Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 30, 2018

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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 30, 2018

On August 30, 1888, Asa Griggs Candler bought one-third interest in the Coca-Cola company, bringing his total ownership to more than two-thirds of the company.

Georgia native Ty Cobb debuted with the Detroit Tigers on August 30, 1905.

On August 30, 1979, President Jimmy Carter reported being attacked by a rabbit near Plains, Georgia. Here’s an interview in which President Carter was asked about the rabbit incident.

Atlanta Mayor Bill Campbell was indicted on August 30, 2004 on racketeering, bribery and wire fraud charges and would later plead guilty to tax evasion.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Habersham County has admitted mistakes in the May 22d Primary Election for House District 28 and are not opposing a new election, according to AccessWDUN.

In a written statement issued Tuesday afternoon, Habersham County Commission Chairman provided details of the county’s position.

“The Habersham County Board of Commissioners has directed our county attorney to withdraw the Motion to Dismiss in the lawsuit contesting the May 22, 2018, House District 28 Primary Election,” Anderson’s statement reads.

In that House District 28 race, incumbent Rep. Dan Gasaway was defeated by challenger Chris Erwin by a 67-vote margin.

“Several things have been going on during the legal proceedings regarding that. Recently, it has come to light through the investigation that there was a number that exceeded the margin of differential in the election,” Anderson said. “The election was a 67-vote victory by Mr. Erwin, however there were more than 67 votes in Habersham County that were provided the wrong ballot one way or the other. Given that information and the fact that the motion was made to release the secretary of state from the lawsuit, Habersham County has moved to remove our request for dismissal based on procedural grounds, and also to further ask the courts to consider a new election for this seat.”

House District 28 covers parts of Habersham, Banks and Stephens counties.

Republican candidate for Governor Brian Kemp unveiled a tax cut for veterans, according to WJBF.

Brian Kemp unveiled his plan Wednesday alongside a host of Georgia lawmakers and veterans. The highlight: eliminating income tax from retired military pay. A page pulled from his runoff opponent Casey Cagle.

“The message is spread. Go to Texas, go to Florida…”

Because those states do not have income for veterans, or in some cases at all. Kemp says the plan helps veterans and businesses.

“I think you can tell by today that this plan has a good return on investment, by drawing veterans here and keeping the ones that we have here. Workforce development is a huge issue,” says Kemp.

Kemp’s plan also calls to put veterans’ transition centers on the campuses of all 22 Georgia technical colleges to help them get work skills. And for a military liaison to connect veterans to resources.

The General Assembly’s Joint Study Committee heard testimony on medical cannabis, according to the Dalton Daily Citizen.

The joint study committee is not the first to look at medical cannabis, but it’s the only one that has focused exclusively on access to a product that lawmakers have already approved for 16 conditions.

The panel heard Wednesday from some of those patients and caregivers, including a mom who said she buys marijuana on the street to make the oil at home for her child and a man who said he was diagnosed with brain cancer last year.

Jillian Wooton, who lives in Newman, said she relies on a secretive network to get the oil for her 11-year-old son who has epilepsy and autism. She said she was skeptical of the oil at first, but said the oil has dramatically reduced the number and duration of her son’s seizures. His speech also improved.

“It has to happen next session or there will be thousands of children and patients without medication,” she said, referring to in-state cultivation. “It’s very, very urgent.”

 

Congressman Steve Scalise (R-), who was shot last year at a Congressional softball practice, campaigned for Karen Handel, according to WSBTV.

“I’m doing well,” Scalise told Channel 2 political reporter Richard Elliot in an exclusive interview. “I’ve come a long way in a little over a year.”

Scalise, who has recovered from the wounds but still needs a cane to get around, said he also supports the Second Amendment.

“At the time, I was saved by people with guns who took the shooter down,” Scalise said. “I see every day how people are able to defend themselves and their families. That’s really at the heart and core of the Second Amendment.”

Superintendent Joy Davis will take over temporarily after the resignation of Superintendent Geye Hamby, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

“As the Buford City Schools Board of Education, we would like to apologize for the actions of our former superintendent,” board members said in the letter. “His language in no way reflects the sentiments of the Board of Education or School District. We recognize the hurt, anger and frustration the events of last week caused our students, parents and community.

“Racism is not condoned or acceptable in any manner.”

Davis is coming out of retirement to serve as the interim schools chief. She was Buford’s assistant superintendent from 2012 until she retired in 2017, and was the principal at Buford Academy before that, starting in 2005. Prior to working in Buford schools, Davis worked for Gwinnett County Public Schools, with her last role in that district being as an assistant principal.

The school board unanimously voted to bring her back to the district late Monday night after a lengthy board meeting, followed by an executive session.

The United States Senate confirmed R. Stan Baker as a new Judge for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia, according to the Savannah Morning News.

President Donald Trump nominated Baker in September to the lifetime post.

U.S. Sens. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., and David Perdue, R-Ga., applauded the Senate’s confirmation.

“Judge Stan Baker is a great and talented Georgian who is well-qualified for this position,” Isakson said in a press release. “His work as a litigator and his service on the bench have provided him with a deep grasp of legal procedure, and his record of distinguished service to our state gives me confidence that he will continue to serve us well.

“At his Senate hearing, Judge Baker confirmed what people in South Georgia already knew: He will bring to this role the same open-mindedness and fairness in his decision-making on the bench that he has delivered throughout his career.”

Perdue added, “Judge Stan Baker has an exceptional legal background, and there is no doubt in my mind that he will continue to serve his state and country with integrity as a U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of Georgia.”

Democratic candidate for Governor Stacey Abrams campaigned in Columbus and sat for an interview with WTVM.

Gwinnett County Commissioners voted to postpone a decision on a rezoning for “Project Rocket,” according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

The Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners postponed a decision on a special use permit for the project to build a four-story, 2.5 million square foot facility on West Park Place Boulevard that would be 80 feet tall, nearly twice as tall as what county zoning rules allow.

The property straddles the Gwinnett-DeKalb county line, however, and it’s being postponed to see what DeKalb officials do with its part of the property, where a driveway is proposed. Gwinnett commissioners will take it up again at its 2 p.m. meeting on Sept. 18.

It has been speculated that the facility could employ as many as 1,800 people because of the amount of parking it would have. In all, it would have 1,806 automobile parking spaces and 200 truck parking spaces, according to county documents. There would also be 65 loading dock doors on the west and south sides of the building.

But the project has brought opposition from residents in the area, on both sides of the county line, who are concerned about the truck traffic on Bermuda Drive as well as automobile traffic on West Park Place Boulevard.

Lake Park City Council voted to rollback the millage rate, according to the Valdosta Daily Times.

The city had tentatively adopted a millage rate of 7.552 mills, an increase of 0.16 mills. Without the tentative tax increase, the millage rate falls back to 7.392 mills.

Lake Park’s City Council held three public forums on the matter, the last of which was Tuesday just before a special called meeting to vote on the matter.

About a dozen people attended the last forum. All who chose to speak, as well as the authors of two letters to the council, called for the millage rate to be rolled back.

City Council had originally considered keeping the same millage rate which would have increased taxes.

The Whitfield County Board of Education rolled back the property tax millage rate, according to the Dalton Daily Citizen.

The unanimous vote by the commissioners set the millage rate at 9.312 mills, down from last year’s rate of 9.329 mills. The rollback is estimated to cost the county $194,000 in property tax collections, according to numbers provided by county administrative staff. If commissioners had decided to keep the millage rate steady, that would have meant an increase in tax collections compared to the prior year and under state law the county would have been required to hold three public hearings before voting.

The special tax districts’ millage rate remains at 3.438. That pays for services such as the fire department and the county’s portion of payments on the convention center. Residents outside of the city of Dalton are assessed the special tax districts tax.

Estimates from the office of Finance Director Alicia Vaughn project $47.3 million in revenues for the county for the current year with $25.2 million coming from property taxes. Final budget numbers for 2017 were higher than initial projections with $47.8 million in revenues and $25.5 million from property taxes.

Valdosta Mayor John Gayle announced the formaiton of a committee to study expanding municipal facilities and security, according to the Valdosta Daily Times.

Gayle said the City of Valdosta is growing, and with that growth, it is necessary for the city to look for new buildings to house staff and City Council members.

Currently, council members have no official offices, but the mayor sees an opportunity in the old Bank of America building at the corner of Patterson Street and Hill Avenue.

“We’re kind of on top of each other here in city hall. We have some space issues,” Gayle said. “Everything could be housed in (the old Bank of America) building with the exception of a few small departments.”

The Georgia Department of Public Health issued a warning after identifying human cases of West Nile virus, according to the Albany Herald.

Georgians are urged to protect themselves from mosquito bites, particularly when they are outside this Labor Day weekend. Mosquito season in Georgia typically lasts through October, sometimes longer, depending on the weather.

“Georgians can reduce the number of mosquitoes around their homes and yards by getting rid of standing water,” DPH Environmental Health Director Chris Rustin said. “Standing water is a breeding ground for mosquitoes that may be infected with West Nile virus and other mosquito-borne diseases.”

Symptoms of WNV include headache, fever, neck discomfort, muscle and joint aches, swollen lymph nodes and a rash. They usually develop three to 15 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. The elderly, those with compromised immune systems, or those with other underlying medical conditions are at greatest risk for complications from the disease.

Chatham Area Transit will add electric buses to its fleet, according to the Savannah Morning News.

The U.S. Department of Transportation on Friday announced a $1.5 million grant for electric buses and chargers for Chatham Area Transit through its Low- or No-Emission (Low-No) Grant program. CAT’s grant was one of $84.45 million in grant selections funding the deployment of transit buses and infrastructure that use electric or hybrid technologies. Fifty-two projects in 41 states will receive a share of the funding. CAT’s was the only project funded in Georgia.

“Communities across America will benefit from these investments in their transportation infrastructure,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.

The federal money is enough to add one electric bus plus four depot chargers, CAT CEO Curtis Koleber said in an email.

Columbus City Council approved $739k in Crime Prevention Grants, according to the Ledger-Enquirer.

Macon property owners will see a new garbage collection fee on their property tax bills this year, according to the Macon Telegraph.

The Gainesville Times looks at what Hall County is doing to improve school safety.

The school system has allocated about $700,000 in new funding for school safety measures since a deadly shooting in February at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.

“So far, the new security measures have been very well-received,” [West Hall Middle School Principal Ethan] Banks said, adding that new eye-level entrance cameras help officials monitor who is visiting the school.

This new safety technology also includes a silent alarm network and other emergency communication systems that were added to all schools after a successful pilot project in the spring, as well as new stun guns for school resource officers.

And the state is chipping in about $240,000 for the school district to improve security of its facilities over the next few years.

“The new measures — including additional security cameras and monitors at front entrances and electronic locks, where visitors must be ‘buzzed in’ to access the building — have been very effective at furthering security on our campus,” West Hall High Principal Ley Hathcock said. “We have revised and are continually reviewing and practicing our safety protocols, looking for any areas to improve.”

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