The blog.

2
Mar

DeKalb Ethics Chief calls for investigation into ‘phony’ advisory opinion document | The Brookhaven Post | Brookhaven, GA

DeKalb County, GA, February 28, 2015 – by Trey Benton – Brookhaven Attorney and DeKalb County Ethics Board Chair, John Ernst, has called for an official investigation into an alleged fabricated and/or forged Ethics Board Advisory Opinion – a document that apparently paved the way for DeKalb County Development Authority Chair, Vaughn Irons, to bid and win $1.5 million in County contracts.

Addressed to Acting U.S. Attorney John Horn; DeKalb County District Attorney Robert James; State Attorney General Sam Olens; GBI Director Vernon Keenan and FBI Special Agent in Charge J. Britt Johnson, Ernst’s letter says:

“Please be advised that an article appeared online at AJC.com last night and a story ran on WSB-TV as well about a potentially serious criminal violation. The news pieces allege that unknown persons fabricated and/or forged an Ethics Board advisory opinion nearly 5 years ago to sanction a potential conflict-of-interest by sitting DeKalb County Development Authority Chairman Vaughn Irons….”

via DeKalb Ethics Chief calls for investigation into ‘phony’ advisory opinion document | The Brookhaven Post | Brookhaven, GA.

2
Mar

News Report leads to DeKalb Commissioner’s call for Development Authority Chair to resign | The Brookhaven Post | Brookhaven, GA

A new AJC and Channel 2 Action News investigation has uncovered a reportedly invalid DeKalb County Ethics Board Advisory Opinion draft clearing DeKalb County Development Authority Chairman, Vaughn Irons, to bid on County contracts. That document is suspected to be a forgery.

According to the AJC and Channel 2 report, Irons bid on and was awarded $1.5 Million in contracts that went to APD Solutions, a company which Irons Founded and serves as the CEO.

DeKalb County Commissioner Stan Watson also has an interest in APD Solutions, says the report. In an interview, Irons told WSB that Watson received a modest retainer fee of approximately $500.00. Watson voted to approve the APD contracts.

Friday, DeKalb District 1 Commissioner Nancy Jester has called for Irons to resign his position on the DeKalb County Development Authority, for the County to open a full investigation and for the FBI to investigate the Irons’ actions.

via News Report leads to DeKalb Commissioner’s call for Development Authority Chair to resign | The Brookhaven Post | Brookhaven, GA.

2
Mar

Georgia legislative proposals could gut public defender reforms | www.myajc.com

Just 12 years ago, Georgia’s indigent defense system was a national embarrassment. Defendants languished in jails for months at a time without ever seeing a lawyer. At many courthouses, assembly-line justice was the norm, with lawyers meeting their clients just a few minutes before entering guilty pleas.

The Legislature enacted sweeping reforms of the system in 2003, including a guarantee that defendants be entitled to the services of a public defender no more than three business days after being charged or jailed. It also required new defender offices to have divisions that specialized in the defense of children accused of crimes. Now, however, legislators are considering rolling back those reforms.

The proposals, attached to criminal justice reform legislation, could come up for a vote as early as Monday before a key state House committee.

“I’m shocked,” said former Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Norman Fletcher. “It could certainly be a severe blow and could undo all we did to provide an adequate system to poor people accused of crimes.”

via Georgia legislative proposals could gut public defender reforms | www.myajc.com.

2
Mar

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for March 2, 2015

In Memoriam

During his service in the United States Army from 1953 to 1955, Leonard Nimoy was stationed at both Fort Benning in Columbus, Georgia, and for eighteen months at Fort MacPherson in Atlanta. In 1955, Nimoy directed and acted in the Atlanta Theater Guild production of A Streetcar Named Desire at the Wimbish House in midtown Atlanta.

In 2009, Nimoy appeared together with William Shatner at Dragon Con.

Over the weekend, Linda Womack, the doyenne of professional lobbying at the Georgia General Assembly, died.

In her decades on the marble floors, Linda was known as one of the first female lobbyist, and through her professionalism and grace, she paved the way for the fuller participation in state politics by the women – legislators, lobbyists, and other – who would follow.

The last time I spoke to Linda, we talked about having lunch at The General Muir, near the campus of Emory University, for whom she lobbied. We never found time, so one day this week, I’ll lift a reuben sandwich in her memory.

If you wish to take the true measure of a person whose career has been spent in politics, ignore the politicians. Lobbyists are most often on their best behavior around them. Pay attention to the expressions of grief from the administrative assistants, clerks, and others who toil every day with lower profile duties. From those you’ll learn a more important lesson – how they treated others when no one was looking – and by this measure also, Linda’s career was exceptional.

Georgia History

The United States Congress passed the first Reconstruction Act on March 2, 1867.

On February 28, 1874, Georgia Governor James M. Smith signed legislation creating the Georgia Department of Agriculture.

On March 2, 1874, Gov. Smith signed legislation allowing anyone fined for a criminal conviction to arrange for a third party to pay the fine in exchange for the convict’s labor.

On March 1, 1875, Governor James Smith signed legislation making cruelty to animals a misdemeanor punishable by a fine up to $50.

On February 29, 1936, the United States Army Corps of Engineers recommended building a dam at Clarks Hill, South Carolina to control flooding near Augusta.

On March 2, 1850, a groundbreaking ceremony was held for the beginning of construction of Buford Dam, which would create Lake Lanier.

President Lyndon B. Johnson attended ceremonies at Lockheed in Marietta for the first C-5A aircraft to come off the assembly line on March 2, 1968.

Continue Reading..

2
Mar

Adoptable Georgia Dogs for March 2, 2015

DrSpock
Meet Dr. Spock – a male Pit Bull mix who is available for adoption from Friends To The Forlorn Pitbull Rescue Inc. in Dallas, GA.

Spock was found rummaging through the garbage at a volunteer’s office on Wednesday 11/14/2012. After little food, water, vetting and a crate, he began to settle right in. Spock was approximately 12 to 18 months old at that time. As of 2014, he’s probably about 3 years old. Except for being extremely skinny, he was in very good shape. He has gained weight and filled out into a very handsome, strong boy. He has been neutered, vaccinated, and he is heartworm negative. Spock is looking for his forever home.

Spock has been great with the other dogs he’s has met and regularly plays with adoptables Valentine & LB. He can play a little rough, but he’s starting to be less of a freight train. This guy is extremely intelligent and attentive. He knows ‘sit’ and ‘down’ – he will do absolutely anything for a treat! He should also have no problem hearing you when you call with those silly ears! If you need a dog with big ears, Spock is the one for you!

Vulcan
Vulcan is a young adult male Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from the Georgia S.P.C.A. in Suwanee, GA.

Sulu

Officer’s Log, Stardate 2260. I have crash-landed on a strange planet. The inhabitants jailed me upon my arrival in a place called the “shelter.” Then a native aligned with GPRA rescued me. He treated me with the respect deserving an officer of Starfleet, so I went with him. My rough landing left me injured and dirty. This native took me to his Bones, who said I require surgery on my leg and medicine for something called Heartworms. This sounds fearsome, but as long as it’s not the earworm that Chekov endured then I feel certain I can brave it.

In my short 2 years of life, I have survived much. I lost weight during my captivity and am now down to 86 pounds. Still, I maintain my basic love for all beings and my essential sweetness. I need your help to heal again. My surgery and heartworm treatment are costly, but GPRA is committed to doing whatever it takes to make me well. For this, I am grateful, and I ask that you consider donating to help them help me.

Don’t stop there, though. I have grown to love this planetary system and its inhabitants. I would like to learn more, possibly while eating Milk Bones and getting my belly scratched. If you think you can aid my exploration, contact GPRA today!

Sulu is an adult male Great Pyrenees who is available for adoption from Great Pyrenees Rescue of Atlanta.

Dolly Dog Shirt<

On Wednesday, March 4, 2015, legislation will be introduced designating an “Official State Dog of Georgia.” Dolly, who is not available for adoption because she has a permanent home, is a supporter. She’s just waiting on her Lobbyist badge to start urging passage of the Official State Dog Act of 2015.

Let us know what kind of dog should be designated the Official State Dog of Georgia, and if you have a picture of yours, share it with us on Twitter using the hastag #officialgadog.

1
Mar

Georgia lobbyist files complaint against anti-tax crusader | www.myajc.com

A veteran Georgia lobbyist has accused conservative anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist of violating state law by failing to register as a lobbyist.

In an ethics complaint filed with the state ethics commission Tuesday, John “Trip” Martin claims Norquist meets the state’s definition for lobbyist for his work advocating against House Bill 170, a bill that seeks up to $1 billion in new revenue for transportation.

Martin is a longtime lobbyist at the Capitol with an influential list of clients, including the Atlanta Braves, the Georgia Automotive Dealers Association and shipping giant UPS. Many of them favor the transportation initiative, but Martin said his concern is about respecting the law that governs his profession.

“I think it is a pretty strong law and people ought to abide by that registration if they are attempting to influence a bill,” he said. “I register and list all my clients and disclose all that I spend.”

via Georgia lobbyist files complaint against anti-tax crusader | www.myajc.com.

1
Mar

Anti-Common Core activist group holds meeting with Superintendent Richard Woods, Rep. Tom Rice | Gwinnett Daily Post

NORCROSS — Tom Rice called it democracy in action, and several of the supporters of the grassroots effort were buoyed by the chance to organize their cause and spread their beliefs.

A first-of-its-kind all-day meeting organized by the group Georgians to Stop Common Core met on Saturday at Peachtree Corners Baptist Church where Rice, a state representative who represents the area opened the meeting with a prayer. State School Superintendent Richard Woods, who campaigned against Common Core during last year’s election, also attended the meeting.

“My position has not changed,” Woods told the crowd. “People know that, they know that in the government, sometimes we just smile and we agree to disagree. They know exactly where I stand on these issues and where we’re at. Thank you for everything you’ve done. It’s a fight worth fighting, hang in there and we will get there.”

The focus was on Common Core’s impact on Georgians and how to restore quality education and local control. The group believes the standards were “hurriedly adopted” in Georgia without legislative process to make Georgia eligible to receive funding in the Race to the Top grant competition in 2010.

via Anti-Common Core activist group holds meeting with Superintendent Richard Woods, Rep. Tom Rice | Gwinnett Daily Post.

1
Mar

Austell mayor proposes paying employees for working out | www.wsbtv.com

AUSTELL, Ga. — The mayor of a suburban Atlanta city is proposing to offer city workers financial incentives to hit the gym.

The Marietta Daily Journal (http://bit.ly/1wvBCKq ) reported Friday that Austell Mayor Joe Jerkins outlined a proposal during a meeting with city officials to pay city workers $5 for every day they exercise for an hour or more. He says employees would be required to sign in and out of a log book at a 24-hour fitness center.

via Austell mayor proposes paying employees for working out | www.wsbtv.com.

1
Mar

Mayor Reed’s city vehicle gets booted | AJC Latest News

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed’s city transportation, a black GMC Denali, was booted Thursday while the mayor was at lunch.

Our friends at Everything Georgia (@GAFollowers) tweeted the pic of the executive vehicle in full booted state. The reason: the SUV was partially parked on a sidewalk.

City of Atlanta spokeswoman Anne Torres says members of the mayor’s security team parked the vehicle illegally. A private parking company booted the vehicle.

via Mayor Reed’s city vehicle gets booted | AJC Latest News.

1
Mar

Lawmakers may end tax break on jet fuel, to Delta’s dismay | www.wsbtv.com

ATLANTA — Georgia lawmakers may eliminate a tax break for all airlines buying jet fuel at the world’s busiest airport.

A bill filed in the House would cut the exemption at Atlanta’s Hartsfield Jackson Airport. Supportive lawmakers say it would help the state get federal money for aviation improvements throughout the state.

They also argue the credit shouldn’t be kept in place forever. A committee could soon approve the bill.

Lawmakers created the exemption in 2005 as Delta was facing bankruptcy and have extended it several times before making it permanent in 2012.

via Lawmakers may end tax break on jet fuel, to Delta’s dismay | www.wsbtv.com.