Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 12, 2022

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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 12, 2022

On August 12, 1492 by the current calendar, Christopher Columbus set sail from the port of Palos de la Frontera in southern Spain with the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria. Other accounts date his arrival at the Canary Islands off the coast of northwestern Africa on August 12, 1492.

Juan Ponce de Leon invaded Puerto Rico on August 12, 1508 and declared himself Governor.

On August 14, 1784, Russians invaded settled Alaska, founding the first permanent Russian settlement at Three Saints Bay.

Dentist, gambler, and gunfighter Doc Holliday was born on August 14, 1851 in Griffin, Georgia.

On August 11, 1862, Confederate General Braxton Bragg declared martial law in Atlanta.

On August 14, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln hosted a group of African-American men at the White House to discuss emancipation of American slaves outside the United States as colonists.

On August 12, 1864, Confederate General John B. Hood prohibited Confederate soldiers from seizing civilian property.

The Second Battle of Dalton was joined on August 14, 1864.

The first Ford Model T rolled off the assembly line on August 12, 1908.

On August 12, 1908, Ford’s first “Model T” rolled off a Detroit, Michigan, factory floor. Within six years, the car, company and man were propelled to unprecedented success, thanks to the new Highland Park plant’s first-of-its-kind assembly line, which created the intricate product quickly and in large numbers.

“If it hadn’t been for Henry Ford’s drive to create a mass market for cars, America wouldn’t have a middle class today,” wrote [Lee] Iacocca.

Increased travel spurred appeals for better and more roads, the development of suburbs, the oil industry’s rise and a boom in gas stations, strip malls and motels.

But the assembly line itself had the biggest impact on American society, Hyde contended, in making possible the swift, mass production of everything from computers to “fast food.”

On August 12, 1910, Georgia Governor Joseph M. Brown signed legislation prohibiting the carrying of a pistol or revolver without a license.

The County Unit System of elections was created on August 14, 1917 when Governor Hugh Dorsey signed legislation by the General Assembly.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act on August 14, 1935. The road to perdition is paved with good intentions.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered the summer commencement address at the University of Georgia on August 11, 1938. Later that day, Roosevelt endorsed Lawrence Camp over incumbent Governor Walter F. George, saying George had not been sufficiently supportive of the New Deal.

On August 14, 1945, the Japanese surrender to the Allies was made public in Japan.

In the afternoon of August 14, Japanese radio announced that an Imperial Proclamation was soon to be made, accepting the terms of unconditional surrender drawn up at the Potsdam Conference. That proclamation had already been recorded by the emperor.

East Germany began building the Berlin Wall on August 12, 1961.

[T]he government of East Germany, on the night of August 12, 1961, began to seal off all points of entrance into West Berlin from East Berlin by stringing barbed wire and posting sentries. In the days and weeks to come, construction of a concrete block wall began, complete with sentry towers and minefields around it. The Berlin Wall succeeded in completely sealing off the two sections of Berlin.

Three churches in Albany, Georgia first allowed African-Americans to attend their services on August 12, 1962.

The Atlanta Braves signed legendary Negro League pitcher Satchel Paige on August 11, 1968. Here’s a story on what the Braves signing meant to Paige:

In 1968, the right-hander was 158 days shy of the five years’ playing time needed to qualify for the major league pension. He would reach out to 29 teams and 29 teams would turn him down.

The problem was, he was 62.

But Braves president Bill Bartholomay saw an opportunity. While it would help at the box office for a franchise that was in its third season in Atlanta, it was also about something more.

“I jumped all over it, because I just thought it was the right thing to do,” said Bartholomay, currently the team’s chairman emeritus. “I didn’t think of it so much from the standpoint of diversity, I thought it was just the right thing to do.”

After reaching his 158 required days, Paige left the Braves and less than three years later, began drawing that pension. He received $250 a month.

“It was momentous and he did quality for his pension,” Bartholomay said, “but more importantly, the slight recognition for one of the great athletes, maybe one of the .. certainly short list of greatest pitchers of all time.”

From the AJC:

“Baseball would have been guilty of negligence should it not assure this legendary figure a place in the pension plan,” the [Braves] owner said at the signing in 1968. Looking back 40 years on, Bartholomay says Satchel justified his faith by performing sensationally as a goodwill ambassador.

“He came to us four months after the King funeral in Atlanta,” says Bartholomay. “Those were pretty tough times for African-Americans and the country in its entirety. Satchel understood that. He helped in a way that went way beyond baseball.”

On August 12, 1968, Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones and John Bonham played together for the first time.

The first Space Shuttle, Enterprise, made its first flight in the earth’s atmosphere on August 12, 1977.

President Jimmy Carter was nominated for reelection as President by the Democratic National Convention in New York City on August 13, 1980.

President Ronald Reagan signed the Economic Recovery Tax Act on August 13, 1981.

The ERTA included a 25 percent reduction in marginal tax rates for individuals, phased in over three years, and indexed for inflation from that point on. The marginal tax rate, or the tax rate on the last dollar earned, was considered more important to economic activity than the average tax rate (total tax paid as a percentage of income earned), as it affected income earned through “extra” activities such as education, entrepreneurship or investment. Reducing marginal tax rates, the theory went, would help the economy grow faster through such extra efforts by individuals and businesses. The 1981 act, combined with another major tax reform act in 1986, cut marginal tax rates on high-income taxpayers from 70 percent to around 30 percent, and would be the defining economic legacy of Reagan’s presidency.

Reagan’s tax cuts were designed to put maximum emphasis on encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship and creating incentives for the development of venture capital and greater investment in human capital through training and education. The cuts particularly benefited “idea” industries such as software or financial services; fittingly, Reagan’s first term saw the advent of the information revolution, including IBM’s introduction of its first personal computer (PC) and the rise or launch of such tech companies as Intel, Microsoft, Dell, Sun Microsystems, Compaq and Cisco Systems.

Fast Times at Ridgemont High was released on August 13, 1982.

On August 11, 1984, Ronald Reagan jokingly announced that he had “signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever…we begin bombing in five minutes,” without knowing he was speaking into a live microphone.

A Special Session called by Governor Zell Miller to address legislative redistricting convened on August 14, 1995, after the United States Supreme Court threw out Georgia’s Congressional redistricting map.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Brian Kemp announced he will seek to retro-earn another round of tax refunds, according to 11Alive.

The state income tax refund checks would be worth $250-$500 to taxpayers, as they were earlier this year, and an average of $500 to homeowners according to the governor’s office.

Both measures would be submitted for next year’s budget – if Kemp is reelected. Stacey Abrams has offered a mirror proposal for the same refund checks, but opposes the property tax break.

Georgia previously issued tax refund checks, drawing from the state surplus, earlier this year.

Part of Kemp’s proposal would also reportedly include bringing back a property tax break that went away in 2009. The last time it was in place in 2008, it saved homeowners about $200-$300 on their property tax bills, according to the AP, at a total cost of $428 million to the state.

According to the press handout, the revived property tax initiative will save homeowners 15-25% on their bill – or about $500 on average.

Abrams opposes reviving the property tax break, saying it is “paying off the property taxes of mansion owners and millionaires.”

From the Associated Press:

“Abrams plans to spend more, tax more, regulate more,” Kemp said Thursday, “all while driving inflation higher and putting countless livelihoods at risk, just like her pal in the White House.”

With property values rising, most taxpayers will see higher property tax bills this year because local governments and school districts did not reduce tax rates enough to hold tax bills level.

“For young Georgians just getting settled into their first home or parents who are sending their kids off to college, unforeseen jumps in property values and local tax bills over the last year only add to concerns of an uncertain economic future,” Kemp said.

Kemp argues only Democrats are to blame for economic instability, saying Abrams deserves blame for helping get Biden elected.

“Hardworking Georgians are now faced with a Democrat-controlled Washington D.C. that is hellbent on driving 40-year high inflation even higher, and doing everything they can to make your life harder,” Kemp said. “The pain Georgians are feeling at the pump, and at the grocery store, is a direct result of these tax and spend policies pushed by Joe Biden and Stacey Abrams.”

From FoxNews:

“We want to give you, the citizens, your money back, because it’s going to be more than we just need to spend on wasteful projects,” he added, noting the government would not benefit if it were to allocate the funds to state programs as it would not necessarily be in next year’s budget.

“This is one-time money,” Kemp continued. “If you build new government programs with one-time money, it’s not going to be there the next year and she’s not going to be able to pay for all the plans that she is putting out there without raising your taxes and that is a fact.”

In his proposal, about $1 billion of the surplus will be given back in income tax rebates, including $250 for single filers, $375 for heads of household with dependents, and $500 for joint filers, FOX 5 reported.

Kemp said the other $1 billion would be given to property owners through a “Georgia Homeowner Rebate,” which would provide around $500 on average for those who regularly receive a homestead exemption.

The state legislature will have to approve any spending proposal before the money is given to taxpayers.

Meanwhile, Governor Kemp is directing state agencies to keep spending stable, according to the AJC.

In his annual instructions to agency leaders, Kemp’s budget director, Kelly Farr, said inflation could have an impact on the state’s fiscal outlook, so many agencies won’t see increased budgets.

The exception will be for education and health care programs that receive funding based on enrollment in schools or programs. For instance, if there are more students in a college than the previous year, it receives extra state money to educate those extra students.

The governor will use agency plans to build the budget proposal he will present to the General Assembly in January.

Democrat Stacey Abrams criticized Gov. Kemp for incentives that enticed Rivian to undertake a new plant, according to the AJC.

It started on Monday when Democrat Stacey Abrams delivered an economic speech that included a veiled dig at the huge incentive package that Gov. Brian Kemp’s administration leveraged to entice the automaker, which is losing money as it struggles with manufacturing issues.

“Now while the governor is comfortable promising billions to companies that have yet to turn a profit,” Abrams said, “he refuses to invest in our young people.”

Kemp fired back at a campaign event on Thursday at the state Capitol where he accused Abrams of hypocrisy. She celebrated the plant when it was announced in December and, Kemp said, supported state legislation that authorized incentives for large projects.

“In politics, you can’t have it both ways,” Kemp said. “You’ve got to stand up for what you believe in.”

Elbert County Commissioners voted against rebuilding “Satan’s Sundial,” aka the “Georgia Guidestones.” From the Augusta Chronicle:

The Elbert County Board of Commissioners voted Monday night to give the broken and crumbled remains of the destroyed Georgia Guidestones monument to the Elberton Granite Association.

The commission also decided at its Monday meeting to begin the legal process of giving the 5 acres of land that contained the monument back to the previous owner, according to [Commission Chair Lee] Vaughn.

“The county is not in the monument business, but it’s our opinion the county should never have taken ownership when they did in 1979,” Vaughn said.

The Granite Association also doesn’t want to rebuild the monument, also known widely as America’s Stonehenge, “but I hope there is a group that will come together and rebuild and create a foundation to own the Guidestones,” Vaughn said.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is looking into a shooting at Union County Primary School, according to AccessWDUN.

“Someone targeted a specific unoccupied vehicle in the parking lot of the school,” a statement from the GBI reads. “The suspect, a school employee, is in custody and there is no threat to the public.”

The man was arrested on the Blairsville downtown square following a police chase.

“School was not in session; however, there was teacher planning going on,” the statement reads.

Jordan Vocational High School in Columbus banned book bags after a gun was found, according to the Ledger-Enquirer.

Jordan principal Ryan Hutson told the Ledger-Enquirer the ban is “partially” related to Tuesday’s firearm confiscation, which happened during the second day of the new school year. Hutson said his administration had been discussing such a ban before the academic year even started, and he acknowledged the timing of the new policy is related to the firearm confiscation.

“Obviously, with things like that, when someone can carry a book bag, we don’t know what’s in there,” he said in a phone interview Thursday. “So that’s one of the things we wanted to also help ensure safety.”

“Our kids don’t carry a lot of books anymore,” he said. “They mainly just carry the Chromebooks. Most of the materials are online now, including a lot of our textbooks. So, besides maybe a binder and some pencils and papers and things like that, there’s not much else they need to carry.”

Berkmar High School in Gwinnett County was locked down due to a weapon sighting, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Berkmar High School went on lockdown shortly before classes were set to dismiss for the day after a weapon was spotted on campus on Thursday afternoon, according to a letter Principal Durant Williams sent out to parents.

Two students got into a fight at the school, and during that altercation, a third student told officials that they saw a weapon. Williams’ letter did not specify whether it was a knife, a firearm or some other type of weapon. It also did not specify whether it was being carried by one of the two students involved in the fight or by a different individual.

“Following our safety protocols, the school was placed in a hard lockdown while our school police investigated,” Williams said. “I want to reassure you, no one was hurt, and no weapon was found. The lockdown was lifted after 45 minutes once school police completed a thorough search.

Savannah’s Mayor and Council approved a Memorandum of Understanding between the city and the U.S. Justice Department, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Savannah now has a special assistant U.S. attorney to prosecute federal crimes.

At Thursday’s City Council meeting, the mayor and alderman approved a Memorandum of Understanding between the city and U.S. Attorney’s Office by a 6-3 vote. The special assistant, who will serve as a city employee, will work from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Southern District of Georgia office.

Asked why Savannah was a focal point, David Estes, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia, told Savannah Morning News, “Most of the violent crime occurs in the population centers Augusta, Savannah, Statesboro, Brunswick.”

Chatham County Manager Lee Smith remains under suspension, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Since July 21, Chatham County Manager Lee Smith has been on administrative leave, and in the three weeks that have passed since then, Chatham officials have yet to give a reason — even to Smith himself.

Asked Wednesday whether Smith was still under investigation, Assistant Chatham County Attorney Andre Pretorious said “the board is still in discussions, and we await further directions from the board.” The board referenced is the Chatham Commission.

The county manager has yet to be told why he was suspended, according to the lawyer representing Smith.

“I think he’s done a good job for the county, due to the fact he’s been there for 8 years. It shows,” said Brent Savage Sr., of Savannah-based Savage Turner Pinckney Savage & Sprouse law firm.

Augusta Commissioners are at loggerheads and unable to agree on a property tax millage rate, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

Augusta commissioners remain at a stalemate over setting tax rates, with Mayor Hardie Davis breaking a 5-5 tie Thursday to oppose an increase. The delay in approving a rate could force the hand of commissioners who support a tax hike, because adopting it could cause the city miss a Sept. 1 state deadline.

The higher rate being proposed is 8.411 mills, which will generate $2.1 million in new revenue for the government this year and raise taxes for most property owners. The lower rate is a rollback rate of 7.986 mills, which would keep city taxes flat for most.

The Georgia Chamber of Commerce endorsed State Senator Burt Jones for Lieutenant Governor, according to the Capitol Beat News Service.

The business group cited Jones’ pro-business record in its endorsement announcement. Jones also is the owner of a small business.

“His lifetime ‘A’ rating with the chamber during his tenure in the General Assembly demonstrates that Senator Jones has prioritized economic growth and opportunity in Georgia,” chamber spokesman David Raynor said.

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