led up to the November general election, leaving Wilcher as the lone Republican on the ballot.

In the March 1 special election to finish St Lawrence’s term, Harris and Wilcher were the top two vote-getters out of five candidates, with Harris getting 33 percent of the vote and Wilcher 29 percent.

But Harris’ lead disappeared in the March 29 runoff when Wilcher, a 40-year sheriff’s department employee who retired in 2014 as a member of command staff, came out with 61 percent of the vote.

“I appreciate Roy Harris’ distinguished career in law enforcement, and I wish him and his family the best,” Wilcher said Monday. “I think Roy is an outstanding person, and I have nothing against him personally.”

David Benjamin will run as a write-in candidate for Decatur County Sheriff, according to the Post-Searchlight.

Climax, Georgia will need a new City Council member after voting to accept the resignation of council member Elizabeth Phillips. The city was named “Climax” because it stands at the high point of the railroad running from Savannah to the Chattahoochee River.

The Board of Macon Charter Academy met yesterday to address news that the state Department of Education will move to revoke its charter, according to the Macon Telegraph.

Board President Ed Grant said his first knowledge of the potential closure came last Thursday at the same time media outlets were made aware.

“Prior to that, I had no knowledge or understanding that they were going to do that,” he said.

Principal Tahisha Edwards also indicated that she had not received notice from the state about the potential action prior to media reports.

The Cobb County Republican Party held a Fish Fry this weekend in advance of the 2016 Primary elections, according to the Marietta Daily Journal.

Cobb GOP Chair Rose Wing said the party was faced with a conundrum when Georgia moved its primaries to May 24. In years past, the annual Fourth of July barbecue was the event for constituents to meet candidates ahead of the primary.

“We wanted an opportunity for our Republicans to meet those candidates that are running in the primary, so this is how the Fish Fry came about,” Wing said. “(It’s) an opportunity to hear all our Republican candidates and our nonpartisan (candidates). We have a lot of people running in our judicial races, and people don’t get an opportunity to meet them … this is an opportunity to hear from those individuals running in the judicial races, too.”

The Kennesaw City Council voted to eliminate retirement benefits for elected officials.

Previously, the mayor and city council were automatically vested after taking office, and accrued benefits with each year of service. Under the approved measure, the city’s current council and mayor will not accrue benefits or participate in the retirement plan going forward, while those who were already participating— current or former council members — will still be eligible to receive the benefit. Future elected officials will not be eligible to enroll in the program.

“It’s the right thing to do,” Mayor Derek Easterling said following Monday’s meeting. “Everybody that ran in November wanted it done away with, and we’re taking actions on our promises.”

Councilman Jim Sebastian, the only councilmember remaining from the last council, previously said he was automatically enrolled but had pledged not to collect his pension.

One of the highlights of the convention cycle is the Ninth Congressional District Republican Party dinner the night before their convention. This year’s will be held at the Convention Center of the Dillard House on Franklin Street, Dillard, Georgia 30537.

9th_District_Invite

Presidential Politics

In Wisconsin, Donald Trump told a crowd, “If I didn’t have Kasich, I automatically win,” according to an AP report.

5
Apr

Adoptable Georgia Dogs for April 5, 2016

Cookie

Cookie is a 4.5 year-old, 45-pound female Catahoula Leopard Dog mix who is available for adoption from Catahoula Rescue Southeast in Augusta, GA.

She is great with children and other dogs, NO farm animals. She loves chasing squirrels, makes the best bed or couch partner and sleeps in the bed with the owner. She loves to ride in the car/truck with her head out the window. She has been to hundreds of schools with her owner and she has visited with special ed classes on a few occasion. Cookie loves water (but actually doesn’t care for swimming pools), she loves to ride in boats and loves to ride jet ski’s. She fetches, sits, shakes, and plays dead.

She does pretty good on a leash walking but does especially well when she is jogging wit the owner. So if you want a best friend for the beach, boat or to go jogging with then Cookie is your girl. Please EMAIL catahoulas4@yahoo.com

Toby Keith

Toby Keith is a 5-year old Chihuahua who is available for adoption from CSRA Chihuahua Rescue, Inc. in Martinez, GA.

He needs a home where he can get the special attention he deserves because he is rather shy and tends to hide from all the activity of the other dogs in his current situation. He is particularly fond of men because his previous owner was a man.

Beat

Beat is a young female Greyhound who is available for adoption from Greyhound Crossroads in Martinez, GA.

Beat is a beautiful, young, red, female greyhound that just arrived from Julia Ward’s farm in Abilene Kansas. She just wasn’t interested in racing or chasing the lure so she stayed on the farm and never completed the registration process and doesn’t have a racing name. Her littermates, WW Don’t Touch, WW’s RightWithme and WWs Scramble are all racing now. Beat’s sire is Gable Sour Cream and her dam is WWK Cold June. She is young and just turned 2 on December 23rd. Beat was also uninterested in chasing cats so easily passed her cat and small dog tests. She travels very well and just laid down and didn’t seem to mind other dogs and humans stepping over her. She seems like a calm friendly girl.

4
Apr

Adoptable Georgia Dogs for April 4, 2016

Rolo

Rolo (above) and Siggy (below) are Coonhound and Lancashire Heeler mix brothers who are available for adoption from PAWS Humane in Columbus, GA.

Siggy

Samuel

Samuel is a Coonhound or Foxhound mix male who is available for adoption from PAWS Humane in Columbus, GA.

Riley

Riley is a small adult Jack Russell Terrier mix who is available for adoption from PAWS Humane in Columbus, GA.

4
Apr

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for April 4, 2016

Georgia began its love affair with the regulation of what can and cannot be sold on April 3, 1735, when James Oglethorpe, founder of the colony, helped gain passage of “An Act to prevent the Importation and Use of Rum and Brandies in the Province of Georgia.” The act provided that after June 24, 1735, “no Rum, Brandies, Spirits or Strong Waters” shall be imported into Georgia.” Permission was also required to sell beer, wine, and ale.

On April 3, 1776, the Continental Congress authorized “privateers” holding a letter of marque and reprisal to attack British ships. This essentially legalizes what would otherwise be considered piracy. Issuing letters of marque and reprisal is among the enumerated powers of Congress under Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution, though they have seldom been used. Thus, I hope to someday see the Jolly Roger flying at Tea Party rallies alongside the Gadsden flag.

President William Henry Harrison died in office on April 4, 1841, a month after his inauguration.

At the inauguration of America’s first Whig president, on March 4, 1841, a bitterly cold day, Harrison declined to wear a jacket or hat, made a two-hour speech, and attended three inauguration balls. Soon afterward, he developed pneumonia. On April 4, President Harrison died in Washington, and Vice President John Tyler ascended to the presidency, becoming the first individual in U.S. history to reach the office through the death of a president.

On April 3, 1898, President William McKinley called on Georgians to contribute 3000 volunteers for the Spanish-American War.

The Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., accompanied by Georgians Hosea Williams and Ralph D. Abernathy, was in Memphis, Tennessee, supporting a strike by sanitation workers on April 3, 1968. He delivered what is known as the “Mountaintop Speech.” On April 4, 1968 King was shot in Memphis. James Earl Ray would later be arrested and plead guilty to the assassination.

“[L]ike anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over, and I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you, but I want you to know tonight that we as a people will get to the promised land. So I’m happy tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.”

On April 4, 1974, Hank Aaron hit home run 714, tying Babe Ruth’s record.

On April 4, 1988, the Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly was recognized as the official state butterfly of Georgia.

The Atlanta Braves played their first game in Turner Field on April 4, 1997, defeating the Chicago Cubs 5-4. Denny Neagle started on the mound for the Braves and Mark Wohlers earned a save. Atlanta’s Michael Tucker hit the first homerun in the new stadium.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Legislation awaits Governor’s signature

Voters on both sides of the guns on campus debate are waiting for an indication whether Governor Deal will sign campus carry legislation passed by the General Assembly.

Rep. Buzz Brockway, a Republican from Lawrenceville, co-sponsored the bill, but said he did not want to predict which way the governor would lean.

Brockway also said he did not think the veto of the religious exemption bill earlier this week would weigh into Deal’s decision.

“I don’t think folks like retribution, or revenge in politics, so if he chooses to disagree, we will just roll up our sleeves and work harder,” he said.

House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams said she could not speculate on a reaction from Deal’s supporters on the right, but said the core group that lobbied for the bill would be impacted. She then said that the bill was not brought to the table by the entirety of the Republican base in the House, but by a smaller special interest group.

“I can say (Deal) raised some thoughtful and important concerns expressed both by House and Senate Democrats about the expansive nature of the legislation,” said Abrams, D-Atlanta. “There is no urgency to the passage of this bill.”

Legislation to reduce the burden of testing on teachers and students was passed by the state legislature and takes its place on the waiting list for Gov. Deal’s signature or veto.

The legislation passed by the General Assembly would cut the number of required tests from 32 to 24 and would reduce the percentage those test results make up of a teacher’s evaluation from 50 percent to 30 percent. The bill also reduces the effect on administrators’ evaluations from 70 percent to 40 percent.

The legislation would cut the number of required tests by eight. Reductions in Milestones tests would be for science and social studies at the third, fourth, sixth and seventh grades.

One of the immediate questions is what replaces that 20 percent of the evaluation that was based on test results.

“What is the growth measurement for that seventh-grade social studies teacher who no longer has tests results” that are as large a chunk of the evaluation, Ray asked.

Bell and Ray said that question has been raised with the state Department of Education, but answers are not expected until after Deal signs or vetoes the bill.

The reduction in the percentage that test results count toward a teacher’s evaluation also are likely to be more accepted than the 50 percent in current law, Bales said. He said most comments he has heard agree the 30 percent that test results would count in the evaluation “are relatively fair numbers.”

State Rep. Brett Harrell has three bills on Gov. Deal’s desk awaiting signature.

House Bill 935 would let referendums be held on creating exemptions to ad valorem taxes on fulfillment centers in an effort to attract online merchants.

House Bill 936 would require employers to pay workers in newly created positions more than the average salary of the county with the lowest such average to receive tax breaks on those jobs. It also creates a tax credit for companies that hire parolees.

House Bill 937 would add three years on to the sunset for sales and use tax exemptions given out for construction projects that have regional significance.

“This tax package will benefit all Georgia citizens, ranging from those hiring parolees, to enhanced job opportunities for individuals exiting incarceration, to the creation of 1,800 new Georgia jobs and a capital investment of roughly $650 million through the sunset tax extension,” Harrell said in a statement.

House Bill 402 by State Rep. Eddie Lumsden (R-Rome) will give business owners a 5% discount on workers compensation premiums if they participate in an apprenticeship program with local schools.

“The problem always is getting enough businesses to partner with the students,” Lumsden said. “It works well for 18-year-olds, but it’s hard for them to take on 16- and 17-year-olds because of workers comp issues.”

Locally, dozens of Floyd County Schools students get to have hands-on, real-world working experience every year through the Floyd County College and Career Academy’s work-based learning program.

The bill, now awaiting the signature of Gov. Nathan Deal, caps the premium discount at $2,500, but Lumsden said it should be enough to alleviate employers’ concerns about safety.

“The more partners we can have in the program, the more opportunity we can provide for our students,” he said. “A lot of kids — unless you get them engaged and involved, thinking about work and where their skills and interests lie — they’re behind when they graduate from high school.”

Lumsden, who has no opposition in November for a new four-year term, said he maintains an interest in encouraging work-based learning.

Last week, Governor Deal signed five local bills. You can monitor the bills he signs or vetos by clicking here.

Local Issues

At Morehouse School of Medicine last week, United States EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said she wants her agency to be known as a out-of-control bureaucratic job-killing machine “public health agency.”

Gwinnett County will hire and train several thousand poll workers for the upcoming May 24, 2016 Primary Elections, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

“We have several busy elections ahead of us and with more than 150 polling precincts in the county, it will take several thousand poll officials to staff just one election,” [Gwinnett County Elections Director Lynn] Ledford said in a statement.

There are certain criteria a person must meet to be a poll official. They include being at least 16, a U.S. citizen, a resident of the county, not having a felony conviction on their record, never having been declared mentally incompetent by a judge and be able to read, write and speak English.

Transportation is a must, as is computer access so they can go through an online training program.

They will also be expected to work a 14-hour day, beginning at 6 a.m., on election days and to take advantage of advance or absentee voting. Although they could be assigned to their home precinct if possible, assignments are based on vacancies and no guarantee is made that a person will be assigned to their voting precinct.

Attorney General Sam Olens fined the Hospital Authority of Valdosta and Lowndes County $500 for violating the Open Meetings Act and will require board members to undergo training in state transparency laws.

Former Carroll County Commission Chair Bill Chappell, trying to make a comeback against incumbent Marty Smith, who beat Chappell in 2012, will not participate in a debate hoted by the League of Women Voters.

“Oh I am very much able to participate,” said Chappell. “I’ve participated in many forums in the past and they are worthless. The incumbent needs to go there and explain why he hasn’t done anything. I have no intention of going there and attacking him. When you go there, you’ll see it’s not many people and they are already predetermined. They can judge me on what I have done in the past or judge the other candidate on what he has not done.”

On Friday morning, a tornado hit Warner Robins and a State of Emergency was declared.

Presidential Politics

Donald J. Trump wants Ohio Governor John Kasich to drop out of the presidential primary, according to the Associated Press.

Trump said it wasn’t fair for Kasich, who has won only his home state, to continue his campaign. He suggested instead that Kasich, who has pledged to make it to the summer convention, follow the example of Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush — candidates who quit after lagging behind.

“He doesn’t have to run and take my votes,” he said.

“I said, ‘Why is a guy allowed to run?’ All he’s doing is just he goes from place to place and loses,” Trump told reporters at Miss Katie’s Diner in Milwaukee, where he stopped for breakfast. The state holds its presidential primaries Tuesday.

This weekend, North Dakota Republicans chose 25 delegates (the ND STate Party Chair, Republican National Committeewoman and Committeeman are also delegates) to the National Convention, all of whom are unbound to any candidate. Of the 25 delegates chosen, 18 appeared on a slate promoted by the Ted Cruz campaign.

Details on the next steps in delegate selection for Georgia are trickling out. Over the weekend, an email from the Athens-Clarke County Republican Party contained details.

The Tenth District “CALL” letters have been mailed to all Delegates and Alternates to the Tenth District Convention. They should be arriving in your mailbox early next week.

However, the deadlines for submitting Nominations to be a Delegate/Alternate to the National Convention, and submitting Resolutions and Rules has been set for Thursday, April 7th.

Presidential Delegate/Alternate Slots:

The presidential delegate/alternate slots for the tenth congressional district have already been determined by the 2016 presidential preference primary.

There are a total of three delegate and three alternate slots in the tenth congressional district. The only available delegate/alternate slots to run for are as follows:

Two (2) delegates and two (2) alternates for Donald Trump

One (1) delegate and one (1) alternate for Marco Rubio

You cannot run to be a delegate/alternate for any other candidate. This is based on the rules and laws regarding the 2016 Georgia presidential primary as established by the Georgia GOP.

What Will Be Required Of Each Applicant?

1.) Letter of intent: why should you be chosen as a delegate/alternate to represent the tenth district GOP?

2.) Up-to-date political bio/resume: detailed description of your involvement in the Republican Party

3.) Eight copies of the documents listed in items #1 & #2.

4.) Send copies to:

Tenth District Republican Party
Nominating Committee
PO Box 933
Greensboro, GA 30642

5.) Documents must be received by April 7th

7.) Be prepared to be interviewed in person by the committee on a date(s), and time, and location as determined by the chair of nominating committee

What Will Be Required Of Each Delegate/Alternate Once Elected By The Convention Delegates At The Tenth District Convention?:

1.) You will be responsible for all the costs related to the 2016 national convention. This includes convention fees, transportation to and from Cleveland, Ohio. All food expenses, incidental, and entertainment expenses. All hotel fees, parking fees, tips, baggage fees and any costs associated with your stay in Cleveland.

2.) These fees have been guesstimated to be anywhere between
$4,000-$6,000. Please note this is only a guess. Regardless of the amount, you are 100% responsible for all your costs associated with the 2016 national convention.

3.) The tenth district gop will not be providing any delegates/alternates with any financial assistance

4.) You must stay in the hotel designated for the Georgia delegation. You cannot stay at you’re “uncle bob’s house” in Cleveland. The hotel has not yet been determined.

I would expect similar processes to be in place in most Districts. This probably favors Ted Cruz, as his campaign appears to have the most extensive delegate whip organization in Georgia. Under Georgia Republican Party rules, delegates are unbound after the first ballot at the Republcian National Convention.

Gwinnett County Democrats will select delegates to the Democratic National Convention on April 16, 2016.

Delegates must be registered to vote in their respective congressional district, be a Democrat and declare which presidential candidate — Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders — they want to pick delegates for.

The Seventh district delegates will be picked during a meeting from 9 a.m. until noon at Norcross High School, 5300 Spalding Dr., in Norcross. The county party said this district will have four delegates, to be split between two men and two women.

Three of them will be voting for Clinton while the other will vote for Sanders, based on the results of the March 1 presidential primary.

Meanwhile, the Fourth District delegates will be picked at Stronghold Christian Church, 724 Rock Chapel Road in Lithonia. Registration runs from 10 a.m. until noon. This district has six delegates, which will be split three women and three men.

2
Apr

Lawsuits question Paulding airport commercialization plan | AJC@ATL

A recent flurry of lawsuits is raising questions about the effort to commercialize Paulding County’s Silver Comet Field as the second commercial airport in metro Atlanta.

Three separate lawsuits — filed by Paulding County, a group of residents and the airport authority’s development partner — each ask whether the Paulding County Airport Authority had the legal right to apply for commercial certification from the Federal Aviation Administration.

Another skirmish influencing one of the lawsuits is a decision by the airport authority’s development partner Silver Comet Terminal Partners to pull out of airport bond payments in January, citing a dispute with the county. That left it to the county to make the $401,140 bond payment due Feb. 1, and led to a letter last week from an attorney representing the county, alleging that Silver Comet’s move was a breach of contract.

via Lawsuits question Paulding airport commercialization plan | AJC@ATL.