Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for April 8, 2019


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for April 8, 2019

Hank Aaron hit home run number 715 on April 8, 1974 to become the all-time home run champion, a title he holds to this day.

Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig wrote about what Aaron meant to baseball and America.

As the last major league player who was a part of the Negro leagues, he was one of the game’s most prominent bridges to integration. For 23 years on the field, this humble native of Mobile, Ala., represented the game with unfailing grace, overcoming obstacles that most of us could not even imagine. In the years since then, Hank has remained one of the most distinguished and revered figures in American public life.

Aaron himself spoke to the Associated Press about the 40th anniversary of his record-breaking home run.

Aaron’s record-breaking homer will be celebrated tonight before the Atlanta Braves’ home opener against the New York Mets.

Hate mail and threats made it impossible for him to savor the chase of Ruth’s revered record, but on Monday he said he’ll enjoy the anniversary because such old friends as former teammate Dusty Baker will return for the pregame ceremony.

Aaron, 80, said he has a greater appreciation for fans who still celebrate his career.

“It does. It means an awful lot to me,” Aaron said.

“I’m not one to go around bragging about certain things. I played the game because I loved the game. … I am quite thrilled that people say that he, whatever he did, should be appreciated. That makes me feel good.”

The Braves will wear an Aaron 40th anniversary patch on their uniform sleeves this season. An outfield sign at Turner Field also will mark the anniversary.

Before hitting the homer into the Braves’ bullpen beyond the left-field wall, Aaron told [Dusty] Baker what was about to happen.

“That I can remember like it was yesterday,” Baker said. “It was a cold, cold night in April. Hank told me, ‘I’m going to get this over with now.’ He knew every pitch that was coming. He had total recall of pitch sequences. He was as smart as they came.”

Aaron confirmed Baker’s tale on Monday: “I think that was right. I think I made that remark and made it to Dusty maybe three or four times. I just felt within myself that eventually before the night was over I was going to hit a home run.”

Kurt Cobain was found dead by his own hand on April 8, 1994.

Governor Zell Miller signed legislation proclaiming Gainesville, Georgia the Poultry Capital of the World on April 8, 1995.

The Square Dance became the official state folk dance on April 8, 1996, when Gov. Zell Miller signed legislation recognizing it.

On April 8, 2005, Eric Rudolph agreed to plead guilty to the fatal 1996 bombing at Atlanta’s Centennial Olympic Park.

The Masters Tournament was won on this date by Gene Sarazen (1935), Jack Burke, Jr. (1956), Nick Faldo (2nd win – 1990), Tiger Woods (2nd win – 2001), and former University of Georgia player Bubba Watson in 2012.

A local variation of the “no white before Easter” rule was proposed, which I can support. It holds that the wearing of white may commence in Augusta, Georgia, upon the opening of the Masters Tournament. This begins with the practice rounds, which started today.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Brian Kemp signed twenty one bills on Sine Die, April 2d.

On Tuesday, April 2, 2019, Governor Brian P. Kemp signed several bills ahead of the General Assembly’s adjournment sine die. Governor Kemp signed House Bills 21, 50, 51, 52, 54, 217, 284, 285, 304, 306, 316, 559, 574, 590, 597, 601, 602, 603, 607, 622, and 632.

Once the Georgia General Assembly adjourns sine die, the Governor has forty days to review a bill or resolution intended to have the effect of law and sign, veto, or take no action on the measure, allowing it to become law. The last day for the Governor to sign or veto a bill or resolution is May 12, 2019.

On February 15, Governor Kemp signed Senate Bill 25 – his first as Georgia’s 83rd Governor – to improve school bus safety for families and children across the Peach State. On March 12, Governor Kemp signed House Bill 30, the amended fiscal year 2019 budget. On March 27, the Governor signed the Patients First Act – Senate Bill 106.

On the same day, Gov. Kemp signed an Executive Order suspending Thomasville Mayor Greg Hobbs after Hobbs was indicted.

The Ledger-Enquirer fawns over former Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson, who is considering a campaign for United States Senate.

Teresa Pike [later Tomlinson] became a Republican, thanks to Max Davis, as all she knew of politics at the time was what she saw as a child.

She took part in student government before she graduated in 1983 from Chamblee High School and went off to school at Sweet Briar College in Lynchburg, Va., and later to law school at Atlanta’s Emory University.

“As a young person, I worked in the U.S. Senate, actually, for Sen. John Warner,” she said during an interview Thursday with the Ledger-Enquirer. Warner was a five-term Republican senator from Virginia, serving from 1979 to 2009. “I volunteered for his office, as a college student. I was actually on the payroll of Reagan-Bush, 1984. I was the only female member of quote, ‘Youth for Reagan.’ … I stuffed a lot of envelopes for Mack Mattingly.”

Tomlinson became disenchanted with the Republican Party’s shift to the right during the 1980s, and soon decided she didn’t fit there.

“I just can’t abide intolerance,” she said. “I think it’s antithetical to our concept of all men are created equal, and so I just fell out of step with them, related to that. What was most troubling to me was that the Republican Party came to use race, sexual orientation, religion, as a divisive means to get out the vote, and I thought that was just particularly cynical.”

Read more here:

The Associated Press looks at what the 2019 Session of the General Assembly left for later.

Several of Kemp’s main priorities — including teacher pay raises, a restrictive abortion ban and a Medicaid waiver authorization — translated into legislative action and were passed by the General Assembly.

But several other proposals introduced by lawmakers failed to move forward before the session’s end this past Tuesday. They include enhanced penalties for hate crimes, greater protections for actions driven by religious belief, a state takeover of Atlanta’s airport, and a 20-year extension on a jet fuel tax exemption.

A hate crimes bill that would have added penalties for those convicted of targeting certain groups passed the state House in March but failed to gain traction in the Senate amid concerns that crime victims wouldn’t be treated equally under the statute.

A plan for the state to take control of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport passed the Senate in early March, but encountered skepticism in the House amid strong opposition from city officials.

Former United States Senator Saxby Chambliss (R) doesn’t miss Washington, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Chambliss, who now works with a prestigious Atlanta-based law firm with a global reach, said he doesn’t particularly miss the hustle and bustle of Washington, especially in its current state of extreme partisanship. The former Georgia senator said when he announced in 2014 that he would not seek re-election that the unwillingness of members of the different political parties to work together was one of the primary reasons he was leaving politics behind.

“I don’t really miss Washington,” Chambliss said. “I do, however, miss working behind the scenes with friends and colleagues to push through legislation that was important to the American people. There just got to be less and less of that, as the members of the two parties refused to work together. It quit being about the American people, and that’s why I got into politics.”

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is looking into allegations of forgery and blackmail in Port Wentworth, according to the Savannah Morning News.

The investigation involves an alleged letter that Port Wentworth City Council member Debbie Johnson said had been left at her home. Johnson informed the council and mayor of the letter via email dated March 13. Johnson’s emails were obtained by the Savannah Morning News through the Georgia Open Records Act. The open records request was made for Councilman Thomas Barbee’s emails. Johnson’s email had been sent to Barbee, the mayor and other council members from her work email account.

In the email to council members and the mayor, Johnson said the letter contained an accusation against the city attorney, James Coursey Jr.

Port Wentworth Mayor Gary Norton declined to answer questions Friday regarding the contents of the letter or any other questions about the investigation.

“I don’t think I can given the ongoing investigation,” Norton said.

A panel gathered in Savannah to discuss race relations, according to the Savannah Morning News.

The panel of five included Lisa Ring, the 2020 Democratic challenger for Georgia’s 1st Congressional District; John McMasters, a former Chatham County Commissioner; Jolene Byrne, a former Savannah-Chatham County School Board president; Terry Tolbert, the chairman of the Chatham County Board of Assessors; and Ricardo Manuel, Pastor at Second Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church.

At the start of the meeting, Lawrence Bryan III referenced a March 27 meeting which featured two black Savannah mayoral candidates.

Signs reading “Black press only” were hung on the doors of the church where the March 27 meeting was held, and white reporters were barred from entry. Black reporters for at least two local television stations were permitted inside.

“I think the city needs this, especially in the wake of what happened,” Lawrence Bryan III said on Sunday. “What happened was tragic, in the sense that Van Johnson and Teddy Williams had a bad day. They made a mistake. Neither of those guys is racist.”

The Mayor and City Council of Statesboro have filled out their brackets and reached the final four of city manager applicants, according to the Statesboro Herald.

Chatham County District Attorney Meg Heap‘s office is asking to remove Chatham County Superior Court Judge John E. Morse Jr. from consideration of some cases, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Morse’s “desire to control the district attorney’s office and do things the way he wants them done” has shown a “bias that has already affected his decision-making in these cases,” Thompson said.

Chatham County District Attorney Meg Heap and her assistants are attempting to remove Morse, who is a former assistant district attorney in Chatham County, from presiding at the trials of two defendants because of what the contend it is a “systematic bias” against their office and in favor of the defense in each case.

[Assistant District Attorney Brad] Thompson emphasized that the challenge involves only those two cases and that any finding in those cases cannot be used in any other criminal cases before Morse.

The Glynn County Board of Elections will discuss applicants for supervisor of elections and registration, according to The Brunswick News.

The state is still in the purchasing process [for new voting machines] and hasn’t made a decision on which machines to buy, said Patricia Gibson, the board’s chairwoman. She doesn’t expect the decision to be made for another few weeks.

“Until we know that, we really are kind of in limbo,” Gibson said. “I did learn at the end of the conference that they have selected 12 sites of municipal elections to use the machines (the state selects). We volunteered, but we aren’t one of those … If one is near enough to us, then we would certainly try to send someone just to see how they do.”

In other business, the board plans to talk about applications for the elections and registration supervisor role in a closed session.

“Applications have been closed, and each of the (board) members has a copy of the applications,” Gibson said. “We will be going into executive session and determining which ones the board wants to interview.”

State Rep. Pedro Marin (D-Norcross) told the Gwinnett Daily Post he will not run for the seventh Congressional district seat being vacated by Congressman Rob Woodall (R-Suburbia).

“During the 2019 legislative session, we saw efforts to undermine local control and deny Gwinnett voters a meaningful opportunity to vote on expanding transit,” Marin said. “We also saw an unprecedented attack on the constitutional rights of women and passage of vulnerable voting machines that threatens the integrity of our elections.

“It is clear that we need greater accountability in the Georgia House and leaders who will advocate for the best interest of those they serve, rather than their personal ideology or political ambitions.”

The open congressional race has already attracted Georgia State University professor Carolyn Bourdeaux, Snellville attorney Marqus Cole, former Fulton County commission chairman John Eaves and Nabilah Islam, who was Hillary Clinton’s Southern States deputy finance director in 2016, on the Democratic side.

No Republican candidate has officially announced a run for the seat or has filed paperwork with the Federal Elections Commission to pursue the office.

The Oglethorpe Power Board of Directors reelected Chairman Bobby C. Smith and Vice Chair Marshall S. Millwood, according to the Gainesville Times.

Rome City Commission will hear the State of the City presented by City Manager Sammy Rich tonight, according to the Rome News-Tribune.

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