The blog.

13
May

State officials stress awareness following hike in traffic fatalities | Route 666

In response to a troubling uptick in road fatalities, Georgia transportation and law enforcement officials this week launched a campaign to increase driver awareness.

Traffic fatalities are up by 25 percent already during the first quarter of this year. Nearly two thirds of those crashes involved a single vehicle – a sign, officials say, that the driver was distracted. The Drive Alert. Arrive Alive. campaign implores motorists to focus on driving, not drive while drowsy or impaired and to wear a seat belt.

“If we continue at this rate, we could see the first increase in traffic fatalities in Georgia in nine years,” said Georgia Department of Transportation Commissioner Russell McMurry. “That’s just unacceptable – especially when many of these crashes can be prevented by changing driver behavior.”

via State officials stress awareness following hike in traffic fatalities | Route 666.

13
May

Tony Pope, Patricia Reid re-arrested in corruption case | www.wsbtv.com

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — The two people at the center of the DeKalb County schools corruption case have been re-arrested.

In November, Judge Cynthia Becker overturned the convictions of Pat Reid and her ex-husband, Tony Pope, who were convicted in a DeKalb County school construction scandal last year.

Pope and Reid had been sentenced to serve several years in prison.

Prosecutors said Reid, the former district chief operating officer, helped steer more than $1 million in contracts to her then-husband, Pope. A judge had initially sentenced Reid to 15 years in prison and Pope to eight years.

Becker resigned from her position on Nov. 10.

via Tony Pope, Patricia Reid re-arrested in corruption case | www.wsbtv.com.

13
May

Ex-Commissioner Boyer’s top aide pleads not guilty | www.ajc.com

The top aide to former DeKalb County Commissioner Elaine Boyer pleaded not guilty today to accusations that he used his government charge card for personal purposes.

Bob Lundsten appeared in court to respond to allegations that he used his taxpayer-backed purchasing card to buy about $200 to $300 worth of items at stores including Kroger and the UPS Store.

Lundsten stood in court while his attorney entered the not guilty plea, and he made no other comments.

via Ex-Commissioner Boyer’s top aide pleads not guilty | www.ajc.com.

13
May

Brookhaven mayor accused of harassment | www.ajc.com

An employee of Brookhaven has accused Mayor J. Max Davis of sexual harassment, a spokeswoman for the city has confirmed for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

City Attorney Tom Kurrie is investigating the complaint, spokeswoman Megan Matteucci said. A related complaint has also been filed with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, she said.

via Brookhaven mayor accused of harassment | www.ajc.com.

13
May

Former justice calls for end to death penalty | www.ajc.com

A former chief justice of Georgia’s highest court on Tuesday strongly renounced the death penalty and called for its abolition.

Norman Fletcher, who served 15 years on the Georgia Supreme Court, said the death penalty is “morally indefensible,” “makes no business sense” and is not applied fairly and consistently.

“Capital punishment must be permanently halted, without exception,” Fletcher said. “It will not be easy, but it can and will be accomplished.”

via Former justice calls for end to death penalty | www.ajc.com.

13
May

Deal issues 2015 veto statements | Governor Nathan Deal Office of the Governor

Veto Number 1

SB 76 Senate Bill 76 would allow motorcycle and bicycle operators to enter an intersection without providing a definitive regard to the traffic signal in instances where the lightweight nature of their vehicle will not activate a traffic-control device. While I am sympathetic to the concerns and causes of motorcyclists and bicyclists, this legislation does not provide an adequate solution and presents a confusing exception to motorists. Furthermore, Senate Bill 76 would eliminate the current 15-inch height restriction placed on motorcycle handlebars. Motorcycles equipped with handlebars more than 15 inches in height pose a safety hazard due to the increased difficulty in steering and decreased control. In 2014, crashes involving motorcycles and bicycles accounted for 13 percent of the fatalities on Georgia roads, and I do not see how this legislation will enhance roadway safety. Therefore, in the interest of providing the necessary roadway safety Georgians deserve, I hereby VETO Senate Bill 76.

Veto Number 2

HB 439  House Bill 439, the Georgia New Markets Jobs Act, contains two major tax policy initiatives that affect the Georgia insurance premium tax. It provides for $55 million in tax credits against insurance premium tax liability for certain equity investments in qualified community development entities. During the legislative process, language was added to HB 439 authorizing the Invest Georgia Fund to sell up to $55 million in tax credits against insurance premium tax liability. Each of these concepts merit serious discussion standing on their own; however, the combination of these policy initiatives into one piece of legislation and the prospect of implementing these initiatives at the same time under our current budget environment would have too much of an impact on the general fund. It is my opinion that these initiatives require further study and, thus, I hereby VETO House Bill 439.Continue Reading..

13
May

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for May 13, 2015

On May 13, 1607, English settlers founded the first permanent English settlement in America, at Jamestown on the James River. This led to the first English-language politics in America:

Dispatched from England by the London Company, the colonists had sailed across the Atlantic aboard the Susan Constant,Godspeed, and Discovery. Upon landing at Jamestown, the first colonial council was held by seven settlers whose names had been chosen and placed in a sealed box by King James I. The council, which included Captain John Smith, an English adventurer, chose Edward Wingfield as its first president.

Lyman Hall arrived in Philadelphia as a delegate to the Second Continental Congress on May 13, 1775.

On May 13, 1798, a Constitutional Convention adopted the Georgia Constitution of 1798.

The Mexican War began on May 13, 1846.

Georgia Whigs, led by Governor George Crawford, Alexander Stephens, and Robert Toombs, criticized the war for raising divisive questions about slavery in the territories. Georgia Democrats, led by Howell Cobb and Herschel Johnson, staunchly supported the war and states’ rights afterward. Because Whigs, nationally, appeared to be antislavery, Georgia Whigs lost the governorship in 1847. The Compromise of 1850 temporarily settled the slavery question in the territories, but the moderating influence of Georgia’s Whigs dissolved in the heated rhetoric of states’ rights in the 1850s. The next war would find Americans fighting Americans.

The first fighting at Resaca, Georgia took place on May 13, 1864 and Union forces marched into Dalton. On May 13, 1864, 257 cadets from the Virginia Military Institute camped at Mt. Crawford near Harrisonburg.The next day they would continue their march to New Market, Virginia.

On May 13, 1981, Pope John Paul II was shot at St. Peter’s Square in Rome.

On May 13, 2005, the Pentagon Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC) recommended the closing of Fort McPherson in Atlanta, Fort Gillem in Forest Park, the Naval Air Station in Marietta, and the Naval Supply Corps School in Athens.

Georgia Politics

WaltonBBQ

Presidential Politics in the Peach State

The Walton County Barbecue has been the highlight of the Republican Party calendar for a number of years. It’s even better than the State Convention because they serve barbecue, it’s held every year, and it’s only one day. But this year, Roy Roberts and the Walton County GOP have outdone themselves, luring a major likely Presidential candidate, as Ohio Governor John Kasich makes his first foray to the Peach State in the 2016 election cycle.

For tickets, call 770-267-2706 or email Walton County GOP Chairman Roy Roberts.

US News & World Reports writes that the RedState Gathering in Atlanta threatens to displace the Iowa Straw Poll in importance this year, with top tier candidate Jeb Bush making the trip to Atlanta instead of Des Moines.

Republican Jeb Bush won’t be at the Iowa Republican Party’s presidential straw poll this summer, skipping the fixture of the pre-election-year political calendar for a competing event in Georgia.Continue Reading..

13
May

Deal announces judicial appointments within DeKalb County | Governor Nathan Deal Office of the Governor

May 12, 2015

Gov. Nathan Deal today announced the appointment of the Honorable Jean-Paul “JP” Boulee as Superior Court judge of the Stone Mountain Judicial Circuit and the Honorable Michael James “Mike” Jacobs as State Court judge of DeKalb County. Boulee fills the vacancy created by the resignation of the Honorable Cynthia J. Becker. Jacobs fills the vacancy created by the appointment of the Honorable Eleanor L. Ross as federal judge for the Northern District of Georgia. The appointments will take effect upon swearing in.Continue Reading..

13
May

Adoptable Georgia Dogs for May 13, 2015

Busby

Busby (above) and Buttons (below) are two puppies of a litter of six born to a Beagle/Dachshund mix mom and a Terrier mix Dad. The pups will probably be under 25 lbs. when full grown. They’ll be spayed/neutered and ready for adoption after May 16 from Walton Animal Guild, Inc. in Monroe, Ga.

Buttons

Tink

Tink is a six-month old female shepherd/hound mix puppy who might look big in some of her photos, but she is still just about 35 pounds and not very big at all.  She is always happy and does well on the leash. She is not yet spayed, but comes with a voucher for a free spaying from Countryside Vet. Tink is available for adoption from the Walton County Animal Shelter in Walton County, GA.

Rufus

Rufus is a full-size 70-80 pound male Lab mix whose owner has not yet picked him up. He is a friendly guy, sits on command and does well on leash.  Rufus is available for adoption from the Walton County Animal Shelter in Walton County, GA.

12
May

The Vaughn Irons “Mother’s Day” Mailer

Vaughn-Irons-Front

Vaugh-Irons-Mailer-Back

Neither the State Ethics Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission nor the DeKalb County Board of Elections have any records of an committee named “Vaughn D. Irons for DeKalb.”

Hell of a way to kick off a campaign by thumbing your nose at ethics laws.