Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for April 22, 2019


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for April 22, 2019

On April 22, 1891, Asa Candler bought the recipe for Coca-Cola for $2300 and eventually turned its marketing from a “brain tonic” into a plain old tasty beverage.

Adolf Hitler admitted defeat in World War II on April 22, 1945.

The Atlanta Braves won their first home game in Atlanta Stadium on April 22, 1966. The Braves beat the New York Mets 8-4. It’s interesting to look back at how the Braves landed in Atlanta.

During his 1961 campaign for mayor of Atlanta, Ivan Allen, Jr. promised to build a sports facility to attract a Major League Baseball team. After winning office, Allen chose a 47-acre plot in the Washington–Rawson neighborhood for the building site, citing its proximity to the Georgia State Capitol, downtown businesses and major highways. Allen, along with Atlanta Journal sports editor Furman Bisher, attempted to persuade Charlie Finley, owner of the Kansas City Athletics, to move his team to Atlanta. Finley was receptive and began discussing stadium design plans with Allen. The deal, however, ended in July 1963 when the American League did not approve the move.

In 1964, Mayor Allen announced that an unidentified team had given him a verbal commitment to move to Atlanta, provided a stadium was in place by 1966. Soon afterward, the prospective team was revealed to be the Milwaukee Braves, who announced in October that they intended to move to Atlanta for the 1965 season. However, court battles kept the Braves in Milwaukee for one last season.

A verbal commitment by an unnamed team brought the Braves here.

The Blues Brothers made their worldwide debut on Saturday Night Live on April 22, 1978. Two prominent Georgia musicians, Ray Charles (born Albany) and James Brown (died Atlanta) would co-star in The Blues Brothers movie.

Former President Richard Nixon died on April 22, 1994.

The Macon Telegraph looks at ten middle Georgia historic sites worth visiting.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Lynne Homrich announced she will run for Congress from the 7th District, according to the AJC.

Lynne Homrich launched her campaign with an ad that featured a string of clips of Reps. Alexandra Ocasio Cortez, Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib – who have fast become the favorite targets of Republicans – before flashing to Homrich.

“That’s the best they can do in Washington? If your kids behaved like these women, you’d ground them. If they worked in your business, you’d fire them,” she said. “We need more women in office with conservative values, common sense and real-world experience.”

She’s one of the first Republicans to enter the race to succeed U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall, who is retiring after narrowly winning a fifth term last year. Former NFL player Joe Profit is also in the race, and state Sen. Renee Unterman is likely to soon join.

She was a Home Depot vice president for human resources and founded She’s a 10, a nonprofit that aims to prepare women for leadership roles. She and her husband David, the chief financial officer for Arthur Blank’s for-profit businesses, raised four children, who are spotlighted in her campaign ad.

In her announcement roll-out, Homrich made clear she’ll run as a conservative who supported Donald Trump.

It’s a funny way to have supported Donald Trump by never voting in a Republican primary election and never voting in a Georgia gubernatorial election.

The Georgia State Ethics Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission voted to raise contribution limits, according to the AJC.

The commission voted last week to raise the limit on donations in statewide races — for governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, etc. — from $6,600 for a primary, $3,900 for a primary runoff and $6,600 for a general election, to $7,000 for both primary and general elections, and $4,100 for a primary runoff.

Since primary runoffs are fairly common, someone planning to run for governor would be able to raise $18,100, rather than $17,100, from a single donor.

Candidates who wind up in one of the fairly rare general election runoffs could take in an additional $4,100 per donor.

Former United States Senator Saxby Chambliss (R) spoke to the Valdosta Lowndes County legislative luncheon, according to the Valdosta Daily Times.

Where do you see cyber security today?

Chambliss: “In the 2005-06 time frame, we had this director of national intelligence, a gentleman who would constantly bring this up in our classified briefings. People would say, ‘cyber security? I never heard of that.’ Their eyes would glaze over. Nobody had ever heard of it. They had no concept of it.”

“Well, it wasn’t long after that where we saw the public breaches at Home Depot, Neiman Marcus and other places, and all of a sudden, people all over the world started realizing this is a big deal.”

“There are … groups of folks who are the bad actors in the world of cyber security. You have nation states, primarily Russians, Chinese, Iranians and North Koreans. They are all getting more and more sophisticated, and today they are all very, very good at what they do – not good for us.”

Chambliss: “There is no question that our immigration system in this country is broken, and it needs a vast overhaul.”

“We tried on any number of occasions during my 20 years in Washington to make those changes through a comprehensive bill, and I will tell you that there is not a more emotional issue in America than the issue of immigration.”

Chambliss: “The biggest problem we have with respect to the bipartisan action – that we used to see on a regular basis – is that compromise has become a four-letter word.”

“We have more members of the House, as well as members of the Senate, on the far-right and you have more on the far-left. Their position is their position, and it is the only right position, meaning that’s the only thing they’ll accept. Well, that just doesn’t work.”

Floyd County is considering spending the last of the proceeds from a 2013 Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) on property for an industrial park, according to the Rome News Tribune.

Floyd County Manager Jamie McCord said Georgia Power Co. economic development officials helped identify the properties that could be adapted for large operations.

“It’s hard to find a 100-acre site that’s not under conservation,” he said, referring to a tax category that essentially requires the land to remain undisturbed. “You can still do something with them, but there are a lot of hurdles to overcome.”

The 2013 SPLOST package contains $8 million to create shovel-ready sites for job creation. No bonds were issued for projects, so they were done as the monthly collections came in.

“Everything was cash-flowed,” McCord noted. “We didn’t have that $8 million until a few months ago.”

His remarks came last week during an update to the 2013 and 2017 SPLOST Citizen Advisory Committees that drew about 50 people to the new recycling center on Lavender Drive. A tour of the SPLOST-funded facility that opened in December followed.

Rome City Commission is considering creating a Tax Allocation District for a former Kmart location, according to the Rome News Tribune.

If the TAD is approved, Rome-based Ledbetter Properties will get started on its plan to redevelop the vacant space at the East Bend Retail Center. The tract consists of three separate parcels totaling 19.7 acres and is currently valued at $3.77 million.

Under a TAD, the base value of a property is frozen for a specified number of years. In this case, likely 20. As the parcel is built out, the tax due on the improvements is funneled back into the project.

The Rome Redevelopment Agency is recommending approval. During a RRDA discussion earlier this month, City Manager Sammy Rich said the Ledbetters already have several retail tenants lined up that would be new to the Rome market.

Sales tax revenue from the planned East Bend Retail Center is estimated at $17.8 million over 20 years, according to the city’s consultants, Bleakley Advisory Group.

Cave Spring City Council is considering an overhaul to their alcohol ordinance, according to the Rome News Tribune.

The alcohol ordinance has been under review since at least February, when city voters approved liquor sales by the package and by the drink.

The vote cleared the way for two investors to move forward with plans to turn a vacant historic property downtown into a craft distillery using water from the city’s famed spring. In addition to making flavored spirits, they’d have a sipping room and store on site.

A City of Augusta administrator and the General Counsel will each receive severance packages after resigning, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

The pair resigned Tuesday after the Augusta Commission spent over two hours behind closed doors negotiating severance packages with each. Both will receive a year’s salary and benefits – that’s more than $191,000 for Jackson and $152,000 for MacKenzie, and they’ll keep their insurance for the year.

Few were surprised to see MacKenzie go – the 10-member commission has a tradition of battling with the attorney when his legal opinions pleased some but not others on the panel.

“Andrew has been taking heat ever since I was down there right steadily,” former Commissioner Jerry Brigham said. “He was a lawyer – I didn’t always try to agree with him, but I didn’t try to practice law either.”

The Gainesville Times spoke to some property owners after Hall County adopted rules for short term rentals.

In March, the Hall County Board of Commissioners approved changes to the county’s short-term rental rules that allow homes in all zoning districts to be short-term rentals, or to be rented out for two to 30 nights. Previously, only homes zoned Residential-I were eligible, and they had to be within 500 feet of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ line for Lake Lanier.

While the Platts were not eligible to operate a short-term rental under the old ordinance due to their home’s zoning, they can now legally operate and are praising the changes.

“This is a revenue source for the community,” Keith Platt said. “Not only does it bring more tax dollars in to Hall County and the community, it also brings in more revenue to restaurants, marinas, Road Atlanta, other areas.”

In 2018, the Hall County Marshal’s Office received 10 complaints about short-term rentals and issued six citations, according to reports obtained by The Times. Six of those were in the Hall County Board of Commissioners’ District 2, which includes portions of west and south Hall. Three property owners received citations for operating without a license, and one was cited for cars parked in the right of way.

The Glynn County Board of Elections will begin interviewing candidates for a new election supervisor next week, according to The Brunswick News.

“A lot depends on how many of the applicants we want to talk to and what the board (members’) schedules are,” Gibson said before the April meeting. “I would hope that by our May (14) meeting, we would be ready to make our decision.”

Elections staff sent out notices of three special-called meetings to take place this week and next — 10 a.m. Tuesday, 2 p.m. Thursday and 2 p.m. April 29.

All three interviews are set to be held in closed sessions.

Georgia DOT will institute intermittent lane closures on the Sidney Lanier Bridge as they rehab the structure, according to The Brunswick News.

GDOT spokeswoman Jill Nagel said workers will be doing routine maintenance on the bridge joints starting Monday, replacing parts that need to be replaced.

Lane closures will occur intermittently during daylight hours on weekdays through July. Nagel said lane closures will typically occur only on one side at time, but workers may close a lane on each side on occasion.

Savannah Alderman Julian Miller will not run for reelection this year, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Some Warner Robins residents fear low-income housing will bring more crime, according to the Macon Telegraph.

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