The blog.

8
Apr

Adoptable Georgia Dogs for March 8, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dixie

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

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

Sugar

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

Her foster writes:

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

Pug Diddy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

8
Apr

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

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

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

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

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

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

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

Later adding,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

7
Apr

Linda Clary Umberger running for Republican National Committeewoman

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

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

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

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

7
Apr

Adoptable Georgia Dogs for April 7, 2016

Julip

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

Mimosa

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

Mojito

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

7
Apr

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

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

The_Lexington_-_NARA_-_513013_628

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

Map by Carl Vinson Institute of Government at UGA

Map by Carl Vinson Institute of Government at UGA.

Georgia Map 1795

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

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

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Vicki Willard Thanks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

6
Apr

Vicki Willard withdraws from campaign for Republican National Committeewoman

A statement from Vicki Willard:

VICKI WILLARD WITHDRAWS FROM COMMITTEEWOMAN RACE

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

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

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

6
Apr

Adoptable Georgia Dogs for April 6, 2016

Johnnie

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

Tyler

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

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

Billy

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

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

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

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

Harrison Jones

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

6
Apr

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

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

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

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

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

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

State officials this week blamed local officials for the problem.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DeKalb County

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Georgia Power Considers New Nuclear Plant

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5
Apr

Emory Buys Brookhaven’s Executive Park | Patch

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

via Emory Buys Brookhaven’s Executive Park | Patch.

5
Apr

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

9th_District_Invite

Presidential Politics

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