Governor Deal ordered flags to half-staff yesterday in honor of Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Skip Wells of Marietta and Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Randall Smith of Rossville, who were killed when a gunman attacked two military recruitment centers in Chattanooga on July 16. Flags will remain at half-staff through sunset on July 30.
“Sandra and I join millions of other Georgians in mourning the senseless loss of these Georgians and their three fellow American heroes,” Deal said. “We honor their memories and recognize the sacrifices made by these military servicemen, and we offer their families our deepest condolences. We lower the U.S. and state flags as a sign of respect and as a reminder to all of the sacrifice it symbolizes.”
Though President Andrew Johnson issued a proclamation of amnesty and pardon to the Southern rebels in 1865, it required Lee to apply separately. On Oct. 2, 1865, the same day that Lee was inaugurated as president of Washington College in Lexington, Va., he signed the required amnesty oath and filed an application through Gen. Ulysses S. Grant.
Nonetheless, neither was Lee pardoned, nor was his citizenship restored. After receiving it, Secretary of State William Seward gave Lee’s application to a friend as a souvenir. Meanwhile, State Department officials, apparently with Seward’s approval, pigeonholed the oath.
In 1970, an archivist, examining State Department records at the National Archives, found Lee’s lost oath. That discovery helped set in motion a five-year congressional effort to restore citizenship to the general, who had died stateless in 1870.
President Gerald Ford signed the congressional resolution on July 24, 1975, correcting what he said was a 110-year oversight. The signing ceremony took place at Arlington House in Virginia, the former Lee family home. Several Lee descendants, including Robert E. Lee V, his great-great-grandson, attended.
The Republican Governors Association announced today $24.4 million raised in the first six months of 2015, surpassing the previous record raised at the same point in 2011, the last comparable first year of a new four-year cycle. The RGA additionally announced that its current cash on hand figure also reached a new milestone, with over $20 million in the bank as of June 30, across all entities. This financial success will enable the RGA to play offense in key Democrat-held states, defend its incumbent governors, and build a strong foundation for the next four years with potentially over 30 open gubernatorial seats up for election.
The RGA also paid off all of the $3 million in debt it carried into 2015 after the 2014 election, when the RGA increased its total from 29 to 31 Republican governors.
“Thanks to the hard work and success of every Republican governor, the RGA is in strong shape financially to defend our incumbents, target Democrat states and elect even more Republican governors over the next four years,” said RGA Chairman Governor Bill Haslam. “Republican governors are transforming their states for the better, driving economic growth, standing up to the Federal Government’s overreach, and getting results. The RGA continues to be the best investment for advancing conservative policies across the country.”
“Republican governors are driving America’s Comeback and getting results in their states,” said RGA Executive Director Paul Bennecke. “The RGA’s fundraising efforts and disciplined spending continue to set new records which ensures RGA will have the resources to be competitive and defend our incumbents against the Big Labor Unions and the Left’s new plan to pour tens of millions of dollars into state elections.”
The RGA is one of the great success stories of Republican campaign efforts.
While these matters will probably be moot with regard to the Demo-Clintonic Party, the GOP field is so large — and so full of candidates with attached super PACs to keep them afloat even if hard-money donations fall short — that proportional allocation of the February and early March contests might not prove decisive. There could well be four or even five major candidates truly still in contention by March 15.
If so, a delegate-rich state holding a winner-take-all primary on March 15 could end up with more real influence over the nomination than a state holding an earlier contest. Of the five states now tentatively slated for March 15, only Illinois is planning to use proportional allocation.
Imagine a scenario in which Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Scott Walker, and Rand Paul have all snagged significant delegate counts during February and early March. (I’m assuming Donald Trump, currently playing the role of Bozo the Clown, will be a non-factor by then. If I’m wrong, it probably means GOP voters have decided to let Hillary Clinton sleepwalk into the White House.) North Carolina, Ohio, Florida, and Missouri would then loom large. Awarding all the Florida delegates to either Bush or Rubio (presumably) might well have the effect of knocking the other out. All candidates would fight tooth and nail for the other three.
These four states wouldn’t just be huge caches of winner-take-all delegates. Florida, Ohio, and North Carolina are clearly battleground states for the fall campaign, with Missouri leaning Republican but not by all that much. A GOP candidate thinking about the general election will have an extra incentive to invest time and resources in the March 15 states
The downside? We’ll have to put up with presidential candidates traipsing through our state. I suppose it’s for a good cause.
Whether you’re downcast or elated by The Donald’s recent poll showings, remember this: in the 2012 Republican Primary cycle, five different candidates led the polling for significant periods, and 80% of them did not become the nominee. A sixth candidate, Michelle Bachmann, won the Ames Straw Poll four years ago this month. Whether it’s The Donald, or one of the other major candidates, your favorite will likely spend some time at or near the top, but that won’t mean anything.
After a few years of spending every morning reading the news all across the state, I’ve learned this.
1.) in small, local governments, they tend to take money right from the till, in small amounts over a long period of time, sometimes accruing large amounts;
2.) in large metro governments, they take bribes related to zoning or government contracts;
3.) in State bureaucracies, it’s usually fake invoices
4.) in DeKalb County they take everything;
5.) folks at all levels will steal from the Feds, who don’t make it terribly hard.
It’s not entirely a political problem – it’s a problem with humanity, and people have taken what they’re not supposed to ever since the Garden of Eden. When opportunity strikes, opportunists strike, and people are at their core, somewhat opportunistic. But DeKalb County exacerbates the potential for corruption by making opportunities for corruption more available.
First a phony Ethics Board opinion mysteriously showed up in the county’s contracting department, allowing Irons to bid for county work despite his conflict of interest as a government official. Then the county awarded his company, APD Solutions, a $1 million contract to rehab foreclosed homes, even though APD missed the cut by ranking fourth in the bidding process. Then the county gave APD an extra $500,000 to rehab more homes, without requiring another bid.
On Sunday, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that once Irons had a contract, his company went on to charge DeKalb taxpayers $10,000 for a 140-foot backyard privacy fence – about five times what a fence of that length should cost.
County staffers don’t appear to have scrutinized that expense. Nor did they question tens of thousands of dollars in other charges that lacked backup documentation in the county’s files, or layers of fees for such tasks as processing invoices, interacting with the county and managing subcontractors.
When APD Solutions sold its first rehabbed home in south DeKalb’s Piedmont Point subdivision, in March 2013, the company held a ceremony to hand the new homeowner her keys.
Irons was there, as was Commissioner Stan Watson, who Irons was paying $500 per month for consulting services at the time. They weren’t the only VIPs in attendance who were benefitting.
Earlier this year, the General Assembly passed House Bill 597 to reform the DeKalb County Ethics Board. If voters pass a November 2015 referendum on the issue, the new legislation will take effect, removing the power of appointing members of the Ethics Board from Commissioners and placing that in the hands of third parties.
That makes some sense, as the current Board of Ethics has pending before it complaints against Commissioners Stan Watson and Sharon Barnes-Sutton, both of whom currently serve on the DeKalb County Commission
Groups who will appoint members if the referendum passes include the DeKalb Bar Association, the DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce, the DeKalb County legislative delegation, the judge of the Probate Court of DeKalb County, Leadership DeKalb, a committee of the six largest universities and colleges in DeKalb, and the chief judge of the Superior Court of DeKalb County.
Ironically, the measure to reform the DeKalb County Board of Ethics and remove conflicts of interest may create additional potential for conflicts of interest. Today, conflicts of interest are so embedded in the way DeKalb County does business that it may be nearly impossible to remove opportunities for corruption.
[L]ate last year, May and some other DeKalb commissioners met with Chris Carr, head of the state Department of Economic Development.
Ostensibly, the reason for the get-together was a new marketing plan the county had developed for going after new businesses. But the conversation quickly shifted into come-to-Jesus territory, said Carr, himself a resident of DeKalb.
“It doesn’t make sense that DeKalb County wouldn’t be a part of this burgeoning economy. But the reality of the situation is, there is only so much the state can do. The county is going to have to take care of its business,” Carr said. “You can’t have indictments, and you can’t have school boards getting removed, because companies can go any number of places.”
This was Carr’s bottom line: “The fact is, outside of Perimeter Center, of the projects that the state has been a part, there are very, very, very few where folks are looking at DeKalb.”
State bureaucrats don’t often employ the triple “very.” But in this Internet-driven age, job growth and reputation are closely linked. It is serious stuff. Tax bases are at stake. Which means schools are at stake, as well as every service a county is obliged to provide.
On Tuesday, Gwinnett County commissioners narrowly cleared the way for residents to own chickens in their backyards, within certain limitations when they voted 3-2 to adopt a long list of revisions to the county’s livestock ordinance.
While the revised ordinance makes it easier for residents to own chickens, it also places heavy restrictions on what the poultry can be used for, how many chickens can be kept at a home and what types of pens they must be kept in. The extensive list of revisions was introduced Tuesday by Commissioner John Heard.
“There is quite a bit of desire, not only here in Gwinnett, but statewide to allow egg-laying hens to be kept in residential areas for health purposes and for use as pets,” Heard said. “After a lot of exhaustive discussions and reviews, I came to my personal conclusion that the ordinance that’s in place of disallowing overall in residential communities is being vastly violated.
“In an effort to bring some compliance, so that less enforcement is needed, allowing chickens in this limited arena that I have proposed would be in the best interests of Gwinnett County,” Heard added.
Proponents of the change have repeatedly said the eggs laid by the chickens are an organic food source for residents. Opponents have argued chicken owners in some communities, such as the Danbury Village subdivision in Norcross, let their chickens roam free and introduced roosters that have disrupted their quality of life.
Commissioner Lynette Howard and Chairman Charlotte Nash voted against the revisions. Nash said she feared the restrictions would make it easier for avian flu strains to be spread and tried to get her colleagues to postpone a decision for a couple of months.
“I just think it’s inappropriate and unfair to the public to schedule an important vote like the millage vote on a Wednesday afternoon at 4 p.m. regardless of whether or not it was published,” he said. “What people expect is what’s happened in the past, and I just think to especially have a called meeting at 4 p.m. on a Wednesday afternoon, it’s inappropriate, and you kind of wonder who is working for who.”
After months of debate, the Augusta Commission voted Tuesday to approve the first reading of an ordinance implementing a stormwater utility fee effective Jan. 1.
Planned at $6.40 a month for most households, the fee is expected to create approximately $14 million annually for maintenance and expansion of the city’s aging storm drainage infrastructure.
The fee has drawn the ire of large property owners such as the Richmond County School System, which will be subject to up to $25,000 in monthly fees and has requested to be exempt. Non-residential owners that install runoff management devices such as detention ponds are eligible for credits of up to 65 percent in the plan adopted Tuesday.
A proposal to bring drones to Macon-Bibb County hit a snag Tuesday as commissioners voted to table a resolution until more details come in.
Several county officials who voted to table the memorandum of understanding resolution said they were excited about the technology but had reservations about the potential $5.7 million project. A representative of Olaeris, the manufacturer of the unmanned aerial system, has described Macon as a potential regional hub for drones responding to emergencies and natural disasters.
“I don’t feel like the commission has done its due diligence on the project, and it’s a lot of money that we don’t know where it’s coming from,” Commissioner Mallory Jones said.
Some commissioners said they were hesitant since it’s tough to predict the constraints of a future budget when it might be two years before the county is paying for drones.
Kelly is a young female Bernese Mountain Dog & Spaniel Mix, a sweet girl that gets along with other dogs. She still has some puppy behaviors such as jumping that she is working on in her foster home. She is on the shy side and needs a family that can give her rules, consistency, and structure that will help to make her feel secure and gain confidence. Kelly walks nicely on a leash and adores her people and for the most part has a very easy going personality. She will be best suited in a home with older children and can be adopted to a home with or without other dogs.
Corbin Blue is a young, male blue-eyed 52 pound Mountain Dog and Lab mix who is great with small children. He believes small dogs and cats are his personal chase toys. This would have to be addressed by his new parents if Corbin is not an only child. Corbin is move in ready. He is both house, crate trained, and fully vetted. If your family is missing that special someone Corbin Blue awaits your call.
Winston is an adult male Hound & Bernese Mountain Dog Mix, a real good guy. He just naturally, automatically loves people. He is medium in size and he is a Hound mix. Winston is 2 years old and his neuter day is today. Winston is a very, very, very, very, very good dog hoping he can find a quick home!!! Likes other dogs. Loves people. Higher energy. Does well on a leash. Winston is known to be a ***DIGGER***.
Augusta’s 1963 mayoral campaign took place between Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech in Washington and President Kennedy’s assassination in Dallas.
In fact, the pages of The Chronicle throughout 1963 are filled with national stories of civil rights debates, international accounts of communist threats, nuclear worries and rising concerns with a country called Vietnam.
Augusta, for its part, was talking about illegal gambling.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released footage of the efforts being taken to recover the Civil War ironclad CSS Georgia, currently at the bottom of the Savannah River directly in front of Fort Jackson.
The video is courtesy of Michael Jordan of Cosmos Mariner Productions. Jordan is currently filming a documentary of the recovery efforts.
U.S. Navy Divers from the Mobile Diving and Salvage UNIT (MDSU) 2 and Explosive Ordinance Disposal Technicians from Explosive Ordinance Disposal Mobile Unit 6, in conjunction with archaeologist and conversations, Naval History and Heritage Command and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are working to secure and raise the 153-year-old ship.
For nearly three months, Johnston and Sherman had maneuvered around the rugged corridor from Chattanooga to Atlanta. Although there was constant skirmishing, there were few major battles; Sherman kept trying to outflank Johnston, but his advances were blocked. Though this kept losses to a minimum, there was also a limit to how long Johnston could maintain this strategy as each move brought the armies closer to Atlanta. By July 17, 1864, Johnston was backed into the outskirts of Atlanta. Johnston felt his strategy was the only way to preserve the Army of Tennessee, but Davis felt that he had given up too much territory.
The original succession act designated the Senate president pro tempore as the first in line to succeed the president should he and the vice president die unexpectedly while in office. If he for some reason could not take over the duties, the speaker of the house was placed next in the line of succession. In 1886, during Grover Cleveland‘s administration, Congress removed both the Senate president and the speaker of the house from the line of succession. From that time until 1947, two cabinet officials, (their order in line depended on the order in which the agencies were created) became the next in line to succeed a president should the vice president also become incapacitated or die. The decision was controversial. Many members of Congress felt that those in a position to succeed the president should be elected officials and not, as cabinet members were, political appointees, thereby giving both Republican and Democratic parties a chance at controlling the White House.
In 1945, then-Vice President Truman assumed the presidency after Franklin Roosevelt died of a stroke during his fourth term. As president, Truman advanced the view that the speaker of the house, as an elected official, should be next in line to be president after the vice president. On July 18, 1947, he signed an act that resurrected the original 1792 law, but placed the speaker ahead of the Senate president pro tempore in the hierarchy.
The Army Corps of Engineers says a CSS Georgia cannon was removed from the Savannah river Wednesday after spending 150 years at the bottom of the river.
Army Corps of Engineers spokesman Billy Birdwell says the cannon weighed roughly 1,000 pounds and is the first of two that is being pulled from the water as part of the Savannah port expansion project.
Birdwell says more than 100 cannonballs are also in the river and will be removed. Birdwell says two other cannons were removed from the river in 1986.
Officials say Confederate soldiers intentionally sank the CSS Georgia as Union troops approached Savannah in December 1864.
Former Republican Congressman Jack Kingston is endorsing Republican J. Max Davis in the Special Runoff Election for State House District 80 and will attend a meet-and-greet on Saturday, July 18, 2015 from 11 AM to noon at Lucky’s Burger & Brew in Town Brookhaven.
“I’ve known the Davis family for over 25 years, dating back to when I served in the Georgia House of Representatives with Max Davis.““Last year, I got to know J. Max Davis better in his role as Mayor of Brookhaven, and as friend and supporter for our family. Just like when I served with his father, J. Max Davis embodies the Republican principles of limited, local and efficient government and lower taxes for all citizens.”
“I am proud to endorse my friend J. Max Davis and to ask the voters of House District 80 to vote to send him to the State House,” said Kingston. “In the Special Runoff Election, every single vote counts, and I’m asking Republicans to turn out in force on August 11th to vote for J. Max Davis.”
“J. Max Davis is the only candidate in the Special Election with a proven record of lowering property taxes,” said Kingston. “There is no better friend to the homeowners of House District 80 than J. Max Davis.”
“I hope voters will join me on Saturday at Lucky’s Burger in Town Brookhaven to meet J. Max Davis and learn about his positive campaign for State House,” said Kingston.
Speaking at a campaign fund-raiser before about 100 people at the Buckhead Club, Mr. Walker — who spent the day on a three-city swing through South Carolina — said the March 1 primaries through much of the South would be key to his chances of winning the nomination.
“We didn’t just come here by accident,” Mr. Walker said. “With March 1 being not long after those first four states, we think that the March 1 primaries — the S.E.C. primaries, if you will — are going to be incredibly important, and we feel we can do well.”
“Georgia’s going to make a difference,” he added, “so get used to seeing us.”
Advisers say that the March 1 states of Alabama, Minnesota, Tennessee and Virginia are also shaping up well for Mr. Walker, based on endorsements and grass-roots voter support that they are seeing so
far. Mr. Walker is focused on winning the first state to hold a nominating contest, Iowa on Feb. 1, and hopes to leave there with momentum to help him in the next states: New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada.
Holy 2016, GaPundit! Isn’t it still the Year of Special Elections any more?
Jay Trevari is the first candidate we’ve noticed for Georgia State House District 99, which is currently held by State Rep. Hugh Floyd (D-Norcross). Floyd has announced he will not be running for reelection. She’s got a Twitter account and Facebook page set up.
Two Columbia County businesswomen – Pat Goodwin and Jodi Lott – announced their intentions to run for the state District 122 seat.
Harbin’s surprise mid-term resignation, which took effect Tuesday, created one of the first open House seats in almost two decades. Harbin, who served for 20 years, many as Appropriations Committee chairman, announced last week he had decided to take a job with a Columbia-based lobbying firm.
Joe Mullins, a developer and entertainment promoter, officially tossed his hat into the ring to compete for the state House District 122 seat recently vacated by Ben Harbin.
Mullins touted himself as a conservative businessman who would work to bring jobs to the community and introduce legislation to replace the state income tax with a so-called “Fair Tax,” consumption tax on all sales. He also said he wanted to provide relief to property owners by increasing the homestead exemption in Columbia County.
Taylor, who was elected in December to fill the seat vacated by Charles Allen in March 2014, is resigning to pursue the State House District 122 seat left open by the recent resignation of Ben Harbin.
“Now more than ever, we need experienced, pragmatic leadership in the state House to grow our economy, enhance educational opportunities for students, and preserve our unmatched quality of life,” Taylor said in his letter to Gov. Nathan Deal.
His resignation takes effect at 9 p.m., July 21, so his last actions as a commissioner with be at the regular meeting scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday.
Gov. Nathan Deal is committed to protecting life at all stages, particularly the most vulnerable and defenseless among us. In light of recent revelations regarding alleged illegal Planned Parenthood activity and to ensure this horrific practice is not occurring here, the governor is directing the Department of Community Health and the Department of Public Health to conduct a joint review of the clinics run by Planned Parenthood Southeast in Georgia.
Attorney General Sam Olens also issued a press release, applauding Deal’s action.
“I applaud Governor Deal’s swift call for a review of Planned Parenthood in Georgia following alarming allegations of horrendous practices occurring at its clinics. Every life is sacred and should be respected, especially the most vulnerable among us.
“My office stands ready to assist the Department of Community Health and the Department of Public Health with their joint review of Planned Parenthood if needed.”
The State Bar of Georgia doesn’t want to settle a complaint against Georgia House Speaker David Ralston, according to the AJC, but in my mind the highlight of this article is the mention of one of Ralston’s lawyers, James Balli.
In his Petition for Voluntary Discipline, filed in June, Ralston attorney James Balli of Marietta suggests that the speaker face no more than “formal admonition” or public reprimand.
Balli, who is Ralston’s co-counsel, along with former Gov. Roy Barnes, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he believes “the pleadings filed by Speaker Ralston are comprehensive, compelling and consistent with the narrative that has been communicated from the beginning by Speaker Ralston’s counsel.”
Balli writes in Ralston’s petition that the “State Bar would not meet its burden of proof on many counts of the formal complaint” and that several of the charges are factually incorrect.
James is a friend of mine and a very able lawyer, and I know the Speaker is well-represented by the team of Balli and co-counsel, former Governor Roy Barnes.
Once again buying the lede, the AJC writes that United States Senator Johnny Isakson’s last fundraising quarter, in which the Senior Senator raised $1.39 million, was down from the previous quarter. That still leaves Johnny with $4.8 million in the bank and greater popularity among rank-and-file Georgians than any politician I can remember.
File this one under “unintended consquences”: after the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage, employee benefits for domestic partners may be cut, according to the AJC.
Delta Air Lines said it is ending its domestic partner program and giving couples until 2018 to marry or be cut off. The city of Decatur is doing the same for city employees, requiring those covered to tie the knot in a year or lose coverage.
Home Depot, Emory University, and others, have said they are evaluating whether to make potential changes to domestic partner benefits.
Some worry that the withdrawal of domestic partner benefits could push some couples into marriages they are not ready for or even break up relationships.
“Your employer should not be in the business of setting your wedding date,” said Michael Bishop, who is in a domestic partnership with Shane Thomas.
The two, who have been together almost 10 years, have two adopted children, Thomas, 6, and Mariella, 4. Bishop works for AT&T, which offers domestic partner benefits to both same- and opposite-sex couples. The company said it plans to continue its domestic partner program.
In Fayette County, the Special Election to replace the late County Commissioner Posta Coston will use at-large voting instead of a district to elect her successor, according to The Citizen.
The Fayette County Board of Elections voted the evening of July 14 to set Tuesday, Sept. 15, as the date that voters in all five voting districts will go to the polls and select the person to fill the Board of Commissioners seat left vacant by the July 3 death of District 5 representative Pota Coston.
The manner in which Coston’s successor will be chosen is also set — for now.
The election is to be decided by at-large voting and using the 2012 district map, and those two details were not included in the board’s motion, which passed 2-1 with Darryl Hicks voting against.
More than 90 minutes of public comment took place before the vote, the majority of it by people who urged the board to maintain the district voting process and 2014 map used in Coston’s election last November.
But County Attorney Dennis Davenport advised the Board of Elections that those two issues were essentially out of their hands, as the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling in January made the gerrymandered map and district voting process obsolete for now as a matter of law.