Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for October 21, 2021


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for October 21, 2021

USS Constitution, named by President George Washington, was launched in Boston Harbor on October 21, 1791.

During the War of 1812, the Constitution won its enduring nickname “Old Ironsides” after defeating the British warship Guerriére in a furious engagement off the coast of Nova Scotia. Witnesses claimed that the British shots merely bounced off the Constitution‘s sides, as if the ship were made of iron rather than wood. The success of the Constitution against the supposedly invincible Royal Navy provided a tremendous morale boost for the young American republic.

Today, Constitution serves as a museum ship, and has sailed under her own power as recently as 2012. Southern live oak, harvested and milled on St. Simons Island, Georgia, is a primary construction material for Constitution.

On October 21, 1888, the Augusta Chronicle published a letter from General William Tecumseh Sherman.

Pleasant Stovall, editor of The Augusta Chronicle, wrote the famous old general, and what do you know? He answered, in perhaps the most famous letter to the editor ever printed in the newspaper.

It was published Oct. 21, 1888, and basically, the old warhorse said he didn’t attack Augusta because he didn’t have to. He wanted to get to Savan­nah where the Union Navy could bring him supplies.

However, he offered to correct the oversight if Augusta felt neglected, writing: “I can send a detachment of 100,000 or so of Sherman’s Bummers and their descendants who will finish up the job without charging Uncle Sam a cent.”

Dizzy Gillespie was born on this day in 1917 in Cheraw, South Carolina.

President Warren G. Harding spoke in Alabama on October 21, 1921, and publicly condemned the practice of lynching.

Harding was a progressive Republican politician who advocated full civil rights for African Americans and suffrage for women. He supported the Dyer Anti-lynching Bill in 1920. As a presidential candidate that year, he gained support for his views on women’s suffrage, but faced intense opposition on civil rights for blacks. The 1920s was a period of intense racism in the American South, characterized by frequent lynchings. In fact, the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) reported that, in 1920, lynching claimed, on average, the lives of two African Americans every week.

On October 21, 1976, Billy Carter spoke to an audience in Albany, Georgia, about his brother’s campaign for President.

On his brother Jimmy’s drinking habits, Billy said, “Jimmy used to drink liquor. Now he’s running for president he drinks Scotch, and I’ve never trusted a Scotch drinker.” Billy preferred the alcohol choice of his brother’s running mate, Walter Mondale – “I liked him the best of all the ones who came to Plains. He’s from a small town and he’s a beer drinker.”

Today, Billy Carter’s service station is preserved as a museum in Plains, Georgia.

The Atlanta Braves won the first game of the 1995 World Series on October 21, 1995, as Greg Maddux dominated the Cleveland Indians, allowing only two hits. Native American groups protested the names of both teams.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

The Oscar Meyer Weinermobile will be in town this week, according to CBS46.

Oct. 21: Kroger at 3651 Peachtree Pkwy Suwanee, GA (11 a.m. – 6 p.m.)
Oct. 22: Kroger at 6001 Cumming Hwy NE Sugar Hill, GA (11 a.m. – 2 p.m.) and Kroger at 400 Peachtree Industrial Blvd Suwanee, GA (3 p.m. – 6 p.m.)
Oct. 23: Kroger at 6555 Sugarloaf Pkwy Duluth, GA (11 a.m. – 2 p.m.) and Kroger at 3093 Steve Reynolds Blvd Duluth, GA (3 p.m. – 6 p.m.)
Oct. 24: Kroger at 3035 Centerville Hwy Snellville, GA (11 a.m.  – 2 p.m.) and Kroger at 1670 GA-124 (3 p.m. – 6 p.m.)

Governor Brian Kemp attended the groundbreaking for a large solar installation in Lee County, according to a press release.

Governor Brian P. Kemp announced today during a groundbreaking ceremony that Silicon Ranch Corporation, the U.S. solar platform for Shell and one of the nation’s largest independent producers of solar power, has committed to invest more than $220 million in Lee County, Georgia to construct the 250-megawatt (MWAC) DeSoto Solar Farm. Governor Kemp and the project partners were joined at the groundbreaking ceremony by state and local officials, as well as the leadership of several of Georgia’s EMCs from across the state.

“Since day one of my administration, one of my top priorities has been bringing good-paying jobs, investment, and greater opportunity to rural Georgia,” said Governor Kemp. “I am proud that Lee County and the surrounding region will benefit from this incredible project, which further demonstrates the key role that our electric cooperatives and private sector partners are playing as economic development engines for rural communities across the Peach State. This significant capital investment by Silicon Ranch will create hundreds of construction jobs for this community, generate new tax revenues to support the local government and school system, and provide clean, renewable energy to our EMCs and the customers and communities they serve.”

The project will be delivered in three phases over the next two to three years, and Silicon Ranch will own, operate, and maintain the facility for the long-term, a disciplined approach the company takes with every project it develops.

Construction of the first phase of the solar facility will soon be underway, and Silicon Ranch plans to hire more than 400 craft workers to build it over the next twelve months, the majority of whom will be hired from Lee County and the surrounding area. The first phase will provide power to Walton EMC as part of the electric utility’s agreement to provide clean, renewable energy to Facebook’s data center in Newton County. Green Power EMC, a renewable energy provider owned by 38 Georgia Electric Membership Corporations (EMCs), is also purchasing a portion of the power output of the solar facility to provide to participating electric cooperatives in the state.

The DeSoto Solar Farm will utilize Silicon Ranch’s Regenerative Energy® land management model which co-locates solar energy production with regenerative agriculture practices, delivering valuable environmental, social, and economic outcomes above and beyond the significant positive impacts a solar facility alone can produce, creating additional value for the Lee County community and project stakeholders. Once the Desoto project is operational, Silicon Ranch will restore the land to a functioning grassland ecosystem while keeping the project in agricultural production through managed sheep grazing using regenerative land management practices.

“Silicon Ranch recognizes our responsibility to be good stewards of the land we occupy by taking a holistic approach to the work we do, from conception to completion and beyond,” said Silicon Ranch Co-Founder and Chairman Matt Kisber, who previously spent eight years as Tennessee Commissioner of Economic and Community Development. “This investment and this meaningful work would not be possible without the vision and leadership of Green Power EMC, Walton EMC, and Facebook, and I also want to thank the Lee County Board of Commissioners for welcoming Silicon Ranch and this Project to the community. Based on our company’s experience, I can understand why Georgia remains the number one state for doing business in the United States.”

“Green Power EMC is excited about this large-scale solar energy project and our continued partnership with Silicon Ranch to make it happen,” said Wendy Sellers, President and CEO, Washington EMC and Board Chair, Green Power EMC. “Among the core principles that rural electric cooperatives share is a ‘concern for community,’ and we are pleased that we can support economic development in Lee County.”

“Our important work with Facebook and Silicon Ranch has already generated more than half a billion dollars in capital investment across half a dozen counties throughout Georgia, and we are pleased to expand this legacy to Lee County today,” said Walton EMC CEO Ronnie Lee. “We are pleased to be working together again to help meet Facebook’s goal of supporting its Georgia operations with 100 percent renewable power.”

“We are thrilled to have the new DeSoto Solar Farm in our community and excited to welcome Silicon Ranch as our newest corporate citizen,” said Billy Mathis, Chairman, Lee County Board of Commissioners. “This Project not only provides significant tax revenues for the county government and school system, but also sends a clear signal that Lee County is a great place for business and that we have the infrastructure in place to support meaningful economic development activity.”

From WALB:

Governor Brian Kemp said this project is a perfect example of why Georgia is the number one state for business.

“We have workforce, business climate, and the infrastructure to compete for it and win any project, any time, anywhere,” said Kemp.

Kemp said the 250-megawatt solar farm will give broadband to over 200,000 rural Georgia homes and businesses.

“This isn’t just normal broadband, this is high-speed fiber that you can do anything, anywhere with,” said Kemp.

The company will use sheep to manage the land and revitalize the soil on the solar farm. They plan to integrate cattle and poultry over time.

Kisber said they will be employing upwards of 400 people from Lee County and surrounding areas.

The City of Cave Springs is optimistic about voter turnout for its municipal elections, according to the Rome News Tribune.

Cave Spring voters had already cast 20 early ballots in the City Council election as of Wednesday — a show of interest in the small town that’s signaling a good turnout to Elections Supervisor Judy Dickinson.

Three of the five City Council seats are on the ballot as separate races and each incumbent has a challenger.

Dickinson said early voting is open during the week from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at City Hall, 10 Georgia Ave., through Oct. 29. It also will be available Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Nov. 2.

Voters can check their eligibility, representatives and other information on the secretary of state’s Georgia My Voter Page website.

Monroe County voters will decide on a Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax for Transportation (T-SPLOST) in the November 2 elections, according to 13WMAZ.

On November 2nd, Monroe County voters will have the option to vote yes or no on approving a one-cent Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax, or T-SPLOST.

The T-SPLOST will go towards improving the roads in the county.

According to County Commissioner Eddie Rowland, at least 227 miles of road in Monroe County are in critical need of resurfacing. If this T-SPLOST is approved, 150 to 175 miles of these will be resurfaced.

“If we just use property taxes, it would cost each household about $158 a year. If we use T-SPLOST, our costs as citizens that do shopping here in Monroe County, this represents our 1% increase, which is only about $75,” Rowland said.

If the T-SPLOST passes, the county says it should raise about $17 million in revenue, and $14.1 million of these, will go to Monroe County.

The rest of the T-SPLOST funding will go to municipalities within Monroe County.

AccessWDUN spotlights the three contested elections in Lula, Mayor and two City Council seats. It’s a solid article covering local politics, what Georgia needs more of. Five points to Marc Eggers, the author.

A Kentucky woman was arrested and charged with threatening a Georgia Superior Court Judge, according to the AJC.

Erin Northup, 42, is accused of leaving a threatening voicemail with Henry County Superior Court Judge Brian Amero’s judicial assistant soon after he issued his ruling last week, according to the Henry County Sheriff’s Office. Authorities declined to release details about the call.

Amero received “a plethora of calls” after he threw out the last remaining major lawsuit over Georgia’s 2020 election. The lawsuit, filed by supporters of former Republican President Donald Trump, asked the judge to unseal 147,000 absentee ballots cast in Fulton County so they could search for counterfeits.

“I’m all for respecting a person’s First Amendment rights. However, when it crosses the line and it becomes minacious, it will not be tolerated. We will track you down and arrest you,” Henry County Sheriff Reginald Scandrett said Wednesday.

Northup faces a felony charge that she made a terrorist threat. She was arrested by the Louisville Police Department on Friday and is awaiting extradition to Georgia.

Henry County Sheriff Reginald Scandrett receives five point for use of “minacious,” which sent your humble narrator to the dictionary. I would award the Sheriff a Gold Star, but I suspect he already wears one.

Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr named a new Solicitor General, according to the Daily Report.

Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr has named Stephen Petrany, an associate in the Jones Day Washington, D.C., office, to become solicitor general handling the state’s appellate work.

Petrany will fill the vacancy created when Gov. Brian Kemp appointed now Judge Andrew Pinson to the Georgia Court of Appeals and begins his new role on Nov. 16.

Georgia’s Solicitor General coordinates the state’s appellate litigation and multi-state lititgaion in state and federal courts, according to the bio of Mr. Petrany’s predecessor.

Former Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Harold Melton will join the faculty at the UGA School of Law along with his other professional duties, according to the UGA News Service via the Albany Herald.

Harold D. Melton, who previously served as the chief justice of the Georgia Supreme Court, has been named the holder of the Carl E. Sanders Chair in Political Leadership at the University of Georgia School of Law.

In this role, he will teach a seminar during the spring 2022 semester titled “Representing the State.” The course will address legal and professional issues that arise when one works as a lawyer for the state.

“When Gov. Sanders created this political leadership faculty position nearly 20 years ago, he envisioned someone ‘teaching students about the roles of law and lawyers in shaping public policy and about the role of lawyers in positions of leadership’ and Chief Justice Melton epitomizes this vision,” School of Law Dean Peter B. “Bo” Rutledge said. “Given his nearly three decades of public service in leadership positions in various legal capacities, Chief Justice – and now professor – Melton will be instrumental in shaping our students’ perspectives on public service and the important role played by lawyers in serving their country.”

A federal grand jury indicted a Camden County man on charges of fraud relating to COVID-19 relief programs, according to The Brunswick News.

Mack Devon Knight, 45, of Kingsland, is charged in a five-count indictment that accuses him of lying to the Small Business Administration (SBA) in connection with applications for Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs), according to David H. Estes, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia.

The charges carry a statutory penalty upon conviction of up to 30 years in prison, along with substantial financial penalties, followed by a period of supervised release.

Knight held himself out as a pastor, mortician, restaurateur and tax preparer, according to the indictment.

“Funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Security (CARES) Act was provided to help small businesses survive pandemic-related losses,” Estes said. “In coordination with our law enforcement partners, we will hold accountable those unscrupulous actors who attempt to swindle these funds for their own enrichment.”

In February and March 2021, Knight applied for EIDLs on behalf of two Camden County businesses: Knight’s Tax Services and Daddy Earl’s Kitchen. Those EIDL applications falsely affirmed that the businesses each had hundreds of thousands of dollars of gross revenue prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Georgia State Senate Public Safety Committee heard testimony about rising crime levels, according to the Center Square.

A group of judges told the Senate Committee on Public Safety the state should provide data and technology upgrades, more pretrial supervision and better pay in the criminal justice system to combat crime.

Reports show an increase in crime across the state this year. Crime in Atlanta doubled in the spring, according to reports. Gov. Brian Kemp has directed $7 million to the issue over the past few months, and legislative leaders have called for additional funding to reduce crime.

Lawmakers heard testimony at their last meeting from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Georgia Sheriffs’ Association and the Georgia State Patrol. The law enforcement agencies called for more mandatory minimum sentencing. Cobb County Superior Court Judge Tain Kell said Wednesday the harsher sentencing laws were flawed policies.

“The era of mandatory minimum sentencing had its heyday in the ’90s and lasted in Georgia until the adoption of the criminal justice reform act of 2011,” Kell said. “I believe that it was a failed experiment, and I believe that the data upon which the reform acts was based bears this out.”

Pete Skandalakis, executive director of Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council of Georgia, said there is an imbalance in prosecutors and public defenders to offenders in the judicial system.

Skandalakis said the state should spend more money on recruiting and retaining prosecutors and public defenders. Many of the state-hired attorneys have been stuck on the same pay scale since the last recession, Skandalakis said, about 13 years ago. He said the current salary for a 10-year prosecutor in district attorneys’ offices is around $70,000, while the starting salary for an associate in a private practice in Atlanta is $125,000.

Floyd County Commissioners are considering how to spend federal COVID relief funds, according to the Rome News Tribune.

Floyd County commissioners will get proposals for the first use of $19.1 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds by the end of the week.

County Manager Jamie McCord has been leading a team that’s putting together options on where to direct the money. Floyd County has already received half of the federal funds, which must be used by 2024.

They are also applying to the state for grants to fund, or boost funding for, different projects. Georgia received $2.6 billion in addition to what went directly to cities and counties.

When it comes guidelines for ARPA funding, McCord said there are three things local governments can spend money on without going through hoops: water, sewer and broadband projects.

Sea Turtles created nearly 2500 nests and approximately 250,000 eggs on the Georgia coast this season, according to The Current.

While that’s nowhere near the nearly 4,000 nests recorded in 2019, it’s still keeping the turtles on track for recovery as a species, [Georgia Sea Turtle Coordinator Mark] Dodd said. He expected the dip based on annual variability.

With turtles laying about 100 eggs per nest, this year’s nest total works out to about 250,000 eggs.

Volunteers and wildlife officials who patrol the beaches recorded nests on barrier islands from Little Tybee to Cumberland. Even populated beaches see nesting turtles now. Tybee had 19. Sea island had 77. St. Simons had one.receive

As loggerheads numbers dipped in the 1980s, Georgia began protecting nests. And the state started protecting adult turtles, too, by encouraging the use of turtle excluder devices. TEDs, as they’re called, were developed by Georgia shrimper Sinky Boone to prevent turtles from drowning in shrimp nets. They’re still in use, now by law.

“The moral of story is, you got a turtle that’s not sexually mature until 35 years old, it’s gonna take you a couple generations to recover the population — that’s 100 years,” Dodd said.

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