Category: Georgia Politics


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for May 31, 2023

The Treaty of Augusta was signed on May 31, 1783, between the Creek Indians and Georgia Commissioners. A second, identical document would be signed on November 1 of that year.

The first graduation ceremony for the University of Georgia was held on May 31, 1804.

Savannah-born John C. Fremont was nominated for President of the United States by the Radical Republicans on May 31, 1864. Fremont had previously been nominated for President by the Republican Party as their first presidential candidate in 1856.

The Capital City Club in Atlanta was chartered on May 31, 1889.

United States Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan certified the 17th Amendment as part of the Constitution on May 31, 1913, authorizing the direct election of United States Senators. Georgia never ratified the Amendment.

A summit between President Ronald Reagan and Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev ended on May 31, 1988. Four years later, in 1992, Gorbachev was dancing for dollars in the United States, including the keynote address at Emory University’s graduation.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Muscogee County Board of Education District 7 voters are going to the polls today in early voting ahead of the June 20, 2023 Special Election, according to WTVM.

The election is happening on Thursday, June 20. However, voters registered in the boundaries of District 7 can vote early at the Citizen’s Service Center on Citizen’s Way, Monday through Friday until 5 p.m.

Laketha Ashe and Pat Frey are in the race to fill the seat of Cathy Williams.

Early voting will go on until June 16.

If a runoff is necessary, the runoff will be held on July 16.

Former First Lady Rosalyn Carter announced she has been diagnosed with dementia, according to USA Today via the Savannah Morning News.

Former first lady Rosalynn Carter has dementia, her family said Tuesday, a diagnosis that comes as her husband, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, is receiving hospice care.

The Carter family said the former first lady, 95, “continues to live happily at home with her husband, enjoying spring in Plains (Georgia) and visits with loved ones.”

“We hope sharing our family’s news will increase important conversations at kitchen tables and in doctor’s offices around the country,” the family said in a statement. “As the founder of the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregivers, Mrs. Carter often noted that there are only four kinds of people in this world: those who have been caregivers; those who are currently caregivers, those who will be caregivers, and those who will need caregivers.”

The Carters are the longest-married first couple in U.S. history. They have often called themselves “full partners.”

This will be the major challenge facing Generation X members. From the Associated Press via WSAV:

“Mrs. Carter often noted that there are only four kinds of people in this world: those who have been caregivers; those who are currently caregivers, those who will be caregivers, and those who will need caregivers,” the statement reads. “The universality of caregiving is clear in our family, and we are experiencing the joy and the challenges of this journey. We do not expect to comment further and ask for understanding for our family and for everyone across the country serving in a caregiver role.”

From 13WMAZ:

“They’re just meeting with family right now, but they’re doing it in the best possible way: the two of them together at home,” Jason Carter said last week of Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter, now 98 and 95 years old.

Last week Jason Carter addressed a crowd on May 23 about his grandparents.

“They’re just like all of y’all’s grandparents — I mean, to the extent y’all’s grandparents are rednecks from south Georgia,” he said. “If you go down there even today, next to their sink they have a little rack where they dry Ziplock bags.”

Governor Brian Kemp’s political organization will work to protect six GOP incumbent state legislators and defeat five Democratic incumbents, according to the AJC.

Kemp adviser Cody Hall said the goal of the six-figure campaign from Kemp’s Georgians First Leadership Committee is to thank the governor’s Republican allies and take the offensive against Democrats “who put their far-left agendas ahead of hardworking families in their districts.”

Although Republicans have a comfortable edge in the Legislature, which they reinforced with once-in-a-decade redrawing of political maps in 2021, Democrats are confident they can gain new ground in closely divided rural areas and fast-changing suburban territory.

The effort focused on Kemp’s legislative agenda this year, which included a package of $2 billion in tax cuts, an expansion of the HOPE scholarship to cover all tuition costs and $2,000 annual teacher pay raises.

Kemp’s initiative is designed to protect six state House Republicans: Scott Hilton of Peachtree Corners, Deborah Silcox of Sandy Springs, Matt Reeves of Duluth, Lauren Daniel of Locust Grove, Mike Cheokas of Americus and Gerald Greene of Cuthbert.

And it takes aim at these five Democratic incumbents: State Rep. Michelle Au of Johns Creek, state Rep. Farooq Mughal of Dacula, state Rep. Jasmine Clark of Lilburn; state Sen. Nabilah Islam of Lawrenceville and state Sen. Josh McLaurin of Sandy Springs.

State Rep. Matt Dubnik (R-Gainesville) was awarded the National Alliance of Public Charter Schools 2023 Champion for Charter Schools Award, according to AccessWDUN.

Rep. Dubnik was selected for his commitment to seeing public education and charter schools thrive and expand in Georgia.

In a press release from Representative Dubnik’s office, he said that receiving the award is a, “tremendous honor”.  He also expressed this gratefulness for the recognition from the National Alliance of Public Charter Schools.

Rep. Dubnik is one of 18 other state and local lawmakers from across the country to receive the award in 2023.

The City of Brunswick is considering new ordinances to address homelessness, according to The Brunswick News.

The camping and improper use of public places ordinance would make it unlawful, unless authorized, to make use of public rights of way “in a manner that interferes with the safe and efficient movement of people and property from place to place on a public road or right-of-way.”

It would be unlawful to occupy or remain in a median when that person is not in the process of lawfully crossing the road. Remaining in the median through two consecutive opportunities to cross the street would be evidence of a violation.

Physical interaction between a pedestrian and motorist while the vehicle is not legally parked and is located on the traveled portion of a designated roadway would be a violation.

Commercial use of public rights of way would be prohibited, including vending or the sale of goods, display of goods for sale, storage of goods for sale in connection with a commercial activity, or the repair or manufacturing of goods. No signage placed or displayed in any median would be allowed.

Activities on private property would be prohibited if the owner, tenants or lawful occupant have asked the person not to enter the property or have a sign clearly posted indicating that approaches are not welcome on the property.

Unless the other person consents, it would be unlawful to knowingly approach within six feet of another person for the purpose of passing any material, item or object to, displaying a sign to or requesting any material, item or object from such other person in the public right-of-way within a radius of thirty feet from any bus stop, the entrance or exit of any public toilet facility or an automatic teller machine.

Exemptions include public safety and other government employees or contractors, workers lawfully conducting inspections, construction, maintenance, repairs, surveys or other similarly authorized services.

Also authorized are people lending aid during an emergency and for motorists experiencing a mechanical problems, as well as those entering or exiting a bus or other public transit system, or when a road is closed for a special event permitted by local governments.

Alabama’s legislature recently adopted some similar measures, according to WTVM.

Governor Kay Ivey signed a new bill this week that outlaws panhandling and loitering on state roads.

Supporters say this will address a public safety issue, but local homeless advocates worry about the law’s future implications.

Under HB 24, individuals are prohibited from loitering or panhandling on state highways and roadways.

Those who choose to violate the law can be found guilty of a class C misdemeanor. Subsequent arrests could mean fines or even months in jail­­.

However, bill sponsor Reed Ingram says the bill makes it clear that law enforcement also has the option of issuing a warning or transporting people to shelters where they can get help.

“It’s about saving the people that are on the side of the road and saving people from having to go to prison if they hit one,” Ingram said. “We’ve had over 800 get killed in 2021 and so this is very important.”

Montgomery County Commissioner Ronda Walker is in support of the new law. She says panhandling is a public safety concern.

“This gives law enforcement the opportunity to be more aggressive about helping these people and protecting our citizens at the same time,” Walker said.

Valdosta will receive $3 million in state funding, according to the Valdosta Daily Times.

The state awarded $1,665,400 for Vallotton Park, $1,152,800 for Scott Park and $243,897 for Olympic Park, city officials said in a statement. The city and [Valdosta-Lowndes County Parks and Recreation Authority] will use the funds to upgrade and renovate those parks.

“These grants will result in significant upgrades to parks for our residents,” City Manager Richard Hardy said. “There’s something for everyone in these additions and I’m thrilled for citizens to experience them.”

“This is a big win for our community,” said George Page, VLPRA executive director. “We are grateful for the grants and are excited to use them in improving spaces where both children and adults can be active outdoors.”

The state awarded a total of $225 million to communities across the state. The funds are going to 142 projects that improve neighborhood areas such as parks, sidewalks and recreation facilities in areas disproportionally impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, city officials said.

Statesboro Area Transit rolls on after its launch this month, according to the Statesboro Herald.

City councilmember Shari Barr says they’re trying to spread the word to let people know it’s finally available.

“The buses are eight-passenger or five-passenger with a wheelchair rider. But we have four of them equipped and ready to ride,” said Councilmember [Shari] Barr.

She says the route is designed to circle from apartments and housing complexes to the hospital and medical offices as well as the mall and grocery stores. She says the low cost has surprised many.

“For one dollar, they can go up and down the North-South “Blue Route” or get on the other bus and go East-West and go from Butler Homes all the way to the high school area.”

They’re on the street Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The City of Rome is close to settling a water quality lawsuit, according to the Rome News Tribune.

“The city has reached agreements with all the defendants in principle, specifically with Dalton Utilities and others,” City of Rome Attorney Andy Davis said. “All of those agreements have not been finalized…but it’s a great day for the city of Rome.”

Davis said it is too early to disclose a specific dollar amount that may come from the agreements, since they’re still in the works.

Gainesville City Council will work on a proposed $35 million dollar budget for the next fiscal year, according to the Gainesville Time.

Gainesville will likely adopt a balanced budget of $35 million – a 1% decrease from the previous year – to fund city operations in the coming weeks.

The budgeted general fund balance anticipates $4.72 million for capital projects in fiscal year 2024. Primary sources of revenue, according to city documents, are sales tax funds in the amount of $7.8 million (22.5% of the budgeted revenue), franchise fees totaling $4.2 million (12%) and property taxes amounting to $1.9 million (6%).

The latest draft of the proposed budget includes a 5% pay increase for city employees across the board, with the addition of the two new positions of traffic signal technician and senior accountant.

City Manager Bryan Lackey said expenses in the budget that have seen the highest increase include fuel and energy, transportation as well as technology costs – mostly for reasons of ensuring cyber security.

Lackey said the city “anticipates a full rollback in the millage rate,” meaning potentially lower taxes for Gainesville residents.

“This year the rate is 0.397 (mills),” he said. “We anticipate it being around 0.251 (mills) for (fiscal year) 2024. We will better define what the actual full roll back rate will be as we get closer to a final digest number in June – before budget adoption.”

Valdosta City Schools will host a summer nutrition program, according to the Valdosta Daily Times.

The Valdosta City Schools (VCS) School Nutrition Program has a summer feeding program that is aimed at benefiting all children in the city and county, ages 18 and younger, at no cost.

Breakfast and lunch will be provided at J.L. Lomax Elementary and Valdosta High School Monday through Thursday from June 5 through June 29. Outside of Fridays, the only day they won’t serve is the Juneteenth holiday.

VCS says the only requirement for this year’s program is that the meals must be eaten on-site. There will not be a grab-and-go option.

“The thought of any child going hungry is certainly one that none of us is comfortable with, regardless of if there ours, or the counties, or if they’re coming from another community, as long as we have the opportunity to provide them with a meal; we know we’ve done something good at the end of the day,” Director of Public Relations for Valdosta City Schools Jennifer Steedley, said.

“One of the things that is a highlight of coming to school is those warm meals that they’re provided each day. So, during the summer, we do worry about our students and making sure they’re getting the nutrition that they need,” Steedley said. “This is just a great opportunity to be able to make sure that those students’ needs are met.”

Muscogee County will do likewise, according to WTVM:

The Muscogee County School District provides meals for kids under 18 years old at no cost throughout the summer.

Children will be served two meals, breakfast and lunch[.]

For more information, contact the School Nutrition Department at 706-748-2386.

Gwinnett County Public Schools will nourish students’ brains this summer, deploying two bookmobiles, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Gwinnett County Public Schools’ two bookmobiles — called Pow and Explore — hit the road this week to bring a summer of reading to Gwinnett students.

The bookmobiles are returning to neighborhoods this week to bring library books to students where they are this summer — at home. Starting on Tuesday, the two mobile libraries will travel routes that will take them to 90 stops in five clusters every week. The colorful converted school buses will make nine stops per day, checking out books to students who may not have easy access to the public library.

The bookmobiles will travel routes in the Berkmar, Central Gwinnett, Discovery, Meadowcreek, and Norcross clusters. These libraries on wheels will be stocked with books for all ages and reading levels — Pre-K to 12th grade. The weekly schedule (11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday) will repeat each week through July 18. (Note that the bookmobiles will not travel on June 19 or July 4.)

Savannah Mayor Van Johnson has a fundraising lead over his opponent, Council member Kesha Gibson-Carter, according to the Savannah Morning News.

As of April 30, Johnson has raised over $350,000. Gibson-Carter has raised $6,320.

Gibson-Carter, a grassroots leader who won her first political office in 2019, has been a vocal critic of Johnson’s leadership style, sometimes even from the dias [sic] at public meetings. She announced her candidacy for mayor in 2022, the first candidate to announce for the 2023 season.

Gibson-Carter says her fundraising is an example of one of her central campaign promises: that she is “not for sale,” and was vocally critical of her opponent’s fundraising efforts.

“I have deliberately committed to not accepting funds from people who do business with the City of Savannah,” Gibson-Carter said. “I do not engage in establishment politics.”


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for May 30, 2023

On May 29, 1836, the United States Senate ratified the Treaty of New Echota, which required the movement of all Cherokee out of Georgia and led to the “Trail of Tears.”

On May 30, 1922, Chief Justice of the United States William H. Taft dedicated the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC. Inside the memorial is a seated statue of Lincoln by Daniel Chester French carved from 175 tons of Georgia white marble.

French also created the statue of Jame Oglethorpe that stands in Chippewa Square in Savannah and a seated statue of Samuel Spencer considered to be a prototype of the Lincoln carving. Samuel Spencer was the first President of Southern Railway and was originally located at the rail station in downtown Atlanta before moving to the Southern Railway passenger station in Buckhead in the 1970s and is currently at 1200 Peachtree Street in front of Norfolk Southern.

On May 29, 1942, Adolf Hitler ordered all Jews in Nazi-occupied Paris to wear a yellow Star of David on their coats.

On May 29, 1953, Edmund Hillary of New Zealand and Tenzing Norgay, a Nepalese Sherpa, became the first to summit Mount Everest.

On May 28, Tenzing and Hillary set out, setting up high camp at 27,900 feet. After a freezing, sleepless night, the pair plodded on, reaching the South Summit by 9 a.m. and a steep rocky step, some 40 feet high, about an hour later. Wedging himself in a crack in the face, Hillary inched himself up what was thereafter known as the Hillary Step. Hillary threw down a rope, and Norgay followed. At about 11:30 a.m., the climbers arrived at the top of the world.

News of the success was rushed by runner from the expedition’s base camp to the radio post at Namche Bazar, and then sent by coded message to London, where Queen Elizabeth II learned of the achievement on June 1, the eve of her coronation. The next day, the news broke around the world. Later that year, Hillary and Hunt were knighted by the queen. Norgay, because he was not a citizen of a Commonwealth nation, received the lesser British Empire Medal.

In Gwinnett County, a dispute has arisen over language to describe the county’s history, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Ruth Abram said Gwinnett County Community Services Director Tina Fleming had one request during their one meeting to discuss The Promised Land in south Gwinnett.

Fleming did not want it called a plantation when discussing the part of its history where it had slaves working its land because “people here don’t like the term,” said Abram, who is a historian and a descendant of Promised Land founder Thomas Maguire that the county hired to compile the property’s history.

Instead, according to Abram, Fleming wanted the Promised Land called a “farm” when discussing its pre-Civil War history.

“If Fleming’s view prevailed, the interpretation of the Promised Land would substitute ‘plantation’ for ‘farm.’ ” Abram said. “It follows it would also substitute ‘slave’ or ‘enslaved’ for ‘servant,’ as has been done at many of the plantations turned into historic sites.”

Abram is blasting Fleming in letters to county officials as well as comments she made to the Daily Post. She is not only accusing the community services director of trying to downplay the history of slavery but also alleging Fleming interfered with her efforts to do research on the Promised Land’s history.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Columbus ranks in the top 100 cities for naked gardening, according to the Ledger-Enquirer.

According to a recent study by Lawnstarter, Columbus is ranked 92nd best US city for naked gardening.

In fact, Georgia takes the list by storm, as Atlanta is ranked the third best city for the nude activity, Augusta is ranked 73rd, Savannah is 90th and Macon is 66th.

The study first gathered the places where naked gardening is safe and legal, examined nudist population sizes, indecent exposure laws and gardener-friendliness as well as weather and sex offender lists.

These topics were then assigned to one of the four categories: (1) Nude Gardener-Friendliness,(2) Local Interest, (3) Weather Forecast and (4) Safety.

Plan to give it a try? Here are tips for first-time nude gardeners:

1.) Wear sunscreen — everywhere! Remember, some of these body parts have never seen the sun, so they are very vulnerable. This is true for all skin tones and races.

2.) Make sure you aren’t using any chemicals (like weed killer) that might come in contact with your body. If you need gloves to handle your gardening chemicals, it might not be a good time to go nude.

3.) Bring a towel or blanket. Crouching down over your plot of land to dig out beans is fine, but most of us naturally sit down when our legs get tired — it’s an automatic behavior we don’t think about. Think proactively, and put something down on the ground that will be kind to your behind.

No word on whether naked gardening is responsible for Columbus having STD rates among the highest in the nation. FWIW, Atlanta is #3 in the nation.

Tourism was expected to return to pre-Covid levels over Memorial Day weekend, according to the Capitol Beat News Service via the Macon Telegraph.

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport expects to handle about 2.1 million passengers during the Memorial Day holiday period, which began Thursday and extends through next Wednesday. That’s up from roughly 2 million travelers during the same period last year.

Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines expects to fly nearly 2.8 million passengers over the Memorial Day weekend, a 17% increase over 2022. The anticipated average of 500,000 passengers a day is expected to exceed the pre-pandemic holiday weekend travel volume logged in 2019.

“It’s going to be record travel for leisure this summer,” said Jim Sprouse, executive director of the Georgia Hotel & Lodging Association. “Looking back to 2019, we’re flirting with those numbers again and exceeding them in some cases.”

Tourism industry officials credited Gov. Brian Kemp’s decision not to shut down the state during the pandemic for keeping visitation numbers up, particularly among leisure travelers.

“Because Georgia remained open for business during the pandemic, Atlanta had a leg up on the competition when convention business began to return,” said William Pate, president and CEO of the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau (ACVB). “The sales team at Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau had a spectacular year in 2022, and lead volume is the highest it has been since the pandemic started.”

The ACVB reported preliminary hotel occupancy numbers for the city of Atlanta last month at 70%, the highest since February 2020, the month before COVID-19 struck Georgia in force. Hotel occupancy ended 2022 at 60%, a 50% increase over the end of the previous year.

One tourism segment that exploded during the pandemic was visitation to state parks. During a period when public health officials advised people not to gather in indoor spaces, visitors to state parks could enjoy camping and social distancing at the same time.

Berrien County will reopen their canning plant, according to WALB.

According to a Facebook post by the plant, the facilities at the plant will be open to the public through the Berrien County school system’s agricultural education department. The facilities will blanche, process, can and peel a variety of vegetables and fruit, according to the post.

The plant asks that people call ahead for an appointment for large quantities.

The plant is open on Monday from 7:30 a.m.-noon, Tuesday 7:30 a.m.-noon and 2-6 p.m. and Thursday from 7:30 a.m.-noon at Berrien High School.

Jesup City Council member Raymond House II died, according to WSAV.

The city says Commissioner Raymond House II was found dead in his home Saturday morning by a close friend.

House was first elected to represent District 5 in Jesup in 1995.

Tybee Island Mayor Shirley Sessions will not run for reelection, according to WSAV.

Sessions has been the Mayor of Tybee Island for four years. One of her achievements includes being the first woman elected to the seat in the town’s history.

Plant Vogtle’s Reactor #3 reached 100 percent generating capacity, according to WTOC.

Georgia Power announced Monday that Unit 3 at Plant Vogtle has reached its full output of 1,100 megawatts of electricity. That’s enough to power an estimated 500,000 homes and businesses. The power will be sent to Georgia and other states.

Operators are conducting further testing to prove they can run the reactor in ways required for regular operations, Georgia Power CEO Kim Greene in a statement, calling the achievement “an exciting milestone.”

“It tells us we’re close to finishing the unit safely and bringing it online to power Georgia homes and businesses with reliable, emissions-free energy for decades to come,” she said.

The fourth reactor has finished a key testing phase and operators expect to start loading radioactive fuel between July and October, aiming for the reactor to reach commercial operation between December and March 2024.

From the Augusta Chronicle:

This has been a longtime coming as the expansion project to add Units 3 and 4 was first authorized in 2009 and has been hit with multiple delays and cost overruns since. The initial plan was to bring Unit 3 online in 2016 and Unit 4 the year after. Unit 3 began producing electricity in April. U.S. Rep. Jeff Duncan said last month that Unit 4 should be online in December. It has cost more than double the projected $14 billion.

Georgia Power spokesman John Kraft said in his Monday news release that the new units are essential to the company’s commitment to delivering energy to its 2.7 million customers. Southern Nuclear will operate the new units on behalf of the co-owners: Georgia Power, Oglethorpe Power, MEAG Power and Dalton Utilities.

Tybee Island is changing their method of marking turtle nests to better protect them, according to WTOC.

They are now just marking the nests with a single wooden stake, rather than multiple stakes and caution tape to make them less noticeable to potential predators.

They’re also adding a metal screen over top of them.

They say this will help better protect the eggs making it harder for them to be dug up by other animals, such as coyote.

Of course, making them less noticeable means they’re asking you to be extra aware of the nests while on the beach.

Columbus City Council may seek the return of land dedicated to railroad operations for more than 176 years, according to the Ledger-Enquirer.

Columbus city leaders say they’ve made a crucial and historic move toward reclaiming about 80 acres of prime in-town real estate that railroads have been using for around 175 years. But their next step is yet to be determined, they say.

City councilors passed a resolution last week declaring that dating back to 1847, the city allowed railroads to use its public land on the condition the property would revert back to the city when those uses ceased.

The city says it never deeded the railroads the East Commons property roughly bordered by Sixth Avenue and 10th Avenue from Linwood Boulevard to 10th Street, so it retained ownership. Now the conditions under which it gave the railroads use of that area — to build passenger depots or freight warehouses — have ceased and the railroad and parcels should revert to Columbus, the city claims.

Though the resolution claims Columbus owns the land, it does not tell Norfolk Southern to vacate the property, or threaten any legal action.

“I think right now it’s just another step,” said Mayor Skip Henderson. He said it was “a step toward having a dialogue with the railroad,” and not an ultimatum.

Rome City Commissioners will discuss an attempt to settle a lawsuit between the city and Dalton Utilities over water quality, according to the Rome News Tribune.

The most recent settlement offer concerns Dalton Utilities, which “agreed in principle” to settle a lawsuit brought against it by the city of Rome over what have been called “forever chemicals” in the Oostanaula River, the utility board chairman, Joe Yarbrough, said.

“Earlier this week, Dalton Utilities agreed in principle to settle the Rome case,” Yarbrough told the Dalton Daily Citizen on Friday. “The final paperwork and language is being worked on now. I can’t offer any other comments or details until we get that final language completed and the papers executed.”


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for May 26, 2023

Lt. Colonel George Washington fought French and Indian scouts on May 28, 1754, beginning the Seven Years War.

On May 27, 1813, Thomas Jefferson wrote a letter to John Adams to let Adams know of the death of a mutual friend.

On May 28, 1830, President Andrew Jackson signed the Indian Removal Act, requiring all Native Americans to relocate west of the Mississippi River.

Georgia Militia under General John Floyd began rounding up Cherokee Indians on May 26, 1838.

General Robert E. Lee wrote a letter dated May 26, 1861 to Georgia Governor Joseph E. Brown asking the state to send any weapons available for Georgia volunteers who arrived in Virginia unarmed.

On May 27, 1863, Chief Justice Roger Taney, sitting as a federal district court judge, issued a decision in Ex parte Merryman, which challenged President Abraham Lincoln’s suspension of the right of habeas corpus. Lincoln ignored the ruling.

Today is the anniversary of the Battle of Pickett’s Mill in Paulding County, Georgia, where Sherman’s forces attacked Johnston’s Confederates on May 27, 1864. Among the combatants on the Union side was Ambrose Bierce, who would later write The Crime at Pickett’s Mill. Pickett’s Mill is the site of annual reenactments.

On May 27, 1864, the Federal Army, having been stopped in its advance on Atlanta two days earlier by the Battle of New Hope Church, attempted to outflank the Confederate position. Some 14,000 Federal troops were selected for the task, and General Howard was given command. After a five-hour march, Howard’s force reached the vicinity of Pickett’s Mill and prepared to attack. Waiting were 10,000 Confederate troops under the command of General Cleburne.

The Federal assault began at 5 p.m. and continued into the night. Daybreak found the Confederates still in possession of the field. The Federals had lost 1,600 men compared to the Confederate loss of 500. The Confederate victory resulted in a one-week delay of the Federal advance on Atlanta.

Here are some photos of the battlefield and links to additional material.

The Battle of Dallas, Georgia began on May 28, 1864.

The Battle of New Hope Church was fought near Dallas, Georgia May 25-26, 1864 between Confederates under General Joseph E. Johnston and Federal troops under General William T. Sherman.

President Calvin Coolidge signed the “Comprehensive Immigration Act” on May 26, 1924.

Many Americans saw the enormous influx of largely unskilled, uneducated immigrants during the early 1900s as causing unfair competition for jobs and land. Under the new law, immigration remained open to those with a college education and/or special skills, but entry was denied to Mexicans, and disproportionately to Eastern and Southern Europeans and Japanese. At the same time, the legislation allowed for more immigration from Northern European nations such as Britain, Ireland and Scandinavian countries. A quota was set that limited immigration to two percent of any given nation’s residents already in the U.S. as of 1890, a provision designed to maintain America’s largely Northern European racial composition. In 1927, the “two percent rule” was eliminated and a cap of 150,000 total immigrants annually was established.

The law particularly angered Japan, which in 1907 had forged with U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt a “Gentlemen’s Agreement,” which included more liberal immigration quotas for Japan. By 1924, strong U.S. agricultural and labor interests–particularly from California, which had already passed its own exclusionary laws against Japanese immigrants–favored the more restrictive legislation signed by Coolidge. The Japanese government viewed the American law as an insult, and protested by declaring May 26 a national day of humiliation in Japan.

Fort Frederica National Monument was established on St Simons Island, Georgia on May 26, 1936.

Fort Frederica National National Monument on St. Simons Island Fort Frederica National National Monument on St. Simons Island

On May 27, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt said the United States was in an unlimited national emergency and laid out conditions under which Germany’s expansionism would constitute an attack on the United States.

Happy Birthday to Gladys Knight, born in Atlanta on May 28, 1944.

May 26, 1949 was named Clay Day in Marietta, Georgia in honor of General Lucius Clay, who spoke at the courthouse square.

On May 27, 1976, former Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter blasted the “Stop Carter” movement in a speech in Cincinnati.

On this day in 1992, The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion by Georgia-based The Black Crowes reached number one on the Billboard US Album chart.

On May 27, 1995, actor Christopher Reeves was thrown from his horse in an equestrian competition in Culpepper, Virginia, becoming quadriplegic.

Eight years ago, a poll by Rasmussen showed Democrat Michelle Nunn beating both Jack Kingston and David Perdue in a General Election matchup and Democrat Jason Carter beating Gov. Deal.

A new historical marker in Savanah commemorates Mamie George Williams, according to WTOC.

A politician, volunteer and a suffragist, Williams registered 40,000 African American women to vote in 1920 following the passage of the 19th Amendment.

“I want them to know that she was tops in politics, spoke up for African American people, that she was the vice president of a bank and that she cared about youth,” said historian Velma Maia Thomas Fann.

Not only was Williams a member of several organizations and President of the Chatham County Colored Citizen Council, she also was the first African American woman to serve on the National Republican Committee, supporting the party that freed the enslaved.

“It’s her spirit that we want to continue to have among us, that will encourage us, that will inspire us, that will motivate us. If Mamie did it during the times when she was alive with all of the obstacles and the roadblocks and everything that was in her path, what does that say to us today?” said Shirley James, a publisher at the Savannah Tribune.

The answer to that question. “Don’t get weary till your work is done.”

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Thirty-seven judicial circuits in Georgia will receive grants to work on reducing the COVID backlog of cases, according to The Brunswick News.

The Brunswick Judicial Circuit is among 37 in Georgia to be awarded a grant to help with the backlog of cases caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

A total of more than $2.1 million will be awarded to the judicial circuit in the first and second cycles of the American Rescue Act Plan for the 2023 calendar year.

The awards include funding for temporary personnel to respond to the case backlog, such as senior judges, judges to serve by designation, court clerks, prosecutors, security personnel, investigators, victim support staff and court reporters.

Georgia Chief Justice Michael P. Boggs, chair of the Judicial Council and the ARPA Committee, said delays during the first year have subsided, though hiring challenges continue in various judicial circuits across the state. He is overseeing the application process for the grants, and the Judicial Council’s Administrative Office of the Courts is facilitating the grant application, award, compliance, and reporting processes.

The funds are awarded on a calendar year basis and all funds allocated to the judicial branch must be spent by Dec. 31, 2024.

“Despite the challenges, I’m very proud of the work our judges and court personnel are making throughout the state in successfully implementing their grant-funded case backlog plans,” Boggs said. “We look forward to the support and efficiencies the audio-visual equipment modernization will provide to move cases faster and without technical delays and I am pleased to see the thoughtful and planned responses to this opportunity.”

Western Superior Court Judge Eric Norris rejected a bid by District Attorney Deborah Gonzalez to quash subpoenas after the DA admitted violating Marsy’s Law, according to the Athens Banner Herald.

The documents are sought by Watkinsville attorney Kevin Epps in connection with a recent Marsy’s Law violation by the district attorney’s office.

Norris ruled the district attorney violated the victim’s rights of Epps’ client due to the district attorney admitting to the violation and the evidence offered by Epps. The judge has ordered that Gonzalez turn over the documents in 15 days from May 19.

During a May 19 hearing on the complaint, Epps alleged the DA’s office never intended to prosecute the rape case and that Assistant District Attorney Robert Wilson used an upcoming murder trial as an excuse to “cover for Gonzalez,” who despite a shortage of staff was out of town at an event the weekend before the trial.

Among the documents sought by Epps was one that contained the words “Selma, Alabama,” according to the district’s attorney’s motion to reject the subpoenas.

Epps said Thursday that securing the documents “will reflect that my client did not get her day in trial and her victim’s right were violated because Mr. Wilson had to cover this hearing while Ms. Gonzalez was at an event in Alabama not related to any of her duties as the district attorney.”

Some Lowndes County property owners are complaining about higher property tax bills, according to WALB.

There has been controversy after the Lowndes County Board of Assessors sent property owners their 2023 Notice of Assessment. Something they say reflects increased values due to surges in the real estate market.

“When we first purchased this home in Lowndes County, our property tax was about $1,400 a year I believe. Now it’s at $2,800. So, it basically doubled in less than two years. And if the property tax is also creeping up, what benefit is there to actually advertise to make people actually come here?,” one Lowndes County property owner said.

“My appraised value increased by $17,078, in turn, caused my 40% assessed value to increase to $6,831. That caused my property tax to increase by $230.84 to a total of $1,950.12. During these difficult times, an increase of this size is difficult for most families to absorb,” Loren Bunte, a Lowndes County resident, said.

Most property owners are allowed to appeal their 2023 Notice of Assessment online, by mail or at the Lowndes County Board of Assessors office by June 28, 2023.

“If your property values that we have on that fair market value on the Notice of Assessment doesn’t match, sort of, what you would expect, that you would be able to buy your home for or sell your home for then you should absolutely appeal. And we welcome that feedback,” James Puckett, Lowndes County Board of Assessors board member, said.

Gainesville is ranked as the nation’s hottest housing market, according to AccessWDUN.

A release from Bankrate this month shows Gainesville on top of their list, which ranked both the top 212 and top 50 metropolitan statistical areas by population based on 1-year home appreciation, 1-year job growth, and population growth, as well as lowest number of active residential listings per thousand people, listings’ median days on the market, and low unemployment rates.

The index measures a metro area’s housing availability and competitiveness to indicate “market hotness.”

Following Gainesville in the top five metropolitan areas for hottest housing markets were Knoxville (TN), Fort Meyers (FL), Sarasota (FL) and Charlotte (N.C.)

Muscogee County voters will elect a new Board of Education member for District 7, according to WTVM.

People in the community filled the library auditorium seats to hear from Laketha Ashe and Pat Frey, both running for the district seven school board seat after the current school board member Cathy Williams stepped down. Ashe says she Is running for this seat because she feels more can be done for district seven.

Early voting starts May 30th through June 16th, and election day will take place on June 20th.

Macon Judicial Circuit Judge Connie L. Williford dismissed a lawsuit by the Macon-Bibb County Board of Elections against Mayor Lester Miller and County Commissioners, according to 13WMAZ.

In a ruling posted late Wednesday, Judge Connie L. Williford ruled the lawsuit was fatally flawed and had to be dismissed for violating the Georgia Constitution that dictates conditions for waiving the sovereign immunity which protects government entities from being sued.

The case dates back to issues created after former elections supervisor Jeanetta Watson resigned in January of 2022. Three months later, the mayor and commission rejected the board’s nominee to fill the job after the applicant’s questionable social media posts surfaced.

The board withdrew its nomination and filed legal action in August after Miller announced plans to form a selection committee with county commissioners and members of the board. Miller said he hoped that committee could find a suitable candidate that could breeze through the confirmation process.

The crux of the dispute is ambiguous language in the consolidated government charter that states: “upon the recommendation of the Board of Elections, the governing authority shall appoint an elections supervisor… .”

The board believes only nominees it approves can be hired and alleged Miller was usurping its authority to select the job candidate.

A state constitutional amendment generally prohibits using the waiver of sovereign immunity to sue individuals, and the lawsuit named Miller and each of the Macon-Bibb County commissioners. According to that constitutional amendment that was reinforced by a March decision of the Georgia Supreme Court, the case “shall be dismissed.”

Interim County Attorney Duke Groover successfully argued that the Board of Elections was created in 1969 by a local act of the Georgia General Assembly, but that act did not grant it the power to sue and be sued – something that was specified in the creation of the Macon-Bibb County Industrial Authority and Macon Water Authority.

“The Board of Elections’ powers are very limited. This is not a general governmental agency,” Groover told the court. “They are limited by the duties granted to them by the election code.”

The United States Supreme Court narrowed the government’s authority over some wetlands, according to the AJC.

The federal Clean Water Act defines navigable waters such as rivers and lakes as “waters of the United States” and gives the government ability to regulate wetlands. In the past, Georgia farmers and state leaders have said the law creates an additional layer of red tape and infringes on the rights of individuals.

Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr, who has helped lead a multistate push to reverse the law, applauded the ruling.

“Today, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected the (Environmental Protection Agency’s) unlawful attempt to regulate nearly every drop of water on private property,” he said in a post on Twitter. “We have been fighting against this federal power grab for years, and this is a major win for hardworking farmers across our state!”

Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Tyler Harper also issued a statement calling the ruling “an important victory for Georgia farmers, producers, and consumers and against unconstitutional overreach by the federal government.”

“For too long, the Clean Water Act has been used as a political tool to infringe on our agriculture industry, leaving farmers, producers, and property owners at the mercy of the federal government,” he said.

As a result of Thursday’s 5-4 ruling by the court’s conservative majority, the reach of the EPA’s wetlands regulations will be limited. In this case, Sackett v. EPA, an Idaho couple filed suit after being told they could not construct a new home on their property without first receiving permits from the federal government because of their proximity to Lake Priest.

U.S. Rep. Mike Collins, a Jackson Republican, said the ruling makes clear that regulatory oversight has gone too far.

“Sackett, combined with multiple Congressional Review Act resolutions recently passed in Congress, should put federal agencies on notice: the American people will not tolerate the administrative state making up authority and undermining their freedoms,” he said in a statement.

Savannah City Council adopted revisions to their zoning code to allow medical cannabis dispensaries, according to WTOC.

City Council passed a zoning amendment that would allow for pharmacies for medical cannabis or medical marijuana dispensaries within city limits after placing temporary stays on the matter since 2022.

The vote passed 6-3, but sparked long discussion at Thursday night’s meeting.

The new amendments set restrictions for where dispensaries can go within the city. Primarily, they can’t be within 2,000 feet of places like parks, libraries, day car services, schools, churches, or healthcare facilities, to name a few.

It also prevents dispensaries from going in alcohol density overlay districts… something, not all council members agreed on.

“I’m not in agreement with this. It should be able to go anywhere, in any district where a pharmacy can go, because we are looking at a medication,” said Alderwoman Bernetta Lanier.

However, the Mayor and City Manager both say these zoning specifications are in place in the event that recreational marijuana also becomes legal.

“The question is, when you know the rain is coming, do you wait until it rains to get an umbrella, or do you get an umbrella before it rains? A lot of time, when things come down from the state, we’ve then been trying to scramble,” said Mayor Van Johnson.

Savannah City Council also voted to raise the hotel/motel tax, according to WTOC.

Savannah City Council voted to raise the hotel-motel tax from 6% to 8% percent Thursday night.

It’s made possible after Governor Brian Kemp signed a bill into law earlier this month allowing for the increase.

Now that the increase has passed city council, it’s expected to take effect September 1st.

Savannah is now expected to collect $52 million dollars in hotel/motel tax revenue for 2023, according to City Manager Jay Melder.

“The prevailing thought around our community is that tourism should pay a larger share of community improvements and community enhancements in our city. We are a tourist city. We enjoy being a tourism city,” said Mayor Van Johnson.

Scott Ebner is the finalist for Glynn County police chief, according to The Brunswick News.

Dougherty County Commissioners are beginning the search for a new County Administrator, according to WALB.

Dougherty County Commission Chairman Lorenzo Heard says he’s only looking forward now. That’s where Dave Wills, the executive director for the Association County Commissioners of Georgia, comes in.

“I wanted to bring somebody with expertise to give us solid direction on how do you move forward,” Heard said. “This isn’t his first rodeo. And I knew that he would give us excellent information. What we need to consider and what we need to do. And I appreciate Mr. Wills. And I think it’s gonna help us.”

When asked if he believed the commission was in a good place after the termination, Wills had this to say:

“I was invited here to help them understand how they could potentially move forward. So I just restrict my comments to that,” Wills said. “I’m absolutely confident that they can move on, every county does at some point. Some move quicker than others. It’s not uncommon to see managerial changes among counties. But ultimately, the commission has a responsibility to provide government, provide services to people.”

From the Albany Herald:

On at least two occasions during the meeting, Commission Chairman Lorenzo Heard asked commissioners to “please stop” when their comments veered into discussion of the circumstances surrounding the actual firing of McCoy.

The final determination of the session was that the search for a replacement for McCoy will begin on June 5.

“My opinion is you should consider hiring an interim,” Willis said. “You want to be looking for experience and communication skills and someone who gets along with the people.”

An interim county administrator would likely be on the job for from three to six months during the search for a permanent administrator, said Wills, who recommended not hiring someone interested in the full-time job on an interim basis.

Sea turtles are nesting at Jekyll Island, according to WSAV.

Tybee’s first sea turtle nest of the season was found on May 17th, and a week later there are five nests that have been found on the island’s beaches.

The Marine Science Center says Tybee’s sea turtles decided to celebrate the recent holiday, as they laid 3 nests on Tuesday night, also known as World Turtle Day.

“If you happen to see a nest, feel free to take a look at it, just keep your distance, don’t try to dig the nest up. And whenever you’re on the beach and you’re playing it’s okay to dig sand castles, but once you’re done, tear down that sand castle, fill that hole back in, because when it’s time for the mamas to come on the beach or the babies to crawl to the ocean, they want a smooth pathway to lead them to the ocean,” says Tybee Marine Science Center Operations Director, Beth Palmer.

Palmer also encourages you to come out and say goodbye to Ike, the center’s resident adult sea turtle, as he is reaching the end of his stay at the center and will be released back into the wild in the next couple of months.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for May 24, 2023

John Hancock was elected President of the Second Continental Congress on May 24, 1775.

The Brooklyn Bridge opened May 24, 1883.

Then-Lt. Governor Marvin Griffin announced his candidacy for Governor on May 24, 1954.

John Smoltz tied the record for most strikeouts by a Braves pitcher, throwing 15 Ks against Montreal Expos on May 24, 1992.

Happy Birthday to Bob Dylan, who was born on this day in 1941.

Seven years ago today, the 2016 General Primary and Nonpartisan General Election was held in Georgia. One year ago today, the 2022 General Primary elections were held.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

The Georgia Department of Driver Services is asking resident to wear clothes when applying for a new iPhone Driver’s license, according to WRDW.

“Attention, lovely people of the digital era!” the agency said Tuesday in an irreverent Facebook post. “Please take pictures with your clothes on when submitting them for your Digital Driver’s License and IDs. Let’s raise our virtual glasses and toast to the future Cheers to technology and keeping things classy!”

Georgia is the largest state to provide this capability to their residents enabling an easy, fast and secure way for Georgians to present their driver’s license or ID — without needing to take out their physical card.

“Get ready to reimagine the way you use your driver’s license,” said Department of Driver Services Commissioner Spencer R. Moore. “We value the opportunity to work with Apple and TSA to bring this convenience to our residents.”

A digital driver’s license is voluntary and comes at no additional cost, and Georgians must continue to carry their physical driver’s license or ID with them.

U.S. Rep. Rich McCormick (R-7) endorsed Florida Governor Ron DeSantis for president, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

“We need a warrior who will do whatever it takes to champion conservative values and safeguard the next generation,” McCormick said in a video posted to his campaign twitter page. “When it comes to the 2024 election, I’ve made my choice: Gov. Ron DeSantis is battle-tested and ready to be our next president.”

“He is bold, principled and has a vision for the future. The governor will never back down. He will fight and he will win, and we will prosper.”

“This election is about trust. Who will empower the people, stop the Left’s woke agenda, spur economic growth and keep us safe,” McCormick said. “This election is about character. Who will serve with dignity, keep their word, remain faithful to our principles and make us proud?”

“This election is about winning. Who can fight and win against the radical left and their allies in the media? Who can earn victory in Georgia? Who can beat Joe Biden? Most of all, this election is not about the past. It’s about the future.”

The Gateway85 Community Improvement District honored former President Jimmy Carter, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

The life of Jimmy Carter was celebrated during an event organized by the Gateway85 Community Improvement District on Tuesday morning. The CID will be hanging banners thanking the former president along the Jimmy Carter Boulevard corridor. Jason Carter, Ambassador Andrew Young, Gwinnett County Commission Chairwoman Nicole Love Hendrickson, Norcross Mayor Craig Newton and officials from the CID, Habitat For Humanity and the community spoke during the event.

About 30 banners honoring the former president will be placed along Jimmy Carter Boulevard, between Buford Highway and Britt Road. The CID is paying for the banners, which cost about $200 apiece, Morsberger said.

Morsberger added that this is the first time any celebration has been held to honor the fact that Jimmy Carter Boulevard is named for the former president. Even when Gwinnett leaders changed the road’s name in the 1970s, shortly after Carter was elected president in 1976, no celebration was held, according to the CID’s leader.

“They just did it quick and Carter had just gotten elected, and they did it within two weeks of his election,” Morsberger said. “There was nothing (to celebrate it), and I wanted to right that, so here we are.”

Jason Carter said his grandparents chose to focus on helping impoverished communities in African nations, through the Carter Center, because they saw similarities to their home in Plains.

“They didn’t approach those places as somewhere to send pity,” he said. “They looked at it and said, ‘That’s a 600-person village in Mali. I recognize a 600-person village because Plains only has 600 people in it, and I know for a fact that when I walk into that little community there, there’s going to be people in that community that can change the world.”

“And, what they have done really is not provide anything but partnership for all these years.”

Augusta says recent computer network outages resulted from cyber attacks, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

Augusta Mayor Garnett Johnson confirmed on Tuesday that some technical difficulties which started Sunday stem from a cyber crime unrelated to last week’s outage.

“We began an investigation and determined that we were the victim of unauthorized access to our system,” he said. “Our information technology department is working diligently to investigate the incident to confirm its impact on our systems and to restore full functionality to our systems as soon as possible.”

Attorney General Chris Carr (R-Cobb County) spoke about gangs in Savannah, according to WSAV.

“It’s like the governor said in the state of the state, you go after our children, we’re going after you,” said Chris Carr, Georgia Attorney General.

Tuesday, Carr met with local police and community leaders in Savannah to talk about gangs and how they recruit kids. That meeting came on the heels of the recent passage of a gang-crime bill. The Street Gang Terrorism and Prevention Act adds a mandatory 10 to 20 years for first offenders and 15 to 25 years for second-time offenders.

“Sixty to 90% of all violent crime is gang affiliated. And who are the communities that are most often terrorized by gangs? Lower-income, racially diverse and immigrant populations. It’s the paramount duty of government to protect person and property. That means all Georgians. Everybody deserves to be safe.”

Carr said Georgia has indicted sixty-three gang members since they launched their gang prosecution unit last July. The attorney general is touring the state to hear from local police and come up with more ideas to stop recruitment across county lines.

“You’re seeing more violence. Kids are younger that are getting involved in gangs and they’re getting more violent,” Carr said.

From WTOC:

The meeting follows the creation of Georgia’s Gang Prosecution Unit and the recent signing of Senate Bill 44 which increases penalties for recruiting minors into criminal gangs.

“We have jurisdictions around this state where some prosecutors aren’t prosecuting certain laws. The gang statue is one of them. As I said, all Georgians deserve to be safe. And if a prosecutor chooses not to prosecute a gang statute, we aren’t going to hesitate to come in and do it.”

Western Circuit District Attorney Deborah Gonzalez apologized after her office violated a crime victim’s statutory rights, according to the Athens Banner Herald.

The apology came in the wake of a hearing held May 19 in which Gonzalez’s office was accused of violating the victim’s rights under the Georgia Crime Victim’s Rights known as Marsy’s Law.

Western Circuit Chief Superior Court Judge Eric Norris determined the office had violated Marsy’s Law in its handling of the prosecution of rape and child molestation charges.

“We want to extend our sincerest apology for any actions that might have resulted in the victim and their family feeling as if they were not heard and their rights were violated. We are taking appropriate measures to improve our office protocols so that we address communication requests with victims in a timelier manner,” the DA noted.

The Marsey’s Law accusation was filed against the district attorney after rape and child molestation charges against Daniel were dismissed soon after a jury was seated in April to hear the allegations outlined in the indictment. The mother had testified she was “very frustrated” by the dismissal and she was more angry than hurt.

Providence Canyon State Park in Southwest Georgia is expanding, according to the Capitol Beat News Service.

The state Board of Natural Resources voted Tuesday to purchase two parcels of land next to the park totaling just more than 1,700 acres for $3.3 million.

The larger of the two tracts – 1,488 acres – is being bought from private owners for $2.9 million. Most of the funding – $2.4 million – is coming through the Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Act, which voters approved in a 2018 referendum. The remaining $500,000 was donated by the Knobloch Family Foundation, Steve Friedman, the state Department of Natural Resources’ real estate chief, told board members.

The smaller parcel at 215 acres is priced at $409,000. The Nature Conservancy and Knobloch Foundation are contributing $150,000 each toward the purchase, while the Georgia Natural Resources Foundation will supply the remaining $109,000.

The two purchases will allow the park to expand its hiking trails and camping sites, Friedman said.

Providence Canyon State Park, renowned as the “Little Grand Canyon,” is located in Stewart County west of U.S. 27.

Georgia Commissioner of Natural Resources Mark Williams will leave the agency to join the Jekyll Island Authority, according to the Capitol Beat News Service.

Williams announced his upcoming departure from the DNR Tuesday at the state Board of Natural Resources’ monthly meeting. At about the same time Williams was speaking, the Jekyll Island Authority board was naming him to succeed the retired Jones Hooks as executive director effective July 1, The Brunswick News reported Tuesday.

“It has been my absolute honor to serve you for 14 years,” an emotional Williams told DNR board members. “I’ve never dreaded a day’s work in this office.”

Williams will get to spend more time with his family in his new post. He lives in Wayne County, and the Republican represented House District 178 in the Georgia House of Representatives from 2007 until 2010.

From The Brunswick News:

“We are looking forward to having Commissioner Williams join us as JIA executive director,” said Dale Atkins, JIA board chairman, in a press release sent Tuesday. “I know I speak for the full board in saying how confident we feel in the experience Mark brings from his tenure with DNR and his years of service on the JIA board, and we believe he will continue to steward the island in this new role.”

Williams will begin in the new role July 1, replacing current executive director Jones Hooks. Hooks, who has served in the position since 2008, announced his retirement in February.

Base compensation will be set at $250,000 with a performance incentive of up to $25,000, said board member Buster Evans, chair of the human resources committee.

Williams will also receive a vehicle allowance of up to $10,000 annually.

The board voted to approve a three-year employment agreement.

“Marty, the girls and I congratulate Commissioner Mark Williams on this great opportunity and want to thank him for his many years of dedicated service to the people of our state,” said Gov. Brian Kemp in a statement sent Tuesday. “Under his leadership, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources has made great strides in conserving the beautiful assets of our state and our shared natural heritage.

“With a record of service stretching back to his time in the Georgia House of Representatives and through his contributions on many boards and authorities, he has impacted our state in a significant and lasting way. We are thankful for all Mark has done and wish him and Pam well as they continue to promote our natural wonders through his new role.”

State Rep. Mesha Mainor (D-Atlanta) is under fire by fellow Democrats, according to the AJC.

Many Democrats see her as a traitor to the party’s core ideals, an attention-seeking opportunist pursuing her own political agenda. They’re recruiting candidates to run against her, with one senator offering a $1,000 donation to jump-start the campaign of whoever steps up.

“I’m not a puppet. No one tells me how to do anything,” Mainor said. “Some of my Republican friends, they joke a lot, saying. ‘You should become a Republican.’ I’ve never thought about that. I want the Democrats to change.”

Rather than backing down, Mainor hopes she can use her maverick reputation and support for school choice to win higher office someday. She said she would consider a run for state schools superintendent.

“We were screaming bloody murder during session, saying, ‘Please don’t vote for this,’ ” said Minority Leader James Beverly, a Democrat from Macon. “When it’s a value proposition around education or around elections, that becomes extremely important for you to stick with us.”

No Democrat votes with Republicans more often than Mainor, according to an Atlanta Journal-Constitution analysis of every vote on bills during this year’s legislative session.

Mainor voted “yes” on 95% of legislation in the Republican-controlled state House, including GOP-backed bills to allow $6,500 private school vouchers, create a state board to investigate district attorneys, ban government COVID-19 vaccination requirements and remove bipartisan appointments to local election boards.

Almost all other Democrats opposed each of those measures. In comparison with Mainor, Beverly voted “yes” on 89% of bills that reached votes in the state House, most of which were bipartisan and uncontroversial.

“Every election year I hear ‘Black Lives Matter,’ but do they? I see every other minority being prioritized except Black children living in poverty that can’t read,” Mainor said in a video she posted on Twitter. “We’ll send a million dollars to the border for immigrant services, but Black communities? Not even a shout-out.”

No one has stepped up yet to run against Mainor next year after she defeated two Democrats in the 2022 primary with 65% of the vote.

Statesboro City Council may revise their alcohol ordinance to regulate “event centers,” according to the Statesboro Herald.

“The city could enact an ordinance requiring event centers that do not have a valid alcohol license to obtain a permit to operate,” City Attorney Cain Smith told the mayor and council during their May 16 work session.  “What we’re talking about here are these places that conduct either ticketed events or events for hire.”

Statesboro’s existing code of ordinances refers to “event venues” only in reference to a kind of alcoholic beverage serving license. Event venues that pay for an alcohol license, as a condition of receiving it, already open themselves to inspection by Statesboro Fire Department personnel and to visits from the Police Department.

During a previous meeting, District 1 Councilmember Phil Boyum complained that places trying to operate as bars without having a license are cropping up again as they did in the past, finding ways around the city’s alcohol laws. Last week, Boyum said at first that he didn’t think “ticketed events” should be allowed except at places such as the Blue Room – a privately owned music and events venue that does have an alcohol license – and Averitt Center for the Arts facilities.

“Now on the other hand, we have these rental facilities,” Boyum said. “These places are pretending to be the Blue Room, they’re doing these ticketed events, they don’t have the appropriate security, and that’s the problem. … This has been a problem for a decade.”

Such places, he said, also lack trained bartenders and servers, while establishments with pouring licenses are required to provide Training for Intervention Procedures, or TIPS, for their employees. This is meant to prevent serving people under the legal drinking age of 21 and those who are already intoxicated.

Allowing rented-out facilities to bypass all the requirements is unfair to properly licensed places, Boyum argued. But Mayor Jonathan McCollar noted that some legitimate organizations host ticketed events.

The Dougherty County Health Department will offer free Narcan five days a week, according to the Albany Herald.

You can now access free Narcan spray five days a week at the Dougherty County Health Department thanks to a recent partnership with the Southwest Health District.

One squirt of this nasal spray can reverse an opioid overdose. In springtime 2022, there were 60 reported overdoses. So far in 2023, there’s been 50.

“We average about three a week. Just this year alone, we have given out 150 twin packs of Narcan here in Dougherty County. Like I said, Narcan is available for free at the Dougherty County Health Department and each of the 14 counties,” said Phyllis Rolle, Public Health Analyst.

“Last year, we did have 33 overall drug overdoses, and 25 of those were opioid-related. And this year, we are seeing a little less than what we saw last year. So, I think it is helping us this year and it’s a bit effective so yes. I like to think of Narcan as being the drug of a second chance because if they have that Narcan on hand, that does give them a chance to be revived and taken to the hospital to give them the treatment they need to overcome this addiction,” Rolle said.

“Narcan is a drug that counteracts the effects of an opioid overdose, and it comes in a twin pack of nasal spray. One pack is one dose, and you just put one squirt in each nostril. You turn the person over to a recovery position that’s on their side and then you call 911 for help,” Rolle said.

It’s available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Dougherty County Health Department, located at 1710 S. Slappey Blvd, Albany.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for May 23, 2023

Serial bank robbers Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow were shot to death near Sailes, Louisiana by a group of LA and Texas state police on May 23, 1934.

On May 23, 1954, the NAACP petitioned the Fulton County Board of Education to desegregate after the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education.

Former Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter won the Virginia Caucus on May 23, 1976, gaining 24 delegates. On May 25, 1976, Carter won the Arkansas, Tennessee, and Kentucky Primary Elections for President.

On May 23, 1990, the NFL announced that Atlanta would host the 1994 Super Bowl.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

State Senator Billy Hickman (R-Statesboro) was appointed to the Georgia Council on Literacy, according to the Statesboro Herald.Continue Reading..


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for May 22, 2023

The War of the Roses began on May 22, 1455 at St. Albans, northwest of London.

In the opening battle of England’s War of the Roses, the Yorkists defeat King Henry VI’s Lancastrian forces at St. Albans, 20 miles northwest of London. Many Lancastrian nobles perished, including Edmund Beaufort, the duke of Somerset, and the king was forced to submit to the rule of his cousin, Richard of York. The dynastic struggle between the House of York, whose badge was a white rose, and the House of Lancaster, later associated with a red rose, would stretch on for 30 years.

First Lady Martha Dandridge Custis Washington died on May 22, 1802.

On May 22, 1819, the steamship Savannah left the port of Savannah for Liverpool, England. After 29 days, it became the first steamship to cross the Atlantic. On May 22, 1944, the United States Postal Service issued a stamp commemorating the voyage of the Savannah.

On May 22, 1856, Congressman Preston Brooks of South Carolina beat Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner with his cane. Brooks used the cane as the result of injury sustained in a previous duel, and found Sumner at his desk in the Senate Chamber. In the course of a two-day Senate speech on the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which would have nullified the Missouri Compromise on the expansion of slavery, Sumner had criticized three legislators, including a cousin of Rep. Brooks, Senator Andrew Butler of South Carolina.

On May 22, 1932, New York Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt gave the commencement address for Oglethorpe University at the Fox Theater in Atlanta.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Brian Kemp met in Israel with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, according to the AJC.Continue Reading..


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for May 19, 2023

Georgia Colonists signed the Treaty of Savannah with the Lower Creeks on May 21, 1733.

Button Gwinnett died on May 19, 1777 of a gunshot wound received in a duel with Lachlan McIntosh.

On May 19-20, 1791, George Washington spent his second and third days in Augusta, where he visited Richmond Academy. Washington left Georgia on May 21, 1791 to go to Columbia, South Carolina.

George Washington left Georgia on May 21, 1791, crossing a bridge over the Savannah River at Augusta.

Georgia ratified the Twelfth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which governs voting for President and Vice President on May 19, 1804.

On May 22, 1819, the steamship Savannah left the port of Savannah for Liverpool, England. After 29 days, it became the first steamship to cross the Atlantic. On May 22, 1944, the United States Postal Service issued a stamp commemorating the voyage of the Savannah.

The Battle of Spotsylvania ended on May 19, 1864. In Georgia, the Affair at Cassville occurred on May 19, 1864.

Blue jeans with copper rivets were patented by Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis on May 20, 1873.

On May 20, 1916, more than 20,000 visited Stone Mountain for the dedication ceremony to mark the beginning of a Confederate memorial on the north face.

American Charles Lindbergh landed at Paris on May 21, 1927 in The Spirit of St. Louis, completing both the first nonstop transatlantic flight and the first nonstop flight from New York to Paris.

On May 19, 1933, the Atlanta City Council voted to allow beer sales in the city. Prohibition was still in effect at the federal level at that time, but the President had signed the Cullen-Harrison Act that allowed sale of 3.2% beer effective April 7, 1933.

On May 21, 1942, German authorities removed 4300 Polish Jews from Chelm to an extermination camp at Sobibor and killed them by poison gas. The Sobibor camp’s five gas chambers would kill 250,000 Jews during 1942 and 1943.

The Rubik’s Cube is 49 years old today.

On May 19, 1977, “Smokey and the Bandit” was released.

On May 20, 1995, the section of Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House was closed to automotive traffic.

The 400th episode of The Simpsons aired on May 20, 2007.

President Barack Obama delivered the commencement address at Morehouse College on May 19, 2013.

Nine years ago today, Georgia voters went to the polls in the earliest Primary elections in modern history. In the Republican Primary, 605,355 ballots were cast in the Senate contest, while the Democratic Primary for Senate saw 328,710 ballots.

Recent polling suggests he’ll be in the 30-point range.

On May 21, 2011, Herman Cain announced his candidacy for President of the United States at Atlanta’s Centennial Olympic Park.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

File Under: Voter Suppression. Georgia had the Southeast’s highest voter turnout in November 2022, and #14 in the nation overall, according to the Augusta Chronicle via the Savannah Morning News.Continue Reading..


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for May 17, 2023

Georgia’s trustees asked Britain to repeal the law against importing slaves to the colonies on May 17, 1749.

On May 17, 1769, George Washington introduced resolutions in the Virginia House of Burgesses, drafted by George Mason, criticizing Britain’s “taxation without representation” policies toward the colonies.

George Washington continued his tour of Georgia on May 17, 1791, staying overnight in Waynesboro; on May 18 he arrived in Augusta.

General Winfield Scott issued an order on the removal of Cherokee people from Georgia on May 17, 1838.

Abraham Lincoln was nominated for President by the Republican National Convention on May 18, 1860.

On May 17, 1864, Sherman and Johnston engaged in the Battle of Adairsville, Georgia.

The United States Supreme Court handed down its decision in Plessy v. Ferguson on May 18, 1896.

The U.S. Supreme Court rule[d] seven to one that a Louisiana law providing for “equal but separate accommodations for the white and colored races” on its railroad cars is constitutional. The high court held that as long as equal accommodations were provided, segregation was not discrimination and thus did not deprive African Americans of equal protection under the law as guaranteed by the 14th Amendment.

The United States Supreme Court released its unanimous decision in Brown v. Board of Education on May 17, 1954, overturning Plessy v. Ferguson.

The historic decision, which brought an end to federal tolerance of racial segregation, specifically dealt with Linda Brown, a young African American girl who had been denied admission to her local elementary school in Topeka, Kansas, because of the color of her skin.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

State House District 68 voters sent two candidates to a Special Runoff Election to elect a successor to the late State Rep. Tish Naghise, according to the AJC.

A runoff will decide a race between two Democrats seeking the last vacant seat in the Georgia House, when former City of South Fulton Councilman Mark Baker will face former state Rep. Derrick Jackson.

Baker and Jackson each received about 33% of votes cast among five candidates in the special election Tuesday for the district covering parts of Fulton and Fayette counties, according to unofficial results.

Because they fell short of the majority of votes needed to win outright, a runoff will be held June 13.

Governor Brian Kemp signed local legislation affecting Gwinnett County, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

“When we work together on a bipartisan basis, we can do incredible things,” said Georgia House Majority Leader Chuck Efstration, who is a member of Gwinnett’s delegation. “We have great opportunities to work together to do great things for Gwinnett County irrespective of how we feel on other issues.”

Among the bills that Kemp signed into law are three that dealt with tax exemptions.

Two of them, House Bill 711 and House bill 748 deal with homestead exemption on school district taxes in particular. House Bill 711 would call for a referendum to double the exemption from $4,000 to $8,000. House Bill 748 would call for a referendum to create a new $2,000 exemption for teachers, hospital workers, members of the military, police, firefighters, sheriff’s deputies and other law enforcement officers.

“Newly elected Rep. Matt Reeves brought legislation to give Gwinnett homeowners an opportunity to earn the first residential property tax cut since 1988,” Efstration said. “This helps to protect the American dream of home ownership in the midst of a historic housing crisis and housing affordability crisis.”

Kemp also signed three bills — House Bills 671, 672 and 673 — dealing with referendums on the homestead exemptions for Sugar Hill property taxes.

House Bill 671 raises the city property tax homestead exemption for anyone 65 and older from $2,000 to $10,000 while House Bill 673 creates a $10,000 exemption fore residents who are 62 or older. Meanwhile, House Bill 672 increases the homestead exemption for other homeowners, whose properties are less than one acre in size, from $2,000 to $10,000.

As is the case with the school district tax exemptions, the three Sugar hill tax exemption changes would have to be go through a referendum before they can happen. That’s because Georgia law requires voters have the final say before any changes to tax exemptions goes into effect.

The referendums for House Bill 711 and House Bill 748 will be placed on the ballot in 2024. The date of the referendums for the three Sugar Hill exemptions would be up to city leaders to decide although this fall’s municipal elections would be a likely candidate.

House Bill 777 would tie the commission chair’s salary to the Gwinnett County sheriff’s salary so that they are always the same amount, including any salary supplements the county commission gives the sheriff.

“It’s a very appropriate measure considering the over $2 billion county budget and the full time job-type responsibilities that come with that position so I’m very proud of our work on that,” Efstration said.

Chatham County District Attorney Shalena Cook Jones blamestorms opines about Governor Kemp’s signature of legislation creating an oversight agency for prosecutors. From the Savannah Morning News:

Over the past few days, several people have reached out to ask how I feel about the governor’s recent visit to Savannah to sign Georgia SB 92 into law and create a Prosecuting Attorneys Qualifications Committee. This law, more widely known by its original name, “The Prosecutorial Oversight Bill,” is designed to keep reform-minded prosecutors in line by constraining their prosecutorial discretion.

Moreover, it is another tool certain politicians use to silence voters, keep them out of decisions about our criminal legal system, and undermine our democracy.

For centuries now, more than 97% of the prosecutors in this nation were white males, while more than 90% of those incarcerated in jails and prisons were people of color. Oddly, no one found this strange, even though studies have consistently shown that institutional racism, systemic bias, and economic disparities are primary drivers of mass incarceration.

But now that reform-minded prosecutors, who also happen to be people of color, are leading the largest and most profitable regions of the State, Georgia lawmakers have suddenly decided that a qualifications committee is necessary.

S.B. 92 ignores public opinion on reform and silences the voices of voters. Public opinion polls confirm that attitudes in Georgia and nationwide have evolved on criminal justice. A recent national bipartisan poll conducted ahead of the 2022 elections found that 8 in 10 Americans support criminal justice reform, including 74% of Republicans, 80% of independents, and 85% of Democrats.

What we are witnessing in this law is not a coincidence but another page torn from the partisan politics playing out across this nation. In Missouri, the legislature forced the resignation of District Attorney Kim Gardner by threatening to change her office to an appointed position rather than an elected one. Iowa just passed a law giving the Attorney General sweeping authority to prosecute criminal cases bypassing Kimberly Graham, the newly elected Polk County District Attorney. In Florida, State’s Attorney Aramis Ayala had all murder cases stripped from her office after expressing her opinion on the death penalty. Most recently, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis removed State’s Attorney Andrew Warren from office for simply sharing his prosecutorial priorities.

Macon-Bibb County Mayor Lester Miller announced the proposed FY 2024 budget, according to 13WMAZ.

Miller plans to roll back the millage rate by five mills. The rate is $1 per every $1,000 of your property’s value, up to 40%. It’s used to calculate property taxes.

The rollback means as long as your property value stays the same when assessments come out, you should pay less this year. Folks with a $100,000 house would pay about $200 less. A $150,000 house would have the property owner paying $300 less.

Much of the rollback is from the OLOST, the penny sales tax Bibb voters approved in 2021. Miller says they were legally required to roll the rate back by five mills this year, but when they rolled it back two mills last year, it put them ahead.

“We’re providing a better quality of service, and more of it, for less money for the taxpayer, and I think that’s something we can all take away. Our top items continue to be the top items. We’re funding public safety,” Miller said.

About $87 million of the nearly $204 million budget would go to public safety in 2024. They’ve increased that budget nearly $12 million since Miller took office.

The University System of Georgia Board of Regents voted unanimously to adopt their budget for FY2024, according to the Capitol Beat News Service via the Albany Herald.

The system’s Board of Regents voted unanimously Tuesday in favor of a $3.18 billion Fiscal 2024 operating budget with no increase in tuition for the sixth time in the last eight years at 25 of the system’s 26 institutions.

Georgia’s public colleges and universities rank seventh-lowest in the nation for tuition costs, Tracey Cook, the system’s chief fiscal officer, told the regents.

The Fiscal 2024 budget, which takes effect July 1, increases spending by 2.1% over the budget lawmakers approved last spring. It includes $87 million in cost-of-living raises for eligible employees and $7.5 million to cover enrollment growth.

System Chancellor Sonny Perdue was unhappy with the reduction and said so the day after the legislature approved it.

“We’re working hard to make our case for restoration of those funds,” board Chairman Harold Reynolds said following Tuesday’s vote.

In addition to the $66 million cut, Gov, Brian Kemp ordered the university system to “disregard” $6.2 million in spending approved by the General Assembly when he signed the state budget May 5.

Cook said those funds will be retained in the system office rather than allocated to the schools while the system awaits further information on how to handle those reductions.

From the Associated Press via AccessWDUN:

Regent Neal Pruitt Jr. of Atlanta said the system is “trying to balance affordability with quality of instruction” and is relying on lawmakers to restore $66 million that was cut from the teaching budget as a part of a hospital licensing dispute.

State senators, who insisted on the funding cut, said universities should cover the shortfall with some of their roughly $500 million in cash on hand. Officials said schools would decide how each should handle the decrease in state cash, and that dipping into reserves was only one possibility. They said it was too soon to tell whether workforces would be cut by layoffs or not replacing departing employees.

Chancellor Sonny Perdue said the decision to hold student costs mostly flat despite the cuts shows how committed regents are to affordability and should encourage lawmakers to give more state money to maintain instructional quality at current prices.

“Bluntly, with our decision today, I think it’s evident and clear we’re not trying to recover that through any other means,” Perdue said. “We’ve got to go and appeal to our public funders of the challenges that we have.”

Perdue warned that state funding wasn’t keeping up with the cost of covering pay raises and health insurance increases, and that schools face “troubling inflationary pressures” including higher electricity costs, saying presidents will be “under a tremendous amount of pressure” to manage budgets this year.

“We’re about to reach a tipping point here in our university system, where we’re going to need more resources in the future to maintain the quality of our academic programs and our college experiences, so that our students and families continue to receive a great education for their money here,” Perdue said.

Glynn County Commissioners heard a staff budget proposal for the coming fiscal year, according to The Brunswick News.

Teresa Munson, the county’s chief financial officer, said she had no plans to go over the proposed budget in great detail. Instead, she gave commissioners a brief overview of the $91.4 million proposal.

The general fund is the largest individual fund, making up 36% of the entire county budget. Special revenue funds make up 44% of the county’s total budget, including police, EMS, fire, accommodation excise tax and grant funding, along with multiple special revenue funds.

Increasing property values, strong property tax collections by the tax commissioner, and conservative budgeting have enabled the county to propose a rollback of the general fund millage rate for the third year in a row, giving Glynn County one of the lowest millage rates in the state while maintaining county operations in a highly inflationary economic environment, she said.

The general fund millage rate proposed at 3.798 mills crosses all tax districts in the county, she said. Four special service districts, fire, EMS, police and Sea Island Police, total 4.94 mills, and the remaining capital project millage rate is 0.53 mills.

Bulloch County Commissioners adopted resolutions to bring their pension plan online, according to the Statesboro Herald.

The defined benefit plan, or pension, Bulloch County commissioners agreed to make available to the county government’s nearly 300 full-time employees last November – after more than a year of study and discussion – is now set for launch July 1. The commissioners unanimously approved two resolutions Tuesday to make it so.

July 1 is the start of the new fiscal year, for which the county is budgeting support for the new pension plan. One of the resolutions that were approved 6-0 Tuesday morning freezes the county’s previous 401(a) “defined contribution” plan so that it is not open to new employees but leaves accumulated amounts in place for current employees who don’t wish to buy into the new system. The other resolution formally adopts the new pension plan and some attached “plan amendments” about how it will be carried out.

The new plan, like the old one, is administered through Association County Commissioners of Georgia, or ACCG, Retirement Services.

The Muscogee County Board of Education adopted new schedules, according to the Ledger-Enquirer.

All Columbus public schools will start and end their class days at different times next year after the board approved changes to the schedules Monday night. The Muscogee County School District Board voted 6-2 to approve the administration’s proposal to adjust the times. Last month, the board tabled the vote to allow more time for feedback from the community.

Houston County property values rose, according to 13WMAZ.

The county tax office says they mailed out statements for those new values last Thursday.

Chief Appraiser James Moore says property values countywide rose about 15 percent this year.

He says that’s about the same as last year, but people have until June 26 to appeal the new values.

Property owners won’t know whether their tax bills will go up, down, or stay the same until sometime this summer when county commissioners plan to set the 2024 millage rate.

Statesboro City Council voted to change a polling location, according to WTOC.

Under the plan, people who’ve traditionally voted at the Board of Education complex on Williams Road would come to the community building here at Luetta Moore Park.

The Jones-Love Cultural Center would give voters a parking lot they would not share with school district employees. Inside, the building offers space for poll workers, their equipment, and cubicles for voters.

County commissioners are expected to vote in June to move county elections here as well.

The first time voters would come here if passed would be city elections in November.

A Democratic member of the Ware County Board of Elections was removed, according to WABE.

Until this year, Republicans and Democrats each picked two people for the Ware County Election Board. But a new state law remaking the board gives the Republican-dominated county commission the final say.

That’s how Michael Hargrove, whose Facebook page is plastered with support for former President Donald Trump and GOP Senate candidate Herschel Walker, assumed a seat that, until last week, was held by Democratic appointee Shawn Taylor.

“I was the person they were going to take off the board because I was the person who fought against voter suppression, the consolidation of precincts, things that affect, I’ll just be honest, the Black community in Waycross,” Taylor says.

Similar bills were introduced this year to remake election boards in Ben Hill, Cherokee, Columbia, Schley, Screven and Wilkes counties.

GOP sponsors say the boards need to comply with a 2018 Georgia Supreme Court ruling that found seats on DeKalb County’s ethics board couldn’t be appointed by a private entity, like political parties.

Fulton County Commission Chair Robb Pitts rescinded his nomination of a former Commissioner to chair the county Board of Elections, according to the AJC.

In a surprise move at the start of the Fulton County Commission meeting Wednesday, Chairman Robb Pitts dropped the nomination of Republican former commissioner Lee Morris to chair the Fulton County Board of Elections — a move that would have flipped control of the board from Democrats to Republicans.

Instead, Pitts substituted Patrise Perkins-Hooker, a former Fulton County attorney and current president of the State Bar of Georgia.

Perkins-Hooker voted in Democratic primaries from 2016 to 2020, according to voter registration records. However, Georgia is an open primary state, so voters can participate in any party primary.

Pitts’ announcement drew applause from the audience, but Commissioner Bridget Thorne, a Republican, objected to the sudden change since a vote is expected in today’s meeting. She said this was the first that she and other commissioners had heard of it.

Before public comments and the vote on Perkins-Hooker’s nomination, Pitts read an email he said came Wednesday morning from Morris.

Morris wrote that he has always tried to avoid “the hyper-partisanship that has been so destructive,” and thought he could bring that balance to the board of elections. But on reflection Morris ultimately agreed with his Democratic friends that a Democratic-leaning county like Fulton should have a Democratic majority on its elections board.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for May 16, 2023

Button Gwinnett and Lachlan McIntosh met outside Savannah on May 16, 1777 and fought a duel; Gwinnett was mortally wounded.

Gwinnett returned to Georgia immediately after signing the [Declaration of Independence] to find city Whig Lachlan McIntosh commanding Georgia’s nascent military efforts. Determined to take control of Georgia politics, Gwinnett became speaker of the legislature, guided the Georgia Constitution of 1777 into existence and took over as governor when Archibald Bulloch died suddenly in office.

Gwinnett then wanted to lead an expedition to secure Georgia’s border with Florida. A dispute between McIntosh and Gwinnett over who would command the effort ultimately led to their duel and Gwinnett’s death.

A Constitutional Convention met on May 16, 1795 in the capital of Louisville to amend the Georgia Constitution of 1789

The United States Senate voted to acquit President Andrew Johnson of 11 Articles of Impeachment passed by the House of Representatives on May 16, 1868.

The North Georgia Electric Company was incorporated on May 16, 1901 to build a hydroelectric dam on the Chattahoochee River near Gainesville; in 1916, it would be bought by the company that today is known as Georgia Power.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Chatham County District Attorney Shalena Cook Jones’s office is facing staffing shortages and a high case backlog, according to the Savannah Morning News.Continue Reading..


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for May 15, 2023

On May 13, 1607, English settlers founded the first permanent English settlement in America, at Jamestown on the James River. This led to the first English-language politics in America:

Dispatched from England by the London Company, the colonists had sailed across the Atlantic aboard the Susan Constant,Godspeed, and Discovery. Upon landing at Jamestown, the first colonial council was held by seven settlers whose names had been chosen and placed in a sealed box by King James I. The council, which included Captain John Smith, an English adventurer, chose Edward Wingfield as its first president.

On May 12, 1740, Georgia forces under James Oglethorpe took Fort Diego in Florida from the Spanish and mocked the defenders’ jean shorts.

Lyman Hall arrived in Philadelphia as a delegate to the Second Continental Congress on May 13, 1775.

The worst American defeat of the Revolutionary War occurred at Charleston, South Carolina on May 12, 1780. American Major General Benjamin Lincoln, who surrendered that day would later accept the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown, Virginia.

Delegates to the Constitutional Convention began assembling in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on May 14, 1787, the designated starting day. Because a large number of delegates had not arrived the opening of the Convention was moved to May 25.

On May 12, 1789, the Society of St. Tammany was founded in New York and would grow to a dominant home for political bosses. Plunkitt of Tammany Hall: A Series of Very Plain Talks on Very Practical Politics remains one of the best historical versions of how political machines worked.

George Washington visited Georgia on May 12, 1791. From Purysburg, South Carolina, Georgia officials escorted Washington on a barge twenty-five miles down the Savannah River to Savannah, where he would stay four days.

On May 14, 1791, George Washington addressed the Grand Lodge of Georgia Masons in Savannah.

On May 15, 1791, George Washington left Augusta for Savannah.

On May 13, 1798, a Constitutional Convention adopted the Georgia Constitution of 1798.

On May 15, 1800, President John Adams ordered all 125 employees of the federal government to begin packing to move the capital from Philadelphia to Washington, DC.

On May 14, 1804, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark left St. Louis, Missouri to explore the Northwest United States from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean.

The United States declared war on Mexico on May 13, 1846.

Georgia Whigs, led by Governor George Crawford, Alexander Stephens, and Robert Toombs, criticized the war for raising divisive questions about slavery in the territories. Georgia Democrats, led by Howell Cobb and Herschel Johnson, staunchly supported the war and states’ rights afterward. Because Whigs, nationally, appeared to be antislavery, Georgia Whigs lost the governorship in 1847. The Compromise of 1850 temporarily settled the slavery question in the territories, but the moderating influence of Georgia’s Whigs dissolved in the heated rhetoric of states’ rights in the 1850s. The next war would find Americans fighting Americans.

On May 12, 1864, Confederate General Joseph Johnston pulled his Army of Tennessee and Georgia back to Resaca, Georgia. In Virginia, Major General John B. Gordon saved the life, or prevented the capture of, General Robert E. Lee at Spotsylvania. After the war, Gordon would serve as Governor of Georgia and United States Senator.

On May 12, 1864, the Virginia Military Institute Corps of Cadets awoke in Staunton, where they had marched from Lexington 18 miles the previous day; after another 19 miles headed north up the Shenandoah Valley, the would make camp at Mt. Crawford, near Harrisonburg. The cadets ranged in age from fifteen to twenty-five years.

The first fighting at Resaca, Georgia took place on May 13, 1864 and Union forces marched into Dalton. On May 13, 1864, 257 cadets from the Virginia Military Institute camped at Mt. Crawford near Harrisonburg.The next day they would continue their march to New Market, Virginia.

On May 14, 1864, the VMI Corps of Cadets marched 15 miles and camped overnight at Mt. Tabor, near New Market, Virginia. The next day they would march into history.

On May 15, 1864, General William Tecumseh Sherman’s Military Division of the Mississippi remained engaged against Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston’s Army of Tennessee at Resaca, Georgia.

On May 15, 1864, at New Market, Virginia, in the Shenandoah Valley, Major General John C. Breckenridge commanded 4800 Confederate soldiers, including the entire Corps of Cadets from Virginia Military Institute. Breckenridge previously had served as United State Representative and Senator from Kentucky, and as the youngest Vice President of the United States under President James Buchanan. Breckenridge was the Democratic nominee for President in 1860, coming in third in the popular vote and second in the Electoral College to Abraham Lincoln.

Breckenridge attacked forces under Major General Franz Sigel and they skirmished through the morning until Union forces broke through the Confederate lines.

When a gap opened in the Confederate lines, Breckenridge realized that the only force available was the VMI cadets.

He turned toward an aide and issued the following command;

“Put the boys in, and may God forgive me for the order.”

The charge of the VMI cadets remains the most noticeable feature of the Battle of New Market. With rain pouring the cadets broke the charge of the 34th Massachusetts Regiment and then advanced themselves in attack.

When the day ended, 10 cadets had been killed and/or mortally wounded. Another 48 suffered wounds.

Ten cadets died or suffered mortal wounds that day. New Market hosts the oldest continuous historical battle reenactment in the United States that is still held on the original terrain, but this year’s is canceled because of COVID-19, as was last year’s.

On the anniversary of the Battle of New Market, the roll of those who died there is called.

On the same day, the Battle of Resaca was fully engaged in Northwest Georgia.

On Saturday, May 14, the fighting at Resaca escalated into a full-scale battle. Beginning at dawn, Union forces engaged the Confederates along the entire four-mile front. In the early afternoon Schofield’s Army of the Ohio attacked the sharply angled center of the Confederate line. The assault was badly managed and disorganized, in part because one of Schofield’s division commanders was drunk. As the Union attack unraveled and became a fiasco, Johnston launched a counterattack on Sherman’s left flank. The counterattack collapsed, however, in the face of a determined stand by a Union artillery battery. In the evening Union forces pushed forward and seized the high ground west of Resaca, which placed the bridges leading south from the town within artillery range and threatened Johnston’s line of retreat.The following day Sherman renewed his assault on the Confederate center.

Carl Sanders was born on May 15, 1925 in Augusta, Georgia. He served in the United States Air Force, Georgia House of Representatives and State Senate, where he was President Pro Tem. In 1962, Sanders won the Democratic Primary for Governor, defeating former Governor Marvin Griffin, and in November was the first Governor of Georgia elected by popular vote after the County Unit System was abolished.

American artist Jasper Johns was born May 15, 1930 in Augusta, Georgia.

Former Atlanta Braves pitcher John Smoltz was born on May 15, 1967 in Lansing, Michigan. Smoltz pitched a complete game shutout against the Pittsburgh Pirates in the seventh game of the National League Championship Series in 1991, sending the Braves to their first World Series since moving to Atlanta in 1966. Smoltz was chosen for the All Star team eight times and won the Cy Young award in 1996.

On May 12, 1970, Georgia National Guard troops were mobilized to end race riots that had broken out the night before in Augusta. On that same day, Ernie Banks of the Chicago Cubs, my father’s favorite player as a youth, hit his 500th home run.

On May 13, 1981, Pope John Paul II was shot at St. Peter’s Square in Rome.

On May 13, 2005, the Pentagon Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC) recommended the closing of Fort McPherson in Atlanta, Fort Gillem in Forest Park, the Naval Air Station in Marietta, and the Naval Supply Corps School in Athens.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Flags fly at half-staff today on state buildings and properties in observation of Peace Officers Memorial Day under Executive Order # by Gov. Brian Kemp.

A statewide seatbelt campaign / enforcement party begins now. From the Gainesville Times:Continue Reading..