USS Constitution, named by President George Washington, was launched in Boston Harbor on October 21, 1791.
During the War of 1812, the Constitution won its enduring nickname “Old Ironsides” after defeating the British warship Guerriére in a furious engagement off the coast of Nova Scotia. Witnesses claimed that the British shots merely bounced off the Constitution‘s sides, as if the ship were made of iron rather than wood. The success of the Constitution against the supposedly invincible Royal Navy provided a tremendous morale boost for the young American republic.
Today, Constitution serves as a museum ship, and has sailed under her own power as recently as 2012. Southern live oak, harvested and milled on St. Simons Island, Georgia, is a primary construction material for Constitution.
Dizzy Gillespie was born on this day in 1917 in Cheraw, South Carolina.
Harding was a progressive Republican politician who advocated full civil rights for African Americans and suffrage for women. He supported the Dyer Anti-lynching Bill in 1920. As a presidential candidate that year, he gained support for his views on women’s suffrage, but faced intense opposition on civil rights for blacks. The 1920s was a period of intense racism in the American South, characterized by frequent lynchings. In fact, the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) reported that, in 1920, lynching claimed, on average, the lives of two African Americans every week.
On October 21, 1976, Billy Carter spoke to an audience in Albany, Georgia, about his brother’s campaign for President.
On his brother Jimmy’s drinking habits, Billy said, “Jimmy used to drink liquor. Now he’s running for president he drinks Scotch, and I’ve never trusted a Scotch drinker.” Billy preferred the alcohol choice of his brother’s running mate, Walter Mondale – “I liked him the best of all the ones who came to Plains. He’s from a small town and he’s a beer drinker.”
The Atlanta Braves won the first game of the 1995 World Series on October 21, 1995, as Greg Maddux dominated the Cleveland Indians, allowing only two hits. Native American groups protested the names of both teams.
Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections
Former Governor Nathan Deal has a new gig, according to WSB-TV.
The Georgia Board of Regents earlier this year agreed to have Deal teach for the University System of Georgia, which includes UNG. Deal, who is recuperating from back surgery he had shortly after leaving office in January, decided to give lectures at the University of North Georgia first because it’s closer (about 30 miles) to his home in Demorest.
He’ll also soon teach at his alma mater, Mercer University, which announced Friday that Deal will be a professor. Mercer, a private university, has its largest campuses in Macon and Atlanta.
Joined by Chris Riley, his business partner and former chief of staff, Deal talked to the 15 students about campaign strategy. He discussed how candidates should define their most important issues, negative ads, his strategy against his two gubernatorial opponents, and President Donald Trump.
“Most citizens would say they don’t like negative campaigning and want an issue-oriented campaign, and then they vote for the people with the negative campaign,” Deal said before chuckling.
With Riley’s help, he is working on the syllabus for a three-credit class on campaigning and governing he’ll teach next semester at UNG.
The Board of Regents agreed to pay Deal $120,000 a year to teach, which raised ethics concerns since he picked or reappointed each Regents member when he was hired. The average salary for a full professor in the University System last year was $121,886, according to a systemwide report.
The North Georgia students, nonetheless, said they were excited to have Deal in their classroom. The former governor, some said, brought their textbooks to life.
Often described as a pragmatic politician, Deal spoke matter-of-factly about the art of campaigning. Candidates should have five issues to campaign on, they must define themselves before their opponent does so and they should not waste time trying to get everyone to support them, he said. Deal discussed how targeting voters has changed from newspaper ads to television spots on the evening news to, now, through social media and robocalls.
The students, some dressed in ROTC uniforms, were polite as they took notes by hand or on their laptops. They asked: When should a candidate focus on the issues, should an incumbent focus first on retaining his base or pursuing new voters and how did Deal’s approach change during his reelection campaign in 2014?
“We’re told it’s one of the most effective tools that you can have in a campaign is to define your opponent first,” Deal told the class.
“My real purpose is to get them to think,” he said in the hallway outside the class. “Not just to accept what they hear on a talk radio show or a television show or what some special interest group has mailed out. Think for themselves. Find out what the facts really are. And sometimes if they do that, they’ll come to a totally different conclusion than what somebody is bombarding them with and wanting them to think. If I can do that, then I feel I will be successful.”
Governor Brian Kemp said he’s still committed to funding a full $5000 raise for teachers, according to the AJC.
n a brief speech to a gathering of school superintendents Thursday, Kemp touted results from last winter’s legislative session, including full funding of the state’s portion of school budgets and new money for student mental health services and school security.
The governor also addressed teacher pay. While campaigning for the office last year, he pledged to raise pay by $5,000, but he and lawmakers produced only $3,000.
“We’ve got to continue to work on paying our educators for the critical work that they do every day, and as I said on the campaign trail my commitment is to ultimately raise the educator pay by $5,000 and I believe that we’re going to get there,” he said.
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms traveled to Iowa to campaign for Joe Biden, according to the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier.
tlanta Mayor Keisha Bottoms visited Waterloo to help open presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign office.
Biden did not attend, but Bottoms spoke to a crowd of about 20 people. She explained why she supports Biden and addressed his recent drop from first place in Iowa polls.
“I don’t know that a lot folks expected him to stay as high in polls as he did for so very long,” Bottoms said. “I think that really speaks to the strength of his candidacy.”
Bottoms also traveled to other office openings for Biden in Des Moines, Ames and Cedar Rapids.
She said Iowa residents and Atlanta residents both have a desire to beat President Trump in 2020.
“Our issues are very much the same, whether it’s Georgia or South Carolina, we care about the same thing,” Bottoms said. “We care about health care. We care about the climate. We care about education and the future of our community.”
Two teens will be required to campaign for a candidate whose signs they stole, according to the Rome News Tribune.
According to the Ringgold Police Department, two 16-year-old boys stole campaign signs belonging to mayoral candidate Paul Lee on Sept. 25 from a yard on Guyler Street.
The resident who witnessed the theft called police and gave a description of the vehicle with its tag number, reports show.
When they confronted the student, he admitted that he and a friend had indeed taken two signs to put at their homes and said sign stealing has been an ongoing joke lately among students at the school.
“I’ve had 36 signs gone missing around the high school,” Lee said. “It’s stealing, so I asked to talk to these boys’ parents.”
Lee says he spoke with the boys and their families and offered them a deal — that he wouldn’t press charges against them if they spent a couple of hours holding the signs they stole out in public near the voting precinct on Election Day.
“I told the kids that since they wanted to steal the signs — if they wanted them in their hands so bad, then they should stand out there and hold them for three hours as punishment,” Lee explained. “It was an agreement we made. The boys and their families were there, and I feel like that punishment fits the crime.”
“I don’t want the boys to have a record,” Lee said. “I just want them to deal with a punishment for what they did.”
At least they’ll have more time for campaigning. Two candidates for Richmond Hill City Council both lost their day jobs, according to the Savannah Morning News.
Two candidates running for Richmond Hill City Council in the Nov. 5 election were laid off this week from Gulfstream Aerospace Corp., they said.
Les Fussell said he had 26 years with the company, including six years as an IT contractor, and the layoff won’t affect his retirement. He was planning to retire in June, so the layoff just accelerated his plans. “It will give me more time for a lot of things,” he said.
Mark Ott, who also was laid off this week, spent the past six years working for Gulfstream in what he called a confidential position that involved working with customers. He said it was his second tour of duty with the company.
The Georgia Department of Transportation and Federal Railroad Administration will host public hearings on proposed high-speed rail, according to the Gainesville Times.
The Norfolk Southern railroad line that cuts through Hall is one of three “feasible route alternatives” recommended for further study in extending the Southeast High-Speed Rail corridor from Charlotte, N.C., to Atlanta.
The 268-mile Norfolk Southern route was deemed as “good” in its cumulative score, while a 255-mile route using the Interstate 85 corridor was judged “very good” and a 274-mile route going through Athens was considered “best.”
The findings are part of the Alternatives Development Report that’s part of a draft environmental impact statement produced by the Georgia Department of Transportation on behalf of the Federal Railroad Administration.
The two agencies are seeking public comment on the statement in public meetings set for Tuesday, Oct. 22, at the DOT offices in Atlanta; Wednesday, Oct. 23, in Greenville, S.C.; and Thursday, Oct. 24, in Charlotte.
The purpose of the overall effort “is to improve intercity passenger travel between Atlanta and Charlotte by expanding the region’s transportation system capacity and improving trip time and reliability through high-speed passenger rail services,” the DOT says.
Gambling remains a hot topic at the Georgia state capitol, according to the AJC.
Adding horse racing or casino gambling would require Georgians to approve a constitutional amendment allowing the expansion. And the Legislature’s lawyers have encouraged lawmakers to pursue a constitutional amendment to legalize sports betting if they want that.
“I have never seen so much energy and so much enthusiasm about this issue,” said state Sen. Brandon Beach, an Alpharetta Republican who for years has sought to bring horse racing to Georgia. “I think there is a momentum to ‘let’s go ahead and let the voters decide.’ ”
Supporters believe an expansion of the gambling industry could bring thousands of jobs and pump hundreds of millions of dollars into the Georgia Lottery-funded HOPE scholarship. Conservative groups and religious organizations oppose expanding any form of gambling because they find it immoral and an addictive habit that breeds crime.
[Governor Brian] Kemp has said that while he opposes casino gambling, he will not stand in the way of putting an amendment before voters as long as it guarantees the revenue will benefit HOPE.
If lawmakers decide to move forward with expanding gaming, they will have to determine which form should be allowed — casinos, horse racing, sports betting or a combination — and where any revenue should go, be it HOPE, rural health care or somewhere else.
Local governments in Glynn County are finalizing their project list for a 2020 Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) referendum, according to The Brunswick News.
The special-purpose, local- option sales tax is a one percent sales tax proposed by local government agencies and approved or denied by voters at the ballot box. SPLOST 2020 will be on the ballot in the May 2020 primary election.
Revenue from the tax must be spent in accordance with what’s described on the ballot. That likely won’t be a full list of projects, but government agencies hope that a detailed list of what they plan to do will sway the public to vote for the tax.
A one percent sales tax can bring in around $20-22 million annually, Glynn County Manager Alan Ours told county commissioners at a Tuesday work session. SPLOST can run from one to six years, depending on the types of projects and the needs of the participating government agencies.
Most county commissioners favor a five-year SPLOST, which would bring in around $100-110 million.
The Brunswick City Commission has spoken little publicly about SPLOST since a joint meeting with the county commission on Oct. 1, and city commissioners have released no list of possible projects or estimate as to how much the city would want in SPLOST revenue.
County commissioners are scheduled to discuss the county’s SPLOST list further at their next work session on Nov. 19. Utility commissioners will likely talk more about their SPLOST projects at the JWSC’s next facilities committee meeting, which has not yet been scheduled.
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources discussed the effect of M/V Golden Ray’s capsizing, according to The Brunswick News.
Oil leaked from the shipwrecked freighter Golden Ray has tarnished marsh grasses and soiled birds’ feathers throughout local inland waters, said Doug Haymans, Director of Coastal Resources for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.
And while the mix of oil and nature is never a good thing, the overall present situation is more cause for sighs of relief than hand-wringing and anguish, Haymans said. While DNR wildlife biologists have spotted several hundred shorebirds spattered with oil in recent weeks, none appear to have lost the ability to fly, feed or have been otherwise immobilized, he said.
And while some 25 percent of the St. Simons Sound estuary’s shoreline has been oiled, cleanup crews from the Unified Command are beginning to gain the upper hand on the oil leaked from the Golden Ray, he said. The Unified Command consists of the U.S. Coast Guard, the state DNR and Gallagher Marine Systems.
“The main point here is we haven’t had a release in over 17 days. And everything out there is either treated or weathering naturally.” [Haymans said.]
Floyd County Commissioners will set standardized lease rates for county-owned hangars at the Richard B. Russell Regional Airport in Rome, according to the Rome News Tribune.
Valdosta City Council adopted a 6-month moratorium on permitting new vape shops, according to GPB News.
The Valdosta City Council approved a moratorium that puts permits for new vape shops on hold for the next six months. Council members cited growing concerns about the health risks of vaping.
The Valdosta Daily Times reports the moratorium also keeps new liquor stores from opening in the city during the same six-month period. It doesn’t affect liquor and vape stores that are already operating in Valdosta.
The AJC has two current stories with competing views. Compare and contrast.
First legal Georgia hemp fields show crop’s promise by Mark Niesse
This is where Georgia’s future hemp crop begins: in a pungent field at the University of Georgia, where several dozen cannabis plants are nearly ready for harvest.
The plants are lined in rows on one-third of an acre, sprouting fuzzy flowers that could be processed into CBD oil, the popular product sold as a treatment for a variety of conditions including pain and insomnia.
Tim Coolong, a university horticulturist, is growing the plants in preparation for farmers to start growing hemp across the state next year. Lawmakers voted this spring to legalize in-state hemp production. Currently, all CBD oil products are imported to Georgia.
“Our farmers could absolutely grow this,” Coolong said. “The cool thing about these plants is that they offer an advantage to Georgia farmers because we have a long growing season.”
Georgia farmers will jump into the booming hemp industry as soon as federal and state regulations are approved, a process that could be completed in the next few months.
Georgia’s new medical marijuana program stalls 6 months after law signed by Greg Bluestein
Six months after Gov. Brian Kemp signed a law allowing companies to grow and sell medical marijuana in Georgia for the first time, the program remains stalled because he and other top politicians still haven’t appointed members of a commission to oversee the expansion.
Aides to Kemp, Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan and House Speaker David Ralston haven’t said why there’s no members yet for the Georgia Access to Medical Cannabis Commission. But until they do, the expansion is effectively sidelined.
The legislation, House Bill 324, gave the seven-member commission vast oversight over the state’s medical marijuana operation, including picking which businesses can grow the plant and developing the licensing requirements that retailers must meet to sell it.
One potential cause for the lag time is that the commission is essentially a startup, unlike other boards and agencies with built-in procedures and existing members. State officials say they’ve been inundated with applications — more than 50 candidates have surfaced for the spots.
“It’s extremely frustrating for medically fragile patients to finally get a bill passed that allows the distribution of medical cannabis oil, and then still be waiting on Governor Kemp to establish the commission,” said Blaine Cloud, whose daughter Alaina suffers from a severe form of epilepsy that could be treated by the drug.