Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for June 13, 2017


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for June 13, 2017

A “Liberty Tree” was planted in Savannah on June 13, 1775 to symbolize support for independence. The first liberty tree was an elm in Boston that became a meeting spot for patriots, but Savannah’s was actually a Liberty Pole. In 2006, a seedling grown from the last of the original Liberty Trees on the campus of St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland was planted in Dalton, Georgia.

The Marquis de Lafayette arrived in South Carolina to assist General George Washington on June 13, 1775.

On June 13, 1966, the United States Supreme Court released its decision in Miranda v. Arizona. In Miranda, the Court held that a confession obtained by police without informing the suspect of his rights against self-incrimination (Fifth Amendment) and to the service of a lawyer (Sixth Amendment) was inadmissible.

Thurgood Marshall was appointed to the Supreme Court by President Lyndon B. Johnson on June 13, 1967.

As the NAACP’s chief counsel from 1938 to 1961, he argued 32 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, successfully challenging racial segregation, most notably in public education. He won 29 of these cases, including a groundbreaking victory in 1954′s Brown v. Board of Education, in which the Supreme Court ruled that segregation violated the 14th Amendment to the Constitution and was thus illegal. The decision served as a great impetus for the African American civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s and ultimately led to the abolishment of segregation in all public facilities and accommodations.

In 1961, President John F. Kennedy appointed Marshall to the U.S. Court of Appeals, but his nomination was opposed by many Southern senators, and he was not confirmed until the next year. In June 1967, President Johnson nominated him to the Supreme Court, and in late August he was confirmed. During his 24 years on the high court, Associate Justice Marshall consistently challenged discrimination based on race or sex, opposed the death penalty, and supported the rights of criminal defendants. He also defended affirmative action and women’s right to abortion. As appointments by a largely Republican White House changed the politics of the Court, Marshall found his liberal opinions increasingly in the minority. He retired in 1991, and two years later passed away.

The New York Times began publishing excerpts from the “Pentagon Papers” on June 13, 1971.

After failing to persuade the Times to voluntarily cease publication on June 14, Attorney General John N. Mitchell and Nixon obtained a federal court injunction forcing the Times to cease publication after three articles.Times publisher Arthur Ochs Sulzberger said:

Newspapers, as our editorial said this morning, we’re really a part of history that should have been made available, considerably longer ago. I just didn’t feel there was any breach of national security, in the sense that we were giving secrets to the enemy.

The newspaper appealed the injunction, and the case New York Times Co. v. United States (403 U.S. 713) quickly rose through the U.S. legal system to the Supreme Court.

On June 18, 1971, The Washington Post began publishing its own series of articles based upon the Pentagon Papers; Ellsberg gave portions to editor Ben Bradlee. That day, Assistant U.S. Attorney General William Rehnquist asked the Post to cease publication. After the paper refused, Rehnquist sought an injunction in U.S. district court. Judge Murray Gurfein declined to issue such an injunction, writing that “[t]he security of the Nation is not at the ramparts alone. Security also lies in the value of our free institutions. A cantankerous press, an obstinate press, a ubiquitous press must be suffered by those in authority in order to preserve the even greater values of freedom of expression and the right of the people to know.” The government appealed that decision, and on June 26 the Supreme Court agreed to hear it jointly with the New York Times case.Fifteen other newspapers received copies of the study and began publishing it.

On June 30, 1971, the Supreme Court decided, 6–3, that the government failed to meet the heavy burden of proof required for prior restraint injunction. The nine justices wrote nine opinions disagreeing on significant, substantive matters.

Only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government. And paramount among the responsibilities of a free press is the duty to prevent any part of the government from deceiving the people and sending them off to distant lands to die of foreign fevers and foreign shot and shell.

—Justice Black

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Nathan Deal issued an executive order suspending DeKalb County Sheriff Jeff Mann.

State law allows the governor to convene a panel of two sheriffs and the state attorney general to investigate and to recommend whether to suspend a sheriff facing criminal or ethics charges.

Mann has pleaded not guilty to charges of indecency and obstruction of an officer. Mann’s attorney has argued the governor shouldn’t get involved because Mann is accused of violating Atlanta city ordinances.

As of the most recent voter file in the Sixth Congressional District Special Runoff Election, 105,115 ballots have been cast.

Cobb 18466 17.57%
DeKalb 25663 24.41%
Fulton 60986 58.02%

United States District Court Judge Mark Cohen of the Northern District of Georgia, based in Atlanta, blocked a deportation order yesterday.

A federal judge in Atlanta has barred the Trump administration, at least temporarily, from revoking the immigration status of an undocumented woman whose case helped to prompt the creation of President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

U.S. District Judge Mark Cohen on Monday afternoon barred the U.S. Customs and Immigration Service from terminating Jessica Colotl’s immigrant status under DACA. The judge also barred the agency from enforcing its decision to terminate Colotl’s work authorization permit, which the terms of her DACA status permitted her to have.

Colotl was brought to the U.S. by her undocumented parents when she was 11. She grew up in metropolitan Atlanta and was a student at Kennesaw State University when a traffic citation by campus police in 2010 led to her detention at a regional deportation center before she was eventually released. Her case, at a time when Georgia and other states across the country were enacting highly restrictive immigration laws, also led to efforts to pass the federal DREAM Act to secure citizenship for the children of undocumented individuals who were raised in the United States.

Albany lawyer and 2018 candidate for Georgia Court of Appeals Ken Hodges became President of the State Bar of Georgia.

Elder abuse may be an increasingly common crime, according to the Newnan Times-Herald.

Cobb County Commissioners are expected today to fund $11.8 million in projects associated with the new Braves stadium.

 An agreement between the county and the Atlanta Braves signed in 2013 stipulated that Cobb’s contribution to the SunTrust Park project would be capped at $300 million, which included $14 million for transportation improvements.

Shortly after Chairman Mike Boyce took office in January, he directed county staff to address the issue, saying he believed it was unclear what the language in the agreements obligated the county to do in relation to transportation.

President Trump honored the Clemson football team and Quarterback Deshaun Watson, a Gainesville native.

In March, commissioners approved a project list negotiated between the Braves and the county by then — County Manager David Hankerson and County Attorney Deborah Dance. It included public roads for the stadium, traffic signals, sidewalks, utility construction and stormwater management projects. Specified in the list had been about $2.2 million already spent by the county on public traffic signals, sidewalks and public roads, leaving $11.8 million due.

“We’re just paying it now. There’s no difference to what (was approved) three months ago,” Boyce said Monday of the measure to be considered by commissioners.

Nearly $11.3 million of the funds still owed by the county is related to water and stormwater projects, which would be paid for out of the county’s Water Renewal and Extension Fund. Bill Volckmann, the county’s finance director, said the $11.3 million would be paid to the Braves immediately, and pays for infrastructure the county would be responsible for at the end of the day anyway.

The remaining $490,000 would come out of the general fund in three equal, annual installments made prior to Oct. 31 of each county fiscal year, beginning in fiscal 2018.

Rome City Commission approved a contract for an energy audit of municipal government.

Woodstock City Council met yesterday to consider a $40 million budget for FY 2018 that would cut property taxes for most residents.

Macon-Bibb County Commission is considering a $2.23 million contract to build a new senior center.

Savannah City Council’s proposed moratorium on new applications for new short-term rental registrations in Savannah caused a spate of new applications ahead of city action.

The Southeast Transportation Security Council will hold a one-day summit on cargo theft and countermeasures.

“We hope to reach area intermodal, drayage and logistics companies, pulling together law enforcement and the private sector to look at ways to combat this growing problem,” [SETC Board vice president Jac Greenlee] said.

“First, we want to share current intelligence regarding container cargo theft: what’s happening and how it’s happening.

“Second, the GBI major crimes unit will share their statistics on where this is taking place, identifying those yards whose security practices leave something to be desired.

“Finally, we’ll go over best practices — how to make sure your cargo is secure.”

The Annie E. Casey Foundation reports that Georgia scores low on measures of child welfare.

Georgia’s high prevalence of low-birthweight babies, some of whom end up in the [Neonatal Intensive Care] unit, is one reason the state continues to rank near the bottom in terms of child health and child welfare in the annual KIDS COUNT Data Book produced by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

Georgia ranked 42nd overall for the second year in a row, 38th in health, 34th in education but 44th in economic well-being.

The percentage of low-birthweight babies at 9.5 percent in 2015 is little changed from 2010 and well above the national average of 8.1 percent.

While the state has made significant improvement in reducing teen births from 41 per 1,000 to 26 per 1,000, other measures such as children living in single-parent families or in high-poverty areas have actually increased since 2010.

2018 Campaigns

The Democratic side of the 2018 Governor’s race starts with a yawn as the candidates highlight their respective rural childhoods.

Democratic State Rep. Stacey Abrams (Atlanta) highlights her upbringing in rural Mississippi.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams might represent a metro Atlanta district in the state House of Representatives, but she embraces and leans on her rural southern roots.

“I want to be governor for all of Georgia,” Abrams said during a meeting with supporters and others on Sunday at Miller Brothers RIb Shack in Dalton. “I am speaking for people who think their voice doesn’t matter anymore.”

Abrams was born in rural Mississippi and says she identifies with the concerns of rural Georgia. Her campaign, she said, is built around increased educational opportunities with a plan to make all technical and trade colleges free to all Georgians.

On economic development, Abrams said while the economy is tied to Atlanta, the health of the state will not be determined by big business but by economic development at the small business level.

“It isn’t about 1,500 jobs at one place,” she said. “It is about 15 jobs at 100 places across the state.”

One area Democrats hope to rally is the Latino population.

“The Latino population is 9.5 percent of the population of our state, but only 2 percent of voter turnout,” Abrams said. “We have to engage them early and engage them in meaningful ways.”

Democratic State Rep. Stacey Evans (Cobb County) highlights the poverty of her upbringing.

Sitting at a table and looking directly into the camera, Evans shares — with family photos and video footage — how she was born in Ringgold. Her mother, only 17 at the time, never finished high school, while her biological father wasn’t in the picture. She introduces the viewer to the man who adopted her when he married her mother, calling him Dad and describing him as a good man.

In her 18 years in Ringgold, Evans says she lived in 16 homes, most of them trailers and some of them now empty lots.

“Always one step ahead of a bill collector. Living like that affects a child. You end up looking for something you can hold onto.”

She’s running for governor “to be a champion for every family, for people who work hard and are trying to get ahead in an economy that leaves too many behind and seems more unfair in every way.”

“I remember what it was like to grow up in a family on the edge where you didn’t know what the future might hold or even where you might live next year. As governor, I’ll never forget that,” she says.

Kerwin Swint, a political science professor at Kennesaw State University, said the video was a good political piece.

“Professionally done, with thought given to what her message is, which comes through loud and clear. Her story will resonate with many Georgians,” Swint said.

Meanwhile, Stacey Abrams has resigned as Leader of the State House Democratic Caucus effective July 1.

Power Breakfast

Georgia Power says they have reached agreements that will allow them to move forward with construction of two nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle.

The project to build two new reactors at the complex near Augusta has been under a cloud since Westinghouse Electric, the main contractor, entered bankruptcy proceedings in late March.

Under the new deal, Westinghouse and parent Toshiba Corp. will still make good on guarantees to cover nearly $3.7 billion in previous overruns — money that will eventually reduce the effect on ratepayers.

Even with the payments, however, some experts have told the Georgia Public Service Commission the expansion may no longer be viable because disruptions from Westinghouse’s bankruptcy are expected to add years of delays and billions in additional cost overruns.

“We are happy to have Toshiba’s cooperation in connection with this agreement which provides a strong foundation for the future of these nuclear power plants,” Tom Fanning, Chief Executive of Southern Company, said in a statement.

A second agreement allows Georgia Power and Southern’s nuclear arm, Southern Nuclear, to continue using Westinghouse’s nuclear reactor designs and to rely on the company’s help on the project.

Georgia Power and Southern Nuclear could take over primary management or find a new contractor. The partners also could decide to shut down the project or convert all or part of it to other fuels.

The [Georgia Public Service Commission] will have to sign off on any option.

Right whales off the Georgia coast could be jeopardized by oil exploration and drilling, according to researchers.

Federal regulators at NOAA Fisheries announced recently they are moving forward with the issuance of “incidental harassment authorizations.” The authorizations allow companies that are proposing to conduct geophysical surveys in the Atlantic Ocean using seismic air guns to incidentally, but not intentionally, harass marine mammals.

After significant outcry against seismic exploration on the East Coast, including resolutions from 175 coastal cities including Savannah and Tybee Island, the Obama administration denied these permits. In April, however, President Donald Trump signed an executive order aimed at expanding offshore drilling and exploration. The order calls for a review of the current five-year program for oil and gas development on the Outer Continental Shelf and directs the administration to fast-track the permitting process for seismic airgun blasting for an area stretching from Delaware to Florida.

NOAA Fisheries estimates that right whales could experience up to 64 incidents of low-level harassment — defined as disruption of their behavior, including such basics as breathing, breeding, and feeding — for just the most disruptive of the five survey permits requested.

An estimated 400-500 right whales remain. They migrate from New England and Canada each winter to the waters off Georgia and Florida to give birth. By the end of the calving season in April this year, a disappointing three babies had been identified in the Southeast. Another two calves were spotted in New England, bringing the total to five, still far short of the average of 17.

Thousands of bottlenose Atlantic dolphins are also among the more than a dozen species expected to be impacted by the seismic testing. Other marine mammals included in the incidental harassment authorizations include humpback whales and harbor porpoises.

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