The blog.

27
Apr

Adoptable Georgia Dogs for April 27, 2016

Lab Puppies

These two 3-4 month old black Lab mix puppies (one female and one male) are available for adoption from Barrow County Animal Shelter in Winder, GA.

Cash

Cash is a 2-year old male Catahoula Leopard Dog mix who is available for adoption from Barrow County Animal Shelter in Winder, GA.

Carter

Carter is a 2-year old German Shepherd (or Hound) mix boy who is available for adoption from Barrow County Animal Shelter in Winder, GA.

Carter loves having someone read to him, he loves treats, and is BFFs with Cash.

27
Apr

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for April 27, 2016

On April 27, 1773, the British Parliament enacted the Tea Act, granting a monopoly on selling tea to the American colonies.

On April 26, 1866, the Atlanta Ladies’ Memorial Association held a Confederate memorial observance at Oakland Cemetery for the first time.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Gov Deal Signs Adoptable Dog Bill2

Yesterday, Governor Nathan Deal signed Senate Bill 168, designating the “Adoptable Dog” as the Official State Dog of Georgia in a brief signing ceremony in his office.

Gov. Deal also signed House Bill 941, which reforms privileges for law enforcement personnel in front of grand juries.

Police will no longer be present in the entire grand jury proceeding, listen to all the evidence against them and make a statement at the end that can’t be challenged or questioned. Georgia was the only state that allowed this broad special treatment for police officers facing possible criminal charges.

Yesterday, Carl Gilliard won the Special Runoff Election in House District 162 by a 73.5-26.5 margin over Alicia Blakely. The election was to serve the remainder of the term of the late Rep. Bob Bryant and the two candidates will meet again at the ballot box on May 24th for a full term in office.

The Georgia Supreme Court upheld the Governor’s power to appoint judges to newly-created seats on the Georgia Court of Appeals.

The Georgia Supreme Court issued an opinion Tuesday upholding Gov. Nathan Deal’s right to appoint three lawyers to fill newly created judgeships on the state Court of Appeals in lieu of having the positions filled by a statewide election.

Former Macon City Councilman Henry Ficklin and state NAACP President Francys Johnson Jr., along with three other men, filed a petition last year in Fulton County Superior Court challenging the constitutionality of the appointments. A judge ruled in December, denying the petition. Tuesday’s decision by the state Supreme Court affirmed that decision, according to a case summary prepared by a court spokeswoman.

The term for the appointed judges will end in December 2018. They must win re-election to hold their posts.

Tim Gaylor, a Republican candidate for Bryan County Commission Chair has pledged to donate his first year’s salary if he wins.

“When elected chairman, I will donate my entire first year’s base salary, with the assistance of tax attorney, Jeffrey L. Williamson, to establish a scholarship fund to benefit graduates of the Bryan County school system. My wife, Lori Gaylor and I are a both small business owners in Bryan County and this is just one way to thank the school system that has educated our children and helped us build successful lives here in Bryan County. I believe that this donation will inspire future donations and positively impact all of Bryan County.” Gaylor said.

“To me this job is about service and doing what is right for the taxpayers of Bryan County. While I’m happy that my financial contribution will help students from Bryan County achieve goals and dreams, I believe it’s more important that the voters elect a chairman that is anchored to transparency, fiscally conservative, and uses a common sense approaches when putting new policies into place,” Gaylor said.

The DeKalb County NAACP has come out in opposition to the County schools’ plans for an E-SPLOST election without a list of specific projects to be funded by the tax proceeds.

The next Macon-Bibb County SPLOST, which will appear on November ballots, could raise as much as $240 million.

“The voters are the ones who will be approving this, so there has got to be something for everybody,” Commissioner Larry Schlesinger said. “We shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that we’re not the decision makers.”

The County Commission outlined nine types of projects Tuesday they consider “must do” for a future SPLOST. They include money for blight, debt, public safety, economic development, roads, landfill closure and courthouse improvements.

Also on the list was the completion of various recreation projects and upgrades to the stormwater system. The previous SPLOST had about $39 million dedicated to recreation facilities, and county officials had pledged to complete the second phases of various projects with the next SPLOST.

County officials have yet to decide how much money will be dedicated to each project, although a preliminary list of the “priority” projects had an estimated cost of $348 million.

The Macon-Bibb County Planning & Zoning Commission approved a zoning to allow Starbucks to serve alcohol at an existing store at 4640 Forsyth Road in Macon.

“This is part of Starbucks’ evening program where at a certain time of the day they will convert to an evening menu and have some small plate dinner options, and if approved, start serving craft beers and wine,” said Macon attorney George Greer, representing Coffee House Holdings Inc., a subsidiary of Seattle-based Starbucks Corp. “The general time for converting to the evening menu is at 2 p.m.”

Fighting Human Trafficking

Sam Olens Stop Trafficking

Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens yesterday held a press conference to announce a PSA campaign aimed at raising awareness of human trafficking in Georgia. From the Gainesville Times,

With Atlanta as one of the largest centers of sex trafficking in the country, Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens announced Tuesday a campaign to target the buyers.

“When I was first elected, one could be convicted of trafficking and serve a year,” Olens said, adding it has since been increased to a minimum 10-year sentence.

The statewide campaign is called “Unmasked,” an effort to prosecute buyers in the sex trafficking market and “show that they are not anonymous,” according to the attorney general’s office.

Georgia Bureau of Investigation Director Vernon Keenan said the metro Atlanta area has been identified as one of the top five areas for human trafficking by the U.S. Department of Justice.

When the nonprofit Street Grace began in 2009, President and CEO Cheryl DeLuca-Johnson said the group “knew at some point the conversation would have to go to demand.”

Addressing the issue of domestic minor sex trafficking takes an entire community being aware of the issue and taking action, DeLuca-Johnson said.

“It still breaks my heart to think about what brought this team together. 12-year-old, sweet young girls, these children in our community, being sold for sex probably just miles from here. It’s shocking and horrifying, and it’s what compelled us to take action,” said Tami Oliva, group account director at advertising agency BBDO Atlanta.

Here’s the PSA:

26
Apr

Adoptable Georgia Dogs for April 26, 2016

Buster Brown

Buster Brown is a young male yellow Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from Augusta Animal Services in Augusta, GA.

Oreo

Oreo is a young female Pointer mix who is available for adoption from Augusta Animal Services in Augusta, GA.

Sheba

Sheba is an adult female black Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from Augusta Animal Services in Augusta, GA.

Madonna

Madonna is a senior female Hound mix who is available for adoption from CSRA Humane Society, Inc. in Augusta, GA.

Madonna is a very even tempered dog who gets on well with other dogs. She is inclined to be timid, and would fit in best in a quiet household.

26
Apr

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for April 26, 2016

On August 26, 1864, having withdrawn from trenches and fortifications outside Atlanta the previous day, U.S. General Sherman sent most of his forces westward around Atlanta and toward the south of the city.

On August 26, 1920, the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was adopted. Ratification took place on August 18, 1920, as the Tennessee House of Representatives adopted it, but adoption became official on August 26, when United States Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby certified the Amendment. It reads:

The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.

Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

On August 26, 1939, the first televised major league baseball game aired, as the Brooklyn Dodgers and Cincinnati Reds split a doubleheader in Ebbets Field.

On August 26, 1961, the 718th Engineer Light Equipment Company of Fort Valley and the 210th Signal Base Depot Company of Augusta were called up to take part in the American response to the crisis in Berlin.

President Lyndon B. Johnson was nominated for President by the Democratic National Convention in Atlantic City, New Jersey on August 26, 1964.

On August 26, 1965, Sonny & Cher were at No.1 on the UK singles chart with ‘I Got You Babe’, the duo’s only UK No.1. Sonny Bono was inspired to write the song to capitalize on the popularity of the term “babe,” as heard in Bob Dylan’s ‘It Ain’t Me Babe’. Bono would later be elected to Congress as a Republican in 1994 and served from 1995 until his death in 1998.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Alfredo’s Italian restaurant is closed. Long live Alfredo’s.

Today is the voter registration deadline for the May 24, 2016 Primary Election. Check your registration to ensure it is correct and current by logging in to the Secretary of State’s MVP webpage.

If you have a driver’s license or ID issued by the Georgia Department of Driver Services, you can register online to vote.

In Savannah today, voters will choose between Carl Gilliard and Alicia Blakely to serve out the remainder of the term of the late State Representative Bob Bryant. The two candidates will also meet on May 24 in the Democratic Primary, along with Josey Sheppard, Jr. for the term beginning in January.

Governor Nathan Deal has signed House Bill 951, providing an exemption from sales tax for “the National Football League championship game; any semifinal game or championship game of a national collegiate tournament; a Major League Baseball, Major League Soccer, or National Basketball Association all-star game; or any other nonrecurring major sporting event determined by the commissioner of economic development and the state revenue commissioner to be a major sporting event,” with the threshold for “major” set at “expected to generate over $50 million in the host locality.”

From WJCL,

The NFL says the exemption is required. Opposing legislators criticized the change as a giveaway to the league

The state is expected to forgo $10 million in sales taxes on game tickets. The law gives the same exemption on tickets to other sporting events expected to generate at least $50 million in other revenue.

And from WSB Radio,

House Bill 951 also gives Georgia back-to-school shoppers a sales tax break for a late July weekend and restores an incentive to buy energy efficient products. But the provision that helped splashy sporting events and their team owners sparked the most debate.

Gov. Deal also signed Senate Bill 208, which put incorporation of the new City of Stonecrest in DeKalb County on the May 24 ballot.

From the DeKalb Neighbor,

 Senator JaNice VanNess, R- Conyers, carried SB 208, which allows for a voter referendum that would incorporate and constitute a charter for the city of Stonecrest in DeKalb County if the measure is approved by voters during elections May 24.

“SB 208 is important to the local community and citizens of District 43,” said VanNess. “Since this is a referendum and gives citizens the authority to make a local decision and direct the future of their community, I encourage everyone to come out and vote and ensure your voice is heard.”

The initial mayor and city council members will be elected during the November 2016 general election.

Gov. Deal signed House Bill 767, which adds utility service vehicles to those which motorists must change lanes when passing if it is safe to do so. From the AJC,

Drivers must move over one lane or slow down and be ready to stop when passing electric power line crews and other utility workers working beside the road, according to a bill Gov. Nathan Deal signed into law last week.

State law already extends the same sort of safety margin to other vehicles and workers stopped by the roadside, including police, ambulances, wreckers and garbage trucks.

Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens will hold a press conference today unveiling a new Public Service Announcement campaign against sex trafficking.

Sex trafficking is considered modern day slavery in which children are bought and sold for sex. It happens throughout Georgia, from the streets of Atlanta to the back roads of small towns, and is often perpetrated in plain sight.

The “Unmasked” campaign targets the customers and in a gritty way shows that they are not anonymous – we see who they are and they are being unmasked every day.

The Polk County Republican Party has opened an office at 126 Piedmont Ave. in Rockmart that will open from daily 10:30 AM to 2 PM.

Volunteers are welcome to help, if interested, contact Mike Davenport at 804-564-6370.

Candidates may drop off materials for the public, and if they wish, make themselves available to talk with visitors. Since there are no local Democrats running for office, the upcoming primary on May 24th will determine all local elections.

Delegates to the Third Congressional District Convention of the Georgia Republican Party approved a resolution calling for expansion of the conditions eligible for medical marijuana and in-state cultivation and processing, according to the Times-Herald.

The resolution passed on a voice vote. Dale Jackson, Third District chairman for the Georgia Republican Party and a lobbyist for medical cannabis, said there were approximately 200 delegates and he only saw about three ‘no’ votes.

“It was extremely overwhelming,” said Jackson, whose son has autism.

Jackson wasn’t surprised to see the resolution pass so strongly. Polls show more than 70 percent of Georgians are in favor of expanding access to medical cannabis, Jackson said.

He feels support is particularly strong in the Third District, where many of those active in Republican Party politics “know me, know my story. I feel like they have given me the benefit of the doubt,” Jackson said.

“The Republican Party is supposed to stand up for and believe in states rights and in the Tenth Amendment,” Jackson said.

Congressman Doug Collins (R-9) gave an interview to WDUN covering a wide swath of issues for his district.

U.S. Rep. Doug Collins has again defended his controversial vote in December for a $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill, a vote that has become the rallying cry for his opponents in the upcoming primary.

Collins said he believes the vote was the right decision for the people of the 9th Congressional district, which he represents, and he reiterated previous statements that none of the money Planned Parenthood got from programs funded by the bill paid for abortions.

In a wide-ranging, exclusive interview with AccessWDUN on Saturday, Collins also discussed his votes for former Speaker of the House John Boehner, immigration, guns, religious liberty bills, the tristate water wars, North Korea and Donald Trump.

Collins, a two-term Republican representative from Gainesville, is facing four Republicans – former U.S. Rep. Paul Broun, Roger Fitzpatrick, Bernie Fontaine and Mike Scupin – in the May 24 primary. A runoff, if necessary, will be July 26. The winner faces no Democratic opposition in November.

State Senator Mike Dugan (R-Carrollton) and Rep. Dusty Hightower (R-Carrollton) spoke at a Legislative Update Town Hall sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Carrollton-Carroll County and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People of Carroll County.

State Sen. Mike Dugan feels that people who have committed non-violent crimes or are proven to suffer from mental illness can pay their debt to society without going to jail. He agrees with state Rep. Dusty Hightower that Georgia does not have enough in the budget for long-term health care for residents.

Dugan touched on legislative reform, saying there are some crimes that do not fit the harsh sentences imposed and there are alternatives to consider instead of filling up the jails.

“There are other ways that you can pay your debt to society without being in a jail,” he said. “If you are someone who is violent and anti-social and if we can’t trust you to be a member of society without you harming others then you ought to be locked up. But for those that are non-violent offenders, they ought not be in prison. For those that are suffering from mental illness, they ought not be in prison. Instead, they ought to be in a facility where they can get the mental health care that they need.”

“I want to caution you not to look at everything through the lens of Carroll County or the Atlanta area,” said Dugan. “If you go down to Baker County and Mitchell County, and some of those counties in southwest Georgia, they don’t have the assets at their disposal that we have here. Their population is low, the medium income level is low and their education level needs improvement. And we have put a lot of effort into increasing the (Internet) bandwith in the schools so that if they can’t find a teacher in a particular subject, they can have access to virtual instructors while someone on faculty is physically there to facilitate.“

Hightower answered several health care-related questions from those who expressed concern with age, and even with how the Religious Freedom Act might affect trips to the pharmacy for people who might want something as simple as birth control, or people who might end up encountering doctors who do not want to perform certain procedures due to their personal faith. Hightower cited several variations of the legislation and explained what stages it has gone through over time.

Savannah City Council will consider issuing bonds to fund a $33 million parking garage.

After the disqualification of two candidates for Muscogee County Sheriff, a challenge has been filed against the sole remaining candidate.

Disqualified candidate Pam Brown’s campaign is challenging retired Sheriff Capt. Donna Tompkins’ qualifications, alleging Tompkins missed the deadline for filing an affidavit that swears she meets all the standards to run for sheriff.

The complaint from Patricia Kiley, Brown’s campaign manager, claims Tompkins’ “Declaration of Candidacy and Affidavit” should have been filed by the close of qualifying at noon, March 11. An image of Tompkins’ affidavit posted to the elections office website shows the affidavit is dated March 15.

But that is within the deadline, said Nancy Boren, executive director of the Muscogee Board of Elections & Registrations. The law that once set the affidavit deadline at the close of qualifying later was amended to give candidates three business days after qualifying ended, Boren said.

Brown’s attorney, J. Mark Shelnutt, said the law requires a candidate to file the affidavit when he or she qualifies for office:

“Each person offering his or her candidacy for the office of sheriff shall at the time such person qualifies, swear or affirm before the officer before whom such person has qualified to seek the office of sheriff that he or she meets all of the qualifications required by this subsection….”

Nature

Marine scientists wrote an open letter to President Obama saying that oil exploration off the coast from Delaware to Florida could endanger Right Whales, the official marine mammal of the State of Georgia.

An international group of 28 leading right whale researchers wrote an open letter to President Obama last week stating that seismic oil and gas surveys planned in the waters between Delaware and Florida would significantly impact right whales, an endangered species numbering about 500 animals, and “would jeopardize its survival.”

They cite other increasing dangers to this species, whose coast-hugging habits earned it the nickname of the “urban whale.” The whales already face entanglement in fishing gear and injuries from boat strikes. Recent studies suggest its population is no longer increasing and may be declining.

Georgia designated the critically endangered right whale as its official state marine mammal in 1985, according to the New Georgia Encyclopedia.

Georgia’s coastal waters are a calving area for the right whale, and it’s the only great whale native to Georgia waters. A below average count of fourteen baby right whales were spotted in the most recent calving season, which ended at the beginning of April.

The Obama administration recently excluded the Atlantic from oil and gas leasing over the next five years, but that decision didn’t extend to the ongoing permitting process for seismic exploration. Eight permits are awaiting approval from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.

Nesting season for sea turtles officially begins May 1st.

“Last year we had 18 nests on Tybee … When I first started 15 years ago, he had three nests and now we average about 10 nests each season. She said during the season, the organization encourages “the darkest beach as possible.”

“Any light source can cause a deterrent to female turtles and to the hatchlings,” Smith says. “We ask people to pick up trash to keep beach and waterways clear … and to fill in any holes on the beach and knock down sand castles before you leave. These obstacles can cause problems for babies after they are born because they can get stuck in those holes or blocked by trash.”

Is that a primate in your pocket, or are you just glad to see her? A man in Oregon paid a prostitute with money stolen from a pet store and a girl scout cookie donation jar and then tipped her with a Galago, a small nocturnal primate also called a bush baby.

Let’s hope no Emory students were terrified by threatening chalk markings sidewalk art in Savannah.

25
Apr

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for April 25, 2016

James Oglethorpe won reelection to the British Parliament while in America on April 25, 1734.

The United States declared war on Spain on April 25, 1898.

On April 25, 1996, Georgia Governor Zell Miller signed Senate Bill 519 designating English the official language of Georgia.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

If you’re going to Cleveland for the Republican National Convention, make sure you take the time to check out the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame while you’re there. Admission will be free the week of July 17-21 from 10 AM to 3 PM.

If you’re a delegate to the Georgia Republican Party State Convention in Augusta, you should either have received your packet in the mail, or be receiving it shortly.

Speaker David Ralston visited Albany, according to WTVM,

The House Speaker says rural healthcare and economic development are areas he views as increasingly important to the region.

“We’re going to have to make that a priority issue in Georgia. We have failing hospitals all across the state. We’ve got to address that problem sooner rather than later,” said David Ralston.

State Representative Ed Rydners also spoke at the event. Ralston speaks of Rydners as a political ally.

Terry Lewis of the Albany Herald also covered the Speaker’s trip,

When asked if he thought Deal would veto the [Campus Carry] bill, Ralston said, “I hope not. The bill was thoroughly vetted in both the House and Senate and I am very proud of what we’ve done to protect Second Amendment rights.” He noted there have been three armed robberies near the Georgia State campus since December.

“I think the bill is needed, but I’m not going to make any predictions on what the governor will do because he had shown he will use his veto pen,” Ralston said.

Ralston says he would not be surprised if during the next session the General Assembly the House will take on at least some of the recommendations of the Governor’s Education Reform Committee which came out last year.

“I’m not sure what plans the governor has for that,” Ralston said. “I have raised some concerns about merit pay (for teachers). I’m not convinced there is a metric that is fair and reasonable to measure performance in the classroom. There are so many variables. So, I think until someone shows me a fair and reasonable way of measuring, I will continue to have the same concerns I had before this past session started.

“I used the analogy before session that Georgia State’s football team went 6-6 this past year and got a bowl bid. The University of Georgia went 10-3 and the coach got fired. How do you measure a teacher’s performance when they have to work with what comes into the classroom?”

“I’ve seen a lot of frustrated Georgians with a Washington that doesn’t seem to be working.,” he said. “They are frustrated with a Washington that can’t balance the federal budget. They are frustrated that people can’t set aside their differences and come together on at least a few things and get them done. I think they have an appreciation that we do things different in state government. We are moving forward on job creation, transportation infrastructure, some educational initiatives, and criminal justice reform.”

“But I think they really are frustrated with the federal government who seems to not want to hear from them, and just doesn’t seem to care about their lives. I also talk to a lot of people who are concerned that America’s place in the world seems to be in retreat. I believe that America is at its best when we are leading. If I worked in D.C., I’d probably be angry all of the time.”

Sometimes when your campaign signs go missing, the culprit is the Department of Transportation, according to the Eatonton Messenger,

As is the case every campaign season, the newspaper is receiving phone calls from folk complaining their political campaign signs are being vandalized or stolen.

It could be a loyal fan of the opposing candidate taking the signs, but it also could be a member of a state or local road maintenance crew.

A maintenance foreman with the Georgia Department of Transportation said “he has seen a good bit of signs on the rights of way in Putnam County,” according to GDOT Communications Officer Kyle Collins.

“Yes, GDOT maintenance staff do often pick up campaign or other signs that are in the right of way,” Collins confirmed via email. “They do this during maintenance work activities on certain routes and also just when cruising around checking on things.”

Cherokee County Public Schools has released a proposed list of projects to be funded by the E-SPLOST on the November ballot.

Campaign funds collected by incumbents often end up fueling the campaigns of their allies, according to the AJC,

[I]n legislative races where many incumbents have name identification and a built-in system to be able to outspend challengers 10-1, 20-1 or more, winning is a mountain that few contenders can successfully climb.

“It’s David versus Goliath,” said former Trion Mayor Lanny Thomas, a retired teacher taking on Senate Rules Chairman Jeff Mullis, R-Chickamauga, in the primary. “I am out here with a few pebbles and he’s all suited up.”

Thomas, who still teaches part time, reported raising $400 as of March 31. Mullis reported having $103,000 in his campaign account.

While about two-dozen lawmakers started April with more than $100,000 in their campaign accounts, there are a few races most years where challengers are financially competitive.

For example, state Sen. Brandon Beach, R-Alpharetta, is facing a stiff challenge from Milton investor Aaron Barlow, who had reported loaning his campaign about $150,000 as of last week.

Beach has kept pace, in large part by raising money from special-interest groups, businesses with interest in state contracts, and fellow lawmakers.

Since the session ended a month ago, he has received about $15,000 from state senators, House members and the Senate Republican political committee.

Such money isn’t that hard to come by for lawmakers in need because so many incumbents with big war chests face no opposition. One Beach donor, Senate President Pro Tem David Shafer, R-Duluth, ended March with $1.2 million in his campaign account and has no opposition for re-election. Another donor, Miller, reported $355,000 in his account.

In Cherokee County, predictably, incumbent judges are outpacing their challengers in fundraising, according to the Cherokee Tribune & Ledger News.

United States Senator Johnny Isakson and State Senator P.K. Martin will headline a lunch with the Gwinnett County Republican Party on Saturday April 30 from 12:30 to 2:30 PM at Lilburn Alliance Church, 5915 Lawrenceville Highway. Tickets are $15.

State Rep. Mike Dudgeon, who is not seeking reelection, will serve on the Board of the Fulton Academy of Science and Technology charter school.

State Rep. Earl Ehrhart (R-Cobb) filed suit against the US Department of Education and the USDOE Office for Civil Rights. From the Marietta Daily Journal,

The lawsuit says a 2011 letter sent by the department’s civil rights arm has effectively imposed binding regulations without going through the necessary administrative procedures.

The lawsuit also says the letter has forced schools to make sweeping changes or risk losing federal funding, which has come at great cost to the schools and has jeopardized the due process rights of students accused of sexual violence.

The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer took a look at this year’s municipal elections.

Next month’s city elections will see at least one new face put on Columbus Council and could be judgment day, for better or for worse, for three elected officials who have filed lawsuits against the city of Columbus and its leaders.

Half of the council’s 10 seats are on the ballot, but two, Post 2 Councilor Glenn Davis and Post 6 Councilor Gary Allen have no opposition. At-large Post 10 Councilor Skip Henderson faces newcomer Teddy Reese.

Post 4 Councilor and Mayor Pro Tem Evelyn Turner Pugh also faces a newcomer, Marquese Averett.

The election to see who takes over the Post 8 seat will be unusual. The seat was vacated when veteran Councilor Red McDaniel died in November 2014. Former state Rep. Tom Buck has been serving as interim since, but he is not seeking the seat permanently. Squaring off for the seat are Jonathan Paul Davis and Walker Garrett.

What makes the election unusual is that there will actually be two elections for the Post 8 seat: One for filling out the rest of the year and another to see who serves the next four years in the midtown district.

“Tom was appointed to fill the term until the next regular election for council or mayor, which is May 24,” said Elections and Registration Director Nancy Boren. “The regular election for that seat is a four-year term. The special election is to complete the term of Councilor Red McDaniel.”

Superior Court Clerk Linda Pierce, Marshal Greg Countryman and Municipal Court Clerk Vivian Creighton Bishop face opposition in the Democratic Primary, but because no Republicans qualified for the races, the primary is tantamount to the election.

Pierce faces Ann Hardman, Countryman faces Bernard Spicer and Bishop faces Sylvia Hudson.

Additionally, a contested election for Superior Court will be held in the Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit, comprising Chattahoochee Harris, Marion, Muscogee, Talbot, and Taylor Counties.

Three candidates for Coweta County Board of Education met in a debate Thursday night. Tuesday night, Matt Brass and Hayden Marlow, both candidates for the State Senate District 28 seat being vacated by Mike Crane will debate at 7 PM at the Central Educational Center studio on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and on Wednesday, April 27, the candidates for Third Congressional District will debate at 7 PM at the Wadsworth Auditorium on Jefferson Street in downtown Newnan.

Douglas County and the City of Villa Rica will hold a town hall meeting on May 5 to discuss a SPLOST proposed for the November ballot.

25
Apr

Adoptable Georgia Dogs for April 25, 2016

Thelma

Thelma (above) and Louise (below) are 90-pound, 3-year old Bloodhound females who are available for adoption from Walton County Animal Control in Monroe, GA. They are both calm and quiet, and they were found stray.

Louise

Urgent Stanley

Stanley is a super sweet one year old Shepherd mix boy is bouncy, lovable, and totally cute! This cutie loves to play, but hasn’t quite figured out what toys are yet. We think he will have a blast when he discovers what tennis balls are! Stanley is really tired of kennel life. He has been with us for nearly six months and is more than ready to find his forever home.

Stanley is available for adoption at no charge from DeKalb County Animal Services. He is urgent and only has until 7 PM Wednesday to find a foster or forever home.

Click here to see a video of Stanley.

22
Apr

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for April 22, 2016

On April 22, 1891, Asa Candler bought the recipe for Coca-Cola for $2300 and eventually turned its marketing from a “brain tonic” into a plain old tasty beverage.

Adolf Hitler admitted defeat in World War II on April 22, 1945.

The Atlanta Braves won their first home game in Atlanta Stadium on April 22, 1966. The Braves beat the New York Mets 8-4. It’s interesting to look back at how the Braves landed in Atlanta.

During his 1961 campaign for mayor of Atlanta, Ivan Allen, Jr. promised to build a sports facility to attract a Major League Baseball team. After winning office, Allen chose a 47-acre plot in the Washington–Rawson neighborhood for the building site, citing its proximity to the Georgia State Capitol, downtown businesses and major highways. Allen, along with Atlanta Journal sports editor Furman Bisher, attempted to persuade Charlie Finley, owner of the Kansas City Athletics, to move his team to Atlanta. Finley was receptive and began discussing stadium design plans with Allen. The deal, however, ended in July 1963 when the American League did not approve the move.

In 1964, Mayor Allen announced that an unidentified team had given him a verbal commitment to move to Atlanta, provided a stadium was in place by 1966. Soon afterward, the prospective team was revealed to be the Milwaukee Braves, who announced in October that they intended to move to Atlanta for the 1965 season. However, court battles kept the Braves in Milwaukee for one last season.

A verbal commitment by an unnamed team brought the Braves here.

The Blues Brothers made their worldwide debut on Saturday Night Live on April 22, 1978. Two prominent Georgia musicians, Ray Charles (born Albany) and James Brown (died Atlanta) would co-star in The Blues Brothers movie.

Former President Richard Nixon died on April 22, 1994.

Passover begins at sunset today. Chag Sameach!

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Yesterday, I attended part of the Republican National Committee Spring Meeting in Hollywood, Florida.

Todd RNC Backdrop

The national media descended like a plague of locusts, expecting juicy news from the Rules Committee, but they got none.

From the Los Angeles Times,

For members of a Republican Party establishment that finds itself under attack from Donald Trump for running a “rigged” nominating system, the unsaid theme of their Florida confab this week is the old truism: No news is good news.

That was the result of Thursday’s RNC rules committee meeting, an arcane affair that usually attracts scant public attention. In this fraught primary campaign, though, the meeting took on outsized significance as a test of whether the party could serve as an impartial referee in the nomination battle.

The 56-member committee rebuffed all the proposed rule changes before it, including one dealing with the parliamentary guidelines governing the convention. Many members said they were afraid that taking any action at all would hurt their credibility.

“We’re basically in the seventh inning of the ballgame and I don’t think it’s right to change the rules in the middle of the game,” said Randy Evans, an RNC committee member from Georgia.

Evans cautioned that, in light of the charged political environment, “any change that we make will be viewed with a large degree of cynicism.”

Both Ted Cruz and John Kasich made appearances, and both predicted a contested convention in Cleveland. From the Cleveland Plain-Dealer.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who was mathematically eliminated on Tuesday from clinching the nomination during the GOP primary season after Donald Trump won his home state of New York, now says there’s only one possible outcome for the Republican National Convention.

“What is clear today is we are headed to a contested convention — nobody is able to reach 1,237,” Cruz said Wednesday, referring to the number of delegates needed to win the nomination.

Both Cruz and Kasich traveled to South Florida to appeal directly to the 168 members of the RNC, all of whom are voting delegates in the convention, scheduled for July 18-21. And both argued that they alone — and certainly not Trump — could beat Hillary Clinton, the Democratic frontrunner, in a general election.

Kasich said RNC members were receptive to his candidacy, and none have encouraged him to drop out of the race. Cruz has tried to argue that by staying in the race, Kasich is serving as a spoiler who makes a Trump nomination inevitable.

“My message to the delegates is that I can win. It’s reflected in every poll, and an uplifting message is one that provides energy to the party,” Kasich said. “And it becomes very attractive to people by addressing how we can fix these problems.”

But Cruz had his own assessment: “John Kasich has no path whatsoever…. His plan apparently rests on losing 49 states, going to the convention and having the delegates say, the guy who lost every state in the union besides his home state, that guy should be our nominee.”

Yesterday, I spoke to Ken Cuccinelli, a top Cruz advisor, surrogate speaker, and delegate wrangler, who previously served as Attorney General for the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Florida Governor Rick Scott spoke to the RNC at lunch.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott passed up a chance to urge Republican National Committee members to support his preferred presidential candidate, Donald Trump.

But he warned them: no “monkey-business.”

“We’ve got to be transparent,” Scott told a packed room of RNC officials Thursday at their spring meeting in Hollywood, Fla., implicitly telling them not to cut back-room deals that would undercut the frontrunner or, in Trump’s terms, “rig” the process.

“We can’t take a chance that we’re accused of any monkey-business. Tricks. Stunts. Anything,” Scott said in his brief remarks during which he received polite applause.

Though he’s the highest-profile endorser of Trump in the nation’s biggest swing state, Scott pointedly avoided using the platform at the RNC speech to make the case for Trump. Scott said he wanted to plug Florida and the need to talk about the economy.

At 5 PM in a medium-sized reception room in the hotel, the Trump campaign hosted a presentation with top Trump aides Paul Manafort, Rick Wiley, and Dr. Ben Carson. It was a private event, closed-door with security outside admitting only RNC Members and those with Guest badges while the media cooled their heels outside. Of course a recording came out of the meeting.

“When he’s sitting in a room, he’s talking business, he’s talking politics in a private room, it’s a different persona,” top Trump aide Paul Manafort said during the meeting, a recording of which was obtained by NBC News. “When he’s out on the stage, when he’s talking about the kinds of things he’s talking about on the stump, he’s projecting an image that’s for that purpose.”

In the meeting, Manafort cast Trump as playing a part aimed at winning over his core supporters.

“He [Trump] gets it,” Manafort said, and “the part that he’s been playing is evolving into the part that now you’ve been expecting, but he wasn’t ready for because he had to first feed the first phase.”

Manafort insisted that Trump’s deep unpopularity nationwide, fueled by months of unapologetic bluster on the campaign trail, would be easily remedied when the candidate shifts gears. In contrast, Hillary Clinton’s negatives are character driven and baked-in, Manafort argued.

He also reassured RNC members that Trump will raise money for the party — something he’s so far avoided doing, Manafort said, because it would violate a campaign promise not to take donations.

“He’s actually living his word, and that’s what the base that we are attracting to the Trump campaign is looking for. They’re looking for honesty, and they’re looking for consistency, and they’re looking for someone who does exactly what they say,” Manafort said.

Manafort did assure the RNC that Trump has told him and another top aide, Rick Wiley, that the billionaire will spend what it takes to lock up the nomination before Cleveland.

“He’s told Rick and I that he’s willing to spend what’s necessary to finish this out. That’s a big statement from him,” Manafort said. “It allows us to put a plan together so that we can make sure that we finish this thing early enough so that you can feel comfortable that he’s going to be the nominee.”

The most interesting part of it to me was the appearance by his national political director Rick Wiley, who managed Scott Walker’s presidential campaign and previously served as Political Director for the RNC.

In 2014, when Republicans took control of the Senate, Wiley was a consultant for the National Republican Senatorial Committee. He worked with Joni Ernst’s Iowa campaign in Iowa, among others, on strategy and get-out-the-vote operations.

That year Wiley also advised the Republican Governors Association — which was then chaired by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, now a Trump surrogate and adviser — and oversaw the committee’s spending in states including Wisconsin, where Walker won a tough reelection fight.

Walker was not Wiley’s first presidential campaign. He served as deputy national political director for Rudy Giuliani’s 2008 presidential bid; he former New York mayor is now backing Trump. Wiley also ran the RNC’s operations in the swing state of Wisconsin for then-President George W. Bush’s 2004 reelection.

Wiley took the stage as someone who was comfortable with the RNC, and knows many of the members and guests. He was able to speak about his days there with Chairman Reince Priebus and namecheck a number of folks in the room, something that Trump himself wouldn’t be able to do.

Wiley gave a presentation about the election, starting with the 2012 Presidential election and going into individual states that he says Trump can put back on the map for Republicans.

PBS Newshour writes that both Wiley and Manafort said Trump will win on the first ballot.

From the New York Times,

Mr. Wiley walked them through a slide show that predicted victory for Mr. Trump not just in swing states with large Hispanic populations like Nevada, Colorado and Florida, but in states that Republicans have not captured since the 1980s: Pennsylvania, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Connecticut.

And in other solidly Democratic states, like Illinois and New Jersey, he said Mr. Trump could force Mrs. Clinton to spend money defending herself. “Can we win Illinois?” Mr. Manafort asked. “I don’t know. But what we can do is make Hillary Clinton go to Illinois, make her spend money there, make her spend money in the Northeast.”

The most remarkable thing to me was that Wiley spoke with the confidence of someone who is on the campaign of the presumptive nominee, laying out the general election strategy and how the RNC’s ground game, developed and sharpened in 2016 will compliment Trump. If the Trump campaign had been dealing with Republican leaders in states and at the RNC with this level of professionalism over the last year, I think it would have made a major difference in the campaign, and he’d be on his way to nomination at the Convention in Cleveland.

In addition to his appearance at the RNC on Wednesday, John Kasich’s campaign held a strategy session in Atlanta yesterday for Georgia supporters of the Ohio Governor.
Kasich Strategy

 

 

22
Apr

Adoptable Georgia Dogs for April 22, 2016

Governor Nathan Deal will sign Senate Bill 168, which names the Adoptable Dog as the Official State Dog of Georgia on Tuesday, April 26th in his ceremonial office at the Georgia State Capitol.

Prince JVR

Prince is an adult male Pit Bull (pronounced “Pibble”) who is available for adoption from Joint Venture Rescue in Stone Mountain, GA.

Prince has been in a foster home for almost 2 years. He is a great dog, will play with a few females but does not react to any dog that goes by his crate. The 3 year old toddler is now 5 years old and he is still good with her. He would love to have a home and a couch to call his own.

This little guy showed up on a friends back porch back in December, 2011. When they found him, he looked to have been sleeping and was settled in for the night. They thought he would be gone the next day and left him alone. But when they got up, he was still here, just sitting quietly by their back door. They checked to see if he had a tag with any info, so they could report him being found, but instead his collar had a message which read “My name is Prince. I don’t bite, Please love me”. Looking at him you can see that is really all he wants, to be loved.

Prince Cobb

Prince is a young male Mastiff and Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from Cobb County Animal Control in Marietta, GA.

Prince is a beautiful boy that is super sweet. He’s a little shy right now but he will sit and stay. His family left him at the shelter on 4/11 saying that he is a little too playful and rough for their small children. Prince is just one year old and weighs 66 pounds. He has such stunning, beautiful eyes. He should to great in a home that gives him proper attention and exercise, and has no small toddlers that are unsteady on their feet.

Purple Rain

Purple Rain is an adult female Beagle mix who is available for adoption from Furkids Dog Shelter in Alpharetta, GA.

21
Apr

Adoptable Georgia Dogs for April 21, 2016

Holly ellijay

Holly is a nine-year old female Rhodesian Ridgeback and German Shepherd mix who is available for adoption from Homeward Bound Pet Rescue Inc. of Gilmer County in Ellijay, GA.

Holly is gentle, affectionate, well-mannered, house-broken and both leash and crate trained. She enjoys long walks, lots of exercise, and would make a great running companion. Holly bonds strongly with her humans and thus requires an all adult household with no other pets.

Holly bainbridge

Holly is a 1-2 year old female Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from Bainbridge Decatur County Humane Society Shelter in Bainbridge, GA.

She has beautiful blue eyes and a great coat. She’s sweet and a little shy and unsure but will make friends. She’s about 40-45 pounds and is heartworm negative.

Holly Ivy

Holly and her sister Ivy are young, smaller female Labrador Retriever mixes who are available for adoption from Falling Star Dog Rescue in Sugar Hill, GA. The girls were stray in South Georgia before being taken in by the rescue group. Holly and Ivy are considered a bonded pair and are now looking and hoping for a home together.

 

21
Apr

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for April 21, 2016

Georgia and American History Today

According to tradition, on April 21, 753 B.C., Rome was founded. The one in Italy, not the one in Floyd County.

On April 21, 1732, King George II signed the royal charter creating the colony of Georgia. The King’s signature did not make the charter effective as several additional steps were required.

On April 21, 1789, John Adams was sworn in as the first Vice President of the United States.

On April 21, 1904, Ty Cobb made his debut in professional baseball for the Augusta (Georgia) Tourists in the South Atlantic League in center field; Cobb hit an inside-the-field home run and a double.

Manfred von Richthofen, known as “The Red Baron,” was killed in action on April 21, 1918, shot by either an Australian gunner or a Canadian. At the time of his death, Richthofen has shot down 80 aircraft in aerial combat.

Former President Jimmy Carter was appointed Distinguished Professor at Emory University on April 21, 1982. Carter holds an annual Town Hall in which he takes questions from students.

On April 21, 1988, President Ronald Reagan signed a Memorandum of Agreement with Israel. From the press statement released that day,

The MOA reiterates for the public record our long-standing relationship of strategic cooperation with Israel. Strategic cooperation can only succeed when there are shared interests, including the commitment to building peace and stability in the region. It reflects the enduring U.S. commitment to Israel’s security. That commitment will never flag. The U.S. commitment to peace will also not flag. The President knows that a strong Israel is necessary if peace is to be possible. He also knows that Israel can never be truly secure without peace.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Sorry for the change in programming, but I’m at the Republican National Committee Spring Meeting in Hollywood, Florida today. My flight this morning cut into the time I usually spend on this email. For now, here are a couple photos, and I hope to be back on our usual schedule tomorrow with some juicy tidbits from the RNC meeting.

RNC Spring banner

RNC PRess Reg

RNC badges

RNC Spring Reince Priebus