Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for June 15, 2022


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for June 15, 2022

The Magna Carta was sealed by King John on June 15, 1215.

The charter consisted of a preamble and 63 clauses and dealt mainly with feudal concerns that had little impact outside 13th century England. However, the document was remarkable in that it implied there were laws the king was bound to observe, thus precluding any future claim to absolutism by the English monarch. Of greatest interest to later generations was clause 39, which stated that “no free man shall be arrested or imprisoned or disseised [dispossessed] or outlawed or exiled or in any way victimised…except by the lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land.” This clause has been celebrated as an early guarantee of trial by jury and of habeas corpus and inspired England’s Petition of Right (1628) and the Habeas Corpus Act (1679).

On June 15, 1740, Spanish troops attacked the English who were led by James Oglethorpe, at Fort Mose, two miles north of St. Augustine, Florida. With 68 English killed and 34 wounded, it was the heaviest losses sustained by Oglethorpe during his campaign against St. Augustine.

George Washington accepted the assignment of leading the Continental Army on June 15, 1775.

The Oregon Treaty was signed on June 15, 1815 between England and the United States, establishing the border between the U.S. and Canada.

On June 15, 1864, a funeral was held at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Atlanta for Confederate General Leonidas Polk, who was killed the day before at Pine Mountain near Marietta.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Nineteen voters cast ballots in the first day of early voting in Floyd County, according to the Rome News Tribune.

Advance voting continues today through Friday for the runoff election. The ballot is Democrats only with four statewide seats to be decided.

On Monday, 19 people voted at the Floyd County Elections Office at 18 E. 12th St. Hours are 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.

Also through Monday, the county had received 157 absentee ballot requests with six already returned. The deadline to return them to the elections office is by 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 21.

A “crazy” real estate market may result in higher property tax assessments for some property owners, according to the Dalton Daily Citizen News.

The economy and the real estate market, both nationally and locally, have been “going crazy” the last few years, said Whitfield County Board of Commissioners Chairman Jevin Jensen.

“It’s that time of year, so we wanted to see where things are going with this crazy economy and everything and where we are situated,” Jensen said.

He said that was why commissioners asked Whitfield County Chief Appraiser Ashley O’Donald to speak to them at their meeting Monday night. O’Donald works for the county Board of Assessors to set property assessments for property tax purposes.

O’Donald agreed that “crazy” is a good term for what has been going on with the economy and the real estate market.

“We are in a historic real estate market as far as what properties are being bought and sold for,” he said “It was everyone’s expectation that sales would begin to slow down during the (COVID-19) pandemic, but the exact opposite happened.”

“The Board of Assessors will be voting on Wednesday (at 8:30 a.m.) to finalize 2022 assessments,” O’Donald said. “Those range from on average a 15% increase for residential properties up to 25%. It also includes a 15% increase on all commercial and industrial properties.”

Jensen said a higher assessment doesn’t necessarily mean a property owner will pay a higher tax.

He said when the commissioners set the property tax rate in August they could set it at a rate that rolls back any increase in revenue from higher assessments. He said if everyone’s assessment goes up at a fairly standard rate they would get a fairly even tax cut.

“But it gets tricky if most people go up 2% or 3% and a few people go up 50%,” he said.

Savannah-Chatham County Public Schools is proposing a partial rollback of the millage rate, but will still receive increased revenue, according to WTOC.

The district will propose a .5 mill reduction of the current rate at 18.131 down to 17.631 mills. Even though the district is proposing a reduction of the millage rate – property values have gone up for most people, so you will likely still see an increase. The only way your taxes would go down is if your property decreased in value or stayed the same.

Even though the mill rate reduction would help offset some costs to taxpayers, the district will get about $39 million more dollars through local property taxes than they did this past year. Those taxes are the largest revenue for the district.

“Salaries makeup close to 85 percent of our budget and we have a shortage of teachers, bus drivers, custodians so the only way to cut any more would be to cut salaries which we certainly can’t afford to do because we are having difficulty filling positions,” said Paige Cooley, SCCPSS Budget Director.

The AJC writes that former President Trump’s influence in GOP Primary elections is waning.

Humiliated in the May primaries, Perdue and other Trump-backed challengers now stand as a cautionary tale of the limits of the former president’s support even among the group of core conservatives who cast ballots in lower-turnout elections.

And Tuesday’s runoffs will stand as a final measure of Trump’s appeal in Georgia ahead of the November election, even as more local Republicans indicate they’re tired of his vendettas against state officials.

Instead, the GOP runoff elections in Atlanta’s suburbs and exurbs could be decided by more traditional concerns, such as the effectiveness of get-out-the-vote efforts and escalating attacks between rivals on the airwaves and in mailboxes.

“At this point in time, the Trump endorsement is neutral. It’s not a plus and it’s not a negative,” said Gordon Rhoden, the Athens-Clarke County GOP chair. “People are moving beyond that.”

The winner of the 10th District runoff between Collins and Jones is all but guaranteed to represent the northeast Georgia district, a conservative stronghold now held by U.S. Rep. Jody Hice, one of the Trump-backed contenders whose statewide bids collapsed.

And the victor in the 6th District runoff, which pits attorney Jake Evans against physician Rich McCormick, is nearly certain to inherit the seat now held by Democratic U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath.

That’s not the lesson I’d draw from this. I’d say that former President Trump’s endorsement is still a Golden Ticket through the primary elections when you’re talking about a group of unknown candidates. But the better known a candidate already is, like Governor Kemp or SOS Raffensperger, the less effective the Trump endorsement is. When voters have personal experience with an office holder, they’re willing to give that experience some weight in deciding for whom they will vote.

The Fair Fight lawsuit against Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger has opened, according to the AJC.

The lawsuit against Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and other elections officials is Georgia’s first major voting rights challenge in decades. It was filed by Fair Fight, a group Democrat Stacey Abrams founded following her loss to Republican Brian Kemp in the 2018 election for governor.

In testimony in recent weeks, Fair Fight said Georgia’s “exact match” voter registration rules and inconsistent absentee ballot cancellation practices created difficulties that disproportionately affected Black voters in 2018 and 2020.

[United States District Court Judge Steve] Jones last year dismissed many of Fair Fight’s claims, ruling against challenges to registration cancellations, too few voting machines, inadequate poll worker training and ballot rejections.

WTVM profiles Republicans Christ West and Jeremy Hunt, who meet in the June 21 Primary Runoff Election for the Second Congressional District.

Out of six candidates, Jeremy Hunt secured 37% of the votes compared to Chris West at 30%.

News Leader 9′s Ashlee Williams talked with both candidates to find out what they stand for and why they think they’re the man for the job.

“I’m the guy who is able to bring together the coalition that will be able to flip the seat,” Hunt said. “I’m thankful I have been endorsed by most all of the sheriff’s in our district”

“I’m born and raised here and have created a lot of jobs in this community, and I think the way to beat Sanford is by showing you’re a trusted member of the community,” West said.

The Statesboro Herald profiles the candidates in the Republican Primary election for Bulloch County Commission District 2B.

Travis Chance

Toby Conner

Statesboro area groups held an appreciation event for local legislators, according to the Statesboro Herald.

The Bulloch County Board of Commissioners, City of Statesboro, Development Authority of Bulloch County, Ogeechee Technical College Foundation, Georgia Southern University and Statesboro-Bulloch Chamber of Commerce together hosted the event. Former Georgia governor and former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, now chancellor of the University System of Georgia, attended to help heap thanks on the legislators, as did Technical College System of Georgia Commissioner Greg Dozier.

As Perdue and [retiring State Rep. Jan] Tankersley noted, his eight years as governor and her 12 years in the Georgia House of Representatives did not coincide. Tankersley, a Republican from Brooklet, started her first term in the Legislature Jan. 10, 2011, three days before Perdue formally left office as governor.

But before that, Tankersley had served 10 years on the Bulloch County Board of Commissioners and was 2009-2010 president of the Association County Commissioners of Georgia.

Originally the District 158 representative, Tankersley became the District 160 representative with redistricting in 2012. She has been re-elected five times, for a total of six two-year terms. For much of her tenure, her district included a large portion of Bulloch County and northern Bryan County.

Lee County Commission District Four voters will decide a runoff election between incumbent Robert Ham and challenger Tony Langley, according to WTVM.

For a candidate to win the seat, they needed to receive more than 50 percent of the votes. Ham received 34.5 percent, and Langley close by with 33.3 percent, so both candidates will participate in the runoff election on June 21st.

“We were way ahead of the curve having our D.A.R.E officers in the school and resource officers there before a lot of these problems that we’re seeing right now nationwide.” [said Ham.]

“The goal of this position is just to try and be a little more transparent with the citizens of Lee County, and people are trying to understand where their tax dollars are being spent.” [said Langley.]

United States Congressman Barry Loudermilk (R-Cassville) was cleared by the Capitol Police of allegations that he gave a tour on January 5, 2020. From the Capitol Beat News Service via the Albany Herald:

A letter from U.S. Capitol Police Chief Thomas Manger has exonerated U.S. Rep. Barry Loudermilk, R-Cassville, from accusations that he led a tour of the Capitol the day before a mob of then-President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the building.

“There is no evidence that Representative Loudermilk entered the U.S. Capitol with this group on January 5, 2021,” stated the letter to Loudermilk, dated Monday. “We train our officers on being alert for people conducting surveillance or reconnaissance, and we do not consider any of the activities we observed as suspicious.”

“At no time did the group appear in any tunnels that would have led them to the U.S. Capitol,” the letter stated. “In addition, the tunnels leading to the U.S. Capitol were posted with USCP (United States Capitol Police) officers, and admittance to the U.S. Capitol without a member of Congress was not permitted on Jan. 5, 2021.”

“The truth will always prevail,” Loudermilk posted on Twitter Tuesday after receiving the letter. “As I’ve said since the Jan. 6 committee made their baseless accusation about me to the media, I never gave a tour of the Capitol on Jan. 5, 2021.”

Former Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms will join the Biden Administration as a senior adviser, according to the AJC.

Bottoms, who served as mayor from 2018 to 2021, will be a senior advisor to the president focused on public engagement, the White House announced Wednesday. She will also oversee the White House Office of Public Engagement.

In a statement, President Joe Biden said Bottoms “understands that democracy is about making government work for working families, for the people who are the backbone of this country.”

“She led the city of Atlanta with strength through the pandemic, through a summer of protests and pain, and through the mass shooting that left Atlanta’s Asian American community in fear,” Biden said.

The White House’s Office of Public Engagement is responsible for serving as a bridge between the Biden-Harris administration and the American public. The office helps ensure that President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris are hearing from a diverse group of people when it comes to the various issues they are tackling.

Speed camera tickets have created a backlog for Albany city courts, according to WALB.

Around 46,000 speed violations have been given out since the RedSpeed cameras went up last year, according to Albany Municipal Court Chief Judge Willie Weaver.

That large amount of citations and the city’s municipal court being open only three days a week has caused an extreme backlog for the court.

“All statistics say, even from other cities that are doing it, and we’re starting to see that now, is you start to see the citations go down,” [Ward 4 City Commissioner Chad] Warbington said. “So this was never intended to be a long-term ongoing citation program. What you’re trying to do is you’re trying to change behavior.”

“One of the things that I’ve heard in the community is that the speed zone/school zone cameras are just for the city to raise money,” he said. “One of the things that our state legislator put in place is that that money cannot go into our general fund. So, that money has to be used for public safety projects.”

Savannah Mayor Van Johnson wants to address violent crime as a public health issue, according to WSAV.

At his weekly press conference Tuesday, Johnson said the city is implementing new violence reduction strategies in hopes of limiting violent crime in the Hostess City.

Some of those new strategies include keeping Savannah’s youth engaged through various summer programs and mobilizing local ministers to respond to instances of violence in the community.

“We’ve always thought of violence…violence equals police – we’ve tried that. We’ve tried that and it does not work,” Johnson said. “We have to be able to change hearts, we have to be able to change minds, we have to change behavior, and that’s not the function or the role of police.”

“It’s much bigger, it is a public health issue and we’re looking at that, and it requires a whole of community approach.”

“No one wants to be in a situation where you’re the location of the next mass shooting. I think we can protect the Second Amendment and protect second graders as well,” Johnson continued. “It’s clear we have to do something.”

So, the Mayor is taking his talking points from Stacey Abrams? That line about protecting the Second Amendment and Second graders sounds familiar.

Whitfield County public schools will provide free lunches and books to students during the summer, according to the Dalton Daily Citizen News.

Not only were children able to get food through the school system’s summer feeding program, they were able to pick up books to read, grab activity books for enrichment and even pet a pair of therapy dogs, said Smith, director of middle school curriculum for Whitfield County Schools. Various community partners assisted, from the Dalton-Whitfield County Public Library providing books to volunteers from Engineered Floors passing out activity books and other favors.

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