On June 17, 1759, Sir Francis Drake claimed California for England.
On June 17, 1775, British forces under General William Howe engaged American colonists at the Battle of Bunker Hill.
On June 17, some 2,200 British forces under the command of Major General William Howe (1729-1814) and Brigadier General Robert Pigot (1720-96) landed on the Charlestown Peninsula then marched to Breed’s Hill. As the British advanced in columns against the Americans, Prescott, in an effort to conserve the Americans’ limited supply of ammunition, reportedly told his men, “Don’t fire until you see the whites of their eyes!” When the Redcoats were within several dozen yards, the Americans let loose with a lethal barrage of musket fire, throwing the British into retreat.
After re-forming their lines, the British attacked again, with much the same result. Prescott’s men were now low on ammunition, though, and when the Redcoats went up the hill for a third time, they reached the redoubts and engaged the Americans in hand-to-hand combat. The outnumbered Americans were forced to retreat. However, by the end of the engagement, the Patriots’ gunfire had cut down some 1,000 enemy troops, with more than 200 killed and more than 800 wounded. More than 100 Americans perished, while more than 300 others were wounded.
A distant ancestor of mine, John Logue, fought with the Americans at Bunker Hill, though he was not yet an enlisted soldier.
President Andrew Johnson appointed John Johnson (no relation) provisional Governor of Georgia after the Civil War on June 17, 1865; John Johnson had opposed secession.
France announced its intention to surrender to Germany on June 17, 1940.
Five men were arrested for burglary of the Democratic National Committee offices at the Watergate office and apartment complex in Washington, DC on June 17, 1972.
The affair began with the arrest of five men for breaking and entering into the Democratic National Committee (DNC) headquarters at the Watergate complex on June 17, 1972. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) connected cash found on the burglars to a slush fund used by the Committee for the Re-Election of the President, the official organization of Nixon’s campaign.
In July 1973, as evidence mounted against the president’s staff, including testimony provided by former staff members in an investigation conducted by the Senate Watergate Committee, it was revealed that President Nixon had a tape-recording system in his offices and he had recorded many conversations.
After a protracted series of bitter court battles, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the president had to hand over the tapes to government investigators; he ultimately complied.
Recordings from these tapes implicated the president, revealing he had attempted to cover up the questionable goings-on that had taken place after the break-in.
Facing near-certain impeachment in the House of Representatives and equally certain conviction by the Senate, Nixon resigned the presidency on August 9, 1974. His successor, Gerald Ford, then issued a pardon to him on September 8, 1974.
Newton Leroy Gingrich was born on June 17, 1943 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Gingrich graduated from college at Emory University, where he founded the Emory College Republicans. Gingrich’s congressional papers are collected in the the Georgia’s Political Heritage Program at West Georgia College, where he taught before being elected to Congress. Also at West Georgia are the papers of former Congressmen Bob Barr, Mac Collins, and Pat Swindall, along with a near-perfect replica of Georgia Speaker Tom Murphy’s office.
Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections
One of my favorite accounts of Donald Trump’s trip to Georgia comes from Carolyn Hall Fisher, via Facebook.
Today was a big day. I got up at 4 AM and met Senator Michael Williams at Best Buy in Cumming at 5:30 and he drove us to Charlie Loudermilk’s gorgeous home where we were wanded and searched by the Secret Service. Michael was a guest and I was a volunteer.
I was assigned to bathroom duty. I had to stand by this gorgeous bathroom and tell people whether or not it was occupied. Had to keep them off of a large staircase and away from Charlie Loudermilk’s bedroom. I did a great job as the bathroom monitor because I was a teacher for 31 years. I was very tempted, but did not tell anyone not to stand on the toilet or pee in the sink.
I had everybody in a nice line and one elderly gentleman came over and he had to go really bad so I asked a lady if he could go ahead of her. She said no and I almost wrote a note for her to take home and get signed by somebody.
There was a beautiful winding staircase in the front hall and Donald Trump stood there and spoke to everyone. I was amazed. He was absolutely a perfect gentleman. He was gracious, and he spoke eloquently. I was stunned and extremely impressed. He patiently answered questions and many times called people by name.
Once he left Ginger Howard and I journeyed to the Fox Theater where we had VIP seats on the front row. The place became packed and my friend Julianne Thompson made a lovely speech and led us in GOD BLESS AMERICA in her lovely voice.
Other people spoke and then Donald Trump came out and gave a very nice speech. There were some protesters in the crowd but there always are at these things.
Once he finished speaking, Mr Trump came down and shook hands, signed autographs, and spoke to each one of us on that row. He was quite the gentleman, not in a hurry to get away, and was appreciative of our work and our being there.
I was going to work for and vote for Mr. Trump because I am terrified for us and our children when I think of Hillary Clinton appointing even one Supreme Court Justice. After meeting him today I am now a fan. I believe he really wants to help America. After all, look what America has done for him.
So for those of you who just feel that you must surrender and let Hillary Clinton be our next President you might want to ask yourself what’s worse? Somebody who sometimes comes off as crass be president or a woman who is a murderer and liar? Doesn’t seem to be a hard choice to me.
What I like about it are (1) it’s a first-person narrative; (2) it’s more personal than political; and (3) it’s unrelentingly positive. Carolyn was chosen as a Delegate to the Republican National Convention by the Seventh Congressional District in April.
Governor Nathan Deal appointed Jacqueline Bunn to the Board of Pardons and Paroles.
Bunn has been executive director of the state’s Criminal Justice Coordinating Council since 2013. Bunn previously worked as an assistant attorney general focused on civil rights and as deputy director of the Georgia Department of Public Safety’s legal services unit.
The board consists of five full-time members who make parole decisions. During 2014, the board made more than 76,000 clemency decisions regarding parole cases.
Former state representative Jay Neal will serve as the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council’s interim executive director. He is currently the council’s criminal justice liaison.
Congratulations to Ms. Bunn and to Mr. Neal.
Congratulations also to Savannah lawyer Pat O’Connor, who is taking the reins on Saturday as President of the State Bar of Georgia.
The Savannah Morning News writes that the legislature should heed Senator Renee Unterman’s advice to look at Medicaid expansion under a waiver.
Georgia has already lost out on billions of federal dollars that would have covered medical costs of people with incomes too low to qualify for health care subsidies under the Affordable Care Act but not low enough to get Medicaid. We are talking about an estimated 400,000 to 600,000 Georgians without coverage who would likely qualify if Medicaid were expanded. These are people who use the closest emergency room for all medical issues, which forces hospitals to foot the bill, close or pass the cost along to the rest of us. At least four rural hospitals in Georgia have closed during the past three years.
Locally, Memorial Health University Medical Center is losing millions of dollars annually, in large part because of its commitment to treating uninsured patients. That loss has helped fuel the hospital’s ongoing effort to find a third party to be a financial partner with the hospital, resulting in a major political controversy that continues to boil.
“Times have changed,” Unterman said. “How many years in a row can we pump in hundreds of millions of dollars to hospitals that are closing, to physicians that are going out of business?”
Unterman qualified her remarks by pointing to modified, hybrid plans that Republican governors in 10 other states have fashioned to take partial advantage of the additional dollars. Arkansas, for example, buys private insurance for low-income residents who were in that gap. Georgia is one of 19 states still not offering any kind of Medicaid expansion.
For the state to sign on now, it would take an act of the legislature as well as the governor’s signature. Democrats, a minority in both chambers, have pushed for Medicaid expansion, but Republican opposition remains strong. We urge Chatham County’s delegation to join Unterman and encourage the legislature and Gov. Deal to reconsider their past objections to Medicaid expansion in this state.
It’s not too late to get help for hospitals like Memorial and their staffs, physicians, low-income residents and state taxpayers.
Don McKee, writing in the Cherokee Tribune Ledger News also urges the legislature to consider Medicaid expansion.
The question is: will Unterman’s fellow Republicans in charge of the General Assembly show an interest in her idea or reject it out of hand? They should at least give it thoughtful consideration. It could be a workable way to help nearly half a million Georgia residents get needed health care insurance without breaking the bank for the state. It deserves a hearing in the General Assembly with input from the people.
If I’d known former Governor Roy Barnes was appearing in a Gwinnett County Courtroom, I’d have gone to watch the master at work.
[Gwinnett and Cobb] counties, represented by former Gov. Roy Barnes’ Marietta firm, are seeking a total of $52 million in the case, which involves 16 lawsuits. Barnes told the court the money at stake is owed to the counties and necessary to avoid using taxes to upgrade the emergency calling systems and keep up with rapidly changing technology.
The hearing in Gwinnett Superior Court was over a motion by BellSouth and Earthlink to dismiss two of the suits. Judge Randy Rich offered no hint of where he stood after the attorneys’ arguments and said he expected to issue a decision in about two weeks.
The former governor was animated in dark thick-rimmed glasses, slapping papers in his hand as he spoke about the “arrogance of the telephone providers.”
“They’ll do anything until they get to the next session of the General Assembly to try and kill the case,” he said, accusing the defendants of sending lobbyists to get legislators to add protections in the law.
In Cobb County, the NAACP along with the county Republican and Democratic parties will celebrate Juneteenth this weekend.
Live music kicks off the weekend-long celebration tonight, and Saturday’s 13th annual Juneteenth Culture Festival and Sunday’s third annual Gospel Festival will round out the weekend. All events are free and open to the public.
Deane Bonner, Cobb County NAACP president, said tonight’s live music will include jazz, blues and spoken word performances.
The weekend celebration continues Saturday with more than 100 clothing, jewelry, hat and food vendors stationed throughout Marietta Square.
“There’s something for everyone,” she said.
Mayor Steve Tumlin described the event as “joyful and fun,” saying the city has “embraced it from every angle.”
Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration of the end of slavery. It commemorates June 19, 1865, when Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger landed in Galveston, Texas, with news that the Civil War had ended and all slaves were free, Bonner said.
“Because we have a true definition of what Juneteenth is, people will begin to know. This will be a learning curve, so to speak, and appreciate why we celebrate Juneteenth,” Bonner said.
It’s not just impropriety, but the appearance of impropriety that elected officials should avoid. But Cobb County Tax Assessor’s Office Director Stephen White sees nothing wrong with how he’s lowered his own property taxes.
Stephen White serves as director and chief appraiser of the Cobb Tax Assessor’s Office. Though in his 40s, his west Cobb home property is eligible for an exemption from taxes paid to the Cobb School District because his father, who is in his 70s, resides in the home and is on the home’s deed.
Cobb County grants the school tax exemptions to homeowners who are at least 62 years old on or before Jan. 1 of the current tax year.
“If the thought is I moved my father into my home just to get school tax exemption, that didn’t happen. I was taking care of my parents in my situation, and that’s why I moved my parents into the home,” White said.
White said his father also provided financial support to aid in setting up the home as the two were moving in.
“My father made a large investment into our home to help assist for caring for elderly family members. In return for that, I put him on the deed to my house,” White said. “He made an investment in my home.”
White said the exemption for his home is annually worth about $1,900.
If you live in DeKalb County, please take a few minutes to take a brief survey on the upcoming SPLOST election.
DeKalb Commissioner Nancy Jester has made her own concerns over the SPLOST known.
The DeKalb Board of Commissioners (BOC) has not yet voted to put the SPLOST referendums on the November ballot, although the County Administration has presented the BOC with a request to put the SPLOST in front of DeKalb voters, but have not yet voted on this matter. “I have deep concerns and reservations about increasing the County sales tax,” Jester adds. “I am absolutely opposed to the list of SPLOST projects that has been presented to the BOC. The list does not prioritize paving and public safety. It does include a new government center for politicians.”
Kennesaw City Council is considering adopting social media guidelines, according to the Marietta Daily Journal.
The latest version of the proposed policy removes language found in an earlier version that said the city “may seek injunctive relief from a court of competent jurisdiction” if an official refused to remove a social media post that violated the guidelines within 10 days of receiving oral or written notice.
But the policy says any online activity that interferes with the city’s ability to conduct business “may result in the issue being brought before the entire council to address.”
“Do you have to follow it? No, from the standpoint we recommend it. This is like table manners,” City Attorney Randall Bentley said at the council’s work session Wednesday night. “But I must tell you as far as a number of things that we are very limited to what we can do in regards to your social media.”
“A lot of it is to bring to you and recognize the fact that you can have a violation of open meetings rules in the fact that you can’t discuss city business — if three of you were to come online and start discussing city business, that would be a violation of open meetings, so we talk about that in here,” Bentley said. “We also talk about the fact that if you discuss city business, there is a real possibility that you can be subject to open records requests, so we want to make sure that you recognize that that is a possibility.”
Under open records laws, Bentley told the council, discussions of city business on officials’ personal social media accounts could be required to be retained in case they became the subject of open records requests.
“If we have an open records request, and you’ve been discussing it on your site, and it falls within that open records request, then you have to produce that,” he said. “(This policy) is kind of a wake-up call just to kind of say, ‘Hey, I could be subject to (that).”
Gwinnett County District Attorney Danny Porter announced he will seek charges against Snellville Mayor Tom Witts.
Former Georgia Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine will have his day in court on today, arguing (through his lawyer) that ethics charges filed last year against his 2010 campaign must be dismissed.
Fulton County Superior Court Judge Henry Newkirk will hear arguments in Oxendine’s bid to get the courts to essentially throw out charges from an amended state ethics commission complaint filed against him last year.
The commission’s complaint said that Oxendine took illegal contributions and spent campaign money on runoff and general election races he never ran after losing the GOP gubernatorial primary in 2010.
The ethics commission dismissed several charges against Oxendine in December after his lawyer argued that the statute of limitations had run out on the allegations. But it voted to move ahead with other charges.
If Oxendine is successful, the case could lead to more politicians asking the courts to interpret state ethics laws while cases are ongoing, rather than leaving it up to the commission.
Georgia and South Carolina will each contribute $2.5 million toward environmental studies for a proposed new container port on the Savannah River.