Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for April 12, 2018

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Apr

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for April 12, 2018

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.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Georgia Gwinnett College awarded Gwinnett County the 2018 Georgia Gwinnett College for work with historic sites, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency discovered more than a million dollars worth of methamphetamine hidden in wax Disney figures.

The City of Cleveland is pushing Windstream for an audit under Georgia state law, according to AccessWDUN.

During its meeting this week, the Cleveland City Council adopted a resolution stating Windstream is in violation of Georgia Code concerning the franchising of cable and video services because of failure to comply with an audit request of business records.

City Administrator Tom O’Bryant said during the meeting that in 2014 the city approved franchise fees for cable and video services. As part of that resolution, licensed providers such as Windstream are required to submit franchise fees, but also can be called on to provide an audit to make sure the correct fees are being remitted.

A special election for Hoschton City Council on May 22d has drawn three challengers.

Melissa Broy, Tracy Carswell and Hope Weeks will be competing to fill the remainder of the term left behind by Tracy Jordan, who resigned March 7 to pursue the Georgia Insurance Commissioner post, Hoschton City Administator April Plank confirmed to AccessWDUN.

Hall County will see a debate between Democratic challengers to Republican State Rep. Emory Dunahoo (Gainesville). From the Gainesville Times:

The Hall County Democrats will host a debate Monday, April 16, for the two Democrats running for the state House seat held by Rep. Emory Dunahoo, R-Gillsville, who is running for re-election.

Patrick Anderson and Alana Watkins are the Democrats in the race. The House District 30 debate will be held at 6:30 p.m. Monday at the Spout Springs branch of the Hall County Library System, which is located at 6488 Spout Springs Road in Flowery Branch.

The Augusta Metro Spirit looks at the candidates for an open seat on the Richmond County State Court.

When voters head to the polls for the May 22 election, they’ll see two familiar names running for Richmond County’s state court judge: local attorneys Robert “Bo” Hunter III and Monique Walker.

Just two years ago, Hunter and Walker faced one another in a three-person race for the State Court seat that was vacated by Judge John Flythe.

During that race, both Hunter and Walker ended up losing to Kellie Kenner McIntyre, who was then the Richmond County State Court solicitor general.

Just last year, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal announced that he had selected Hunter to be Richmond County’s newest state court judge to fill the seat of retiring Richmond County State Court Chief Judge Richard Slaby.

But this time around, Walker is back to challenge Hunter for the seat and she’s once again getting support from another former Georgia governor: Roy Barnes.

An election for Brunswick-Glynn County Joint Water and Sewer Commission has drawn two challengers to the incumbent, according to the Brunswick News.

Audrey Gibbons and Patrick Duncan will be facing off against incumbent Clifford Adams in the primary on May 22. The winner will either be decided in the primary or in a runoff, should none of the three get more than 50 percent of the votes.

The incumbent, Clifford Adams, has lived in the Golden Isles for 55 years, and worked for multiple utilities for 20 years. He was working as a builder when housing bubble burst in the Great Recession, at which point he decided to retire, he said.

He is finishing up his second term despite being in office for four years. His first two terms were two-year terms. The term was later increased to four by the Georgia General Assembly.

The City of Savannah has a $10 million surplus as it closes out the FY 2017 budget, according to the Savannah Morning News.

The surplus stemmed from a combination of about $5.2 million in revenue coming in higher than anticipated, in addition to expenses coming in about $4.7 million below budgeted amounts after the city implemented a hiring freeze last year, said City Manager Rob Hernandez.

Most of the growth was from elastic revenues, such as lodging and sales taxes, that expand and contract with strength of economy, Hernandez said.

“We have a general idea how the economy is going to perform but it’s a guess and science at the same time,” he said. “So in 2018 our budgeting numbers are a bit more optimistic than they were when we put together the ’17 budget, but something could happen tomorrow.”

The Federal Aviation Administration will hear public comments this week on the developing Camden County Spaceport, according to WABE.

Kevin Lang owns property on Little Cumberland Island, which lies in the path of the suggested launch trajectories. He called the project “about as clear and present of a threat as we’ve ever seen to [the island].”

The report projects a 2.5 to 6 percent failure rate for rocket launches at the Camden spaceport. Lang said that implies exploding rockets will be “part and parcel” of the facility.

He said the proposed launch paths over inhabited land are unprecedented in the United States and conflict with landowners’ property rights.

“The FAA has never permitted a spaceport where rockets fly up and over a community,” he said. “We want to make sure the FAA understands that we are a community.”

Yesterday, public commenters addressed the FAA’s proposal for the Spaceport, according to the Brunswick News.

The public got a chance Wednesday to voice their opinions at the first of two public hearings by the FAA in Kingsland to address the environmental impact statement that led to the recommendation to allow a commercial spaceport to be established. A second meeting will be held today from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Camden County Recreation Center gymnasium in Kingsland to discuss the issue.

Dick Parker, a property owner on Little Cumberland Island said the study misstated the facts about failure rates for rocket launches, which are anywhere from 2.5 percent to 6 percent.

Parker also questioned why residents, campers and National Park Service staff who live or stay in the launch safety zone are designated “authorized” people who can stay on the island during a launch.

David Kyler, director for the Center for a Sustainable Coast, said he was very disturbed by the environmental impact statement, which he said was filled with “lots of errors” and superficial analysis.

State Rep. Jason Spencer, R-Woodbine, said most Camden County residents support a spaceport. It’s the visitors and part-time residents who oppose the project by using the area’s natural beauty to “hinder development” in Camden County.

“We are a proud people who cherish our streams,” he said. “Georgia is ready to become a leader in space.”

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development awarded a $64.9 million grant to Georgia for disaster recovery related to January 2017 tornadoes and Hurricane Irma. From the Albany Herald:

Dougherty County Commission Chairman Chris Cohilas reacted to the announcement by first offering thanks to the Albany, state and federal officials who coordinated the efforts to achieve this award.

“On behalf of the citizens of Dougherty County, I want to express my deep gratitude to the many people and agencies that worked hard to achieve this result for the state of Georgia, and for Dougherty County,” the chairman said in a statement. “We have been proud to partner with the state and our congressional delegation in working towards this goal.

“First, I want to thank Governor Nathan Deal, who took the time to tour the damage from our county’s 2017 disasters, and personally submitted a request to Congress for funding on behalf of the state, and Dougherty County. I also want to express deep thanks to Senators (Johnny) Isakson and (David) Perdue, and Congressman (Sanford) Bishop, who all worked tirelessly to make sure that Georgia and Dougherty County’s needs were addressed through a sizable award. I also thank HUD Secretary Ben Carson and Deputy Secretary Pam Patenaude for providing direct engagement between Dougherty County and their dedicated staff.

“Finally, and importantly, I want to thank Interim County Administrator, Michael McCoy, and the many members of Dougherty County’s Long Term Recovery Committee that worked diligently to produce a high-level recovery plan that was submitted in support of Georgia’s and Dougherty County’s request.”

Dalton City Council wants to sell the historic depot after 2017 efforts produced no buyers.

Monroe County has lost more than $11,000 in street signs to thiefs.

The sheriff’s office issues a stern warning for the perceived pranksters.

“The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office would like to remind the public that the theft of road signs is a felony punishable up to 15 years in the State of Georgia,” the release stated.

The Burke County Sheriff’s Office distributed hundreds of cases of donated water to residents after a water main broke.

Congressman Buddy Carter questions Mark Zuckerberg

Following is a transcript provided by Rep. Carter’s office:

Rep. Carter: Thank you for being here, we do appreciate it. You know you wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the privacy, people’s information, the fact that you had this lapse. You know all about fake news, you know all about foreign intervention, I know you’re concerned about that. I want to talk about a few different subjects if you will, and I’d like to ask you just some yes or no questions. Please excuse my redundancy, I know that some members have already asked you about some of these subjects, but I would like to ask you… Mr. Zuckerberg, did you know that 91 people die everyday because of opioid addiction. Yes or no? Did you know that? 91 people everyday.

Mark Zuckerberg: I did not know that specifically.

Rep. Carter: Did you know that it’s estimated to be between 2.5 and 11.5 million people in this country right now that are addicted to opioids?

Mark Zuckerberg: Yes

Rep. Carter: Okay, did you know that the average age of Americans has decreased for the first time in decades as a result of the opioid epidemic?

Mark Zuckerberg: Yes, especially among certain demographics.

Rep. Carter: Absolutely. I ask you this because, some of the other members have mentioned about the ads for Fentanyl and other illicit drugs that are on the internet where you can buy them and about your responsibility to monitor that and make sure it’s not happening. I had the opportunity this past week to speak at the RX Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit in Atlanta that Representative Hal Rogers started some years ago. Also we had the FDA Commissioner there and he mentioned the fact that he’s going to be meeting with CEO’s of internet companies to discuss this problem. I hope that you will be willing to at least have someone there to meet with him so that we can get your help in this. This is extremely important.

Mark Zuckerberg: Congressman, I will make sure that someone is there.

Rep. Carter: Okay, let me ask you another question. Mr. Zuckerberg did you know that there are conservation groups that have provided evidence to the Securities and Exchange Commission that endangered wildlife goods, in particular ivory, is extensively traded on closed groups on Facebook?

Mark Zuckerberg:  Congressman, I was not specifically aware of that, but I think we know that there are issues with content like this, that’s why we need to do more proactive monitoring.

Rep. Carter: Alright, let me ask you this. Did you know that there are some conservation groups that assert that there is so much ivory being sold on Facebook that it’s literally contributing to the extinction of the elephant species.

Mark Zuckerberg: Congressman, I had not heard that.

Rep. Carter: Okay, and did you know that the Motion Picture Association of America is having problems with piracy, of movies and of their products and that not only is this challenging their profit but their very existence. Did you know that was a problem?

Mark Zuckerberg: Congressman, I believe that has been an issue for a long time.

Rep. Carter: It has been, it has been, so you did know that? Well the reason I ask you this is that I just want to make sure that I understand that you have an understanding of a commitment—you  said earlier, may have been yesterday, that you said hate speech is difficult to discern, and I get that, I understand that, and you’re absolutely right, but these things are not. And we need your help with this, now I will tell you that there are members of this body who would like to see the internet monitored as utility. I am not one of those, I believe that would be the worst thing we could do. I believe it would stifle innovation, I don’t think you can legislate morality, and I don’t want to try to do that but we need commitment from you that these things that can be controlled like this, that you will help us and that you’ll work with law enforcement to help us with this. And look, you love America, I know that, we all know that but we need your help here. I don’t want Congress to have to act. You want to see a mess, you let the federal government to get into this, and you’ll see a mess, I assure you. Please, we need your help with this, listen I just need that commitment, can I get that commitment.

Mark Zuckerberg: Congressman, yes we take this very seriously. That’s a big part of the reason, overall these content issues, why by the end of this year we’re going to have more than 20,000 people working on security and content review, and we need to build more tools too.

Rep. Carter: Thank you very much.

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