The Trustees of the Georgia colony learned on April 17, 1737 that Spain had 4000 soliders and two warships in Havana, Cuba and was planning on invading Georgia or South Carolina. Thus began the rivalry between then-Spanish occupied Florida and Georgia. Floridians would have to wait until after the 1873 invention of blue jeans by Levi Strauss to develop their modern uniform of jean shorts.
On April 17, 1944, a fifteen-year old Martin Luther King, Jr., a junior at Booker T. Washington High School in Atlanta, traveled to Dublin, Georgia to give a speech in a contest sponsored by the local black Elks club. During the bus ride to Dublin, King and his teacher had to give up their seats to white riders and stand for much of the ride. King won the contest, delivering his oration, “The Negro and the Constitution.”
On April 17, 1950, the United States Supreme Court dismissed South v. Peters, a complaint against Georgia’s County Unit System of elections.
Each county is allotted a number of unit votes, ranging from six for the eight most populous counties, to two for most of the counties. The candidate who receives the highest popular vote in the county is awarded the appropriate number of unit votes. Appellants, residents of the most populous county in the State, contend that their votes and those of all other voters in that county have on the average but one-tenth the weight of those in the other counties. Urging that this amounts to an unconstitutional discrimination against them, appellants brought this suit to restrain adherence to the statute in the forthcoming Democratic Party primary for United States Senator, Governor and other state offices. The court below dismissed appellants’ petition. We affirm.
On April 17, 1964, the Ford Mustang debuted at the World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows, New York. The world has been a better, if somewhat louder, place ever since.
Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections
Former State House Majority Leader Larry Walker has written a new book about his region of Georgia, according to the Macon Telegraph.
Walker, a lifelong Perry resident who served 32 years in the General Assembly, is author of “Tales From Georgia’s Gnat Line.” The gnat line, he explains, is an imaginary line that runs from Columbus to just south of Macon, to Augusta. Below it, he says, gnats are abundant.
But he offers another, and possibly more important, explanation from a fellow state representative, Marcus Collins. Collins, a south Georgia farmer, in the 1970s kept complaining “We never get any money south of the gnat line.” State Rep. Joe Frank Harris, who would go on the become governor, finally heard enough.
“One day, in an exasperated tone, Appropriations Committee chairman Joe Frank responded ‘Exactly where is this gnat line?’” Walker recalls in the book. “Marcus retorted in his deep southern drawl, ‘Well, it’s that line below which we never get any money.’”
The Perry Area and Chamber of Commerce and The Perry Arts Commission will hold a book signing for Walker Thursday from 5-7:30 p.m. at the Perry Arts Center at 1121 Macon Road. The book will be available for $30, and is also available at Amazon. The book is published by Mercer University Press.
Congressman Doug Collins (R-Gainesville) spoke to the White County Rotary Club, according to the Gainesville Times.
On Tuesday, Georgia’s 9th District Congressman Doug Collins told the White County Rotary Club the investigations have pretty well dominated this year’s congressional session.
“The Mueller report is already out – we’ve already got the findings,” Collins said. “The full report coming out Thursday is going to say the same thing that the summary said.”
Collins told the group he sees Congress working on meaningful legislation the remainder of the year.
“The presidential cycle has already started,” Collins noted. “It seems like everything is viewed through a political lens, so we are going to focus on things we think we can get done – hopefully, infrastructure, hopefully, work on immigration doing the things that can get done and then we’ll have to live through the rest of the political cycle.”
The Brunswick News looks at the most recent campaign disclosure reports.
2018 1st Congressional District Democratic nominee Lisa Ring already announced she would seek the nomination again to challenge incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter. She lost in November by 15.4 points — a difference of 38,799 votes out of 250,683 cast — but in doing so notched a generationally high performance for a Democrat in that district. By taking 42.3 percent of the vote, Ring topped the percentage by every Democratic nominee going back to 1992.
However, as with 2018, Carter comes into this election cycle with a decided edge. The Cook Political Report shows the 1st District with a nine-point GOP advantage. That’s not a closed door — a Democrat represents the 6th District, which has a eight-point GOP lean, and Dems have their eyes on the 7th District, which has a nine-point lean.
The campaign lost money according to its end-of-year disclosure and first quarter 2019 disclosure, ending March with more than $1.123 million on hand. That’s mostly because of refunds and a significant amount of continued spending in relation to money raised. Ultimately, from the post-election report through the first quarter of this year, are $251,241 in contributions, taking into account $9,950 in refunds in the year-end report.
On the consulting front, Carter spent $129,668 with Kansas City, Mo., firm Axiom Strategies, $50,059.38 with D.C. firm High Cotton Consulting, $18,739.51 with The Lukens Company of Virginia, $16,878.48 with Monroe Marketing of Savannah, and $13,500 with McLaughlin & Associates of New York.
In getting things started for her 2020 run, Ring gave $5,500 to her campaign in the last two reporting periods, and ended March with $24,558.59 on hand. Her post-election report showed one contribution for $25 from Glynn County, four for $379 from Camden, and three for $118 from out-of-state. However, it also didn’t list a location for 19 contributions.
From the AJC:
All told, candidates for Georgia’s two most competitive U.S. House seats raised more than $1.5 million over the past three months. And U.S. Sen. David Perdue, up for another term in 2020, tallied nearly $2 million in what’s expected to be the most expensive Senate race in state history.
One of the most watched reports came from U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath, D-Marietta, who is both the newest member of Georgia’s congressional delegation and its most vulnerable. She raised more than $481,000 during the first three months of the year, a formidable sum for this stage in the election cycle.
Former U.S. Rep. Karen Handel, who announced her comeback bid late last month, raised nearly $240,000 in about a week. That includes donations from groups affiliated with U.S. House Republican allies, including Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers.
Her Republican opponent in the 6th District race, state Sen. Brandon Beach, said he’ll report about $125,000 in contributions — largely from a pair of fundraisers he held during the legislative session. Georgia law prohibits state officials from raising cash during the session, but not federal candidates.
Next door in the 7th Congressional District, three Democratic candidates combined to raise about $500,000. But this is but the opening salvo: No high-profile Republican has entered the race yet, and more Democrats could also join the contest.
Democratic State Senator Freddie Powell Sims (D-Albany) has taken issue with a fellow Democrat over legislation, according to the Albany Herald.
Sims and other Democratic state legislators were part of a study committee last summer that looked into the financial issues that confront the state’s historically black colleges and universities: Albany State, Fort Valley State and Savannah State universities. The committee put together its findings for use in a resolution, a legislative tool used to urge action.
Senate Bill 273, a measure that calls for the creation of a Georgia Agricultural and Mechanical University System that would, in essence, make Albany State, Fort Valley and Savannah State separate entities from the University System of Georgia. The newly named colleges (Albany A&M, Fort Valley A&M and Savannah A&M) would be governed by a 19-member board comprising 11 members appointed by the governor, one member each appointed by the presiding officer of the Senate and the Speaker of the House, and two members each appointed by the board of trustees of each institution.
“When I saw that there was indeed a bill, not a resolution, I was incensed,” Sims said. “Every person on the study committee went to an HBCU, and we could not believe (Savannah state Sen.) Lester Jackson went behind our backs and did this. There’s no way any of us would have signed onto this bill without discussing it, but he put our names on the bill.”
“Lester and I have been friends for years; we’re suitemates at the Capitol,” Sims said. “For him to betray the trust I and others on the committee had with him is just unspeakable. I’m still having to struggle to manage the anger I feel.”
The University System of Georgia Board of Regents approved tuition rates that are up 2.5%, according to the Savannah Morning News.
The increase, which takes effect starting this fall, will support professional advising, supplemental instruction and data analysis with a goal of improving student outcomes. It’s also expected to help retain workers and will cover the university’s portion of the 2 percent merit increase for workers contained in House Bill 31. Without it, Georgia Southern University would be expected to pick up about 25 percent of the merit increase to cover benefits.
The Board of Regents held tuition flat for two of the past three years, and over the past five years, tuition increased about 1.7 percent total. Graduate tuition is expected to remain flat with the current year at Georgia Southern and Savannah State, though it will rise at some University System of Georgia schools.
The Regents said 92 percent of student fees across the University System of Georgia will remain unchanged.
The Regents also agreed to update the minimum freshman admission requirements.
Effective this month, the minimum SAT scores for freshman are 480 for evidence-based reading and writing and 440 for math. The evidence-based reading and writing section is new but not expected to affect admissions. “Based on all data presented, [it] will lead to admission for the same students with the similar outcomes once enrolled,” said Amy Smith, associate vice president and division of enrollment management at Georgia Southern University. Georgia Southern requires at least a 1030 SAT total for admission on top of the other minimums.
Voters in Atlanta Board of Education District 2 will fill a vacancy on the board in a September 17, 2019 special election, according to the AJC.
Gwinnett County will continue accepting applications for a new elections supervisor after Lynn Ledford announced she will take a new job. From the Gwinnett Daily Post:
After some debate Tuesday night — which was the deadline for hopefuls to send in their applications for the position — the Gwinnett County Board of Registrations and Elections opted to continue taking applications. The application window had been open for three weeks although news that a search was taking place did not surface until last week.
[Elections Board Chair John] Mangano said 42 people have applied for the position. That is twice the number of applicants that he told the Daily Post had applied as of late last week.
A new nonprofit will provide housing and services for human trafficking victims, according to The Brunswick News.
Hall County is moving forward with SPLOST VII, a Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax expected to be on the ballot in November, according to the Gainesville Times.
A Georgia Tech economist has projected revenues for SPLOST VIII, which could go to voters as a referendum on Nov. 5, at $232 million, Propes said.
But officials have trimmed that amount to $216.9 million “because we wanted to be conservative,” [Hall County Financial Services Director Zach Propes] added.
The SPLOST is 1 percent on items also subject to state sales tax. If SPLOST VIII is approved, it would be in effect July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2026.
Propes said that in May “we’ll begin the process of involving community groups, such as the (Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce), and beginning to educate everyone on what is the SPLOST VIII program.”
Columbus City Council will consider allowing horse-drawn carriages in uptown Columbus, according to the Ledger-Enquirer.
The ordinance has been requested by District 1 Councilor Jerry “Pops” Barnes, and two businesses have approached the city in the hopes of being able to provide rides for a fee on Broadway, Front Avenue and Bay Avenue.
According to the draft ordinance, the horses and carriages would only operate on Broadway between 4th Street and 13th Street, on Front Avenue between 6th Street and 14th Street and on Bay Avenue between 9th Street and 12th Street.
A public hearing was held last July about the same issue, and more of the people there were against the idea than those who were proponents, said Ross Horner, president of Uptown Columbus.
“Our board has not taken a position on this,” Horner said. “I don’t know if they actually would, they haven’t come up against it. They just kind of wanted to see it play out and see how the public felt as well.”
Mark Barber signed a contract as City Manager for Valdosta after a year on the job, according to the Valdosta Daily News.
Gainesville and the Georgia Mountains Regional Commission will work together to apply for a grant to renovate the Olympic rowing venue, according to the Gainesville Times.
Three candidates qualified for an open seat on Flowery Branch City Council, according to AccessWDUN.
Flowery Branch City Clerk Melissa McCain confirmed Ed Asbridge and Chip McCallum qualified on Monday, April 15 for the post left vacant by the resignation of Mary Jones in December. Melissa Brooks filed her qualifying paperwork on Tuesday, April 16.
The qualifying period for the special election runs through 4:30 p.m. Wednesday.