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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for June 18, 2015

British forces under General Sir Henry Clinton left Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on June 18, 1778 after occupying the former capital for nine months.

On June 18, 1807, commissioners from Georgia and North Carolina agreed to recognize the 35th parallel as the boundary between the two states. North Carolina conducted a survey that placed the boundary further South than the 35th parallel, though Georgia never accepted the survey and continues to argue that the 35th is the proper boundary against both North Carolina and Tennessee.

As of today, the dispute with Tennessee continues.

The War of 1812 began on June 18, 1812, as President James Madison signed a declaration of war against Great Britain passed by the House and Senate.

On June 18, 1873, Susan B. Anthony was fined $100 for illegally voting in Rochester, New York. At the conclusion of her trial, the judge read a statement that, “The Fourteenth Amendment gives no right to a woman to vote, and the voting by Miss Anthony was in violation of the law,” and directed the jury to convict her. Anthony responded,

“Yes, your honor, I have many things to say; for in your ordered verdict of guilty, you have trampled underfoot every vital principle of our government,” Anthony said. “My natural rights, my civil rights, my political rights, my judicial rights, are all alike ignored. Robbed of the fundamental privilege of citizenship, I am degraded from the status of a citizen to that of a subject; and not only myself individually, but all of my sex, are, by your honor’s verdict, doomed to political subjection under this, so-called, form of government.”

The Southern Railway Company was organized on June 18, 1894 and through predecessor railroads traces its heritage to the nation’s first regularly-scheduled railroad service, The Best Friend of Charleston. Samuel Spencer, of Columbus, Georgia, was the first President of the Southern. In the 1980s, the Southern merged with Norfolk & Western Railway to form Norfolk Southern.

Georgia Political Events

Today from 9 AM till noon, the Alternative Fuel Vehicle Road Show pulls up to the Georgia International Convention Center, located at 2000 Convention Center Concourse, College Park GA 30337 with additional stops upcoming in Decatur, St Simons Island, Valdosta, and Savannah.

Sen. Brandon Beach (R – Alpharetta) will host a Cherokee County transportation town hall at the Cherokee County Government Building from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. today, Thursday, June 18th. The town hall will focus on the status of transportation infrastructure in Cherokee County, and what the Georgia General Assembly along with the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) are doing to address the needs of Cherokee County.Continue Reading..


Adoptable Georgia Dogs for June 17, 2015


Tobie was born 1/24/14. He is a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel/Shih Tzu mix, also known as a Cava/Tzu. Tobie is 18 lbs. He was surrendered to us when his family could no longer keep him. His vaccines are up to date, neutered,microchipped,heart worm negative and he recently had cherry eye surgery. Toby loves to play. Tobie is available for adoption from Alcovy Pet Rescue, Inc. in Monroe, GA.


Tyler is an adult male Cocker Spaniel & Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Mix who is neutered, housetrained and ready for adoption from Life’s Little Paws of Alpharetta in Alpharetta, GA.


Rusty is a male 5-year old, 26-pound mix of beagle (definitely), basset hound (probably) and Cavalier King Charles spaniel (definitely). Rusty is short-legged, charming and all hunting-dog natured. Because of his instincts to follow his nose, however, he is a “runner” if he does get loose. He is snuggly, smart and silky haired and only sheds moderately from his body, and slightly more from his tail. He will happily sleep with anyone in the family, on a dog bed near you, or on the sofa. Lots of walks/outdoor stimulation and/or trips to the dog park are how to keep him happiest. He bays like beagle (or at least does a close [and funny] approximation).

Rusty is available for adoption from Doggie Harmony in Atlanta, GA.


Mikasa (left) is a 3-4 year old female Chihuahua/Cavalier King Charles Spaniel mix, who was found with her friend, Erma (right), a Chihuahua mix. Mikasa is a little timid, but loves being cuddled. She is completely housetrained and would be a loving, faithful companion. Both of these dogs are available for adoption from the Circle of Friends Animal Society Inc. in Greensboro, GA.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for June 17, 2015

John Wesley, founder of Methodism, was born on June 17, 1703 in Epworth, England.

On June 17, 1759, Sir Francis Drake claimed California for England.

On June 17, 1775, British forces under General William Howe engaged American colonists at the Battle of Bunker Hill.

On June 17, some 2,200 British forces under the command of Major General William Howe (1729-1814) and Brigadier General Robert Pigot (1720-96) landed on the Charlestown Peninsula then marched to Breed’s Hill. As the British advanced in columns against the Americans, Prescott, in an effort to conserve the Americans’ limited supply of ammunition, reportedly told his men, “Don’t fire until you see the whites of their eyes!” When the Redcoats were within several dozen yards, the Americans let loose with a lethal barrage of musket fire, throwing the British into retreat.

After re-forming their lines, the British attacked again, with much the same result. Prescott’s men were now low on ammunition, though, and when the Redcoats went up the hill for a third time, they reached the redoubts and engaged the Americans in hand-to-hand combat. The outnumbered Americans were forced to retreat. However, by the end of the engagement, the Patriots’ gunfire had cut down some 1,000 enemy troops, with more than 200 killed and more than 800 wounded. More than 100 Americans perished, while more than 300 others were wounded.

President Andrew Johnson appointed John Johnson (no relation) provisional Governor of Georgia after the Civil War on June 17, 1865; John Johnson had opposed secession.

France announced its intention to surrender to Germany on June 17, 1940.

Five men were arrested for burglary of the Democratic National Committee offices at the Watergate office and apartment complex in Washington, DC on June 17, 1972.

The affair began with the arrest of five men for breaking and entering into the Democratic National Committee (DNC) headquarters at the Watergate complex on June 17, 1972. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) connected cash found on the burglars to a slush fund used by the Committee for the Re-Election of the President, the official organization of Nixon’s campaign.

In July 1973, as evidence mounted against the president’s staff, including testimony provided by former staff members in an investigation conducted by the Senate Watergate Committee, it was revealed that President Nixon had a tape-recording system in his offices and he had recorded many conversations.

After a protracted series of bitter court battles, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the president had to hand over the tapes to government investigators; he ultimately complied.

Recordings from these tapes implicated the president, revealing he had attempted to cover up the questionable goings-on that had taken place after the break-in.

Facing near-certain impeachment in the House of Representatives and equally certain conviction by the Senate, Nixon resigned the presidency on August 9, 1974. His successor, Gerald Ford, then issued a pardon to him on September 8, 1974.

Newton Leroy Gingrich was born on June 17, 1943 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Gingrich graduated from college at Emory University, where he founded the Emory College Republicans. Gingrich’s congressional papers are collected in the the Georgia’s Political Heritage Program at West Georgia College, where he taught before being elected to Congress. Also at West Georgia are the papers of former Congressmen Bob Barr, Mac Collins, and Pat Swindall, along with a near-perfect replica of Georgia Speaker Tom Murphy’s office.

Georgia Politics

In House District 24 (Forsyth County), it appears that Sheri Smallwood Gilligan missed an outright win by 2 votes, garnering 49.97% of ballots cast, while Georgia law requires 50% plus one vote. From the Forsyth County News,

A July 14 runoff election appears likely in the race to fill the District 24 seat in the Georgia House of Representatives.

Sheri Gilligan received the most votes, 1,785, for about 49.9 percent of the total — just shy of the 50 percent plus one vote required to win without a runoff.

But that tally put her well ahead of the other three Republican candidates, including second-place finisher David Van Sant, who drew 877 votes, or about 24.5 percent.

At stake is the remaining 18 months on the term of longtime incumbent Mark Hamilton, who stepped down last month to relocate to Tennessee for a job.

According to Forsyth County elections officials, four provisional ballots still must be counted Friday, when the results will be finalized.

Two lessons can be learned from this race. First, is to leave nothing in reserve in running to advance to the next level. Two votes might have meant getting in your car to drive across town and pick up a couple of elderly family members or fellow church members and driving them to the polls, or a last mail piece or robocall. Second, is that sometimes running against an incumbent and losing can lead to running in an open seat later and winning. Nothing helps you build a campaign infrastructure and network like actual campaigning, and it’s hard to imagine that Gilligan’s 40% effort against Mark Hamilton last year, and the lasting goodwill from her supporters was not a major part of her very strong first place win yesterday. Luck and timing go into the mix as well, but you can’t always control those.

Meanwhile, in the Cumming City Council race, Chuck Welch took first place with 30% of votes cast, or 117 out of 391 votes. That race didn’t require the usual 50% plus one vote, so Welch will be taking office on the Cumming City Council.

The election itself was a rarity in a town with little turnover on its governing body. Rupert Sexton had held Post 1 since 1971 before stepping down this spring to enjoy retirement.

As was the case in most election years, Sexton was unopposed for another term in 2013. The last contested election the city held was in 2003, when Mayor H. Ford Gravitt faced opposition.

Welch will fill the remainder of Sexton’s term, about 18 months, and will be sworn in July 1. His first official meeting as a councilman will be July 21.

Prepare for a nasty runoff in House District 55, where perennial candidate Shelitha Robertson took first place with 30.76% of voters and Marie Metze took second place with 30.39%. Only ten votes separated the two Democratic women, and the campaigns leading up to yesterday’s votes were particularly fierce from both frontrunners. Attack robocalls against both of the runoff candidates, spoofed caller ID and an anonymous mailpiece attacking Robertson for alleged ties to a strip club were all part of the Special Eleciton and I’d expect the attacks to sharpen in coming weeks.

DeKalb County Commission District Five also hosts a runoff election, this one between first-place finished Mereda Davis Johnson, wife of Congressman Hank Johnson, and retired MARTA executive George Turner.

In Milledgeville, the Mayoral Special Election will go to a runoff between former Mayor Floyd Griffin and Gary Thrower, a local businessman.

Griffin received 44%, Thrower got 33%, and in third place, Melba Burrell, who received 22%.

One-time Milledgeville Mayor Floyd Griffin celebrated moving forward in the election process and says he’s pleased with the results. Griffin, who served from 2002 through 2006, says he was hoping to go home having recaptured the title, but says he isn’t shocked that he’s in a runoff with candidate Gary Thrower. “Obviously we wanted to win this race without going into a runoff and that should always be the goal. And that’s what we worked to make that happen and anytime you’re in an election with more than two individuals you have to at least expect a runoff,” said Griffin.

Griffin says the next step is to continue campaigning. He says he wants to make sure he wins the runoff on July 14th. “We are going to take a look at what we’ve done over the last six weeks. We’re going to reevaluate that and we’re going to get started here again and go through the next four weeks,” said Griffin.

Businessman Gary Thrower rallied his supporters at the Antebellum Inn in Milledgeville. He says he was surprised by voter turnout, he thought it would be higher. “I was a little shocked about the voter turn out in total, considering the early voting results. I was expecting to have more out. But I was enthused that I did have my share of the votes enough to get into the runoff,” said Thrower.

Thrower and Griffin will face each other in the runoff on July 14th.

Bonus: What I’m Listening To

This morning, I’ve been listening to part of Bill Nigut’s extended interview with Vernon Keenan, who serves as Director of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. During sessions, he’s often seen at the State Capitol, but the interview is an interesting portrayal of the man who is often seen as the embodiment of the GBI.

The interview can be heard online at the Georgia Public Broadcasting webite or you can find it through iTunes as a podcast for your iPhone, iPad, or iPod.



Order upholding disqualification of Tyrone Brooks, Jr in Special Election today

Final Order Tyrone Brooks Jr Residency


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for June 16, 2015

On June 16, 1736, General James Oglethorpe arrived in England with Tomochichi, the Yamacraw Indian chief, Tomochichi’s wife and several other members of the tribe on a trip to meet the Georgia Trustees and King George II.

Creek Indians signed the Treaty of Fort Wilkinson on June 16, 1802, ceding two parcels of land in Georgia to the United States.

On June 16, 1858, Abraham Lincoln addressed the Illiniois Republican Convention as a candidate for U.S. Senate and warned that “a house divided against itself cannot stand.”

The Atlanta Constitution was first published on June 16, 1868.

Bob Dylan recorded “Like a Rolling Stone” on June 16, 1965.

The Monterey Pop Festival opened at the Monterey Fairgrounds on June 16, 1967, often considered one of the opening events of the “Summer of Love.” Among the artists playing the Festival were the Jefferson Airplane, The Who, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, and Macon-born Otis Redding.

Six Flags Over Georgia opened on June 16, 1967.

Atlanta Braves player Otis Nixon tied the modern record for steals in one game with six stolen bases agains the Montreal Expos on June 16, 1991.

Georgia Politics

State Rep. Allen Peake (R-Macon) has been named an Administration Floor Leader by Gov. Nathan Deal.Continue Reading..


Adoptable Georgia Dogs for June 16, 2015


Hendrix is an adult male Lhasa Apso who is available for adoption from Animal Ark in Columbus, GA.


Joplin is an adult female American Staffordshire Terrier mix who was abandoned outside the admin building at the Gwinnett Humane Society in Lawrenceville, where she is available for adoption.

Joplin’s wagging, wiggling, serenading, and welcoming the volunteers one evening, showed she was completely oblivious to the fact that she had been dumped. And so began the process of turning this powerful bundle of sweetness, joy and energy into a fun-loving yet calmer dog. Her progress has been remarkable and she has become our Welcoming Mascot at our adoption events. She loves everyone and everyone loves her. We just hope one day soon to find her perfect family. Her ideal family is one to provide her stability, exercise, time and patience, and of course Love!


Jefferson is a young male Labrador Retriever/Cavalier King Charles Spaniel mix who is available for adoption from Atlanta Lab Rescue in Atlanta, GA. I’m struggling to think of a better combination of temperaments than the goofy happy-go-lucky Labrador Retriever and the snuggly, highly-human oriented Cavalier King Charles.

This last dog doesn’t fit with today’s naming theme, but he’s a special one, so we’re making an exception.


Charlie is a senior adult male Bloodhound who looks like he’s been neglected, and thus is available to rescue groups only, from the Walton County Animal Shelter in Monroe, GA. We seen over the years that for most rescue groups the number one limitation on their ability to take dogs is having a foster home. If you’re interested in helping Charlie, we suggest finding a rescue group that’s willing to pick him up if you’ll foster him. Usually a home check and application are required, but this special boy deserves to recuperate in a comfortable home.


Deal names Peake to House floor leader team | Governor Nathan Deal Office of the Governor

June 15, 2015

Gov. Nathan Deal today announced Rep. Allen Peake (R-Macon) will join his House floor leader team. Peake will succeed Rep. Christian Coomer (R-Cartersville), who was recently named chairman of the Transportation Committee.

Peake is currently serving his fifth term in the Georgia House of Representatives representing House District 141, which includes Macon. He serves on the Appropriations, Ways and Means, Health and Human Services and Rules committees. Peake owns Cheddar’s Casual Café and Captain D’s restaurants across the state. He is involved in several First Presbyterian Day School committees and is a trustee of the Georgia State Golf Foundation. He supports numerous charities in the Middle Georgia area, including Sav-a-Life Crisis Pregnancy Center, Covenant Care Adoption Agency, Methodist Youth Home, Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Young Life. Peake attended Auburn University and earned a bachelor’s degree from Mercer University. He and his wife, Betsy, have three grown children and reside in Macon.

via Deal names Peake to House floor leader team | Governor Nathan Deal Office of the Governor.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for June 15, 2015

Georgia and American History

The Magna Carta was sealed by King John on June 15, 1215.

The charter consisted of a preamble and 63 clauses and dealt mainly with feudal concerns that had little impact outside 13th century England. However, the document was remarkable in that it implied there were laws the king was bound to observe, thus precluding any future claim to absolutism by the English monarch. Of greatest interest to later generations was clause 39, which stated that “no free man shall be arrested or imprisoned or disseised [dispossessed] or outlawed or exiled or in any way victimised…except by the lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land.” This clause has been celebrated as an early guarantee of trial by jury and of habeas corpus and inspired England’s Petition of Right (1628) and the Habeas Corpus Act (1679).

On June 15, 1740, Spanish troops attacked the English who were led by James Oglethorpe, at Fort Mose, two miles north of St. Augustine, Florida. With 68 English killed and 34 wounded, it was the heaviest losses sustained by Oglethorpe during his campaign against St. Augustine.

On June 14, 1736, James Oglethorpe ordered plans to be drawn for a new city to be called Augusta.

George Washington accepted the assignment of leading the Continental Army on June 15, 1775.

If you’re on Facebook, Tara Ross has daily history notes concentrating on the Revolutionary Period of our nation’s history. Here’s part of what she wrote today.

Washington’s appointment came at the suggestion of John Adams, who formally recommended the creation of an army-and its General! He spoke before Congress of a “Gentleman from Virginia who was among Us.” This man, Adams concluded, “would command the Approbation of all America, and unite the cordial Exertions of all the Colonies better than any other Person in the Union.” He did not mention Washington by name, but everyone understood the reference.

Two people most definitely understood what Adams meant! John Hancock had a very negative reaction. He was from Adams’s home state of Massachusetts, and he wanted the job for himself! Adams had a good view of Hancock’s face when he spoke before the Congress. “Mr. Hancock,” Adams wrote, “heard me [recommend the creation of an army] with visible pleasure, but when I came to describe Washington for the Commander, I never remarked a more sudden and sinking Change of Countenance. Mortification and resentment were expressed as forcibly as his Face could exhibit them.”

For his part, Washington responded differently. Adams could see Washington, too. He related that Washington, “who happened to sit near the Door, as soon as he heard me allude to him, from his Usual Modesty darted into the Library Room.”

I highly recommend “Liking” her page on Facebook if you’re a history enthusiast.

The Oregon Treaty was signed on June 15, 1815 between England and the United States, establishing the border between the U.S. and Canada.

On June 15, 1864, a funeral was held at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Atlanta for Confederate General Leonidas Polk, who was killed the day before at Pine Mountain near Marietta.

Georgia Politics

State House Committee assignments continue to filter out, with the following announcements being made:

State Rep. Katie Dempsey (R-Rome) will serve on the Transportation Committee

State Rep. Lee Hawkins (R-Gainesville) will serve as Vice Chair of House Health & Human Services

State Rep. Mandi Ballinger (R-Canton) will serve as Vice Chair of vice chair of the House Juvenile Justice Committee

State Rep. Jason Shaw (R-Lakeland) will Chair the House Industry & Labor Committee.

Continue Reading..


Adoptable Georgia Dogs for June 15, 2015

Barrow Puppies

These three little puppies are six-weeks old and from the same litter, probably a Boxer mix. They are available for foster or adoption from the Barrow County Animal Shelter in Winder, GA. They need to get out of the shelter as soon as possible, as it’s an unhealthy environment for puppies, who have weak immune systems.

Barrow Pair

Marie (Lab mix) and Claire (Chihuahua mix) are young females who came into the shelter together, likely as owner-surrenders. They are available for adoption from Barrow County Animal Shelter in Winder, GA.


This guy is called “Belushi” at the shelter, but I’d probably call him “Wiggles,” because that’s what I call every Boxer I meet – they must be the wiggliest breed out there. He’s a 4-5 year old male Boxer, and he’s already neutered, vaccinated, and ready to go home. In fact, he needs to go home as soon as possible, as Barrow County has a large number of dogs currently in their care. He may be adopted for just $55 from Barrow County Animal Shelter in Winder, GA.


It also sounds from what the volunteers say about him that he’s probably house-trained. Here’s a video of this sweet boy.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for June 12, 2015

The first Georgia-Florida war game weekend began on June 12, 1740, as Georgia founder James Oglethorpe led 400 soldiers landing opposite the Spanish fort at St. Augustine.

The Virginia Convention adopted George Mason’s “Declaration of Rights” on June 12, 1776. From Wikipedia:

The Declaration was adopted unanimously by the Fifth Virginia Convention at Williamsburg, Virginia on June 12, 1776 as a separate document from theConstitution of Virginia which was later adopted on June 29, 1776.[2] In 1830, the Declaration of Rights was incorporated within the Virginia State Constitution as Article I, but even before that Virginia’s Declaration of Rights stated that it was ‘”the basis and foundation of government” in Virginia.[3] A slightly updated version may still be seen in Virginia’s Constitution, making it legally in effect to this day.

It was initially drafted by George Mason circa May 20, 1776; James Madison assisted him with the section on religious freedom.

The Virginia Declaration of Rights heavily influenced later documents. Thomas Jefferson is thought to have drawn on it when he drafted the United States Declaration of Independence in the same month (June 1776). James Madison was also influenced by the Declaration while drafting the Bill of Rights (introduced September 1789, ratified 1791), as was the Marquis de Lafayette in voting the French Revolution‘s Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen (1789).

The importance of the Virginia Declaration of Rights is that it was the first constitutional protection of individual rights, rather than protecting only members of Parliament or consisting of simple laws that can be changed as easily as passed.

That means Liberty, y’all.

Delta Airlines began passenger service from Monroe, Louisiana to Atlanta on June 12, 1930.

On June 12, 1961, Ben E. King hit #1 on the R&B chart and #4 on the pop chart with “Stand By Me.”

On June 12, 1987, President Ronald Reagan spoke in then-divided Berlin and challenged Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to “tear down this wall.”

[If that excerpt is not enough for you, here’s a link to the entire speech.]

Kennesaw State College became Kennesaw State University on June 12, 1996.

Carol Hunstein, appointed by Governor Zell Miller to the Georgia Supreme Court, was elected Chief Justice by her peers on June 12, 2009.

Happy Birthday to former President George H.W. Bush, who turns 91 today.

Georgia Politics

Heart Bacon Sticker628

+1 to Smyrna Mayor Max Bacon for his bumpersticker.

State House Last Day of Early Voting

Today is the last day of early voting in House District 55 (Fulton) and House District 24 (Forsyth). The Special Elections will be held Tuesday, June 16, 2015 from 7 AM to 7 PM.

To early vote today in HD 55, here are the locations, which are open from 8:30 AM to 5 PM:

Fulton County Government Center
130 Peachtree Street SW
Atlanta, GA 30303

Buckhead Library
269 Buckhead Ave, NE
Atlanta, GA 30305

SouthWest Arts Center
915 New Hope Rd, SW
Atlanta, GA 30331

In Forsyth County, early voting is open today from 8 AM to 7 PM at the following locations:

Forsyth County Administration Building
110 E Main St
Cumming, GA 30040

Cumming City Hall
100 Main St
Cumming, GA 30040

Midway Park Community Building
5100 Post Rd.
Cumming, GA 30040

Speaking of House District 55

Thanks to Fulton County Judge Kimberly Esmond, the candidacy of Tyrone Brooks, Jr. to succeed his father in that office is back on, as the order by Secretary of State Brian Kemp disqualifying Brooks was stayed yesterday.

Early Voting

As of yesterday’s early voting file, 278 early voting ballots were cast in DeKalb County Commission District 5, and 282 in Fulton County for HD55. Forsyth County with special elecitons in HD 24 and Cumming City Council leads the way with 1154 early votes cast.

State and Local

Governor Nathan Deal announced 60 additional officers will be brought onboard for commercial vehicle enforcement.

“As Georgia’s population and its economy continue to grow, we must adapt to meet the needs of a vibrant state,” Deal said. “While an expansion of the Savannah Harbor means jobs for Georgians and a boost to our economy, it will also mean an increase in commercial vehicle traffic. The safety of our drivers and the effective transportation of goods are of critical importance. This investment is a significant step forward in meeting these goals.”

There are currently 234 commercial vehicle enforcement officers serving in 10 regions. The additional officers will patrol areas identified by the Department of Public Safety as “high crash corridors.” These areas include I-16 and I-95, as well as the Atlanta metro area, and the area south of Atlanta along I-85.

Meanwhile, Tybee Island is working toward being able to police the only bridge connecting them to the mainland.

The Tybee Island City Council approved an intergovernmental agreement and memorandum of understanding that would authorize Tybee police to assist with evacuations, respond to accidents or otherwise handle emergencies outside city limits — specifically on U.S. 80 between the Lazaretto Creek Bridge and the Bull River Bridge.

The Chatham County Commission still has to OK the agreement.

According to the agreement, Tybee Island police already have the authority as sworn law enforcement officers to issue citations or criminal charges related to motor vehicles outside of city limits. But Mayor Jason Buelterman stressed at a meeting of the city’s public safety committee Thursday morning the over-arching goal of the document is to improve response to traffic when the agency in charge of the area, the Savannah-Chatham police department, can’t make it fast enough.

“My goal initially was just to get our police … the ability to get out there and clean up accidents and traffic,” he said. “I think long term … it wouldn’t be anything where we would be necessarily taking it over. It would just be we have the right to go out there and do what we can.”

Savannah City Council will consider zoning and animal control changes that would allow beekeeping and chickens inside the city limits.

Zoning regulations currently allow livestock in limited areas of the city. Meanwhile, the Animal Control Ordinance seems to sanction backyard animals, specifying limits on critters as disparate as cows and hamsters. By ordinance, residents may keep five of each of those species as long as they’re 100 feet from a neighbor’s house.

As proposed, the revised ordinance and zoning regulations would allow one chicken for every 1,000 square feet of high ground on a residential lot, with a maximum of 30. Noisy roosters are more limited than hens: Residents need a 2-acre lot plus a 250-foot setback from the nearest neighbor’s house to keep these birds. About 1,700 lots in Savannah are big enough.

Beekeeping would be allowed with some restrictions, including a required registration and a limited number of colonies based on lot size. For example, lots of a quarter acre or less would be limited to two colonies. In the event of a concern from a neighbor — for example, a mother with a child allergic to bees — an animal control officer can deem a hive unacceptable even if it meets all the stated criteria.

Macon-Bibb County is considering hiring a “blight czar.”

A newly formed Macon-Bibb County Commission blight committee Thursday gave officials permission to advertise for a “blight czar.”

Formed Tuesday, the ad hoc committee is led by Mayor Pro Tem Bert Bivins and includes Commissioners Larry Schlesinger, Virgil Watkins and Mallory Jones. The committee was created to work with the Reichert administration to map out how Macon-Bibb will spend $14 million in bond funds to fight residential blight.

Thursday’s meeting was designed to bring the committee up to speed about blight progress so far and to decide the next course of action. The committee authorized Assistant County Manager Charles Coney to issue a request for qualifications for a blight consultant. Schlesinger referred to the position as a “blight czar.”

Because the federal system of czars has worked out so well.

Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson held the first of a series of public meetings to urge citizens to vote for higher property taxes. You can imagine how that went over.

One resident who did not give her name said she would fight the mayor’s proposal because the freeze protects the elderly and those on fixed incomes. “Good luck passing it, because I’m going to work against it,” the woman said. Tomlinson responded that the freeze only helps those groups as long as they stay in their house. But if one spouse is widowed or when children grow up and move, the homeowners might want to downsize.

Stockbridge City Council voted to call off the investigation into Council Member Robin Buschman, who was accused of violating the city charter.

In Forest Park, the City Council asked the City Attorney to investigate Mayor David Lockhart’s veto of a council vote to adopt the city budget.

In Brookhaven, qualifying for Mayor and City Council Districts One and Three will be held  August 31 through September 2, 2015 from 8:30 AM to 12:30 PM and from 1:30 PM to 4:30 PM.

Not content with the upcoming $5 per night Hotel/Motel tax imposed by the State, the Stockbridge City Council voted to increase the local hotel/motel tax from 5 percent to 8 percent effective August 1st.

Augusta’s Downtown Development Authority voted in favor of a new downtown arena.

The DDA board approved a letter that “fully supports” the Augusta Coliseum Authority “vision” that would replace the James Brown Arena on the corner of Seventh and Fenwick streets with a new 10,000-seat facility, which would remain in the “downtown footprint.”

“The James Brown Arena has played a pivotal role in the ongoing revitalization of downtown,” said the letter, drafted by DDA Chairman Cameron Nixon. “In the past six years with Global Spectrum at the helm, sold-out shows have promoted our urban center and have strengthened downtown commerce.”

Augusta Mayor Hardie Davis has spent about half his office budget, with half the fiscal year past, but he’s asking for more money, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

With less than three weeks until the midpoint of Augusta’s fiscal year, Davis has spent about 46 percent of the $305,710 included for mayor’s office staff and other expenses in the 2015 budget, according to city finance department records.

“We knew that going into this process that we were underbudgeted and were just going to make it through the year,” said Davis, who said he has turned to “other resources,” including grants, internships and paid invitations to fund operations.

“We’re being as creative as we can be just to kind of limp along,” Davis said, including using two new Georgia Regents University “Mayor’s Fellows,” but “we can’t continue to operate the mayor’s office with unpaid, part-time student staffing.”

Before taking office in January, Davis asked that the commission double or otherwise increase the size of his office’s budget, saying he needs additional staff to accomplish his goals.

Cobb County may become a battleground over same-sex marriage after an expected Supreme Court ruling.

Brooks Mathis, the Cobb Chamber of Commerce’s senior vice president of economic development, said he personally believes Cobb’s business community could benefit from supporting a Supreme Court ruling that allows same-sex marriage.

“It is essential for communities wanting economic growth to be open and accepting of all. If this should pass, Cobb embracing citizens and business owners regardless of their orientation will prove we are ready to be the gold standard community for the next generation,” Mathis said.

“To say that this fight will go away because of the court’s decision — if they do make a decision to overturn (Georgia’s ban on same-sex marriage) — is very naive. This debate will continue for years to come because family is always there, and it will not stop. A court cannot stop family,” [Robert] Potts said.

Swint said marriage is such a fundamental part of society that it will be argued for decades to come, similar to how the decision to allow abortion across the country in Roe v. Wade is still debated today.

“This particular case is going to be sensitive to cultural conservatives and those who are interested in cultural issues. The thing is I don’t know that there’s a whole lot they could do about a Supreme Court ruling. Their hands may be tied, at least in the short term,” Swint said.