The blog.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for July 12, 2016

John Percival, an Irish Member of Parliament who served as a Georgia Trustee, was born on July 12, 1733.

In the British House of Commons, Percival served on the committee on jails with a young member named James Oglethorpe, who shared his idea about a new colony in North America for the deserving poor. Percival, like Oglethorpe became a Georgia Trustee, and during Georgia’s first decade, with Oglethorpe in America, Percival worked harder than anyone to champion Georgia’s cause and secure its future.

The United States Army Medal of Honor was created on July 12, 1862 when President Abraham Lincoln signed legislation authorizing the award.

The first U.S. Army soldiers to receive what would become the nation’s highest military honor were six members of a Union raiding party who in 1862 penetrated deep into Confederate territory to destroy bridges and railroad tracks between Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Atlanta, Georgia.

Lt. Frank Reasoner of Kellogg, Idaho died in action on July 12, 1965 and was later posthumously awarded the first Medal of Honor to a United States Marines.

On July 12, 1984, Congresswoman Geradine Ferraro (R-NY) joined the Democratic ticket with Presidential nominee Walter Mondale. Ferraro was the first woman and first Italian-American woman nominated for Vice President. Mondale and Ferraro lost the General Election in the largest ever Republican landslide to Republican President Ronald Reagan and Vice President George Bush.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Jim Galloway of the AJC writes from Cleveland about Dale Jackson’s unsuccessful attempt to include medical marijuana in the platform proposed by the Republican National Convention’s Platform Committee meeting.

Dale Jackson, a heating and air-conditioning man and father of an 8-year-old autistic son, flew up to the site of the Republican National Convention on Monday, to ask his party’s platform committee to endorse the use of medicinal marijuana where appropriate.

“I knew that this issue was a long shot. Traditionally speaking, the RNC tends to be behind the general public and public sentiment. I was prepared for the failure of the amendment,” said Jackson, who took the rebuke hard. “Like other defeats in the past, I will continue on to fight for my son and his medicine.”

Jackson is chairman of the Third District [Georgia] GOP. The very conservative congressional district stretches from metro Atlanta to Columbus. Jackson has been active in state Rep. Allen Peake’s effort to legalize the use of medicinal marijuana in Georgia. An effort to permit a few licensed companies to grow the drug for therapeutic use failed this session.

Republicans killed an effort to permit states to bar welfare recipients from purchasing junk food – a position that brought a Georgia delegate into the debate. Scott Johnson of Marietta said such restrictions, attempted in some states, expose retailers to uncertain and often hair-splitting regulation.

Jackson had the support of the two Georgia delegates, Johnson and Rayna Casey. But it was Eric Brakey of Maine, a young state senator who chairs his chamber’s health and human services committee, who introduced the amendment to the RNC platform.

The Platform Committee also voted on several other changes to the party’s platform.


A  ballot committee will work in opposition to the Opportunity School District Constitutional Amendment on the November ballot.

Called the Committee to Keep Georgia Schools Local, the group includes the Georgia Association of Educators, the Georgia AFL-CIO, Better Georgia, the Concerned Black Clergy of Metro Atlanta and a half-dozen other organizations. They kicked off a statewide campaign over the weekend at Piedmont Park.

It’s another sign that the opponents of Deal’s plan to create an Opportunity School District are trying to muster their forces ahead of a contentious vote. The measure, which gives the state the power to take control of persistently failing schools, must be approved in a November referendum.

The public unveiling came after the National Education Association disclosed plans for a statewide campaign to derail the initiative.

Leading Democrats and some influential educators groups have staunchly opposed the plan, fearing it gives the governor’s office far too much power.

Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle will be in Rome, Georgia today to meet with Floyd County Schools Superintendent John Jackson and the County Board of Education at 11 AM and speak at the Rome Rotary Club at noon.

Suspended DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis is appealing his conviction on corruption charges, according to the AJC.

Former Chatham Area Transit Executive Director Chadwick Reese was sentenced to seven years in federal prison for mail fraud related to bid rigging at the agency.

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert Burney awarded custody of the traveling Bible that belonged to the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. to the Estate of Martin Luther King Jr. Inc. while ownership of King’s Nobel Prize remains to be decided.

Protestors in Atlanta held a sit-in at the Governor’s Mansion, while Gov. Nathan Deal was out of the country on a trade trip to Germany. Black Lives Matter supporters also met for a vigil in Savannah’s Forsyth Park on Sunday.

In Macon, District Attorney David Cooke, Macon-Bibb Mayor Robert Reichert, former Mayor C. Jack Ellis, current county commissioners, and Bibb County Sheriff David Davis joined about 300 others at a prayer vigil at First Baptist Church of Macon.

Bryan County voters are heading to the polls to decide Republican Primary runoff elections for Solicitor General and Bryan County Board of Education vice chair. In Gwinnett County, voters in a single precinct will be able to vote in the Republican Primary Runoff for State House District 81 between Jim Duffie and Lane Flynn.

In Columbus, GA, increasing convcern over gun violence prompts a gun buyback event from 2-6 PM today.

Snellville is hosting an event promoting unity at 7 PM on the Town Green on Thursday, in the wake of recent shootings across the nation.

The Cobb County Board of Education is holding meetings at 8:30 AM and 6 PM today to discuss setting the property tax millage rate at the same level as last year, which will result in higher property tax bills for some property owners.

Augusta Mayor Hardie Davis helped break ground for the first of three solar installations in a partnership with the city government, Inman Solar, and Georgia Power.

Researchers off the Georgia coast have spotted Manatees further offshore than previously expected.

Researchers recently tracked a group of the animals in open ocean about three miles off the Georgia coast.

Trip Kolkmeyer, a marine mammal technician with Georgia Department of Natural Resources, said it was surprising to see the manatees swimming so far off the coast. He and other researchers believe they have an explanation.

“It looks like a female was pursued by a group of males,” he said.


Official (Adoptable) Georgia Dogs for July 11, 2016

All dogs who weigh 25 pounds of more, and all cats, are available for adoption for $17.76 in July from DeKalb County Animal Services and Fulton County Animal Services.

Flearoy Andie

Flearoy is a young male dog who found his best friend, Andie, a cat, at the DeKalb County Animal Services Shelter, where they are available for adoption individually or as a pair.

Flearoy came to the shelter with a kitty friend, Andie. While walking down the hall, he stopped in the door way of the cat area and would not go forward. We realized that the cats he lived with previously were directly in front of him. He wagged his tail happily while he was with them, happy to see his friends. We reintroduced him to Andie and it was like they had never been apart. These two love to snuggle and are wonderful together. It is not mandatory that they be adopted together, but would be a plus! If you are interested in adopting Flearoy or Andie, please visit our shelter. For more information email [email protected]

Piper and Pedro

Piper (right, in box) a 9-year old, 97-pound female, and Pedro (left) a small 12-pound male senior Chihuahua mix are best friends who were found abandoned in a hotel room.

Pedro Fulton Piper Fulton

Piper writes: Pedro and I get to stay in the same place and we snuggle every night. I know that we can”t live here forever so I hope someone will come and give us a new home. I am a very sweet girl. I love people large and small, plus I know some basic commands and I”m house trained. All I need is for you to come and meet us.

Tatum Tot

Tatum Tot is a 2-month old male Labrador Retriever mix puppy who is available for adoption from DeKalb County Animal Services.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for July 11, 2016

On July 11, 1782, British colonists including British Royal Governor Sir James Wright, fled Georgia.

Wright had been the only colonial governor and Georgia the only colony to successfully implement the Stamp Act in 1765. As revolutionary fervor grew elsewhere in the colonies, Georgia remained the most loyal colony, declining to send delegates to the Continental Congress in 1774.

Congress ordered the creation of the United States Marine Corps on July 11, 1798, after the Corps was inactive for a period following the Revolutionary War. From 1799 to 1921, Marine Corps Day was observed on July 11, but is now celebrated on November 10, the date of it’s Revolutionary War establishment.

On July 11, 1804, Aaron Burr shot Alexander Hamilton in a duel in Weehawken, New Jersey. Burr was the sitting Vice President of the United States and Hamilton a former Secretary of the Treasury.

After he shot Hamilton, Aaron Burr quickly fled the nation’s capitol, making his way to St. Simons Island, Georgia, spending a month as a guest of Pierce Butler at Hampton Plantation.

Burr was a fugitive, but his killing Hamilton in a duel held a certain justifiable reasoning since dueling was not illegal, though morally questionable, to be sure. According to H. S. Parmet and M. B. Hecht in their Aaron Burr: Portrait of an Ambitious Man, after the duel, he immediately completed, by mid-August, plans which he had already initiated, to go to St. Simons, “an island off the coast of Georgia, one mile below the town of Darien.”

Jonathan Daniels’ “Ordeal of Ambition” handles the situation this way: “With Samuel Swartwout and a slave named Peter (‘the most intelligent and best disposed black I have ever known’), Burr secretly embarked for Georgia. There on St. Simons Island at the Hampton Plantation of his friend, rich former Senator Pierce Butler, he found refuge…” As Georgia Historian Bernice McCullar, author of “Georgia” puts it, Burr was “fleeing the ghost of Alexander Hamilton” when he arrived on the Georgia island.

“Major Pierce Butler,” she relates, “had fought in the British army and remained in America after the war.” He had married a South Carolina heiress, Miss Polly Middleton, and acquired two Georgia Coastal plantations, which he ran like a general storming after the troops. In fact, he was so strict that none of his slaves could associate with any of the others. He also required anyone who visited his plantations to give his or her name at the gate. With this tight security, Burr should have felt safe..

Actually, Butler’s invitation to visit the island fitted the escapee’s plans nicely. Not only was the Hamilton affair a bother, but also Burr needed to get away from a lady by the name of Celeste; however, the real reason, aside from being near his daughter, who was also in the South, was the nearness of the Floridas. No real purpose is given why the Vice-President wanted to spend “five or six weeks on this hazardous and arduous undertaking.”

Daniels underscores that from this St. Simons point Burr could “make any forays into Florida he wished to make. He traveled under the name ‘Roswell King.” After his Florida odyssey, he planned to meet his South Carolina son-in-law “at any healthy point.”

Parts of the Hampton Plantation survive in the form of tabby ruins on St Simons.

Tabby Hampton Plantation TMR_0549 copy

Tabby Hampton Plantation TMR_0524 copy

A house in St. Marys, Georgia bears a plaque stating that Aaron Burr visited there in 1804.

Clark lived in the home from 1804 until his death in 1848. He was appointed in 1807 by then-President Thomas Jefferson as customs collector for the Port of St. Marys, a position he held until his death. The year Clark bought the house, he is said to have provided a temporary hideout to Aaron Burr, who was traveling in the South to evade federal authorities holding a warrant for his arrest after he killed Alexander Hamilton in their infamous duel in July 1804.

Verification of Burr’s stay in St. Marys is hard to come by. But it is confirmed that he stayed on St. Simons Island and Cumberland Island late in the summer after he killed Hamilton. That Burr knew Clark is not disputed. The two attended law school together in Litchfield, Conn., but there is no mention in either man’s records that Burr stayed in the home.

St Marys Aaron Burr Plaque TMR_1465

Aaron Burr House St Marys GA Front Side TMR_1470

Aaron Burr House St Marys GA Front

On July 11, 1877, a Constitutional Convention convened in the Kimball Opera House in Atlanta to replace the 1868 Reconstruction Constitution.

On July 11, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed the Federal Aid Road Act, establishing a federal program of paying for highway development.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt accepted the Democratic nomination for a fourth term on July 11, 1944.

General Dwight D. Eisenhower was nominated for President by the Republican National Convention on July 11, 1952.

July 11, 1969 was an epic day in rock and roll history, with David Bowie releasing “Space Oddity” and the Rolling Stones releasing “Honky Tonk Women.”

On July 11, 1985, Astros pitcher Nolan Ryan became the first major league player to strike out 4000 batters.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

In the runoff election for the Third Congressional District, state senator Mike Crane and former West Point Mayor Drew Ferguson are up with competing ads.

If you’re headed to Cleveland for the Republican National Convention, there’s an app for that.Continue Reading..


Official (Adoptable) Georgia State Dogs for July 10, 2016


Hunter is a young Labrador Retriever mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Blakely Animal Shelter in Blakely, GA. He currently weighs about 20-25 pounds, but is expected to get bigger; he survived parvo.


Shoelace is a young female Boxer and Hound mix who is available for adoption from the Blakely Animal Shelter in Blakely, GA. She survived parvo, is very friendly and known to love snuggling.

Friends of Blakely Shelter shirt

Friends of the Blakely Animal Shelter is selling t-shirts to help them continue their efforts to place dogs and cats from the Blakely shelter into loving permanent homes. The group appears to be having great success in reducing the euthanasia rate, along with an extension by the shelter of how long they will hold animals before putting them down.

If you’d like to help support them, please Like their Facebook Page, and consider buying one of their t-shirts.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for July 8, 2015

On July 8, 1776, the bell now known as the Liberty Bell rang in the tower of the Pennsylvania State House, now called Independence Hall, to announce the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence.

Rung to call the Pennsylvania Assembly together and to summon people for special announcements and events, it was also rung on important occasions, such as King George III’s 1761 ascension to the British throne and, in 1765, to call the people together to discuss Parliament’s controversial Stamp Act. With the outbreak of the American Revolution in April 1775, the bell was rung to announce the battles of Lexington and Concord. Its most famous tolling, however, was on July 8, 1776, when it summoned Philadelphia citizens for the first reading of the Declaration of Independence.

The Liberty Bell inscription includes a reference to Leviticus 25:10, “Proclaim Liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof.”

On July 9, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was read aloud to General George Washington’s troops at the parade grounds in Manhattan.

On July 11, 1782, British colonists including British Royal Governor Sir James Wright, fled Georgia.

Wright had been the only colonial governor and Georgia the only colony to successfully implement the Stamp Act in 1765. As revolutionary fervor grew elsewhere in the colonies, Georgia remained the most loyal colony, declining to send delegates to the Continental Congress in 1774.

President Zachary Taylor died of cholera on July 9, 1850 and  Millard Fillmore was sworn in as the 13th President of the United States on July 10, 1850.

The first of General William Tecumseh Sherman’s troops, under Major General Schofield, crossed the Chattahoochee River between Powers Ferry and Johnson Ferry on July 8, 1864.

On July 9, 1864, Confederate troops retreated across the Chattahoochee River from Cobb County into Fulton County. Upriver, Sherman’s troops had already crossed and moved toward Atlanta.

On July 10, 1864, Conferderate forces retreated south across the Chattahoochee and burned the bridge behind them. General Sherman wrote later of the day,

General Garrard Moved rapidly on Roswell, and destroyed the factories which had supplied the rebel armies with cloth for years.

Over General Garrard was then ordered to secure the shallow ford at Roswell and hold it until he could be relieved by infantry, and as I contemplated transferring the Army of the Tennessee from the extreme right to the left, I ordered General Thomas to send a division of his infantry that was nearest up to Roswell to hold the ford until General McPherson could send up a corps from the neighborhood of Nickajack.

General Newton’s division was sent and held the ford until the arrival of General Dodge’s corps, which was soon followed by General McPherson’s whole army.

The Scopes “Monkey Trial” began on July 10, 1925, in which a Tennessee public school teacher was tried for teaching evolution, against state law. Three-time Democratic candidate for President William Jennings Bryan volunteered to help the prosecution, and famed lawyer Clarence Darrow defended John Thomas Scopes.

Former United States Senator from Texas Phil Gramm (R) was born on July 8, 1942 in Columbus, Georgia, where his father was stationed at Fort Benning.

On July 8, 1975, President Gerald Ford announced his candidacy for President in the 1976 elections.

On July 10, 1985, “Classic“ Coke returned, joining the new formula on store shelves.

The Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games broke ground for Atlanta Olympic Stadium on July 10, 1993; after the Olympics, the stadium was modified for baseball and became Turner Field.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Today ends the grace period for filing campaign disclosures. If you’ve forgotten about them, you might want to drop everything and start pulling together your recipts.

The body of an African-American man found hanging from a tree in Piedmont Park has been referred to the FBI and a march to protest police shootings took place last night on the downtown connector.

Yesterday, former State Rep. Ed Lindsey announced he would join the Dentons law firm, to help lead the State Government Affairs team for Georgia.Continue Reading..


Official (Adoptable) Georgia Dogs for July 7, 2016


Colby is an adult male Plott Hound who is available for adoption from The Humane Society of South Coastal Georgia in Brunswick, GA. Colby weighs 63 pounds and is gentle and friendly.


Kendra is a medium-sized female Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from The Humane Society of South Coastal Georgia in Brunswick, GA. Kendra is available in a foster-to-adopt program to help you know if she’s the right dog for your family.

Mr Binx Buddy

Mr. Binx Buddy is a small male Chihuahua who is available for adoption from The Humane Society of South Coastal Georgia in Brunswick, GA. His owner became too sick to care for him, so he’s looking for a loving home.


Jersey is a young female Labrador Retriever mix puppy who is available for adoption from The Humane Society of South Coastal Georgia in Brunswick, GA. She’s described as a “beautiful little chunky monkey.”


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

On July 7, 1742, General James Oglethorpe was victorious over the Spanish at the Battle of Bloody Marsh and the Battle of Gully Hole Creek; a week later Gov. Montiano would call off the invasion of Georgia from Florida, leaving Georgia to develop as a British colony.

Sliced bread was invented on July 7, 1928 at the Chillicothe Baking Company in Chillicothe, Missouri.

On July 7, 1958, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the Alaska Statehood Act.

The first female cadets enrolled at West Point on July 7, 1976.

Sandra Day O’Connor was nominated to the United States Supreme Court by President Ronald Reagan on July 7, 1981.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

First, there’s this:

Then yesterday, Newt Gingrich joined Donald Trump onstage in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Backstage before the rally, Gingrich and Trump were live on Newt’s Facebook page.


Almost as an afterthought, Trump mentioned Gingrich, the former U.S. House speaker and presidential candidate, midway through his rant and again near the end of his speech. “No one would beat Newt” in vice presidential debates, Trump said, promising Gingrich would have some role in a Trump administration. He has been enjoying attention in recent days for parading possible vice presidential candidates on social media and in public appearances.

For his part, Gingrich took clear aim at Clinton.

“Is there a single person here who believes that if you had done what Hillary Clinton had done, you would not be prosecuted?” he asked.

The crowd answered with a loud “no.”

And from the Washington Post:

“Neeeeeewt!” They bellowed. “Neeeeeewt! Neeeeeewt!”

Newt it was.

Newt Gingrich, former House speaker and now a finalist in the search for Donald Trump’s running mate, quickly stepped up to the lectern. While officially just making a friendly trip with Trump to this swing state, it was also an audition for the No. 2 spot — a chance to showcase his wares and see for himself whether he fits comfortably within Trump’s orbit.

His brief turn was telling. From the start, Gingrich played the role of party elder. It was a nod, perhaps, to how as the veep pick he might put an emphasis on lifting vulnerable GOP candidates this fall rather than solely playing the part of Trump booster.

“I know with all of my heart,” Gingrich told them with the tone of an insistent teacher, that they would “carry this state” not only for Trump but for Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio. The crowd, dotted with clumps of rowdy men and women in Trump gear, politely clapped as if to accept the request.

In response, Gingrich offered his signature look: the dropping of his chin and a narrowed-eye glare, very Trump-like.

Gingrich then touted his biography, “a former speaker of the House who knew a little about Washington.” But he framed himself as someone with populist instincts in spite of his years on Capitol Hill. It was similar to how Trump has framed his time as a big GOP donor: Yes, he was on the inside, but in his mind that only makes him better at calling out corruption at the highest levels.

Gingrich said the Clinton email episode is reflective of a broader development in the country of “two Americas” — the “corrupt Washington of the old order” and “the rest of us.”

“I say to you, ‘Enough!’ ” Gingrich said, running through a list of gripes with Democrats. “Enough of lying to us about a person who deliberately obstructed justice and under any rule of law would today be facing a jury, not an election.”

Gingrich closed by referencing his time as a history professor in Georgia, in essence making the point to Trump’s campaign that if picked, he would be able to add some historical depth and intellectual sheen to Trump’s already roiling critique. And he showed that he’s willing to poke his friends in service of the nominee.

The new slogan for Democrats on the ballot seems to be “Not indicted (yet).”

Last week, incumbent Democratic DeKalb County Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton used it to ward off charges of corruption.

Sutton, who has faced multiple accusations of unethical behavior, called questions regarding her integrity “empty allegations,” arguing that FBI audits of Dekalb County exonerated her of wrongdoing while sending other officials to prison.

In response, [challenger Steve] Bradshaw drew his biggest applause of the night:

“If our litmus test (for quality government) is, ‘We’re not in jail yet so everything must all be okay,’ then we need a new litmus test,” he said.

Yesterday, Democratic Party of Georgia Chairman Dubose Porter called in to GPB’s “Political Rewind,” where I was on the panel.

Porter: “I think the bottom line is they found nothing criminal that they should prosecute…. Throughout the campaign they kept ‘when she’s indicted, when this happens’ as if it’s an impending storm…. But the bottom line is this was a great day for Hillary’s campaign. This is off the table now.”

 “The bottom line is they kept saying for months and months she was going to be indicted. There’s nothing to indict her over. So, I think for her, it was a great day for her campaign.”

Rehm: “I have to wonder if that’s going to become the new standard – unindicted…. that’ll fit nicely on a bumpersticker.”

The United States Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit has held that federal officials cannot evade the Freedom of Information Act by using a private email account for official business.

Throughout the case, the government argued that “[d]ocuments on a nongovernmental email server are outside the possession or control of federal agencies, and thus beyond the scope of FOIA.”

Judge David Sentelle, the chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, disagreed with that reasoning and ordered the lower court to reconsider the case.

“If a department head can deprive the citizens of their right to know what his department is up to by the simple expedient of maintaining his departmental emails on an account in another domain, that purpose is hardly served,” Sentelle wrote.

“It would make as much sense to say that the department head could deprive requestors of hard-copy documents by leaving them in a file at his daughter’s house and then claiming that they are under her control,” he said.

Less than two months after incumbent Republican Anthony Heath won reelection as Berrien County Sheriff, a Special Election has been called in November to replace him after he plead guilty to using excessive force .

Election officials say they expect a high turnout in November, which they say is good for Berrien County.

“Because it is a presidential election and more people will be interested in coming out and voting it will be great for Berrien County,” explains elections supervisor Melanie Ray, “For more people to be aware who their Sheriff will be for the next four years.”

Qualifying has not opened yet for the election.

Any candidates that did qualify for the normal election have the opportunity to re-qualify for the special election.

Here’s a question: the Democratic nominee for Berrien County Sheriff won 195 votes, while two Republicans – Heath with 1204 votes and S. Mathis with 701 – took more votes during primary elections. But Heath also won’t be on the ballot in November for the full four-year term, and the Special Election is only for the remainder of the current term that ends in December. Will the Republican Party be allowed to replace Heath on the November ballot, or will the Democratic candidate be unopposed?

In Meriwether County, Steve Whitlock will run as an independent candidate for Sheriff.

Whitlock began his law enforcement career in his native Meriwether County in 1982 as a deputy. He was previously the Meriwether County sheriff from 2000-2013 and has been with Grantville since February 2015. He became the full-time police October 2015. Whitlock was defeated by current Meriwether County Sheriff Chuck Smith in 2012.

“After the last election, I knew I would run again as an independent,” Whitlock said. “Last time, I had several hundred people tell me they would not vote for me because I was running as Democrat, and they were Republicans. I think the sheriff should be nonpartisan and run for the people and not the parties because you have to protect everyone.”

[Incumbent Sheriff Chuck] Smith will also run as an independent. Kenneth Knox has qualified to run as a Democrat.

Whitlock said if he does not win the sheriff seat, he plans to stay with Grantville because he has enjoyed working there.

Coweta County reports strong turnout in the runoff election for Third Congressional District.

On Tuesday, there were 51 early votes cast at the Coweta Voter Registration Office at 22 East Broad Street in downtown Newnan, and there were 39 votes cast at the Central Community Center, 65 Literary Lane, Newnan. On Wednesday, by 4 p.m., there were more than 50 votes cast downtown and 27 at Central for a total of more than 167 just the first two days.

That may not sound like many, but for the first few days of early voting in a runoff during a vacation period, it’s a lot.

Chandra Attenborough, poll manager at Central, said she was surprised to see that much of a turnout.

“I think it has gone much better than usual,” said Joan Hamilton, Coweta voter registrar.

Meanwhile, Lee County is seeing smaller turnout with only a Probate Judge on the runoff ballot.

Voter turn-out in Lee County has been okay, so far. There is one primary run-off race for voters- the probate judge seat.

Very few voters participated during the primary election.  “We are anticipating a lower turnout than what we would like, but we are encouraging everyone to come out and vote. We had a low turnout in the primary, and we really need to have people come out and vote,” said Lee Elections Supervisor  Veronica Johnson.

A fire station located in the City of Brookhaven was taken off the list of projects to be funded by DeKalb County’s next SPLOST.

On June 21, the DeKalb County governing authority hosted a meeting to discuss implementation of the (SPLOST) and Equalized Homestead Option Sales Tax (HOST) with governing authorities of Avondale Estates, Brookhaven, Chamblee, Clarkston, Decatur, Doraville, Dunwoody, Lithonia, Pine Lake, Stone Mountain and Tucker.

During the meeting, Brookhaven’s new City Manager Christian Sigman said he was curious why a proposed second fire station in Brookhaven was left off the SPLOST funding list.

“Presumably the fire station was based on some recommendation from the Chief as a response to cutting down response time,” Sigman said. “That second fire department is now off (the SPLOST list). Is that not an operational need anymore? What was the reasoning for taking that off the original list?”

A nine-person SPLOST citizen advisory committee helped create the final SPLOST project list. David Sjoquist, interim CEO of the citizen advisory committee, said  “If the facility was located near a municipality, we took it off the list. We weren’t interested or willing to spend unincorporated area money, which is what the SPLOST is, on services in municipalities,” Sjoquist said.

DeKalb County Interim CEO Lee May said the SPLOST funding creates a dilemma for the county and surrounding municipalities.

“We would have to look at the fire fund. That is a property tax fund. As far as these (SPLOST) funds are concerned, we can only deal with unincorporated focus dollars,” May said. “That’s our dilemma. It’s a weakness in the law itself because it doesn’t force us to sit down at the table and come up with those tier one projects. We have long said if a city definitely wants to see that project accomplished in their district, we would gladly put up funding to help accomplish that, but the cities have to come up with the funding itself.”

DeKalb County COmmissioner Nancy Jester calls the SPLOST “unacceptable.”

Sadly, as the county prepares the referendum question for the ballot, the proposed list of SPLOST projects has grown to include pet projects and monuments to government bureaucracy. This includes new parks, libraries, and an exceedingly large new government center – a Taj Mahal monument to ineffective government.

In addition to mission creep in the SPLOST list, important and defensible public safety improvements receive less funding than needed. Our police and fire departments both need new training facilities, yet SPLOST only proposes to fund 40% of this need. Fire Stations located within the city limits of any city have been removed no matter their current state of disrepair. Keep in mind, most fire stations within city limits serve areas that include multiple jurisdictions including multiple cities and unincorporated DeKalb. You should also note that you pay fire service tax to the county to protect life and property even as the county refuses to build or rebuild stations that are necessary to protect you.

We can consider a SPLOST that is serious about paving roads and addressing public safety. We must adhere to the original rationale for this proposal – paving and repairing roads and infrastructure. I will not support a SPLOST, raising your taxes, to fund pork barrel spending of any sort.

The Alternative Fuel Roadshow kicked off recently in LaGrange and includes three more stops in Metro Atlanta.

Riverside EpiCenter
235 Riverside Parkway, Austell
July 18th 9A-12N

University of North Georgia
Continuing Education Center
​25 Schultz Avenue, Dahlonega
July 19th 9A-12N
Lunch provided by Windstream

Duluth- Gwinnett
Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce
8500 Sugarloaf Parkway
July 20th 9A-12N


Adoptable Georgia Dogs for July 6, 2016

Little Nugget George

George (the First) is a young adult Pointer/Coonhound mix about five years old, though he may have some Rottweiler. He is laid back, friendly, loves kids, and enjoys playing in a kiddie pool. George is available for adoption from Little Nuggets Rescue in Snellville, GA.

George Fulton copy

George (the Second) is a young male Pointer mix, about 2 years old and 49 pounds, who is available for adoption from Fulton County Animal Services in Atlanta, GA.

George is a happy go lucky boy. He enjoys playing with all his canine friends and keeps a cheerful disposition. George would make a great pet for most any household.

All month long, George or any dogs over 25 pounds or any cat, may be adopted for $17.76 from Fulton County Animal Services or DeKalb County Animal Services.

George Dalton

George (the Third) is an adult male Chihuahua and Beagle mix who is available for adoption from the Humane Society of NWGA in Dalton, GA.

George is a very quiet, well behaved little guy. He weighs about 16 pounds and is full grown. He is great with other dogs and loves his play groups. He has beautiful gold eyes. He is about one year old. Go to to apply for him.


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

On July 6, 1775, Congress issued the “Declaration on the Causes and Necessity of Taking Up Arms” addressed to King George III, stating that they preferred to “to die free men rather than live as slaves.” The document was written by John Dickinson after a draft by Thomas Jefferson. The British

Union cavalry under Gen. Kenner Garrard reached Roswell, Georgia on July 5, 1864, setting the town alight.

Happy Birthday to George W. Bush, who turns 70 today.

On July 6, 1885, Louis Pasteur successfully tested a rabies vaccine on a human subject.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Ed Rogers writes in the Washington Post that Newt Gingrich is the best choice for VP on the Trump ticket. He makes some good points, but brutalizes Trump in a way that’s probably not very helpful for Gingrich.

First, Gingrich clearly has the requisite experience to be vice president and to be president if called upon. Period. In addition to his extensive resume of government service, Gingrich has been a tireless student of government and history, and he is one of Washington’s few authentic, original thinkers. He is accepted as a gifted leader and thinker among many members of both parties, in the media, among world leaders, within members of American industry and private business owners from Wall Street to the Chamber of Commerce to Silicon Valley. Everybody thinks Gingrich understands them – or at least has an informed view about their priorities and challenges.

Gingrich is also the best of Trump’s surrogates I have seen at being able to make some sense of what The Donald says…. Somebody needs to be able to articulate what a Trump presidency would actually be about and what it might realistically seek to accomplish, and Newt Gingrich has the capacity to do this – while Trump himself obviously does not.

David Lane also writes positively in Time about Gingrich as a VP selection.

Republicans across the spectrum agree that Newt would be Donald Trump’s best asset on the campaign trail this fall and a seasoned point-man in a Trump administration. Selecting Gingrich as Veep would send a message worldwide—that Trump is bringing “adults” to the table with the intention to make America great again.

The former Speaker, once the most innovative and formidable politicians in America, is a Churchillian figure. That kind of selection by Mr. Trump would, first, telegraph the caliber of people that he plans to bring to his administration; second, lend insight into the sort of selection he plans to make for Supreme Court Justices and third, show the type that Trump would elevate in military leadership. It would say: Under a Trump/Gingrich administration, American exceptionalism would again return to the forefront of world leadership.

Jonah Goldberg, writing in the LA Times, looks at what a Trump-Gingrich ticket might accomplish.

Trump has said, admirably, that he wants someone who knows how Washington works. For good and for ill, Gingrich fits that bill. He understands the legislative process, knows everybody, and can navigate the vast ecosystem of lobbyists to his advantage (Gingrich earned $1.8 million from Freddie Mac serving as a consulting “historian”). Gingrich may have mastered the language of taking on “the Washington elites,” but being one has been his job description for nearly 30 years.

Over roughly the same period, I have to say, he laid the groundwork for Trumpism. In the 1990s, he used talk radio much the way Trump has exploited social media to get his message past the gatekeepers. In 2012, Gingrich leveraged the debates to dominate the news cycle like a force of nature, attacking – often with devastating efficacy – the presumptions and arrogance of the media.

Trump’s rally in Cincinnati, Ohio with Gingrich as a Special Guest might be an audition or a dress rehearsal for the former Speaker.

Trump is scheduled to speak at 7 p.m. at the Sharonville Convention Center. Gingrich will join the presumptive GOP nominee, the campaign confirmed Tuesday, as Trump conducts a series of meetings and appearances with possible picks to join him on the ticket in November.

Trump has been fairly open about possible vice presidential choices in public appearances and on social media. In addition to his plan to campaign with Gingrich, he was scheduled to stump Tuesday evening with Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee. He tweeted about meetings over the holiday weekend with Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa and Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana. He has publicly praised Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama and Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey.

Along with his rally in Sharonville, Trump is scheduled to attend his first Ohio fundraiser, a $25,000-per-person roundtable discussion with donors. GOP Chairman Reince Priebus will attend.

In Fulton and Douglas counties, advance voting is under way for a runoff election in House District 62 to succeed State Rep. LaDawn Jones. Runoff candidates are William Boddie and Valerie Vie, both attorneys.

A runoff election will decide the next judge for the Superior Court in the Ogeechee Circuit, which includes Bulloch, Effingham, Jenkins, and Screven Counties. Voters will choose between Martha Hall and Michael Muldrew.

Bulloch County also hosts a runoff for State Court Judge and a Republican Primary Runoff for Board of Commissioners District 2.

In the runoff, all Bulloch County voters can choose between candidates on the nonpartisan ballot. The runoff between lawyers Martha Hall and Michael Muldrew for the multicounty Superior Court seat being vacated by retiring Judge John R. “Robbie” Turner is on this ballot. So is the runoff between lawyer Charlie Aaron and law office manager and paralegal Lorna DeLoach to succeed retiring Bulloch County Probate Judge Lee DeLoach.

Commission District 2, which includes roughly half of the county’s population, has a runoff between Curt Deal and Jimmy Hayes for Seat 2A, being vacated by Commissioner Carolyn Ethridge. But to vote in this race, voters must choose the Republican Party ballot, and not everyone in District 2 is eligible, as Jones explained.

“The only ones that can vote Republican are those in county commission District 2 that voted Republican in May or that did not vote in May or voted nonpartisan in May,” she said.

In Lee County, Miles O’Quinn and Melanie Gahring are in a runoff for Probate Judge and Terrell County has a Democratic Runoff for Tax Commissioner between incumbent Darlene Paul and challenger Mary Ellen Harnage, while incumbent Sheriff John Bowens faces challenger James Driver in a Democratic Primary Runoff.

South Georgia Judicial Circuit, comprising Baker, Calhoun, Decatur, Grady, and Mitchell Counties, hosts a runoff election for Superior Court Judge between Heather Hendricks Lanier and Ryan Cleveland.

In Carroll County, 112 voters showed up on the first day of advance voting in runoff elections for Third Congressional District between Mike Crane and Drew Ferguson and a local runoff for coroner.

In Macon-Bibb County, voters head to the polls for runoff elections in County Commission District 6 and Bibb County Board of Education Districts 5 and 6.

Macon-Bibb County Commission District 6
Joe Allen
Ed Defore

Bibb County Board of Education District 5
James Timley
Sundra Woodford

Bibb County Board of Education District 6
Bob Easter
Valerie Wynn

Nonpartisan runoff elections will decide two seats on the Early County Board of Education.

Northwest Georgia will see at least four local runoff elections.

In Whitfield County, voters will decide between John Lofty and Shana Byers Vinyard for a seat on Magistrate Court in a nonpartisan race.

In Murray County, voters will choose between James “Chris” Owens and Aaron Phillips in a runoff for the Republican nomination for Board of Education District 3. No Democrat qualified for that seat.

Voters in both counties will decide a nonpartisan runoff between Steve Farrow and Scott Minter for the seat on the Conasauga Superior Court currently held by Judge Jack Partain, who is retiring when his term expires at the end of the year.

And voters in parts of both counties will choose between incumbent Tom Dickson and Jason Ridley for the Republican nomination for state House of Representatives District 6. No Democrat qualified for that seat.

Gordon County Republicans will decide between incumbent Chief Magistrate Ricky Silvers and challenger Pat Rasbury in the runoff.

In the runoff for Cobb Commission Chairman, challenger Mike Boyce has taken a pass on the Atlanta Press Club debate.

The Atlanta Press Club invited both incumbent Tim Lee and his challenger, retired Marine Col. Mike Boyce, to the debate scheduled to be taped the morning of Wednesday, July 13, and air Sunday, July 17, at 9 a.m. on Public Broadcasting Atlanta.

But Atlanta Press Club President Lauri Strauss told the MDJ Tuesday morning that Boyce confirmed that he would not be attending. Boyce later Tuesday affirmed to the MDJ that he would not take part in the debate.

Kerwin Swint, a professor of political science at Kennesaw State University, said it’s unclear whether Boyce’s decision to miss the debate will impact his campaign.

“It can look bad, but it’s not always a bad decision,” Swint said. “A lot of times, you’ll see incumbents sometimes refuse to appear, decline appearances, because they figure it doesn’t help them to appear alongside their opponents and give them airtime or free advertising, and it doesn’t necessarily hurt them when they do that. In this case, it’s not clear that it would hurt him. He and his advisers may have calculated that they truly have nothing to gain by appearing with Tim Lee, and if that’s the case, it may be that they feel good with their grassroots efforts and their ability to get supporters back to the polls.”

I’d say it’s the move a front-runner makes when he sees no upside for himself.

DeKalb County voters have several runoff elections, depending on where they live and their party, according to the Brookhaven Post.

On the Democratic Ballot, voters will find Tonya P. Anderson and Dee Dawkins-Haigler running for State Senator representing District 43. For State Representative in the General Assembly from the 91st District is former DeKalb County CEO Vernon Jones trying to make a political comeback in a contest against Rhonda S. Taylor.

Voters in DeKalb Commission District 4 will select whether to keep Commissioner Sharon Barnes-Sutton as their representative on the DeKalb BOC or elect Steve Bradshaw to the Commission seat. This has been one of the most hotly contested races this election cycle.

For Tax Commissioner, both Democratic and Republican voters will cast ballots in the Special Election to fill the unexpired term of former Tax Commissioner Claudia Lawson, who retired. Irvin J. Johnson and Susannah Scott are the candidates in this election, as well as the two candidates that appear on the Democratic ballot in the race to secure the Tax Commissioner role after the unexpired term ends.

On the Republican Ballot, voters in House District 80 will decide whether Alan Cole or Meagan Hanson will run against Incumbent Democrat State House Representative Taylor Bennett in the November General Election.

In House District 81, Republicans Jim Duffie and Lane Flynn are squaring off to decide which one of them will challenge Incumbent Democrat State House Representative Scott Holcomb in the November General Election.

In the Tax Commissioner’s race, Susannah Scott has fielded the best yardsign, especially in a county that’s home to a women’s college whose mascot is the Scottie.


In House District 81, Jim Duffie has been endorsed by Alexa Mendez, who came in third place on May 24.

“Now that we’re in the runoffs, I think it is very important for us to find a candidate that identifies with the way we think”, said Alexa Mendez. “I’m absolutely confident that Jim Duffie is the right candidate to support. In addition to having the right values for our district, he also has the experience that we need. My family fled an oppressive regime in Nicaragua to come to this land of abundant freedoms – freedoms that Jim Duffie worked hard to defend during his time in the U.S. Navy. I’m happy to endorse Jim and I ask everyone who has supported me to now support Jim!”
Jim Duffie said, “I’m honored by Alexa’s endorsement of our campaign. Alexa is an excellent addition to our team, given her impressive background as a successful young businesswoman and leader in the Hispanic community. I look forward to working with her as we endeavor to give our district the leadership it deserves.”

Gwinnett County Commissioners are likely to adopt a rollback millage rate that keeps county revenues at the same level as the previous year, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

The millage rate is the rate used to determine how much a property owner owes the county in taxes. County Chief Financial Officer Maria Woods and Chief Appraiser Steve Pruitt said preliminary figures on the tax digest show enough growth that commissioners would have to tentatively roll the general fund millage rate back by 0.404 mills to reach a revenue-neutral level.

Officials won’t know the exact tax digest and roll back figures until updated property value figures are taken into account later this month. The tentative roll back rate is 6.825 mills.

“I expect we’re going to roll back the general millage rate,” commission Chairwoman Charlotte Nash said. “The final millage rate roll back will depend on the updated value numbers that (Woods) will drop into the formula. Steve and his team are going to continue to work the appeals process and the numbers will change a little bit on the values.”

The commission is expected to vote on a millage rate at its Aug. 2 meeting. Although commissioners could decide to not roll back the rate, but doing so would require them to hold three public hearings. That’s because even leaving the rate unchanged would constitute a tax increase since the tax digest has grown over the last year.


Adoptable Georgia Dogs for July 5, 2016

SantaBaby Danahee

SantaBaby (back) is a 68-pound adult male Doberman and Hound mix who is available for adoption from Angels Among Us Pet Rescue in Atlanta, GA.

Santa Baby is a strong, athletic guy who loves to hike, run or even walk with you! But (and don’t tell anyone) he can also be quite the couch potato!

Danahee (front) is a 35-pound adult female Shepherd and Hound mix who is available for adoption from Angels Among Us Pet Rescue in Atlanta, GA. Danahee is high energy with a great personality.


Muire is an 11-pound, 2-3 year old male Poodle who is available for adoption from Angels Among Us Pet Rescue in Atlanta, GA.

Muire was born with a birth defect in my back legs. No one wanted a dog who walked like a seal so off to animal control he went. Angels Among Us raised the funds and provided Muire with surgery on both knees and got him into physical therapy!


Zanaders is a 9-year old, 48-pound Chocolate Lab boy who is available for adoption from Angels Among Us Pet Rescue in Atlanta, GA.

Zanaders is playful, active, and affectionate – an all-around happy boy! True to his breed, he is great with kids, cats, and other dogs of all sizes and ages. He loves to go on walks and he walks well on the leash. He loves, loves, loves car rides. He sits nicely at the door waiting to have his leash put on, so sweetly. He is actually a great size and weight, and he has the appearance, activity and attitude of a dog half his age. He keeps up with the younger dogs in his foster’s home.

When not playing outside or going for walks, he can be found comfortably seated on the sofa, he loves nothing more than to relax next to his best human and share a good TV show and a tummy rub. He would make a perfect family dog and is hoping to find that perfect family very soon!

Prince Rogers Nelson

Prince Rogers Nelson is a 65-pound, 4-year old lab mix male who is available for adoption from Angels Among Us Pet Rescue in Atlanta, GA.

I am a big goofy lab with a gentle soul that just loves people. My favorite things include snuggling, belly rubs, peanut butter treats and walks. I am very smart and my foster mom is teaching me all the lessons I never got as a pup. I’ve got the potty training thing mastered and I do the crate training —but i don’t love the crate like some dogs. I don’t chew or climb on the furniture, and I’m not a barker. I like other dogs and kids.

My former people didn’t take very good care of me. I am currently wrapping up my heartworm treatment and should be heartworm free by the end of July at which time I will be ready to go to my forever home!

If you’ve just seen my face and thought I look like someone you could love you can ‘pre-adopt’ me now and when I’ve got my clean bill of health I can come live with you. My Angels are paying all the bills to get me healthy again, so I’ll be perfect when you get me!!