The blog.

20
Nov

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for November 20, 2019

Grace Washington Wilkes Humane\

Grace is a young, 29-pound female Terrier and Hound mix who is available for adoption from the Washington Wilkes Humane Animal Shelter in Washington, GA.

Opal Washington Wilkes Humane

Opal is a young female Labrador Retriever and Border Collie mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Washington Wilkes Humane Animal Shelter in Washington, GA.

Ruby Washington Wilkes Humane

Ruby is a young female Australian Cattle Dog or Blue Heeler mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Washington Wilkes Humane Animal Shelter in Washington, GA.

20
Nov

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 20, 2019

New Jersey became the first state to ratify the Bill of Rights on November 20, 1789.

Duane Allman was born in Nashville, Tennessee on November 20, 1946.

President John F. Kennedy lifted the naval blockade of Cuba on November 20, 1962, ending the Cuban Missile Crisis.

On November 20, 1975, Ronald Reagan announced he would run for President of the United States against incumbent Republican Gerald Ford. On May 4, 1976, Reagan won Georgia’s Presidential Primary with 68% over Ford.

Newt Gingrich was reelected Speaker of the House on November 20, 1996.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Georgia Republicans rallied in support of President Trump, according to the AJC.

The Women for Trump Empower Hour, as the event was called, drew a beyond-capacity crowd of both men and women to the Heritage Sandy Springs Museum and Park. An hour before things got underway, the line stretched through the parking lot and down the sidewalk. By the time things kicked off, overflow crowds had gathered outside the event hall to listen.

Many waiting to get in said impeachment hearings inspired them to come.

“The support for the president is increasing,” she said. “Do they really think the American people are that stupid?”

The State House Special Committee on Economic Growth met to hear public feedback on proposals to legalize gambling, according to the Valdosta Daily Times.

The committee, co-chaired by Georgia state Reps. Brett Harrell (R-Snellville), Alan Powell (R-Hartwell) and Ron Stephens (R-Savannah) and joined by committee members Dale Washburn (R-Macon), Al Williams (D-Midway) and Rick Williams (R-Milledgeville), traveled to Valdosta to discuss new economic development possibilities, specifically gaming.

Lawmakers cannot legalize gaming, or gambling. They can, however, introduce a constitutional amendment to referendum ballots and allow residents to decide. Valdosta was the first stop on a series of meetings the committee will hold around the state to start a dialogue with local communities and gauge interest in legalized gambling.

Representatives emphasized that the lottery has not been able to fully fund HOPE for years. They discussed concern of HOPE dropping from 100% funding for students to about 70%, and how gaming industries could help close the gap. The other major area where gaming revenue could be directed is to state health care.

Lowndes County Commissioner Mark Wisenbaker asked the state representatives why HOPE scholarship funding has declined, and Stephens responded that increased population growth and static lottery participation is one cause. The other is the rise in cost of state universities.

Powell said HOPE was a “blank check” for university systems who continued to raise tuition and fees despite the lottery being unable to keep up with the monetary demands.

When asked by Bill Slaughter, chairman of the Lowndes County Commission, about the kind of economic impact gambling would have, Stephens said having six gaming resorts in the state could raise $1 billion in taxes.

If approved by voters, state lawmakers said an independent gaming commission could possibly be established to regulate the new industries.

From the Dalton Daily Citizen News:

“I want to get some local feedback on this idea, how local people feel,” said state Rep. Jason Ridley, R-Chatsworth, to a meeting of the League of Women Voters of the Dalton Area. “And I want to see what the final bill looks like. There have been times when there have been bills come through the General Assembly that sound good but the final bill has a lot of problems.”

Lawmakers are talking about placing a constitutional amendment on the ballot that would legalize one or more of casino gambling, horse racing and sports betting.

“I’m skeptical of all three,” said Ridley. “I’m skeptical of where the money would go. If the money is going to be directed, for instance, to health care and making sure that everybody across Georgia has better access to health care, I would feel more comfortable.”

State Sen. Chuck Payne, R-Dalton, said he is also waiting to see what the final proposal looks like before making up his mind.

“I’m skeptical of legal gambling, whether any benefits would outweigh the costs,” he said.

From the AJC:

The Valdosta hearing was the first of several planned “listening sessions” across the state as lawmakers study the potential economic impact of expanding gambling, which supporters say would bring thousands of jobs and pump hundreds of millions of dollars into the Georgia Lottery-funded HOPE scholarship.

But to those in the room, it felt a lot like a sales pitch.

Local elected officials at the meeting said if Georgia voters approved a constitutional amendment allowing casinos, they would likely want to bring one to the Valdosta area.

House Regulated Industries Chairman Alan Powell, R-Hartwell, said the panel is still scheduling community visits, and he expects there will be a few more before lawmakers return to Atlanta in January for the 2020 legislative session. Harrell said he hopes the tour of the state allows lawmakers to learn as much as they can about what Georgians think.

Residents of rural Georgia are diagnosed with HIV at rates nearly as high as metro Atlanta, according to the Albany Herald.

“Fulton and DeKalb counties dominate in terms of number of cases, but rural areas have new diagnosis rates only slightly lower than these urban areas. These rural areas likely need different strategies for HIV prevention and ways to ensure access to treatment and prevention services,” said [Aaron Siegler, an associate professor at Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health], who has produced research on HIV prevention.

Rural residents have more obstacles in getting medical care or in preventing HIV in the first place, he added.

Georgia has the leading rate of new diagnoses among states. The state ranks No. 3 in HIV risk in the nation, trailing only Ohio and Nevada, according to the study from Health Testing Centers, which used data from the CDC.

Gwinnett County‘s proposed 2020 budget includes funding for 166 additional positions, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Under the spending plan proposal unveiled Tuesday morning, the county is looking to spend a total of $1.83 billion in its proposed 2020 budget. That is up 0.4% from the 2019 budget.

Some items in the budget include 166 new positions — 77% of which are in public safety and judicial positions — as well as 4% pay for performance for employees and the annualization of a 3% mid-year cost of living raise implemented earlier this year, and some new innovation including a situational awareness and crime response center, flexible med units and alternative response vehicles.

Augusta Commissioners adopted a balanced budget for 2020, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

The commission voted 7-2 to approve the revised budget, with Commissioners Marion Williams and John Clarke opposed. Clarke said he thought some departments were given too much and others too little but declined to provide specifics.

The Augusta Commission also voted to pay for fixes to Fleming Park, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

The Augusta Commission voted Tuesday to finally expedite $1 million to fix safety issues at Fleming Athletic Complex, where a child was electrocuted last year.

The funding was among $11 million in uncommitted special purpose local option sales tax money that was reallocated to other projects. Fleming was given the top priority after Commissioner Mary Davis asked that it be expedited. Fleming will also benefit from $1.5 million set aside to address safety issues at all of the Augusta Recreation and Parks facilities, Mayor Hardie Davis said. The fixes will help to bring “closure” to the tragic events at Fleming, he said.

Melquan Robinson Jr., 12, died in October 2018 at Fleming after he grabbed a fence that had been accidentally electrified. His family settled with the city for $1.5 million and an agreement to put a memorial in the park. A road that runs alongside the park was also renamed this month for Melquan.

Glynn County Commissioners are considering a pair of Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) referendums, according to The Brunswick News.

Proposed by commissioners David O’Quinn and Wayne Neal at the group’s Tuesday work session, the plan would require a “seven-year vision” covering a two-year SPLOST from 2020 to 2022 and another five-year SPLOST from 2022 to 2027.

The special-purpose, local-option sales tax is a one percent sales tax proposed by local government agencies and approved or denied by voters at the ballot box. A SPLOST can run from one to six years, depending on the types of projects on the ballot. SPLOST 2020 will be on the ballot in the May 2020 primary election.

The two proposed the plan because they felt it would be the more responsible option when dealing with a $20 million Glynn County Courthouse expansion project and help restore faith in a citizenry they felt doubted the county’s ability to follow through on a SPLOST 2020.

A two-year SPLOST would amount to about $40.1 million, according to O’Quinn. Of that, $3 million would go towards the aforementioned courthouse work, while the rest would go towards the most high-priority infrastructure projects.

The city of Brunswick, Brunswick-Glynn County Joint Water and Sewer Commission and Jekyll Island Authority also get a cut in the plan.

Whitfield County‘s SPLOST advisory committee is working to finalize its proposed project list, according to the Dalton Daily Citizen News.

“We’ve got to get from $27 million down to $19 million,” said Chris Shiflett, chairman of the advisory committee. The committee previously settled on a goal of having a SPLOST of no more than four years and collecting roughly $66 million during that time; the city’s share of that should be approximately $19 million, but requests from various city agencies and departments totaled roughly $27 million.

The advisory committee, which will soon present its recommendations to the county Board of Commissioners, was formed in the wake of county voters defeating a proposed six-year, $100 million SPLOST in March. The most recent SPLOST for the county expired on June 30.

In order to trim roughly $8 million from the city requests, the advisory committee nixed an airport hangar, for approximately $1 million; a heavy rescue truck for the Dalton Fire Department, also about $1 million; and a $1.5 million Haig Mill Lake Park trail extension. City officials had previously indicated they plan to move forward with the vast preponderance of the projects they requested SPLOST funding for, if not all of them, so the advisory committee was essentially deciding which of those items warranted SPLOST funds and which the city would have to pay for on its own.

A SPLOST is a 1% tax on most goods sold in the county. The revenues can be used for certain types of projects but they can not be used for general operating expenses.

“We’re pretty much done,” Shiflett said at the conclusion of Monday’s meeting. The full SPLOST advisory committee has no more meetings scheduled at this time, although Shiflett will work with a handful of members to “set our words and verbiage” in a letter that will outline the projects they are recommending and explain the thought process behind those selections.

State Rep. Bob Trammell (D-Macon) had prefiled legislation to stop the salaries of suspended state elected officials, according to the Center Square.

House Minority Leader Robert “Bob” Trammell pre-filed House Bill 742 and House Bill 874 ahead of the 2020 legislative session that would change current law.

“They’re not going to work. They’re not doing the job. Somebody else is having to do that job,” Trammell said. “The taxpayers should not be paying them for the work in that circumstance.”

House Bill 874 will change Georgia’s constitution to prohibit state government officials, who are facing felony indictment, from receiving their taxpayer-funded salaries. The change will apply to all members of the General Assembly and other high-ranking officials such as the governor, his lieutenant, the secretary of state, state superintendent of schools and the attorney general.

Trammell’s second prefiled bill would change Georgia law to block pay for all other public officials and employees who are suspended because of a federal indictment.

According to the proposals, once the affected public official is reinstated to his or her position, they would be able to recover the lost wages.

19
Nov

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for November 19, 2019

Dorey Albany

Dorey is a young female Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from the Albany Humane Society/Sally Wetherbee Adoption Center in Albany, GA.

Ryan Albany

Ryan is a young male Catahoula Leopard Dog mix who is available for adoption from the Albany Humane Society/Sally Wetherbee Adoption Center in Albany, GA.

Bodie Albany

Bodie is a male Hound mix who is available for adoption from the Albany Humane Society/Sally Wetherbee Adoption Center in Albany, GA.

19
Nov

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 19, 2019

Lincolnatgettysburg

President Abraham Lincoln delivered an 87-word speech at the dedication of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on November 19, 1863.

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

On November 19, 1864, as Sherman marched toward Savannah, the Georgia delegation to the Confederate Congress in Richmond, Virginia, sent a message to the state,

“Let every man fly to arms! Remove your negroes, horses, cattle, and provisions from Sherman’s army, and burn what you cannot carry. Burn all bridges and block up the roads in his route. Assail the invader in front, flank, and rear, by night and by day. Let him have no rest.”

The first issue of National Review magazine was published on November 19, 1955.

Apollo 12 landed on the moon on November 19, 1969.

Reagan Gorbachev 11191985

President Ronald Reagan met for the first time with Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev on November 19, 1985.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Brian Kemp took his tour of Georgia manufacturing to Cordele, according to the Cordele Dispatch.

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp toured Big Tex Trailers’ Cordele manufacturing and sales facility Monday morning as part of his statewide tour promoting products manufactured in Georgia.

“We have worked literally around the clock since taking office and I’m very proud of what we have accomplished, but I know we have much more to do,” Kemp told employees after his tour. “I believe that rural Georgia is the right place for investment.”

From WALB:

According to BigTex Trailers’ website, the company is “America’s No. 1 professional-grade trailer manufacturer.”

“I’ve been saying, in Georgia, we can make anything for anybody anywhere in the world and that’s what we’re doing and we gotta let people know that,” said Kemp.

Kemp continued to discuss his plan to advance business growth in rural Georgia. He’s calling his plan the Strike Team.

“But we’re gonna do a couple of different things with the Strike Team. Number one, we’re gonna work with local communities that wanna work with us to find sites that we can put a project of regional significance,” explained Kemp.

“To design that site with basically a shovel permit ready and then we’ll upmarket, because sometimes in rural areas, the folks on the ground don’t have the experience in marketing these types of projects, literally to international customers. But we’re gonna help with that but we’ll also help train the individuals. So, over the years, we’ll have more trained people to know how to sell our state and sell your local community,” said Kemp.

Gov. Kemp‘s deadline for applying for a senate appointment has passed, according to the AJC.

The group of candidates seeking the job include a long list of well-known figures. There are state legislators, a former congressman, company CEOs, a U.S. ambassador, decorated military veterans and radio commentators. A Democratic state senator has even applied.

And in the final days, three contenders who are likely to receive serious consideration emerged. Robyn Crittenden, who runs the state’s largest agency, the Department of Human Services, and briefly succeeded Kemp as secretary of state, applied Thursday.

Hours later, Allen Poole, a former county commissioner whom Kemp tapped to lead the highway safety office, applied, saying the nation needs “bold, conservative leaders to stand with President (Donald) Trump.”

And Monday brought one of the biggest names yet: Kelly Loeffler, the head of a financial services firm who co-owns Atlanta’s WNBA franchise and has long been interested in seeking public office. She seems certain to be a top-tier potential appointee to the seat.

A Republican mega-donor, Loeffler can self-finance a Senate campaign that’s expected to shatter fundraising records. She could also potentially help the GOP appeal to suburban women who have fled the party, leading to close margins in last year’s gubernatorial race.

“From working on the family farm to creating jobs and opportunity in the business world, I have been blessed to live the American Dream,” she wrote in her application. “I am offering myself to serve hardworking Georgians as a political outsider in the United States Senate to protect that dream for everyone.”

Like some other applicants, her stance on many of Georgia’s political debates is uncertain and she has no voting record on hot-button issues. Her degree of support for Trump is also unknown, but she pledged to back his agenda in a letter affixed to her application.

Dougherty Commission Chair Chris Cohilas endorsed Albany Mayor Dorothy Hubbard in the December 3 runoff, according to the Albany Herald.

“If I had to sum up why I’m endorsing Dot, it’s because I’ve worked with her for five years and I’ve gotten to know her as a human and a person and a friend,” County Commission Chairman Chris Cohilas told The Herald during an interview following Monday’s Dougherty County Commission meeting. “I think a lot of time people don’t realize how much work she does behind the scenes.”

Hubbard, who is seeking a third term in the mayor’s seat, will face former Albany City Commission member Kermit “Bo” Dorough in the Dec. 3 runoff election for a four-year term. Hubbard finished first in the Nov. 3 municipal election with 30.25 percent of the vote, while Dorough garnered 27.7 percent of the vote.

Brunswick City Commission North Ward voters began early voting in the December 3 runoff election, according to The Brunswick News.

Running against three opponents, incumbent Johnny Cason garnered 45.6 percent of the vote while runner-up John Davis Perry II earned 24.4 percent. As both fell short of the required 50 percent, the race goes to a runoff between the two with the highest vote tallies.

Early voting polls will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily through Nov. 27, excluding Saturday and Sunday, in the Office Park Building, 1815 Gloucester St. in Brunswick.

Valdosta opened early voting for the December 3 runoff, according to the Valdosta Daily Times.

Early voting started Monday and will be held 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 19, through Friday, Nov. 22. Hours for next week will be 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 25, through Wednesday, Nov. 27. All early voting will occur at the Lowndes County Board of Elections, 2808 N. Oak St.

The runoff election will feature a mayoral race between Scott James Matheson and J.D. Rice and a race for the Valdosta City Council at-large seat between incumbent Councilman Ben Norton and Adrian Rivers.

Rey Rodriquez announced he will run as an independent for Bulloch County Sheriff, according to the Statesboro Herald.

A former Bulloch County sheriff’s deputy threw his hat into the ring recently by publicly announcing his intent to run for the office of Bulloch County sheriff.

Rey Rodriguez said he is running on the Independent ticket, in a move meant to bring people together and not be tied to political parties. He said he wants to be a sheriff for everyone and is “trying to bring people back to the middle.” He doesn’t agree with the sheriff position being partisan and said while he “leans toward conservative, I am a little to the left on some issues.”

Republican candidate Keith Howard announced his intent to run for sheriff earlier this year. Current sheriff Noel Brown, also Republican, has not yet responded to questions from the Statesboro Herald as to whether he intends to seek a second term or when he intends to announce his run.

Charles Rambo announced he will run for Fulton County Sheriff, according to the AJC.

Charles Rambo, 51, has spent more than 30 years in law enforcement and at one point served as national vice president of the International Brotherhood of Police Officers, according to a news release announcing his candidacy.

Rambo spent 25 years working at the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office.

This isn’t Rambo’s first run at sheriff. He vied for the top spot in 2004 and again in 2008. Rambo also ran against incumbent Ted Jackson in the 2016 race.

The Gainesville and Hall County Boards of Education voted to put a Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) on the 2020 ballot, according to the Gainesville Times.

On Monday, Nov. 18, both school boards voted to put E-SPLOST VI and a quarter-billion-dollar bond sale for capital funding to voters in 2020.

For Hall County voters, the first ballot question will ask to extend E-SPLOST, and the second will ask for the ability to issue up to $258 million in bonds. Gainesville and Buford voters will see a different bond amount, which will be based on their local enrollment numbers.

The Buford City School Board will vote on the resolution during its Monday, Dec. 9, meeting.

Hall County voters will vote on both propositions on March 24, 2020.

Dalton City Council is considering allowing PTVs, gussied-up golf carts, on some downtown streets , according to the Dalton Daily Citizen News.

The City Council held the first reading on Monday of a law that would allow personal transportation vehicle (PTV) shuttle services in the central business district. PTVs are already allowed on some residential streets.

“That would basically be the streets in the interior of the business district,” said City Administrator Jason Parker.

PTVs are essentially golf carts but by law must have a number of safety features — seatbelts, headlights, turn signals, etc. — that aren’t necessarily found on golf carts used on golf courses. They can only be driven on city streets by licensed drivers.

The state legislature changed the law a couple of years ago to allow PTVs to be operated on city streets if a city OKs them, subject to certain limitations. PTVs can’t be operated on federal highways, state roads or heavily-trafficked cross streets. They can only be operated on streets with speed limits of no more than 25 mph.

Savannah City Council members are working on the 2020 budget, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Savannah’s elected leaders and city staff spent most of Friday going over the city’s proposed $425 million total budget for 2020.

The city still has to approve the budget and plans a first reading on Monday, Nov. 18, at the 2 p.m. council meeting. The date for the meeting that was originally scheduled for Nov. 21 was changed to Monday due to several aldermen attending a summit of the National League of Cities.

Adoption of the budget is expected at the Dec. 5 council meeting.

The University System of Georgia Board of Regents elected a new Chair and Vice Chair, according to the Albany Herald.

The Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia elected Regent Sachin Shailendra to a one-year term as the board’s chair and Regent James M. Hull to a one-year term as the board’s vice chair.

The Rome News Tribune spoke to local legislators about priorities for the next legislative session.

Rep. Mitchell Scoggins, R-Cartersville, took office this year in a special election. As a freshman legislator, he wasn’t assigned to a study committee over the break. But the retired probate court judge said he’s been preparing some bills.

“I’ve been working with the magistrate judges on a clean-up bill to tie their pay raises to the other courts, the constitutional officers,” Scoggins said.

He’s also continuing to push for restraints on robocalls. His House Bill 480 didn’t make it out of committee this year, but Scoggins said he expects to back legislation Rep. Dick Williams, R-Milledgeville, is planning to drop.

“We’re trying to make (phone solicitors) identify themselves, make them at least use their real number,” Scoggins said. “I’ve even had calls that come up with my own number. It’s crazy.”

Scoggins and the county’s other lawmakers — Sen. Chuck Hufstetler, R-Rome; Rep. Katie Dempsey, R-Rome; and Rep. Eddie Lumsden, R-Armuchee — are expected to meet with local officials in early December to discuss priorities for the coming year.

Clarke County School Board member Frances Berry resigned last week, according to the Athens Banner Herald.

Berry was appointed to the board in February by a 6-2 vote to fill a seat vacated by Vernon Payne, who left due to health reasons. She submitted her immediate resignation on Friday.

The District 2 seat expires in December 2020. District officials said the vacancy will be filled by the school board. Others who sought the seat prior to Berry’s appointment were Mary Bagby and former Athens-Clarke County commissioner Harry Sims.

Augusta Judicial Circuit Juvenile Court Judge Douglas Flanagan is asking Augusta for , according to the Augusta Chronicle.

Citing a new category of juvenile case that falls outside the traditional system, Juvenile Court Judge Douglas Flanagan appealed Monday at an Augusta Commission budget work session to fund some of the positions he requested.

Augusta Judicial Circuit Juvenile Court Judge Doug Flanagan and Chief Superior Court Judge Carl C. Brown Jr. then weighed in. Flanagan said he got $100,00 of the $250,000 he requested for programs, and of the additional six personnel, none were funded.

But Juvenile Court is also dealing with a new state-mandated category of offender under a program called Children in Need of Services that covers low-level offenses for runaways, truancy and some minor drug charges to keep children from having a criminal record, Flanagan said. Those cases aren’t covered by the district attorney, public defender or the Department of Juvenile Justice, and the court is having to handle them and the follow-up on its own, he said.

“I have no one to do that,” he said. “I asked for new people because we need them.”

The Augusta Judicial Circuit serves Burke, Columbia, and Richmond Counties.

Chatham County Juvenile Court Judge Lisa Goldwire Colbert advised advocates to talk to their elected officials, according to the Savannah Morning News.

18
Nov

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for November 18, 2019

Jasmine Animal Rescue Foundation

Jasmine is a young female Weimaraner mix puppy who is available for adoption from Animal Rescue Foundation Inc in Milledgeville, GA.

June Animal Rescue Foundation

June is a young female Labrador Retriever mix puppy who is available for adoption from Animal Rescue Foundation Inc in Milledgeville, GA.

Hershey Animal Rescue Foundation

Hershey is a young male Shepherd mix puppy who is available for adoption from Animal Rescue Foundation Inc in Milledgeville, GA.

18
Nov

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 18, 2019

Abraham Lincoln traveled to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on November 18, 1863.

Carl Vinson was born on November 18, 1883 in Baldwin County, Georgia. At noon on that day, U.S. and Canadian railroads implemented four time zones for the first time.

Efficient rail transportation demanded a more uniform time-keeping system. Rather than turning to the federal governments of the United States and Canada to create a North American system of time zones, the powerful railroad companies took it upon themselves to create a new time code system. The companies agreed to divide the continent into four time zones; the dividing lines adopted were very close to the ones we still use today.

Most Americans and Canadians quickly embraced their new time zones, since railroads were often their lifeblood and main link with the rest of the world. However, it was not until 1918 that Congress officially adopted the railroad time zones and put them under the supervision of the Interstate Commerce Commission.

Mickey Mouse debuted in a black-and-white film called “Steamboat Willie” on November 18, 1928.

On November 18, 1933, Franklin D. Roosevelt traveled from Washington, DC to Savannah, Georgia by train for Georgia’s Bicentennial and delivered a speech at Municipal Stadium.

Carl Vinson was honored on his 81st birthday in Milledgeville, Georgia on November 18, 1964; Vinson did not run for reelection in 1964 and retired after 50 years in office.

President Richard M. Nixon flew into Robins Air Force Base for Carl Vinson’s 90th birthday on November 18, 1973; on the trip he announced the next American nuclear supercarrier would be named USS Carl Vinson.

Nixon Vinson 1973

President Richard Nixon, Secretary of the Navy John Warner, Carl Vinson, Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird on November 18, 1973. John Warner would later be the namesake of USS John Warner, a Virginia-class nuclear submarine.

On November 18, 1989, Pennsylvania Governor Bob Casey signed the Abortion Control Act, the first abortion restrictions enacted after Roe v. Wade.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

The Georgia State Ethics Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission is seeking documents from Democrat Stacey Abrams, according to News Channel 9.

The Georgia ethics commission has filed a lawsuit seeking communications between Democrat Stacey Abrams’ unsuccessful 2018 campaign for governor and several third-party organizations.

But Abrams’ former campaign manager Lauren Groh-Wargo says they’ve already turned over thousands of financial records. She called the investigation politically motivated.

The Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission filed the motion in Fulton County Superior Court on Friday. It’s part of an investigation accusing the Abrams campaign of “unlawful coordination” with an outside organization.

The commission says the campaign isn’t complying with subpoenas issued last spring.

From WABE:

Former campaign manager Lauren Groh-Wargo said the campaign turned in thousands of pages of banking and campaign finance records but refused to release communications requested between the campaign and other groups, including the New Georgia Project and state Sen. Nikema Williams, then vice-chair of the Democratic Party of Georgia.

“The commission is responsible for campaign finance law here in Georgia. They’re able to investigate campaigns,” she said. “What they’re not able to do is use their power to investigate, to harass, to intimidate and go, on a hunch, that they think a thing may have happened…this commission is in violation of its fundamental right to enforce campaign finance law and is acting as a political arm of the governor’s campaign.”

She called the investigation a “political fishing expedition” due to the executive director of the commission David Emadi’s previous endorsement of Gov. Brian Kemp. Emadi also donated to Kemp’s campaign.

Emadi said in a statement the commission is “taking the same legal measures we have taken in all other cases where the respondent has refused to comply with lawfully issued subpoenas. We will allow the legal pleading to speak for itself.”

He called Groh-Wargo’s comments “baseless allegations by political operatives” and said the commission is committed “to conducting a full and fair investigation into all candidates from the 2018 gubernatorial campaign as a nonpartisan body just as we do in all other cases.”

Early voting in the runoff elections for three seats on Johns Creek City Council opens next week, according to Patch.com.

Early voting for the Dec. 3 General Municipal Runoff Election will be held Monday, Nov. 25 to Wednesday, Nov. 27 from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Early voting locations will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. and include:

College Park Historical Building, 3675 Auditorium Way, College Park
East Roswell Branch Library, 2301 Holcomb Bridge Road, Roswell
Park Place at Newtown, 3125 Old Alabama Road, Johns Creek
Roswell City Hall, 38 Hill Street, Roswell
South Fulton Service Center, 5600 Stonewall Tell Road, College Park

Roswell also opens early voting next week for a city council runoff, according to the Rome News Tribune.

Post 3 candidates Christine Hall and Lisa Holland will face off in a runoff election Dec. 3. Election Day left Hall with 34.52% of votes, and Holland with 31.84% of votes.

Early voting starts Nov. 25 until Nov. 27, from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Early voting locations include Roswell City Hall and the East Roswell Branch Library. Election day is Dec. 3.

Savannah will hold earlier early voting in a runoff election, according to the Savannah Morning News.

This week, Savannah residents will be able to cast early ballots for the Dec. 3 runoff that will decide the city’s mayor and District 6 alderman.

Advance in-person voting and absentee mail out for the runoff will begin Wednesday and go until Nov. 27.

For the mayoral seat, voters will choose between incumbent Mayor Eddie DeLoach and former 1st District Alderman Van Johnson.

Voters in District 6 will choose between incumbent alderman Tony Thomas and Georgia Southern University Police Department Capt. Kurtis Purtee.

Valdosta aims to open early voting today, according to the Valdosta Daily Times.

“The goal is still Monday morning at 8 a.m.,” said Deb Cox, Lowndes County supervisor of elections.

Election officials are targeting Monday, Nov. 18, as the start of early voting for the two runoff races in Valdosta, Cox said. Early voting will be held at the county board of elections, 2808 N. Oak St.

The runoff election will feature a mayoral race between Scott James Matheson and J.D. Rice and a race for the Valdosta City Council at-large seat between incumbent Councilman Ben Norton and Adrian Rivers.

“We have to get the database in, the paper ballots in for provisional and mail-outs — we have to test the paper ballots and databases,” Cox said. “Then, we have to upload the database for the voting equipment so we can start early voting.”

The state does not mandate a specific start date for early voting in runoff elections, Cox said. The law states early voting can begin once official preparations are complete.

The official runoff election will be Dec. 3. All registered voters inside the city limits are eligible to vote in the runoff, even if they did not vote in the Nov. 5 election.

Dougherty and Lee Counties will hold early runoff voting next week, according to the Albany Herald.

Albany residents can add one more item to their Thanksgiving week to-do list: Casting a ballot for one of two candidates in the mayoral and Ward VI Albany City Commission runoff election in the days leading up to the holiday.

Early voting in the runoff between incumbent Mayor Dorothy Hubbard and Albany attorney Kermit “Bo” Dorough will be held on Nov. 25, 26 and 27, according to Dougherty Elections supervisor Ginger Nickerson.

There also is a runoff election for the Ward VI seat on the City Commission in which John Hawthorne faces Demetrius Young.

Early voting is from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. each day in Room 220 of the Government Center building at 222 Pine Ave., during the three-day period. On the Dec. 3 election, voters should cast ballots at their precinct.

Lee County voters also return to the polls in a runoff for a special election in state House District 152 to choose between Leesburg Mayor Jim Quinn and Bill Yearta, the former mayor of Sylvester. The winner will serve out the final year of the term of Ed Rynders, who resigned earlier this year.

The district also includes Worth County and a portion of Sumter County.

Early voting in Lee County also is Nov. 25, 26 and 27, from 8:15a.m.-5 p.m. each day, at 100 Starksville Ave. North, Suite C.

A U.S. District Court judge has ordered Florida to stop listing candidates of the incumbent governor’s party first on the ballot, according to the Washington Post.

A federal judge in Florida ordered the state on Friday to change the way candidates are listed on election ballots — a decision that Democrats in the crucial swing state say will take away an unfair advantage Republicans have enjoyed for years.

The current law says that whichever party holds the governor’s office can list its candidates first on the ballot in general elections. That hurts an opposing party, U.S. District Court Judge Mark E. Walker said.

Walker heard testimony from researchers who said the “primacy effect” is real and can give a candidate a statistical advantage as great as 5.4 percentage points. Many voters tend to vote for the first name on the list of candidates, they said.

Walker wrote that evidence shows ballot order makes a difference in elections. And because “elections are a zero-sum game,” any system that favors one party hurts another, which violates the First and 14th amendments of the Constitution, he ruled.

“The . . . issue is whether the Constitution allows a state to put its thumb on the scale and award an electoral advantage to the party in power,” Walker said. “The answer is simple. It does not.”

Republicans in Florida argued that because the law has been in effect since 1951 — through both Democratic and Republican administrations — it should stand unchanged.

From the American Independent:

In Florida, since Republicans won the last governor’s race, that meant all Republicans running for local, state, or federal office were listed first on the ballot. According to the ruling, Republican organizations in the state initially claimed that Republican candidates would be “most directly harmed” by taking away their prime position on the ballot, but later tried to take back that claim.

In 2018, when the ballot order rule was in effect, Democrat Andrew Gillum lost his bid for governor to Republican Ron DeSantis by 0.4% of the vote. That same year, Democrat Sen. Bill Nelson lost to Rick Scott by 0.2% of the vote.

Walker’s ruling will force Florida to come up with a nonpartisan way to list candidates on the ballot. Walker offered several options, including the possibility of rotating which party is listed first on a county-by-county or precinct-by-precinct basis. Florida will be forced to implement this change before the 2020 election.

The lawsuit was brought by a group of Democratic organizations including the Democratic National Committee (DNC), Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC), Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), Democratic Governors Association (DGA), and Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (DLCC). (The author of this article is related to a DNC staff member involved in the case.)

On Nov. 1, Democratic groups filed ballot order lawsuits in Arizona, Georgia, and Texas. While the details of each states’ laws differ, each state lists Republicans first on their ballot.

Chatham County‘s voter rolls are growing faster than the population, according to the Savannah Morning News.

From 2014 to 2018, the county’s population increased by 15,998, but the number of registered voters increased by 51,251.

Chatham County Voter Registration Director Sabrina German points towards automatic voter registration, something Georgia started in September 2016.

“Before, you had to opt in and check the box, specifically say you wanted to register, and now you have to opt out if you don’t want to register. It’s one of those questions people just kind of glance over, so they automatically opt in. If you don’t uncheck it, you’re automatically registering,” German said. “I would say most people opt in.”

Now, anytime Georgia residents interact with the DMV, their voter registration is automatically updated — and it can be a high daily tally.

“We get at least somewhere around 200 to 300 applications per day, whether that’s a change of address or new registration,” German said. “Fridays and Tuesdays are our heaviest days, and on those days we get closer to 400, but on most days, it’s right about 300 applications per day.”

Some new voting machines malfunctioned during their first deployment, according to the AJC.

Voting machines rebooted in the middle of voting. Computers couldn’t program the cards voters use to activate voting machines. One voter inserted a driver’s license into the voting machine, causing it to go blank.

Those were some of the 45 incidents reported during a test run of Georgia’s new voting system, according to a summary from the secretary of state’s office. The pilot was conducted in six counties, where 27,482 ballots were cast in this month’s election.

“These problems are mainly human based,” [SOS COO Gabriel] Sterling said. “We can train and train, and our plan is to train again. That’s going to be the main thing that’s going to make these things work properly.”

Sterling said he’s confident that the state’s voting system will be ready for the presidential primary, and all equipment is scheduled for delivery by late January.

The Georgia State House Special Committee on Economic Growth will meet tomorrow in Valdosta, according to the Valdosta Daily Times.

Hosted at the James H. Rainwater Conference Center, the House Special Committee on Economic Growth will hold a meeting open to the public, 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 19. The committee, co-chaired by Georgia State Reps. Brett Harrell (R-Snellville), Alan Powell (R-Hartwell) and (R-Savannah), was formed to research new revenue streams and new opportunities to grow the state economy. One of those opportunities would be the possible legalization of gaming, or gambling.

“The most important thing that we can receive when we come to Valdosta is the input from local citizens,” Harrell said. “We want to hear firsthand from the citizens. Are you interested in having an opportunity to vote on this issue?”

“All of this is about economic development, of course,” Stephens said. “The tax revenues that will come in to close the gap on the HOPE scholarship, but even more important now is we all three believe that health care is an even bigger issue to fund with tagging who are underinsured and uninsured, including hospitals.”

The State House Juvenile Justice Committee discussed changing the age at which minors must be charged as adults, according to The Brunswick News.

Georgia treats 17-year-olds like adults when it comes to criminal matters, but is one of only three states that still do so — most 17-year-old offenders in the United States go through their state’s juvenile court processes. A bill that would change that could get a boost this coming legislative session, and legislators took a serious look at it in a Friday committee hearing.

“There are a lot of factors to consider when we are considering such a significant policy change for the state, and this meeting here, the meeting of the Juvenile Justice Committee, is one of several that are planned as we kind of work through this process,” said state Rep. Mandi Ballinger, R-Canton and committee chairwoman.

Ballinger introduced H.B. 440 during the last session of the General Assembly in February, but it did not move out of committee.

Regardless of whether the legislature passes H.B. 440 in its current or a similar form, some teens would still come under the purview of their local superior court — state law mandates that anyone older than 13 be tried as an adult for a handful of major felonies, from armed robbery that involves guns to certain sex crimes and homicide.

Georgia Supreme Court Justice Charlie Bethel spoke about ethics in his hometown, according to the Dalton Daily Citizen News.

“Ethics are the shared values of a community or a society,” he said. “They are the personal morals of the members of that society woven together into a network. Textiles are a fabric composed of a network of many different fibers.”

Bethel, a Dalton native, spoke Tuesday at Dalton State College as part of the University System of Georgia’s Ethics Awareness Week, a program required by the Board of Regents for each college and university in the system.

But he noted that many people regarded as moral exemplars are people who actually defied the ethics standards of their community. He pointed to Harper Lee’s 1960 novel “To Kill a Mockingbird,” where the protagonist, attorney Atticus Finch, defies the ethics of the small Southern town he lived in to defend a black man accused of rape.

Bethel said if people feel some of the ethical standards of the community they live in are wrong, they have an obligation to change those community ethical standards.

Free public wifi is now available in part of midtown Macon, according to the Macon Telegraph.

Wi-Fi Macon is a project of Middle Georgia State University’s School of Computing in partnership with Cox Communications and Macon-Bibb County.

The service is available along Poplar Street between Rosa Parks Square and Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

“Public Wi-Fi is such an important part of any downtown or growing metropolitan area because it helps the community and the citizens to stay connected,” said Kevin Floyd, associate dean for the School of Computing. “There are a lot people in communities that don’t have access to the internet. We often take that for granted.

The project is funded for 18 months through a $39,848 Downtown Challenge grant from the Community Foundation of Central Georgia, according to a memorandum of understanding between the mayor and the university approved by the Macon-Bibb County Commission.

Gwinnett County Commission Chair Charlotte Nash will present a proposed 2020 budget Tuesday, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

The proposed budget will be unveiled during a presentation at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, and Nash said there will be a focus on public safety — something that has been a recurring theme in recent county budgets — as well as the county’s court system.

The court part in particular may not be much of a surprise given ongoing growth in the court system. That includes construction of a new courtroom wing at the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center and Gov. Brian Kemp’s recent appointment of Magistrate Judge Angela Duncan to fill a new seat on the Gwinnett Superior Court bench.

The budget presentation will take place in the Board of Commissioners’ conference room on the second floor of the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center, which is located at 75 Langley Drive in Lawrenceville.

Nash did give the Daily Post some sneak peaks Friday on what to expect in the budget, including 30 additional police officer positions and two additional ambulance units which are being added to address growing demands for services.

“Like most large organizations, we are increasing our efforts in the cybersecurity area, which is a costly undertaking but which cannot be ignored,” the chairwoman said. “We continue to move capital projects forward with much of the funding being the result of the last SPLOST referendum.”

15
Nov

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for November 15, 2019

Roxy Ruff Redemption

Roxy is a young female Labrador Retriever mix puppy who will be available for adoption beginning on November 23, 2019 from Ruff Redemption Rescue, Inc. in Woodstock, GA.

Roxy, along with her 5 siblings, came from Rome, GA after their mom would no longer care for them. Roxy was born mid September and is approximately 6 lbs. Her mom is a medium sized dog that resembles a lab, boxer, hound mix. Roxy is intelligent, playful, and lovable yet independent. She is great with all sized dogs and children. Roxy does well on car rides, loves stuffed toys and her fuzzy bed. She is crate trained and doing amazing for her age with potty. Fenced yard is highly preferred. Roxy is available for meets now and adoption on November 23rd. Applications are available at ruffredemption.org.

Zoey Ruff Redemption

Zoey is a young female Labrador Retriever mix puppy who will be available for adoption beginning on November 23, 2019 from Ruff Redemption Rescue, Inc. in Woodstock, GA.

Murphy Ruff Redemption

Murphy is a young male Labrador Retriever mix puppy who will be available for adoption beginning on November 23, 2019 from Ruff Redemption Rescue, Inc. in Woodstock, GA.

15
Nov

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 15, 2019

James Oglethorpe left London on November 15, 1732 headed to a Thames River port named Gravesend, where he would board the ship Anne and lead the first colonists to Georgia.

The Georgia Trustees visited the first group of settlers on November 16, 1732, the day before they were scheduled to depart England for the New World.

On November 17, 1732, the first English headed to colonize Georgia set off from Gravesend, England, down the Thames. Their supplies included ten tons of beer.

On November 16, 1737, the Georgia Trustees learned that England’s King George II would send 300 soldiers, along with 150 wives and 130 children to the settlement in Georgia.

On November 15, 1777, the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union were adopted in York, Pennsylvania.

Congress was a single house, with each state having one vote, and a president elected to chair the assembly. Although Congress did not have the right to levy taxes, it did have authority over foreign affairs and could regulate a national army and declare war and peace. Amendments to the Articles required approval from all 13 states. On March 2, 1781, following final ratification by the 13th state, the Articles of Confederation became the law of the land.

Edward Langworthy of Savannah, Edward Telfair, and John Walton signed the Articles of Confederation for Georgia.

On November 17, 1777, Congress submitted the Articles of Confederation to the states for ratification.

Stephen Heard Conan OBrien

On November 15, 1815, Patriot leader Stephen Heard died in Elbert County, GA. Heard served on Georgia’s Executive Council during part of the American Revolution and as its President from 1780 to 1781. He later served in the Georgia House of Representatives, as a judge in Elbert County, and as a delegate to Georgia’s 1975 Constitutional Convention. The above portrait of Conan O’Brien Stephen Heard hangs in the basement (pied a terre) level of the Georgia Governor’s Mansion.

Abraham Lincoln began the first draft of the Gettysburg Address on November 17, 1863.

On November 15, 1864, General William Tecumseh Sherman’s army left Atlanta on its March to the Sea.

On November 15, the army began to move, burning the industrial section of Atlanta before leaving. One witness reported “immense and raging fires lighting up whole heavens… huge waves of fire roll up into the sky; presently the skeleton of great warehouses stand out in relief against sheets of roaring, blazing, furious flames.” Sherman’s famous destruction of Georgia had begun.

On November 16, 1864, Sherman left Atlanta in smoking ruins.

A 2010 Wired article argues that Sherman’s rampage through Georgia and the Carolinas changed modern warfare.

Vengeance aside, the real objective of Sherman’s march was to cut the Confederacy in two, cripple Southern industrial capacity, destroy the railroad system and compel an early Confederate surrender. It was also intended to break Southern morale — in Sherman’s words, to “make Georgia howl.”

Sherman was vilified for his barbarism, but the Union commander was a realist, not a romantic. He understood — as few of his contemporaries seemed to — that technology and industrialization were radically changing the nature of warfare.

It was no longer a question of independent armies meeting on remote battlefields to settle the issue. Civilians, who helped produce the means for waging modern war, would no longer be considered innocent noncombatants. Hitting the enemy where he ate and breaking him psychologically were just as important to victory as vanquishing his armies in the field.

Sherman grasped this and, though he wasn’t the first military proponent of total war, he was the first modern commander to deliberately strike at the enemy’s infrastructure. The scorched-earth tactics were effective. The fragile Southern economy collapsed, and a once-stout rebel army was irretrievably broken.

Meanwhile, the marshals of Europe watched Sherman’s progress with fascination. And they learned.

Herman Talmadge was sworn in as Governor of Georgia on November 17, 1948, ending the “Three Governors” controversy. Click here for a review of the “Three Governors” episode by Ron Daniels.

Richard Nixon declared before a television audience, “I’m not a crook,” on November 17, 1973.

On November 15, 1977, President Jimmy Carter hosted the Shah of Iran in Washington, where they spent two days discussing U.S-Iranian relations.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Yesterday, State Senator Brandon Beach announced he was ending his campaign for the Sixth Congressional District seat held by Democrat Lucy Mc Bath and would run for reelection to the Senate. From a campaign email:

Today, I am ending my campaign for Congress. During this campaign, I have come to realize that a calling to public service does not always mean running for higher office.  After speaking with Governor Kemp this weekend, I believe that, at this time, I can help more Georgians in the positions I currently hold and be more effective in the State Senate than in Congress.

Elected office was not my life’s desire, but a calling. I first entered the public service arena as President of the Greater North Fulton Chamber of Commerce, where I reversed years of mismanagement and debt to create one of Georgia’s most preeminent and well-run business organizations.

I still feel strongly that we must elect bold candidates to federal office who can go beyond the rhetoric and advance common-sense conservative policies and practical solutions to the many challenges facing people across the 6th district and our State.

With that in mind, I will qualify to run for re-election for Senate District 21 next year. If I have the honor to be re-elected, I will continue to work tirelessly for the citizens of North Fulton and Cherokee County to ensure a better quality of life and ensure Georgia continues to be the #1 state to do business in.

I want to thank everyone that has supported my campaign with their time, financial contributions, words of encouragement and support. I am honored to have the continued support of leaders like Governor Brian Kemp, Lt. Governor Geoff Duncan, Cherokee County Chairman Harry Johnston, Cherokee County Commissioner Steve West, Fulton County Commissioners Liz Hausmann and Bob Ellis, and Milton Mayor Joe Lockwood.

Governor Brian Kemp supports my decision and shared these words today:

“I applaud Senator Beach for his willingness to serve in Congress but respect his decision to remain in the State Senate. Quite honestly, we need bold leadership under the Gold Dome to continue our success and keep Georgia the best place to live, work, and raise a family. At the State Capitol, Senator Beach has led efforts to cut red tape and eliminate burdensome regulations on job creators. He has championed crucial infrastructure projects and reforms and worked to protect our conservative Georgia values. I look forward to partnering with Senator Beach in the years to come to lower healthcare costs, protect our families from gangs, enhance our educational outcomes and put hardworking Georgians first.”

State Rep. Michael Caldwell (R-Woodstock), who had previously announced for Beach’s senate seat, said he’s staying in the race, according to the Cherokee Tribune & Ledger News.

Caldwell said there is still good reason for voters to choose him when the Republican primary is held next year.

“I believe I have a positive track record and that we need leadership and a voice from Cherokee County in the state Senate, especially with redistricting coming up next year,” Caldwell said. “I have a strong relationship with Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan and I look forward working closely with him in the state Senate.”

Caldwell said he has been a backer of business growth, and policies that help small business – citing the decision of Woodstock to waive business license fees for small businesses in their first year. “I’ve been a supporter of policies like that and we need to spread them across the state. And, the state Senate is a good place to help make that happen,” he said.

Gwinnett County Commissioner Jace Brooks announced he will not run for reelection in 2020, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

District 1 Commissioner Jace Brooks, who was first elected in 2012 to the commission, announced his decision to not seek re-election Thursday afternoon.

Brooks, who has also been mentioned as a potential Republican candidate for an open commission chairman’s race in 2020, said he does not plan to run for any other office at this time.

“While my time in public service has been rewarding, it is now time to focus more time on my family and consulting work,” Brooks said in a statement. “But my work isn’t done yet. Over the next 14 months, I will continue my record of making bold decisions on the Commission to ensure our future in Gwinnett remains bright. I truly thank the people of District 1 for the honor to serve them.”

Last year’s elections also saw several legislative seats in Gwinnett, two commission seats and a school board seat in Gwinnett flip from Republican to Democrat, prompting speculation about whether several local Republicans up for election in 2020 would opt to not run again.

Brooks is the second of three Republicans on the county commission whose seats are up for election next year to announce they will not run for re-election. Commission Chairwoman Charlotte Nash, also a Republican, announced her decision to not run again earlier this year.

If Republicans can’t field candidates for all three commission seats and successfully defend them, Democrats will become the majority on the commission. There are already two Democrats on the commission: District 2 Commissioner Ben Ku and District 4 Commissioner Marlene Fosque.

If just one of the three commission seats on the ballot next year flips to Democrats, Republicans will have lost the grip they’ve had on power in county government for nearly four decades.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers held a public meeting to discuss a project on the Savannah River and no public questions were allowed, according to GPB News.

A crowd of several hundred gathered in Augusta Wednesday evening to ask representatives from The Army Corps of Engineers how they came to the decision to demolish The New Savannah Bluff Lock and Dam, in spite of overwhelming objections from local residents on both sides of the Savannah River in Georgia and South Carolina.

Army Corps of Engineers Savannah District Commander Col. Daniel Hibner began his presentation by saying, “Due to ongoing litigation, I can no longer take questions as I intended tonight.”

While the rock weirs will improve the lot of the fish, it will lower the water level through downtown Augusta by at least 2 feet. The Corps ran a simulation of conditions on the river with the rock weirs replacing the lock and dam back in February.

It left navigation hazards exposed, docks resting on mud flats, and residents outraged.

DeKalb County Sheriff Jeffrey Mann will leave office, according to the AJC.

The sheriff of DeKalb County, in the midst of an appeal over his law enforcement certification, plans to retire 13 months before his term is slated to end.

Jeffrey Mann, who has been sheriff since 2014, has been fighting to keep his certification after a state panel voted to revoke it in 2017. Mann pleaded guilty to charges after he allegedly exposed himself to an Atlanta officer in Piedmont Park.

“I am grateful and truly humbled that you placed your trust in me. I trust that I have served you well in my duties as Sheriff,” Mann wrote. “I am extremely proud of the accomplishments of the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office. I thank them for allowing me to serve and for their phenomenal dedication, hard work and professionalism.”

With his retirement planned for Nov. 30, the current chief deputy sheriff, Melody Maddox, is set to take over as sheriff. It is believed that she will be the first female sheriff in DeKalb history.

Ramona Tyson will serve again as interim Superintendent of DeKalb County Public Schools, according to the AJC.

In 2010, she assumed the role when then-Superintendent Crawford Lewis temporarily stepped away — and was soon fired — when an investigation discovered a criminal enterprise being run out of the school district and resulted in convictions for Lewis, former Chief Operating Officer Pat Reid and her ex-husband, architect Tony Pope.

Monday, Tyson was lured back to the role after the school board parted ways with Steve Green, who had announced plans to leave the district at the end of the current school year. He came to the district in 2015 under a three-year contract. In 2016 and 2017, the board approved one-year contract extensions. School board members did not approve contract extensions for Green in 2018 and 2019, which would have kept him here beyond 2020.

“With Dr. Green’s immediate departure, we have the utmost confidence in Ms. Tyson serving as the interim superintendent,” DeKalb County Board of Education chairman Michael A. Erwin said Monday.

Augusta Commissioners and Mayor Hardie Davis will take a retreat today, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

Scheduled by Davis, the retreat will be facilitated by Eric Robinson from the Carl Vinson Institute of Government and held at the downtown Marriott. Agenda items include goals and expectations, ground rules, team-building, setting priorities and developing action plans.

Several issues have deeply divided the commission, loosely along color lines, over the past few years, such as the mayor-led effort to build a new civic center at Regency Mall, the decision whether to keep EMS provider Gold Cross or in-source Augusta’s EMS program and very basic matters such as who gets to speak when at meetings.

The Georgia Ports Authority continues to rack up record-book entries, according to the Savannah Morning News.

October turned out another record for the Georgia Ports Authority, with the GPA moving 428,400 twenty-foot equivalent container units (TEUs) during the month, an increase of 14,600 TEUs or 3.5%.

The month gave the Port of Savannah a fiscal year-to-date total of 1.6 million TEUs, up 90,600, or 6%.

“We have seen three years of incredible volume growth, and the economy of the U.S. Southeast remains a powerhouse,” said GPA Executive Director Griff Lynch.

“Georgia’s market share continues to expand as new commodities come online and customers in new regions rely on our services.”

Daytime shipping to and from the Port of Brunswick is normalizing for the first time since the M/V Golden Ray capsized in St Simons Sound, according to The Brunswick News.

Daytime shipping traffic into the Port of Brunswick resumed Thursday, the first time it has been permitted on a regular basis since the Sept. 8 wreck of the 656-foot freighter Golden Ray in the St. Simons Sound, according to the Unified Command.

The 25,000-ton Golden Ray lies capsized on its port side between St. Simons and Jekyll islands, just south of the federal shipping channel that runs through the sound to the port. Unified Command is presently preparing the overturned vessel to be dismantled and removed from the St. Simons Sound, a herculean task that remains in the planning stages.

Shipping traffic through the sound has been limited to overnight hours, leaving the valuable daylight hours to crews working on the Golden Ray. U.S. Coast Guard Commander Norm Witt, Georgia’s Captain of the Ports, determined that preparations on the Golden Ray have progressed sufficiently to allow daytime shipping to resume.

The Whitfield County citizens committee on a new Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) is working to finalize a proposed project list, according to the Dalton Daily Citizen News.

“We have to have a final proposal by the first week of December, and we won’t be meeting Thanksgiving week, so we have a lot of work to do,” said Chris Shiflett, chairman of the SPLOST advisory committee.

The committee won’t determine the final projects that would be placed on the ballot. Those decisions would be made by the county Board of Commissioners in consultation with the councils of the county’s four cities.

Committee members had previously set a goal of having a SPLOST of no more than four years, which would be expected to collect some $66 million. A SPLOST is a 1% sales tax collected on most goods sold in the county.

Superior Court Judge Ralph Van Pelt Jr. signed an order enjoining penalties against local governments deadlocked in service delivery negotiations, according to the Dalton Daily Citizen News.

Lookout Mountain Superior Court Judge Ralph Van Pelt Jr. signed an order on Thursday holding in abeyance state sanctions against the municipal and county governments of Whitfield County for failing to come to an agreement on a new Service Delivery Strategy (SDS).

The order holds off sanctions until May 1, 2020, while the parties take part in a mandatory mediated negotiation.

Due to the failure to come to a new SDS agreement, the governments of Dalton and the other county and municipal governments of Whitfield County would have been subject to sanctions from the state Department of Community Affairs including the loss of qualified status to receive state financial assistance or grants. Van Pelt’s order directs the department to hold off on imposing those sanctions, allowing the governments of Whitfield County to operate as usual while the mandatory mediation of the SDS negotiations takes place.

Mandatory mediation is the next step under the state’s SDS law to resolve a service delivery dispute between governments. The City of Dalton petitioned for a mandatory mediation after the parties failed to come to an agreement by the Oct. 31 deadline, and Van Pelt was appointed to preside over the proceedings on Nov. 8. On Tuesday, Van Pelt appointed Cobb County Superior Court Judge Adele Grubbs to serve as mediator for the negotiations.

Property tax payments are due today in Hall County and Floyd County. Also, I know personally, DeKalb.

14
Nov

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for November 14, 2019

Tick Lumpkin

Tick is a male Mountain Cur mix who is available for adoption from the Lumpkin County Animal Shelter in Dahlonega, GA.

Houston Lumpkin

Houston is a male Mountain Cur mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Lumpkin County Animal Shelter in Dahlonega, GA.

Moon Lumpkin

Moon
is a female Mountain Cur mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Lumpkin County Animal Shelter in Dahlonega, GA.

14
Nov

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 14, 2019

President George Washington returned to the City of Washington on November 13, 1789, ending the first Presidential tour.

On the same day, Benjamin Franklin wrote a letter to his friend Jean-Baptiste LeRoy, in which he said,

“Our new Constitution is now established, and has an appearance that promises permanency; but in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”

General Sherman’s army prepared for the March to the Sea on November 14, 1864.

On November 13, 1865, the United States government issued the first Gold Certificates.

The Georgia General Assembly adopted a resolution against ratifying the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution on November 13, 1866.

In deciding not to ratify the 14th Amendment, the General Assembly adopted a committee report explaining that: “1. If Georgia is not a State composing part of the Federal Government known as the Government of the United States, amendments to the Constitution of the United States are not properly before this body. 2. If Georgia is a State composing part of the Federal Government … , these these amendments are not proposed according to the requirements of the Federal Constitution, and are proposed in such a manner as to forbid the legislature from discussing the merits of the amendments without an implied surrender of the rights of the State.”

Excavation began for a new Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta on the site of the former City Hall/Fulton County Courthouse on November 13, 1884.

Walt Disney released “Fantasia” on November 13, 1940.

Georgia Governor and Constitutional Commission Chair Ellis Arnall moved that a home rule provision be included in the new draft of the state Constitution and his motion passed 8-7 on November 13, 1944.

On November 14, 1944, the Constitutional Convention working on a revised document for Georgia reversed its position on home rule that had been adopted the previous day on the motion of Governor Ellis Arnall.

On November 13, 1956, the United States Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling that struck down a law requiring segregation on buses in Montgomery, Alabama.

Ronald Reagan announced his campaign for the Republican nomination for President of the United States on November 13, 1979.

“The people have not created this disaster in our economy; the federal government has. It has overspent, overestimated, and over regulated. It has failed to deliver services within the revenues it should be allowed to raise from taxes. In the thirty-four years since the end of World War II, it has spent 448 billion dollars more than it has collection in taxes – 448 billion dollars of printing press money, which has made every dollar you earn worth less and less. At the same time, the federal government has cynically told us that high taxes on business will in some way “solve” the problem and allow the average taxpayer to pay less. Well, business is not a taxpayer it is a tax collector. Business has to pass its tax burden on to the customer as part of the cost of doing business. You and I pay the taxes imposed on business every time we go to the store. Only people pay taxes and it is political demagoguery or economic illiteracy to try and tell us otherwise.”

“The key to restoring the health of the economy lies in cutting taxes. At the same time, we need to get the waste out of federal spending. This does not mean sacrificing essential services, nor do we need to destroy the system of benefits which flow to the poor, the elderly, the sick and the handicapped. We have long since committed ourselves, as a people, to help those among us who cannot take care of themselves. But the federal government has proven to be the costliest and most inefficient provider of such help we could possibly have.”

“I believe this nation hungers for a spiritual revival; hungers to once again see honor placed above political expediency; to see government once again the protector of our liberties, not the distributor of gifts and privilege. Government should uphold and not undermine those institutions which are custodians of the very values upon which civilization is founded—religion, education and, above all, family. Government cannot be clergyman, teacher and parent. It is our servant, beholden to us.”

“We who are privileged to be Americans have had a rendezvous with destiny since the moment in 1630 when John Winthrop, standing on the deck of the tiny Arbella off the coast of Massachusetts, told the little band of pilgrims, “We shall be as a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us so that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken and so cause Him to withdraw His present help from us, we shall be made a story and a byword throughout the world.”

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial was dedicated on November 13, 1982 in Washington, DC.

On November 13, 2006, groundbreaking began for a memorial to Martin Luther King, Jr. on the National Mall in Washington, DC.

Three astronauts with connections to Georgia – Eric Boe, Robert Kimbrough, and Sandra Magnus – were aboard the space shuttle Endeavor when it lifted off on November 14, 2008.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Brian Kemp set 5 PM on Monday, November 18 as the due date for applications for appointment to the United States Senate.

“I am encouraging all Georgians who want to serve in the U.S. Senate to submit their name and qualifications by Monday, November 18,” said Governor Kemp. “We will continue to carefully vet each applicant and nominate a person who will best serve our state and country.”

The Governor’s Office will release additional information at the appropriate time.

On August 28, 2019, U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson announced his decision to resign from public office, effective December 31, 2019. There is no vacancy until Isakson’s formal resignation on December 31, 2019. Under Ga. Const. Art. V, § II, Para. VIII and Ga. Code. Ann. § 21-2-542, the Governor will make a temporary appointment where such person will serve until a special election is held on November 3, 2020.

From the Tifton Gazette:

The casting call has garnered applications from residents all across the Peach State — from military veterans, cooperate executives, former and current state politicians and media personalities. By the end of last month, the governor’s office had received over 500 applications, although submissions have slowed drastically.

President Donald Trump’s former Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price even threw in his name for consideration. Price served in the Trump administration from February to September in 2017 and resigned from the HHS following scrutiny over his travel expenses. Prior to that, he served in the House, representing Georgia’s 6th congressional district.

Current U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee and Trump ally has made frequent public appearances in Georgia politics since applying for the open seat.

Collins made appearances at Kemp’s human trafficking awareness event last month and joined the crowd at Trump’s “Black Voices for Trump” initiative launch earlier this month.

At the event, Trump told the crowd Collins was a “warrior” during the Mueller hearings and made a nod that the residents of Georgia “better like” him.

From the AJC:

It’s a sign that Kemp is nearing his decision to make an appointment after months of limbo, possibly as soon as next week when the political spotlight descends on Georgia for the Democratic debate.

Although his advisers likely whittled down a list of top contenders for Isakson’s seat before they announced the process, Kemp has said he wanted to ensure that he considers a gamut of Georgians for the coveted job.

There’s a strong chance Kemp could surprise with his pick, though many Republican handicappers list three names as top contenders: U.S. Rep. Doug Collins; state Rep. Jan Jones, the No. 2 Republican in the Georgia House; and Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Harold Melton.

Governor Kemp, Lieutenant Governor Geoff Duncan, and State House Speaker David Ralston appointed members to the Georgia Access to Medical Cannabis Commission. From the press release:

Today Governor Brian P. Kemp, Lieutenant Governor Geoff Duncan, and House Speaker David Ralston announced their respective appointments to the Georgia Access to Medical Cannabis Commission as authorized by House Bill 324.

The commission has seven total members with three appointed by the Governor, two appointed by the Lieutenant Governor, and two appointed by the House Speaker. The members serve four-year terms, and the Governor selects the commission chair. The commmission is administratively attached to the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office.

Governor Kemp’s Appointees

Danielle Benson, Small Business Owner

Christopher Edwards, M.D., Principal Surgeon, Atlanta Neurological & Spine Institute

Jason Hockenberry, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Health Policy, Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health

“Georgia’s Hope Act provides a critical pathway for Georgians with chronic, debilitating diseases to get the help that they desperately need,” said Governor Kemp. “I am confident that Dr. Edwards, Dr. Hockenberry, and Mrs. Benson will serve with the highest levels of integrity in faithfully carrying out the mission of the Georgia Access to Medical Cannabis Commission.”

Governor Kemp has selected Dr. Edwards to serve as commission chair.

Lieutenant Governor Duncan’s Appointees

William Bornstein, M.D., Ph.D., Chief Medical Officer and Chief Quality & Patient Safety Officer, Emory Healthcare

Judith Rochon, M.D., Kaiser Permanente

“After a thoughtful and deliberate selection process, I am pleased to announce my two appointments to this important commission,” Lt. Governor Duncan said. “This group of citizens is now positioned to carry out the intent of this legislation by creating and executing the initial framework of this important process. A process that will ultimately deliver medicinal value to those who have been narrowly defined in the legislation and have been eagerly awaiting relief.”

Speaker Ralston’s Appointees

William “Bill” Prather, President, Georgia Board of Pharmacy

Bob Starrett, City of Austell Chief of Police

“From the beginning, we have been motivated by the desire to help Georgians suffering from chronic and painful conditions,” said Speaker David Ralston. “We have acted deliberately to implement a well-regulated and tightly-controlled medical cannabis system that is safe and secure. I know both Mr. Prather’s and Chief Starrett’s professional expertise will be invaluable as this work moves forward. I want to again thank all those public officials involved in making today’s announcement possible, particularly State Representative Micah Gravley, who has worked for years to get us to this moment.”

From the AJC:

The appointments were a key step for patients who have been allowed to use the drug since 2015 but had no legal way to buy, grow or transport it. State law allows marijuana oil to treat severe seizures, terminal cancers, Parkinson’s disease and other illnesses.

Now, the seven-member board can begin creating a medical marijuana distribution network across Georgia, establish testing and oversight rules, and issue licenses for businesses to sell low THC oil, according to a state law passed this year, called Georgia’s Hope Act.

The Georgia Access to Medical Cannabis Commission includes three doctors, a police chief, a health policy professor, the president for the Georgia Board of Pharmacy and a small-business owner. The commission’s chairman is Dr. Christopher Edwards, the principal surgeon for the Atlanta Neurological & Spine Institute.

Up to 9 acres of indoor growing space will be licensed for cultivation of medical marijuana, according to Georgia’s medical marijuana legislation, House Bill 324. The Georgia Access to Medical Cannabis Commission will create regulations for retail sale and then issue licenses for growing, manufacturing and distribution of low THC oil. Only marijuana oil with less than 5% THC, the compound that gives marijuana users a high, will be allowed.

Two large companies and four smaller companies will be authorized to grow medical marijuana. In addition, the University of Georgia and Fort Valley State University will seek licenses to produce and manufacture marijuana oil.

The commission can also buy and transport marijuana oil to Georgia for use by registered patients whose doctors have signed off on it.

A poll shows nearly half-a-clown car’s worth of Democratic candidates leading President Trump in next year’s election, according to The Hill.

President Trump may be in for a tough reelection fight in Georgia in 2020, according to a poll released on Wednesday by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that shows him trailing five of his potential Democratic rivals.

Former Vice President Joe Biden holds the biggest lead over Trump, besting him 51 percent to 43 percent in a hypothetical matchup, according to the AJC poll.

Four other candidates — Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D) — hold narrower leads over Trump, ranging from 4 points in Sanders’s case to a single point in Harris’s case. Warren and Buttigieg each lead Trump by 3 points in hypothetical matchups.

The survey, conducted for the AJC by the University of Georgia’s School of Public and International Affairs, may be overly optimistic for Democrats. Nearly 62 percent of those who responded to the poll were college educated, a disproportionate sample compared to the state’s actual makeup.

What’s more, 43.3 percent of respondents said they voted for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election compared to 41.7 percent who said they voted for Trump. In fact, Trump carried Georgia by roughly 5 points that year.

A clown-car would have had a better chance of calling the 2016 Georgia election correctly. Witness:

“New poll shows Hillary Clinton winning Georgia in presidential election on night of final debate” – AJC headline for October 19, 2016

“Poll: Clinton leads Trump in red state Georgia” – CNN piece dated August 6, 2016, citing AJC Poll

“AJC poll: Hillary Clinton has slim lead over Donald Trump in Georgia” – AJC headline for August 5, 2016

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger opened an investigation into two unauthorized persons allegedly in secured voting areas, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Marilyn Marks, executive director of the nonprofit Coalition for Good Governance, and Richard DeMillo, a cybersecurity expert and Georgia Tech professor, are accused of “interfering with voters by being in unauthorized areas” of voting locations while observing pilot elections conducted on the new machines on Nov. 5.

Raffensperger spokesman Walter Jones says the investigation was launched after complaints from “poll workers and voters” and that Marks and DeMillo were “in an area of the polling place where only voters and election officials are allowed to be.”

Marks responded, “I have absolutely no idea what this could be about other than just an effort to try to discredit us, because much of what we observed was not pretty.”

Marks and DeMillo are among multiple critics who say the new machines share many of the problems of the old machines and can’t be effectively audited. They favor a system using hand-marked paper ballots.

Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler announced record low unemployment, according to AccessWDUN.

State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler reported Thursday the jobless rate for the state is now 3.4 percent, down by 0.1 percentage points from September. That number was last reached in December 2000. Georgia’s rate was as high as 10.6 percent in 2010 due to impacts from the Great Recession. The number has been steadily falling ever since. In fact, it’s been under 4 percent since last summer.

Butler said the unemployment rate record wasn’t the only one set in October. Georgia also set new highs for jobs and employment. Several job sectors set records as well.

“We had a record-setting month in October and that always stands out,” Butler said. “We tied the record low unemployment rate while at the same time setting new records for employment and jobs.”

Georgia’s number of unemployed residents fell to under 175,000 – the lowest total in more than 18 years.

“It was 2001 when we last saw the number of unemployed this low in Georgia, and there were a million fewer people in the workforce back then,” Butler said.

Dahlonega voters passed the “brunch bill” referendum and tossed out a city council incumbents, according to the Dahlonega Nugget.

Valdosta will host a runoff election, according to ValdostaToday.

In the November 5, 2019 General Municipal Special Election there were some issues early on with the new voting machines at several polls which extended voting from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Valdosta, being one of six cities in Georgia trying out the new system was also one of four that had problems.

The results were late being released and the mayoral candidates J.D. Rice and Scott James Matheson found they were to face one another in a December 3 runoff election, since neither received 50% or more of the vote.

Also facing a runoff are Adrian J. Rivers and Ben H. Horton for the City Council At-Large seat due to the counting of provisional ballots on Friday. Initially Deb Cox, director of the Lowndes County Board of Elections, said she did not expect these ballots to make much of a difference in the original outcome.

Edgar “Nicky” Tooley and Rivers were so close after the count following Tuesday’s election, with only 14 votes separating them, but the 100 provisional ballots gave Rivers an 18 vote lead over Rivers, which pushes Rivers into a runoff with Ben H. Norton.

House District 152, headed to a special runoff election, saw the third-place finisher endorse in the runoff, according to the Albany Herald.

Tyler Johnson, who finished third on Nov. 5, on Wednesday endorsed Leesburg Mayor Jim Quinn, who finished first on election night with 42% of the vote.

Quinn is vying in the House 152 race, which includes all of Lee and Worth counties and the southern portion of Sumter County, against former Sylvester Mayor Bill Yearta, who drew 34% of ballots cast.

“During the election, I had the chance to campaign alongside of all of the contenders for House District 152, getting to know them and their positions,” said Johnson, a combat veteran currently serving in the Georgia National Guard. “Since the election, the two remaining candidates both solicited my support. After consideration of who I believe best reflects my values and will represent all three counties as a true conservative, I am endorsing Jim Quinn.”

Laurens County gets some media attention for being the first school system in Georgia to arm and train some staff. From CB46:

Outside every school building in the county is a yellow sign that reads, in part: “Warning. Staff members are armed and trained. Any attempt to harm children will be met with deadly force.”

Laurens County Schools Superintendent, Dr. Dan Brigman spearheaded the initiative in 2018, after the horrific shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL, in which 17 innocent students and staff were killed. “Parkland woke me up as a superintendent,” he said. “I had a detailed discussion with not only our Board of Education, but with local law enforcement as well, about ways we can improve our response time and preserve lives in our buildings, God forbid a tragedy like that happens in Laurens County Schools.”

After weeks of research and planning, the initiative was voted on by the Board of Education in April of 2018. It passed unanimously and officially launched the following fall, for the 2018-2019 school year. Approximately 28 staff members participated year one. Now, in year two, (the 2019-2020 school year) there are 45 armed staff members.

One of the primary reasons for implementing the policy, known as GAMB, is because of how large the county is. Laurens County spans roughly 800 square miles, making it the third largest in the state; If an active shooter were to take aim at a school here, it could take 5-10 minutes (or more) for the closest law enforcement officer to respond. “If there is an active shooter, every second counts,” said Brigman. He says having trained staff members on-site and ready to respond to a threat could save countless lives.

“You may have 5 police officers on a street corner in Atlanta, where we wouldn’t have that here, so I think it all boils down to what would fit your community best.”

The Reporter Newspapers take a look at how a blue wave hit Dunwoody’s local elections.

Dunwoody’s next mayor will be Lynn Deutsch, who acknowledges she benefited from the Democratic “blue wave” sweeping the traditionally Republican suburbs in her Nov. 5 election. But, she said, she is an independent, not a Democrat as many people perceive her to be.

And winning a City Council seat was Joe Seconder, who came out publicly as a Democrat in the wake of Donald Trump’s presidential victory and helped found the now defunct group Perimeter Progressives.

The winning candidates said national politics had no direct impact on their victories. They say they focused on local issues, kept their campaigns nonpartisan and worked harder to reach more voters with their visions for the city’s future.

Turnout was low in Dunwoody’s mayoral race, with 7,871 people voting out of more than 30,000 registered voters in the city, according to unofficial results from the DeKalb County Board of Registration & Elections.

The Glynn County Board of Elections voted to change four polling places ahead of the 2020 elections, according to The Brunswick News.

The polling place located in Zion Baptist Church will move back to the same location it was before Glynn County Schools began renovating Burroughs-Molette Elementary School. [I]t is the same building the polling place hosted before it moved to Zion. Because the polling place will no longer be in the school the board decided to rename the voting precinct to Urbana-Perry Parks, after the two parks the area.

Following the trend of moving polling places out of schools, the one in Oglethorpe Point Elementary School will be moved to Golden Isles Presbyterian Church. That precinct will be renamed from Oglethorpe Point to Hampton River. The board also voted to move two more polling places, one from Satilla Marsh Elementary School to CenterPoint Church and another from Marshes of Glynn Baptist Church to the Brookman Recreation Building in Baldwin Park. The board voted to rename the two precincts to Satilla Marshes and Brookman, respectively.

Due to safety concerns, Channell said counties around the country are moving their polling places out of schools. Within the next two years, Glynn County should have all its polling places out of schools and into other buildings.

In other business, Channell told the board that he had no more news on when it can expect to receive the county’s full allotment of new voting equipment.

Chatham County Board of Elections approved two new voting precincts for Pooler, according to the Savannah Morning News.

The Chatham County Board of Elections on Tuesday voted to approve two new Pooler voting precincts which will be in place before the March 24 Presidential Preference Primary, marking the end of a nearly year-long struggle wrought with changes in state law and missed deadlines.

The board voted 3-1 to approve the precincts at their meeting on Tuesday, which will divide current precincts 7-12 and 7-07. Board member Debbie Rauers was the only vote against the new polling places.

The polling place for new precinct 7-16 will be Legacy at Savannah Quarters, located at 101 Shepherd Way.

For new precinct 8-16, voters will cast ballots at Oaks at Pooler, located at 125 Southern Junction Blvd #800.

Congressman Jody Hice (R-Monroe) will hold a telephone town hall meeting Thursday night, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

“Telephone Town Halls are a tried-and-true method for me to connect with hundreds of 10th District residents and hear their views,” Hice said in a statement. “I look forward to hearing from folks back home on Thursday evening as we discuss news and policies happening in Washington that affect our community.”

Hice’s office said residents of his district can submit questions for the forum by calling 202-225-4101. They can also RSVP online or dial into the discussion by calling 877-229-8493 and use passcode 117571 during the forum.

Braselton voters will have limited opportunities to vote in the December runoff, according to the Gainesville Times.

Early voting in the Dec. 3 runoff for the Braselton Town Council’s District 1 seat is set for Nov. 25-27.

Residents can vote between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. at the Braselton Police & Municipal Court building at 5040 Ga. Highway 53.

As the top two finishers in the Nov. 5 election, incumbent Becky Richardson and challenger Richard Mayberry will face each other in the runoff.