Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for December 10, 2018

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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for December 10, 2018

Solomon’s Masonic Lodge, the first in Georgia, was organized on December 10, 1735. Upon his return to the colony, James Oglethorpe would join the group.

Patriots captured liberated Virginia on December 9, 1775 as militias from Virginia and North Carolina defeated the redcoats at Great Bridge.

John Jay was elected President of the Continental Congress on December 10, 1778.

On December 7, 1801, Georgia’s United States Senator Abraham Baldwin was elected President Pro Tem of the Senate.

Emory College was incorporated on December 10, 1836, as Governor William Schley signed legislation chartering the school.

On December 10, 1850, a special convention met in Milledgeville to determine the state’s reaction to the Compromise of 1850, a series of five bills passed in Congress attempting to deal with issues between slave states and free states.

The [Georgia] platform established Georgia’s conditional acceptance of the Compromise of 1850. Much of the document followed a draft written by Charles Jones Jenkins and represented a collaboration between Georgia Whigs and moderate Democrats dedicated to preserving the Union. In effect, the proclamation accepted the measures of the compromise so long as the North complied with the Fugitive Slave Act and would no longer attempt to ban the expansion of slavery into new territories and states. Northern contempt for these conditions, the platform warned, would make secession inevitable.

This qualified endorsement of the Compromise of 1850 essentially undermined the movement for immediate secession throughout the South. Newspapers across the nation credited Georgia with saving the Union.

President Abraham Lincoln issued his Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction on December 8, 1863.

First, it allowed for a full pardon for and restoration of property to all engaged in the rebellion with the exception of the highest Confederate officials and military leaders.

Second, it allowed for a new state government to be formed when 10 percent of the eligible voters had taken an oath of allegiance to the United States.

Third, the Southern states admitted in this fashion were encouraged to enact plans to deal with the freed slaves so long as their freedom was not compromised.

On December 9, 1867, a Constitutional Convention to draft a new state document convened in Atlanta. Among the 166 to 169 delegates elected to the Constitutional Convention were 33 or 37 African-American members – accounts vary.

The Atlanta City Council appointed the first Board of Education on December 10, 1869.

The Spanish-American War was ended on December 10, 1898, with the signing of the Treaty of Paris.

On December 8, 1899, Georgia Governor Allen Candler signed legislation to levy a tax on all dogs older than four months.

On December 7, 1941, Japanese carrier-launched planes attacked the United States at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The United States declared war on Japan on December 8, 1941. Montana Congresswoman Jeanette Rankin, the first female elected to the United States House of Representatives, cast the sole dissenting vote.

GeorgiaInfo has the reactions of Georgia leaders to the Pearl Harbor attack,

U.S. Sen. Walter F. George stated: “Japan’s deed is an act of desperation by a war-mad people. The attack on Hawaii is a deliberate act of the Japanese government. I am utterly amazed. It is unthinkable… . An open declaration of war will give us greater freedom of action.” Noting the vastness of the Pacific Ocean, George optimistically predicted that “it may take two or three years to fight this war to the end.”

U.S. Sen. Richard B. Russell responded to the attack by stating: “Japan has committed national hari-kari. I cannot conceive of any member of Congress voting against a declaration of war in view of the unpardonable, unprovoked attack on us. I am utterly astounded.”

U.S. Rep. Carl Vinson, chairman of the House Naval Affairs Committee, added: “Of course we will have to declare war. There is nothing else for Congress to do. This is a concerted action by the Axis Powers, but I am confident our Navy is ready and will render a glorious account of itself. It probably means we will be drawn into the world conflict on both oceans.”

Chief Boatswain’s Mate Joseph L. George was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal with V device for valor for his actions aboard USS Vestal at Pearl Harbor.

George, a second class petty officer at the time, saved the lives of several sailors from the battleship USS Arizona. He survived the war and retired from the Navy in 1955 but passed away in 1996.

The Bronze Star Medal will be presented by Rear Adm. Matthew J. Carter, deputy commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, to George’s daughter, Joe Ann Taylor, today during a 4:30 p.m. (Hawaii-Aleutian time) ceremony at the USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor.

“The presentation of the medals is not only appropriate but simply the right thing to do,” Spencer said in a release sent out by the Navy. “One of my highest priorities is to honor the service and sacrifice of our sailors, Marines, civilians, and family members. It is clear that Lt. (Aloysious H.) Schmitt and Chief George are heroes whose service and sacrifice will stand as an example for current and future service members.”

In addition to George’s Bronze Star, the secretary also awarded the Silver Star Medal to Lt. j.g. Schmitt for action at Pearl Harbor while serving on the battleship USS Oklahoma.

The Augusta Chronicle profiles the last known Pearl Harbor veteran in the area.

[Alvin] Mays, an Army veteran, had been assigned to the 21st infantry, 24th Division, at Schofield Barracks when the attack occurred. He reflected Monday on the Japanese fighter planes that flew overhead, spraying those below with bullets, following the bombing of the U.S. naval base, located near Honolulu, Hawaii.

“I just had walked out of the mess hall that morning and heard all the bombing and everything sounding off at a distance,” Mays said . “Just minutes after that we began to see the planes flying over. They came in striking the 21st infantry at treetop level and lucky for us we did not have any casualties that morning.”

Mays, who served as a mechanic, was assigned to the base after enlisting in 1941. He was 18. Following the Pearl Harbor attack, Mays deployed to Australia, then to the Philippines where he fought on the front lines before being ordered back to the States.

“When I got to Hawaii, I didn’t take any basic training,” he said. “That was very unusual, but they were just motorizing their infantry at that time. I went straight into the motor pool and that’s where I stayed until MacArthur signed the treaty.”

From the Ledger-Enquirer on the role played by Georgia Congressman Carl Vinson in building the U.S. Navy before the attack at Pearl Harbor.

For nearly a decade before Pearl Harbor, Vinson had schemed and politicked in brilliant fashion to ensure that America was building a two-ocean navy larger than all the major navies of the world combined.

Vinson had assumed in the mid-1930s that fascist Japan and Germany posed existential threats to the United States. For America to survive, he saw that America would need mastery of the seas to transport its armies across the Pacific and Atlantic.

From 1934 to 1940, Vinson pushed through Congress four major naval appropriations bills. The result was that the U.S. Pacific Fleet which Japan thought it had almost destroyed in December 1941 was already slated to be replaced by a far larger and updated armada.

A little more than seven months after Pearl Harbor, the USS Essex — the finest carrier in the world — was launched. Essex was the first of 24 such state-of-the-art fleet carriers of its class to be built during the war.

Vinson’s various prewar naval construction bills also ensured the launching of hundreds of modern battleships, cruisers, destroyers and submarines. As bombs fell at Pearl Harbor, ships of the new American fleet were soon to be deployed, under construction or already authorized.

Vinson’s foresight would save thousands of American lives in the Atlantic and Pacific. American naval power quickly allowed the U.S. to fight a two-front war against Japan, Germany and Italy.

Vinson, a rural Georgian, was an unlikely advocate of global naval supremacy.

On December 7, 1946, the Winecoff Hotel in downtown Atlanta, previously considered fireproof, burned in the worst hotel fire to date.

Gregg Allman was born December 8, 1947 in Nashville, Tennessee.

The Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on December 10, 1964 in Oslo, Norway, becoming the youngest recipient of the award.

John Lennon was shot and killed outside his apartment building in New York City on December 8, 1980.

Jimmy Carter was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on December 10, 2002.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Nathan Deal announced that November tax revenues were down by .7 percent over last year.

Georgia’s net tax collections for November totaled $1.83 billion, for a decrease of $13.1 million, or -0.7 percent, compared to last year when net tax collections totaled roughly $1.84 billion. Year-to-date, net tax revenue collections totaled almost $9.66 billion, for an increase of $619.4 million, or 6.9 percent, compared to November 2017, when tax revenues totaled approximately $9.04 billion.

Governor Deal announced several judicial appointments.

Gov. Nathan Deal today announced appointments to fill several judicial vacancies. The Honorable Todd Markle will fill the vacancy on the Court of Appeals of Georgia created by the appointment and confirmation of the Honorable William M. Ray II to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia. The Honorable Mark H. Murphy will fill the vacancy in the Tallapoosa Judicial Circuit created by the resignation of the Honorable Michael L. Murphy. The Honorable Pandora E. Palmer will fill the vacancy in the State Court of Henry County created by the resignation of the Honorable James T. Chafin III. The Honorable J. Skye Gess will fill the solicitor general vacancy within the State Court of Baldwin County created by the passing of the Honorable Maxine Blackwell Gonzalez.

The appointments will take effect upon swearing in.

D. Todd Markle, Court of Appeals of Georgia
Markle is the Superior Court Judge for the Atlanta Judicial Circuit and previously served as Gov. Deal’s executive counsel. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Georgia and a law degree from the Walter F. George School of Law at Mercer University. Markle and his wife, Beverly, have two children and reside in Atlanta.

Mark H. Murphy, Tallapoosa Judicial Circuit
Murphy is the Juvenile Court Judge for the Tallapoosa Judicial Circuit. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Georgia Tech and a law degree from the Georgia State University College of Law. Murphy has three children and lives in Cedartown.

Pandora E. Palmer, Henry County State Court
Palmer is the owner of Pandora E. Palmer, P.C. in McDonough. She earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Georgia and a law degree from the Georgia State University College of Law. Palmer and her husband, Keith, have two children and reside in McDonough.

J. Skye Gess, Baldwin County Solicitor General
Gess is an assistant district attorney for the Ocmulgee Judicial Circuit. She earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Georgia and a law degree from the Walter F. George School of Law at Mercer University. Gess and her husband, Joshua, live in Sparta.

Georgia native Nick Ayers will not accept the job as White House Chief of Staff in the Trump Administration, according to the New York Times.

Nick Ayers, the main focus of President Trump’s search to replace John F. Kelly as chief of staff in recent weeks, said on Sunday that he was leaving the administration at the end of the year. Mr. Ayers, 36, the chief of staff to Vice President Mike Pence, is returning to Georgia with his wife and three young children, according to people familiar with his plans.

The president on Sunday disputed news reports that he had settled on Mr. Ayers as his pick. “I am in the process of interviewing some really great people for the position of White House Chief of Staff,” he said on Twitter. “Fake News has been saying with certainty it was Nick Ayers, a spectacular person who will always be with our #MAGA agenda. I will be making a decision soon!”

But two people close to Mr. Trump said that a news release announcing Mr. Ayers’s appointment had been drafted, and that the president had wanted to announce it as soon as possible.

Kellyanne Conway, an adviser to the president, said Mr. Ayers’s “unique qualification was that he had been doing the same job for the vice president.” But “those of us with young kids very well understand the personal decision he made,” she said.

And Mr. Ayers, who has been seen as a potential candidate for statewide office in Georgia, could have potentially faced a fate shared by many who have left the administration: a diminished public standing after an ugly parting with a mercurial president who often insults his former aides on Twitter.

The Re-Do Election for State House District 28 may have been decided by two votes, according to the AJC.

After about a dozen outstanding provisional and absentee ballots were tallied, Chris Erwin’s lead over state Rep. Dan Gasaway narrowed from three votes to two votes.

The repeat election was ordered by a judge because dozens of voters received ballots for the wrong districts in the May GOP primary. No Democrat was on the ballot, so the winner will represent the district spanning three northeast Georgia counties.

While Erwin has declared victory and said he’s ready to “put campaign politics behind us,” Gasaway is raising the specter of a court fight as he questioned whether Habersham County officials wrongly accepted two provisional ballots.

“I don’t believe the outcome tonight is accurate, and we can prove that,” Gasaway told WDUN after the ballots were accepted. “I hated we could not get some kind of resolution with this board when they clearly had illegal votes being cast in Habersham County.”

State Rep. Renitta Shannon (D) will boycott Governor Elect Brian Kemp’s speech this week at the legislative Biennial Institute in Athens, according to ProjectQ.

“Brian Kemp ran a campaign of hate against half of Georgia, targeting voters of color (of which the majority are black), immigrants, women and the LGBTQ community,” Shannon (top photo) said in a statement to the AJC. “I am sick and tired of conservatives across the country running hateful campaigns and then expecting everyone to go back to business as usual after campaign season.”

Shannon plans to boycott Kemp’s speech at the legislative biennial conference in Athens on Dec. 11. The annual gathering of Georgia legislators serves as orientation for new lawmakers and includes policy sessions on a number of topics for all members of the legislature.

She’ll be joined in the boycott of Kemp’s speech by state Rep. Sandra Scott, a Democrat who is running to chair the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus, according to the AJC.

Shannon — a Democrat from Decatur — won her second term in office in the November election. She came out as bisexual on the eve of National Coming Out Day in 2017 and marched in the Atlanta Pride parade days after the announcement.

With gay attorney Matthew Wilson’s win in a hotly contested seat in Brookhaven, that makes five openly LGBTQ members of the Georgia legislature — the most in state history.

Jill Nolin writes for CNHI about the rural-urban divide in Georgia state politics.

Conservatives finished off the clean sweep with two runoff contests last week that kept the Secretary of State’s Office and the entire five-member Public Service Commission in Republican control.

But beneath the surface of those high-level Republican victories was a shifting political landscape that yielded the tightest margins of victory in decades and ousted several Republican lawmakers in the Atlanta area.

Republican Brian Kemp, who had President Donald Trump’s backing since the primary, won the governor’s race with about 1.4 percent of the vote – a difference of just 54,723 votes. It was the state’s closest gubernatorial contest in 50 years.

Kemp campaigned almost exclusively in rural counties, where he succeeded in running up the score in the state’s most conservative counties – even outperforming Trump in some places.

Stacey Abrams, his Democratic opponent, meanwhile was buoyed by support from urban and suburban Atlanta counties, although turnout fell short of what was needed from the metro area to tilt the statewide outcome in her favor.

Two-thirds of Georgia voters were white in 2010, according to analysis from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. That decreased to 64 percent in 2014 and then down to 61 percent two years ago. In this year’s midterm, they represented 59 percent of the electorate.

But the electorate was also older this year, according to the AJC analysis. About 52 percent of voters were older than 52, which is a 5 percent jump from two years ago.

Rural, small-town white Georgians make up 26 percent of the electorate, and 82 percent of them backed Republican House candidates, according to the Associated Press. Suburban whites – 68 percent of which favor Republicans – comprise another 30 percent of voters. About 52 percent of urban white voters, meanwhile, lean to the left.

Chatham County Juvenile Court has opened a new location to address youth issues, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Newly renamed The Front Porch, the site at 2203 Abercorn St. will house a collaborative group of community agencies designed to access and assist children and youth at low-risk of re-offending with plans to address underlying issues.

“The real goal is to increase public safety,” said Chatham County Juvenile Court Presiding Judge LeRoy Burke III, whose judges spearheaded the effort beginning in 2015.

A secondary benefit will be providing services that might steer children and parents away from action in Juvenile Court.

The center will be involved in assessments and referrals to cooperating agencies, Burke said, adding that follow-up actions will occur off-site.

“We’re bringing children in need of services,” he said, not delinquents. “And (we’re) reducing wear and tear on the families in dealing with resources.”

Glynn County Commissioners approved a budget request by the elections division to modernize their voter files, according to The Brunswick News.

During the public comment period, Jeff Kilgore directed attention to a number of items on the commissioners’ consent agenda and questioned the called-for spending. That included No. 7 on the agenda, which was a request for approval to hire “two temporary full-time employees for the Board of Elections for the span of one calendar year to scan registration cards into their electronic system and increase the BOE (Fiscal Year 2019) budget in the amount of $40,716 with funding to be provided from the County Manager’s Contingency Fund.”

Commissioner Bob Coleman requested that item be pulled from the consent agenda, along with items asking for $85,000 for temporary staff for the Property Assessor’s Office and a resolution to amend the FY 2018-19 budget.

“The big issue in verifying voters is that the voter information in Glynn County has always been kept on voter registration cards — on a piece of paper,” Browning said. “Voter information, with a signature. And you have votes, provisional votes or any other kind of vote that comes in that’s not out of the machine, they have to go back and check that information, where a vote has to be verified. All that’s done manually here in Glynn County.

“And there is a room — I’ll invite anybody to go down and look at it — but there is a room that is chock full of everybody that has ever registered to vote in Glynn County, that their registration for some good reason hasn’t been purged already. And apparently we have some that are, Commissioner Murphy talked about, sounds like they should be purged, the age that these voters apparently are today.

“But what’s happening there is, every time we have to approve — I say approve, every time the Board of Elections has to verify a vote, they have to go in that room and pull that card. I mean, you need to go in there and look at it. I was amazed that there were that many registrations in Glynn County. It is tends of thousands of them. And I’m sure they have been struggling with this for years, after seeing what I saw a couple weeks ago.”

The Gwinnett County Commission will hold budget hearings this week, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

The county commission will hold a public hearing at 7 p.m. Monday at the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center to give residents a chance to weigh in on the proposed budget. The budget includes 168 new positions, but there is a heavy public safety focus with several of the new positions slated to be for the Sheriff’s Office and police and fire departments.

It also includes a 4 percent pay for performance increase and a mid-year 3 percent market adjustment, well as $768,937 for the March 19 special election on the county’s MARTA referendum.

County commissioners will vote on adoption of the budget on Jan. 3.

Rome City Commission will hold budget hearing today, according to the Rome News-Tribune.

A public hearing on Rome’s proposed 2019 budgets is set for tonight at the City Commission meeting. No property tax increase is planned.

Employee merit raises of up to 4 percent are included in the general fund, which covers maintenance and operational expenses. Finance Director Sheree Shore told the city finance committee she is expecting a slight increase in the tax digest — the value of taxable property — next year.

Commissioners also plan to accept on first readings two proposed ordinances regulating activity downtown. One would establish a ban on smoking and vaping along Broad Street and the side alleys. The other would prohibit food trucks and other vendors on public property.

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