Category: Georgia Politics

19
Nov

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 19, 2021

On November 21, 1620 (November 11 under the calendar used then), the first governing document of the English colony at Plymouth, Massachusetts, the Mayflower Compact, was signed by most of the male passengers of the Mayflower.

Having undertaken, for the Glory of God, and advancements of the Christian faith and honor of our King and Country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the Northern parts of Virginia, do by these presents, solemnly and mutually, in the presence of God, and one another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil body politic; for our better ordering, and preservation and furtherance of the ends aforesaid; and by virtue hereof to enact, constitute, and frame, such just and equal laws, ordinances, acts, constitutions, and offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general good of the colony; unto which we promise all due submission and obedience.

The Georgia Trustees outlawed rum in the colony on November 21, 1733 after James Oglethorpe wrote them that it was responsible for sickness and death in Georgia. Two-hundred eighty-six years later, Richland Rum is being distilled with Georgia-grown sugar cane in Richland, Georgia.

North Carolina ratified the Constitution on November 21, 1789, becoming the twelfth state to do so.

On November 21, 1860 Governor Joseph Brown called a Secession Convention following the election of Abraham Lincoln as President.

Lincolnatgettysburg

President Abraham Lincoln delivered an 87-word speech at the dedication of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on November 19, 1863.

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

On November 19, 1864, as Sherman marched toward Savannah, the Georgia delegation to the Confederate Congress in Richmond, Virginia, sent a message to the state,

“Let every man fly to arms! Remove your negroes, horses, cattle, and provisions from Sherman’s army, and burn what you cannot carry. Burn all bridges and block up the roads in his route. Assail the invader in front, flank, and rear, by night and by day. Let him have no rest.”

November 21, 1922 was the first day of Rebecca Latimer Fulton’s service in the United States Senate from Georgia as the first woman to serve in that chamber.

Duane Allman was born in Nashville, Tennessee on November 20, 1946.

The first issue of National Review magazine was published on November 19, 1955.

President John F. Kennedy lifted the naval blockade of Cuba on November 20, 1962, ending the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Apollo 12 landed on the moon on November 19, 1969.

On November 20, 1975, Ronald Reagan announced he would run for President of the United States against incumbent Republican Gerald Ford. On May 4, 1976, Reagan won Georgia’s Presidential Primary with 68% over Ford.

Reagan Gorbachev 11191985

President Ronald Reagan met for the first time with Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev on November 19, 1985.

Newt Gingrich was reelected Speaker of the House on November 20, 1996.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

The Rotary Club of Albany hosted an annual event for hunters with disabilities, according to WALB.

The event allows people living with motor disabilities the opportunity to hunt deer in the fresh air and amongst friends.

“I love the outdoors and no matter if we are in a chair or not, it doesn’t matter because you know God, God gives us a way to do things. And that’s what we’ve, that’s what we’re out on earth to do,” said Charlie Mizell, a Social Security Administration employee.

“The event is a sportsman’s hunt that we do for hunters that are handicapped or in wheelchairs. And this is the 11th year that we’ve been doing it here at the Leach property. We’ve got six hunters that are participating this year,” said Chad Hancock, a member of the Albany Rotary Club.

“It gets us out, it gets us doing things. I mean people in wheelchairs, we have different opportunities and just different angles on life, but we can still do the same thing,” said David Thomas, a college student.

“It makes you understand how much these guys put into their day-to-day activities, just to be able to do something. But these guys do not let their limitations stop them, they come out, enjoy it,” said Hancock.

It was difficult to write the intro to that story without making it sound like people with disabilities were the game being hunted. Kudos to the Rotary Club of Albany.

Governor Kemp issued a Press Release touting Georgia’s record low unemployment.Continue Reading..

18
Nov

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 18, 2021

Abraham Lincoln traveled to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on November 18, 1863.

Carl Vinson was born on November 18, 1883 in Baldwin County, Georgia. At noon on that day, U.S. and Canadian railroads implemented four time zones for the first time.

Efficient rail transportation demanded a more uniform time-keeping system. Rather than turning to the federal governments of the United States and Canada to create a North American system of time zones, the powerful railroad companies took it upon themselves to create a new time code system. The companies agreed to divide the continent into four time zones; the dividing lines adopted were very close to the ones we still use today.

Most Americans and Canadians quickly embraced their new time zones, since railroads were often their lifeblood and main link with the rest of the world. However, it was not until 1918 that Congress officially adopted the railroad time zones and put them under the supervision of the Interstate Commerce Commission.

Mickey Mouse debuted in a black-and-white film called “Steamboat Willie” on November 18, 1928.

On November 18, 1933, Franklin D. Roosevelt traveled from Washington, DC to Savannah, Georgia by train for Georgia’s Bicentennial and delivered a speech at Municipal Stadium.

Carl Vinson was honored on his 81st birthday in Milledgeville, Georgia on November 18, 1964; Vinson did not run for reelection in 1964 and retired after 50 years in office.

President Richard M. Nixon flew into Robins Air Force Base for Carl Vinson’s 90th birthday on November 18, 1973; on the trip he announced the next American nuclear supercarrier would be named USS Carl Vinson.

Nixon Vinson 1973

President Richard Nixon, Secretary of the Navy John Warner, Carl Vinson, Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird on November 18, 1973. John Warner would later be the namesake of USS John Warner, a Virginia-class nuclear submarine.

On November 18, 1989, Pennsylvania Governor Bob Casey signed the Abortion Control Act, the first abortion restrictions enacted after Roe v. Wade.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Georgia hit record low unemployment, according to AccessWDUN.Continue Reading..

17
Nov

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 17, 2021

On November 17, 1732, the first English headed to colonize Georgia set off from Gravesend, England, down the Thames. Their supplies included ten tons of beer.

On November 17, 1777, Congress submitted the Articles of Confederation to the states for ratification.

Abraham Lincoln began the first draft of the Gettysburg Address on November 17, 1863.

Herman Talmadge was sworn in as Governor of Georgia on November 17, 1948, ending the “Three Governors” controversy. Click here for a review of the “Three Governors” episode by Ron Daniels.

Richard Nixon declared before a television audience, “I’m not a crook,” on November 17, 1973.

Journey and Billy Idol headline the “Fund my Retirement” tour, hitting State Farm Arena in April 2022. From the AJC:

Journey and Billy Idol have teamed up for a national tour that comes to State Farm Arena in Atlanta on April 25, 2022.

Tickets go on sale Friday, Nov. 19. Ticket prices have not yet been released.

Journey, a classic rock staple that has been touring arenas for decades, was last seen live in Atlanta at what was then called SunTrust Park in 2018 and is now Truist.

The band, which includes Neal Schon, Jonathan Cain and Randy Jackson, has relied on lead singer Arnel Pineda, who was found on YouTube and has been touring with the band since 2007. Steve Perry, who sang their primary hits, hasn’t toured with the band in 23 years.

He looks pretty good in that 2016 clip, even if he can’t hit the high note in “Eyes Without a Face.”

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Albany Ward 3 will host a runoff election on November 30, 2021, according to WALB.

Incumbent BJ Fletcher is running against Challenger Vilnis Gaines. In the Nov. 2 election, Fletcher garnered 397 votes and Gaines got 435 votes.

Early voting starts on Nov. 22 and lasts until Nov. 24. Early voting will be at the Candy Room at the Riverfront Resource Center, 125 Pine Avenue, from 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

The deadline to submit an absentee ballot is Nov. 19. Absentee ballots can be submitted at UPS, FedEx or the absentee ballot drop box location, 222 Pine Ave., 2nd floor, Suite 220.

Georgia’s employment market is upside-down with more jobs available than people looking for work, according to Stateline.org via the Rome News Tribune.Continue Reading..

16
Nov

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 16, 2021

The Georgia Trustees visited the first group of settlers on November 16, 1732, the day before they were scheduled to depart England for the New World.

On November 16, 1737, the Georgia Trustees learned that England’s King George II would send 300 soldiers, along with 150 wives and 130 children to the settlement in Georgia.

On November 16, 1864, Sherman left Atlanta in smoking ruins.

Today is the 20th Anniversary of the release of the first Harry Potter film, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Dawson County Sheriff’s deputies apprehended a masked fugitive donkey, according to the Macon Telegraph.Continue Reading..

15
Nov

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 15, 2021

James Oglethorpe left London on November 15, 1732 headed to a Thames River port named Gravesend, where he would board the ship Anne and lead the first colonists to Georgia.

On November 15, 1777, the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union were adopted in York, Pennsylvania.

Congress was a single house, with each state having one vote, and a president elected to chair the assembly. Although Congress did not have the right to levy taxes, it did have authority over foreign affairs and could regulate a national army and declare war and peace. Amendments to the Articles required approval from all 13 states. On March 2, 1781, following final ratification by the 13th state, the Articles of Confederation became the law of the land.

Edward Langworthy of Savannah, Edward Telfair, and John Walton signed the Articles of Confederation for Georgia.

Stephen Heard Conan OBrien

On November 15, 1815, Patriot leader Stephen Heard died in Elbert County, GA. Heard served on Georgia’s Executive Council during part of the American Revolution and as its President from 1780 to 1781. He later served in the Georgia House of Representatives, as a judge in Elbert County, and as a delegate to Georgia’s 1975 Constitutional Convention. The above portrait of Conan O’Brien Stephen Heard hangs in the basement (pied a terre) level of the Georgia Governor’s Mansion.

On November 15, 1864, General William Tecumseh Sherman’s army left Atlanta on its March to the Sea.

On November 15, the army began to move, burning the industrial section of Atlanta before leaving. One witness reported “immense and raging fires lighting up whole heavens… huge waves of fire roll up into the sky; presently the skeleton of great warehouses stand out in relief against sheets of roaring, blazing, furious flames.” Sherman’s famous destruction of Georgia had begun.

A 2010 Wired article argues that Sherman’s rampage through Georgia and the Carolinas changed modern warfare.

Vengeance aside, the real objective of Sherman’s march was to cut the Confederacy in two, cripple Southern industrial capacity, destroy the railroad system and compel an early Confederate surrender. It was also intended to break Southern morale — in Sherman’s words, to “make Georgia howl.”

Sherman was vilified for his barbarism, but the Union commander was a realist, not a romantic. He understood — as few of his contemporaries seemed to — that technology and industrialization were radically changing the nature of warfare.

It was no longer a question of independent armies meeting on remote battlefields to settle the issue. Civilians, who helped produce the means for waging modern war, would no longer be considered innocent noncombatants. Hitting the enemy where he ate and breaking him psychologically were just as important to victory as vanquishing his armies in the field.

Sherman grasped this and, though he wasn’t the first military proponent of total war, he was the first modern commander to deliberately strike at the enemy’s infrastructure. The scorched-earth tactics were effective. The fragile Southern economy collapsed, and a once-stout rebel army was irretrievably broken.

Meanwhile, the marshals of Europe watched Sherman’s progress with fascination. And they learned.

On November 15, 1977, President Jimmy Carter hosted the Shah of Iran in Washington, where they spent two days discussing U.S-Iranian relations.

Brunswick has covered a Confederate monument with plastic to prevent vandalism, according to The Brunswick News.

The Confederate monument in Hanover Square is under wraps — literally — to prevent what happened last year after a video showing the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery went public.

Brunswick Mayor Cornell Harvey said the plastic shroud that covers the monument, which has stood in the square since 1902, was placed there by people who want to protect it from further vandalism.

Harvey said the city still intends to remove the monument from the square at some time in the near future.

“We want to protect it before it gets removed,” he said. “There is someone who wants it. We’re trying to facilitate the move.”

It’s probably a good thing they didn’t use a white sheet to cover it.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Today, flags on state buildings and properties fly at half-staff by order of Governor Brian Kemp in in honor and memory of Jackson County Sheriff’s Deputy Lena Nicole Marshall.

From the Athens Banner Herald:

Law enforcement officers from throughout the region will gather Monday at the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office in Jefferson for a procession that will travel to Braselton to honor Deputy Lena Nicole Marshall who was killed in the line of duty.

Marshall, 49, of Jefferson was shot while on a domestic call on the evening of Nov. 5. She died three days later from the wound.

Marshall is survived by two daughters and a son, but also had another son who had passed away.

The procession of law enforcement vehicles will leave the sheriff’s office at noon Monday and proceed down Georgia Highway 15 and Highway 11 to Highway 124 and then to Georgia Highway 53, where it ends at Free Chapel in Braselton.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is investigating the details of what happened when Marshall and another deputy arrived at a home in Hoschton in response to a 911 call. The residents wanted a person removed from their home, according to the report.

When the officers arrived, they encountered a woman at the front door, who pulled a firearm and pointed at the deputies, the GBI said.

Governor Brian Kemp announced that the Georgia Ports Authority had completed a rail project, increasing throughput and hit a new monthly record for container moves, according to a Press Release.

Governor Brian P. Kemp today announced that the Georgia Ports Authority has completed and is now operating the second set of nine new rail tracks for a total of 18 tracks at its Mason Mega Rail Terminal. The expansion immediately increases intermodal capacity to and from the Port of Savannah by more than 30 percent.

“The massive new Mason Mega Rail yard is coming online at the perfect time to help address the influx of cargo crossing the docks at the Port of Savannah,” said Governor Kemp. “The added rail capacity, along with new container storage on and off terminal, are already serving as important tools to resolve the supply chain issues for Georgia and the nation. What we are doing in Georgia is working, and I am proud that we’re helping identify solutions for hardworking Georgians and Americans.”

Since Sept. 1, GPA has seen a 60 percent reduction in the amount of time containers are on terminal, as major retailers have begun moving cargo off-terminal at a faster pace. The improved flow of cargo and additional space at Garden City Terminal has allowed the Port of Savannah to expedite vessel service, reducing the number of ships waiting at anchor by 40 percent.

In addition, GPA and its two Class I rail providers are working in tandem to open temporary container yards to expedite cargo flow at the Port of Savannah. As soon as Monday, the GPA will open its first off-terminal overflow container yard less than five miles from the port.

“We’re setting up multiple inland locations that will be connected via truck or rail to the Port of Savannah,” said GPA Executive Director Griff Lynch. “We’re working with both CSX and Norfolk Southern to provide inland and off-dock locations to move these long-dwell imports off the facility. We think this will make a huge difference for both importers and exporters as we clear out our yard.”

GPA’s South Atlantic Supply Chain Relief Program is funded in part by reallocated federal dollars. The effort will begin with Norfolk Southern’s Dillard Yard in Garden City and the CSX Hulsey Yard, in Southeast Atlanta.

“This is the relief we needed in order to regain terminal efficiency and speed up vessel service,” said GPA Board Chairman Joel Wooten. “By reclaiming this space on terminal, we can begin to reduce the backlog of vessels at anchor. This groundbreaking partnership between cargo owners and logistics providers should serve as a model for the entire nation as we work to address supply chain challenges.”

Also on Friday, GPA announced it had, for the first time in its history, handled more than 500,000 Twenty-foot Equivalent Units (TEUs) in a single month. “We couldn’t be moving a half-million TEUs per month without the combined effort of GPA employees, the International Longshoremen’s Association, and the cargo owners who are clearing containers,” said Lynch.

The Port of Savannah handled 504,350 TEUs in October, an increase of 8.7 percent or 40,250 TEUs over October 2020. The performance surpassed GPA’s previous all-time record of 498,000 TEUs set in March.

Starting Dec. 1, GPA’s Peak Capacity project begins coming online in phases, delivering 820,000 TEUs of additional annual capacity by March 2022. Another 18 acres now under development will add 400,000 TEUs of capacity by July, for a total of 1.2 million TEUs of additional space. GPA is also building a new big ship berth at Garden City Terminal to accommodate additional 16,000-TEU vessels.

From Fox28:

Georgia Ports Authority Director, Griff Lynch says the mega rail will shorten that time. “We’re moving most containers off ships onto trains within a day and a half to two days, which is world-class,” Lynch said. According to Lynch, six mega rail trains can be on-site at the same time, and he expects the overall efficiency to double. “We are now capable, because of what you see here, of moving one million-plus containers a year,” he said.

This growth will create 172 new jobs in the Savannah area alone, and Governor Kemp says he is optimistic about the future of Georgia’s ports. “I believe that it is a great time to be a Georgian, and there is no doubt that The Port of Savannah and The Georgia Ports Authority is the engine that keeps that economic success going here in The Peach State.”

Kemp also shared updates about pop-up container sites which will house the goods transported by the mega rails. He said this project will provide extra space for cargo that comes in at the ports and the first site is in Savannah. “As soon as this Monday, The Georgia Ports Authority will open its first off-terminal overflow container yard less than five miles from where we are standing today,” Kemp said.

According to Kemp, another pop-up container yard in Atlanta will be ready for use as early as next month. These supplemental sites are a part of the president’s plan to ease the supply chain released by which includes additional funding for The Georgia Ports Authority.

From WTOC:

“The 85-acre well yard is the largest of its kind for a port terminal in North America. It will allow the Port of Savannah to build and receive six 10,000 foot long trains at the same time. In other words, there’s nothing else like this in United States. This means an immediate 30 percent increase in capacity,” Gov. Kemp said.

Master Pilot Trey Thompson, with Savannah Bar Pilots, has been in the business 30 years, and explained last month how the backlog at the ports has slowed business for the bar pilots.

“From our end, we’ve slowed down because they’re taking longer at the dock to unload. They’re bigger ships carrying more containers, so they take longer to unload and load. So, we’ve slowed down in actually moving ships back and forth,” Thompson said.

As of Friday, Nov. 1, there were 27 ships at sea, according to marinetraffic.com. So, the number has leveled off, not budging much from where it was a month ago.

Some perspective to what we’re seeing right now. Under normal trade conditions, the master bar pilot says there would only be one or two ships waiting at sea.

The AJC reports that Gov. Kemp’s campaign has started airing a new 60-second spot.

Now his campaign is returning to the airwaves with a minute-long TV ad released Monday that seeks to shore up support with both conservatives and independents.

“The last three years, Georgia’s been tested in ways we could never imagine,” the ad’s narrator said. “And it fell to Gov. Brian Kemp to successfully lead us during these troubling times.”

The ad reinforces Kemp’s campaign trail messaging about his law-and-order stances, support for a far-reaching election overhaul and aggressive economic approach during the pandemic. That narrative factors into the squeeze he’s facing from both sides of the aisle headed into 2022.

Among those who are encouraging Perdue to run is former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who said Sunday that he worries Kemp couldn’t beat Abrams.

In a blog post, the ex-Georgian said that Trump’s feud with Kemp has “virtually guaranteed that a Kemp nomination will lead to an Abrams governorship – and all the fighting and alienation that kind of radical administration would bring with it.”

“Like Youngkin, Perdue’s natural instinct is to solve problems and bring people together,” Gingrich said. “Like Youngkin, Perdue can bring together the Trump base and those Republicans, independents, and moderate Democrats who will find Abrams too radical.”

Gwinnett County schools Superintendent Calvin Watts said he opposes state legislation to make Gwinnett County Board of Education seats nonpartisan, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

“Gwinnett County Public Schools has serious concerns about the manner in which Senate Bill 5EX was introduced, the lack of input by the Gwinnett Legislative Delegation and affected Board members, the confusion the proposal would raise for voters and the impact this proposed legislation would have on the district,” Watts said in a statement on Friday.

“We urge lawmakers to allow our duly elected Board members the opportunity to work within the established process to recommend new Board maps that fairly and appropriately reallocate residents, based on the 2020 Census.”

“We hope that the matter of redistricting Gwinnett County Board of Education districts may be deferred until the General Assembly meets in January, and that when it does occur, it is based on a process that is fair and inclusive,” Watts said.

Dixon said he heard from constituents in his Senate district who wanted changes made to the school board after the board voted to terminate former Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks’ contract 11 months early. He said he does not plan to stop at making the school board elections nonpartisan, however.

“Another one of my legislative priorities this next session is banning (Critical Race Theory) statewide,” Dixon said. “We’re vetting several bills and just protecting our children from potential indoctrination.”

The Georgia General Assembly continues meeting this week to draw redistricting maps, according to the Rome News Tribune.

House Bills 8EX and 9EX would disband the current [Floyd County] three-member elections board and create a five-member board — with four of the members drawn equally from lists submitted by the Floyd County Republican and Democratic parties. They are backed by the county’s full legislative delegation.

Several congressional district maps are on the table, although Republicans hold the majority needed to push their version through.

The legislature may see more action on mental health in the next Session, according to the Georgia Recorder via the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Proposals for next session are still being hashed out behind the scenes. But lawmakers and advocates say they are pressing for both funding increases and legislatives fixes for mental health and substance use disorder treatment gaps that were worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic. The regular legislative session starts in January.

“I would like to make a prediction today: I think this is going to be a big legislative year for mental health. So, stay tuned,” state Sen. Kay Kirkpatrick, a Marietta Republican, said.

State Rep. Sharon Cooper, a Marietta Republican who chairs the House Health and Human Services Committee, said state leaders “really must get down to work, help and put the resources behind our words.”

Advocates have called the rising number of people experiencing mental health and substance use disorder after this extended period of isolation and disruption the next pandemic, urging state leaders to ramp up services and tackle barriers to treatment.

Overdose deaths in Georgia jumped 37% last year, claiming about 1,900 lives here. And the state’s Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities has reported an increase in people turning to their services.

But budget writers also will have to factor in the rising costs for fuel and other expenses. Auburn Republican state Rep. Terry England, who chairs the House Appropriations Committee, says the cost of doing business for the state may take one of the largest jumps seen in recent history.

“Many folks just think, ‘Hot dog, we’re flush with cash. Ain’t a thing to worry about. We need to either spend it or give it back,’” England said in an interview. “And I’m trying to tell them no, it’s just like in your business or home, the things you were buying for $2 last year, that had not increased in 25 years but from $1.89 is now $2, all of a sudden jumped to $3 this last year.”

Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Herschel Walker campaigned in the Augusta area, according to WRDW.

He hosted a meet-and-greet at the Columbia County Republican headquarters.

Walker was pushed to run by his ally former President Donald Trump, who continues to claim that he lost his re-election bid in Georgia due to election fraud. That claim has not been proven.

Jenkins County public schools in Millen were closed last week due to a threat, according to the Statesboro Herald.

A problem of this kind was first reported last week, on Thursday, Nov.  4. In a statement posted on the Jenkins County Elementary School and Jenkins County Middle-High School pages on Facebook that afternoon, Jenkins County Superintendent of Schools Tara Cooper stated that a few teachers and students at the middle school had received a message, apparently sent late the night before, demanding $5,000 “in a threatening manner.”

School officials met with law enforcement that day, Nov. 4, to assess the threat and then decided to put the school on lockdown. Noting the “threat was for a specific time,” Cooper reported that students had been allowed to leave school with parents but that “the time came and went” and the school day had continued.

But an additional threat had been received by Monday evening, according to [a] statement that Cooper posted then on the schools’ social media pages.

However, Tuesday did not bring a resolution, and she issued another statement that evening, indicating that school would be closed again Wednesday and that the Sheriff’s Department and GBI had conducted interviews and were tracing phones and continuing the investigation.

The Association County Commissioners of Georgia (ACCG) met in Savannah, according to WTOC.

Clarke County School District Superintendent Xernona J. Thomas announced her retirement effective December 31, 2022, according to the Athens Banner Herald.

Statesboro City Council and the Mayor will hear proposed rules for liquor stores following a referendum approving of package sales, according to the Statesboro Herald.

City Attorney Cain Smith is scheduled to deliver information on options for rules on the location and operation of liquor stores in Statesboro to the mayor and council during a 3:30 p.m. work session Tuesday, Nov. 16.

This follows approval by 74% of participating voters in the Nov. 2 city election of a “package shop” referendum. No action will be taken on the topic this Tuesday, since it does not appear on the agenda for the 5:30 p.m. regular meeting. But the 3:30 p.m. work session, with reports to be presented on several topics, is also open to the public, in the council chambers at City Hall.

“Really, the material I’m going to provide is a survey of other cities’ liquor store laws,” Smith said Friday. “The majority of them just defer to state standards, but a lot of them do have local enhancements.”

Among other things, some cities choose to regulate the distance between liquor stores, the total number of stores allowed and the size of the stores, in addition to restricting them to certain zones and certain hours of operation. What Statesboro will do remains for the elected council members and mayor to decide, in compliance with state law, Smith said.

Dalton and Whitfield County are expected to adopt in December budgets for FY 2022, according to the Dalton Daily Citizen News.

Members of the Dalton City Council and the Whitfield County Board of Commissioners are still working to finalize the 2022 budgets. Officials say they expect to present draft proposals to the public before the end of November or in early December.

The city’s 2021 budget is $34.4 million.

Commissioners and council members both said inflation is complicating their budget planning.

“Oh, it’s definitely going to have an impact,” said Dalton Mayor David Pennington. “The price of everything we buy is going up.”

Wages are also growing. Average national wages grew 1.5% in the third quarter. City Council members said that’s also putting pressure on the budget.

“We aren’t just competing against other governments for employees,” said council member Gary Crews. “For example, we hire truck drivers. They have to have a CDL (commercial driver’s license). Well, there’s a shortage of CDL truck drivers, so the pay is going up. If you’ve got a CDL, it’s a golden ticket.”

Pennington said he expects the 2022 city budget will contain a “pretty significant” pay increase for city employees though he said City Council members haven’t decided on an exact number.

The Dalton Daily Citizen News has more on the proposed raise for City of Dalton employees and proposed changes for Dalton retirees.

Tia Heard was sworn in as the District 1 member of the Valdosta Board of Education, according to the Valdosta Daily Times.

Elaina Beeman will be sworn in as a new Rome City Commissioner on January 10, 2022, according to the Rome News Tribune.

She became involved with the city in 2008 when she was appointed to the Rome-Floyd Planning Committee. Appointed by city commissioners, she spent five years listening to the concerns of Rome citizens and presenting solutions to the City Commission.

When her term ended in 2013, Beeman was elected to the Rome City School Board. Seeing a gap in education for students with learning disabilities, she spent eight years fighting to ensure these children were learning at the same rate as everyone else.

As her second term on the board was coming to a close, Beeman leaped at the opportunity to become a city commissioner. Because of her property management skills and passion for children to receive a quality education, Beeman believed she possessed the skills necessary to land the position.

12
Nov

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 12, 2021

President George Washington returned to the City of Washington on November 13, 1789, ending the first Presidential tour.

On the same day, Benjamin Franklin wrote a letter to his friend Jean-Baptiste LeRoy, in which he said,

“Our new Constitution is now established, and has an appearance that promises permanency; but in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”

General William Tecumseh Sherman ordered the destruction of railroad and telegraph lines between Atlanta and Northwest Georgia on November 12, 1864. Sherman also burned the railroad bridge over the Chattahoochee, cutting his own supply line from Chattanooga. General Sherman’s army prepared for the March to the Sea on November 14, 1864.

On November 13, 1865, the United States government issued the first Gold Certificates.

The Georgia General Assembly adopted a resolution against ratifying the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution on November 13, 1866.

In deciding not to ratify the 14th Amendment, the General Assembly adopted a committee report explaining that: “1. If Georgia is not a State composing part of the Federal Government known as the Government of the United States, amendments to the Constitution of the United States are not properly before this body. 2. If Georgia is a State composing part of the Federal Government … , these these amendments are not proposed according to the requirements of the Federal Constitution, and are proposed in such a manner as to forbid the legislature from discussing the merits of the amendments without an implied surrender of the rights of the State.”

Excavation began for a new Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta on the site of the former City Hall/Fulton County Courthouse on November 13, 1884.

In what looks to me like a surprisingly progressive move for the 19th century, Governor John B. Gordon signed legislation on November 12, 1889 opening the University of Georgia to white women.

On November 12, 1918, Atlanta held a victory parade to celebrate the Armistice with Germany.

Walt Disney released “Fantasia” on November 13, 1940.

On November 12, 1944, the Atlanta Constitution released a poll of Georgia legislators indicating that most wanted more local rule for cities and counties in the new Constitution being drafted. Georgia Governor and Constitutional Commission Chair Ellis Arnall moved that a home rule provision be included in the new draft of the state Constitution and his motion passed 8-7 on November 13, 1944.

On November 14, 1944, the Constitutional Convention working on a revised document for Georgia reversed its position on home rule that had been adopted the previous day on the motion of Governor Ellis Arnall.

On November 13, 1956, the United States Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling that struck down a law requiring segregation on buses in Montgomery, Alabama.

President Jimmy Carter ordered an end to oil imports from Iran on November 12, 1979.

Ronald Reagan announced his campaign for the Republican nomination for President of the United States on November 13, 1979.

“The people have not created this disaster in our economy; the federal government has. It has overspent, overestimated, and over regulated. It has failed to deliver services within the revenues it should be allowed to raise from taxes. In the thirty-four years since the end of World War II, it has spent 448 billion dollars more than it has collection in taxes – 448 billion dollars of printing press money, which has made every dollar you earn worth less and less. At the same time, the federal government has cynically told us that high taxes on business will in some way “solve” the problem and allow the average taxpayer to pay less. Well, business is not a taxpayer it is a tax collector. Business has to pass its tax burden on to the customer as part of the cost of doing business. You and I pay the taxes imposed on business every time we go to the store. Only people pay taxes and it is political demagoguery or economic illiteracy to try and tell us otherwise.”

“The key to restoring the health of the economy lies in cutting taxes. At the same time, we need to get the waste out of federal spending. This does not mean sacrificing essential services, nor do we need to destroy the system of benefits which flow to the poor, the elderly, the sick and the handicapped. We have long since committed ourselves, as a people, to help those among us who cannot take care of themselves. But the federal government has proven to be the costliest and most inefficient provider of such help we could possibly have.”

“I believe this nation hungers for a spiritual revival; hungers to once again see honor placed above political expediency; to see government once again the protector of our liberties, not the distributor of gifts and privilege. Government should uphold and not undermine those institutions which are custodians of the very values upon which civilization is founded—religion, education and, above all, family. Government cannot be clergyman, teacher and parent. It is our servant, beholden to us.”

“We who are privileged to be Americans have had a rendezvous with destiny since the moment in 1630 when John Winthrop, standing on the deck of the tiny Arbella off the coast of Massachusetts, told the little band of pilgrims, “We shall be as a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us so that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken and so cause Him to withdraw His present help from us, we shall be made a story and a byword throughout the world.”

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial was dedicated on November 13, 1982 in Washington, DC.

Tim Berners-Lee published a Proposal for a HyperText Project, laying the foundation for the World Wide Web, on November 12, 1990.

HyperText is a way to link and access information of various kinds as a web of nodes in which the user can browse at will. Potentially, HyperText provides a single user-interface to many large classes of stored information such as reports, notes, data-bases, computer documentation and on-line systems help.

A program which provides access to the hypertext world we call a browser. A hypertext page has pieces of text which refer to other texts. Such references are highlighted and can be selected with a mouse. When you select a reference, the browser presents you with the text which is referenced.

The texts are linked together in a way that one can go from one concept to another to find the information one wants. The network of links is called a web.

On November 12, 2000, George W. Bush took the lead for the first time in the New Mexico vote count, paving the way for his eventual election as President. From the New York Times:

Gov. George W. Bush of Texas late Friday night took the lead from Vice President Al Gore in the race to claim New Mexico’s five electoral votes with what now stands as the slimmest statewide margin in the country and one of the narrowest in American history.

After 257 missing ballots were found on Friday, and Bernalillo County officials here decided to count 379 ballots by hand that had been rejected by electronic voting machines on Tuesday, Mr. Bush led Mr. Gore by just four votes — among nearly 600,000 cast. The count was 285,644 for Mr. Bush, and 285,640 for Mr. Gore, according to totals from the state and the county.

Mr. Gore, who now has 255 electoral votes, seemed the apparent winner in New Mexico on Tuesday night by about 5,000 votes. But by late Wednesday, county officials had discovered that 67,000 absentee and early ballots had not been counted.

By midnight on Thursday, nearly all the ballots had been tallied and added to the county totals, but county officials then found that 252 votes — a number that reached 257 by Friday — were missing. They also grappled with the problem of what to do with an ever changing number of ballots that voting machines had rejected.

Then, on Friday afternoon, Lou Melvin, a precinct judge, found a locked black ballot box in an outer storage room in the county warehouse building where all the tabulations were being conducted.

It would be a month before the Supreme Court rendered a decision in Bush v. Gore, ending the election.

From the New York Post, dated November 12, 2000:

Republican George W. Bush yesterday took an infinitesimal lead – just 17 votes – in New Mexico, flipping a state that was put in rival Al Gore’s column for days, then moved to undecided Friday as Gore’s lead shriveled.

It’s another black eye for the TV networks who rushed to judgment and wrongly called New Mexico for Gore on Election Night, just as they miscalled Florida – first for Gore and then for Bush before going back to undecided.

The TV network fumbles are coupled with coast-to-coast ballot bumbles that have undermined America’s faith in the whole voting system as four states could join Florida in recount-land: New Mexico, Wisconsin, Oregon and Iowa.

On November 13, 2006, groundbreaking began for a memorial to Martin Luther King, Jr. on the National Mall in Washington, DC.

Three astronauts with connections to Georgia – Eric Boe, Robert Kimbrough, and Sandra Magnus – were aboard the space shuttle Endeavor when it lifted off on November 14, 2008.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Former Savannah Mayor Edna Jackson (D) was sworn in to the State House of Representatives, according to the Savannah Morning News.Continue Reading..

11
Nov

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 11, 2021

The first twenty-three cadets at Virginia Military Institute began their service on November 11, 1839.

On November 11, 1918, word reached Georgia that an armistice was signed between the Allies and Germany, ending World War One. Georgia Governor Hugh Dorsery declared a state holiday. Armistice Day, marking the end of World War I, was first celebrated on November 11, 1919 and is celebrated on November 11th every year.

In 1938, Congress recognized November 11th as Armistice Day, making it a legal holiday, and in 1954, at the urging of veterans, Congress renamed the holiday “Veterans Day.”

The Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery was dedicated on November 11, 1921.

On Armistice Day, in the presence of President Harding and other government, military, and international dignitaries, the unknown soldier was buried with highest honors beside the Memorial Amphitheater. As the soldier was lowered to his final resting place, a two-inch layer of soil brought from France was placed below his coffin so that he might rest forever atop the earth on which he died.

The Tomb of the Unknowns is considered the most hallowed grave at Arlington Cemetery, America’s most sacred military cemetery. The tombstone itself, designed by sculptor Thomas Hudson Jones, was not completed until 1932, when it was unveiled bearing the description “Here Rests in Honored Glory an American Soldier Known but to God.” The World War I unknown was later joined by the unidentified remains of soldiers from America’s other major 20th century wars and the tomb was put under permanent guard by special military sentinels.

On November 11, 1942, the draft age was lowered to 18 and raised to 37. At the time, African-Americans were excluded from the draft over concerns about a racially-diverse military.

In 1945, the idea was put forth to expand Armistice Day to honor all veterans and in 1954, Congress made the change to “Veterans Day” official.

The “General Lee” first left the ground, using a ramp to clear a police car, during filming of “The Dukes of Hazzard” on November 11, 1978.

Ronald Reagan became the first President of the United States to address the Japanese Diet in Tokyo on November 11, 1983.

On November 11, 1988, the Georgia Vietnam Memorial was dedicated in front of the Sloppy Floyd state government building across the street from the Georgia State Capitol.

On November 11, 1997, a monument to Georgia’s World War I veterans was dedicated, also in front of the Sloppy Floyd building.

Six years ago today, on November 11, 2013, the Atlanta Braves announced they would move from downtown Atlanta to Cobb County.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

The Georgia State House of Representatives voted to adopt a redistricting plan for its own districts, according to the Capitol Beat News Service via the Athens Banner Herald.

Continue Reading..

10
Nov

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 10, 2021

Today we celebrate the birth of the United States Marine Corps, which traces its lineage to the Continental Marines, formed by a resolution adopted by the Second Continental Congress on November 10, 1775. Here, former Georgia Governor and United States Senator Zell Miller tells of his decision to join the Marine Corps and the change it made in his life.

A monument to Nancy Hart was dedicated in Hartwell, in Hart County, Georgia, on November 10, 1931. Hart was an active Patriot in the American Revolution.

On November 10, 1934, two years after his election as President, FDR made his 28th trip to Georgia.

United States Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-Moultrie) was born on November 10, 1943. Chambliss was elected to Congress in 1994 as part of the “Republican Revolution” led by Newt Gingrich.

The iron ore freighter SS Edmund Fitzgerald sunk in a winter storm on Lake Superior on November 10, 1975.

Former State School Superintendent Linda Schrenko was indicted by federal prosecutors on November 10, 2004 on eighteen counts.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Brian Kemp ordered flags on state buildings and properties to half staff on Friday, November 12, 2021 in honor of the late State Senator Ross Tolleson.Continue Reading..

9
Nov

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 9, 202

Former Confederate General John B. Gordon was sworn-in as Governor of Georgia on November 9, 1886.

The next day, November 9, 1932, President-elect FDR addressed a national broadcast to the American people and mentioned that he would spend Thanksgiving at his “second home” in Georgia.

On November 9, 1938, Kristallnacht began the organized destruction and looting of Jewish businesses and homes in Munich, Germany.

On November 9, 1989, the former East Germany announced that citizens could cross the border to West Germany. That night, crowds began tearing down sections of the wall that divided the city.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Former United States Senator Max Cleland has died, according to the AJC.

Former U.S. senator and Veterans Administration leader Max Cleland died Tuesday more than 53 years after a live grenade dropped by a fellow soldier in Vietnam robbed him of three limbs.

A Democrat bound to a wheelchair most of his adult life, the 79-year-old Cleland was one of the first veterans from the killing grounds of Southeast Asia to enter American politics. He took a state senator’s seat in 1971, three years after his wounding, and went on to serve as top administrator in the U.S. Veterans Administration, as Georgia Secretary of State, a U.S. senator and an appointee in other federal agencies.

Cleland died at his Atlanta home from heart failure, according to a close friend and caregiver.

“What happened to him would have destroyed most men. But he persevered through it and prospered,” [former Governor Roy] Barnes said.

In “The Vietnam War,” the 2017 documentary directed by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, the voice first heard is his.

“To live is to suffer. To survive is to find meaning in the suffering,” Cleland told the camera, quoting philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. He told friends that he could not bring himself to watch the entire 18-hour series — the memory was still too raw.

Cleland found his meaning in the public service he threw himself into as enthusiastically as he had volunteered for combat duty.

Cleland received the Silver Star, the Bronze Star for his service. He spent eight months in Veteran Administration hospitals and rehab centers, and a lifetime of wrestling with what would become known as post traumatic stress syndrome, or PTSD.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis (D) will likely empanel a special grand jury to hear charges against former President Donald Trump, according to the New York Times.

As the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot fights to extract testimony and documents from Donald J. Trump’s White House, an Atlanta district attorney is moving toward convening a special grand jury in her criminal investigation of election interference by the former president and his allies, according to a person with direct knowledge of the deliberations.

The prosecutor, Fani Willis of Fulton County, opened her inquiry in February and her office has been consulting with the House committee, whose evidence could be of considerable value to her investigation. But her progress has been slowed in part by the delays in the panel’s fact gathering. By convening a grand jury dedicated solely to the allegations of election tampering, Ms. Willis, a Democrat, would be indicating that her own investigation is ramping up.

Instead of impaneling a special grand jury, Ms. Willis could submit evidence to one of two grand juries currently sitting in Fulton County, a longtime Democratic stronghold that encompasses much of Atlanta. But the county has a vast backlog of more than 10,000 potential criminal cases that have yet to be considered by a grand jury — a result of logistical complications from the coronavirus pandemic and, Ms. Willis has argued, inaction by her predecessor, Paul Howard, whom she replaced in January.

By contrast, a special grand jury, which by Georgia statute would include 16 to 23 members, could focus solely on the potential case against Mr. Trump and his allies. Ms. Willis is likely to soon take the step, according to a person with direct knowledge of the deliberations, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the decision is not final. Though such a jury could issue subpoenas, Ms. Willis would need to return to a regular grand jury to seek criminal indictments.

Fulton and DeKalb Counties set early voting dates and times for the November 30th runoff election, according to the AJC.

The hottest race will be the Atlanta mayoral contest, now officially between Atlanta City Council President Felicia Moore and City Councilman Andre Dickens.

The following Fulton cities will have runoffs for mayor and/or council member: Atlanta, Fairburn, Milton, Roswell and South Fulton.

Fulton’s early voting will run from Nov. 17 to Nov. 24 — eight days — from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at several locations throughout the county.

Fulton officials said they are awaiting clarification from the state about how many drop boxes they are allowed to disperse throughout the county for the runoffs.

The roughly 30,000 DeKalb County voters who live within Atlanta city limits will also be able to vote early in-person every day Nov. 17-24.

Voting will be held from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays during that span; 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 20; and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 21.

Early voting locations will include the Bessie Branham Recreation Center (2051 Delano Drive NE in Atlanta) and the main DeKalb elections office (4380 Memorial Drive in Decatur).

Because the DeKalb cities of Stonecrest and Tucker also have runoffs scheduled, early voting locations at the county libraries in those municipalities will be available to Atlanta-in-DeKalb voters too.

Early voting for both counties will run eight days, from Nov. 17-24.

Fulton will run early voting from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at several locations throughout the county, which you can soon check at https://www.fultoncountyga.gov/services/voting-and-elections.

In DeKalb, voting will be held from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays, then 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 20 and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 21.

Remington Firearms will relocate its headquarters to LaGrange, Georgia, according to a press release.

Governor Brian P. Kemp [on Monday] announced Remington Firearms (RemArms), America’s oldest firearms manufacturer, will locate its global headquarters and open a new advanced manufacturing operation as well as a world-class research and development center in LaGrange, Georgia. Through these projects, RemArms will invest $100 million and create 856 jobs over a five-year period in Troup County.

“Georgia’s firearms industry is responsible for thousands of jobs and millions of dollars of investment in our communities,” said Governor Kemp. “I am a proud owner of some of Remington’s first-class product, and now, I am excited to welcome them to their new home in the Peach State. As yet another big manufacturing win for our state, I look forward to seeing the oldest firearms manufacturer in America thrive in Georgia’s pro-business environment.”

Founded in 1816, Remington Firearms is one of the United States’ largest domestic producers of shotguns and rifles. Several of the company’s strategic products will be manufactured in Georgia. The new headquarters will also become home to an innovative research and development center.

“We are very excited to come to Georgia, a state that not only welcomes business but enthusiastically supports and welcomes companies in the firearms industry,” said Ken D’Arcy, RemArms CEO. “Between the support we’ve received from the state and from Scott Malone and Kelley Bush of the City of LaGrange Economic Development Authority, we cannot wait to expand our company in Georgia. Everyone involved in this process has shown how important business is to the state and how welcoming they are to all business, including the firearms industry.”

The company will be hiring for positions in production, operations, engineering, and management, as well as careers in HR, finance, and administration in Remington’s onsite executive offices. For more information, please visit www.remarms.com.

“I am thrilled to welcome Remington Firearms to the growing list of manufacturers who call LaGrange home,” said Mayor of LaGrange Jim Thornton. “The Remington name has long been associated with great products, and I know they will continue that tradition and be very successful here. I applaud the partnership with Governor Kemp and the economic development teams at the state and at the city that help attract great companies to our community.”

The Georgia Department of Economic Development was represented in this competitive project by Senior Project Manager Taylor Kielty in partnership with the LaGrange Economic Development Authority, Georgia Power, and Georgia Quick Start.

“For more than two centuries, Remington Arms has been a part of the fabric of our country, and for many of us who grew up with a strong connection to the outdoors and a love of outdoor sports, a trusted brand like Remington has been interwoven into our lives,” said GDEcD Commissioner Pat Wilson. “This makes it all the more exciting for us to see Remington Firearms locate their global headquarters and advanced manufacturing operations to Georgia where they will join a strong community of great companies who call this state home. Many thanks to our economic development partners in Troup County for helping the state win this project, which will undoubtedly have a sizeable economic impact on LaGrange and surrounding communities.”

About Remington Arms

Founded in 1816, Remington Arms is one of the nation’s oldest firearms brands, operating for 205 years. Remington is one of the largest producers of shotguns and rifles in the world.

Former United States Senator David Perdue (R) spoke to the Golden Isles Republican Women, according to The Brunswick News.

There were about 50 women in the meeting at noon at Bennie’s Red Barn and a handful of men when Perdue, who is being encouraged to challenge Gov. Brian Kemp for the party nomination, said, “Georgia already has a governor.”

“I want a unified Georgia,’’ he said. “I want a unified Republican party.”

Perdue said that he believes that 52% of Georgia voters are Republican and 48% are Democrats. Although Republicans led the U.S. Senate elections, runoffs were necessary because Libertarians took away too many votes for the top candidates to win the 50% plus one vote majority required under Georgia law.

Then when it came time for the runoff, “800,000 of us did not come out in January,” he said. “If we don’t get off our backsides and get the people out to vote, we’re going to lose.’’

The State Senate may vote today on their redistricting plan, according to WRDW.

Republicans continue working on a proposed district map for Georgia’s state House even as they slate their state Senate map for a Tuesday vote.

House Republicans released a new map on Monday that would change more than 20 metro Atlanta districts.

Changes in GOP-friendly northern suburbs could make two districts more Republican and one district more Democratic.

From the Capitol Beat News Service via the Gwinnett Daily Post:

Georgians whose cities and counties would be divided under a new state House map proposed by legislative Republicans complained Monday the new districts would unfairly dilute their voting power.

During a nearly three-hour hearing, residents from Coweta County, Peachtree City, Dunwoody and other communities pleaded with members of the House Legislative & Congressional Reapportionment Committee not to divide their communities into multiple House districts in order to accommodate population changes reflected in the 2020 U.S. Census.

Several accused House Republicans of splitting their communities in order to target Rep. Philip Singleton, a Republican from Sharpsburg who has been critical of GOP leadership. The proposed map draws Singleton into a predominantly Democratic district in South Fulton County, splitting Coweta County among five districts in the process.

“For a Republican group to gut Coweta County the way we’ve been gutted, I wonder about the party I’ve been involved in,” said Jan Horn[e], a Republican activist from Coweta County.

Mike Crane, a former state senator from Newnan, suggested an alternative map proposed by House Democrats would keep more communities of interest together than the Republican map.

From the Georgia Reporter via the Albany Herald:

Many others came to support Sharpsburg Republican Rep. Philip Singleton, a self-described constitutional conservative whose right-wing beliefs have sometimes put him at odds with his own party. Singleton has joined a suit to block the state from using its barcode balloting system and has gotten crossways with House Speaker David Ralston.

Singleton’s Coweta County district is set to stretch north to south Fulton County, moving him from a district that went nearly 75% for Donald Trump in the last election to one that went 66% for Joe Biden.

If the committee votes on a map, it will head to the full House, and if it passes there, move on to the Senate.

From the Newnan Times-Herald:

While population growth has necessitated changes in the districts representing Coweta, Singleton said that the changes to his district look a lot like vindictive gerrymandering by Speaker of the House David Ralston.

“I know I am a thorn in Republican leadership. I’m difficult to deal with,” Singleton said. “By every metric, I’m the most conservative member of the Georgia General Assembly.”

When he chaired the Senate Reapportionment and Redistricting Committee 10 years ago, Sen. Mitch Seabaugh, R-Sharpsburg, called redistricting “the most political activity under the gold dome.

“Teamwork is important, and those who have demonstrated they have zero desire to work with anyone, easily could find themselves isolated with no help,” he once said. “Being a team player doesn’t mean one walks blindly and does as instructed. Instead, disagreements are handled with respect. Colleagues are treated with respect.”

From the AJC:

Singleton told his fellow Republicans that they’re abandoning the principles they claimed to stand for, such as protecting their party’s supporters, keeping communities whole and preserving incumbency.

“The Speaker of the House couldn’t buy me off or beat me at the ballot box, so I am unsurprised he would gerrymander to remove the most conservative Republican in the state from office,” Singleton wrote on Facebook. “This is a shocking betrayal of GA conservatives that is far worse for Coweta than even the Democrat proposal was.”

Singleton has made his opposition to Ralston, a Republican from Blue Ridge, a centerpiece of his political identity, criticizing him for his use of legislative leave.

The Lowndes County Board of Elections certified last week’s results and set early voting dates and times for a November 30th runoff election, according to the Valdosta Daily Times.

Only 3.55% of registered Lowndes County voters cast a ballot, with only 1,278 voters participating in the elections in Valdosta, Hahira and Lake Park.

No major changes were reported from the initial results reported Nov. 2, but all school board races saw an increase in their voting counts.

The Valdosta Board of Education races showed moderate increases in votes, but the District 7 Superward East race is still headed for a runoff election between Debra Bell (incumbent) and David Gilyard.

The runoff election will be held Nov. 30. Early voting will be 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Nov.12-13, Nov. 15-20, Nov. 22-24 and Nov. 26, at the elections office, 2808 N. Oak St.

The Hall County Board of Education voted to pause construction projects due to higher costs in the marketplace, according to the Gainesville Times.

“My recommendation is that we hit the pause on major projects,” [Superintendent Will Schofield] said, “until we see some sort of semblance of sanity.”

Federal CARES money, Schofield suggested, has spurred a massive spike in demand, and thus prices, in construction materials.

“I compare it to a drunken sailor frenzy in that we have passed out so much money at the federal government through some of these programs, that supply and demand is certainly working well,” Schofield said. “And so those $25 million elementary schools that we projected three years ago, one of them bid last Monday — as you know, you’ve seen all of the figures for — $43.6 million.”

“I liken it to an individual that was planning on an addition at their home or going to renovate their basement,” Schofield said. “He’s saved some money and all of a sudden what you thought was gonna cost $40,000 is going to cost ($75,000.) Most of us would say, ‘Not now. We’ll just wait.’”

“I totally agree with your assessment,” board member Sam Chapman said. “I mean, if it’s my own farm, and I had to do something in the same situation, I’d make the same decision for myself.”

Augusta Judicial Circuit courts are seeking state funds to address a backlog of cases developed during the pandemic, according to WRDW.

The judicial circuit’s administrator says right now there are 300 to 400 backlogged cases still waiting to go to trial. This money could help add more staff and bring down those delays.

“These funds will help us implement that more aggressive plan that we have,” said Nolan Martin, Court Administrator, Augusta Judicial Circuit.

Martin believes the money would make a big difference. Georgia suspended jury trials at the start of the year because of COVID. He says that created a backlog in the Augusta Judicial Circuit with hundreds of cases delayed. Before COVID that number would be close to zero. Now it takes two to three months longer than normal for cases to go to trial.

The Augusta Circuit serves Burke and Richmond Counties.

Democratic State Senator Jen Jordan (D-Cobb County and Buckhead) announced raising more than $1 million dollars in her bid for Attorney General, according to the Albany Herald.

The $1 million sum marks a primary fundraising record for a Democratic challenger for attorney general in Georgia, achieved more than six months before the May 24 primary is scheduled to take place.

The previous primary fundraising record for a Democratic challenger was held by 2010 nominee Ken Hodges, who reported raising an aggregate $791,152 in his June 2010 filing. The 2018 Democratic nominee for attorney general raised just over $900,000 over the course of the entire cycle.

United States Senator Jon Ossoff’s staff said a study may be undertaken of high-speed rail transit for Georgia, according to 13WMAZ.

Congress passed a trillion-dollar infrastructure bill, but what does that mean for Central Georgia? Potentially, the state could get a high-speed rail system that makes a stop in Macon.

“I think it signals the beginning of a great new period of redevelopment and construction,” former Macon Mayor Robert Reichert said.

The proposed line would move between Atlanta, Macon, and Savannah, but so far, it’s too soon to say when or even if you could board a train in Macon. A communications director from Senator Jon Ossoff’s office says there is a draft to begin an environmental impact study, which is a “huge” step towards building a new rail line. Pete Buttigieg, the U.S. Secretary of Transportation, says this bill will have an impact on jobs.

Ossoff’s office says a study has been drafted for the Atlanta-Savannah rail line with the proposed stop in Macon.

The University of Georgia is partnering with Lyft in a pilot program to enhance campus safety, according to the Athens Banner Herald.

The University of Georgia is partnering with Lyft to provide a nightly rideshare program for students with service beginning in the coming weeks. This new program, UGA Ride Smart, represents the latest component of a recently announced $8.5 million investment over the next three years to enhance campus safety. This initiative and others will continue to be evaluated in the coming year to maximize their impact.

Up to $1 million annually — $3 million over three years — will go toward an overlapping system in which UGA Ride Smart combines with evolving night bus schedules, the student-run Designated Dawgs ride service, and other efforts to offer the most coverage reasonably possible.

“After countless hours of research and outreach to other Division I universities, SGA has tailored this program to best serve the student body in Athens,” SGA Chief of Staff Joseph Benken said. “We are proud to offer a rideshare program that sets the standard high for safe late-night transportation.”

Augusta Commissioners are discussing how to spend unallocated COVID relief funds, according to WJBF.

The city budget does have 71 million uses for Federal Rescue Act funds, but the city’s allotment is 82 million dollars that leaves 11 million dollars that has some city leaders making plans on how to divvy that up.

Millions in American Rescue Act funds brought a new wrinkle to this year’s budget sessions with 11 million dollars of the funds still unassigned, with commissioners saying they how they would like to see it used.

Now commissioners are expected to approve the 2022 budget next week likely before they make decisions on the 11 million dollars, they will be able to go back after the fact when projects are determined in Augusta.

Coweta County and the City of Newnan will accept liquor license applications after voters approved sales referenda, according to the Newnan Times Herald.

While Coweta County will process applications on a first come, first served basis, the city of Newnan will use a lottery system. Only three liquor store licenses will be issued by each jurisdiction.

Potential package proprietors will have to wait a bit longer in Senoia, as the city doesn’t currently have an ordinance regulating the sale of distilled spirits. Newnan and Coweta County enacted their ordinances over the summer, making them contingent on voters approving the package liquor referendum.

The referendum to allow package sales of distilled spirits passed overwhelmingly in all three jurisdictions.

In unincorporated Coweta, the vote was 8,413, or 66.59 percent to 4,190 or 33.4 percent. In Newnan, the vote was 2,757, or 78 percent, to 778, or 22 percent.

Senoia voters approved the liquor referendum by 597 votes, 70 percent, to 257 votes, 30 percent.

Washington City Council held its first meeting since a council member was arrested for an altercation with the Mayor, according to WJBF.

Glynn County Commissioners voted to hire Mike Stewart as interim County Manager, according to The Brunswick News.

Wild pigs are tearing up yards in Chatham County, according to WTOC.

That’s right pigs, wild pigs.

While they may look harmless, they’ve caused some serious damage to many yards in the neighborhood.

“I’m looking at roughly, to redo it all over again, roughly two to three thousand dollars to do it all over again,” said [homeowner Gerald] Scott.

He says he tried calling everyone he could think of for help, “I even called my homeowners insurance to see if they’d cover it, but no one covers this.”

Although he’s frustrated about his lawn, he says safety is his main concern.

“If a small kid runs up and thinks one of the small piglets is something to play with that sow is going to attack them.”

8
Nov

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 8, 2021

On November 8, 1860, Savannah residents protested in favor of secession following the election of Abraham Lincoln.

President Abraham Lincoln (R) was reelected on November 8, 1864.

Franklin D. Roosevelt made his 15th trip to Warm Springs, Georgia on November 8, 1928 after winning the election for Governor of New York.

Richard B. Russell, Jr. was elected to the United States Senate on November 8, 1932 and would serve until his death in 1971. Before his election to the Senate, Russell served as State Representative, Speaker of the Georgia House, and the youngest Governor of Georgia; his father served as Chief Justice of the Georgia Supreme Court. On the same day, part-time Georgia resident Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected President of the United States.

On November 8, 1994, Republicans won control of the United States House of Representatives and Senate in what came to be called the “Republican Revolution.”

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Former State Senator Ross Tolleson (R-Perry) has died, according to 13WMAZ.

Tolleson served in the general assembly from 2002 to 2015, when he resigned following a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease.

Attorney general Chris Carr tweeted, “As we mourn the passing of former state Senator Ross Tolleson, we hold his family, former colleagues and community in our prayers. He leaves behind an indelible mark on his fellow Georgians, and though he will be missed, his contributions to our state will not be forgotten.”

Governor Brian Kemp tweeted, “Marty, the girls & I are heartbroken over the passing of former state senator Ross Tolleson. Ross was a close friend of ours, a smart businessman, & a tireless public servant who devoted himself to ‘working for the people.’ Our prayers go out to Sally, Trip, Ansley, and Kelly.”

The criminal trial of elected and suspended Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit District Attorney Mark Jones (D) begins today, according to WTVM.

Jones pleaded not guilty during the arraignment in early October.

A judge removed Attorney Chris Breault from Jones’ case. The judge said it’s a conflict of interest for Breault to represent Mark Jones in the bribery case since Breault is a material witness for the state.

Jones was removed from office by Georgia Governor Brian Kemp on several charges including two counts of bribery, two counts of violation of oath by public officer, and two counts of influencing a witness.

If convicted, Jones could be permanently removed from office.

From WSAV:

Mark Jones campaigned for DA in the spring of 2020 on change.

But Jones had been in legal trouble before he was sworn in as District Attorney on January 2, 2021.

He had two DUIs, one in 2015 where he pleaded guilty. He got a second one in 2019. Two years later it is still pending in Superior Court.

In May 2020, as he was on his way to ousting three-term incumbent DA Julia Slater, Jones was arrested again.

People working with him to make a campaign rap video did donuts in the Civic Center parking lot. Five of them were charged with criminal property damage.

That case went to trial in September. Three days into the trial, Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Monroe declared a mistrial for witness misconduct. The charges against Jones and one other were later dropped. Three co-defendants pleaded guilty prior to the trial.

Multiple jurors made it clear Jones was headed to acquittal.

First, all of Jones previous legal problems happened before he was elected DA – both DUIs and the criminal property damage case.

The current nine-count indictment alleges criminal misconduct during Jones’ first eight months in office.

Governor Brian Kemp and Attorney General Chris Carr filed suit against the Biden Administration, according to a press release.

Governor Brian P. Kemp and Attorney General Chris Carr today announced the State of Georgia has filed a lawsuit challenging the Biden administration’s employer vaccine mandate. The Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) setting forth the mandate was published in the Federal Register on Nov. 5, 2021.

“In addition to vilifying Americans for their personal choices, Joe Biden’s vaccine mandates are unlawful and a recipe for economic disaster,” said Governor Kemp. “With inflation skyrocketing, the supply chain screeching to a halt, and job creators across the country desperately searching for more workers, Biden is pouring gasoline on a fire. This federal government power-grab defies reason, and Attorney General Carr and I will not allow this administration to force hardworking Georgians to choose between their livelihoods and this vaccine.”

“This unlawful mandate is yet another example of the Biden administration’s complete disregard for the Constitutional rights afforded to our state and our citizens,” said Attorney General Carr. “The federal government has no authority to force healthcare decisions on Georgia’s companies and its employees under the guise of workplace safety. We are fighting back against this unprecedented abuse of power to stop this mandate before it causes irreparable harm to our state and its economy.”

The lawsuit challenges the ETS as issued by the Biden administration’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the United States Department of Labor. Specifically, the lawsuit asserts the ETS:

• Exceeds the Department of Labor’s statutory authority;
• Fails to comply with the standards for issuing an ETS; and
• Conflicts with the First Amendment and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Georgia has joined the states of Florida and Alabama, along with several private employers, in filing the lawsuit with the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. Private employers that are also parties in the action include the Georgia Highway Contractors Association, the Georgia Motor Trucking Association and Robinson Paving Co.

Last week, Governor Kemp and Attorney General Carr filed a lawsuit against President Biden’s unlawful and unconstitutional vaccine mandate for federal contractors.

Governor Kemp tweeted after a federal appellate court stayed the Administrations COVID mandate, according to 13WMAZ.

A federal appeals court temporarily halted the Biden administration’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate on larger businesses. Now Georgia’s own Governor Brian Kemp has come forward to offer a statement on the matter.

Earlier this week, the Biden administration announced that businesses with 100 or more employees would have to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or submit to regular testing. The mandate is targeted for early next year.

“The 5th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals just halted Biden’s vaccine mandate on businesses w/ 100+ workers.” Kemp stated on Twitter. “This is a good indication for the lawsuit GA filed in the 11th. We will continue our legal efforts and are confident this unlawful, unconstitutional order will be struck down.”

From the Associated Press via AccessWDUN:

A federal appeals court on Saturday temporarily halted the Biden administration’s vaccine requirement for businesses with 100 or more workers.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals granted an emergency stay of the requirement by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration that those workers be vaccinated by Jan. 4 or face mask requirements and weekly tests.

The 5th Circuit, based in New Orleans, said it was delaying the federal vaccine requirement because of potential “grave statutory and constitutional issues” raised by the plaintiffs. The government must provide an expedited reply to the motion for a permanent injunction Monday, followed by petitioners’ reply on Tuesday.

The Georgia State Senate Redistricting Committee voted Friday to adopt a map of new Senate districts, according to the Valdosta Daily Times.

State Senate Committee Chair John Kennedy, R-Macon, argued there had been ample time for public input as nearly a dozen hearings had been held this year. In the days between the release of the map Tuesday and the vote Friday, only two public hearings were held.

Gloria Butler, Senate Democratic caucus chair and redistricting committee member, motioned to table a vote on the map, but it failed 10-4.

“The governor called us into special session Nov. 3. We’re here to do the people’s business and we can’t postpone it,” Kennedy said Thursday. “I’m going to continue to move forward on the schedule. Let’s not forget the Senate map is just one of three maps we have to approve. We have to approve a House map and perhaps substantial work to do on the congressional maps.”

“These new maps are respectful of incumbents returning but also include 14 majority Black districts and 20 non-white majority districts,” Kennedy said.

Bler, however, pointed out areas of the proposed map where there appeared to be minority discrimination. She specifically mentioned Chatham, Bibb, Douglas, Henry and Athens-Clark counties.

“Where there was minority population, it seems that they were split and that the minority population was divided between those three (districts),” she said.
Kennedy argued that the splits were necessary because of population growth in those areas.

The Senate chamber currently consists of 34 Republicans and 22 Democrats. According to groups analyzing the map, to have a map representative of Georgia’s shift in demographics, maps should show 32 or fewer Republican districts and 24 or more Democratic districts. The map approved by the committee, however, favors Republicans by creating 33 Republican-leaning districts and 23 Democratic-leaning districts.

From the Valdosta Daily Times last week:

Georgia’s population grew by more than 1 million, or 10%, since the last redistricting cycle in 2011. The 2020 census shows that Georgia’s white population is decreasing while minority populations have increased.

Black population increased by 12.5%, making up 31% or 3.32 million of the state; the Hispanic population increased by nearly 2% by 269,768 during the last 10 years and Asians had the largest increase at 52.3% according to 2020 Census data.

“We had to look at population shifts within the state. We’ve had counties that have lost huge percentages of their population so you have to work those in the mix so it is a fairly difficult process,” House Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge, said. “I think it’s no secret that Republicans are stronger in rural Georgia than perhaps they are in metro areas and that’s where much of the population loss has occurred so we have to account for that. So I’m sure that means that some of our Republican colleagues may end up getting left behind and that’s a tough part of this thing.”

That article has some good, detailed analysis of changes to Senate districts.

Glynn County will have three State House districts at least partially under the majority caucus remap, according to The Brunswick News.

As proposed, House District 180 keeps Camden County and takes in a southeastern chunk of the Golden Isles, including Jekyll Island.

Rep. Steven Sainz, R-Woodbine, represents District 180 and would be a third voice for Glynn County in the House.

“The proposed map is similar to what District 180 looked like prior to being drawn in with Ware (County) in 2011,” Sainz said.

As drawn, Rep. Don Hogan’s District 179 encompasses the eastern half of Glynn County, including St. Simons and Sea islands. Rep. Buddy DeLoach’s District 167 joins the western half of the county with McIntosh and Long counties and a western slice of Liberty County.
Hogan and DeLoach are Republicans.

From WRDW via WTOC:

One issue to watch is whether Republicans target two suburban Atlanta Democrats, Lucy McBath and Carolyn Boudreaux, whose congressional victories reduced the delegation’s GOP tilt.

State Senate Republicans are pushing a map aimed at protecting all party incumbents seeking re-election next year.

House Republicans would sacrifice some seats held by the GOP to help remaining incumbents.

Republicans currently lead 34-22 in the upper chamber and 103-77 in the House.

The Senate will also need to confirm [Governor] Kemp’s appointments of people to various positions since the regular session adjourned.

From the Macon Telegraph:

State house and senate districts covering Macon and Columbus will be tweaked. But the biggest changes for residents in these areas will likely be the newly drawn 2nd Congressional District.

Republicans hope to make the district more competitive in hopes of eventually flipping the longtime blue seat.

Much of the attention around Congressional redistricting will focus on Republican efforts to regain the seat currently held by Democrat Lucy McBath in metro Atlanta, but changes to Rep. Sanford Bishop’s 2nd Congressional District will be important.

According to Census data, the district is home to 673,028 people, more than 92,000 short of what it needs. It is the most underpopulated Congressional district in the state.

The district will either have to stretch further to the north or east to boost its population numbers. The district is bordered by Alabama on the west and Florida to the south.

A newly drawn 2nd District could see all of Columbus or much of Warner Robins within its boundaries, according to several draft maps.

The State House Redistricting Committee is expected to discuss their own district maps today, according to the Rome News Tribune.

Under House Bill 1EX, Floyd County would still be divided into three House districts. However, instead of a small section scooped into a Bartow-based district, a different section would be part of a larger Gordon County district.

The map was submitted by the committee chair, Rep. Bonnie Rich, R-Suwanee

The map submitted by the Democratic minority caucus, HB 4EX, would divide Floyd County into four districts.

It’s an excellent article about the local effects of statewide redistricting.

Rome city elections saw lower turnout in 2021 versus 2019, according to the Rome News Tribune.

Rome’s municipal elections concluded Tuesday night and the result is a near 4.5% decrease in voter turnout compared to 2019.

While the votes are expected to be certified on Nov. 8, the unofficial numbers show that 12.81% of the city’s eligible voters participated in the election — with a total of 2,697 ballots cast. Of that number, 1,045 ballots were cast during the early voting period.

Flash back to the municipal election in 2019 and the voter turnout sat at 17.23%, with 3,314 ballots cast. More than 2,600 of them were submitted early. The 2017 election managed a 22.51% turnout.

Floyd County Superior Court is having trouble hiring and retaining employees, according to the Rome News Tribune.

During a Floyd County Elected Officials meeting, Clerk of Superior Court Barbara Penson said she’s struggling to retain employees on the $11.88 hourly wage, stating they often come on and leave for another clerk job that pays better.

Over in the District Attorney’s office, Leigh Patterson said she’s struggling to retain clerks, with one retiring at the end of the month and another on short-term disability.

She also said the office will be short two assistant DAs at the end of the month.

Superior Court Chief Judge John “Jack” Niedrach said they have had two court reporters hand in their resignation for the end of 2021.

A Columbus murder trial will be moved after jurors were stuck on an elevator, according to the Ledger-Enquirer.

The malfunctioning elevator was stuck between the tower’s plaza level and ground floor just after noon, and its occupants were evacuated using a ladder, observers said.

How long they were trapped was unclear. Witnesses at the Government Center thought it was up to an hour, but Columbus Fire Marshal John Shull said a crew from the fire department had them out in 20 minutes.

Talk about sequestering a jury.

A Lake City Council member left a meeting to prevent an executive session, according to the Valdosta Daily Times.

June Yeomans said she left before the council could convene an executive session over the question of reducing a city employee’s pay.

By leaving early, Yeomans left the council without the necessary quorum for voting.

“I felt that this matter should be decided by the new council,” she said. Elections on Nov. 2 mean two new members will be joining the city council soon.

Bulloch County public schools will transition to less-stringent COVID protocols based on lower community spread numbers, according to the Statesboro Herald.

“I want to reiterate that it is imperative that we continue to keep schools open and operating under the most normal conditions possible, providing our students with a sense of stability while attending to their overall psychological, emotional, mental, academic, and physical well-being,” [Superintendent Charles] Wilson said.

Three Columbus-area school districts posted their lowest COVID numbers of the year, according to the Ledger-Enquirer.

Whitfield County Commissioners will vote on whether to require county residence to issue an alcohol license, according to the Dalton Daily Citizen News.

Commissioners are expected to vote on an ordinance that would require people applying for an alcohol beverage license to be a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident and a resident of Whitfield County for at least 30 days. The requirement to be a resident of Whitfield County can be waived if the applicant appoints someone who is a resident of the county to be responsible for matters related to the license.