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

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

The only major battle on Sherman’s March to the Sea occurred at Griswoldsville on November 22, 1864; on the same day, federal troops marched into Milledgeville.

Milledgeville-Old-Governor-Mansion-3

On November 23, 1864, General William Tecumseh Sherman himself entered Milledgeville, where used the Governor’s Mansion as his headquarters. Sherman’s forces left the capitol city on November 24th.

November 21, 1922 was the first day of Rebecca Latimer Fulton’s service in the United States Senate from Georgia as the first woman to serve in that chamber.

President John F. Kennedy became the fourth President of the United States to be assassinated in office on November 22, 1963. The next day, Jack Ruby shot Lee Harvey Oswald, who had been arrested for shooting Kennedy.

On November 22, 1988, the B-2 Spirit stealth bomber was first unveiled publicly at Palmdale, California.

Back to the Future II was released on November 22, 1989.

Construction on the Georgia Dome began on November 24, 1989.

On November 24, 1992, Republican Paul D. Coverdell defeated Democratic incumbent Wyche Fowler in the runoff election for United States Senate.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Georgia may contract with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for water storage at Lake Lanier, according to the Gainesville Times.

Lake Lanier water storage contracts that ignited litigation in the early 1990s might finally be formalized as part of an agreement between Georgia and the Army Corps of Engineers.

A contract with the Army Corps of Engineers to allow Georgia to pay $60 million for permanent water storage on Lake Lanier could come “any day now,” Richard Dunn, Environmental Protection Division director, said at the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce’s board of directors’ meeting Thursday, Nov. 21.

“That contract is sitting with the secretary of the Army,” he said. “I thought it would be done by this summer. It will be a big day for Georgia when we can sign that. It’ll be an even bigger day when we can actually pay it off.”

The 254,170 acres of storage space would meet the state’s current and projected 2050 municipal and industrial water supply, Dunn said.

Democrat Stacey Abrams has endorsed Van Johnson for Mayor of Savannah in the Dec. 3 runoff election, according to WSAV.

On Tuesday, the former Georgia gubernatorial candidate endorsed Alderman Van Johnson for Mayor of Savannah.

“You have the ability to choose strong leaders. Leaders like my friend Van Johnson. Leaders who share our ideals and values,” Abrams said in a video shared on Johnson’s campaign page.

The endorsement is a major step forward for Johnson’s campaign. He’s once again taking on incumbent Mayor Eddie DeLoach in a runoff on Dec. 3.

Several Democratic Presidential candidates joined an Abrams group to text voters, according to the AJC.

Democratic presidential candidates sent text messages to some of the 313,000 people Thursday whose voter registrations could be canceled in Georgia, emphasizing their support for voting rights a day after their debate in Atlanta.

U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar and entrepreneur Andrew Yang participated in a phone and text bank to prevent dormant voter registrations from being canceled next month.

Using a computer program to send dozens of text messages at a time, the candidates raced to reach as many voters on Georgia’s cancellation list as they could. When voters responded, the candidates interacted with them, looked up their registration information and told them how to re-register before it’s too late.

The candidates joined Stacey Abrams and her Fair Fight Action voting rights group at Ebenezer Baptist Church, where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was pastor.

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger pushed back against the text messages Thursday, which asked voters to share their birth dates and counties for the purpose of checking their registration status.

Raffensperger said in a press release that voters shouldn’t give their personal information to groups such as Fair Fight Action. He said voters can check their registration themselves online or call a state government hotline.

Advanced Voting in Smyrna‘s runoff elections begins Monday, November 25, and runs through next Wednesday, Nov. 27th.

Main office: 736 Whitlock Ave., Marietta, GA 30064, Nov 25 – Nov 27, Monday-Wednesday 8am-5pm

Smyrna Community Center: 200 Village Green Cir. Smyrna, GA 30080, Nov 25 – Nov 27, Monday-Wednesday 9am-5pm

On Election Day, December 3, 2019, voters must go to their assigned polling location.The 7 Smyrna municipal poll are open from 7am – 7pm.

Albany‘s runoffs for Mayor and one council seat will cost $30k, according to the Albany Herald.

The fact that the Dec. 3 runoff will feature two races — the mayoral showdown between Hubbard and challenger Bo Dorough, who finished second in a seven-person race, and the Ward VI runoff to fill outgoing Commissioner Tommie Postell’s seat between Demetrius Young and John Hawthorne — shouldn’t impact the cost too dramatically.

“All 21 precincts in the city are going to be open anyway, since the mayor’s race is citywide,” Nickerson said. “So the precincts that encompass Ward VI will already be open.”

The state of Georgia mandates that a minimum of three poll workers be at each precinct during any election, but Nickerson said four are present at each precinct during elections in Albany and Dougherty County. The extra cost for the Dec. 3 election will be passed on to the city of Albany.

Wes Wolfe of The Brunswick Times writes about the State House proposal for legalizing gambling.

“Gambling is something that’s been talked about in this state for years, sometimes looked at in a better light than in other years,” said Committee Co-chairman Alan Powell, R-Hartwell. “There’s a constitutional provision in the state constitution that says the people of Georgia have to vote to change. Twenty-seven years ago, the citizens of Georgia were asked to vote for the lottery, by the governor when he ran for office.”

“And a lot of people forget that constitutional amendment barely passed at that time, because … it takes two-thirds of the vote of both the House and the Senate to put that on the ballot for the people to vote on. So, it makes for a tedious process to say the very least.”

Powell said Georgia is 12th nationally for illegal sports betting and these days it’s less likely to involve parlay sheets from a bookie, but folks going online through their phones in ways that transcend state lines, and the state’s getting none of that revenue. He added that casino representatives said only a third of their revenue comes from gambling, while the other 66 percent comes from hotels, restaurants and entertainment.

The Georgia Legislative Black Caucus announced it will seek to pass hate crime legislation, according to the Athens Banner Herald.

In a statement, the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus said it will push for a state hate crimes law “that protects the civil rights of all and further penalizes those who commit hate crimes.”

“We will not allow such actions to define us, but rather push us to do better and be better,” the caucus representing more than 60 Georgia state lawmakers said.

Georgia is one of only four states without a hate crimes law, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. The others are South Carolina, Arkansas and Wyoming.

Gwinnett County Schools Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks announced the district will review its student discipline code, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Wilbanks’ announcement came at the end of the meeting as the county’s school board was wrapping up its business for the night. The superintendent said the district’s goal has long been to make sure its Student Conduct Behavior Code is “firm, fair and flexible.”

He conceded, however, that there are concerns that approach is not being taken, particularly when it comes to disciplining students of color.

“The Board of Education and I have confidence in our discipline code, in the training our employees receive in implementing it, and in how discipline is carried out in our schools,” Wilbanks said. “However, we are hearing from some in the community who have concerns that a disproportionate number of students of color are being disciplined. They also have questions about the consequences given to students who misbehave.

“We are sensitive to their concerns and want to be sure we do not have any blinders on when it comes to an issue that impacts students in such significant ways.”

“We look forward to getting started on the review to ensure Gwinnett County Public Schools is in the best-possible position when it comes to the complex issue of ensuring firm, fair and flexible approaches to student discipline,” Wilbanks said.

Three points to Gainesville Times writer Kelsey Podo for this quote:

Now that China has reopened its market to the U.S. Poultry Industry, chicken feet are scampering back to street food stands and restaurants.

Statesboro City Council voted to second-read a proposed “blight tax” ordinance, according to the Statesboro Herald.

As now set for potential adoption Dec. 3, the ordinance would apply a sevenfold penalty tax to specific vacant, neglected properties after a lengthy process. Because the special tax would be added on top of the regular property tax, the result would be a total tax eight times the city’s regular millage rate.

But this would follow at least 12 months of communication between the city and affected property owners. That would begin with notices from city code compliance officials to the owners, seeking to have them remove or repair dilapidated buildings, for example. After inspections or a citywide survey, city staff would annually present a list of buildings and sites proposed to be designated “blighted,” with detailed information on each, to City Council.

The tax penalty would be imposed if the council listed a property as blighted and the court approved. On a property with a market value of $100,000, assessed for taxes at Georgia’s standard 40% of value, Statesboro’s regular rate of 7.308 mills amounts to a $292 tax. So, the added penalty tax would be $2,046 on a blighted site worth $100,000.

This penalty phase would be followed by a reward phase for owners who bring blighted properties up to the city’s standards.

In the version of the ordinance tentatively accepted by the council Tuesday, the reward will be a three-year, 50% abatement of the regular city property tax, as well as removal of the penalty tax.

The University of West Georgia will change leadership as the current President resigns effective December 16, and Stuart Rayfield takes over as interim President, according to the Albany Herald.

The City of Rome has filed a lawsuit alleging carpet manufacturing pollution, according to the Rome News Tribune.

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in Floyd County Superior Court, contends the companies — including 3M, Mohawk, Shaw Industries and others — knew the perfluorinated compounds used in their manufacturing were toxic. The chemicals, PFOA and PFOS, migrated downstream in the Oostanaula River, the main source of the city’s water.

A Thursday press release from City Attorney Andy Davis says Rome filed the suit “to ensure the long-term safety and viability of its drinking water system.”

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