The blog.


Adoptable Georgia Dogs for April 15, 2016


Daisy is available for adoption from the Macon Bibb County Animal Welfare Safe Adoption Center.


Gina is available for adoption from the Macon Bibb County Animal Welfare Safe Adoption Center.


Jackson is available for adoption from the Macon Bibb County Animal Welfare Safe Adoption Center.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for April 15, 2016

On April 15, 1741, the Georgia colony was divided into two counties – Savannah County and Frederica County.


On April 15, 1776, the Georgia Provincial Congress issued “Rules and Regulations,” which would serve as an interim state Constitution until the Constitution of 1777 was adopted.

On April 15, 1783, the United States Congress ratified a preliminary peace treaty with Great Britain, which was signed in November 1782.

President Abraham Lincoln died on April 15, 1865 of a gunshot suffered the previous evening.

The Atlanta Ladies Memorial Association was formed on April 15, 1966 to assist and honor Confederate veterans. One of its most well-known projects was the “Lion of the Confederacy” memorial in Oakland Cemetery.

Photo: J. Glover (AUTiger)

RMS Titanic sunk at 2:20 AM on April 15,1912.

Jackie Robinson, born in Cairo, Georgia, became the first African-American professional baseball player in the Major Leagues on April 15, 1947, playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers against the Boston Braves. Robinson scored the winning run in that game.

On April 15, 1989, Chinese students and intellectuals in Tiananmen Square in Beijing, mourned the death of Communist Party General Secretary Hu Yaoban, considered a liberal reformer.

DeForest Kelley, born in Atlanta and known for playing Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy on the original Star Trek series, was inducted into the National Broadcasters Hall of Fame on April 15, 1992.

Three years ago today, two bombs exploded near the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon killing three people and wounding more than 260 others.

The Southern Museum of Civil War & Locomotive History will host a sensory-friendly day for people on the Autism spectrum at its National Train Day for Autism from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on May 7..

“Our goal is to create opportunities for autistic children to enjoy community activities in a safe, supportive space,” said Dr. Richard Banz, the museum’s executive director. “We want everyone to be able to enjoy a nostalgic pastime and create great memories with their family.”

Participation in this event is included with general admission to the museum, located at 2829 Cherokee St. NW in Kennesaw.

For more information, call 770-427-2117 or visit

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

State Representative Tom Taylor (R-Dunwoody) was charged with DUI in Rabun County last week.

Georgia state Rep. Tom Taylor on Thursday said he will work to regain the trust of his constituents after being arrested for driving under the influence with a blood-alcohol content nearly three times the legal limit.

“I profoundly regret this mistake,” Taylor said in a statement to the AJC. “There’s no one to blame but me and I greatly appreciate the professionalism of the officers involved. This was my first run-in with the law in my life and it will also be my last.”

aylor vowed to “demonstrate my remorse not just in words but in my actions.” He said he’s dedicated his life to public service, from the Navy to Dunwoody City Council to the General Assembly.

“This offense falls far short of the standards expected of someone who holds a position of public trust, and I will work every day to restore that trust as I continue to serve the people of my district,” he said.

If you missed your chance to qualify for State Representative in District 3 in Northwest Georgia, you will have yet another opportunity to qualify, as the Georgia Republican Party reopens qualifying a second time.

Update (7:15 p.m.): Catoosa County Republican Party Chair Denise Burns said that candidates seeking the House District 3 seat can fill out paperwork to qualify again. An official from the state party informed her that the GOP Executive Committee voted around 6 p.m. to re-open the qualifying process.

Interested candidates can fill out the necessary paperwork in Atlanta between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Friday.


The Republican Primary for a state representative seat is back to a one-person race.

The Georgia Secretary of State’s Office announced this afternoon that three of the four candidates running for the House District 3 seat in the May 24 Primary have been disqualified.

Why? Because the Georgia Republican Party failed to provide the election office with the proper paperwork on time. This leaves only Dewayne Hill, a former Catoosa County Commissioner, in the race.

The party re-opened qualifying for the seat April 6-7. Jeff Holcomb, Zach Hubbs and Jeremy Jones filled out their paperwork to run and began their campaigns. But today, the secretary of state’s office said the three men cannot run. Though the state party received their paperwork last week, they did not provide the state’s elections office with that information on time.

Under Georgia law, a secretary of state spokeswoman said, the Republican Party needed to turn in the information by noon Monday. They did not do so until 3:24 p.m.

“This is a very unfortunate situation for the candidates,” Secretary of State Brian Kemp said in a statement. “However, I have a duty to uphold the integrity of elections in Georgia.”

Secretary of State Kemp appealed a federal court decision that lowers the bar for third party candidate access to Georgia’s Presidential ballot, according to the AJC Political Insider.

Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp, who oversees elections in Georgia, on Wednesday asked the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Atlanta to review a ruling that lowered the number of signatures required to petition to get on the ballot from tens of thousands to 7,500.

Kemp’s office said he filed the appeal both to uphold Georgia law and because the plaintiffs seek more than $200,000 in attorneys fees if the state loses the case.

The Georgia Public Service Commission approved the merger between Southern Company and AGL in a move that will result in freezing Georgia Power’s rates through 2019.

The PSC-approved settlement of the merger includes a number of items to protect the ratepayers of Atlanta Gas Light Company and Georgia Power Company as well as consumers who receive natural gas from Commission certificated natural gas marketers in Georgia’s deregulated natural gas market.

“I believe this agreement contains safeguards for ratepayers and consumers while at the same time allowing this merger to move forward in accordance with Georgia law and Commission rules,” said PSC Chairman Chuck Eaton.

“The merger is good for the Georgia economy,” said Commissioner Tim Echols. “Had AGL Resources left our state with one of the other companies pursuing them, they would have taken many jobs with them. Keeping them in Georgia has a very positive impact.”

“I am proud to support this settlement that means stable rates for Georgia Power customers for the next three years,” said Commissioner Doug Everett. “All consumer protections remain in place to ensure that customers of both companies continue to receive reliable, safe and efficient service.”

Congratulations to Tricia Pridemore on her appointment to the Cobb-Marietta Coliseum & Exhibit Hall Authority Board.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for April 14, 2016

The first American society advocating for abolition of slavery was founded on April 14, 1775, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Benjamin Franklin would later serve as President of the organization.

On April 14, 1865, John Wilkes Booth shot President Abraham Lincoln as the President attended a showing of Our American Cousin at Ford’s Theater, seven blocks from the White House.

RMS Titanic hit an iceberg just before midnight on April 14, 1912. Among those losing their lives was Major Archibald Butt of Augusta, Georgia, who had served as a military aide to Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft.

“Captain Smith and Major Archibald Butt, military aide to the President of the United States, were among the coolest men on board. A number of steerage passengers were yelling and screaming and fighting to get to the boats. Officers drew guns and told them that if they moved towards the boats they would be shot dead. Major Butt had a gun in his hand and covered the men who tried to get to the boats. The following story of his bravery was told by Mrs. Henry B. Harris, wife of the theatrical manager: ‘The world should rise in praise of Major Butt. That man’s conduct will remain in my memory forever. The American army is honored by him and the way he taught some of the other men how to behave when women and children were suffering that awful mental fear of death. Major Butt was near me and I noticed everything that he did.”

“When the order to man the boats came, the captain whispered something to Major Butt. The two of them had become friends. The major immediately became as one in supreme command. You would have thought he was at a White House reception. A dozen or more women became hysterical all at once, as something connected with a life-boat went wrong. Major Butt stepped over to them and said: ‘Really, you must not act like that; we are all going to see you through this thing.’”

“He helped the sailors rearrange the rope or chain that had gone wrong and lifted some of the women in with a touch of gallantry. Not only was there a complete lack of any fear in his manner, but there was the action of an aristocrat. ‘When the time came he was a man to be feared. In one of the earlier boats fifty women, it seemed, were about to be lowered, when a man, suddenly panic-stricken, ran to the stern of it. Major Butt shot one arm out, caught him by the back of the neck and jerked him backward like a pillow. His head cracked against a rail and he was stunned. ‘Sorry,’ said Major Butt, ‘women will be attended to first or I’ll break every damned bone in your body.’”

“The boats were lowered one by one, and as I stood by, my husband said to me, ‘Thank God, for Archie Butt.’ Perhaps Major Butt heard it, for he turned his face towards us for a second and smiled.”

Kennesaw Junior College became a senior college on April 14, 1976 by vote of the Georgia Board of Regents.

By this time, enrollment had tripled from an initial student count of 1,014 in the fall of 1966 to 3,098 in the fall of 1975. Numerous local leaders were involved in the fight for four-year status, but the two politicians playing the most pivotal roles were state Representatives Joe Mack Wilson and Al Burruss of Marietta. In time the memories of both would be honored by having buildings named for them on the Kennesaw campus

A U.S. Postage stamp bearing Georgia’s state bird and state flower was issued as part of a series including all 50 states on April 14, 1982, with first day ceremonies held in Washington and each state.

On April 14, 2010, a signature by Button Gwinnett, one of Georgia’s three signers of the Declaration of Independence sold at auction for $722,500 at an auction by Sotheby’s. About 50 examples of his signature are known to exist and six have been auctioned since 1974.

Happy birthday to former Atlanta Braves David Justice and Greg Madden, who were both born on this date in 1966.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Early voting begins today in the Special Runoff Election for the State House District 162 seat formerly held by the late Bob Bryant. Voters will choose between Alicia Blakely and Carl Gilliard.

Meanwhile, April 26 is the deadline to be registered to vote for the May 24 General Primary Election.

The Fulton County Daily Report, read primarily by lawyers, writes that the Georgia General Assembly needs more lawyers.

Georgia’s legislature, which once teemed with lawyers, could hit its lowest numbers of legal membership in a decade.

In the current General Assembly, 42 legislators hold law degrees—32 of the 180 members of the House of Representatives (18 percent) and 10 of the 56 members of the Senate (also 18 percent).

W. Thomas Worthy, the bar’s director of government affairs…. noted that seven are not seeking re-election: Reps. Stephen Allison, Alex Atwood, LaDawn Jones, Ronnie Mabra, BJ Pak, Matt Ramsey and Tom Weldon—but new lawyer-candidates are vying for seats in 10 districts.

Assuming the 35 lawyer-lawmakers seeking re-election win, the number of lawyers in the General Assembly could range from 35 to 44, depending on how many of the new lawyer candidates prevail. (One race will pit a new lawyer contender against a lawyer-legislator, so a lawyer will remain in that seat regardless who wins.)

Meagan Hanson, a Brookhaven-based family law attorney and Republican running for House District 80, believes that her legal training is critical to building effective legislation. “It’s an art,” she said, noting she took a class in law school about how courts interpret what’s on the books.

“You have to know what you’re asking for, and how that will be interpreted in the court to know how it will affect things in practice,” said Hanson.

DeKalb County District Attorney Robert James and challenger Sherry Boston clashed in a forum this week.

“In DeKalb, we have a community that has lost trust in many of its leaders, and so we have to have a DA that is not only complying with the law, but fairly applying the law. Right now, this community has lost faith that we don’t have that,” Boston charged.

James defended his record and integrity, saying, “I think I’ve done a good job, I think the men and women who work with me have done a good job.”

Whether James is doing a good job is not as important as the community’s sense of the office, according to Boston. “I think a lot of what we talk about about fairly applying the law comes down to the perception in the community. If the community doesn’t believe that your office is operating at the highest level of integrity, than it doesn’t matter if you think you are,” said Boston.

Boston pointed to James’ failure to file campaign disclosure reports for five years and to $1,915 in meal charges made to his government spending accounts as evidence that he has not upheld the “highest standard of integrity” for the office. James paid a fine for his missed disclosure filings in September, and he maintains that his meal charges were appropriate, but repaid the county in October.

“There is a great concern that we have a district attorney that breaks the law, because we have a district attorney who has admitted to violating the law. And when that happens, it drives the entire system down,” Boston said.

The Macon Telegraph is doing a great job covering local elections this year. Today, they cover a proposal by former Macon Mayor C. Jack Ellis to suspend garbage collection for people who don’t pay their garbage bills.

Ellis, who will face interim Tax Commissioner Wade McCord in the May 24 election, said at a Wednesday morning news conference that he would work closely with local officials to push for a new process for handling late garbage fees. Macon-Bibb County has about $7 million in uncollected garbage bills.

“There are ways to collect money without being as draconian as selling people’s property on courthouse steps,” he said.

Reacting to the Ellis campaign’s suggestion of not picking up some people’s garbage, county officials said that plan could pose health risks and create unsightly streets strewn with containers of uncollected trash.

“There is a very real public health risk to having residences within the county who do not have regular scheduled garbage pickup,” McCord said in a statement. “Insect and rodent infestation and the spread of communal diseases are risks public health officials raise when they call for mandatory universal garbage pickup.”

The Telegraph also notes a challenge to 19-year incumbent Jones County Commissioner (District 1) Larry Childs by political newbies Cliff Greene and Sam Kitchens. Houston County at-large Board of Education member Bryan Upshaw faces challenger Andy Rodriguez.

Gwinnett County Commissioner Tommy Hunter (R) has criticized Gov. Nathan Deal’s decision to veto HB 757.

“I generally don’t take the time in these meetings to make political statements, but since I do have this venue, and I don’t know if he watches it or not, but I want to address it to our governor and let him know that I disagree with his decision to veto House Bill 757,” Hunter said during the commission’s business meeting on Tuesday.

“I believe he’s wrong and I believe he’ll find that will be on the wrong side of history.”

Yesterday, the Board of Regents voted to not increase tuition for state universitites and colleges in the 2016-17 school year.

Hank Huckaby, chancellor of the University System of Georgia, has said the decision shows the board is “listening to students, their families and legislators” who have voiced concerns about year-over-year tuition hikes in Georgia.

Until this year, the system’s governing board had approved some form of tuition increase every year since at least 2002.

Last year, most state-operated colleges in Georgia saw a 2.5-percent tuition increase for the fourth year in a row. Students at Georgia Tech and the University of Georgia received even greater increases of 9 percent.

Kimberly Chere Crouch of Grovetown, Georgia will plead guilty to charges from an accident that killed former Georgia legislator Joey Brush.

District Attorney Ashley Wright said negotiations on the plea deal have not been finalized. A hearing could be set in May at the earliest, Wright said.

Brush, an avid motorcyclist, served two terms in the state House in the 1990s and was sworn into the state Senate in 1997. He also was a builder and developer. He is survived by his wife, Cheryl Brush; his mother; four children; three stepchildren; a sister; and six grandchildren.

What local politician could resist a forum for senior citizens? Very few, apparently. From the Augusta Chronicle,

More than 100 senior citizens – many bused from Augusta senior citizen centers – filled the auditorium at Carrie J. Mays Community Center to hear appeals from candidates for more than a dozen local and state offices on the May 24 ballot, including three contested Augusta Commission elections.

The head of the city’s senior programs, Joyce Downs, said she’d invited all local candidates to attend, and nearly all did, although one – incumbent Richmond County Marshal Steve Smith – asked a supporter to speak on his behalf.

Georgia Republican Party District Conventions this Saturday

This Saturday, I will join many of my friends and probably an equal number of people who dislike me at the Sixth District Republican Convention. As a duly-elected delegate, ten days ago, I received the “Call Letter” via email, informing me of the convention and how to apply to move forward as a delegate to the national convention. The email came from 6th District Chairman Michael Fitzgerald and I promptly registered online and paid my delegate registration fee.

Now, a Facebook page called “Georgia for Donald Trump” that bills itself as “The Official Facebook page of the Donald Trump for President Campaign in Georgia” is going nuts complaining about Michael Fitzgerald, writing, “This Establishment RINO is doing everything he can to reverse Trump’s win in Georgia,” and one poster writes, sent him a private message to stop dragging his feet and get the paperwork done.”


Here’s the thing: the paperwork was done and it said that the deadline to apply as a delegate to the national convention was April 7th, a day before these folks started complaining. That suggests to me that maybe they weren’t delegates from their county conventions, or they would have received the information several days before.

Then they turned up the heat crazy on Rachel Little, who Chairs the Fourth District.


That was posted yesterday, April 13, a full six days after most district conventions closed the application process to be a delegate from District to National Convention. And some of the comments might be considered menacing.

In short, be prepared for quite a show on Saturday. I’ll be tweeting from my convention and will be keeping an eye on the #gapol hashtag. We look forward to hearing what’s going on at your conventions.


Adoptable Georgia Dogs for April 14, 2016


Darby is a young male Coonhound and Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from Inspire Pet Rescue Kennesaw, GA. He’s an adorable Hound mix puppy who loves to play and loves to snuggle.


Darcy is a young female Boxer and Labrador Retriever puppy who is available for adoption from Inspire Pet Rescue Kennesaw, GA. She’s a fun, friendly Boxer mix puppy who loves to play and is always ready for an adventure.


Harper is a 3-year old Terrier mix girl who is available for adoption from Inspire Pet Rescue Kennesaw, GA. She is good with dogs and great with children. Harper aims to please and loves to cuddle. No cats please.She recently completed heartworm treatment and is ready for her forever home.


Claire is a 4-month old female Terrier mix puppy who loves playing with other dogs and who is available for adoption from Inspire Pet Rescue Kennesaw, GA.

The Supreme Court of Georgia may decide whether a family pet has legal value beyond its simple replacement value, according to the Washington Post.

People, it’s clear, increasingly think of  pets as family — or fellow people.

The law, however, sees pets very differently: They are property, like a car or a toaster.

Now the Supreme Court of Georgia is mulling the disconnect between those two views. In a case that could be decided next month, judges are considering whether a rescue mutt whose death was allegedly caused by a kennel’s negligence had the value of a used toaster — zilch — or a value relative to how the dog’s owners felt about her and the $67,000 they spent to save her.

In short: How much is a pet dog worth?

[W]hen it comes to damages for the death of a pet, state supreme courts have usually knocked down trial and appellate court decisions that award emotional or “non-economic” damages, Favre said, because they view it as a slippery slope. (Separately, a small number of states have enacted legislation on recoverable damages in such cases; Tennessee dog or cat owners, for example, can recover up to $5,000 “for the loss of the reasonably expected society, companionship, love and affection of the pet.”)

Courts more often allow juries to award damages for “reasonable” veterinary costs, Favre said, though some are wary of leaving that judgment in juries’ hands.


Adoptable Georgia Dogs for April 13, 2016


Kirby (above, male) and Kyra (below, female) are 3.5 month old Plott Hound mix puppies who are available for adoption from Clover Run Rescue in Jefferson, GA. Both are friendly and love people. They weigh 20 pounds each and will be large dogs when fully grown.

If you are interested in Kira, you can meet her at adoptions which will be on Saturdays – 11:00a.m. – 5:00p.m. and Sundays – 12:00p.m. – 5:00p.m. PetSupermarket, Johns Creek 5805 State Bridge Road, Duluth, GA 30097. Please check the website first, to verify the place of the next adoptions.



Snookie is a 9-week old Dachshund and Chihuahua mix female puppy who is available for adoption from Clover Run Rescue in Jefferson, GA.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for April 13, 2016

Thomas Jefferson was born on April 13, 1743 in what is now Albemarle County, Virginia. Jefferson served as Governor of Virginia, United States Secretary of State, delegate to the Second Continental Congress, and Third President of the United States. Jefferson is credited with writing the first draft of the Declaration of Independence.

Union troops at Fort Sumter in Charleston’s harbor surrendered on April 13, 1861.

On April 13, Jack Nicklaus won his fifth Masters in 1975 and his sixth in 1986; Tiger Woods won his first (1997); Seve Ballesteros won in 1980; Billy Caspers in 1970; Mike Weir in 2003; and Bubba Watson won in 2014.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Deal signed Senate Bill 255, passed in the wake of a decision by a federal judge holding Georgia’s garnishment statute unconstitutional.

From the AJC,

The new law is intended to fix a number of issues. The previous law didn’t require creditors to tell debtors that some money — such as Social Security benefits, welfare payments and workers’ compensation — is off-limits to garnishments.

From an earlier story by the Fulton County Daily Report,

“What you had before was a confusing law,” said Rep. Wendell Willard, R-Sandy Springs, a supporter of the bill. “This really restructures the whole thing.”

The bill was modified in the House Judiciary Committee to allow banks to hold garnished funds for five days. Prior law allowed banks to hold garnished funds for 20 days.

While the bill does not change any of the funds that can or cannot be garnished, it provides for standardized forms that make clear the exemptions to garnishment, in following with then-Senior Judge Marvin Shoob’s order.

Gov. Deal also spoke more about his veto of religious liberty legislation,

Deal has been showered with praise from business groups, gay rights advocates and others since the veto on March 28. But it infuriated religious conservatives and strained his ties with rank-and-file Republican lawmakers who overwhelmingly supported the legislation. In the interview, he said the criticism has taken a toll.

“Well, I think all of us want to be liked by everybody,” he said. “But when you come to issues like that, you can’t be liked by everybody because people have such divided opinions about something. My job as governor is to do what I think is best in the overall interest of the state of Georgia and its citizens as a whole. And that’s what I did.”

The two-term Republican is pondering another divisive debate as he considers whether to sign “campus carry” legislation that would allow permit holders to carry guns on the campuses of Georgia’s public colleges and universities.

Another veto could deepen the tension between the governor and GOP legislators, and Deal is torn over what to do after lawmakers defied his personal requests for changes that would exempt on-campus childcare centers and make other exceptions to the law.

“Admittedly, it’s another tough decision. Would I have preferred they not put that on my plate (without the changes)? Yes, I would have preferred that,” he said. “But they did. And I have to come, once again, to doing what I think is in the best interest of all the citizens of the state.”

House Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge) and his primary opponent Sam Snider both spoke at the Fannin County Chamber of Commerce.

Mr. Snider’s platform was more about personal beliefs and the political philosophy he would use to shape his decisions.  Speaker Ralston’s answers mainly focused on economic drivers and infrastructure development that he has been able to arrange for District 7.

Speaker Ralston said that he was running to be a representative for District 7 and did not emphasize that being Speaker brought greater access to political perks for the District.  From his examples, though, it was clear that if District 7 was no longer the home district of the Speaker of the House, projects and funds would slow to a trickle.  Some examples of home district projects Speaker Ralston cited was ending 30 years of state inaction on improving Hwy. 5 and bringing  a  top-tier public university education option to a central location in District 7 with University of North Georgia’s new campus in Blue Ridge.

Mr. Snider, on the other hand, made it clear that if elected, his focus would be lower taxes, reducing government size, less top-down regulations, and use of sales taxes rather than income tax to fund the state.  Mr. Snider did not comment on how he would bring Georgia tax dollars to work in District 7.

Speaker Ralston picked up on Mr. Snider’s brushstroke  comments about how he, Mr. Snider, would vote in office.  Speaker Ralston said that it is easy to use bumper sticker slogans, but a representative needs to look at innovative ways to solve problems.

Mr. Snider’s statements caused Speaker Ralston to justify his statewide actions on supporting a gas tax to increase Georgia Department of Transportation budget.  The tax is based on the volume of gas that a person buys, not the end total cost of the gas.   Speaker Ralston said, “People know that we don’t have a transportation fairy up there dropping money out of the sky.”  He continued that GDOT’s revenue streams had not been recalculated in 40 years and the lack of adequate funds were showing in poor road conditions all over the state.  Also, Speaker Ralston saw increasing GDOT’s budget as a way to move the state out of federal control over Georgia’s roads and bridges.

The Marietta Daily Journal takes a look at the lopsided fundraising reports in the Cobb Commission Chair race, where incumbent Tim Lee faces challengers Mike Boyce and Larry Savage.

Macon-Bibb County Mayor Robert Reichert took on challenger Lonzy Edwards in a forum.

The event lacked the same kind of fiery accusations of a recent news conference where Edwards accused Reichert and the county of using pension funds to help cover the general fund budget. Reichert and other county officials called that assertion patently false.

During Tuesday’s forum, Reichert said he wants to continue the progress that’s taken place in Macon, while Edwards said a new leader is needed to move a stagnant community forward.

“We have united the people,” Reichert said. “The consolidation was a physical structure, but people throughout Macon-Bibb recognize, realize and understand that we are in this boat together.”

Edwards, who served on the Bibb County Commission from 2007-2013, countered that he doesn’t think consolidation has led to more unity.

“We put the government together, but by no means brought the people together,” Edwards said. “Race relations is worse than it’s ever been.”

Georgia State Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens issued a consumer alert about a 25 percent rate hike by Allstate.

Hudgens warned policyholders that the 25 percent figure is only an average rate change for the entire state, and that many policyholders should be prepared to see a rate change as high as 58.3 percent.

“I am deeply concerned about this filing and the impact it could have on consumers,” Hudgens said. “Georgia law prohibits me from stopping or delaying this increase unless an actuarial examination proves the rate to be legally excessive.”

Hudgens directed Georgia department staff Monday to initiate a professional level examination of the Allstate filing to determine if the rate increase is defendable under state law. If the results of the examination show that the filing cannot adequately support the increase, he intends to take every measure allowed to him by law to protect policyholders.

Chatham County elections officials may ask legislators for changes in procedures to fill vacancies in local elections, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Now four months into what could be a record-breaking year for elections in Chatham County, the local elections board says it wants to have a chat with state legislators about reducing the burden of mandatory special elections to fill vacancies.

Since March, the Chatham County Board of Elections has administered three elections, and it is set to hold at least two more with the May 24 primaries and the Nov. 8 general election.

Throw in a runoff in July for the primaries and the county has tied its record of six elections in one year, Elections Supervisor Russell Bridges said Monday.

In addition, it’s possible for at least two more runoffs after the Nov. 8 general election — one for state and local and one for federal races — Bridges said, bringing the possible number of elections when all is said and done to eight.

During the past year, two elected officials have died in office, and in both cases, the law required a special election to fill the remainder of the term — despite what little time was left of it.

That’s a tremendous burden on local taxpayers and candidates, Heimes argued during the Board of Elections’ monthly meeting Monday, not to mention the headaches created for the local office last month when two elections were held simultaneously.

The AJC Political Insider reports on an improving financial picture for the Georgia Republican Party.

A flood of filing fees from candidates running in the May 24 primaries and some of the usual special-interest donors have helped the party pay off most of its debt, according to state disclosure reports filed this week.

At the end of 2015, the party reported having only $11,000 in the bank and $231,000 in debt. Three months later, on March 31, Republican officials reported almost no debt and about $170,000 in the bank.

The state Democratic Party, meanwhile, reported having $476,000 left on hand heading into the primary season, the first time it has listed more in state filings than the GOP on March 31 of an election year in at least a decade.

The Democrats were buoyed enough by their success to put out a press release announcing a field program helmed by a pair of veteran staffers from battleground states. It’s financed partly by a $100,000 donation from New York investor Philip Munger, a deep-pocketed backer of President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

Hope springs eternal, but so does delusion. Georgia Democrats, despite 2014 to the contrary, think they’ll be competitive this year and plan to spend even more Other People’s Money in 2016.

The Chairman of the Georgia Democratic Party made an emergency conference call Thursday to reveal that the polls may be turning in their favor. Richmond County Democratic Chair Lowell Greenbaum is confident. “These people giving money feel very secure that their polling shows that the Democrats can beat the Republicans in the state,” he says.

Georgia is typically a Red state with both state houses and the Governorship dominated by Republicans. But confident, liberal investors think they have a chance to change the tide. “They have given the state party an initial sum of about six figures. But the plan is to go up to seven figures,” says Greenbaum.

The Georgia State Ethics Commission shows that the Democrats have raised 300,000 more dollars than Republicans. Heavy investments by leadership and potentially favorable polling data has inspired a new energy in Georgia Dems that they haven’t had in a long time. “If we can see the polling which is coming out in a week or so that shows that the Democrats can win Georgia, we’re going to go out and win it.”


Adoptable Georgia Dogs for April 12, 2016

Slade Greenville

Slade is a medium-size, adult male Beagle who is available for adoption from Meriwether County Animal Shelter in Greenville, GA.

He is pretty shy, so we will need a little TLC, but he is finally walking on a leash, which is a big improvement! His adoption fee is only $50.00.

Georgia Manchester

Georgia is an female adult Shepherd mix who is available for adoption from Manchester Animal Control in Manchester, GA.

She was once on the euthanasia list, but a kind person came to her rescue and offered to pay for her heartworm treatment. She feels like a new girl now! She is almost done with her treatment and so ready to find a forever home. She is currently in a foster home and doing great. She is a very sweet girl.

Email: [email protected] or call/text: 912-536-2565.

Roxy Manchester

Roxy is a 60-pound adult female who is listed a Rottweiler mix, but I think she may be more Coonhound mix – she is available for adoption from Manchester Animal Control in Manchester, GA. She is a sweet girl and is current on her vaccinations, as well as spayed.


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

On April 12, 1861, Confederates in Charleston, SC opened fire on Federal-held Fort Sumter opening the Civil War.

During the next 34 hours, 50 Confederate guns and mortars launched more than 4,000 rounds at the poorly supplied fort. On April 13, U.S. Major Robert Anderson surrendered the fort. Two days later, U.S. President Abraham Lincolnissued a proclamation calling for 75,000 volunteer soldiers to quell the Southern “insurrection.”

“The General” Locomotive was hijacked at Big Shanty (now Kennesaw), Georgia on April 12, 1862, leading to “The Great Locomotive Chase.” The locomotive is now housed in the Southern Museum in Kennesaw.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt died on April 12, 1945 in Warm Springs, Georgia.

On April 12, 1961, Russian Commienaut Yuri Gagarin became the first human being to go to outer space and the first to orbit earth.

The triumph of the Soviet space program in putting the first man into space was a great blow to the United States, which had scheduled its first space flight for May 1961. Moreover, Gagarin had orbited Earth, a feat that eluded the U.S. space program until February 1962, when astronaut John Glenn made three orbits in Friendship 7.

Martin Luther King, Jr. was arrested in Birmingham, Alabama on April 12, 1963; while there he would write his famed, “Letter from Birmingham Jail.”

The Braves played their first home game in Atlanta on April 12, 1966.

The Space Shuttle Columbia became the first reusable orbital vehicle when it launched on April 12, 1981.

The old clocktower in Gwinnett County’s Historic Courthouse includes graffiti from more than 100 years ago.

Some of the messages show graffiti, as an art form, is not a late 20th-century or early 21st-century concept. One artist, presumably nicknamed “Doc,” wrote his moniker as a large drawing, dated 1913.

“If that’s accurate, then that’s pretty neat to know that before there was no allowance of public access, that folks did have the freedom and felt like they could come up here and mark their spot (and say), ‘Hey I was here,’” Arant said. “No, when you look at train tracks and trains themselves, people are tagging I guess is what they call it now.

The messages cover a wide period of time. The earliest message is dated “August the 12th, 1908,” which is the year that the current clock tower was built. Although the staff at the courthouse tries to keep the door to the stairway locked so the public can’t get into the tower, sometimes the door is left open just long enough for someone to sneak in.

The most recent marking reads “DW 2016” in vivid purple ink. It’s a small marking, but it stands out as the only one that isn’t done in pencil or as a carving in the wall.

A World War II-era B-17 might be seen buzzing the beaches near Savannah, but fear not.

he Texas Raiders, a B-17G, was one of the last of the iconic bombers built. The plane was finished in May 1945, and it never saw the combat that claimed so many lives in Europe’s air war. But, says crew member Michael Hart, it’s about as close to authentic as a history buff can get. The plane was commissioned to the Navy and spent time flying up and down the East Coast looking for submarines. Then it was sold to private sector businesses, and it flew around the world for use in aerial photography and topography.

The B-17G Texas Raiders is at Sheltair at the Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport through Thursday. The hangar is located at 100 Eddie Jungemann Drive.

Tours — both on the ground and aerial — will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

Tours of the B-17 while it’s on the ground are $10 for adults, $5 for children and $20 for families.

Aerial tours, which last about 30 minutes, vary in price, and there’s only room for eight people per flight. Sitting in the bombardier seat costs $850, sitting in the navigator seat costs $700 and sitting in all other areas costs $475.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Deal has signed two more bills – one local bill for Waycross and Ware County, and a second that protects from disclsoure some documents related to economic development.

That last bill is actually the legislation that protects University of Georgia athletic recruiting records by delaying their required release.

College athletic departments in Georgia will now have 90 days — instead of three — to respond to almost all open-records requests under a new state law.

First-year University of Georgia football coach Kirby Smart told reporters at a recent news conference that he was asked during a visit to the Capitol this session about the differences between the university and other football programs.

Smart previously worked at the University of Alabama. That state’s open records law allows for a “reasonable time” for responses.

Rep. Earl Ehrhart, a Powder Springs Republican, proposed the change and said it would give schools more time to respond to records requests during peak recruiting months.

Georgia First Amendment Foundation executive director Hollie Manheimer called the change “an affront to the purpose of Georgia’s open records act.”

“The amendment is so broadly written, it makes secret contract terms, letters of complaint or inquiry from the NCAA, plans for the expenditure of university and athletic association funds, and even more,” Manheimer said. “No other public agency in Georgia is given 90 days to conduct its business in secret.”

State Senator William Ligon (R-Brunswick) wrote for the Wall Street Journal about the uproar from large companies against religious liberty legislation.

Simply look at the reaction to Georgia’s H.B. 757, a religious-freedom bill that my colleagues in the legislature and I voted to pass on March 16.

In 2014 and 2015, Georgia also attempted to pass RFRA, but then, as now, opponents claimed that these efforts would enable discrimination. Just when did the freedom to follow one’s religious beliefs in daily life become redefined as discrimination?

No matter. Disney and Marvel threatened to pull production of the “Avengers” film franchise from the Peach State, and the cable channel AMC vowed to take its “Walking Dead” series elsewhere. The NFL warned that it might drop Atlanta from consideration to host a Super Bowl. Dozens of Georgia companies urged Gov. Nathan Deal to veto the bill, which he did on March 28.

Why are businesses and sports leagues suddenly championing leftist ideologies that oppose not only religious liberty but even legislation that protects the safety of women and children in restrooms? They are systematically and deliberately misrepresenting these legislative efforts.

Too many business leaders are embracing a politically correct social agenda, trying to force every state and every citizen to walk in lockstep. The private economy would be foolish to reject America’s heritage of liberty, which has powered the greatest engine of economic success in history. And if corporations want the benefits of a business-friendly environment, with lower taxes and less regulation, they would do well to recognize who enacts such policies: people with center-right social values, not the hard left.

Senator Mike Crane (R-Coweta) has responded to criticism of his comments on no-knock warrants.

When asked about the controversy Friday, Crane said that, while his comments were probably “not the best-phrased thing I’ve ever said, I’ll never apologize for defending my home or anybody else’s right to defend their home.”

Crane said he is very much opposed to no-knock warrants, which he thinks are dangerous for law enforcement and dangerous for the public, as well as unconstitutional.

Crane said that he hasn’t caught much flack from the speech and the video. “I’ve gotten so many comments of support because people understand the underlying issue. They get that I may not have used the best phraseology, it may have been a ‘Trump’ moment. But at the end of the day, the question is are no-knock warrants good policy and practice?

“No-knock warrants are meant to protect officers. When you have information that someone could be armed or other evidence presented to a judge that we need to do it this way for security of everyone, that’s what it’s about,” [Coweta County Sheriff Mike] Yeager said.

Crane doesn’t think the no-knock warrants make things safer for law enforcement. “Is it worth putting law enforcement officers’ lives on the line to make sure drugs aren’t flushed down the toilet?” Crane asked. “I believe law enforcement has the tools and the manpower they need to safely apprehend people without kicking down doors in the middle of the night.”

Here’s the entire discussion – judge for yourself.

Snellville Mayor Tom Witts was greeted by a supportive crowd – pretty unusual for Snellville.

Mayor Tom Witts entered the council chambers to an ovation Monday night for his first meeting since news broke of an investigation targeting his finances.

The crowd, many of whom wore saved “Tom Witts for Mayor” T-shirts from the run-up to the November election, cheered and clapped eagerly.

Only last week, the news dashed Witts’ hopes of keeping Snellville controversy-free since he beat longtime rival Mayor Kelly Kautz, who had locked in power struggles with the council. Gwinnett County District Attorney Danny Porter has filed no charges but said he is trying to determine if Witts committed tax evasion or campaign fund misuse.

Now, in the council chambers, a broad smile crept across the mayor’s face. He waved softly.

“Thank you very much from the bottom of my heart,” he said. “Thank you.”

“Make no mistake,” Witts said, “I plan on remaining your mayor.”

Bernie Sanders supporters are taking to Facebook to target Democratic party Superdelegates, according to the Rome News-Tribune.

Rome City Commissioner Wendy Davis is a superdelegate to the Democratic National Convention, and she’s pledged her vote to Hillary Clinton.

But her name and contact information appears on a Facebook page set up by Bernie Sanders supporters, who have launched a campaign to urge superdelegates to switch their votes to their candidate. Davis said she isn’t concerned about being harassed, as she hasn’t received any phone calls or emails yet, but she is offended by the tactic.

“Superdelegates are free to vote any way they want,” Davis said.

At this point, Clinton has racked up 1,287 pledged delegates to Sanders’ 1,037, according to the Associated Press tally.

She also has commitments from 469 superdelegates to his 31.

Sanders’ campaign hasn’t employed a good strategy for going after superdelegates, Davis said. No one from Sanders’ campaign has even contacted her, asking for her vote.

The Hall County Board of education is considering teacher raises in the 3 percent neighborhood, according to the Gainesville Times.


Adoptable Georgia Dogs for April 11, 2016


Maui is a female Australian Shepherd & Pit Bull Terrier Mix puppy who is available for adoption from Madison Oglethorpe Animal Shelter in Danielsville, GA.


Panama is a male Australian Shepherd & Pit Bull Terrier Mix puppy who is available for adoption from Madison Oglethorpe Animal Shelter in Danielsville, GA.


Bermuda is a female Australian Shepherd & Pit Bull Terrier Mix puppy who is available for adoption from Madison Oglethorpe Animal Shelter in Danielsville, GA.


Bahama is a male Australian Shepherd & Pit Bull Terrier Mix puppy who is available for adoption from Madison Oglethorpe Animal Shelter in Danielsville, GA.


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

On April 11, 1768, Benjamin Franklin was named Georgia’s agent “to represent, solicit, and transact the affairs of this province in Great Britain.” Arguably, this makes Benjamin Franklin the first American lobbyist.

Napoleon Bonaparte, Emperor of France, was exiled to Elba Island in the Mediterranean, on April 11, 1814

On April 11, 1853, John Archibald Campbell was appointed Justice of the United States Supreme Court by President Franklin Pierce. After graduating from the University of Georgia at 14, he attended West Point, where his fellow cadets included Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee. After the beginning of the Civil War, Campbell resigned from the Court and was appointed Assistant Secretary of War for the Confederacy by Confederate President Jefferson Davis.

The American Third Army liberated Buchenwald concentration camp in Germany on April 11, 1945. Among the survivors of Buchenwald was Elie Wiesel; in 1986, Wiesel won the Nobel Peace Prize.

Apollo 13 was launched on April 11, 1970.

The craft was launched on April 11, 1970, at 13:13 CST from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, but the lunar landing was aborted after an oxygen tank exploded two days later, crippling the Service Module (SM) upon which the Command Module (CM) depended. Despite great hardship caused by limited power, loss of cabin heat, shortage of potable water, and the critical need tojury-rig the carbon dioxide removal system, the crew returned safely to Earth on April 17.

Congratulations to the following winners of the Masters Tournament who donned the green jacket on April 11: Seve Ballesteros (2d – 1983), Jack Nicklaus (2d in 1965; 3d in 1966), Ray Floyd (1976), Nick Faldo (1996), Jose Maria Olazabal (2d – 1999), Phil Mickelson (1st -2004; 3d – 2010), and Claude Harmon (1948), the first Georgian to win the Masters.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Last week, charges of false imprisonment were dropped against Wright  McLeod, who is running for State Senate.

A special prosecutor looking into the case against McLeod says the state can not prove its case, so the charges are being dismissed. District Attorney Dennis Sanders says the facts show Jamison was free to leave at the time of the incident and there is insufficient evidence to convict Palowitch and McLeod.

Sylvia Cooper of the Augusta Chronicle took a closer look at the charges,

McLeod was put through the criminal justice wringer by former Augusta Warrior Project employee Janice Jamison who got fired, got mad and decided to hang McLeod out to dry.

But it all came out in the wash Thursday when Toombs Circuit District Attorney Dennis C. Sanders dismissed Jamison’s charge of false imprisonment against McLeod and Augusta Warrior Project Director Amy Palowitch.

Everyone involved agreed that neither McLeod nor Palowitch touched or restrained Jamison. And that day, Jamison did not tell the deputies that they’d kept her from leaving. And when they specifically asked whether she wanted a police report done, Jamison declined.

McLeod called the entire episode a “colossal waste of taxpayer dollars.”

“My wife is mad as hell,” he said. “I’m still a believer that truth prevails. I don’t think my children will ever get over it. If this could happen to me, it could happen to anybody, any small business owner. But at least I was prepared to handle the pressure. Most people would not be.”

Floyd County Republican Party Chair Layla Shipman has stepped down, according to Northwest Georgia News.

Andy Garner, vice chairman of the party, will serve as interim chairman for 30 days before a new chairman in elected.

“We greatly appreciate her service over the last three years,” Garner said.

The party’s committee will meet within the 30-day period and elect a new chairperson. The committee is made up of the executive board of the party and local elected Republican officials, Garner said.

Layla was a model of good leadership for a local party and they were blessed to have her. We wish her well in her next endeavors, and have no doubt she will continue to lead our party in some capacity.

Walter Jones writes for the Augusta Chronicle about the upcoming Georgia Republican Party State Convention in Augusta June 3-4, 2016.

The process began in Feb­ruary when large counties held precinct-level meetings to elect delegates to the March county conventions. The number of delegates at each level is determined by a formula based on the votes for the Republican nominee from there in the previous presidential election. ­

The county conventions pick delegates to the district and state conventions. Preference usually goes to reward past campaign volunteers, but in many counties there were enough delegate slots for anyone wanting to go. Some of the new faces might have been relegated to being non-voting alternates.

The 14 district conventions will be held April 16. The 12th District meeting will be in Douglas, three hours south of Augusta. Having to drive that far to arrive by 8 a.m. on a Saturday discourages some people from becoming delegates.

Each district elects three delegates to the national convention. Then at the state convention, the remaining 34 delegates are elected.

District 12 is hosting the state convention, District Chairman Michael Welsh said events will be planned for Friday and Saturday evenings and a brunch on Sunday.

“We’re trying to make ours more of a destination, get people to stick around and enjoy the city,” he said.

And Walter Jones again, in the Savannah Morning News, on the Georgia GOP Convention,

If Trump, the current leader in delegates, can’t win on the first ballot, then the question is how delegates will vote on subsequent ballots.

“We believe that seasoned Republicans are deserving of the delegate slots, and we believe that Ted Cruz will fare very well with those people,” said Scott Johnson, a former chairman of the Cobb County and 11th District committees and the state grassroots coordinator for the Cruz campaign.

“These are the diehards,” Johnson said. “They are committed. They’re going. They’ve spent a lot of their personal money to fly, stay in the expensive hotels, and they are committed to the task.”

Some old hands at politics dismiss the grumbling, like Michael Welsh, 12th District chairman.

“They are unhappy because they feel like they’re being cheated,” he said. “A lot of that is they just don’t understand the rules, but the rules have been out there a long time.”

Cruz’ Johnson says there have been Trump fans at the county conventions around the state, but he says they weren’t as organized.

“We have been clear on some things that are very important: making phone calls and turning people out to vote in the primaries,” he said. “The other thing we’ve been saying for months and months is you’ve got to attend your county and precinct meetings and your county convention in March. … We’ve been saying those all along because we’re seasoned, party-building Republicans.”

Clayton County will be awash in campaign signs from now until at least the May 24th Primary Elections, with more than 40 candidates on the ballot.

Some 40 people have qualified to run for county commission, district attorney, school board, sheriff and other local offices. It is the most candidates of any election season in the last decade and residents will have a chance to hear candidates’ views at several political forums in coming weeks. The May 24 primary essentially will be the main election for local candidates since no Republican chose to run for any local offices in Clayton.

“It’s going to be an exciting year,” said Pat Pullar, chairperson of the Clayton County Democratic Party and a political consultant who tracks southside politics. “People are paying more attention to what’s going on and who wants to be an elected official.”

A federal district judge struck down Georgia’s requirement that third party candidates seeking a slot on the presidential ballot collect signatures from 50,000 registered voters.

U.S. District Judge Richard Story’s March 17 order in the four-year-old case brought by Georgia’s Green Party and Constitution Party would significantly lower the qualifying threshold for third-party candidates seeking a place on this year’s presidential ballot.

Randy Evans, a Dentons partner in Atlanta who is also a member of the Republican National Committee’s rules committee, called Story’s order “particularly noteworthy” given that it “comes at a time when institutional powerbrokers are meeting in Washington, D.C., to discuss the creation of another party should Donald Trump become the GOP nominee.”

Atlanta attorney Doug Chalmers, who served as counsel to Mike Huckabee’s presidential campaign, concurred, calling the timing of Story’s order “extremely interesting given the discussion going on nationally among Republicans who are dissatisfied with Trump as the potential nominee.”

Story’s 80-page order, handed down Thursday, permanently bars Georgia’s secretary of state from making political organizations that want to place candidates on the statewide presidential ballot first collect signatures from 1 percent—or more than 50,000—of the state’s registered voters. Instead, Story set the bar for the 2016 presidential race at just 7,500 signatures.

The judge wrote that the 7,500-signature requirement is an interim measure that will expire when the Georgia General Assembly enacts a permanent—and constitutional—provision.

Georgia and Florida negotiators met in an 8-hour conference looking to settle a decades-old suit over water in the in the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin, (ACF) which includes Lake Lanier.

“The Governor’s office, the Attorney General’s office and Georgia’s Environmental Protection Division have participated in each of the phone calls and were present at the mediation,” the brief states.

A second in-person mediation session is scheduled for this month.

“In advance of that session, Georgia officials will continue to devote time and resources to developing and considering specific solutions that might allow the parties to resolve their dispute,” Georgia lawyers say in the filing.

Well-known Georgia Republican Harris Blackwood has written a column on the death of Merle Haggard that’s worth reading.

I met and spent a short time with Haggard in 1996. He was heading to a concert in Myrtle Beach, S.C., when Hurricane Fran decided to show up at the same time. His road manager called and asked if he could come a couple of days early to Hiawassee for a concert at the Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds. I gladly obliged.

Haggard asked if we had any fishing tackle and if we could get him a license. I went to town and accomplished both. I sat with him for a little while on the banks of Lake Chatuge. I don’t remember much about the fishing or the conversation, but I enjoyed the time.

The Gainesville Times covered a debate matching Congressman Doug Collins (R-9) and his four opponents in the May 24 Republican Primary.

On taxes, foreign policy, immigration and social issues, the five candidates on the May 24 ballot played to an audience in little need of convincing about the broad policy positions the party stands for.

The candidates generally agreed, for example, on a desire to implement a flat tax; the need to build a border wall with Mexico and increase deportations; and stricter vetting of immigrants and refugees entering the country, particularly Muslims.

It was in their personalities, however, where incumbent Doug Collins and challengers Paul Broun, Roger Fitzpatrick, Bernie Fontaine and Mike Scupin carved out their niche.

“I’ve never run from my record and never will,” Collins said by way of introduction.

Collins’ re-election message is centered as much on what he will do with another term as what he has done in office thus far.

Broun, a former congressman from Georgia’s 10th District, spared no opportunity to question Collins’ votes, often foregoing the microphone to deliver his critiques.

“I have a proven record of fighting for the people,” Broun said.

Collins, versed in Broun’s record, also went on the offensive, calling for facts and truth in the most heated moments of the debate.

The candidates sparred over who best represented the pro-life position before Fontaine took the opportunity to make peace among them all by saying that in-fighting was just what the Democrats wanted to see.