Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 20, 2015


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 20, 2015

On August 20, 1781, General George Washington sent Continental troops from New York toward Yorktown, Virginia to engage British troops under Gen. Cornwallis.

On August 20, 1906, Gov. Joseph Terrell signed legislation to build a statue of Georgia founding father James Oglethorpe in Savannah and a bill to build a statue of former Confederate General and Georgia Governor John B. Gordon at the State Capitol.

The Georgia Department of Archives and History was created by legislation signed by Georgia Governor Hugh Dorsey on August 20, 1918.

On August 20, 1920, the American Professional Football Association, which would later be renamed the National Football League, was formed in Akron, Ohio. If you go to the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland, the Professional Football Hall of Fame is about an hour away in Canton, Ohio.

On August 20, 1923, Georgia Governor Clifford Walker signed legislation requiring state schools teach the United States and Georgia Constitutions and students pass an exam on the documents before being allowed to graduate.

On August 20, 1965, “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” by the Rolling Stones was released in the UK.

On August 20, 1974, President Gerald Ford nominated Nelson Rockefeller as Vice President of the United States.

Yvonne Craig, who played Bat Girl in the original 1960s Batman series has died.

As with many characters on the show, she had to play two roles. By day, she was librarian Barbara Gordon, daughter of Gotham City police Commissioner James Gordon. But in times of need, she transformed into the caped crusader fighting crime alongside Batman and Robin. She even had a purple motorcycle with white lace trim.

Star Trek fans will remember Craig’s work, too. She played Marta, the green-skinned Orion slave girl who wanted to kill Captain Kirk in Season 3.

Minnie Martin, who was the first African-American woman elected to the Valdosta Board of Education and first woman elected to the Lowndes County Commission died Tuesday evening at the age of 73.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp said yesterday that Jeb Bush will make a stop in Athens this fall for the Georgia v. South Carolina game.

Heading to Athens this fall to see the Dawgs in action? You might see your favorite presidential candidate there too! With the growing importance of the SEC Primary in the 2016 presidential contest, it’s no surprise that former Florida governor Jeb Bush is making a trip to the Classic City for the Georgia/Carolina game. I look forward to welcoming Gov. Bush – and any other presidential candidate – to my hometown for what is shaping up to be an exciting football season!

You know what this means right? SEC Primary tailgating.

With the Georgia-Florida game pitting two SEC football teams that happen to also be holding early 2016 Presidential Primaries (Georgia March 1 will be proportional award of delagates, Florida March 15 as a winner-take-all), would-be POTUS’s will have to find someplace to party other than the traditional “Frat Beach” on St Simons Island.

Finally tired of the toll an annual alcohol-fueled party on a St. Simons Island beach associated with the Georgia-Florida collegiate football game has taken on the island and its reputation, Glynn County officials are laying down the law to would-be drunken revelers.

Glynn County commissioners are expected Thursday to approve sending a letter from Glynn County Board of Commissioners Chairman Dale Provenzano to the University of Georgia, as well as to Georgia Southern University in Statesboro and the College of Coastal Georgia in nearby Brunswick — and to high schools in Glynn and surrounding counties — announcing the county’s no-fooling get-tough policy for this year’s Georgia-Florida weekend.

The University of Georgia and the University of Florida are slated to meet this year in Jacksonville, Fla., on Saturday, Oct. 31, a game that is preceded by a massive party held on a St. Simons beach.

In the letter slated for approval Thursday, Provenzano lets officials at the schools slated to receive a copy that the county “will have a ZERO [caps Provenzano’s] tolerance enforcement policy as it relates to underage drinking, disorderly conduct, littering, and other illegal behavior. Violators will be cited on the scene or arrested as an offense warrants.”

Walter Jones wrote up Jeb Bush’s visit to the Varsity.

Jeb Bush had critical words Tuesday for Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump during a stop at the world’s largest drive-in diner.

In talking with reporters, Bush brushed aside questions about Trump’s lead in recent polls that show Bush in second, saying it was too early to worry about that.

But he disagreed with Trump’s proposal to strip the right to citizenship from children born in this country whose parents are not citizens. Bush said he opposed “changing something that’s embedded in the Constitution.”

“What Mr. Trump has proposed will cost hundreds of millions of dollars, will disrupt communities, and it’s fully impractical,” Bush said.

Bush said the former Democratic secretary of state had problems of her own. Federal investigators are searching a server she owns to see if she sent or received top secret emails while in office.

“If her server had classified information on it, she needs to be honest about it,” he said.

Governor Nathan Deal has suspended Crawford County Cornoner David Allen O’Neal after a grand jury indicted O’Neal earlier this summer.

The Georgia Department of Labor announced that unemployment declined to 6 percent in July, down one-tenth of a point from June.

“It’s been more than seven years since Georgia’s unemployment rate was this low, and the credit belongs to our employers who continue to create jobs and put people to work,” said State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler. “In July, we had 89,400 more jobs than in the same period a year ago.”

In Fayette County, the Board of Education voted 4-1 to retain last years property tax millage rate for schools, which will result in higher property tax revenues.

“I know there’s been some discussion about the merits of the possibility of looking at decreasing the millage rate,” said Superintendent Dr. Joseph Barrow. “We’re still somewhat in a catchup mode with regard to having gone through some pretty austere times.”

It was the superintendent’s recommendation to stay at 20 mills, and his advice was echoed by much of the board.

“The feedback that I have gotten, I have had no one tell me that they wanted to back off the 20 mills,” said board member Diane Basham. “I think in this community we want smaller classes, and we want to compensate our teachers. I want to keep the course that we’re going now. I would like to, at the middle of the year, look at bumping that pay up again.”

[Board Member Barry] Marchman was the lone voice against maintaining the millage rate.

“We’re a projected $25 million over budget. That’s $6 million over a 10-percent reserve balance. Even without this millage increase, we’re collecting a million dollars more than we need this year,” said Marchman. “We’ve taken care of the students. We’ve taken care of the teachers. We’ve taken care of the administrators. One of the stakeholders that we haven’t given a nod to is the taxpayers.”

The Peachtree City Council meets tonight and is expected to also keep their property tax millage rate intact.

As previously reported, the FY 2016 general fund budget totals $33.519 million and includes no millage increase, no across the board employee raises and the use of a more conservative $769,000 in reserves to bolster needed paving expenses.

The adoption follows public hearings on the budget that does include a tax increase due to increases in property values.

The Holly Springs City Council actually reduced property taxes, measured by both the millage rate, and by anticipated property tax revenues.

The council voted unanimously Monday at its regular meeting to set the rate.

City Manager Rob Logan announced the rate is below the revenue neutral rollback rate of 5.317 mills, meaning residents could see a reduction in their property taxes this year if their home assessed at the same value as last year.

Gwinnett County State Court Judge Carla Brown has drawn a challenger in next year’s election, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

 Lawrenceville attorney Ronda Colvin-Leary announced this week that she will challenge incumbent Gwinnett County State Court Judge Carla Brown during next year’s election cycle.

Colvin-Leary currently serves as the solicitor for Winder and is a former Atlanta Municipal Court staff attorney, a former DeKalb County assistant solicitor and ex-part-time adjunct professor at the University of Phoenix. She earned a bachelor’s degree in criminology from Auburn University and received her juris doctorate from the Florida Coastal School of Law in Jacksonville.

“For the last 14-and-a-half years, Ronda has fought tirelessly for her clients in Georgia courtrooms protecting their rights (and) for the last nine years she has been in a successful private practice,” Leary’s campaign said in a statement.

Brown was appointed by former Gov. Sonny Perdue in 2003 to sit on the Gwinnett State Court bench after former Judge David M. Fuller resigned.

Judge Carla Brown also founded Canine Pet Rescue, a Dacula-based dog rescue group that specialized in German Shepherd Dogs.

Powder Springs will see a contested election for Mayor in November, according to the Marietta Daily Journal.

Qualifying for the November election begins Aug. 31 and will run through Sept. 2 between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. each day at the second floor conference room at Powder Springs City Hall. Candidates may seek election for the seats held by Mayor Pat Vaughn, council members Rosalyn Neal and Chris Wizner, and possibly Councilman Al Thurman.

Thurman told the MDJ earlier this year he plans to run against Vaughn for the mayoral seat, saying he felt he had more to offer the city.

Rome City Commissioner Buzz Wachsteter announced he will run for reelection in November.

In Cumming, two incumbent City Council members will not seek reelection in November.

Three seats — Posts 3, 4 and 5 — are up for re-election Nov. 3 and at least two of them will see turnover after the incumbents announced Tuesday night they will not run again.

Ralph Perry in Post 4 and John Pugh in Post 5 said they will be leaving office when their terms expire at year’s end, while Post 3 incumbent Lewis Ledbetter stated he plans to defend the seat he has held since 1971.

The offices are elected citywide by post. Cumming has about 2,600 registered voters. Qualifying for the election is set for Aug. 31 and Sept. 1 and 2.

Georgia Tea Party Inc Solar

Tonight, the Georgia Tea Party will host “An Evening with Alveda King: Facing Threats to Religious Liberty” beginning at 7 PM at Roswell Street Baptist Church in Marietta.

Dr. Alveda C. King will speak to us about the threats to Religious LIberty in America today. She will also share about her family’s experience in the Civil Rights movement, and the path to racial reconciliation in our nation.

Dr. King currently serves as a Pastoral Associate and Director of African-American Outreach for Priests for Life and Gospel of Life Ministries. She is also a voice for the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, sharing her testimony of two abortions, God’s forgiveness, and healing.

Former Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran will join us. He will be honored for his courageous stand against the City of Atlanta, who fired him for his religious views.

Droning On

The Georgia Agricultural Exposition Authority Board will consider banning drone flights in the area of the Georgia National Fair.

The board will vote Sept. 9 on whether it will adopt the new protocol that was suggested by the fairgrounds’ public safety department, said Stacy Campbell, director of marketing and media relations for the fairgrounds.

“Basically, (the proposed rule is) just for public safety to make sure we know what’s happening during the fair at all times,” Campbell said.

Should the board adopt the rule, it would have to apply with the Federal Aviation Administration to have the 1,100-acre complex designated an official no-fly zone.

Prohibited devices would include drones, lightweight aircraft, hang gliders and “things that are considered either remote-controlled or light weight, because technically those can fly under 500 feet,” Campbell said. “An aircraft obviously has to go through more precautions to be able to fly, but these don’t necessarily have to do that.”

No-fly zones prohibiting drones and similar devices have become protocol during other large attractions such as football games at the University of Georgia’s Sanford Stadium or Atlanta Braves baseball games at Turner Field.

The fair is set for Oct. 8-18.

Hall County car owners will be able to renew their car tags via kiosk, according to the Gainesville Times.

Officials celebrated a new tax kiosk Wednesday at the North Hall Community Center at 4175 Nopone Road that allows drivers to renew their tag with their driver’s license, tag number or renewal license.

It’s a fourth option for drivers, in addition to renewing via mail, online or at the Hall County Government Center.

A $3 fee is applied for those who use the kiosk, and the fee is valid for up to 10 separate vehicle renewals under the same name, Hall County Tax Commissioner Darla Eden said. The kiosk accepts debit and credit cards; another 2 percent charge is required for using a debit or credit card. A 2.59 percent charge is required for those using a debit or credit card at the government center.

Installation and maintenance of the kiosk is covered by the fee, so there is no cost to the county except for monthly Internet usage, which will be about $40 a month, Eden said.

B-17 to touch down in Warner Robins

An historic B-17 Flying Fortress will be seen traveling on I-75 through Atlanta on Friday, eventually stopping at Warner Robins, where it will find its new home at the Museum of Aviation.

The plane will come down Interstate 75 from Atlanta and will pick up a police escort in Jackson. The escort will continue all the way to the plane’s new home at the museum. At the Ga. 247 exit in Macon, it will head south to the museum.

The plane will be on three trucks, but the fuselage, which is the main part of the aircraft, will be on a large low-boy trailer and will not be covered. The moving company, All Coast Aircraft Recovery, provided a photo of another B-17 fuselage it moved the same way, and it promises to be something to turn heads whether people know exactly what it is or not.

At 5 p.m. Friday, the museum is having a public reception that will include B-17 crew members who live in Middle Georgia. The fuselage will be in the Century of Flight Hangar over the weekend, and on Monday it will move into its permanent home in the World War II Scott Exhibit Hangar.

The plane will be reassembled and undergo restoration that is expected to take several years. That process will be open to the public.

If you’re into historic planes, Peachtree-DeKalb Airport will host the Atlanta Warbirds Weekend September 12-13, 2015. It’s always and excellent time and perfect family event.

DeKalb Ethics and John Boyer Sentenced

John Boyer, husband of former DeKalb County Commissioner Elaine Boyer, was sentenced yesterday to a year in jail after pleading guilty of defrauding taxpayers in a scheme that included Commissioner Boyer. Here’s the money quote, courtesy of the AJC’s Mark Niesse,

Meanwhile, over on WABE, Denis O’Hayer questioned the expenditure of half a million dollars or more on an ethics investigation by former Attorney General Mike Bowers and investigator Richard Hyde.

After Commissioner Nancy Jester said, “I think that the price of this investigation is small in comparison to the harm that has been done to the taxpayers over the years,” O’Hayer asked, “So, you’re saying for all of the size of this [legal] bill, it is worth it. A taxpayer might say, ‘look, I’m all for looking into things but this is more than a half million dollars with the potential to be more, at what point does it become a political expense rather than one that benefits the county?”

As a DeKalb County taxpayer, let me tell you my answer to O’Hayer’s question. Since it’s a question about money, it requires math.

Last month, the DeKalb County Commission passed a $1.33 Billion dollar mid-year budget. Let’s assume the worst about the cost of the investigation, and say maybe it will cost $1 Million dollars. Doing the math tells us that the cost of the investigation will be less than 1/100th of a percent of the County budget. To bring that down to a scale I can understand, I’ll ask this way.

If an expert in termites said, “Infestation in your home is rampant….” would you spend $200 to find out if your $200,000 house were indeed infested? That’s a no-brainer, and I hope that Mike Bowers and Richard Hyde will continue their work rooting out infestation in DeKalb County’s government.


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