Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for April 12, 2016

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Apr

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for April 12, 2016

On April 12, 1861, Confederates in Charleston, SC opened fire on Federal-held Fort Sumter opening the Civil War.

During the next 34 hours, 50 Confederate guns and mortars launched more than 4,000 rounds at the poorly supplied fort. On April 13, U.S. Major Robert Anderson surrendered the fort. Two days later, U.S. President Abraham Lincolnissued a proclamation calling for 75,000 volunteer soldiers to quell the Southern “insurrection.”

“The General” Locomotive was hijacked at Big Shanty (now Kennesaw), Georgia on April 12, 1862, leading to “The Great Locomotive Chase.” The locomotive is now housed in the Southern Museum in Kennesaw.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt died on April 12, 1945 in Warm Springs, Georgia.

On April 12, 1961, Russian Commienaut Yuri Gagarin became the first human being to go to outer space and the first to orbit earth.

The triumph of the Soviet space program in putting the first man into space was a great blow to the United States, which had scheduled its first space flight for May 1961. Moreover, Gagarin had orbited Earth, a feat that eluded the U.S. space program until February 1962, when astronaut John Glenn made three orbits in Friendship 7.

Martin Luther King, Jr. was arrested in Birmingham, Alabama on April 12, 1963; while there he would write his famed, “Letter from Birmingham Jail.”

The Braves played their first home game in Atlanta on April 12, 1966.

The Space Shuttle Columbia became the first reusable orbital vehicle when it launched on April 12, 1981.

The old clocktower in Gwinnett County’s Historic Courthouse includes graffiti from more than 100 years ago.

Some of the messages show graffiti, as an art form, is not a late 20th-century or early 21st-century concept. One artist, presumably nicknamed “Doc,” wrote his moniker as a large drawing, dated 1913.

“If that’s accurate, then that’s pretty neat to know that before there was no allowance of public access, that folks did have the freedom and felt like they could come up here and mark their spot (and say), ‘Hey I was here,’” Arant said. “No, when you look at train tracks and trains themselves, people are tagging I guess is what they call it now.

The messages cover a wide period of time. The earliest message is dated “August the 12th, 1908,” which is the year that the current clock tower was built. Although the staff at the courthouse tries to keep the door to the stairway locked so the public can’t get into the tower, sometimes the door is left open just long enough for someone to sneak in.

The most recent marking reads “DW 2016” in vivid purple ink. It’s a small marking, but it stands out as the only one that isn’t done in pencil or as a carving in the wall.

A World War II-era B-17 might be seen buzzing the beaches near Savannah, but fear not.

he Texas Raiders, a B-17G, was one of the last of the iconic bombers built. The plane was finished in May 1945, and it never saw the combat that claimed so many lives in Europe’s air war. But, says crew member Michael Hart, it’s about as close to authentic as a history buff can get. The plane was commissioned to the Navy and spent time flying up and down the East Coast looking for submarines. Then it was sold to private sector businesses, and it flew around the world for use in aerial photography and topography.

The B-17G Texas Raiders is at Sheltair at the Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport through Thursday. The hangar is located at 100 Eddie Jungemann Drive.

Tours — both on the ground and aerial — will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

Tours of the B-17 while it’s on the ground are $10 for adults, $5 for children and $20 for families.

Aerial tours, which last about 30 minutes, vary in price, and there’s only room for eight people per flight. Sitting in the bombardier seat costs $850, sitting in the navigator seat costs $700 and sitting in all other areas costs $475.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Deal has signed two more bills – one local bill for Waycross and Ware County, and a second that protects from disclsoure some documents related to economic development.

That last bill is actually the legislation that protects University of Georgia athletic recruiting records by delaying their required release.

College athletic departments in Georgia will now have 90 days — instead of three — to respond to almost all open-records requests under a new state law.

First-year University of Georgia football coach Kirby Smart told reporters at a recent news conference that he was asked during a visit to the Capitol this session about the differences between the university and other football programs.

Smart previously worked at the University of Alabama. That state’s open records law allows for a “reasonable time” for responses.

Rep. Earl Ehrhart, a Powder Springs Republican, proposed the change and said it would give schools more time to respond to records requests during peak recruiting months.

Georgia First Amendment Foundation executive director Hollie Manheimer called the change “an affront to the purpose of Georgia’s open records act.”

“The amendment is so broadly written, it makes secret contract terms, letters of complaint or inquiry from the NCAA, plans for the expenditure of university and athletic association funds, and even more,” Manheimer said. “No other public agency in Georgia is given 90 days to conduct its business in secret.”

State Senator William Ligon (R-Brunswick) wrote for the Wall Street Journal about the uproar from large companies against religious liberty legislation.

Simply look at the reaction to Georgia’s H.B. 757, a religious-freedom bill that my colleagues in the legislature and I voted to pass on March 16.

In 2014 and 2015, Georgia also attempted to pass RFRA, but then, as now, opponents claimed that these efforts would enable discrimination. Just when did the freedom to follow one’s religious beliefs in daily life become redefined as discrimination?

No matter. Disney and Marvel threatened to pull production of the “Avengers” film franchise from the Peach State, and the cable channel AMC vowed to take its “Walking Dead” series elsewhere. The NFL warned that it might drop Atlanta from consideration to host a Super Bowl. Dozens of Georgia companies urged Gov. Nathan Deal to veto the bill, which he did on March 28.

Why are businesses and sports leagues suddenly championing leftist ideologies that oppose not only religious liberty but even legislation that protects the safety of women and children in restrooms? They are systematically and deliberately misrepresenting these legislative efforts.

Too many business leaders are embracing a politically correct social agenda, trying to force every state and every citizen to walk in lockstep. The private economy would be foolish to reject America’s heritage of liberty, which has powered the greatest engine of economic success in history. And if corporations want the benefits of a business-friendly environment, with lower taxes and less regulation, they would do well to recognize who enacts such policies: people with center-right social values, not the hard left.

Senator Mike Crane (R-Coweta) has responded to criticism of his comments on no-knock warrants.

When asked about the controversy Friday, Crane said that, while his comments were probably “not the best-phrased thing I’ve ever said, I’ll never apologize for defending my home or anybody else’s right to defend their home.”

Crane said he is very much opposed to no-knock warrants, which he thinks are dangerous for law enforcement and dangerous for the public, as well as unconstitutional.

Crane said that he hasn’t caught much flack from the speech and the video. “I’ve gotten so many comments of support because people understand the underlying issue. They get that I may not have used the best phraseology, it may have been a ‘Trump’ moment. But at the end of the day, the question is are no-knock warrants good policy and practice?

“No-knock warrants are meant to protect officers. When you have information that someone could be armed or other evidence presented to a judge that we need to do it this way for security of everyone, that’s what it’s about,” [Coweta County Sheriff Mike] Yeager said.

Crane doesn’t think the no-knock warrants make things safer for law enforcement. “Is it worth putting law enforcement officers’ lives on the line to make sure drugs aren’t flushed down the toilet?” Crane asked. “I believe law enforcement has the tools and the manpower they need to safely apprehend people without kicking down doors in the middle of the night.”

Here’s the entire discussion – judge for yourself.

Snellville Mayor Tom Witts was greeted by a supportive crowd – pretty unusual for Snellville.

Mayor Tom Witts entered the council chambers to an ovation Monday night for his first meeting since news broke of an investigation targeting his finances.

The crowd, many of whom wore saved “Tom Witts for Mayor” T-shirts from the run-up to the November election, cheered and clapped eagerly.

Only last week, the news dashed Witts’ hopes of keeping Snellville controversy-free since he beat longtime rival Mayor Kelly Kautz, who had locked in power struggles with the council. Gwinnett County District Attorney Danny Porter has filed no charges but said he is trying to determine if Witts committed tax evasion or campaign fund misuse.

Now, in the council chambers, a broad smile crept across the mayor’s face. He waved softly.

“Thank you very much from the bottom of my heart,” he said. “Thank you.”

“Make no mistake,” Witts said, “I plan on remaining your mayor.”

Bernie Sanders supporters are taking to Facebook to target Democratic party Superdelegates, according to the Rome News-Tribune.

Rome City Commissioner Wendy Davis is a superdelegate to the Democratic National Convention, and she’s pledged her vote to Hillary Clinton.

But her name and contact information appears on a Facebook page set up by Bernie Sanders supporters, who have launched a campaign to urge superdelegates to switch their votes to their candidate. Davis said she isn’t concerned about being harassed, as she hasn’t received any phone calls or emails yet, but she is offended by the tactic.

“Superdelegates are free to vote any way they want,” Davis said.

At this point, Clinton has racked up 1,287 pledged delegates to Sanders’ 1,037, according to the Associated Press tally.

She also has commitments from 469 superdelegates to his 31.

Sanders’ campaign hasn’t employed a good strategy for going after superdelegates, Davis said. No one from Sanders’ campaign has even contacted her, asking for her vote.

The Hall County Board of education is considering teacher raises in the 3 percent neighborhood, according to the Gainesville Times.

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