Category: Georgia Politics

24
Sep

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for September 24, 2018

James Oglethorpe was named Commissioner of Indian Affairs and Charles Wesley was named Secretary of Indian Affairs by the Georgia Trustees in London on September 24, 1735.

The Judiciary Act of 1789, which established the first federal judicial system, was adopted on September 24, 1789 with the signature of President Georgia Washington. Under the Act, the original size of the Supreme Court was five Associate Justices and a Chief Justice. Washington nominated John Jay as Chief Justice, and John Rutledge, William Cushing, John Blair, Robert Harrison, and James Wilson as Associates.

Also established on September 24, 1789 were the office of Attorney General of the United States and the United States Post Office Department.

On September 24, 1862, the Confederate Congress adopted the Seal of the Confederate States of America.

The Decatur Female Seminary opened with 60 students on September 24, 1889 and would later be chartered as Agnes Scott College.

White vigilantes seeking to assault African-Americans after reports of four white women being assaulted led to the Atlanta Race Riots on September 22-24, 1906, which would claim the lives of at least 25 African-Americans and one white person.

On September 24, 1960, USS Enterprise CVN-65, was launched from Newport News Shipbuilding in Norfolk, Virginia, the first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. Enterprise was inactivated on December 1, 2012.

On September 24, 1976, former Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter resumed campaigning after the first debate against President Gerald Ford.

On September 24, 1979, CompuServe offered the first dial-up computer information service to consumers.

Launched as MicroNET in 1979 and sold through Radio Shack stores, the service turned out to be surprisingly popular, thanks perhaps to Radio Shack’s Tandy Model 100 computers, which were portable, rugged writing machines that dovetailed very nicely with the fledgling, 300-baud information service.

MicroNET was renamed the CompuServe Information Service in 1980. Around the same time, CompuServe began working with newspapers to offer online versions of their news stories, starting with the Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch in 1980. At least 10 major newspapers were offering online editions through CompuServe by 1982, including The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and the San Francisco Examiner.

On September 24, 2009, it was announced that the College Football Hall of Fame would move to Atlanta, where it opened on August 23, 2014.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Vice President Mike Pence rescheduled his trip to Georgia in support of Brian Kemp’s campaign, according to the AJC.Continue Reading..

21
Sep

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for September 21, 2018

James Oglethorpe was named Commissioner of Indian Affairs and Charles Wesley was named Secretary of Indian Affairs by the Georgia Trustees in London on September 24, 1735.

Bon Homme Richard

John Paul Jones, at the helm of US ship Bonhomme Richard, won a naval battle off the coast of England on September 23, 1779.

After inflicting considerable damage to the Bonhomme Richard, Richard Pearson, the captain of the Serapis, asked Jones if he had struck his colors, the naval sign indicating surrender. From his disabled ship, Jones replied, “I have not yet begun to fight,” and after three more hours of furious fighting the Serapis and Countess of Scarborough surrendered to him.

The Judiciary Act of 1789, which established the first federal judicial system, was adopted on September 24, 1789 with the signature of President Georgia Washington. Under the Act, the original size of the Supreme Court was five Associate Justices and a Chief Justice. Washington nominated John Jay as Chief Justice, and John Rutledge, William Cushing, John Blair, Robert Harrison, and James Wilson as Associates.

Also established on September 24, 1789 were the office of Attorney General of the United States and the United States Post Office Department.

On September 25, 1789, Congress adopted the first twelve amendments, called the Bill of Rights, to the United States Constitution. A little more than two years later, in 1791, enough states had ratified ten of the Amendments, with two not receiving sufficient support.

bill-of-rights-hero-lg

Meriwether Lewis and William Clark returned to St. Louis Missouri from their exploratory trip to the Pacific coast on September 23, 1806.

rutherfordhayesatlanta

On September 22, 1862, Republican President Abraham Lincoln issued a preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, which stated,

“. . . on the first day of January [1863] . . . all persons held as slaves within any State, or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free.”

On September 24, 1862, the Confederate Congress adopted the Seal of the Confederate States of America.

On September 21, 1863, the federal Army of the Cumberland retreated to Chattanooga after its defeat at Chickamauga.

President Rutherford B. Hayes visited Atlanta on September 22, 1877. Click here to read the text of his speech in Atlanta.

The Decatur Female Seminary opened with 60 students on September 24, 1889 and would later be chartered as Agnes Scott College.

White vigilantes seeking to assault African-Americans after reports of four white women being assaulted led to the Atlanta Race Riots on September 22-24, 1906, which would claim the lives of at least 25 African-Americans and one white person.

On September 22, 1918, the City of Atlanta gasoline administator prohibited non-emergency Sunday driving to conserve fuel for the war effort.

On September 23, 1944, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was speaking at a dinner with the Teamsters union and addressed attacks that had been made by Republicans, including the allegation that after leaving his dog, Fala, behind in the Aleutian Islands, he sent a Navy destroyer to fetch the dog. This would become known as the “Fala speech.”

These Republican leaders have not been content with attacks on me, or my wife, or on my sons. No, not content with that, they now include my little dog, Fala. Well, of course, I don’t resent attacks, and my family don’t resent attacks, but Fala does resent them. You know, Fala is Scotch, and being a Scottie, as soon as he learned that the Republican fiction writers in Congress and out had concocted a story that I’d left him behind on an Aleutian island and had sent a destroyer back to find him—at a cost to the taxpayers of two or three, or eight or twenty million dollars—his Scotch soul was furious. He has not been the same dog since. I am accustomed to hearing malicious falsehoods about myself … But I think I have a right to resent, to object, to libelous statements about my dog.

The idea for the joke was given to FDR by Orson Welles. The political lesson here is that any time you get an audience laughing at your opponent, you are winning.

A statue of former Georgia Governor Eugene Talmadge on the grounds of the Georgia State Capitol was unveiled on September 23, 1949, the 65th anniversary of Talmadge’s birth near Forsyth, Georgia in 1884.

On September 23, 1952, Senator Richard M. Nixon was under fire for allegedly accepting $18,000 and using it for personal expenses. To salvage his place as the Vice Presidential candidate on Eisenhower’s Republican ticket, Nixon took to the airwaves in the first nationally-televised address and delivered what came to be known as the “Checkers Speech. From The Atlantic:

[A] 1999 poll of leading communication scholars ranked the address as the sixth most important American speech of the 20th century — close behind the soaring addresses of Martin Luther King, Jr., John F. Kennedy and Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

The “Checkers” speech wins this high rank for one stand-out reason: It marked the beginning of the television age in American politics. It also salvaged Nixon’s career, plucking a last-second success from the jaws of abject humiliation, and profoundly shaped Nixon’s personal and professional outlook, convincing him that television was a way to do an end-run around the press and the political “establishment.”

Click here for the full text of the “Checkers Speech.”

On September 24, 1960, USS Enterprise CVN-65, was launched from Newport News Shipbuilding in Norfolk, Virginia, the first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. Enterprise was inactivated on December 1, 2012.

The Warren Commission report on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy was delivered to President Lyndon B. Johnson on September 24, 1964.

On September 23, 1976, President Gerald Ford and former Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter met in their first televised debate. On September 24, 1976, former Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter resumed campaigning after the first debate.

On September 24, 1976, former Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter resumed campaigning after the first debate against President Gerald Ford.

Bert Lance resigned as Director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Jimmy Carter on September 21, 1977. After a jury acquitted him on ten federal charges in 1980, Lance served as Chair of the Democratic Party of Georgia from 1982 to 1985.

On September 24, 1979, CompuServe offered the first dial-up computer information service to consumers.

Launched as MicroNET in 1979 and sold through Radio Shack stores, the service turned out to be surprisingly popular, thanks perhaps to Radio Shack’s Tandy Model 100 computers, which were portable, rugged writing machines that dovetailed very nicely with the fledgling, 300-baud information service.

MicroNET was renamed the CompuServe Information Service in 1980. Around the same time, CompuServe began working with newspapers to offer online versions of their news stories, starting with the Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch in 1980. At least 10 major newspapers were offering online editions through CompuServe by 1982, including The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and the San Francisco Examiner.

General Colin Powell was confirmed by the Senate Armed Services Committee as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on September 21. 1989. Powell served as National Security Advisor to President Ronald Reagan before being appointed Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff by President George H.W. Bush; in 2000, Powell was nominated by President George W. Bush as Secretary of State, the first African-American to hold that post.

Friends debuted on NBC on September 22, 1994.

The last game played in Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium took place on September 23, 1996.

On September 24, 2009, it was announced that the College Football Hall of Fame would move to Atlanta, where it opened on August 23, 2014.

On September 21, 2011, R.E.M. announced on their website that they were quitting as a band.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Georgia State House Speaker David Ralston suggested naming the new judicial complex near the Capitol in honor of Governor Nathan Deal, according to Fox5Atlanta.Continue Reading..

20
Sep

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for September 20, 2018

On September 20, 1863, the Confederate Army of the Tennessee under General Braxton Bragg repelled Union forces under General William Rosencrans at the Battle of Chickamauga. After Gettysburg, Chickamauga is generally considered the second-bloodiest battle of the Civil War, with 18,500 Confederate casualties and 16,100 Union dead.

The first classes at Oglethorpe University under it’s current non-denominational charter were held on September 20, 1916. Happy 101st Anniversary to the Stormy Petrels. The university was originally affiliated with the Presbyterian Church and located in Midway, Georgia. In 1870, after a period of closure during the Civil War they relocated to the Atlanta area. Currently, a collection of more than 20,000 pieces of political campaign materials is on display at the Weltner Library on Oglethorpe’s campus.

On September 20, 1976, Playboy magazine released an interview with Jimmy Carter, then a candidate for President.

During the 1976 campaigns, a 13-foot tall smiling peanut sculpture was created by the Indiana Democratic Party for Carter’s presidential campaign.

Since 1976, the Jimmy Carter Smiling Peanut has held its position as the world’s second largest peanut, “the most photographed thing in Plains”, and one of the oddest monuments to a politician worldwide. Unfortunately, in 2000, a reckless driver crashed into the peanut, whose wooden hoops, chicken wire, and aluminum foil weren’t enough to keep it upright. After the accident, the peanut was moved from the Plains train depot to the Davis E-Z Shop in Plains, where it remains today. Although the peanut has been kept in pristine form, the fence surrounding it has become dilapidated as a result of over a decade of tourists posing for photos on it.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Western Judicial Circuit Senior Judge David Sweat ordered a December 4 election for State House District 28, comprising parts of Habersham, Banks and Stephens counties, according to AccessWDUN.Continue Reading..

19
Sep

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for September 19, 2018

President George Washington gave his farewell address on September 19, 1796.

The period for a new election of a Citizen, to Administer the Executive government of the United States, being not far distant, and the time actually arrived, when your thoughts must be employed in designating the person, who is to be cloathed with that important trust, it appears to me proper, especially as it may conduce to a more distinct expression of the public voice, that I should now apprise you of the resolution I have formed, to decline being considered among the number of those, out of whom a choice is to be made.

I beg you, at the sametime, to do me the justice to be assured, that this resolution has not been taken, without a strict regard to all the considerations appertaining to the relation, which binds a dutiful Citizen to his country–and that, in withdrawing the tender of service which silence in my Situation might imply, I am influenced by no diminution of zeal for your future interest, no deficiency of grateful respect for your past kindness; but am supported by a full conviction that the step is compatible with both.

On September 19, 1863, the Battle of Chickamauga was joined between the federal Army of the Cumberland under Maj. Gen. William Rosecrans and the Confederate Army of Tennessee under Gen. Braxton Bragg.

Thirteen marchers were shot and killed and forty more wounded in Camilla, Georgia at the Camilla Massacre on September 19, 1868 as marchers to a Republican Party rally were gunned down.

President James Garfield died on September 19, 1881, of wounds sustained on July 2d of that year. Garfield is one of seven Presidents born in Ohio – he and William McKinley, were both killed by assassins.

Chickamauga National Battlefield was dedicated September 19, 1895.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Voters in State House District 28 will go to the polls at a yet-undecided date to re-vote in the Republican Primary, according to The Northeast Georgian.Continue Reading..

18
Sep

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for September 18, 2018

The Mayflower left Plymouth, England, for the New World on September 16, 1620. Thirty-five of 102 passengers were members of the English Separatist Church seeking religious freedom from the Church of England. Originally aiming to reach Virginia, Mayflower eventually landed at Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

Forty-one delegates signed the United States Constitution, including Abraham Baldwin and William Few representing Georgia, at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia on September 17, 1787 before adjourning sine die. Constitution Day was celebrated yesterday and the National Archives has some great background materials.

The United States government took out its first loan on September 18, 1789, the proceeds of which were used to pay the salaries of the President, and First Congress. On the same day, future President Thomas Jefferson wrote a letter to E. Rutledge in which he requested that a shipment of olive trees be sent via Baltimore.

President George Washington laid the cornerstone of the United States Capitol on September 18, 1793.

We know from that newspaper article, and from Masonic ritual, that Washington placed an inscribed silver plate under the cornerstone at the southeast corner of this building. However, we do not know whether that meant the southeast corner of the Senate wing, the first section of the building to be completed, or the southeast corner of the whole building as intended, which would locate it over on the House side. Two centuries later, the Architect of the Capitol is still searching for that cornerstone. Metal detectors have failed to locate the silver plate.

On September 17, 1796, George Washington began working on the final draft of his farewell address as the first President of the United States of America.

Francis Scott Key composed the lyrics to “The Star Spangled Banner” on September 14, 1814.

On September 15, 1831, Dr. Samuel Worcester and Dr. Elizur Butler – missionaries – were tried in a Lawrenceville courtroom for living as white people among the Cherokee and refusing to take an oath of loyalty to Georgia, convicted and sentenced to hard labor. Some historians refer to this case, which went to the United States Supreme Court on appeal, as the beginning of the events that led to the forced removal of the Cherokee people from Georgia on the “Trail of Tears.”

HMS Beagle, carrying Charles Darwin, arrived at the Gallapagos Islands on September 15, 1835.

President Millard Fillmore signed the Fugitive Slave Act on September 18, 1850, requiring that slaves be returned to their owners even if they were in a free state.

The Army of Northern Virginia under General Robert E. Lee met the Army of the Potomac under General George McClellan at the Battle of Antietam on September 17, 1862.

The Battle of Antietam actually consisted of three battles. Beginning at dawn on September 17, Union General Joseph Hooker’s men stormed Confederate General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson’s troops around the Dunker Church, the West Woods, and David Miller’s cornfield. The Federals made repeated attacks, but furious Rebel counterattacks kept the Yankees in check. By early afternoon, the fighting moved south to the middle of the battlefield. Union troops under General Edwin Sumner inflicted devastating casualties on the Confederates along a sunken road that became known as “Bloody Lane,” before the Southerners retreated. McClellan refused to apply reserves to exploit the opening in the Confederate center because he believed Lee’s force to be much larger than it actually was. In the late afternoon, Union General Ambrose Burnside attacked General James Longstreet’s troops across a stone bridge that came to bear Burnside’s name. The Yankees crossed the creek, but a Confederate counterattack brought any further advance to a halt.

The fighting ended by early evening, and the two armies remained in place throughout the following day. After dark on September 18, Lee began pulling his troops out of their defenses for a retreat to Virginia. The losses for the one-day battle were staggering. Union casualties included 2,108 dead, 9,540 wounded, and 753 missing, while Confederate casualties numbered 1,546 dead, 7,752 wounded, and 1,108 missing.

General Robert E. Lee retreated from Antietam Creek on September 18, 1862, following the bloodiest day of fighting in the Civil War.

On September 14, 1885, Georgia Governor Henry McDaniel signed legislation granting up to 200 acres in Fulton and DeKalb Counties to the federal government to be used in the constuction of Fort McPherson, which was named after Union Maj. Gen. James McPherson, who was killed in the Battle of Atlanta in 1864.

On September 14, 1901, President William McKinley died of an infection from gunshot wounds suffered eight days earlier.

On September 15, 1904, Wilbur Wright made the first in-flight turn in an airplane.

A single pistol shot on September 16, 1920 opened former Cherokee land in Oklahoma to white settlers in a “land run” to claim property.

On September 17, 1932, the Georgia Division of the Roosevelt Business and Professional League was created to work with the Georgia Democratic Party to support FDR’s Presidential campaign in the Peach State.

The original stimulus act was announced to bring $70 million in federal money to Georgia to build roads and public buildings on September 16, 1933.

On September 16, 1940, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Selective Service and Training Act requiring males 26-35 years of age to register for the draft. On the same day, Sam Rayburn of Texas was elected Speaker of the United States House of Representatives and would go on to hold the post for 17 years total, the longest tenure of any Speaker.

Early on the morning of September 15, 1963, a bomb exploded in the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, killing four young girls.

On September 18, 1973, Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter filed a report claiming that he saw an Unidentified Flying Object in the sky above Leary, Georgia in 1969.

Carter was preparing to give a speech at a Lions Club meeting. At about 7:15 p.m (EST), one of the guests called his attention to a strange object that was visible about 30 degrees above the horizon to the west of where he was standing. Carter described the object as being bright white and as being about as bright as the moon. It was said to have appeared to have closed in on where he was standing but to have stopped beyond a stand of pine trees some distance from him. The object is then said to have changed color, first to blue, then to red, then back to white, before appearing to recede into the distance. Carter felt that the object was self-luminous, but not a solid in nature. Carter’s report indicates that it was witnessed by about ten or twelve other people, and was in view for ten to twelve minutes before it passed out of sight.

Click here to view a copy of the report, allegedly on file at the Carter Center.

https://youtu.be/ohgchUp0wYg

Jimmy Carter received the first ever endorsement of a national ticket by the National Education Association in his bid for President on September 17, 1976.

The Georgia General Assembly approved a new state Constitution on September 18, 1981, which was placed on the 1982 ballot and after approval by voters, went into effect in 1983.

On September 18, 1990, Atlanta was announced as the location for the 1996 Summer Olympic games.

Ted Turner announced on September 18, 1997 his intent to donate $1 billion to the United Nations.

On September 15, 1996, the Texas Rangers retired #34 in honor of the most dominant pitcher in professional baseball history, Nolan Ryan.

R.E.M. and Gregg Allman were among the inductees into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame on September 16, 2006.

The Georgia Historical Society displayed the hand-written draft of the United States Constitution used by Georgia signer Abraham Baldwin, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Monday marked the 231st anniversary of the adoption of the United States Constitution, and Georgia Historical Society displayed Abraham Baldwin’s draft copy of the document to celebrate.

Baldwin’s draft is one of 13 surviving copies of the document and includes the handwritten margin notes made by Baldwin during the Constitutional Convention in 1787.

Along with the draft, the tables on the first floor of the building displayed other items from the Revolutionary era, including a drum that was used in Revolutionary War battles and the dueling pistols used by Button Gwinnett and Lachlan McIntosh.

The draft has been in the GHS collection since the 19th century, but to this day, nobody knows how it got here.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

United States District Court Judge Amy Totenberg did not order the use of paper ballots for Georgia’s November elections, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

A federal judge ruled late Monday that forcing Georgia to scrap its electronic voting machines in favor of paper ballots for the upcoming midterm elections is too risky, though she said she has grave concerns about the machines that experts have said are vulnerable to hacking.

U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg’s ruling means the state won’t have to use paper ballots for this year’s midterm elections, including a high-profile gubernatorial contest between the state’s top elections official, Republican Secretary of State Brian Kemp, and Democrat Stacey Abrams, a former state House minority leader who’s trying to become the country’s first black, female governor.

State elections director Chris Harvey testified at a hearing last week that the state doesn’t have enough optical scanners to handle such an increase in the volume of paper ballots and likely can’t secure enough in time. It would also be tough to get enough ballots and to conduct necessary election worker training and voter education, he testified.

But paper-ballot elections are easier, and costs would be offset by huge savings because election officials wouldn’t have to test, program, transport, set up, take down and secure the state’s 27,000 voting machines and account for all the memory cards, lawyers for the [plaintiffs] argued.

From the AJC:

Her 46-page order Monday said she was concerned about “voter frustration and disaffection from the voting process” if she had prohibited electronic voting machines just weeks before the election.

“There is nothing like bureaucratic confusion and long lines to sour a citizen,” Totenberg wrote.

Following State Rep. Christian Coomer‘s nomination to the Georgia Court of Appeals, his father, Ken Coomer will seek to keep the seat in the family, according to the Rome News-Tribune.

The father of state Rep. Christian Coomer has filed paperwork to seek his son’s District 14 seat — and he comes with endorsements and cash from top Republican leaders in the House.

“After a lifetime of service to others as a United States Marine, pastor and counselor and local leader, I am no stranger to getting the job done for my community,” Ken Coomer said in a press release.

The 14th District covers the southeast quadrant of Floyd and northern half of Bartow County.

A special election will be called to fill Christian Coomer’s seat and there will be an open qualifying period, but the dates have not yet been set, according to Candice Broce, press secretary for the Georgia Secretary of State.

The Port of Savannah chalked another record month, which will increase as rail access to the port is built out, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Containers moved in August in Savannah grew 8 percent over the same month in 2017.

For the fiscal year of 2018, that ended on June 30, the ports handled 4.2 million TEUs and 8.4 percent over fiscal year 2017.

“A strengthening economy and a greater reliance on GPA in major inland markets is driving growth at the Port of Savannah,” said GPA Executive Director Griff Lynch. “We expect this trend to continue as more customers take advantage of Garden City Terminal’s central location and efficient terminal operations.”

GPA board members approved $92 million for the [Mason Mega-Rail] project at Monday’s board of directors meeting held in Atlanta. The project will double Savannah’s annual rail capacity to 1 million containers and will be the largest on-terminal rail facility in North America by 2020, port officials said.

The Mega Rail expansion is funded in part by a $44 million U.S. Department of Transportation FASTLANE grant administered by the Maritime Administration. The GPA board approved $42.2 million for the project last year. Almost $100 million has been allocated for the project.

GPA estimates the new terminal will take more than 200,000 trucks off the road annually. The rail project will extend the port’s reach along an arc of cities, ranging from Memphis to St. Louis, Chicago and Cincinnati.

The United States House of Representatives adopted a compromise budget that includes funding for the ports at Brunswick and Savannah, according to The Brunswick News.

“The ports of Brunswick and Savannah are critical economic drivers for our area, state and nation and they need adequate federal support,” U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter, R-1, said in a statement.

The 2019 fiscal year budget for the Army Corps of Engineers delineates a total of $5,258,000 for Brunswick, with more than $4.3 million earmarked for dredging activities, $777,000 for operations and $177,000 for area maintenance. The plan is for the removal of 30 percent of the sediment presently residing in the bar channel.

It passed the House by a vote of 377-20 after passing the Senate by a vote of 92-5 on Wednesday.

Both chambers approved earlier versions of the legislation in June, but didn’t work out the differences in the bills passed until the conference committee met last week.

Gwinnett County Public Schools is dealing with growth issues, as the state’s largest public school system is projected to continue growing enrollment, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

As the largest school system in Georgia and continuously growing, Gwinnett’s school system focuses on ensuring issues such as overcrowding don’t take away from instructional learning.

It’s a balancing act that will continue with the county, already estimated to have more than 900,000 residents and expected to add another 600,000 residents by 2040.

As part of a referendum that will be voted on in November, the school board included the construction of a new cluster high school in the Mill Creek area as part of a projects list for a $350 million general obligation bond.

“We knew the Mill Creek growth is ongoing and are looking at the long-range expectations,” Flynt said. “It’s problematic to do an exact forecast for an individual school, but rather we do long-range projections for school clusters and age ranges.”

Muscogee County Board of Education members rejected a proposal to recruit more bus drivers and asked the administration to prepare a recommendation, according to the Ledger-Enquirer.

The proposal came from representatives John Thomas of District 2 and Frank Myers of District 8, the nine-member board’s most outspoken critics of the administration. They want the Muscogee County School District to raise the minimum pay for bus drivers to $17 per hour. That’s an increase of 16 percent from the current rate of $14.66 per hour.

“Thereafter, every bus driver employee shall be rewarded with a $1 raise per year for each year he or she serves the district,” the proposal says.

After a 70-minute discussion at last week’s work session and nearly another hour of debate at Monday night’s meeting, the proposal failed in a 2-6-1 vote. Myers and Thomas were the lone yes votes. Vanessa Jackson of District 3 abstained.

Myers vowed to bring back the proposal, or a tweaked version of it based on board member comments, for another vote next month.

[Board Member Pat Hugley] Green emphasized the administration’s proposal should also include “every other employment category.”

The Bulloch County Board of Education hired a new director of school safety, according to the Statesboro Herald.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee upgraded its participation in Carolyn Bordeaux’s challenge to Congressman Rob Woodall, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Bourdeaux is now part of the DCCC’s Red to Blue Program, which focuses on supporting candidates who the committee feels have a high chance of flipping Republican-held seats in Congress in November.

“A teacher and public servant, Carolyn Bourdeaux has never sat on the sidelines in the face of a problem, and now is no different,” DCCC Chairman Ben Ray Lujan said in a statement. “It is clear that Carolyn has put together a strong, people-driven campaign, and her impressive finish in the competitive primary showed she has what it takes to give the people of Georgia’s 7th Congressional District a real voice in Congress.”

By virtue of being added to the program, Bourdeaux will receive organizational and fundraising assistance from the DCCC. Staff resources, candidate training and strategic guidance will also be offered to Bourdeaux’s camp, according to her campaign.

Savannah will hold public meetings for input on the 2019 budget, according to the Savannah Morning News.

The city is partnering with Open Savannah to give residents a chance next month to offer feedback on how their tax dollars should be spent before the Savannah City Council begins its 2019 budget deliberations.

The day-long event at the Savannah Civic Center on Oct. 20 will also give city staff an opportunity to inform the community about the limitations — financially and otherwise — they face in developing the city’s annual spending plan, said Melissa Carter, Office of Management and Budget director.

Open Savannah is also planning to launch a game-based smartphone app in the next couple of weeks that will simulate the city budget and allow users to determine their spending priorities.

17
Sep

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for September 17, 2018

Forty-one delegates signed the United States Constitution, including Abraham Baldwin and William Few representing Georgia, at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia on September 17, 1787 before adjourning sine die.

On September 17, 1796, George Washington began working on the final draft of his farewell address as the first President of the United States of America.

The Army of Northern Virginia under General Robert E. Lee met the Army of the Potomac under General George McClellan at the Battle of Antietam on September 17, 1862.

The Battle of Antietam actually consisted of three battles. Beginning at dawn on September 17, Union General Joseph Hooker’s men stormed Confederate General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson’s troops around the Dunker Church, the West Woods, and David Miller’s cornfield. The Federals made repeated attacks, but furious Rebel counterattacks kept the Yankees in check. By early afternoon, the fighting moved south to the middle of the battlefield. Union troops under General Edwin Sumner inflicted devastating casualties on the Confederates along a sunken road that became known as “Bloody Lane,” before the Southerners retreated. McClellan refused to apply reserves to exploit the opening in the Confederate center because he believed Lee’s force to be much larger than it actually was. In the late afternoon, Union General Ambrose Burnside attacked General James Longstreet’s troops across a stone bridge that came to bear Burnside’s name. The Yankees crossed the creek, but a Confederate counterattack brought any further advance to a halt.

The fighting ended by early evening, and the two armies remained in place throughout the following day. After dark on September 18, Lee began pulling his troops out of their defenses for a retreat to Virginia. The losses for the one-day battle were staggering. Union casualties included 2,108 dead, 9,540 wounded, and 753 missing, while Confederate casualties numbered 1,546 dead, 7,752 wounded, and 1,108 missing.

On September 17, 1932, the Georgia Division of the Roosevelt Business and Professional League was created to work with the Georgia Democratic Party to support FDR’s Presidential campaign in the Peach State.

Jimmy Carter received the first ever endorsement of a national ticket by the National Education Association in his bid for President on September 17, 1976.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Nathan Deal completed another set of domino appointments, appointing Georgia Court of Appeals Judge Charlie Bethel to the Georgia Supreme Court, and State Rep. Christian Coomer (R-Cartersville) to fill the Court of Appeals vacancy created by Bethel’s elevation.

Charlie Bethel, Supreme Court of Georgia
Bethel currently serves as a Judge on the Court of Appeals of Georgia. He previously represented the 54th district in the Georgia State Senate and served as an alderman for the City of Dalton. Bethel has experience in dispute resolution, as the director of corporate affairs for J&J Industries and as a legal clerk for Judge Charles A. Pannell Jr. of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia. He is a graduate of Leadership Georgia and was named to Georgia Trend’s “100 Most Influential Georgians” list three times. Bethel earned a bachelor’s degree in Management, cum laude, from the Terry College of Business at the University of Georgia and a law degree from the University of Georgia School of Law. He and his wife, Lynsey, have three children and reside in Dalton.

Rep. Christian A. Coomer, Court of Appeals of Georgia
Coomer represents the 14th district in the Georgia House of Representatives, where he currently serves as the majority whip. He is a solo practitioner with Christian A. Coomer, Attorney at Law, LLC. Coomer is also a veteran of the U.S. Air Force and serves as a part-time Air Force Judge Advocate currently assigned to the Joint Force Headquarters of the Georgia National Guard. He was appointed to the Court Reform Council by Deal and was named the Georgia Chamber of Commerce’s Legislator of the Year in 2017. Coomer received numerous awards for his military service including the U.S. Air Force Meritorious Service Medal. He is a graduate of Air Command and Staff College at Air University and the Georgia Legislative Leadership Institute. Coomer is a member of the Cartersville-Bartow County Chamber of Commerce and the Georgia Veterans Association. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Lee University and a law degree from the University of Georgia School of Law. Coomer and his wife, Heidi, have three children and reside in Cartersville.

Governor Deal joined Lt. Governor Casey Cagle and Speaker David Ralston in naming appointees to the Atlanta-region Transit Link Authority (The ATL).

Deal appointed Charlie Sutlive to serve as the board chairman, effective immediately. Cagle appointed Teddy Russell and Mark Toro, effective immediately. Ralston appointed Charlotte J. Nash, effective immediately, and Rep. Earl Ehrhart, effective upon the conclusion of his service in the Georgia General Assembly in January 2019.

“Georgia is a destination for all types of industries and people from all walks of life to come and enjoy the prosperity of our state,” said Deal. “By 2040, the metro Atlanta area is projected to add another 2.5 million residents and the ATL is a significant step towards providing a coordinated, streamlined and unified approach to prepare for the future of metro Atlanta and the surrounding communities. The ATL board members will work to ensure that our modes of transit and mobility are worthy of the No. 1 state for business and I look forward to their work to provide new options for Georgians to get to jobs, community activities and homes to spend time with family more quickly and efficiently.”

The ATL was established by HB 930 to provide structure for coordinated transit planning and funding for the 13-county metro Atlanta region. The ATL is responsible for developing a Regional Transit Plan, as well as identifying and prioritizing the projects and initiatives required to develop region-wide transit.

“As our state continues to experience record levels of growth, the ATL will strategically expand our public transportation network to accommodate thousands of new passengers, while reducing traffic congestion, strengthening the link between our communities, and spurring future economic growth,” said Cagle. “I commend Chairmen Brandon Beach and Kevin Tanner for their dedicated commitment to advancing this historic legislation, and I’m confident the ATL’s board members will take full advantage of our state’s many strategic assets to maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of future investments in building a world-class transit network.”

The ATL is governed by a 16-member board and attached to the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority for shared administrative resources.

“Transit is an integral part of our efforts to reduce traffic congestion, improve freight logistics and create more jobs by attracting more businesses to metropolitan Atlanta,” said Ralston. “I am confident that the members of the ATL Board will look for ways to improve our transit network through innovative partnerships and projects, and that they will work tirelessly to keep Atlanta and its surrounding communities on the move.”

Charlie Sutlive, Chairman, The Atlanta-region Transit Link Authority, appointed by Deal
Sutlive is the director of corporate communication at Georgia Power. In this role, he provides strategic support for the company’s external and internal communications. Sutlive was previously the vice chancellor for communications and governmental affairs for the University System of Georgia (USG) and led the development and execution of communications, public affairs and economic development plans for USG’s 26 colleges and universities. He has held multiple leadership positions for some of the largest and most recognizable companies in the world, including MCI, which is now part of Verizon Communications, McKesson and Coca-Cola North America. Sutlive sat on the boards of Leadership Georgia, the REACH Georgia Foundation, the Jekyll Island Foundation and the Smithgall Woods Foundation. He is also a graduate of Leadership Georgia. Sutlive earned a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations from the University of Georgia.

Teddy Russell, The Atlanta-region Transit Link Authority, appointed by Cagle
Russell is a co-owner and the president of Russell Landscape. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the Terry College of Business at the University of Georgia. Russell and his wife, Courtney, have three children and reside in Atlanta.

Mark Toro, The Atlanta-region Transit Link Authority, appointed by Cagle
Toro is a co-founder of North American Properties’ Atlanta office. He previously served in several leadership positions with Faison and Cousins Properties. Toro has acquired, developed or redeveloped more than 70 projects totaling almost 30 million square feet. He attended Rutgers University. Toro and his wife, Nancy, have two children and three grandchildren.

Charlotte J. Nash, The Atlanta-region Transit Link Authority, appointed by Ralston
Nash is the chair of the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners. She was elected countywide to this position in March 2011 and was reelected in 2012 and 2016.  Nash previously worked for the Gwinnett County government for 28 years and retired as the county manager in 2004. She sits on the Atlanta Regional Commission Board and chairs the Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District Board. Nash is a former president of the Association of County Commissioners of Georgia. She and her husband, Michael, have two children and two grandchildren. They reside in Dacula.

Rep. Earl Ehrhart, The Atlanta-region Transit Link Authority, appointed by Ralston
Ehrhart is the CEO of Taylor English Decisions. He was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives in 1988 and will conclude his service as a member of the General Assembly in January 2019. As a member of the House, Ehrhart served as the Minority Whip, Chairman of the Rules Committee and Chairman of Higher Education Appropriations Committee. A businessman and entrepreneur, he was previously the executive vice president of the Facility Group and CEO of LakePoint Sports Development Group. Ehrhart and his wife, Ginny McCormack Ehrhart, have six children between them.

Dalton voters will decide in a November referendum whether to extend the hours of alcohol service on Sundays, according to the Daily Citizen News.

“It’s a no-brainer. I think the voters are going to approve it,” said T.J. Kaikobad, owner of Cyra’s in downtown Dalton.

Kaikobad says moving the time ahead for alcohol sales on Sunday will have a small but real impact on Dalton restaurants.

“From what I’ve seen over the years, over every 20 guests, you might have one who’ll order a bloody Mary at 11. And we have to so ‘No, you have to wait,’” he said.

Still, Kaikobad says it will help restaurants be able to better serve those customers.

Some Dalton residents say they are likely to vote for the measure.

“We’ve had Sunday sales for 10 years or so, and I haven’t noticed any big problems,” said Mark Greene. “I don’t see why moving the start time up will hurt.”

 

 

Coweta County’s Joint Transportation Coordinating Committee recommended the county and municipalities move forward with a Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax for Transportation (T-SPLOST) on the November 2019 ballot, according to the Newnan Times-Herald.

At its July meeting, the committee voted unanimously to recommend that Coweta County and its cities pursue the TSPLOST, a 1-percent, five-year sales tax to fund various transportation projects. The Coweta County Board of Commissioners voted Aug. 21 to move forward.

The TSPLOST would likely bring in around $100 million over five years, said Coweta County Administrator Michael Fouts. He based that estimate on the projections for the 2019 SPLOST, which is projected to bring in $140 million. A SPLOST runs for six years, instead of the five years of TSPLOST, and there are some items that are exempt from TSPLOST taxes – most notably, motor fuel.

Brooklet City Council will hold its third hearing on the proposed FY 2019 property tax millage rate, according to the Statesboro Herald.

Brooklet City Administrator Angela Wirth said the hearings are to allow citizens to comment on the city’s millage rate, which will not change, but remain at 7.696.

The millage rate will not change, but since the city’s property value assessments have risen, by law the city must hold the hearings, she said.

Dredging near the entrance to St Simons Island was greenlighted by the Georgia Coastal Marshlands Protection Committee, according to The Brunswick Times.

Leonard Gomez, Republican candidate for House District 132 responded to his opponent’s complaint that Gomez allegedly no longer lives in the district, according to the Newnan Times-Herald.

In his declaration of candidacy for the Georgia House 132 seat, Gomez lists his address as 1 Main St., Apt. 2, Grantville. That was filed on March 8, according to documents included in Trammell’s challenge. In his financial disclosure, filed March 19, Gomez listed his long-time Grantville address.

According to Coweta tax records, the Gomezes sold that home on March 22. The home Mrs. Gomez owns is located in House District 70.

In his challenge, Trammell states that the apartment at 1 Main St. is uninhabited and that the utilities had not been connected as of Sept. 1.

Gomez said they decided not to move to Newnan but to stay in Grantville, and he lives in an apartment on Main Street. Mrs. Gomez bought a house in Newnan in late 2017, but that home was bought as an investment, not for them to live in, Gomez said.

Gomez said his voter registration and driver’s license list his address as Grantville.

14
Sep

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for September 14, 2018

The Mayflower left Plymouth, England, for the New World on September 16, 1620. Thirty-five of 102 passengers were members of the English Separatist Church seeking religious freedom from the Church of England. Originally aiming to reach Virginia, Mayflower eventually landed at Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

Francis Scott Key composed the lyrics to “The Star Spangled Banner” on September 14, 1814.

On September 15, 1831, Dr. Samuel Worcester and Dr. Elizur Butler – missionaries – were tried in a Lawrenceville courtroom for living as white people among the Cherokee and refusing to take an oath of loyalty to Georgia, convicted and sentenced to hard labor. Some historians refer to this case, which went to the United States Supreme Court on appeal, as the beginning of the events that led to the forced removal of the Cherokee people from Georgia on the “Trail of Tears.”

HMS Beagle, carrying Charles Darwin, arrived at the Gallapagos Islands on September 15, 1835.

On September 14, 1885, Georgia Governor Henry McDaniel signed legislation granting up to 200 acres in Fulton and DeKalb Counties to the federal government to be used in the constuction of Fort McPherson, which was named after Union Maj. Gen. James McPherson, who was killed in the Battle of Atlanta in 1864.

On September 14, 1901, President William McKinley died of an infection from gunshot wounds suffered eight days earlier.

On September 15, 1904, Wilbur Wright made the first in-flight turn in an airplane.

A single pistol shot on September 16, 1920 opened former Cherokee land in Oklahoma to white settlers in a “land run” to claim property.

The original stimulus act was announced to bring $70 million in federal money to Georgia to build roads and public buildings on September 16, 1933.

On September 16, 1940, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Selective Service and Training Act requiring males 26-35 years of age to register for the draft. On the same day, Sam Rayburn of Texas was elected Speaker of the United States House of Representatives and would go on to hold the post for 17 years total, the longest tenure of any Speaker.

Early on the morning of September 15, 1963, a bomb exploded in the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, killing four young girls.

On September 15, 1996, the Texas Rangers retired #34 in honor of the most dominant pitcher in professional baseball history, Nolan Ryan.

R.E.M. and Gregg Allman were among the inductees into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame on September 16, 2006.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

 

 

13
Sep

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for September 13, 2018

The Second Continental Congress opened in Philadelphia on September 13, 1775; Georgia was represented by Archibald Bulloch, Lyman Hall,  John Houstoun, and John Zubly.

On September 13, 1788, the Confederation Congress voted to implement the Constitution and authorized states to elect Senators and Representatives and called the first Presidential election, with selection of presidential electors in the states to be held on January 7, 1789, and February 4, 1789 as the day electors would cast their ballots.

The first two women to enter the Georgia General Assembly, Viola Ross Napier of Bibb County and Atlanta Constitution reporter Bessie Kempton of Fulton County, were elected on September 13, 1922.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Vice President Mike Pence canceled his trip to Atlanta ahead of Hurricane Florence, according to the AJC.Continue Reading..

12
Sep

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for September 12, 2018

James Oglethorpe arrived at Augusta on September 12, 1739, 279 years ago today.

French troops arrived near Savannah to prepare for a siege against British forces there on September 12, 1779.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Entrepreneur Don Panoz has died, according to Jalopnik.

Panoz was instrumental to the growth of American sports car and open wheel racing over the course of the last 20 years, having founded the American Le Mans Series in 1998. While the sport was desperate for leadership in the late ‘90s, Don stepped up to the table and created a path forward.

Don’s early successes were found in the pharmaceuticals industry, where he got his start operating a pair of drug stores in the Pittsburgh area. He later started Milan Pharmaceuticals with Milan Puskar in 1961. While heading a research group at Milan, he developed a transdermal method of time-release medication with myriad uses. When the company refused to invest in the technology, he moved to Ireland to start his own company for the purpose of developing and distributing his invention, the nicotine patch.

Panoz is survived by his wife Nancy; sons Dan and Chris; daughters Donna, Dena, Lisa, and Andrea, as well as many grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Panoz was also the founder of Chateau Elan.

Steve Foster, the Democratic candidate for Congress in the 14th district, was denied bond while he appeals his DUI conviction, according to the Dalton Daily Citizen.

Foster, who is the Democratic candidate for the 14th Congressional seat currently held by Rep. Tom Graves, R-Ranger, could be heard saying “waste of time” as he was escorted out the courtroom by Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office deputies. He did not address Morris.

Foster was sentenced on Aug. 14 to six months to serve in jail and six months on probation after a jury found him guilty of DUI in September of 2017. In video and audio of the arrest released after the trial, Foster rambles and rants through the arrest, a trip to the hospital and eventual booking into the Whitfield County jail.

With Morris’ ruling, it is now more than likely that Foster will be in the custody of the Catoosa County jail on the Nov. 6 Election Day. Because Foster’s conviction is a misdemeanor offense, Foster remains on the ballot as state law says only a felony conviction would bar him from being on the ballot. Foster says he will not drop out of the race.

The Augusta Chronicle discusses five Constitutional Amendments and two statewide referendums on November’s ballot.

The first amendment creates the Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Trust Fund, to which up to 80 percent of sales taxes collected at sporting goods stores, including gun stores, would be redirected.

The second amendment creates a “state-wide business court” with statewide jurisdiction in an effort to streamline and improve handling of business cases.

The third amendment changes the rules for assessing the value of forest land for property tax purposes and allows the state revenue commissioner to collect up to five percent of forest conservation grants to cover certain costs.

The fifth amendment affects counties with more than one school system and allows the system with the most students to call for a sales tax referendum to fund school construction without getting approval from the smaller system.

Brian Kemp (R) and Stacey Abrams (D) will meet in two gubernatorial debates, according to the Associated Press.

Republican Brian Kemp and Democrat Stacey Abrams announced Tuesday that they will meet Oct. 23 in a debate sponsored by the Atlanta Press Club and broadcast by Georgia Public Broadcasting. They will follow that with a Nov. 4 debate broadcast by WSB-TV in Atlanta.

Marty Kemp, wife of Republican candidate Brian Kemp, spoke in Troup County yesterday, according to the LaGrange Daily News.

“If all of y’all go out there and challenge four people, I think it will be done,” Kemp said.

Kemp said she and her husband are visiting every county. Kemp also encouraged everyone in attendance to volunteer, whether that meant making signs or phone calls.

“We will visit every county, see every group, every neighborhood, anywhere y’all want us to go and see individuals,” Kemp said. “Our biggest thing is to get the vote out. We’ve got to get everybody out and all the way down the ticket. We’ve got to start from the top and go all the way down. Don’t forget about the smaller races because every race is just critical right now.”

A Congressional spending plan would devote $49 million to the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project, according to the AJC.

A group of House and Senate negotiators unveiled a $147.5 billion spending bill on Monday evening that sets aside $49 million in new federal money for the dredging project.

Work to deepen the harbor from 42 to 47 feet hit its midpoint earlier this year, with full completion expected in late 2021. The nearly $1 billion venture will allow the port to accommodate larger cargo ships from the recently-expanded Panama Canal, which boosters say would be a major economic boon to the region.

The state has already committed hundreds of millions of dollars to the project, but the nearly $680 million in previously-promised federal funds have been slower to come. A breakthrough came in June, when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced it was setting aside a record $85 million for the project in its 2018 work plan.

“Clearly [the port expansion] , with the highest [return on investment] of any project of its type, should be strongly considered for further investment to ensure timely completion,” said Jamie McCurry, chief administrative officer for the Georgia Ports Authority.

“I will continue fighting for additional federal support and working to ensure President Trump, the administration and the Corps again realize the critical importance of this project,” said Buddy Carter, R-Pooler, whose U.S. House district includes the port.

Rome City Commissioners are considering how to serve an increasingly bilingual population, according to the Rome News-Tribune.

The Mosaic report found Latinos account for the majority of the city’s growth since 1990 and now make up 16 percent of the population. Estimates are that a tenth of Rome’s residents are foreign-born and about 7 percent have limited English proficiency.

Community Development Director Bekki Fox said more federal programs are requiring bilingual documents, and the state wants to see a communication plan. She also said there’s a need for more Spanish-speaking employees — giving as example a recent case where parents applying to buy one of the city’s HOMEBuild affordable houses relied on their child to translate mortgage details.

“I think, not just for our department, it has to be an issue for the police department, the water department and others,” Fox said.

“The challenge to the city of Rome is, we represent all populations — even those who are generally not heard,” Mayor Jamie Doss said.

Gwinnett County is seeing increasing multifamily development, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Interest from developers in doing multifamily housing projects in Gwinnett has been on the rise in recent years, just as urbanization projects centered around activity hubs begins to take off in the county.

“I think there’s a bit more appetite from the leadership standpoint, the elected leadership standpoint, as long as they’re in the right place,” Warbington said. “Being near major transportation corridors or the Mall of Georgia, Infinite Energy Center, downtown Duluth or downtown Lawrenceville — being near activity centers.

“I think developers have seen that density is not a bad word around activity center and I think that’s kind of what you’re seeing with most of these multifamily (projects).”

One of the trends going in Gwinnett County right now is dense urbanized development around or near activity centers, such as the Infinite Energy Center, the Lawrenceville Lawn, downtown Duluth, Suwanee Town Center, the Mall of Georgia, Sugarloaf Mills and Gwinnett Place Mall.

Some of the projects have gotten a lot of publicity, such as North American Properties’ Revel development at Infinite Energy Center or Lawrenceville’s SouthLawn development.

Glynn County has issued a health advisory to avoid going in the water at a St Simons Island beach because of bacteria levels, according to the Brunswick News.

Augusta Commissioners discussed ambulance fees and garbage service, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

The Public Safety Committee approved charging $1,150 to transport someone and $16.50 a mile on top of that. Those treated at the scene and not transported would be charged $200. Augusta Fire Chief Chris James said research showed that the fees of other companies were “considerably higher.” Those charges would apply regardless of whether Augusta becomes the designated provider in ambulances his department is already running.

Any subcontractor that’s part of Augusta’s bid would also have to use the fee system. James said the city would use a billing service but wouldn’t send those who cannot pay to a collection agency and not back bill if insurance companies do not pay the whole bill. The service would also accept whatever charges Medicare and Medicaid pay.

The City of Brunswick and Glynn County will now send two separate tax bills to property owners, according to The Brunswick News.

City bills will be sent Monday, while county officials said their bills will go out Friday.

“We want to make sure people understand they’ll get two bills,” Edwards said Tuesday. “They can’t pick and choose — one is for the city and one is for the county.”

The dual bills are a new development. City commissioners voted in December 2017 to sever ties with the Glynn County Tax Commissioner and hire an in-house city tax collector. It is the first time in about 15 years the city has collected its own taxes.

City tax bills must be paid within 60 days of the mailing. After that, the debt will begin accruing interest at a rate of 0.075 percent. Partial payments are not allowed; debt must be paid in full.

Jim Drumm, city manager, has previously told The News in-house collections will save the city about $50,000 annually.

The Macon Water Authority held a ceremony to start a $40 million dollar waste water project, according to the Macon Telegraph.

The City of Big Brother Senoia is deploying a new camera system that integrates body cams and car cams, according to the Newnan Times-Herald.

Nydia Tisdale will appeal her conviction for obstruction to the Georgia Supreme Court, according to the Gainesville Times.

Four years after her arrest at a campaign rally and nine months after she was found guilty of misdemeanor obstruction of an officer, Nydia Tisdale plans to appeal after her motion for a new trial was denied by a Dawson County Superior Court judge.

The self-proclaimed citizen journalist was sentenced Dec. 18 to serve 12 months of probation, 40 hours of community service and pay a $1,000 fine for her August 2014 altercation with a Dawson County law enforcement officer.

Tisdale was sentenced under Georgia’s First Time Offenders Act, meaning if she completes the sentence without issue, her record would be cleared.

Tisdale was found not guilty of felony obstruction of an officer and misdemeanor criminal trespass. The charges stemmed from her forced removal from Burt’s Pumpkin Farm in Dawsonville at a Aug. 23, 2014, Republican Party campaign rally attended by statewide officeholders including Gov. Nathan Deal, U.S. Rep. Doug Collins and Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens.

11
Sep

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for September 11, 2018

911 memorial 2

I was in my car that morning, on the way to my job when I heard on the radio of the first plane hitting. The announcers thought at first that it must be a small plane and likely an accident. Seventeen minutes later all doubt vanished as the second hit. Over the next hour, a third plane hit the Pentagon and a fourth went down in a field in Pennsylvania. We watched on television as the towers burned, then collapsed.

Shortly afterwards, the Family Room opened in a nearby tower to provide a place for loved ones to grieve out of the public eye.

The Family Room opened in April 2002 in space donated by Brookfield Office Properties, the owners of 1 Liberty Plaza, across Church Street from the trade center site. By presenting what was known as a medical examiner’s family identification card, victims’ relatives were admitted during regular workdays and at night, on weekends and on holidays.

On the 20th floor, behind a door marked “The Family Room,” relatives could settle into ample leather couches or stand at windows 15 and 20 feet wide. The room was intended for “quiet contemplation,” said a 2002 notice from the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, which created and maintained the space, just a few doors down from its own headquarters and those of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum at the World Trade Center Foundation.

When the Family Room at 1 Liberty Plaza was replaced this summer by a new private gathering space in the National September 11 Memorial Museum pavilion, the [New York] State Museum and the memorial museum painstakingly documented the older room, and the State Museum acquired what contents family members themselves did not choose to reclaim.

There are materials in the Family Room collection related to about 1,000 victims, Mr. Schaming said, or roughly one-third of all casualties that day. “It is the most singular collection of the faces of people who were killed on 9/11,” he said.

A monument on Long Island to victims of 9-11 will include the names of 582 people who later died of conditions related to the aftermath of the attacks.

A separate plaque will have the names of 582 police officers, firefighters, construction workers, cleanup volunteers and others who spent time in the rubble of the World Trade Center in the days or months after the attacks and, years later, died of a variety of causes that they, their families or their doctors suspected were linked to toxic ash and smoke at the site. There will be room to add more names.

“I think what the town of Hempstead is doing is nothing short of honorable,” said John Feal, a longtime advocate for 9/11 responders with health problems. “People who lost a loved one to illness suffer just like someone lost on that day. Hopefully this will offer some ease and comfort to them.”

In May, officials at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum announced plans to set aside a commemorative space at the World Trade Center to honor rescue and recovery workers.

New York’s police and fire departments also have memorials for personnel who have died of illnesses since Sept. 11. A 9/11 memorial in Staten Island recently added a plaque with the names of residents there who have died of illnesses.

Feal’s charitable organization also maintains a memorial wall to 9/11 responders in Nesconset, New York.

One day after Perry’s victory in the Battle of Lake Erie, American Master Commandant Thomas Macdonough led American forces in the Battle of Plattsburg at Lake Champlain, New York on September 11, 1813.

The Union Army began evacuating civilians from Atlanta via Lovejoy’s Station on September 11, 1864.

Georgia-born Ty Cobb took his last at-bat on September 11, 1928.

After a week-long Presidential campaign swing through ten states, former Governor Jimmy Carter returned to Plains on September 11, 1976.

On September 11, 1985, Pete Rose broke Ty Cobb’s career hit record, notching number 4,192 against the San Diego Padres.

One year ago today, all 159 counties in Georgia were under an emergency declaration from Hurricane Irma.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

United States District Court Judge Amy Totenberg will hear arguments on whether to require paper ballots for November elections, according to the AJC.

Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp, the defendant in the case, strongly opposes a quick move away from the voting system in place since 2002. He said electronic voting machines are secure and that a rushed transition to paper would result in a less trustworthy election system.

But Donna Curling, the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit, said Georgia’s electronic voting machines are inherently unsafe. If voting machines were penetrated by hackers, malicious code could rig elections, she said.

The judge will have to consider, among other things, fundamental voting rights and the feasibility of printing paper ballots for Georgia’s 6.7 million registered voters.

Kemp, who supports a transition to paper ballots in time for the 2020 presidential election, said it would be irresponsible to force voters into an election crisis. He warned that early-voting locations would close in Fulton County because of staffing shortages, paper ballots couldn’t be delivered in time in Cobb County and no county has budgeted for the expense statewide.

“The fact is that Georgia’s voting machines are aging, but they have never been compromised,” said Kemp, the Republican nominee for governor facing Democrat Stacey Abrams in November. “The other side is great at grabbing headlines, but in court, they have no evidence to substantiate their claims.”

Governor Nathan Deal announced yesterday that state tax revenues were up 7 percent in August over the prior year.

Gov. Deal’s Chief of Staff Chris Riley spoke to the Gainesville Times about their time in office.

Riley said improving Georgia’s educational system has been a focus of the Deal administration. The Hope scholarship was heading into bankruptcy, and state officials traveled throughout Georgia to speak with colleges about how the program could be reformed, passing recommendations to keep the program going, he said.

Then in May, Deal signed off on a budget that fully funded Georgia’s Quality Basic Education program, which is used to determine dollars sent to each district, for the first time since the program began in 1985.

And when Deal, took office, his administration had the challenging task of dealing with a budget crisis in the fallout of the economic recession. In 2011, the state’s rainy day fund was $116 million, Riley said.

“This is cash in the bank. That’s enough to operate the state of Georgia for two days,” he said. “That first year, we literally cash flowed the state of Georgia.”

Riley said officials had to make some cuts to get the budget in order — the size of the state government was reduced by 10 percent by consolidating and streamlining state agencies. Reserves are now at $2.5 billion, Riley said.

The economy, particularly the manufacturing sector, has seen growth and has helped Georgians get back to work, Riley said. He said the unemployment rate was about 10 percent statewide in 2011. Now, that number is just below 4 percent.

Savannah has arranged for housing and meals in Perry for storm workers, according to the Savannah Morning News.

The city has only one category 3 rated structure in Savannah, the Industrial and Domestic water plant on Ga. 21, and that facility will only accommodate about 250 of the 1,700 employees the city could need to respond to such a storm, said David Donnelly, Savannah Emergency Management director.

As a result, the Savannah City Council recently approved a contract to house and feed those workers at an emergency response training facility in Perry in the event of a category 3 storm or above.

The Guardian Center is an 830-acre campus located about three hours from Savannah. The location is out of the impacted area, but close enough to get employees back into Savannah as quickly as possible, Donnelly said.

The cost to retain the facility annually is $12,500. If the city ended up using the center, it would cost $141.42 per person, per day, which represents at-cost expenses for the Guardian Center.

Democrat Stacey Abrams unveiled her healthcare plan at Grady Hospital, according to WJBF.

First, Medicaid expansion to reclaim the $8 million dollars per day that Georgia taxpayers have already paid in but can’t get back unless expansion is approved — this would help working families who can’t afford insurance and also help hospitals in rural Georgia stay open. It’s a move Vice President Mike Pence made as Governor of Indiana.

Abrams says she will also look at a federal waiver to try to stabilize and bring down Georgia premiums, which have risen 50 percent.

Another key part of the plan — maternal and infant healthcare, because Georgia has the highest maternal mortality rate in the United States.

Democrat Josh McCall, running against Republican Congressman Doug Collins, will host a forum on legalizing marijuana, according to AccessWDUN.

Josh McCall said in a press statement the meeting on Thursday, Sept. 13 will focus on  the economic, environmental, medical, criminal justice and legal aspects of legalization.

“I don’t smoke any illegal substance – never have. But I still believe that people should make their own decisions over what they do with their bodies, in the privacy of their own home,” McCall said. “I also support the medical community, and believe that doctors should have as many options as they need to provide proper care for their patients.”

State Senator Renee Unterman received the Georgia Municipal Association’s “Champion of Georgia Cities” award in Sugar Hill last night, according to a press release.

The City of Sugar Hill would like to congratulate Senator Renee Unterman on her receipt of the of the 2018 Champion of Georgia Cities Award from the Georgia Municipal Association. This award is given at the end of every two-year legislative term to state legislators who actively support major initiatives and goals.

The Georgia Municipal Association recognizes Senator Unterman for the efforts to help local governments have consistent control over home rule and to challenge legislation that attempts to thwart that control. Some examples of the legislation that Senator Unterman stood firm with were SB 469 Building Code Pre-emption and SB 418 Preemption of Retail Sales Regulation/Puppy Mills/Synthetic Opioids. This same legislation would have limited the control of local governments to regulate businesses such as pet stores that use puppy mills for inventory supply.

Senator Unterman is a fighter that protects the authority that allows Georgia’s cities to deliver quality of life services for their residents and works to expand economic opportunities across the state. She sponsored the Brunch Bill SB 18 which allows local governments to change Sunday alcohol sales hours through a ballot referendum.

The Mayor and City Council of Sugar Hill wish to thank Senator Unterman for defending Sugar Hill, Gwinnett County and all of the citizens of Georgia. Senate District 45 could not have a better leader in the State Legislature.

NOW, THEREFORE, the City of Sugar Hill Mayor and City Council extend congratulations to Senator Renee Unterman for being recognized as the 2018 Champion of Georgia Cities Award and request that all citizens join in recognizing September 10, 2018, as Senator Renee Unterman day in Sugar Hill.

Rome City Commission‘s Public Safety Committee will discuss a proposed smoking ban, according to the Rome News-Tribune.

Since a coalition of local healthcare professionals, agencies and nonprofits called Breatheasy Rome brought the idea to the board last month, commissioners have heard from a host of different interests.

[Commissioner Craig] McDaniel said a large percentage of restaurant workers smoke, which has employers concerned some would leave for competitors outside the city. There also are smokers who live and work downtown, he noted.

Commissioner Bill Collins said he’s heard from a business owner who thinks a ban would deter some customers and another who thinks it’s an overreach.

“He said ‘Why do y’all feel like you have to tell other people what they can and cannot do’ … These are the hurdles we face,” Collins said.

The Whitfield County Republican Party will hear about homeland security at its meeting tonight, according to the Dalton Daily Citizen.

the guest speaker will be Darren Webb, the resident agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Dalton and a former United States Secret Service special agent.

State Sen. Bruce Thompson, R-White, who has worked closely with Homeland Security, will also speak. Together, they will provide valuable information pertaining to some of the most pressing issues of the day, immigration and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Refreshments and fellowship time start at 6:30 p.m. and the meeting starts at 7.

Macon-Bibb County Commissioner Joe Allen wants to defund ten nonprofits and agencies, according to the Macon Telegraph.

One commissioner says his plan is to give those organizations enough time to find money to make up for the loss, which would total $762,200 among all the agencies. Another county leader, however, argues the focus should not be on removing money from entities such as the Middle Georgia Community Food Bank, Keep Macon-Bibb Beautiful and various cultural arts organizations.

Commissioner Joe Allen said Macon-Bibb government can no longer afford to pay money to certain agencies when the county will have to find $8 million next year to cover the Other-Post Employment Benefit fund, which covers some benefits, such as health care, for retirees.

“It’s not right for us to spend John Doe’s or Jane Doe’s money,” Allen said. “If they want to spend it, then let John Doe or Jane Doe spend it wherever they want to.”

Allen’s resolution calls for notifying the 10 organizations that they will not receive any funding in the next budget. The proposal is scheduled to be discussed at Tuesday’s commission committee meetings.

The Augusta Commission is still dealing with financial issues from Hurricane Irma last year, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

The city is seeking $428,246 in federal funding debris cleanup from Hurricane Irma, which wreaked minor havoc on the area almost exactly one year ago. Between Sept. 10 and Oct. 5, 2017, the city said it collected 10,487.9 cubic yards of “vegetative debris” from roads, public property and roadsides and hauled it to the landfill. That effort involved 74 employees working more than 571 hours, including 67 who put in 1,488 hours of overtime. The city estimates the total cleanup cost was more than $503,000 and would include more than $37,000 in state funds.

The largest item on the agenda for the Finance Committee won’t be quite as large as it first seemed and won’t obligate the county or state for anything. AU Health System’s 2018 bond series through the Development Authority of Augusta will come up for approval. While the series is listed as not to exceed $230 million, the actual amount will be much smaller at around $85 million, said Greg Damron, the chief financial officer for the health system.

About $35 million will go toward refinancing a bank loan from 2012 to fund capital projects such as renovating the old Dental College of Georgia building into its new Professional Office Building, which includes the Digestive Health Center, he said. Of the rest, about half would pay back a line of credit that financed projects such as a new transplant clinic and others underway, including renovating lab and pharmacy space for automation and moving the infectious disease program to a building on Chaffee Avenue, Damron said.

“There are a number of capital improvements in that last piece of the project that are ongoing right now,” he said. The money would not go toward building a hospital in Columbia County that the health system still plans once the state license to build it is free of appeals, Damron said.

The Muscogee County Board of Education considered increasing pay for bus drivers, according to the Ledger-Enquirer.

The Muscogee County School Board discussed during its monthly work session Monday night a proposal to raise the pay and incentives for bus drivers in the wake of a shortage of drivers and an increase in the number of students needing transportation, resulting in an avalanche of complaints about students being picked up late or transported on overcrowded buses.

The proposal came from representatives John Thomas of District 2 and Frank Myers of District 8. They want the Muscogee County School District to raise the minimum pay for bus drivers to $17 per hour. That’s an increase of 16 percent from the current rate of $14.66 per hour.

“Thereafter, every bus driver employee shall be rewarded with a $1 raise per year for each year he or she serves the district,” the proposal says.

Yard debris pickup has slowed considerably in Macon-Bibb County, according to the Macon Telegraph.

Lilburn City Council revised their alcohol ordinance to allow liquor store owners to hold two licenses, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Oakwood City Council will hold three public meetings on a potential property tax millage rate, according to the Gainesville Times.

Oakwood is looking to keep its property tax rate the same in 2019, but that still could mean a slight tax increase for some residents.

The South Hall city is proposing a tax rate of 4.174 mills, with 1 mill equal to $1 per $1,000 in assessed property value.

However, for Oakwood to keep revenues at the same amount, the city would have to set the rate at 4.093 mills. At 4.174 mills, a home valued at $225,000 would have a tax bill that’s $7.29 higher than at 4.093 mills.

Still, those with higher property assessments could see higher tax bills. Those who saw assessments stay the same or go down will see tax bills likewise stay the same or go down.

Jason Souther was sworn in as an associate juvenile court judge for Whitfield County, according to the Dalton Daily Citizen.

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources is investigating the dumping of my lunch hundreds of pounds of blue crabs in a local stream, according to the Ledger-Enquirer.

Hundreds of blue crabs, a salt-water delicacy native to the waters of the western Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, were discovered Sunday night along the Chattahoochee RiverWalk in Bibb City.

Crabs such as the ones along the riverbank are much more likely to be found in restaurants. The market price for blue crabs in Panama City Beach on Monday was about $4 per pound. There were easily more than 1,000 of them, Franklin said. Because the crabs were whole, it could have been more than 500 pounds, bringing their value to about $2,000.

Transportation

Gwinnett County Transit will begin operating door-to-door “microtransit” service next week, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Gwinnett County Transit will begin offering bus service in the south Gwinnett community next week to get residents from their homes to medical and other types of appointments, shopping centers and other local destinations. It just won’t be the type of service residents might be used to seeing in Gwinnett.

It will be what county officials are calling “Microtransit,” a six-day-a-week door-to-door service that the county is trying out as a test program.

“As we developed our comprehensive transit plan earlier this year, we received a lot of community feedback that serving areas like Snellville needed to be a priority,” Gwinnett County Transit Division director Karen Winger said. “Since regular bus routes require more population density than Snellville has, we had to come up with another way to do it.

“Microtransit seemed to be the next best option. It’s flexible and comprehensive. We hope it will be a good fit.”

Since Microtransit is something new for the county, it is currently set to last six months in Snellville. At the end of that time, Gwinnett officials will put it on hiatus while they evaluate how it worked and whether it should be continued in Snellville.

Electric scooters are becoming a nuisance, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Last month, the city of Charleston banned the scooters after the upstart company Bird began dropping off the vehicles with no advance announcement. Officials in Athens are considering restrictions on the scooters that appeared there. The University of Georgia has even been impounding them, according to recent coverage in the Athens Banner-Herald.

Bird and its competitors are facing similar restrictions and legal hurdles in cities across the nation.

Largely because of concerns about safety, Savannah City Council is poised to approve an ordinance banning the scooters even before they arrive. According to a story by Savannah Morning News reporter Eric Curl, the ordinance “would prohibit the operation of personal transportation vehicles that are accessed by an on-demand portal, such as a smartphone, and made available to the public in unstaffed, self-service locations.”

Flowery Branch may be moving toward legalizing golf carts on the street, according to the Gainesville Times.

A recent Flowery Branch survey said 76 percent of respondents believe personal transportation vehicles — or golf carts, mainly — should be legalized in the South Hall city.

The survey, which ran July 10-Aug. 24, was one part of a city process toward an ordinance governing golf carts in the city.

Also, the city would have a map that “identifies legal streets for PTV operations on internal neighborhood streets and streets signed 25 mph or less.”

Sterling on the Lake, a subdivision off Spout Springs Road that is being developed with up to 2,000 homes, is considered one of “the top locations identified for PTV use.”

Otherwise, they’re suggested on “other neighborhood streets, any streets signed 25 mph or less, downtown streets and city parks.”