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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 13, 2017

President George Washington returned to the City of Washington on November 13, 1789, ending the first Presidential tour.

On the same day, Benjamin Franklin wrote a letter to his friend Jean-Baptiste LeRoy, in which he said,

“Our new Constitution is now established, and has an appearance that promises permanency; but in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”

On November 13, 1865, the United States government issued the first Gold Certificates.

The Georgia General Assembly adopted a resolution against ratifying the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution on November 13, 1866.

In deciding not to ratify the 14th Amendment, the General Assembly adopted a committee report explaining that: “1. If Georgia is not a State composing part of the Federal Government known as the Government of the United States, amendments to the Constitution of the United States are not properly before this body. 2. If Georgia is a State composing part of the Federal Government … , these these amendments are not proposed according to the requirements of the Federal Constitution, and are proposed in such a manner as to forbid the legislature from discussing the merits of the amendments without an implied surrender of the rights of the State.”

Excavation began for a new Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta on the site of the former City Hall/Fulton County Courthouse on November 13, 1884.

Walt Disney released “Fantasia” on November 13, 1940.

Georgia Governor and Constitutional Commission Chair Ellis Arnall moved that a home rule provision be included in the new draft of the state Constitution and his motion passed 8-7 on November 13, 1944.

On November 13, 1956, the United States Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling that struck down a law requiring segregation on buses in Montgomery, Alabama.

Ronald Reagan announced his campaign for the Republican nomination for President of the United States on November 13, 1979.

“The people have not created this disaster in our economy; the federal government has. It has overspent, overestimated, and over regulated. It has failed to deliver services within the revenues it should be allowed to raise from taxes. In the thirty-four years since the end of World War II, it has spent 448 billion dollars more than it has collection in taxes – 448 billion dollars of printing press money, which has made every dollar you earn worth less and less. At the same time, the federal government has cynically told us that high taxes on business will in some way “solve” the problem and allow the average taxpayer to pay less. Well, business is not a taxpayer it is a tax collector. Business has to pass its tax burden on to the customer as part of the cost of doing business. You and I pay the taxes imposed on business every time we go to the store. Only people pay taxes and it is political demagoguery or economic illiteracy to try and tell us otherwise.”

“The key to restoring the health of the economy lies in cutting taxes. At the same time, we need to get the waste out of federal spending. This does not mean sacrificing essential services, nor do we need to destroy the system of benefits which flow to the poor, the elderly, the sick and the handicapped. We have long since committed ourselves, as a people, to help those among us who cannot take care of themselves. But the federal government has proven to be the costliest and most inefficient provider of such help we could possibly have.”

“I believe this nation hungers for a spiritual revival; hungers to once again see honor placed above political expediency; to see government once again the protector of our liberties, not the distributor of gifts and privilege. Government should uphold and not undermine those institutions which are custodians of the very values upon which civilization is founded—religion, education and, above all, family. Government cannot be clergyman, teacher and parent. It is our servant, beholden to us.”

“We who are privileged to be Americans have had a rendezvous with destiny since the moment in 1630 when John Winthrop, standing on the deck of the tiny Arbella off the coast of Massachusetts, told the little band of pilgrims, “We shall be as a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us so that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken and so cause Him to withdraw His present help from us, we shall be made a story and a byword throughout the world.”

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial was dedicated on November 13, 1982 in Washington, DC.

On November 13, 2006, groundbreaking began for a memorial to Martin Luther King, Jr. on the National Mall in Washington, DC.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

President Hillary Clinton brings her blamestorming tour to Atlanta today.

Hillary Clinton is headed to Atlanta on Monday for an hourlong conversation as part of her book tour.

Her visit to the Fox Theatre is part of a 16-city nationwide tour where she’s mixed self-deprecating humor with analysis of her 2016 defeat to Republican Donald Trump.

The tour is part of ongoing Democratic hand-wringing about last year’s vote, marked by new questions about whether the Democratic National Committee favored her campaign over Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ insurgent bid.

Stephe Koontz became the only openly-transgender person currently elected to local office in Georgia.

When Stephe Koontz knocked on doors ahead of the Doraville City Council election, she was pleased to find people who wanted to talk about potholes and code enforcement, not her gender identity.

Koontz likes to stick to the issues of local government — she lists ensuring the city’s growth while maintaining the hometown feel as what spurred her to run — but she is proud of the bit of ground she’s breaking.

“One of the reasons I ran is, I feel transgender youths need a role model and to be able to see that they do have a future,” she said Thursday. “I’ve been getting dozens of messages since the election from parents of trans youth who are in tears. I tear up every time I read one.”

Koontz is believed to be the second trans person elected to office in Georiga.

Michelle Bruce was sued over her candidacy for the Riverdale City Council in 2007. The trans woman had first been elected unopposed in 2003, but an opponent to her re-election filed the suit, claiming she had misled voters about her identity, though other officials said it was well-known around town that she was transgender.

The Georgia Supreme Court eventually sided with Bruce, but she had already lost the election.

Voter turnout surged in Loganville over past years.

More than 1,100 voters cast ballots in Loganville’s city elections Tuesday, surpassing the number of ballots cast when the mayor’s seat was contested in both 2010 and 2013, according to city officials.

City spokesman Robbie Schwartz said 1,148 of the city’s 7,876 registered voters cast ballots in this year’s election. By comparison, 1,011 ballots were cast in the 2010 election and 780 ballots were cast in the 2013 election.

Niko’s Wine Corner in Snellville is urging a referendum to allow package liquor sales in the Gwinnett County municipality.

The shop’s Scott Danos said the store wants to expand into packaged liquor sales. He also said state law requires a referendum be held in the city on whether Snellville officials can issue permits for those sales to take place.

And the referendum has to be requested via a petition signed by a certain number of registered voters — the number being equal to 35 percent of number of people registered to vote in the city’s last election.

Hence the reason why residents will begin seeing people asking for their signatures.

“We work at a high-end wine and beer store in Snellville and want to expand the liquor side of it, so to do that, we have to jump through these hoops,” Danos said. “So we’re beginning. We’re paying people. We’re hiring people to go door-to-door. We’ve already begun this.”

If the referendum passes, the City Council will have the authority to determine how many packaged liquor sales licenses will be handed out each year. Officials at Niko’s Wine Corner are optimistic about their chances of eventually getting a license though.

“We wouldn’t be doing this if we didn’t think we’ve have a good chance,” Danos said.

U.S. Representative Karen Handel (R-Roswell) did a Q&A with Georgia Trend.

GT: What would you like to see in a tax reform bill?

Handel: Making sure corporate relief is coupled with individual relief, because I believe firmly that middle-class Americans and middle-class Georgians need relief. Individual relief is how we ensure that smaller companies and companies organized as S corps and LLCs also are able to benefit from lower rates.

GT: What else?

Handel: Permanent repeal of the death tax. Relief for companies to be able to repatriate dollars that are sitting overseas, to get those dollars back here on the ground in the U.S. That’s investment, and investment means jobs.

GT: It sounds as though you are comfortable with the work of the House.

Handel: Making legislation is not so different than at the statehouse. The real work is not all that sexy and interesting – it’s just hard. When we take up the appropriations bills, instead of all 12 individually, we’re taking them as a package, which I think is going to help the process. There are going to be a lot of amendments. Several human trafficking bills will go to the floor.

GT: You are co-sponsoring one of those human trafficking bills, aren’t you?

Handel: My friend [Missouri Republican Rep.] Amy Wagner’s bill. It will give local law enforcement a little more latitude in how they can investigate and try to make the arrest case for predators on social media. You can imagine some of the First Amendment challenges and privacy challenges. It’s a really, really solid piece of legislation. I’d like to think it would have some fairly significant number of Democrats supporting it, so it’s a bipartisan bill.

State Senator Josh McKoon will introduce legislation to change Special Election “jungle” rules.

State Sen. Josh McKoon, a Republican candidate for secretary of state, said he’ll file legislation next week that would require both parties to nominate their own candidates in a special election.

It was spurred by the results in Tuesday’s vote to replace Republican Hunter Hill, who vacated the Atlanta-based seat to run for governor. The district was becoming increasingly competitive — Hill only narrowly carried it last year — but few predicted the two top finishers would be Democrats.

That’s exactly what happened with a field of five Republicans splitting the GOP vote, while the two leading Democrats — Jaha Howard and Jen Jordan — carved up the Democratic support. That helped them finish atop the field, even though Republicans narrowly outvoted Democrats overall.

McKoon’s measure would establish party primaries in special elections rather than employing the wide-open races that state law now requires. He called Tuesday’s results “an injustice to the citizens of this state to be denied fair representation.”

The State Committee on Compensation has recommended pay raises for state legislators.

State lawmakers would receive $12,000 raises in 2019 under a proposal by a compensation committee that is also recommending that statewide elected officials and the House speaker see their pay bumped up by $20,000 to $43,000.

The latest compensation committee recommended that legislative pay rise to $29,908. The lieutenant governor, who serves as president of the Senate, would be paid $135,000, rather than the current $91,000.

Ralston is not running for higher office. He, or whoever is speaker in 2019, would see the pay jump from $99,000 to $135,000. Probably just as importantly, the panel recommended the person holding the post be allowed to receive a pension from the State Retirement System.

Other statewide elected officials would receive raises of between about $20,000 and $26,000. The state attorney general’s salary, for instance, would rise from $139,000 to $165,611. The secretary of state’s pay would go to $147,128 from $123,637.

State Rep. Emory Dunahoo (R-Gainesville) writes in favor of religious liberty legislation.

We are being sold a bill of goods that says we must go along in order to compete; we have to be friendly to draw these corporations to provide jobs, we must grow as a state economically and can’t commit economic suicide. Many people in Georgia like our values the way they are and wish them to stay this way.

We are allowing small groups of people in our society to overrule the majority. Why is it that if a conservative statement is made that it is intolerant and if an opposing statement is made it is called the right to free speech? Why are there so many double standards? Where has common sense gone? People find offense in every form, where will it end?

Our founding fathers limited religion in government not because they were opposed to religion but because they didn’t want any one religion to come into power over another religion. After all, that was why they left the Church of England, not because they were agnostics. I truly believe they never thought we would not be a Christian nation and could have never envisioned the path we are currently traveling down.

Judas sold his soul for 30 pieces of silver for what he thought was right. God help us if we make the same mistake.

 The Hall County Board of Tax Assessors is suing the County Board of Equalization over 16 assessments made this year.

The Savannah Morning News reports that this year’s baby snakes are now out in the area.

For those passionate about snakes, discovering a brood of newborn pit vipers is the Holy Grail. A few years ago, while conducting a gopher tortoise survey on a remote part of Fort Stewart, I noticed some colorful, rubbery-appearing objects coiled on saw palmetto fronds 2 to 4 feet off the ground. I had stumbled into a litter of timber rattlesnakes.

I hollered to my tortoise survey colleagues, “Watch your step, these are brand-new; Mom has to be close.”

Sure enough, as the little vipers began dropping from their palmetto perches like so many fanged grenades (upon hitting the ground they slithered, all eight of them, into an old armadillo burrow) one of my colleagues spotted her. She was on the ground, one big step to my right, well-hidden under hanging fronds, curled tight as rattlers are wont to do.

I’m so glad I didn’t read that until after returning from a short trip to Coastal Georgia.

Brunswick officials considering creation of a Tax Allocation District are up against an approaching deadline.

The tax allocation district proposed for the city’s historic core, its waterfront and Gloucester Street and U.S Highway 17 corridors must be approved by the county commission and school board by the end of the year, if they choose to participate.

City commissioners approved the plan Oct. 4. The county commission and school board will vote on the matter Nov. 21 and Dec. 12, respectively.

At stake is whether or not the school board and county commission will contribute future incremental tax growth from properties within the district.

The school board heard about the proposal in October and is still considering the issue, said board spokesman Jim Weidhaas last week.

County commissioners will hear about the proposal at a work session later this month, County Manager Alan Ours said.

Cobb County Commissioners will consider fee increases at their Tuesday meeting.

Smyrna voters will choose between city council candidates Travis Lindley and Maryline Blackburn in a December 5 runoff.

Lindley picked up nearly 32.2 percent of the vote, but below the 50 percent threshold needed to avoid the runoff. Blackburn garnered nearly 28.8 percent of the vote in the five-person race.

Albany Commission Ward 2 incumbent Bobby Coleman meets challenger Matt Fuller in a runoff election.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 10, 2017

Georgia and American History

Today we celebrate the birth of the United States Marine Corps, which traces its lineage to the Continental Marines, formed by a resolution adopted by the Second Continental Congress on November 10, 1775. Here, former Georgia Governor and United States Senator Zell Miller tells of his decision to join the Marine Corps and the change it made in his life.

The first twenty-three cadets at Virginia Military Institute began their service on November 11, 1839.

On November 12, 1889, the University of Georgia was opened to white female students.

On November 11, 1918, word reached Georgia that an armistice was signed between the Allies and Germany, ending World War One. Georgia Governor Hugh Dorsery declared a state holiday. Armistice Day, marking the end of World War I, was first celebrated on November 11, 1919 and is celebrated on November 11th every year. In 1945, the idea was put forth to expand Armistice Day to honor all veterans and in 1954, Congress made the change to “Veterans Day” official.

The Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery was dedicated on November 11, 1921.

On Armistice Day, in the presence of President Harding and other government, military, and international dignitaries, the unknown soldier was buried with highest honors beside the Memorial Amphitheater. As the soldier was lowered to his final resting place, a two-inch layer of soil brought from France was placed below his coffin so that he might rest forever atop the earth on which he died.

The Tomb of the Unknowns is considered the most hallowed grave at Arlington Cemetery, America’s most sacred military cemetery. The tombstone itself, designed by sculptor Thomas Hudson Jones, was not completed until 1932, when it was unveiled bearing the description “Here Rests in Honored Glory an American Soldier Known but to God.” The World War I unknown was later joined by the unidentified remains of soldiers from America’s other major 20th century wars and the tomb was put under permanent guard by special military sentinels.

A monument to Nancy Hart was dedicated in Hartwell, in Hart County, Georgia, on November 10, 1931. Hart was an active Patriot in the American Revolution.

On November 10, 1934, two years after his election as President, FDR made his 28th trip to Georgia.

In 1938, Congress recognized November 11th as Armistice Day, making it a legal holiday, and in 1954, at the urging of veterans, Congress renamed the holiday “Veterans Day.”

On November 11, 1942, the draft age was lowered to 18 and raised to 37. At the time, African-Americans were excluded from the draft over concerns about a racially-diverse military.

United States Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-Moultrie) was born on November 10, 1943. Chambliss was elected to Congress in 1994 as part of the “Republican Revolution” led by Newt Gingrich.

The iron ore freighter SS Edmund Fitzgerald sunk in a winter storm on Lake Superior on November 10, 1975.

The “General Lee” first left the ground, using a ramp to clear a police car, during filming of “The Dukes of Hazzard” on November 11, 1978.

Ronald Reagan became the first President of the United States to address the Japanese Diet in Tokyo on November 11, 1983.

On November 11, 1988, the Georgia Vietnam Memorial was dedicated in front of the Sloppy Floyd state government building across the street from the Georgia State Capitol.

On November 11, 1997, a monument to Georgia’s World War I veterans was dedicated, also in front of the Sloppy Floyd building.

On November 11, 2013, the Atlanta Braves announced they would move from downtown Atlanta to Cobb County.

Former State School Superintendent Linda Schrenko was indicted by federal prosecutors on November 10, 2004 on eighteen counts.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Nathan Deal signed an Executive Order authorizing the demolition of the Georgia Dome.

We’ll be back Monday morning with the latest Georgia Political news, but are truncating our coverage today for reasons I’ll explain on Monday. I hope you all have a great weekend and take a moment to be thankful for our veterans, find a celebration to attend in their honor, or just tell a veteran in your life that you love them.


Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for November 10, 2017


Baloo is a young male Coonhound who is available for adoption from The Humane Society of South Coastal Georgia in Brunswick, GA.

CALLING ALL HOUND LOVERS – Baloo the 9-month-old Coonhound is looking for a home where he can sing the night away. If you are interested in adopting this southern gentleman, be prepared for that famous Coonhound bark and incredible sense of smell. I have a Coonhound mix at home and they’re wonderful dogs, perfect for a family or individual.


Noah is a young male Basset Hound & American Bulldog mix puppy who is available for adoption from Glynn County Animal Services in Brunswick, GA.


Mork (above, male) and his sister Mindy (below, female) are mixed-breed low rider dogs who are available for adoption from HART of McIntosh County (Humane Animal Resource Team) in Darien, GA.

Mork and Mindy are “joined at the hip.” These two little orphans have traveled many miles and overcome incredible obstacles together. Their mother, Tabitha, gave birth to them and eight more babies in an old station wagon almost two years ago. The car was “home” to the pups and their homeless human Dad!



Georgia Politics, Campaign, and Elections for November 9, 2017

General William Tecumseh Sherman issued Special Field Order No. 120 on November 9, 1864.

Headquarters Military Division of the Mississippi, in the Field, Kingston, Georgia, November 9, 1864

5. To corps commanders alone is intrusted the power to destroy mills, houses, cotton-gins, etc.; and for them this general principle is laid down: In districts and neighborhoods where the army is unmolested, no destruction of such property should be permitted; but should guerrillas or bushwhackers molest our march, or should the inhabitants burn bridges, obstruct roads, or otherwise manifest local hostility, then army commanders should order and enforce a devastation more or less relentless, according to the measure of such hostility.

6. As for horses, mules, wagons, etc., belonging to the inhabitants, the cavalry and artillery may appropriate freely and without limit; discriminating, however, between the rich, who are usually hostile, and the poor and industrious, usually neutral or friendly. Foraging-parties may also take mules or horses, to replace the jaded animals of their trains, or to serve as pack-mules for the regiments of brigades. In all foraging, of whatever kind, the parties engaged will refrain abusive or threatening language, and may, where the officer in command thinks proper, given written certificates of the facts, but no receipts; and they will endeavor to leave with each family a reasonable portion for their maintenance.

7. Negroes who are able-bodied and can be of service to the several columns may be taken along; but each army commander will bear in mind that the question of supplies is a very important one, and this his first duty is to see to those who bear arms.

8. The organization, at once, of a good pioneer battalion for each army corps, composed if possible of Negroes, should be attended to. This battalion should follow the advance-guard, repair roads and double them if possible, so that the columns will not be delayed after reaching bad places.

Former Confederate General John B. Gordon was sworn-in as Governor of Georgia on November 9, 1886.

The next day, November 9, 1932, President-elect FDR addressed a national broadcast to the American people and mentioned that he would spend Thanksgiving at his “second home” in Georgia.

On November 9, 1938, Kristallnacht began the organized destruction and looting of Jewish businesses and homes in Munich, Germany.

On November 9, 1989, the former East Germany announced that citizens could cross the border to West Germany. That night, crowds began tearing down sections of the wall that divided the city.

Georgia Politics, Campaign, and Elections

Governor Nathan Deal issued an Executive Order creating and appointing members to the Governor’s Complete County Council in preparation for the next decennial Census.

The Georgia Judicial Nominating Commission has opened nominations for a vacancy on the Superior Court of the Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit, which was created by the resignation of the Honorable Frank J. Jordan, Jr. The Chattahoochee Judical Circuit comprises Chattahoochee, Harris, Marion, Muscogee, Talbot, and Taylor Counties. From the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer:

The vacant job will draw interest from a number of prominent local attorneys. At least six contacted by the Ledger-Enquirer this week said they had some interest in the Superior Court position, one of seven such jobs in the circuit.

[State Court Judge Benjamin S.] Richardson, District Attorney Julia Slater, Assistant Chief District Attorney Alonza Whitaker, Juvenile Court Judge Joey Loudermilk, former assistant district attorney LaRae Moore and criminal defense attorney Stacey Jackson said they were interested in the opening.

“If the opportunity presented itself, I would certainly explore it,” Richardson said Wednesday. “I think it’s a awesome opportunity and I can see why so many people would be interested.”

Slater, a Democrat, was on the short list submitted by the Judicial Nominating Commission to Deal, a Republican, in 2013.

“I would certainly like to be a Superior Court judge at some point,” Slater said on Tuesday. “I know the posting has just gone up, but I would be interested if I were nominated.”

Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp‘s office has opened an investigation against Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed.

Sources told only Channel 2 Investigative Reporter Aaron Diamant that the investigation started after a complaint about a video posted on Reed’s Instagram and Facebook accounts.

The video, which appears to be filmed outside Fickett Elementary School on Rux Road, showed Reed, his wife and his daughter.

n the video, the Reed family urges people to vote and announces that they voted for Keisha Lance Bottoms.

“I’m Mayor Kasim Reed, here in Southwest Atlanta at Fickett Elementary School. And my wife, Sarah-Elisabeth, and my daughter, Maria Kristan, and I, we just voted for the next mayor of Atlanta, Keisha Lance Bottoms,” Reed says in the video.

According to Georgia law: “No person shall solicit votes in any manner or by any means or method on any day in which ballots are being cast within 150 feet of the outer edge of any building within which a polling place is established.”

The video on Reed’s accounts seems to show Reed and his family within that 150-foot limit.

In a written statement, a Secretary of State spokesperson told Channel 2 Action News: “We received a complaint yesterday regarding statements that Mayor Reed allegedly made at his polling place. We review every complaint that we receive, and we have opened a State Election Board investigation into the matter. We cannot say anything further about this pending investigation at this time.”

A violation of the 150-foot rule would be a misdemeanor.

There’s a lot I dislike about the way Mayor Reed has conducted his administration, but this is pretty small potatoes.

Georgia cities have elected at least four new African-American Mayors. From

African Americans were elected mayor for 1st time:
Statesboro GA, Jonathan McCollar
Milledgeville GA, Mary Parham Copelan
Cairo GA, Booker Gainor

Mary Parham-Copelan was also the first woman elected Mayor of Milledgeville.

Norcross elected Craig Gordon as Mayor.

The city of Norcross made longtime councilman Craig Newton Gwinnett’s first-ever black mayor during Tuesday’s election. Newton was not challenged.

And in Loganville — which is in both Gwinnett and Walton counties — former councilman Rey Martinez roughly doubled the unofficial vote total of opponent Donna B. Jones. It’s believed he will become Gwinnett’s first-ever Latino mayor.

Martinez, a U.S. Navy veteran and restaurateur, made a name for himself last fall by helping lead several Georgia rallies for then-candidates Donald Trump and Mike Pence.

Gwinnett is a majority-minority county, meaning it has more non-white residents than white ones. But it has never seen a non-white candidate elected to the county commission or school board.

The AJC writes that Republican state legislators may consider changing district lines for the three legislative districts that went from GOP control to Democratic control this week.

Majority parties — in Georgia that’s the Republicans — don’t like losing seats, and they could file legislation during the session to redraw the district boundaries of at least some of the new Democratic lawmakers.

They could, for instance, add white, conservative neighborhoods to the districts, subtracting Democratic and minority voters, in hopes of making them more Republican by election time 2018.

Democrats did similar voter switcheroos to Republicans when they were in charge, and barely a post-election session goes by without the General Assembly at least rumbling about redrawing lines — most typically to protect incumbents.

Our House Republican Caucus and Georgia GOP are already working to reclaim those seats lost last night in next year’s elections, when a greater percentage of Georgians will go to the polls,” said House Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge. Ralston didn’t mention any changes in districts, but he said the newly won Democratic seats will be the top targets of House Republicans.

Georgia Democrats think those seat flips augur great things for the 2018 elections, but they don’t agree on why or how.

The Georgia results were part of a national wave that defeated Republican gubernatorial candidates in Virginia and New Jersey. And with a wide-open race for governor next year, Democrats Stacey Abrams and Stacey Evans trumpeted the results as validation of their strategies.

Supporters of Abrams said Ralph Northam’s victory in Virginia confirms their approach to the election, which hinges on energizing the party’s base. Her campaign said it was “proof that the momentum is on our side going into 2018.”

Evans’ backers said Northam’s success in districts carried by Trump, coupled with the Democratic wins in Georgia GOP strongholds, shows there’s an opening for Democrats like her who aim for disaffected Republican voters.

“While every race is important, only 1 percent of seats in the House changed hands between parties,” Ralston said in a statement. “I would caution against reading too much into such a minor shift.”

Some Republicans didn’t spin defeats late Tuesday in House districts covering parts of Athens and Watkinsville. Trump had carried both districts in November, and Republicans mounted solid and well-financed contenders for the seats.

“It’s a testament to the importance of a party contesting every seat possible,” Republican operative Todd Rehm said. “Kudos to Georgia Democrats for their recruitment efforts.”

He added that he’s not sure what precedent the votes set, since special elections are imperfect predictors of midterm votes. But he warned that the results will likely spur a new Democratic mission to contest all possible elections, even in deeply conservative areas.

Troy Brumbalow defeated 47-year incumbent Cumming Mayor Ford Gravitt.

Local business owner and Forsyth County native Troy Brumbalow defeated incumbent Mayor H. Ford Gravitt in Tuesday’s voting. Gravitt, 75, was first elected mayor in 1970 and has served in the post ever since.

Brumbalow, 46, received 563 votes, compared to 388 for Gravitt, according to county election results.

Brumbalow campaigned on returning a “small town feel” to Cumming, advocating for revitalizing downtown and the possibility of creating a city-center type development.

Gravitt underwent cancer surgery in the spring and was rumored to be retiring from his long-held post. But saying he’d received a clean bill of health, he announced he would seek another term. Prior to becoming mayor, he served from 1967-1970 as a member of Cumming City Council.

Fifty years of service to the City of Cumming is pretty impressive.

Summerville voters passed referenda to allow Sunday sales.

Summerville voters passed alcohol referendums, approving Sunday package and mixed-drink sales in the city beginning Dec. 17.

Polk, Gordon and Walker counties all approved sales tax packages and Euharlee will be adding four homestead exemptions.

Cartersville Mayor Matt Santini was easily returned to office, taking more than 90 percent of the vote over challenger Barbara Jackson. Cary Roth edged out Joey Pogue for the sole contested city council seat, 361 to 339.

Just under 8 percent of Gordon County’s voters showed up to overwhelmingly pass the proposed special purpose, local option sales tax package. Among the many projects are a fire station in Sugar Valley, an agricultural center, trails, recreation, a dog park and a morgue.

Resaca also will have a runoff for a town council seat. Frontrunner Michael Austin barely missed an outright win, with 49 percent of the vote. He’ll face Randy Barron, who got 30.6 percent. Mitch Reed is out, with just 20.4 percent.

Walker County will start collecting a 1-cent transportation sales tax on April 1, 2018. The TSPLOST levy for road projects will run for five years. It won approval from 70 percent of the voters, 2,622 to 1,122.

Colquitt County voters approved a penny Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (T-SPLOST).

A little more than 9 percent of registered voters turned out, with 1,220, or 65.84 percent, voting yes, and 633 no votes cast.

The Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax was the only countywide question on the ballot.

The transportation sales tax, which will run for five years, was the second 1 percent sales tax approved this year by county voters. In March they voted to extend for six years an existing Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax that funds projects in the county and its municipalities.

The transportation tax, likewise, will fund projects in the cities and on county-maintained roadways.

County officials expect the estimated $15 million share it will receive to allow for resurfacing some 170 miles of roads.

Thomas County voters approved an extension of the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST).

SPLOST was approved by a 3,014-1,045 margin, capturing 74.3 percent of the votes.

The penny tax is expected to generate $42 million in revenue, The seven municipalities and the county would split the tax’s proceeds, based on population.

“I’m relieved to get this behind us,” said Thomas County Commission Chairman Ken Hickey. “That’s one thing we have to worry about for our future plans. It is very much needed for the maintenance of our road system and other projects.”

In other elections on the ballots Tuesday night, voters in Boston approved sales of alcohol by the drink and by the package on Sunday.

Tift County voters also passed a SPLOST.

[Tift County's] SPLOST passed by roughly 86 percent with 820 votes in favor and 131 opposed.

Dalton voters approved a $50 million dollar bond package for school construction.

Decatur County voters passed a T-SPLOST.

T-SPLOST, a 1 cent sales tax that will generate revenue for road projects in Decatur County, was passed on Tuesday 764-455.

T-SPLOST (Transportation Special Local Options Sales Tax) will go into effect April 1, 2018, and runs on a five-year cycle, finishing March 31, 2023. During that time, all sales except for gasoline in Decatur County will see a tax increase from 7 percent to 8 percent on the dollar.

The revenue generated from this, projected to be around $24 million over the five-year cycle, will go toward improving roadways in Decatur County and its municipalities.

“The county’s road maintenance and resurfacing needs greatly surpass the financial resources,” said Decatur County administrator Alan Thomas. “This will bridge that gap and allow us to respond to those needs in a more rapid manor than we would be able to otherwise.”

Decatur County is actively working toward lowering its millage rate for taxpayers, and passing T-SPLOST is a step in the right direction toward that goal. By having a special revenue stream from sales tax that can go toward road projects, Decatur’s County general budget can have more breathing room.

At the very least, T-SPLOST will help stabilize the budget and greatly reduce the likelihood of a millage rate increase.

Troup County voters approved by a 71-29 margin the fifth SPLOST.

The vote unofficially passed 71 to 29 percent Tuesday. There were 4,753 yes votes compared to 1,916 no votes on SPLOST.

SPLOST, or Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax, is a proposed 1 percent tax on sales and uses within Troup County.The SPLOST will be used for infrastructure and capital outlay projects, as well as debt services within the county.

SPLOST is estimated to raise $70 million over the next six years and would help fund projects in LaGrange, Hogansville, West Point and Troup County.

LaGrange voters had the good sense to re-elect Mayor Jim Thornton.

The results are in, and incumbent LaGrange Mayor Jim Thornton was successful in his bid for re-election, receiving 62 percent of the vote.

Thornton defeated challenger Jimmy McCamey 2,611 votes to 1,583. On Tuesday night, Thornton celebrated his re-election in his downtown law office surrounded by family and supporters.

“I’m very excited,” Thornton said. “I’m very grateful to LaGrange for placing confidence in me to serve a second term.”

“In my second term, I want to continue to emphasize economic development,” Thornton said. “I want to continue to focus on improving public safety and amenities for our residents. I realize that with the growth that is happening all around us, there will be challenges to our infrastructure — challenges relating to transportation, housing and other needs in the community. I will continue to work for creative solutions to address those needs.”

A large portion of Thornton’s final margin of victory was a result of his massive win in the Hollis Hand district. Thornton won 1,338 votes to 45 there.

Dade County rejected the sales tax referendum on their ballot.

Walker County residents voted 2,622-1,122 Tuesday to implement a 1 percent increase in sales tax, while Dade County residents voted 576-435 against it.

After voters shot down the tax increase, Dade County Executive Ted Rumley said the issue would be “back on the ballot in the real election. We’ll have a lot more people [turning out] to vote.”


Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for November 9, 2017


T-Storm is a young male Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from the Dolly Goodpuppy Society Inc in Barnesville, GA.

T-Storm is a young yellow lab who just keeps growing….and growing…this boy has legs for days and feet to match. When he fills in he will quite a formidable Labrador. A typical lab he is intelligent, friendly, agile, and kind. He enjoys running and playing in the yard. T-Storm has been working on the leash and some basic commands, with consistant training he will be a perfect companion for an active family.


Shortbread is a young female Rat Terrier and Chihuahua mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Dolly Goodpuppy Society Inc in Barnesville, GA.

Shortbread has coloring like a shepherd and a her terrier/chi personality is big enough to FILL a shepherd! Playful and happy this girl is ready to leave the pack and move into her forever home.

Shortbread’s sister, Gingersnap, is also available for adoption.


Ghost is a young female American Bulldog mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Dolly Goodpuppy Society Inc in Barnesville, GA.


Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for November 8, 2016


Fern is a young female Labrador Retriever and Golden Retriever mix who is available for adoption from Athens Canine Rescue in Athens, GA.

Fern is a beautiful Black Lab/Golden Retriever mix and weighs a whopping 80lbs. Yep, she’s a big one! But that’s all the more dog to love! Don’t worry, she’s about where she should be seeing as how she is almost 2 years old.

Playing with other dogs is Fern’s idea of a fabulous time. Regular dog park trips are a great way to let out her energy and she doesn’t require structured introductions.

Fern is a good, even-keeled pup who isn’t bossy with other 4-legged friends, but also not a completely submissive roll-over-on-the-floor or lick-your-face-all-the-time dog. She’s definitely confident at the dog park, but if a dog puts up a stink, she’d rather take no part in that. So she’d basically do fine in any home, pup or not, old or young, though, for your sanity, younger and more playful is a better match :) Rain doesn’t stop Fern from having a fabulous time – she’ll dance around in it like nobody’s business and she does her business in it without complaint. The only thing that seems to scare her so far is the vacuum. But no one in her household is a fan of that!


Jeb is a young male Coonhound mix who is available for adoption from Athenspets in Athens, GA.

As soon as Jeb entered the interaction pen, he ran for the first toy he spied and began tossing it in the air. He’s a happy, playful boy! He’s also quite handsome though he’s a little thin right now, and I could feel his backbone and ribs when I petted him. I imagine he’ll add a few pounds quickly; he certainly enjoys treats. Jeb has the sweetest face that goes right along with his personality.


Dixie is a female Treeing Walker Coonhound who is available for adoption from Athens Canine Rescue in Athens, GA.

Meet Dixie! This beautiful Treeing Walker Coonhound is about 50lbs and is right where she should be. At only a year old, she still has some learning to do but is just crazy friendly to her doggy roommates!

Dixie has several 4-legged roomies and LOVES playing! She tends to leave her much smaller housemates alone and gives all of the other dogs their space if they don’t want to play, so she’s proving to be able to pick up on cues and be respectful. Soft introductions to other dogs aren’t necessary and Dixie does very well at the dog park. When other pups aren’t joining into the fun and she really, really wants them to, that’s when you hear that bay howl!!


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 8, 2017

On November 8, 1860, Savannah residents protested in favor of secession following the election of Abraham Lincoln.

President Abraham Lincoln (R) was reelected on November 8, 1864.

Franklin D. Roosevelt made his 15th trip to Warm Springs, Georgia on November 8, 1928 after winning the election for Governor of New York.

Richard B. Russell, Jr. was elected to the United States Senate on November 8, 1932 and would serve until his death in 1971. Before his election to the Senate, Russell served as State Representative, Speaker of the Georgia House, and the youngest Governor of Georgia; his father served as Chief Justice of the Georgia Supreme Court. On the same day, part-time Georgia resident Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected President of the United States.

On November 8, 1994, Republicans won control of the United States House of Representatives and Senate in what came to be called the “Republican Revolution.”

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Today at 2 PM, I’ll be on Georgia Public Broadcasting’s “Political Rewind” with Bill Nigut, Greg Bluestein, and Patricia Murphy to discuss, among other things, last night’s election results. Here’s a preview of my thinking. In Atlanta, you can tune in to 88.5 FM to listen, and across Georgia, you can hear us on your local GPB radio station.

Last night, the GOP lost three seats previously held by Georgia Republicans.  In Senate District 6, Democrats Jen Jordan and Jaha Howard will face off in the Special Runoff Election on December 5, 2017. The top three Republicans in SD 6 split 46.45 percent of the vote, and the top vote-getter, Leah Aldridge came in 4.05 points behind the second-place finisher. Democrat Deborah Gonzales took the win in House District 117, previously held by GOP State Rep. (now Judge) Regina Quick, and Democrat Jonathan Wallace took an outright majority in a race against three Republicans.

Senate District 6 has been the most evenly divided Senate district for a number of years. Hunter Hill won it in 2012 with about 53% against an incumbent Dem and in 2016, he narrowly defended it with less than 52% against Democrat Jaha Howard. Add in whatever “Trump Slump” exists, and it’s not a surprising result, though it is a disappointment. There is a real chance that the legislature might consider tweaking those lines in the next session, and in any case, I’d anticipate a serious GOP run at it in the General Election next year. In fact, with the kind of accelerated political schedule we’re seeing these days, if I were one of the Republicans who came in double-digits, I’d immediately be looking toward the May Primary.

House District 117 (Regina Quick) and HD 119 (Chuck Williams) are a little harder to gauge based solely on past elections since neither of the previous seat holders ever faced a Democrat in a General Election. Quick was first elected after she beat incumbent Doug McKillip in a Republican Primary after he switched to the GOP, while Chuck Williams has been unopposed in General Elections since beating a Democrat in the 2011 Special Election Primary. So we don’t have much historical data on how a state house race in those districts should perform. But it’s a testament to the importance of a party contesting every seat possible. Kudos to Georgia Democrats for their recruitment efforts.

Going forward, I’m not sure how much precedential value this has, as Special Elections are a breed to themselves, but contesting all possible elections should be the philosophy of the DPG next year.

Special elections like this present a challenge to state parties, especially the GAGOP in HD 119. Without a partisan primary, there is no official way to winnow the number of GOP contestants, and if they split the vote enough, Dems can take a seat, as SD6 shows.

From the Athens Banner-Herald:

The results mean all three of the House members representing Clarke County will be Democats for the first time in years. Two of them — Wallace and Gonzalez — will also be Oconee’s voices in the state House, since the two districts cut across county lines.

In House District 119, Wallace had 57 percent of the vote. Three Republican candidates trailed, with fewer votes combined than Wallace’s total.

In the race for the House 117 seat, Houston Gaines led by a 2-1 vote margin in heavily conservative Oconee, Barrow and Jackson counties, but Gonzalez, a lawyer, was just as strong in Clarke. Clarke has about half the voters in the district, and turnout may have been stronger there than expected.

Wallace also had a strong showing in Oconee, with about 39 percent of the vote.

The choice for voters between the Democratic and Republican sides was clear, with candidates pretty much predictably diverging on issues such as guns on campus, Donald Trump, allowing local governments to decide about moving monuments and expanding Medicaid to cover more people. The three Republicans running in District 119 said in candidate forums they’d vote for Trump again, but Gaines in District 117 didn’t answer.

The Republican candidates also said they favored guns on college campuses, unlike the Democrats and unlike Quick and Williams, who had voted against the new state law that allows guns on the University of Georgia and other college campuses.

Republican Kasey Carpenter won the Special Election for House District 4.

Carpenter, owner of Oakwood Cafe and Cherokee Brewing and Pizza Co., finished first in a four-way race with 1,927 votes (53.87 percent) over Eddie Caldwell with 704 votes (19.68 percent), Peter Pociask with 516 votes (14.43 percent) and Beau Patton with 426 votes (11.91 percent). Carpenter, Caldwell and Patton are Republicans while Pociask is a Democrat.

The seat became open when Republican Bruce Broadrick stepped down in September for health reasons. Carpenter will serve the remainder of Broadrick’s term, which ends Dec. 31, 2018. District 4 includes the city of Dalton and some surrounding Whitfield County precincts.

“I think to go into a four-way race like this and to avoid a runoff shows the support we had across the district, and I really thank the voters for coming out and voting for me,” Carpenter said.

In Fulton County, Democrat Robb Pitts (38.27%) faces Democrat Keisha Waites (33.93%) in a runoff for County Commission Chair. Republican Gabriel Sterling performed admirably, and this was likely our best chance to take a countywide seat for the GOP in Fulton.

I have to wonder if some kind of a “Trump Slump” is in play here. Cobb and Fulton were counties where Hillary Clinton outperformed in 2016 and that may be part of the issue, or maybe some Republicans are complacent with out holding the House, Senate, and White House in Washington.

In Atlanta, Mary Norwood (21% per AJC) and Keisha Lance Bottoms (26% per AJC) head to a runoff election for Mayor. Alex Wan and Felicia Moore go to extra innings for City Council President.

Roswell voters will get a second chance at the apple, as City Council member Lori Henry goes to a runoff leading Lee Jenkins.

[Prior candidate Marie] Willsey returned to the election arena for another run at Post 4 and this time around, she received the majority vote against Andrew Leonardi and Meg McClanahan.

She will serve the full term as Post 4 City Council member.

Matthew C. Tyser received the majority vote against opponent Keith Goeke in the Post 5 race.

The Post 6 seat was close, but just missed the majority mark, with Matthew Judy receiving 49.38 percent.  He will face Karen Parrish in the run-off.

The Special Election for Post 3 seat, previously held by Donald J. Horton, did not result in a majority vote and will also see a run-off.  Of the six candidates in the running for the seat, Mike Nyden and Sean Groer will face each other in a run-off.

 Athens-Clarke County voters chose to impose a one-cent Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (T-SPLOST).

More than 9,400 voters cast a ballot on the referendum with 6,887 signing up to go on the TSPLOST ride and 2,540 telling the referendum to hit the road, according to results provided by Athens-Clarke County Board of Elections.

“It’s a terrific result and something great for the community,” said Mark Ralston, president of the nonprofit Firefly Trail Inc., which advocated for the trail’s inclusion on the TSPLOST referendum. “I’m thrilled. It’s a great project along with many other great projects I’m happy the citizens of Athens chose to support.”

The transportation special purpose, local option sales tax will add 1 percent to the sales tax surcharge on goods sold in Clarke County. It will inflate the county’s overall sales tax rate to 8 percent.

Athens-Clarke County officials expect the penny tax to raise $109.5 million over five years to fund 19 projects.

Coweta County voters extended the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax for another six year term.

Coweta voters originally said yes to SPLOST in 1986, and have approved it everytime it came back up for a vote.

The newly-approved SPLOST will begin after the current one ends on Dec. 31, 2018.

The final vote count Tuesday night was 3,381 votes, or 65 percent, in favor to 1,818, or 35 percent, against.

Turnout was light – 6.04 percent of Coweta’s registered voters cast ballots for the special election, which included the county-wide SPLOST vote as well as several city elections.

The 1-percent sales tax is expected to raise $140 million over six years.

Floyd County voters approved the Education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (E-SPLOST) by more than 66% and the County Government Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) by more than 60%. Rome passed a city schools E-SPLOST by more than 75% of votes cast.

Bryan, Long, Tattnall and Wayne Counties all approved SPLOST measures.

Bryan County’s SPLOST was the fifth time it passed on the ballot.

In Bryan County less than 5 percent of the 22,346 eligible voters cast ballots Tuesday, but they were enough to renew the special purpose local option sales tax (SPLOST) for the fifth time.

Revenue from the SPLOST is expected to raise about $33 million which will be divided among Bryan County and the cities of Pembroke and Richmond Hill based on population. Bryan County will receive approximately $18.8 million, Richmond Hill $11 million and Pembroke $3.2 million.

The 1 percent sales tax has been in place in Bryan County since 1987.

Polk County also passed an E-SPLOST.

[V]oters overwhelmingly decided more than 2-to-1 to allow a penny to be drawn off of purchases in Polk County through 2026.

The project list includes a second round of construction at Cedartown and Rockmart High School, repairs at all of the schools of heating and air conditioning, updates to athletic facilities and more.

The tallies ended with 2,032 people voting to decide on the sales tax’s extension, with 1,421 voters (69.93 percent) giving their approval and 611 voters (30.07 percent) saying no.

Twiggs County passed an E-SPLOST by 484 -151 and Putnam County passed a T-SPLOST by 498-332.

DeKalb County passed three ballot measures related to sales and property taxes.

DeKalb County voters overwhelmingly approved a sales tax increase and property tax reduction, according to final ballot counts.

The sales tax hike, from 7 percent to 8 percent, will bring in more than $100 million annually for road repaving, fire station repairs, police vehicles and other infrastructure through a special purpose local option sales tax (SPLOST).

Voters also passed referendums to use existing sales taxes to reduce homeowners’ property taxes, and to make permanent a tax break that offsets the cost of rising home assessments.

Clermont voters rejected beer and wine sales in the city limits.

By a margin of almost two to one, Clermont residents resoundly said no to beer and wine sales in town.

Two questions on the non-binding poll asked voters whether the town should license the sale of beer and wine by the drink, and also license package sales of beer and wine. Almost 63 percent of the 127 residents who voted said no.

Mark Kirves launched a petition drive on Facebook urging support for alcohol sales in Clermont. Kirves, who owns Iron Accents on Cleveland Highway, said he’s gotten offers for his property from buyers interested in putting a restaurant on the location.

“Once they learn that they couldn’t sell alcohol there they walk away,” Kirves said. “Clermont and Gillsville are the only two towns in Hall County that won’t allow alcohols sales.”

Despite the setback with the straw poll, Kirves said he would continue his petition drive.


Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for November 7, 2017


Zeus is a sweet two-year old male Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from the Byron, Georgia Animal Shelter. Due to overcrowding, Zeus is extremely urgent. If you want to help this boy, email me directly.


Zeus (too) is a sweet year-old male Labrador Retriever who is available for adoption from Byron Animal Shelter. He is also extremely urgent.

Boomer Houston

Boomer is a senior male Dachshund who is available for adoption from the Humane Society of Houston County, Inc Warner Robins, GA.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 7, 2017

Georgia Governor Joseph Brown addressed the Georgia legislature calling on them to consider Georgia’s future on November 7, 1860, the day after Abraham Lincoln’s election as President.

Jeanette Rankin was elected to Congress, the first female Member, on November 7, 1916 from Montana. After leaving Congress, Rankin moved to Watkinsville, Georgia in 1925. The Jeanette Rankin Scholarship Foundation, based in Athens, Georgia provides college scholarships and support for low-income women 35 and older.

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was elected to a record fourth term on November 7, 1944.

Democrat Sam Nunn was reelected to the United States Senate on November 7, 1978.

On November 7, 1989, David Dinkins was elected the first African-American Mayor of New York and Douglas Wilder was elected the first African-American Governor of Virginia.

On November 7, 2006, Georgia reelected its first Republican Governor since Reconstruction, Sonny Perdue, and elected its first GOP Lieutenant Governor, Casey Cagle.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Today is election day in many parts of Georgia. Polling places are open until 7 PM in most areas.

Governor Nathan Deal yesterday ordered flags on state buildings and grounds to be flown at half staff in honor of the victims of the Sutherland Springs, Texas mass murder. They will remain at half staff until sundown Thursday.

Gov. Deal spoke to the Greater North Fulton Chamber of Commerce, discussing healthcare.

The intended goal of the healthcare summit was expanding healthcare options for residents and bettering the economy.

Governor Deal spoke on his intended initiatives to positively impact the two.

He expressed that higher education and improved access to it would lead to an enrollment drop in Medicaid and PeachCare.

By providing enrollees better opportunity, the intention is to create a better economy and improve earnings, so the everyday expenses of life, including healthcare are more attainable and manageable.

According to deal, “what Medicaid and PeachCare are spending per Georgia household now, amounts to $1,227 per year. The addition of federal contribution and related cost, results in a jump to $4,476 per year.”

State elected officials’ decision to not expand our Medicaid roles, according to Deal, would have resulted in a needed $288 million in additional funds to cover that.

Deal noted that in order to achieve that deficit, “significant cuts to other elements of state government,” would have to occur.

State currently contributes $900 million in coverage to state employees every year. In addition to $1.2 million currently budgeted.

Deal also attributed the issue to “healthcare providers are not available,” noted a shortage even in the thriving areas. His suggestion is “more homegrown healthcare providers.”

In the next six fiscal years, Deal aims to proposing $3.7 million be allocated to add more residency slots for physicians, what he describes as one “critical element.”

Deal states that physicians are “likely to stay where they complete their residency” and intends for Georgia to achieve that.

He also encouraged a greater number of nursing students.

The Dalton Daily Citizen spoke to candidates in today’s Special Election for State House District 4.

Beau Patton (R)

Eddie Caldwell (R)

Kasey Carpenter (R)

Peter Pociask (D)

Port of Savannah traffic is up 32% for October.

Container trade at the Port of Savannah grew by 32 percent in October, with Garden City Terminal moving 410,000 twenty-foot equivalent container units, an increase of nearly 100,000 TEUs.

It was the first time in the port’s history that it topped 400,000 TEUs in a single month. For the fiscal year to date (July 1-Oct. 31), the Port of Savannah has moved 1.42 million TEUs, up by 155,050 or 12.3 percent.

“Since the opening of the expanded Panama Canal, Garden City Terminal has experienced meteoric growth,” said GPA Executive Director Griff Lynch. “We’re now handling more ships, bigger vessels and larger cargo exchanges. By working more weekly vessel calls than any other East Coast port, and serving more neopanamax ships than any other port in the U.S. Southeast, Savannah has strengthened its position as a vital gateway to the global marketplace.”

Lynch said the Port of Savannah, with the nation’s single largest container terminal in North America, is playing a significant and growing role in supporting the nation’s economy, emphasizing the need for the timely completion of the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project.

“With deeper water, today’s 14,000-TEU ships will be able to transit the Savannah River with greater scheduling flexibility, and take on heavier export loads,” he said. “Because these larger vessels provide lower cost per container slot, they help make American farms and factories more competitive.”

The Georgia Ports Authority will be seeking more support from Washington for the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project.

Georgia Ports Authority officials plan to hit Capitol Hill this week to press for more federal funding to deepen the Savannah River, and they’ll bring with them new figures to support their case that show record-breaking cargo traffic.

“As great as the numbers are, and they are phenomenal, they aren’t telling the full story,” Lynch said. Because the river channel isn’t deep enough for the newest generation of freighters to ply the river with full loads, Lynch said, Savannah isn’t seeing as much cargo as the shippers would like to bring to the port.

“We are cutting the ships short because of the lack of water,” he said.

he Savannah River dredging is arguably Georgia’s biggest economic development project. But in April, the project’s price tag grew by 38 percent to $973 million.

Georgia’s ports system accounts for some $40 billion in estimated economic impact across the state, and directly or indirectly touches about 400,000 jobs. The Savannah port is the nation’s No. 4 container port by volume.

Lynch said the ports delegation plans to meet with Georgia’s House and Senate delegation and with officials from the Army Corps of Engineers, which manages the deepening project, on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Suwanee City Council candidate Joe Briggs has withdrawn from the election after being accused of making anti-semitic comments on social media.

Voters in Lula and Clermont will cast their ballots on paper.

Augusta area voters will decide several municipal elections.

In the small municipality of Hephzibah, population about 4,000, incumbent Frank Godbee faces a challenge for his at-large commission seat from political newcomer Julius Lee Harris, Jr. Harris, 51, said he’s a retired Army veteran who became a full-time resident of Hephzibah 10 years ago. Godbee, 74, listed his occupation as “retired” and reported living in Hephzibah for 34 years on his qualifying affidavit.

In Grovetown, two council seats are up for vote with five candidates on the ballot. Incumbents Sylvia Martin and Vickie Cook are seeking re-election against challengers Allen Transou, Deborah Fisher and David Payne.

In Harlem, two council seats are up for election, sought by incumbents Danny Bellavance and John Thigpen, along with challenger Al Reeves. Mayoral candidate Roxanne Whitaker is running unopposed.

Floyd County voters will decide two tax referenda as well as municipal elections.

All Floyd County voters will decide whether or not to extend the SPLOST and ELOST collections for five more years.

The 1-cent education local option sales tax would go toward funding up to $80 million in capital projects for the Rome and Floyd County school systems. The 1-cent special purpose, local option sales tax would fund a proposed $63.8 million package of projects.

For residents of Rome and Cave Spring, city elections will be on their ballots. Rome voters will pick three city commissioners and all seven board of education members. Cave Spring voters will fill three city council seats.

Cobb County voters may see a legislative race or municipal elections on their ballot today.

DeKalb County voters have three ballot questions in addition to any municipal races.

The Nov. 7 ballot for DeKalb voters will include a special local option sales tax referendum to raise the tax a penny, from 7 percent to 8 percent.

But that’s not the only choice voters will be making – voters will also be voting on two other measures: an EHOST, or equalization homestead option sales tax, and to freeze home property values for city and county taxes permanently while the EHOST and SPLOST are in place. The EHOST and SPLOST both have to pass for them to be enacted.

Rome City Commissioners met this morning with local state legislators.

Commissioner Milton Slack said Sunday that Sen. Chuck Hufstetler, R-Rome, is expected to attend along with Republican Reps. Katie Dempsey of Rome and Eddie Lumsden of Armuchee. Also invited are Rep. Christian Coomer, R-Cartersville, and representatives of the Georgia Municipal Association.

There’s no set agenda, but a number of city initiatives are dependent on state actions.

“We’ll probably talk about illegal gaming machines, and Northwest Georgia Regional Hospital — which is always on the table,” Slack said.

Rome lost its option to buy the 132-acre former state mental hospital complex off North Division Street but local leaders are still hoping it can be redeveloped to boost the economy. The biggest sticking point is the nearly $6 million in state bonds that a new owner would have to pay off.

Nuclear Options

Senator David Perdue wrote an Op-Ed advocating for the completion of Vogtle units 3 and 4.

Our domestic plants are aging rapidly. Five have closed in recent years. At the start of this year, four new reactors were under construction at two plants: two in South Carolina and two in Georgia. The South Carolina project has since come to a halt because of mounting delays and regulatory hurdles.

Two years ago, Reuters reported that Rosatom – a state-owned Russian nuclear energy export agency – had 29 reactors under construction around the globe. Russia collected billions in nuclear export revenues in 2015, and last year it exported $133 billion worth of nuclear goods and services.

China’s rise is equally, if not more, concerning.

This year alone, China has announced nuclear deals with multiple African nations. Chinese firms are building reactors in Pakistan and Great Britain. China is currently building 20 reactors at an average of one new reactor every five months. That’s why U.S. Energy Information Administration has predicted China will surpass America as the world’s largest nuclear energy producer in just 15 years.

Experts and leaders on both sides of the aisle agree we cannot allow that to happen.

Former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge recently wrote, “When other nations buy Russian and Chinese nuclear exports – as they increasingly do – Moscow and Beijing, not Washington, set the standards.”

The Center for Strategic and International Studies has said, “Without a strong commercial presence in new nuclear markets, America’s ability to influence nonproliferation policies and nuclear safety behaviors worldwide is bound to diminish.”

Finally, President Donald J. Trump said in June that, “we will begin to revive and expand our nuclear energy sector.” President Trump also ordered a full review of our domestic nuclear energy policies, and Secretary of Energy Rick Perry recently announced a conditional loan guarantee of up to $3.7 billion for the completion of Plant Vogtle in Georgia.

The Georgia Public Service Commission yesterday opened hearings on Plant Vogtle.

Georgia Power and partner companies overseeing the construction of nuclear plant, Vogtle, presented a united appeal Monday to PSC commissioners, as hearings began on the fate of the embattled nuclear power plant.

The CEO’s led by Georgia Power’s Paul Bowers argued the project would present “the best economic choice” and “long-term benefits to customers.”

“We believe nuclear is the dominant solution. We are confident you will make the right long-term solution for the people in Georgia,” Bowers told the commissioners.

The commissioners now face the task of evaluating the cost and schedule estimates presented by Georgia power, to determine the fate of the project.

“There was always some chance this commission would rule that some of the costs were unreasonable.” Commissioner Chuck Eaton said.

Georgia Power and its co-owners however want to know whether these estimates are reasonable before going on.

“We need to know before we spend additional dollars,” said Bowers.

From WSAV in Savannah:

”We’re concerned this Vogtle project is off the rails and we will hear about the costs that have doubled from the original estimate,” said Sara Barczak from the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy. She reminds everyone the project started in 2010. “I think it’s clear Plant Vogtle is already a disaster because it was supposed to e operating by now,”

Barczak says it’s still seems likely the reactors will double in price to up to $25 Billion and says Georgia Power customers have already paid about $2 Billion over the past few years for financing costs. “You won’t get that money back if these (reactors) are not built I can guarantee you,” she said.

But Georgia Power’s CEO Paul Bowers told the PSC Monday that rate payers are actually saving tens and tens of millions of dollars by paying now instead of paying financing after the project is completed. He assured the Commission that the project is still possible and that is is vital to the U.S in terms of overall carbon free energy being produced. Bowers indicated that the project promises reliable and low cost energy for the next 60 years.

Kristi Swartz of Energy Wire drills down into the issues regarding Vogtle.

[I]t was who was going to shoulder the risk of the Plant Vogtle reactor project that concerned consumer advocates and some Georgia commissioners at a meeting of the Public Service Commission here yesterday.

“The risk difference is astronomical,” PSC Vice Chairman Tim Echols said, questioning two Georgia Power officials about the newly signed agreements with contractors. A previous fixed-price contract protected the utility and its consumers from significant rate hikes, but that is no longer there.

“So we’re in a real dilemma. Either we abandon the project and leave it sitting there, or we move forward at great risk,” Echols said.

Georgia Power officials said they are doing all they can to manage the known and unknown risks. At the same time, they — as well as the public power companies that are also building Vogtle — are pressuring commissioners to ensure that they will be able to recoup the project’s costs from customers.

Georgia Power enjoys a strong alliance with the governor and holds significant political sway at the Capitol. Being known as the utility that shepherds the nation’s first nuclear reactors in 30 years through a series of obstacles can only add to that status.


Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for November 6, 2017


Chester is a 3-year old 61-pound male Rhodesian Ridgeback mix who is available for adoption from Cobb County Animal Shelter in Marietta, GA.

Chester is a handsome boy with deep, soulful eyes. He stays quiet in his run and loves napping on his kuranda bed. He’s hoping to upgrade to a soft bed in a loving home soon. Chester is a really nice boy who sits and stays. Chester is in Run 27 and his ID is 599495.

Chrissy Cobb

Chrissy is a 1-year old, 39-pound female Hound mix who is available for adoption from Cobb County Animal Shelter in Marietta, GA.

Chrissy is cute as a button and sweet as can be. She stays quiet in her run, sits when told, and walks easy on the leash. What’s not to love? Chrissy is in Run 826 and her ID is 600542.


Daisy is a 7-year old female Labrador Retriever who is available for adoption from Cobb County Animal Shelter in Marietta, GA.

aisy was dropped off at the shelter on 10/31 because her owners did not have a proper fence to keep her contained. Just look at her smile, maybe she knows her luck is about to change and she will find a home that will let her live inside with the rest of the family and not stuck outside alone all the time. Daisy knows to sit when told and is gentle on a leash. The former family said she is good with kids.