The blog.

23
Sep

Adoptable Georgia Dogs for September 23, 2015

All dog and cat adoptions are free this month at both DeKalb and Fulton County Animal Services, though the usual application process still applies.

Baby

Baby is a 2-year old male Hound mix who is available for adoption from DeKalb County Animal Services.

Lindsey

Lindsey is a 1-year old female Labrador Retriever mix (I think she’s a Shepherd) who is available for adoption from DeKalb County Animal Services.

Parrothead

Parrothead is a 4-year old female Terrier mix who is available for adoption from DeKalb County Animal Services.

Parrothead is a sweet, gentle girl who would love to finally experience a loving home. This girl hasn’t had the best start in life. She came to the shelter with severe hairloss on her rear end and tail and bad teeth. She is being treated by our vet, but needs a calm environment to fully recovery. She is waiting patiently at DeKalb Animal Services for her hero. Will it be you?

Click here to see a brief video of Parrothead and you can see how sweet and well-behaved she it.

23
Sep

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for September 23, 2015

Bon Homme Richard

John Paul Jones, at the helm of US ship Bonhomme Richard, won a naval battle off the coast of England on September 23, 1779.

After inflicting considerable damage to the Bonhomme Richard, Richard Pearson, the captain of the Serapis, asked Jones if he had struck his colors, the naval sign indicating surrender. From his disabled ship, Jones replied, “I have not yet begun to fight,” and after three more hours of furious fighting the Serapis and Countess of Scarborough surrendered to him.

Meriwether Lewis and William Clark returned to St. Louis Missouri from their exploratory trip to the Pacific coast on September 23, 1806.

On September 23, 1944, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was speaking at a dinner with the Teamsters union and addressed attacks that had been made by Republicans, including the allegation that after leaving his dog, Fala, behind in the Aleutian Islands, he sent a Navy destroyer to fetch the dog. This would become known as the “Fala speech.”

These Republican leaders have not been content with attacks on me, or my wife, or on my sons. No, not content with that, they now include my little dog, Fala. Well, of course, I don’t resent attacks, and my family don’t resent attacks, but Fala does resent them. You know, Fala is Scotch, and being a Scottie, as soon as he learned that the Republican fiction writers in Congress and out had concocted a story that I’d left him behind on an Aleutian island and had sent a destroyer back to find him—at a cost to the taxpayers of two or three, or eight or twenty million dollars—his Scotch soul was furious. He has not been the same dog since. I am accustomed to hearing malicious falsehoods about myself … But I think I have a right to resent, to object, to libelous statements about my dog.

The idea for the joke was given to FDR by Orson Welles. The political lesson here is that any time you get an audience laughing at your opponent, you are winning.

A statue of former Georgia Governor Eugene Talmadge on the grounds of the Georgia State Capitol was unveiled on September 23, 1949, the 65th anniversary of Talmadge’s birth near Forsyth, Georgia in 1884.

On September 23, 1952, Senator Richard M. Nixon was under fire for allegedly accepting $18,000 and using it for personal expenses. To salvage his place as the Vice Presidential candidate on Eisenhower’s Republican ticket, Nixon took to the airwaves in the first nationally-televised address and delivered what came to be known as the “Checkers Speech. From The Atlantic:

[A] 1999 poll of leading communication scholars ranked the address as the sixth most important American speech of the 20th century — close behind the soaring addresses of Martin Luther King, Jr., John F. Kennedy and Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

The “Checkers” speech wins this high rank for one stand-out reason: It marked the beginning of the television age in American politics. It also salvaged Nixon’s career, plucking a last-second success from the jaws of abject humiliation, and profoundly shaped Nixon’s personal and professional outlook, convincing him that television was a way to do an end-run around the press and the political “establishment.”

Click here for the full text of the “Checkers Speech.”

On September 23, 1976, President Gerald Ford and former Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter met in their first televised debate.

The last game played in Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium took place on September 23, 1996.

Marine archaeologists working to recover the CSS Georgia from the Savannah River surfaced a second Dahlgren rifled cannon from the Civil War wreck.

Georgia Politics

Governor Nathan Deal has issued the Writ of Election officially setting March 1, 2016 as the Presidential Preference Primary for Georgia. Deal has also called a Special Election to fill House District 92, which became vacant when Rep. Tonya Anderson (D-Lithonia) qualified in the Special Election for Senate District 46, formerly held by Sen. Ron Ramsey. The Special Election in District 92 will be held November 3, 2015.

Here’s the entire Marco Rubio speech in Atlanta this Monday. Matt Damon will play Marco Rubio if they make a movie about him.

Yesterday, the Ted Cruz presidential campaign announced it picked up all three former Scott Walker Georgia co-chairs.

The addition of Julianne Thompson and Rachel Little… means that all three of Walker’s former state grassroots co-chairs will now be helping to organize the state for Cruz.

Thompson is one of Georgia’s most active Republican leaders. She is the former co-chairman of the Atlanta Tea Party and co-founder of the Capitol Coalition of Conservative Leaders, Georgia’s largest political coalition, and a former press secretary of the Georgia Republican Party.

Little is the immediate past Chairman of the Gwinnett County Republican Party and recently received the Georgia Republican Party Chairman of the Year Award. She was recognized as the Woman of the Year by the Conservative Republican Women of North Atlanta and served as Mitt Romney and Herman Cain’s Georgia state co-chair in 2012.

“We are encouraged and excited to see the caliber of support flowing to the Cruz campaign,” said Cruz national political director Mark Campbell.

Janet Huckabee, wife of Mike Huckabee has four tour stops in Georgia today and tomorrow.

10:00 AM today at MUST Ministries in Canton, GA

Noon today at The Varsity in Kennesaw, GA

7:30 PM today for dinner at Calvary Baptist in Ball Ground, GA

Thursday, 12:30 PM, Muscogee County GOP Luncheon with Janet Huckabee in Columbus, GA

The Georgia Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments at the Albany Municipal Auditorium on October 29, 2015.

On March 1, 2016, DeKalb County voters will cast ballots on yet another penny sales tax, this one to enhance the current Homestead Option Sales Tax property tax exemption.

DeKalb solicited firms this month to develop a project list and organize a public input process for a special purpose local option sales tax (SPLOST). The county asked contractors to submit quotes under $50,000.

Then voters will decide next spring whether to increase their sales taxes to a total of 8 percent under a proposal that would also lower property tax bills under DeKalb’s existing homestead option sales tax (HOST).

The change would allocate HOST distributions entirely for the purpose of reducing residential property tax bills. Currently, 80 percent of HOST funds go toward property tax relief, and the rest is distributed to city and county governments.

Adjusting the HOST formula would result in about $21 million worth of additional discounts on residential property tax bills each year.

An ethics complaint against DeKalb County Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton will move forward, though a hearing date is not set.

Atlanta City Council member Keshia Lance Bottoms is the beneficiary of two publicly-financed mailings inside and outside of her district.

Atlanta Councilwoman Keisha Lance Bottoms recently mailed out thousands of glossy annual reports extolling the successes of District 11. But her decision to send the document to households across the city is raising questions about whether she used district funds to raise her political profile ahead of the 2017 mayor’s race.

Bottoms, a second-term council member closely linked to Mayor Kasim Reed, appears on the cover of the report, as well as 23 of its 30 pages. In the report, she discusses her work on school and health initiatives, property improvements and participation in international trade missions.

That’s not the only piece of mail bearing Bottoms’ face these days. She also appears on a flyer sent to residents near Turner Field last week because of her work as the executive director of the Atlanta Fulton County Recreation Authority.

Still, Bryan Long, executive director of the left-leaning advocacy group Better Georgia, said the pair of mailings raise questions about intent. “Every single person on the city council is a politician at heart, so it’s wise to question their next moves,” he said.

That her photo appears so often in the report gives “at least an appearance that she’s using her office to advance her profile in advance of a city-wide election, at a minimum,” he said.

The Atlanta United soccer team is keeping tabs on a backup site in Cobb County in case the taxpayer giveaway deal in DeKalb County falls apart.

In Gainesville, city council candidates will meet in a debate on Thursday night from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM at the Gainesville Civic Center, located at 830 Green St. NE.

A committee of the Macon-Bibb County Commission voted to move forward on spending $50,000 to study whether a market exists for minor league baseball in the middle Georgia city.

Cobb County Superior Court Judge Adele Grubbs will not run for reelection, kicking off what is likely to be an expensive open-seat election to her seat on the bench.

Georgia legislators are studying whether and how to regulate AirBNB and other short-term property rental sites.

Representatives for Georgia’s hotels, motels and inns said the status quo isn’t fair statewide. Holly McHaggee, president of the Georgia Innkeepers Association, owns a bed-and-breakfast in Rome, Ga. McHaggee said she bought her home specifically to run a business, complying with required licensing and inspections. New technology, she said, makes it too easy for others to skip those steps.

Airbnb and HomeAway representatives, two popular services for finding rentals, told the committee they’re open to simple regulations but also count on renters to hold owners accountable.

22
Sep

Cruz Signs Up All Three Walker GA Statewide Grassroots Co-Chairs | Cruz for President

via Press Release:

Julianne Thompson and Rachel Little Join Previously Announced Louie Hunter To Bolster Cruz’s GA Campaign

HOUSTON, Texas — Today, the Cruz for President campaign announced that two key leaders in Georgia would be joining the Cruz campaign after being previously allied with Governor Scott Walker. The addition of Julianne Thompson and Rachel Little, along with Louie Hunter who previously announced his support for Cruz, means that all three of Walker’s former state grassroots co-chairs will now be helping to organize the state for Cruz.

Thompson is one of Georgia’s most active Republican leaders. She is the former co-chairman of the Atlanta Tea Party and co-founder of the Capitol Coalition of Conservative Leaders, Georgia’s largest political coalition, and a former press secretary of the Georgia Republican Party.

Little is the immediate past Chairman of the Gwinnett County Republican Party and recently received the Georgia Republican Party Chairman of the Year Award. She was recognized as the Woman of the Year by the Conservative Republican Women of North Atlanta and served as Mitt Romney and Herman Cain’s Georgia state co-chair in 2012.

“We are encouraged and excited to see the caliber of support flowing to the Cruz campaign,” said Cruz national political director Mark Campbell. “It’s evidence that Cruz’s record of being the only consistent conservative in the race is having a significant impact on the grassroots. Julianne, Rachel and Louie’s experience, knowledge, and network will give our team a sizeable advantage in Georgia and we are thrilled to have them on board.”

via Cruz Signs Up All Three Walker GA Statewide Grassroots Co-Chairs | Cruz for President.

22
Sep

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for September 22, 2015

On September 22, 1862, Republican President Abraham Lincoln issued a preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, which stated,

“. . . on the first day of January [1863] . . . all persons held as slaves within any State, or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free.”

President Rutherford B. Hayes visited Atlanta on September 22, 1877.

White vigilantes seeking to assault African-Americans after reports of four white women being assaulted led to the Atlanta Race Riots on September 22-24, 1906, which would claim the lives of at least 25 African-Americans and one white person.

On September 22, 1918, the City of Atlanta gasoline administator prohibited non-emergency Sunday driving to conserve fuel for the war effort.

Friends debuted on NBC on September 22, 1994.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Rubio Water Bottle

Here is perhaps the most controversial thing Rubio said yesterday:

Congressman Austin Scott (R-Tifton) introduced Senator Rubio.

Austin Scott Marco Rubio

Rubio Medium Shot

In the front row of the crowd were State Reps. Bert Reeves (with his lovely wife and their baby), and Trey Kelley (R-Cedartown), state Senator P.K. Martin (R-Gwinnett) and Senator Judson Hill, who had previously endorsed Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.

Rubio Frat Row

Did Judson Hill know that he would become a free agent in the Presidential race later that day?

Greg Bluestein has a wrapup of Rubio’s speech at the AJC.

The 44-year-old Republican warned a crowd of a few hundred supporters at a Buckhead hotel  that “America is on the road to decline” because of a Washington establishment that is increasingly out-of-touch with the rank-and-file.

“If you keep electing the same people, we’re going to get the exact same results. And I wish I could tell you that the people disconnected from your lives are all Democrats. And they are. But it’s not just Democrats,” said Rubio. “There are even people in my party as well.”

At Monday’s speech, the Florida senator vowed to be the “vocational education president” who would expand student aid to 16- and 17-year-olds seeking careers in welding and other high-growth hands-on fields.

He earned the sharpest applause, though, when he outlined what he said would be a more muscular approach to foreign policy.

Rubio repeated his pledge to reverse the Iranian nuclear deal his first day in the White House, enthusiastically embrace Israel and check the ambitions of Russian leader Vladimir Putin, who Rubio called a “thug” and a “gangster.”

Later yesterday, news began to circulate that Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker would be pulling out of the Presidential race.

Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, whose early glow as a Republican presidential contender was snuffed out with the rise of anti-establishment rivals, announced Monday that he was quitting the race and urged some of his 15 rivals to do the same so the party could unite against the leading candidate, Donald J. Trump.

“Today I believe that I am being called to lead by helping to clear the field in this race so that a positive, conservative message can rise to the top of the field,” Mr. Walker said. “With this in mind, I will suspend my campaign immediately.

“I encourage other Republican presidential candidates to consider doing the same,” he said, “so that the voters can focus on a limited number of candidates who can offer a positive, conservative alternative to the current front-runner.”

After Walker’s announcement, the other campaigns started picking apart the carcass talking to former Walker fundraisers and supporters.

The most sought-after prizes for Republican candidates still in the race will be Nebraska billionaires Joe and Marlene Ricketts, who had already given Walker’s super-PAC at least $5 million, and Wisconsin roofing billionaire Diane Hendricks who gave Walker’s Unintimidated PAC a further $5 million.

The Ricketts family has already sent $10,000 apiece to super-PACs supporting former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, and Sen. Lindsey Graham, according to the mid-year FEC reports. But it is not yet clear who their second choice is behind Walker.

While donors look at other campaigns, those campaigns are looking at who they can recruit from Walker’s organization.

Richard Graber, the former Wisconsin GOP chairman, joined former Gov. Jeb Bush’s (R-Fla.) soon after Walker’s announcement, aides confirmed.

Terry Sullivan, the campaign manager for Sen. Marco Rubio’s (R-Fla.) presidential bid said Monday that Walker’s New Hampshire state co-chair will switch his endorsement to Rubio, which the campaign later confirmed is former state party vice-chairman Cliff Hurst.

“We are prepared as people move on in the race to capitalize on that,” he said at an event in Washington for presidential campaign managers. He did not clarify which of the three Walker New Hampshire co-chairs was switching over.

Rubio is picking up more support as well.

Drew Johnson, South Carolina Executive Committeeman from Chester County, who was an early supporter of Walker, said in a statement Monday evening that he will now support Rubio.

“After great thought, I’ve decided to support Marco Rubio for President. Marco has a positive vision for a New American Century and he is the candidate who gives our party the best opportunity to defeat Hillary Clinton in 2016. Marco has my complete support and I look forward to helping him win South Carolina’s primary in February.”

In Georgia, state Senator Judson Hill (R-Cobb) has now endorsed Marco Rubio, writing after the meet-and-greet,

“After much thought and discussions with Senator Rubio’s staff this weekend, I had the opportunity to meet with Senator Rubio this morning and discuss his vision for our country. His optimistic vision is exactly what we need to move our country forward, and I am honored to endorse Rubio and will work hard to help him become our next President.”

“Senator Rubio has a refreshingly optimistic message and plan to restore America to greatness. Americans face many challenges today, however our strength and standing in the world cause me perhaps the greatest concern. I believe that Marco has the experience and the foreign-policy background to protect and defend Americans both at home and abroad.”

The Ted Cruz campaign also picked up some of the pieces of the Walker campaign.

One of Walker’s Georgia state co-chairs,  Louie Hunter, will now help Cruz in the delegate-rich state. Cruz sees Georgia as critical to success in the so-called “SEC Primary,” a regional blitz of states that vote March 1.

In an interview, Hunter said he received calls Monday from the campaigns of Carly Fiorina and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Cruz’s father, Rafael, a pastor.

Hunter said he believes Cruz will deliver on the same message that attracted him to Walker, that “it’s time to take America back to a very conservative values system.” He also believes that Cruz, who is working to shoring up grass-roots support nationwide, is forging a path to the nomination.

Hunter said a majority of Walker’s leadership team now plans to support Cruz and he believes more of Walker’s grass-roots Georgia supporters will follow.

22
Sep

Adoptable Georgia Dogs for September 22, 2015

Petey

Petey is a young male American Bulldog mix who is available for adoption from Best Friends Humane Society in Worth County, Sylvester, GA.

Bessie

Bessie is a female Basset Hound who is available for adoption from Best Friends Humane Society in Worth County, Sylvester, GA.

Lil Joe

Lil Joe is a young adult male Chihuahua mix who is available for adoption from Best Friends Humane Society in Worth County, Sylvester, GA.

21
Sep

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for September 21, 2015

On September 20, 1863, the Confederate Army of the Tennessee under General Braxton Bragg repelled Union forces under General William Rosencrans at the Battle of Chickamauga. After Gettysburg, Chickamauga is generally considered the second-bloodiest battle of the Civil War, with 18,500 Confederate casualties and 16,100 Union dead.

On September 21, 1863, the federal Army of the Cumberland retreated to Chattanooga after its defeat at Chickamauga.

On September 20, 1976, Playboy magazine released an interview with Jimmy Carter, then a candidate for President.

Bert Lance resigned as Director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Jimmy Carter on September 21, 1977. After a jury acquitted him on ten federal charges in 1980, Lance served as Chair of the Democratic Party of Georgia from 1982 to 1985.

General Colin Powell was confirmed by the Senate Armed Services Committee as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on September 21. 1989. Powell served as National Security Advisor to President Ronald Reagan before being appointed Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff by President George H.W. Bush; in 2000, Powell was nominated by President George W. Bush as Secretary of State, the first African-American to hold that post.

On September 21, 2011, R.E.M. announced on their website that they were quitting as a band.

Georgia Politics

Jeb Bush was in Athens this weekend for the UGA-USC game.

Jeb Athens

Here’s a bit from NBC:

The scene at the tailgate Saturday was reminiscent of the Iowa State Fair earlier this year, as the Republican presidential candidate was mobbed for selfies and autographs by students and others tailgating ahead of the game.

The governor delivered an abbreviated version of his stump speech touching on his goals for economic growth and asking for support in the coming primary elections, but he spent the vast majority of the event greeting the crowd individually.

Asked repeatedly which team had his support Saturday, Bush said he was “neutral,” but quickly added he predicts Georgia will win the conference.

One group of students told Bush they’re fans of Trump but wanted a photo with the governor anyway. The crowd broke into chants of “Jeb” several times thought the afternoon.

Jeb Signs Athens

11Alive tells us Bush will return to Athens.

This won’t be the only time Bush will mix politics and SEC football, however.

He’s set to attend the Georgia-Tennessee game in October and a game between Louisiana State University and Alabama in November.

Lt. Governor Casey Cagle introduced Bush.

Casey Cagle Jeb Athens

Fletcher Page of the Athens Banner Herald got this quote about Jeb Bush from Vince Dooley:

“I met him before, I like him,” Vince told me. “He’s got a broad perspective. He did a great job in Florida. He’s very smart, and he’s a real gentlemen. I don’t know if you can say this or not, but that might be a handicap. He’s very nice.”

And I’ll award one point for whomever came up with this Jeb! 2016 lapel sticker in UGA colors. Good move.

Jeb2016 UGA sticker

Marco Rubio will be in Atlanta at 10 AM this morning, and has released some Georgia endorsements. From the AJC:

His endorsements include state Sen. P.K. Martin and state Reps. Geoff Duncan, Chuck Efstration, Buzz Brockway, Trey Kelley and Bert Reeves.

“There is no candidate that I trust more to keep our country safe in the 21st Century than Marco, and I am proud to be part of his Georgia leadership team,” said Duncan, R-Cumming.

Martin, of Lawrenceville, said Rubio’s performance in Wednesday’s debate “proved once again that he’s ready to lead us into a New American Century.”

Bush’s son, Jeb Bush Jr., will be in Atlanta on Wednesday for a college student meetup at Georgia State University. And we hear Rubio is considering making a gameday stop to Athens in two weeks for the epic Georgia-Alabama matchup.

In South Georgia, Rubio picked up an endorsement from Congressman Austin Scott (R-Tifton).

In a statement from Rubio’s campaign to The Associated Press, Rep. Austin Scott cites national security as his reason for backing the senator. Scott says Rubio “is ready to be commander-in-chief the first day in office.”

Early Voting Begins October 12

If you need to register to vote, click here to register online.

Across the state, many cities will open Early Voting in municipal elections on October 12th.

Oct. 5 is the last day to register to vote in this year’s city elections, and there are several contests to be decided in Rome and Cave Spring. Advance voting for the Nov. 3 election starts Oct. 12.

In the last city elections — in 2013 — turnout countywide was 32.24 percent. A special purpose, local option sales tax referendum and Sunday alcohol sales also were on the ballot.

In 2011, just 87 of Cave Spring’s 595 registered voters cast ballots in their City Council election, a turnout of 14.6 percent.

Rome’s city elections were canceled because the races were uncontested.

This year, six of the nine seats on the Rome City Commission are up for grabs and the races are contested.

State and Local Government

Former Augusta Mayor Bob Young has dropped out of the 2016 Repblican primary for State House District 123.

Young’s July announcement that he’d challenge Republican incumbent Barbara Sims in next year’s election created a mini-domino effect in Augusta politics. The next day Sims announced she’d retire at the end of her term next year. And a few hours later, Wright McLeod, an Augusta lawyer and Republican candidate for the 12th District U.S. House seat in 2012, announced he’d run for the seat, too.

Young said he’s comfortable with his decision not to run because his top three campaign issues have been accomplished, the first being the unpopular name of Georgia Regents University being changed to Augusta University. His second issue of eliminating the state income tax is a growing movement, and the third is that the district will have new representation.

Meanwhile last week, Dr. Mark Newton, the chairman and medical director of the Emergency Department at Doctors Hospital in Augusta, announced he’ll seek the 123rd District seat. Newton is also founder and CEO of MedNow Urgent Care Centers, which has three locations in Richmond and Columbia counties.

The Marietta Daily Journal spoke to local legislators about proposals to bring gambling to the Peach State.

None of Cobb’s six state senators or its 15 state representatives are part of the committee, which is scheduled to present recommendations on how to better fund the scholarship program by Dec. 1.

State Sen. Judson Hill, R-east Cobb, said it’s too early in the process for him to make a decision.

“Expanding gambling and horse racing in Georgia is an issue that needs further extensive study to determine the possible impact and consequences,” Hill said. “It’s premature to make a determination about such a major initiative for our state, especially when only two study committee meetings by a few legislators have been held on the topic.”

State Rep. Don Parsons, R-north Cobb, expressed a similar sentiment.

“A legislative study committee is just beginning to look at the issue of casino gambling,” Parsons said. “It has not been debated and reported out of any standing committee in the Georgia Legislature, and to my knowledge there have been no hearings before a standing committee. This is an issue wherein economic development and individual liberty will have to be weighed against the potential problems that an expansion of gambling currently allowed by Georgia law might bring to our state.”

State Rep. Stacey Evans, D-Smyrna, has sponsored several bills to expand HOPE grants and scholarships and said she supports both casinos and horse racing coming to Georgia.

“I support this measure — and am a cosponsor of the legislation — because it will provide a new revenue stream to support the HOPE grant, HOPE scholarship and pre-K,” Evans said.

Evans is referring to a proposal from Savannah Republican Ron Stephens filed late in the 2015 legislative session that she cosponsored: a constitutional amendment allowing a maximum of six casinos in the state but no more than two within a region.

The candidates for Savannah Council District One met to discuss issues with voters, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Alderman Van Johnson is running for his fourth term on the council, while Bernetta Lanier is challenging him for the seat.

Both candidates sat down recently to discuss their priorities for the district and the city. In addition to crime, issues included projects funded by the special purpose local option sales tax (SPLOST), the performance of the city manager, the proposed Canal District and new arena and gambling on Hutchinson Island.

State legislators may weigh-in again on the proposed Kinder Morgan pipeline, which is controversial in Savannah.

Transportation Commissioner Russell McMurry ruled that Kinder Morgan had not proved why there was a public necessity for the pipeline that would justify granting the company power to seize land from unwilling owners, a legal authority lawyers call eminent domain.

And Kinder Morgan attorneys quickly filed suit, setting the stage for a hearing Nov. 13 in Fulton County Superior Court.

That date makes it possible for Judge Kimberly M. Esmond Adams to rule before the General Assembly convenes in January, leaving an opening for lawmakers to act if they see the need.

Legislators say they’re deciding what their next move is.

“There was discussion back when this was hot and before the ruling about dealing with this in the legislature this year. That has kind of dropped off the radar,” said Rep. Jesse Petrea, R-Savannah.

For now. Burns will call House Republicans this fall to set the majority party’s agenda.

“When we get together to start to talk issues, I suspect this will be one of them,” Petrea said.

The Senate majority caucus, also controlled by Republicans, meets Oct. 12 to have a similar discussion.

Diverging diamond bridges in Gwinnett County are being called a success, so you can probably look forward to more of them.

It’s been more than two years since the Pleasant Hill diverging diamond interchange opened and officials are now sharing data on its effect on traffic in the area.

Those figures include a 20 percent drop in accidents and a 51 percent drop in the number of times cars had to stop between Club Drive and Satellite Boulevard, according to Allen and Gwinnett County Transportation Director Alan Chapman. There’s also been at least a 40 percent decrease in delays, they said.

“That is a huge improvement,” Chapman said.

Cherokee County Commissioners will likely approve a $209 million FY 2016 budget when they meet on October 6th.

The Muscogee County Board of Education will consider tonight whether to adopt new financial reporting requirements for discretional spending by the Superintendent.

Top Army Generals are discussing how gender roles in combat and standards for soldiers interact after two female soldiers passed Ranger School at Fort Benning.

Dawson County Sheriff’s Office Major Jeff Johnson announced he will run for the top job in the open seat election next year.

A veteran lawman and current Major in the Dawson County Sheriff’s Office has announced plans to run for the top job in the department.

With nearly 23 years of service, Johnson has experience in detention, patrol, courts, investigations, specialized assignments, training, internal affairs, and community programs. He currently serves as the detention commander as well as a departmental firearms and defensive tactics instructor.

“The office of the sheriff is a complex entity,” Johnson said in announcing his candidacy.  “There are many components with many different functions and responsibilities. Your sheriff must be well experienced in these areas in order to effectively lead and command. To make the informed and educated decisions regarding our community, a sheriff must possess the first hand knowledge and ability to assess these issues. Otherwise, he or she is simply relying on the advice of others.”

Johnson says his motivation to run for the office is simple. “As a county resident for over 31 years, I have a vested interest in our people, our county, and our safety. This is where I work, where I worship and where I play.”

Dalton City Council will consider whether to allow road sodas alcoholic drinks to be carried around downtown.

Council members are scheduled to meet Monday at 6 p.m. in City Hall. On the agenda is an ordinance that would allow licensed restaurants and bars within the downtown Dalton business district to sell alcoholic beverages up to 16 ounces in a plastic or paper cup to patrons who could then carry them outside within the business district. That district is bordered on the north by Waugh Street, on the east by the railway track, on the south by Morris Street and on the west by Thornton Avenue.

Currently, patrons may only drink poured beverages inside a bar or restaurant or in any outdoor areas they have.

The change was requested by the Downtown Dalton Development Authority, which found that cities that have areas that serve as hubs for dining and entertainment allow patrons to move from one establishment to another with a drink in their hands.

Georgia Department of Natural Resources Corporal Jason Roberson was named National Association of State Boating Law Administrators officer of the year.

Roberson was named the top boating officer in Georgia back in February and was later made a national finalist following an award by the regional boating association.

“I can’t think of a more deserving officer to receive this prestigious award,” said DNR Law Enforcement Director Col. Eddie Henderson in a news release. “When Jason is in the boat, he is the best of the best when it comes to boating enforcement.”

Lake Lanier has served as Roberson’s patrol area, working with DNR for the past 15 years.

Of utmost importance, he said, has been making sure motorists and boat operators that are under the influence of drugs and alcohol are removed.

“Getting those impaired operators off the waters and off the highways is probably one of the most important things we can do,” he said.

The Eleventh District GAGOP will hold a marksmanship event on Friday, October 2, 2015 from 4-8 PM at Adventure Outdoors, one of GaPundit’s favorite stores.

Registration: $45 for marksmanship event, plus reception

$10 for reception only in advance. $15 at door

Click here to get your tickets online.

21
Sep

Adoptable Georgia Dogs for September 21, 2015

15d-1625

15d-1625 is a little female Shepherd or Hound mix puppy who is available for adoption from Floyd County Animal Control in Rome, GA.

15d-1605

15d-1605 is a little male Shepherd or Hound mix puppy who is available for adoption from Floyd County Animal Control in Rome, GA.

15d-1599-1604

15d 1599 through 1625 are six little Labrador Retriever mix puppies who are available for adoption from Floyd County Animal Control in Rome, GA.

20
Sep

Rep. Stacey Evans: ‘The HOPE grant should equal full tuition’ – Atlanta Magazine

Four years ago, state lawmakers altered HOPE, the merit-based program that uses Georgia Lottery revenue to fund scholarships and grants for prospective college students, because the program was projected to go broke during the recession. The changes they made—reducing how many students qualified and how much they received—are now back up for reconsideration this week as lawmakers listen to casino proponents argue how legalizing table games and slot machines across the state could provide the state with up to $1.5 billion in additional funding for education, healthcare, transportation, and other needs.

State Rep. Stacey Evans, a Democrat from Smyrna who’s played an active role in shaping HOPE, is keeping a close eye on the study committee that’s weighing whether casinos should come to Georgia. In a recent interview, Evans chatted with us about how she would like to see the program retooled, the potential role of casinos in shoring up the state’s academic scholarship program, and why the state would benefit from providing some students with needs-based aid.

What changes would you like to see with the HOPE scholarship, which funds a portion of tuition for high school students who graduate with a 3.0 GPA; the Zell Miller Scholarship, which covers full tuition for those with a 3.7 GPA and a 1200 SAT; and the HOPE grant, which offers full technical college tuition for those with a 2.0 GPA?

The HOPE grant should equal full tuition, and right now it’s just a percentage. The grant is cheaper than the scholarship. It’s needed because we’ve got a skills gap in a lot of the areas where we’re missing the jobs, and unemployed folks are in areas where they can be trained at technical colleges. It’s not all of them, but it’s a lot of them. It’s a real good way to get students in the door, get them out, and get them employed. There’s a $21 million-$23 million price tag—all lottery funds. The lottery is healthy enough to do that with nothing changing.

via Rep. Stacey Evans: ‘The HOPE grant should equal full tuition’ – Atlanta Magazine.

20
Sep

Yes, People Are Placing Bets On Politics. Here’s How | Georgia Public Broadcasting

When Donald Trump attacked Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., early in Wednesday night’s Republican presidential debate, the crowd at Washington D.C.’s Union Pub roared.

“Yeah! Boom!” yelled one guy in the packed crowd, as Trump said he “never attacked [Paul] on his looks, and believe me, there’s plenty of subject matter right there.”

One person in the crowd wasn’t so thrilled, though. It’s not because Michael Burleson was backing Paul, but because he had money riding on the situation. Trading on a website called PredictIt, Burleson had wagered that Trump would not be the candidate with the most speaking time.

Before the debate began, Burleson explained he was strategically zigging where the market zagged.

“Everyone in the market is favoring that he’s going to speak the most, and I bet against that,” Burleson explained before the debate started. “I feel like I could make some good money.”

After the Paul exchange, he wasn’t so sure.

via Yes, People Are Placing Bets On Politics. Here’s How | Georgia Public Broadcasting.

20
Sep

DeKalb lays groundwork for sales tax vote | www.ajc.com

DeKalb County is preparing for a March 1 referendum to raise sales taxes by 1 percentage point, with proceeds paying for road resurfacing, transportation and infrastructure projects.

DeKalb solicited firms this month to develop a project list and organize a public input process for a special purpose local option sales tax (SPLOST). The county asked contractors to submit quotes under $50,000.

Then voters will decide next spring whether to increase their sales taxes to a total of 8 percent under a proposal that would also lower property tax bills under DeKalb’s existing homestead option sales tax (HOST).

The change would allocate HOST distributions entirely for the purpose of reducing residential property tax bills. Currently, 80 percent of HOST funds go toward property tax relief, and the rest is distributed to city and county governments.

Adjusting the HOST formula would result in about $21 million worth of additional discounts on residential property tax bills each year.

Because DeKalb lacks dedicated infrastructure funding through a SPLOST, it’s at a competitive disadvantage to counties like Gwinnett and Cobb, according to the county’s solicitation.

via DeKalb lays groundwork for sales tax vote | www.ajc.com.