Category: Georgia Politics


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for October 4, 2023

On October 4, 1918, President Woodrow Wilson sent a telegram to the Georgia Democratic Party Convention delegates in appreciation for their support of his admininstration.

The Savannah River Bridge opened on October 4, 1925.

The Soviet Union launched Sputnik, the first artificial satellite, on October 4, 1957.

Beverly Hills, 90210 debuted on October 4, 1990.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

McDonald’s announced the (yet again) return of the McRib. Glory! From WJBF:

“It turns out not everyone was ready to say goodbye to the McRib after last year’s Farewell Tour,” reads a statement from McDonald’s. “While it won’t be available nationwide, some lucky fans may find their favorite elusive saucy sandwich at their local McDonald’s restaurants this November.”

The sandwich, which debuted on menus in Kansas City, Kansas, in 1981, has enjoyed a cult following for decades, thanks in no small part to its fleeting, sporadic appearances at restaurants. Speaking to its elusiveness, Mike Bullington, the senior archives manager for McDonald’s, said in a 2021 press release that the sandwich was designed to be “enjoyed during the colder seasons.”

McDonald’s had also previously revealed that the sandwich infrequently appears on its restaurants’ menus because it’s “a local option based on customer demand,” according to a 2017 tweet from the company.

Early voting in Chatham County municipal elections begins October 16, 2023, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Municipal elections across Chatham County are heating up, with races from Tybee Island to Savannah to Pooler set for election day on Nov. 7.

Early voting across Chatham County’s cities begins on Oct. 16 and runs through Nov. 3, and there are five advance voting locations sprinkled across the county.

Some reminders:

Request an absentee ballot early. You cannot request an absentee ballot any later than 11 days before an election, or Oct. 27 in this case.

Precincts and districts may have changed with the 2022 redistricting. Make sure you know what district you live in and what precinct you can vote in. Those who live in unincorporated Chatham County are not eligible to vote in municipal elections. So, if you reside on Wilmington Island or in The Landings, you cannot vote for Savannah mayor and aldermen.

Advance voting is permitted at any of the five locations for registered Chatham County residents. For example, if a voter lives on Tybee Island but works in Savannah, they could vote at the Civic Center during their lunch break, McRae said.

For those early voting on the weekend, the options will be at the VR Annex and Civic Center. Saturday early voting is on Oct. 21 and Oct. 28.

Governor Brian Kemp announced that Area Development magazine named Georgia the top state for business for the tenth consecutive year, according to Atlanta News First via WTOC.

Area Development’s 2023 Top States for Doing Business rankings are based on scores from approximately 50 leading site consulting firms from across the U.S. in 14 categories, they said.

Georgia placed in the top 10 for all 14 categories, earning the No. 1 spot in seven classifications and claiming the overall No. 1 ranking, according to the magazine.

“For 10 straight years, the people who help businesses choose where to make long-term investments have repeatedly said Georgia is the best state in the nation for opportunity,” said Kemp. “Despite the unprecedented challenges we’ve seen in recent years, men and women across Georgia continued putting in countless hours of hard work for their communities. Thanks to their efforts, we’ve brought record-breaking jobs and investments to all four corners of the state, especially to rural Georgia.”

The Georgia State Elections Board rejected the idea of going back to voting on hand-marked paper ballots, according to the Capitol Beat News Service.

Both state law and the Georgia Constitution require that voters be allowed to cast their ballots in secrecy. But that doesn’t always happen in Georgia, Marilyn Marks, executive director of the Coalition for Good Governance, a ballot-security advocacy group, told board members before Tuesday’s vote.

“The screens are so large and so light it’s hard not to see how other people are voting,” she said.

Marks’ organization brought a proposed amendment to state election rules requiring touch screens be positioned so that no one can get behind a voter within 30 feet of a machine while voting is taking place. Adjacent screens would have to be at least eight feet apart.

Marks said most precincts are large enough to accommodate four to six touch-screen machines and still leave room for hand-marked paper ballot stations.

From the AJC:

The rule change would have permitted paper ballot voting stations along with touchscreens in polling places where there isn’t enough space to shield voters’ choices from eavesdropping.

Janice Johnston, a member of the board, said she’s uncomfortable with permitting hand-marked paper ballots and touchscreens at the same time.

“I have reservations about having two voting methods being performed constantly throughout an election, with the poll workers’ obligations to track both of those, to track the counts, the paper, the logistics,” Johnston said. “It doesn’t seem to add to the potential for orderliness in elections that we’re striving for.”

The Georgia Constitution requires a secret ballot, and state law calls for “voting in absolute secrecy so that no person can see or know any other elector’s votes.”

The State Election Board previously upheld the universal in-person use of touchscreens when it ruled against Athens-Clarke County’s effort in March 2020 to switch to hand-marked paper ballots because of privacy concerns. A judge in Sumter County also rejected a lawsuit over the same issue the month beforehand.

Several environmental groups want to join a lawsuit to ensure fishing access on the Flint River, according to the Albany Herald.

The Georgia Wildlife Federation and Flint Riverkeeper, represented by Southern Environmental Law Center, have asked to join a lawsuit in Talbot County Superior Court in support of the state of Georgia’s defense of the public’s right to fish in the Flint River.

Marker 21 LLC, a riverfront property owner, is suing the state for a ruling that the company can control who fishes a portion of Yellow Jacket Shoals, a stretch of the Flint River that is world-renowned for its shoal bass. Shoal bass are a relatively rare, native species of black bass that are difficult and fun to catch.

“Anglers from all over the country, and even the world, travel to Yellow Jacket Shoals to pursue this unique fish in this beautiful place,” Georgia Wildlife Federation President and CEO Mike Worley said. “It is good for the fishery, and it is good for the local economy.”

“The Flint River, including Yellow Jacket Shoals, is a treasure meant for people to enjoy. The dry land is private; the river is not,” Flint Riverkeeper Gordon Rogers added.

According to Georgia’s Department of Natural Resources, Yellow Jacket Shoals is navigable and open to the public for fishing. For centuries people have used the Flint River for fishing, paddling, swimming, and agricultural irrigation.

“Our state government builds boat ramps and stocks our rivers with fish so the public can access scenic waterways, like the upper Flint River, for fishing,” SELC Senior Attorney April Lipscomb said.

Previous efforts to limit fishing rights on the Flint River resulted in Georgia lawmakers creating a new law earlier this year clarifying that the state of Georgia owns rivers that are navigable across the state and members of the public have a right to fish and hunt in them.

The Georgia Ports Authority plans to build a new terminal on Hutchinson Island in Savannah, according to the AJC.

The Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) recently submitted a permitting application for the terminal with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The facility is to be built on land the authority owns in the shadow of Savannah’s Talmadge Bridge on Hutchinson Island, a 2,000-acre isle that prior in the 1990s was a CSX railroad-owned wildland.

Today, Hutchinson Island is home to the Savannah Convention Center, a Westin hotel resort and golf course, a fledgling luxury housing community and a still-under-construction mixed-use development and marina. The ports authority plans to build three berths for freighters to dock on a swath of land upriver from the convention center and hotel.

Global trade is a growing part of the Georgia economy, touching every corner of the state. A 2022 report by the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business commissioned by the authority concluded that the state’s deep-water ports in Savannah and Brunswick support 561,000 jobs across the state.

The Hutchinson Island Terminal “will allow GPA to meet future demands for container volumes, to grow with the growing economy, and to accommodate the changing trends to transportation and shipment of goods across the Southeast,” wrote Christopher Novack, GPA’s director of Engineering and Facilities Maintenance, in the permit application.

The Georgia Senate will empanel a committee to study the Fulton County jail, according to a Press Release.

On Thursday, October 5, Senator John Albers (R – Roswell) and Senator Randy Robertson (R – Cataula) will hold a press conference at Liberty Plaza. Lt. Governor Burt Jones will join the press conference addressing Senate action in response to the current incidents and challenges reported at the Fulton County Jail.

From the AJC:

The announcement comes as some Senate Republicans seek to punish Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis for initiating a wide-ranging election interference indictment against Donald Trump and 18 others.

The subcommittee is expected to scrutinize Willis’ use of resources and her strategy to tackle an enormous backlog of cases that worsened during the pandemic. But officials say she won’t be the singular focus of the investigation.

“We don’t know the root cause of the challenges so anything would be premature at this point. We will follow the facts,” said Albers, who is tapping Robertson to head the subcommittee. “This issue is the conditions and deaths at the jail.”

“The DA is required by Georgia law to have a grand jury inspect the sanitary condition of the jail and the treatment of inmates, and it isn’t clear she’s carried out that duty,” said state Sen. Jason Anavitarte, one of the chamber’s top Republicans. “She did find time and resources to pursue politically chosen cases when the jail has been deteriorating, resulting in deaths.”

More than 60 people who were held at the jail or other facilities operated or leased by Fulton County have died since 2009, according to an Atlanta Journal-Constitution investigation.

And the Justice Department is also investigating conditions inside the jail, citing the Sept. 13 death of a homeless and mentally ill man in the lockup’s psychiatric wing.

Fulton County Sheriff Pat Labat has been blunt about the jail’s disastrous conditions, calling it a “humanitarian crisis.” He’s talked of inmates crafting crumbling walls into makeshift weapons and “longstanding, dangerous overcrowding” as he’s called for a next-generation replacement facility.

State Rep. Katie Dempsey (R-Rome) read to students in a local school, according to the Rome News Tribune.

The Georgia High School Association (GHSA) board voted to allow “name, image, likeness” deals for high school athletes, according to the Capitol Beat News Service via the Macon Telegraph.

Monday’s vote will put high school athletes on a par with their older brothers and sisters playing college sports. The General Assembly passed legislation two years ago letting student-athletes at Georgia colleges, universities and technical colleges receive compensation for use of their name, image and likeness.

Students may not wear school logos, school names, school uniforms, or any items depicting school mascots or any trademarked GHSA logo or acronym in association with NIL advertising.

Compensation paid through NILs must not be contingent on specific athletic performance or achievement, or as an incentive to enroll or remain enrolled at a specific school.

Columbia County Commissioners voted to require a mile distance between existing tattoo parlors and new permit applicants, according to WRDW.

An unanimous vote by the Columbia County commission now limits on where new tattoo parlors can go.

“I think it’s a step in the right direction,” said Randy Teston, owner of The Body Shop Tattoo Parlor and Piercing. “I think that’s good for business. I don’t want to encroach on anybody else’s business. I’m not trying to take any of theirs. I think there’s enough to go around and spacing out the places.”

District One Commissioner Connie Melear said: “We had several applications come in at once that had to do with tattoo parlors and those businesses in order to keep them all from being on top of each other.”

“We don’t want to take away anybody’s opportunity to have a business or make money in a capitalist society for sure. But we want to be sure we do the right thing for everybody. And this will make them all more successful in the end,” she said.

Current tattoo parlors are fine where they are. The distance between businesses now goes into effect for anyone looking to bring in a business in the future, making the process as clear as it can be and hopefully ending up with what Teston has.

I deduct two points for incorrect use of “an unanimous” instead of “a unanimous decision.”

Augusta Commissioners voted to rename a section of the Riverwalk after a former Mayor, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

The Augusta Commission on Tuesday voted to change the name of the Augusta Riverwalk and 8th Street Plaza to the Edward M. McIntyre Sr. Riverwalk Park and Square at 8th Street. The commission also approved renaming the utilities building for the late director Tom Wiedmeier and a baseball field at Diamond Lakes for the late commissioner Fred Ancil “Andy” Cheek III. The roll call vote for all three proposals was 6-3.

Gwinnett County Commissioners voted for 5% pay raises for county employees, according to AccessWDUN.

“Last year I talked about bold compensation as a means of keeping Gwinnett the public sector employer of choice,” Chairwoman Nicole Love Hendrickson, said in a press release. “Today we must continue to offer generous compensation and benefits to attract and retain the talent needed to provide superior services to our vibrantly connected community.”

The move will also increase the salaries of first responders in police, fire and emergency services, sheriff’s office, district attorney’s office, solicitor’s office, corrections and E911 by an additional three percent, bringing the total pay raise for these employees to eight percent.

The Board’s focus on increased compensation also aims to acknowledge the impact the rising cost of living has had on employees since the last market adjustment.

“Our employees are dedicated public servants and the foundation of this benchmark organization,” County Administrator Glenn Stephens, said. “This market adjustment demonstrates our commitment to their well-being and positions us to compete with other jurisdictions to recruit the best and the brightest employees to serve our residents and businesses.”

From the AJC:

The Gwinnett County Police Department has 199 vacancies as of Wednesday, representing about 21% of authorized positions. Chief J.D. McClure said police academy graduation rates had improved and the county has eight more 911 dispatchers than the beginning of the year.

“We’re slowly getting there,” he said. “It just takes time.”

Sheriff Keybo Taylor thanked commissioners and County Administrator Glenn Stephens after Tuesday’s vote. He did not know the number of vacancies in his department offhand.

The county commission last year approved 8-10% raises across the board, but cost of living has increased more than 6% since then, Human Resources Director Adrienne McAllister said.

The raises will cost the county $8 million, which comes from the payroll budget for vacant positions and unspent funds from various county departments, Hendrickson said.

Some Montgomery County residents seek greater transparency from County Commissioners, according to WTOC.

“Tell me what you’re doing tell me where my money is going. Tell me what you’re gonna do for me.”

The recent tax assessment has residents of the county concerned, and even confused about where the money is going, so a group they call the Informed Citizen Coalition started asking those questions.

“I feel as if we’re doing everything we can to be transparent. They have one question and requested numerous open record request,” said County Commissioner Chad Kenney.

Commissioner Chad Kenney points to open records requests filled by the county as well as printed off financial breakdowns of county spending saying he doesn’t want citizens to feel as if they are in the dark.

“I have no problem with the citizens forming a coalition and asking questions. I haven’t been contacted by a single one of them. All they have to do is reach out to the county commissioners. Every single one of us definitely will answer the questions and do whatever they can to get them the answer they’re looking for,” said Commissioner Kenney.

Commission Chairman Leland Adams says that when it comes to transparency, it’s a two-way street.

“Their thing is to stand up in the meetings, and say transparency, transparency. I need you to be more transparent. My question then is what are you not seeing? If I don’t know what you’re not seeing, I can’t share it,” said Commission Chairman Adams.





Statesboro City Council member Phil Boyum will remain in his seat through at least the end of 2023, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Councilman Phil Boyum from District 1 attended Tuesday’s 9 a.m. Statesboro City Council meeting remotely, by Zoom teleconferencing, actively participated and didn’t say a word in public about the status of his previously announced resignation from the council.

But it was the last meeting that his resignation, if offered immediately, could have occurred in time for the council to call a special election to fill the remaining two years of his unexpired term and have it occur along with the Nov. 7 regular council election in District 2.

So the Statesboro Herald phoned and texted Boyum after Tuesday’s meeting. Texting in reply, he said he now intends to remain on the council until the end of 2023, “at a minimum.”

Boyum had announced, during a council meeting Aug. 15, that he intended to resign effective Dec. 31, and made a motion, which was approved 5-0 by the council members, to call a special District 1 election for Nov. 7. Holding a special election on the same day with the regular election, and especially since Districts 1 and 2 share the same Election Day voting place, would save the city money and staff members time, he asserted.

If he resigned at the end of the year or later, a special election next year would have to be held on a date when no regular city elections are scheduled. In Georgia, 2024 is a county, state and federal election year, and municipal elections are normally held in odd-numbered years.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for October 3, 2023

On October 3, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of Thanksgiving to be observed on November 26, 1863 and on the fourth Thursday in November every succeeding year.

This announcement harkened back to when George Washington was in his first term as the first president in 1789 and the young American nation had only a few years earlier emerged from the American Revolution. At that time, George Washington called for an official celebratory “day of public thanksgiving and prayer.” While Congress overwhelmingly agreed to Washington’s suggestion, the holiday did not yet become an annual event.

Thomas Jefferson, the third president, felt that public demonstrations of piety to a higher power, like that celebrated at Thanksgiving, were inappropriate in a nation based in part on the separation of church and state. Subsequent presidents agreed with him. In fact, no official Thanksgiving proclamation was issued by any president between 1815 and the day Lincoln took the opportunity to thank the Union Army and God for a shift in the country’s fortunes on this day in 1863.

On October 3, 1922, Rebecca Latimer Felton was appointed to the United States Senate from Georgia following the death of Senator Tom Watson. After initially being rebuffed by the Senate, Felton was sworn-in on late in November, becoming the first woman to serve in the United States Senate.

On October 3, 1995, O.J. Simpson was acquitted of murder.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Krispy Kreme announced yesterday that the Ponce De Leon store will reopen next week, according to the AJC.Continue Reading..


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for October 2, 2023

On October 2, 1789, President George Washington signed a resolution transmitting the (then-twelve) amendments constituting the Bill of Rights to the states that had ratified the Constitution. Click here for the letter from Washington to Governor Charles Pinckney of South Carolina that accompanied the amendments.

On October 2, 1835, Texans and Mexicans met in the first military battle of the Texas Revolution, the Battle of Gonzales.

In 1831, Mexican authorities gave the settlers of Gonzales a small cannon to help protect them from frequent Comanche raids. Over the next four years, the political situation in Mexico deteriorated, and in 1835 several states revolted. As the unrest spread, Colonel Domingo de Ugartechea, the commander of all Mexican troops in Texas, felt it unwise to leave the residents of Gonzales a weapon and requested the return of the cannon.

When the initial request was refused, Ugartechea sent 100 dragoons to retrieve the cannon. The soldiers neared Gonzales on September 29, but the colonists used a variety of excuses to keep them from the town, while secretly sending messengers to request assistance from nearby communities. Within two days, up to 140 Texians gathered in Gonzales, all determined not to give up the cannon. On October 1, settlers voted to initiate a fight. Mexican soldiers opened fire as Texians approached their camp in the early hours of October 2. After several hours of desultory firing, the Mexican soldiers withdrew.

Texas Cannon Flag 600

On October 2, 1879, Wallace Stevens was born. Stevens would become a renowned poet and insurance industry lawyer. My favorite poem of his is “Connoisseur of Chaos.”

A. A violent order is disorder; and
B. A great disorder is an order. These
Two things are one.

President Woodrow Wilson suffered a stroke at the White House on October 2, 1909.

Thurgood Marshall was sworn-in as an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court on October 2, 1967.

Betty Talmadge, then wife of Senator Herman Talmadge, hosted a fundraiser with Rosalynn Carter and Joan Mondale on October 2, 1976.

Ground was broken for The Carter Presidential Center in Atlanta on October 2, 1984.

The last Braves game at Turner Field was played on October 2, 2016, with the Detroit Tigers besting the Braves by 1-0.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Last week, the AJC wrote that the rollout of the new COVID vaccine has been a cluster rocky road.

Georgians seeking the new COVID-19 vaccines are facing all sorts of snags: some are struggling to find doses, while others are being told they need to pay up to $200 for a shot. Across the state, parents are finding it nearly impossible to find vaccines for their kids.

And it may be weeks before the issues are resolved.

Previously, the federal government bought vaccines in bulk, and provided them at no cost to Americans. Beginning with this vaccine, the commercial market has taken over the work of buying and distributing shots. Unlike the annual flu vaccine, the manufacturers and processes are new and for now, problematic.

Dr. Ashish Jha, who was White House COVID-19 response coordinator from March 2022 until June of this year, said the rollout of vaccine doses is getting caught up in the complexities of the U.S. health care system.

“When you’re forced to switch from the government as a single purchaser, buying all of these things (COVID vaccines), to a commercial system where you literally have hundreds of purchasers — middlemen, pharmacy benefits management companies, etcetera — it’s going to be a little bit bumpy,” said Jha, who spoke during a webinar on COVID held Thursday by USC Annenberg Center for Health Journalism.

Last week, when I asked my insurance carrier about the availability of the latest vaccine, they said they don’t have any. And I got sick. That’s why there was nothing sent out Friday.

A group called Hardworking Georgians will spend $100k supporting Governor Kemp’s plan for tort reform, according to the Associated Press via WRDW.Continue Reading..


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for September 27, 2023

William the Conqueror, Duke of Normandy, invaded England on September 28, 1066.

On September 27, 1779, John Jay, who previously served as President of the Continental Congress, was appointed minister to Spain to seek Spanish support for the revolution.

President Franklin Roosevelt made his ninth visit to Warm Springs, Georgia on September 27, 1927.

September 27 is a red-letter day for the Atlanta Braves and pitcher John Smoltz. The team won a record 14th straight Division Championship on this day in 2005. Smoltz set a team record for regular season wins (24) on September 27, 1996 and extended his team record for strikeouts hitting 276.

On September 27, 2002, Smoltz set a National League record with 54 saves.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

AAA says that gas prices are falling as Governor Kemp’s suspension of the motor fuel tax becomes effective, according to the Dalton Daily Citizen News.Continue Reading..


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

On September 26, 1928, future President Franklin D. Roosevelt spoke in Atlanta on behalf of Democrat Alfred Smith’s campaign for President.

The first televised debate between major party candidates for President took place on September 26, 1960 between Democrat John F. Kennedy and Republican Richard M. Nixon.

Kennedy emerged the apparent winner from this first of four televised debates, partly owing to his greater ease before the camera than Nixon, who, unlike Kennedy, seemed nervous and declined to wear makeup. Nixon fared better in the second and third debates, and on October 21 the candidates met to discuss foreign affairs in their fourth and final debate. Less than three weeks later, on November 8, Kennedy won 49.7 percent of the popular vote in one of the closest presidential elections in U.S. history, surpassing by a fraction the 49.6 percent received by his Republican opponent.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Nine Georgia state legislators wrote Governor Kemp asking for help, according to The Brunswick News.

In the letter to Gov. Brian Kemp, seven House members and two senators describe how the flood of foreign shrimp at prices lower than the domestic industry is able to offer is breaking the local fleet.

“To be clear, our shrimping industry faces an unprecedented crisis that threatens the existence of domestic shrimping,” they wrote. “Accordingly, we are asking that you call on President Biden and the Department of Commerce to immediately address the unfair and illegal trade practices and shrimp dumping that is destroying our domestic industry.”

Members of the Glynn, Camden and McIntosh state delegations were among the signers of the Sept. 17 letter. In addition to Sen. Mike Hodges, R-St. Simons Island, they included Reps. Buddy DeLoach, R-Townsend, Rick Townsend, R-St. Simons Island and Stephen Sainz, R-St. Marys.

“Moreover, we are asking for your advocacy for any and all possibilities to provide relief for our commercial shrimp fishermen and to promote Georgia wild caught shrimp more aggressively to support our industry,” the delegates wrote.

“Our hope was that an economic man-made disaster could be declared by NOAA through recent federal legislation if you declared a Fisheries Disaster. This, we hoped, would provide some immediate aid to commercial fishermen.”

“Currently, in spite of an abundant supply of shrimp, there is not going to be a 2023 domestic crop due to oversaturation of the market,” the delegation wrote. “U.S. inventories of shrimp are overwhelmed due to the dumping of imports driving prices down to record lows and now to eliminating the domestic market altogether.”

“Virtually all of our U.S. shrimp supply is now imported from India, Ecuador, China, and Vietnam,” legislators wrote. “These are pond-raised shrimp which are government subsidized and do not adhere to our domestic health standards.”

“In summary, the challenges facing our domestic shrimpers are federal. They have not been created by Georgia practices or policies. However, our hope is that your advocacy for this industry to our federal government and insistence on fair trade law enforcement will put pressure on the Biden Administration to help our shrimpers survive today and, hopefully, seek fairer trade practices and better safety inspections tomorrow.”

Other state legislators who signed the letter include Sen. Ben Watson, R-Savannah, and Reps. Jesse Petrea, R-Savannah, Bill Hitchens, R-Rincon, Al Williams, D-Midway, and Ron Stephens, R-Savannah.

John Wallace, who co-owns Anchored Shrimp Co. in Brunswick with his father, Aaron, as well as the shrimping vessel Gale Force, told The News earlier this month that the Southern Shrimp Alliance requested in a letter Aug. 25 that the governors of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas seek a fisheries disaster determination by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce for the shrimp fishery. Wallace is a member of the alliance’s board of directors.

A lawsuit alleging racial discrimination in redistricting is before the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, according to the Georgia Recorder.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit will determine whether to continue blocking provisions of Georgia’s 2021 election law overhaul that civil rights groups say discriminates against Black and disabled voters.

The Georgia Republican Party and national GOP political committees are backing state officials in their request that the appellate court overturn the Aug. 18 decision of District Judge J.P. Boulee, who granted preliminary injunctions on voting rules connected to the controversial Republican-backed Senate Bill 202 that passed in the wake of the 2020 presidential election.

The attorney general’s office filed an appeal with the Atlanta-based circuit court on Sept 18.

Boulee’s temporary order makes it legal, for now, for food and water to be given out to voters as long as they are not within 150 feet of a polling place. Additionally, it rejects SB 202’s requirement that an absentee ballot with an incorrect birth date on the outer envelope is automatically rejected by the county clerk.

Boulee, however, declined the plaintiffs’ request to suspend provisions limiting absentee drop boxes access and who can assist voters with returning mail-in ballots.

The Secretary of State’s Office continues trading messages with legislators, according to the AJC.

Georgia election officials are telling Republican state legislators that their proposed security enhancements might be possible — at a cost of $32.5 million and probably not before the 2024 election.

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s chief attorney recently outlined the feasibility of items such as eliminating ballot bar codes, adding ballot verification technology and installing voting machine upgrades, according to letters obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution through the Georgia Open Records Act.

The response to legislators comes after they and Lt. Gov. Burt Jones demanded security improvements in response to a report by a computer science professor who found “critical vulnerabilities” that, if successfully exploited, could flip votes from one candidate to another. The state Senate Ethics Committee plans to hold election security hearings this fall.

State senators want more information about why Raffensperger decided not to upgrade to a newer version of the software of Dominion Voting Systems, which could help mitigate some vulnerabilities. Raffensperger said it’s impractical to test and install the upgrade on tens of thousands of pieces of voting equipment before the 2024 election.

Several issues remain before a statewide rollout of the update to Dominion Voting Systems equipment, McGowan wrote. The update is still being tested, it’s not yet compatible with voter check-in tablets, and the General Assembly hasn’t allocated money for a large-scale statewide installation.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) will debate California Governor Gavin Newsom (D) in Atlanta on November 30, 2023, according to the AJC.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is running for president next year. California Gov. Gavin Newsom is expected to compete for the nation’s top political office in 2028. So why are they planning to debate each other this November in Georgia?

Fox News announced Monday it would host a Nov. 30 debate between DeSantis and Newsom, setting the stage for an unusual showdown of prominent governors who aren’t yet election rivals.

The precise location and format of the DeSantis-Newsom showdown hasn’t been announced. The debate will be the second political event hosted by Hannity in Georgia in the last year. The one-time Roswell resident who rose to broadcasting prominence at WGST in Atlanta held a Herschel Walker town hall in Acworth on his show last year during Walker’s failed U.S. Senate bid.

A Better Rome Inc. is backing candidate for Rome City Council, according to the Rome News Tribune.

That committee, A Better Rome Inc., is part of a promised full-contact campaign season over six commission seats on the Nov. 7 ballot. There are three seats each in Ward 1 and Ward 2 and all are contested.

A Better Rome Inc. identifies itself as a nonprofit and is soliciting donations. Some of the key players have firm ties to 14th District U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, who blasted Democrats serving on the City Commission at a GOP rally earlier this month.

A Better Rome is identified by the Georgia Campaign Finance Commission as a “noncandidate committee/independent committee” formed on July 3 of this year.

RTA Strategy, the umbrella company behind A Better Rome, identifies itself as follows: “RTA Strategy believes big political victories can only be won through brazen determination, meticulous attention to detail and the kind of no-holds-barred approach to leadership that gets you to the finish line.”

Rabies case numbers are up statewide, according to WRDW.

The latest incident happened in Columbia County on Sept. 20, when a dog fought with a raccoon on Yelton Farm Road in Appling. The raccoon tested positive for rabies.

Just a few days earlier, a rabid raccoon was found in McDuffie County.

While they don’t have the highest number of cases – that distinction goes to Gwinnett County with nine – they’re definitely among the highest.

In fact, Columbia County ties Banks County for No. 2 with seven cases this year, and McDuffie is in a multi-way tie for No. 4 with five cases.

Dougherty County Commissioners want to improve access to mental health services, according to WALB.

Dougherty County Commissioners tell WALB that in order to progress, the stigma surrounding mental health needs to be addressed. And in order to do that, there needs to be an even greater discussion surrounding the role it plays in Dougherty County.

“What ends up happening most of the time is our hospitals are already overrun,” Dougherty County District 3 Commissioner Clinton Johnson, said. “The jails end up being the first place that most people who are experiencing mental health issues are going. And our officers, while they’re very well equipped, they have other things that they could be focusing on.”

Johnson is also the second vice president of the Association of County Commissioners of Georgia or ACCG. The group is pushing Governor Brian Kemp for more, and better resources because of the burdens it puts on hospitals and jails.

“Absolutely,” Chief Jailer of the Dougherty County Jail John Ostrander said. “Jails across the country are the largest mental health treatment facilities in their counties usually. There is a great overrepresentation of mentally ill in the jail as compared to the community at large. And treatment resources in the jail are usually lacking.”

Ostrander adds that there are crisis centers open right now, like the one on 11th Avenue and at Phoebe in Albany. But he says there needs to be more capacity in these spaces for the county to thrive.

Baldwin County Public Schools created sensory rooms in five elementary schools, according to 13WMAZ.

Baldwin School’s Disability Service Coordinator Jamy Meeks says schools have a lot going on, and that could trigger a child with sensory processing disorders.

“Sometimes the classroom is a hard place to be,” Meeks said. “Things as simple as the lighting in the classroom, the noise level, even sitting in a hard chair.”

Meeks says studies at both the University of South Carolina and Utah say 5-15% of kids have sensory processing deficits.

“I definitely think it’s gotten higher because of COVID because that was a trauma-induced situation, so we’re gonna see a little bit of a greater need,” she said.

“A lot of times what we see is that it looks like inattentiveness in the classroom. So, that’s one of the issues. There’s also kids that are sensory seeking because they don’t have the stimuli that they need. So, then that looks like oppositional defiance or negative behaviors in the classroom,” Meek said.

So to help, the school built sensory rooms.

“A sensory room is where children can come in a safe environment and can get some visual stimuli, tactile stimuli, auditory stimuli,” Meeks said.

Tybee Island City Manager Shawn Gillen resigned citing health issues, according to WTOC.

City Manager Shawn Gillen has been on a medical leave since June.

Michelle Owens has been acting as interim city manager. She was an assistant city manager before Gillen went on extended leave during the summer.

Tybee’s mayor sent WTOC a statement on his resignation sent to her and city council members. Mayor Shirley Session says in summary that Owens will stay in the interim city manager role until further notice. Sessions says while the city council decides its next steps, Tybee is in capable hands. She goes on to say, no matter what happens, they are grateful to Gillen for six years of leadership and wish him and his family the best.

From WSAV:

“Until the city council decides its next steps, our city is in very capable hands with the acting city manager and an amazing team of city employees,” said Mayor Shirley Sessions in a post on Facebook. “No matter what happens, we are grateful to Shawn for six years of leadership and wish only the best for him and his family.”

Richmond County Coroner Mark Bowen rang the bell after finishing treatment for cancer, according to WRDW.

“I had to do six treatments of chemo, 21 days apart. The only days I really missed were the days I was on chemo because it was so long. The rest of the time I was here. I’d go to radiation for 10 minutes a day and I would be right back in the office. I didn’t want to be away from my job. It kept me busy. This what we do for the community,” said Bowen.

He said the community didn’t give up on him.

“People were texting me all the time with prayer, you know, just prayed for you. It was amazing,” said Bowen.

As he set his sights on the gold bell, Bowen said: “I rang the bell and walked out and was so glad it’s all over with now. Praise God. It’s a new world.”


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for September 25, 2023

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


On September 25, 1864, Confederate President Jefferson Davis met with General John Bell Hood and visited troops at Palmetto, Georgia.

Ronald Reagan appointee Sandra Day O’Connor became the first female Justice of the United States on September 25, 1981. In an interview with Terry Gross, she recalled receiving the call from President Reagan:

“I was working in my office on the Arizona Court of Appeals,” she tells Fresh Air’s Terry Gross. “I was at the court in my chambers when the telephone rang. And it was the White House calling for me, and I was told that the president was waiting to speak to me. That was quite a shock, but I accepted the phone call, and it was President Reagan, and he said, ‘Sandra?’ ‘Yes, Mr. President?’ ‘Sandra, I’d like to announce your nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court tomorrow. Is that all right with you?’ Well, now, that’s kind of a shock, wouldn’t you say?”

The Princess Bride was released on September 25, 1987. Inconceivable!

On September 25, 2008, the last car came off the line at GM’s Doraville Plant.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

The Albany Herald writes about the one-year Homestead Exemption tax relief grant that Governor Brian Kemp proposed and funded.

The grant offers a one-time (one-year) tax reduction program for all eligible homeowners with an approved Homestead Exemption in place for their primary place of residence.

Property owners will receive the HTRG in the form of a $18,000 reduction in the assessed value of their homesteaded property. Based on the various millage rates applied across the state, the actual tax savings will vary among the homestead property owners.

The HTRG will be applied to all property tax calculations except for millage rates associated with bonds; tax allocation districts; special service districts created after Dec. 31, 2004; and rental properties and other non-homesteaded properties are not eligible for the HTRG.

The HTRG will be shown as a line item on the tax bill homeowners receive from local taxing authorities (county, school and/or city) and will be shown as a reduction on calculated property taxes.

The National Park Service is seeking to have the Okefenokee Swamp placed on the list of UNESCO heritage sites, according to WTOC.

The National Park Service filed a notice in Washington that it will seek the designation for the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, which sprawls across more than 400,000 acres (161,875 hectares) in southeast Georgia near the Florida state line.

Conservation groups say the rare distinction would boost the Okefenokee’s profile as one of the world’s last intact blackwater swamps and home to abundant alligators, endangered red cockaded woodpeckers, stilt-legged wood storks and more than 400 other animal species.

“It would join a long list of iconic American landscapes — the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Yosemite,” said Kim Bednarek, executive director of the nonprofit Okefenokee Swamp Park that’s working with the U.S. government on the refuge’s nomination package. “Nobody questions the value of those places.”

The Okefenokee refuge covers more than 90% of the swamp and is the largest national wildlife refuge east of the Mississippi River. Its diverse wildlife, cypress forests and flooded prairies draw roughly 600,000 visitors each year, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which manages the refuge.

Designation as a World Heritage site wouldn’t impose any added restrictions or regulations for the Okefenokee. But conservationists say the distinction of being listed gives governments and local communities an incentive to protect and preserve the sites.

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Paige Whitaker heard arguments in a lawsuit against the Prosecuting Attorneys Qualifications Commission, according to WRDW.

Augusta District Attorney Jared Williams is one of four DAs from across the state opposing the measure.

The lawsuit claims the commission targets minority Democrats in a conservative state.

State Republicans are defending the law, Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr said.

“Unfortunately, some district attorneys have embraced the progressive movement across the nation of refusing to enforce the law,” he said.

“District attorneys who choose to violate their oaths of office are not immune from accountability.”

Led by DeKalb County District Attorney Sherry Boston, the group of plaintiffs includes Towaliga District Attorney Jonathan Adams, Williams and Cobb District Attorney Flynn Broady.

“We should be encouraging district attorneys to be more transparent about their work, not less open and honest,” Williams said when the lawsuit was filed. “SB 92 hurts prosecutors who want to have a dialogue with their constituents.”

From the AJC:

The prosecutors say the Prosecuting Attorneys Qualifications Commission infringes on the powers of district attorneys granted by the Georgia Constitution. They say the legislation that created the panel would allow it to punish prosecutors for prioritizing some crimes over others or even for political purposes.

“There is just too much of a risk that, while acting in good faith, this commission will interfere with the authority and rights of district attorneys,” attorney Joshua Rosenthal, representing four district attorneys, argued Friday at a hearing in Fulton County Superior Court.

Friday’s hearing was the latest development in a battle over Senate Bill 92, approved by the General Assembly earlier this year. The law allows the commission to sanction or remove district attorneys for an array of causes, such as “willful misconduct” or “persistent failure” to follow the law. A five-member panel will investigate the complaints and decide whether to bring formal charges, and a separate three-member panel will issue orders and opinions.

More than 100 antisemitic flyers were distributed to driveways in Gwinnett County, according to AccessWDUN.

Suwanee Police recently told Atlanta News First that they are looking into potential litter charges for those responsible for tossing baggies containing literary materials into people’s yards.

More than 100 of the antisemitic fliers and related information have been obtained from Flock license plate cameras to see if they can determine who littered the hate mailings.

Police continue to look for other courses of action in finding those responsible for littering the area lawns.

The Mobilize Recovery Across Georgia bus tour hit Rome, according to the Rome News Tribune.

Jeff Breedlove, community manager for the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities, is on tour with the MRAG bus. He also shared his recovery journey with the crowd.

“After 30 years of a hell of active addiction, I am a survivor and I am blessed to be alive,” Breedlove said.

Other special guests included Rome Mayor Sundai Stevenson, state Rep. Katie Dempsey, Floyd County Sheriff Dave Roberson, and GDBHDD representative Cassandra Price.

Sparks, who presides over the Rome/Floyd County Drug Court, said he was very excited that Rome was chosen to be on the bus tour because it brings so much awareness to community recovery efforts.

“We are very fortunate to have organizations like Living Proof Recovery. They have been a valuable resource to us,” said Sparks, who presides over the county’s drug court. “Events like this have a huge impact on people in recovery. We would have a difficult time doing what we do without Living Proof.”

Athens-Clarke County adopted an emergency moratorium on short-term rentals, according to the Athens Banner Herald.

The moratorium ordinance was approved by the commission without objection by any member.

According to the ordinance, the emergency moratorium will go through Nov. 7 to give the city staff time to create an ordinance to regulate and place restrictions on the operations of the Airbnb.

A few cautioned that restrictions should not affect homeowners who live on site and rent out rooms for extra income.

The emergency moratorium was based on several factors outlined by the city including complaints by residents and the increased number of nuisance complaints that involve noise, traffic congestion and parking.

The city also acknowledged there is a housing crisis where local workers are unable to find housing and Airbnb affects this issue.

Two of the residents who brought forth complaints explained that houses in their neighborhoods were purchased by out-of-state investments groups, including Texas and Oregon.

The Airbnb issue is one facing other cities including large metropolitans.

The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that New York City is cracking down on such issues by enforcing new rules on short-term rentals.

Commissioner Melissa Link noted at the meeting that every neighborhood in Athens has the “potential of predation” by these short-term rental businesses of which there are apparently around 900 short-term rentals in Athens.

Commissioner Carol Myers noted the impact this is having on the housing issue. Investors are buying homes for rentals and Myers said she gets post cards monthly from real estate companies wanting to pay cash to buy her home.

Richmond and Burke County courts are receiving technical upgrades via state grant, according to WJBF.

Each court room is being outfitted with a new system that will make proceedings faster, easier and safer.

“Moving prisoners is the most dangerous thing that law enforcement ever does,” explained Chief Judge Danny Craig of the Superior Court, Augusta Judicial Circuit.

Soon moving those prisoners will happen less often within the Augusta Judicial Circuit. A new technology system is being installed in the courtrooms throughout Richmond and Burke Counties.

“And so we have partnered with the sheriff’s office in order to do bonds and arraignments and even sentences over Webex, without having to transport prisoners, or those accused to the courtroom,” said Nolan Martin, Court Administrator.

“We ran vans constantly between the jail, which is about 8 miles from here, to the courthouse. And it just would not be possible now with the number of inmates that we have, and the number of more troubled inmates that we’re trying to deal with. The technology allows us to have ready access to every single inmate in the jail, all of the time.”

The $1-million state funded project is proving to be a huge success, and something Martin believes is the future of courtrooms everywhere.

Rebecca Walden will serve as interim Glynn County Clerk of Courts, according to The Brunswick News.

Walden is set to take over the reins of the office when Ron Adams retires on Sept. 30. She will serve in the position at least through the end of the term in December 2024.

Walden may serve longer if elected to the office next year. She has already filed her paperwork to be the incumbent Clerk of Superior Court candidate in the 2024 election.

“It really boils down to the staff,” she said. “They know what they’re doing. We don’t have to ask them what the plan is for the next day. They know what they’re here to do and they do a great job. … Everybody is a team. Everybody gets along.”

Part of the job is ensuring public records from those cases and applications are properly managed. Property records are available for public viewing at the courthouse or through the Georgia Superior Court Clerks’ Cooperative Authority.

Civil and criminal records are available upon request at the courthouse to ensure those are properly reviewed and redacted when applicable to protect privacy and prevent identity theft, Walden said.

Walden said she plans to make Caleb Still her chief deputy.

Gwinnett Superior Court Judge Tamela Adkins announced she will run for reelection, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Adkins is serving in her first term in office, having been elected to the Superior Court bench in 2020. Since judicial elections are nonpartisan races, the winners will be decided as part of the state’s general primary election next May and will appear on Democratic, Republican and nonpartisan ballots.

“In 2020, I challenged the status quo to argue we needed dedicated, diligent, and engaged judges that reflect our community,” Adkins said in her campaign announcement. “Gwinnett voters agreed, and I earned over 60% of the vote against a long-term incumbent. I have spent the past three years honing my judicial skills and making the tough decisions required on felony criminal cases and preventing damage to children in hostile custody cases. I look forward to sharing this record with Gwinnett voters in 2024.”

Gary Monroe is running for Mayor of Garden City for the fourth times, according to the Savannah Morning News.

The number one thing Garden City needs right now is more grocery store options, Monroe said, who decried the growth of trucking and industrialization without meeting the needs of residents.

Republican Arefeen Chowdhury announced his campaign for Gwinnett Tax Commissioner, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

“Gwinnett County is ever-changing. Every year, our population soars to new heights, and with that, we become more and more diverse,” Chowdhury said in his announcement. “Our county deserves a tax commissioner who is constantly looking for ways to elevate customer service, save taxpayers money, and serve our growing diverse community with excellence.”

Chowdhury is, so far, the only Republican who has announced plans to run for the office.

On the opposite side of the political aisle, current Tax Commissioner Denise Mitchell has already launched her campaign for the office and Phillip Bonton III filed paperwork with the state last month signaling his intention to run against her in the Democratic Party Primary.

Mitchell became the county’s tax commissioner last year after her predecessor, Tiffany Porter, died in the middle of her first term in office.

Oakwood City Council member Dwight Wood died, according to AccessWDUN.

Hunt said Wood was up for re-election in November and had already qualified for the seat. He was running unopposed, with no other candidates qualifying for the seat.

“Under the Oakwood Charter, the mayor appoints, and the city council affirms a replacement until the end of Dwight’s term which is December 31, 2023, since less than 12 months remain in the term of office,” Hunt said in a statement.

However, when it comes to an elected replacement for the seat, Hunt said qualifying must be re-opened for the position, due to Wood running unopposed.

“City staff will be conferring with the election office regarding the timing of qualifying or whether it can occur that quickly at all,” Hunt said. “If no election can be held for several months until the March election date, the appointee would continue to serve until replaced.”

Ike, a loggerhead turtle, was released from the Tybee Island Marine Science Center, according to the Savannah Morning News.

The release started promptly at 8 a.m., with staff from the center carrying Ike around the crowd so everyone would get the opportunity to see him before his release into the Atlantic Ocean. They then carried him to the water, an unusual step during the release.

Chantal Audran, executive director of the center, said normally the sea turtles crawl into the water, but Ike injured a flipper earlier this year and his vet at the Georgia Sea Turtle Center advised against letting him crawl against the sand. That didn’t stop Ike’s flippers from moving through the air as if it were waves.


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

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

Bon Homme Richard

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

On September 24, 1960, USS Enterprise CVN-65, was launched from Newport News Shipbuilding in Norfolk, Virginia, the first Galaxy-class starship nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. Enterprise was inactivated on December 1, 2012 and decommissioned on February 3, 2017.

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

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

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

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

Nirvana’s Nevermind was released on September 24, 1991.

Friends first aired on September 22, 1994. Next year will be the 30th Anniversary. My back hurts. Ross’s line “I don’t want to be single, I just want to be married again,” hits different after the death of Mrs. GaPundit.

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

I’ve added this to my book-shopping list. From the Macon Telegraph:

[A] book titled “Georgia Place-Names: Their History and Origins,”has become a state treasure. First published in 1975, it is a masterpiece of geographical gold.

The work is an easy-to-read, alphabetical guide to how places, towns, creeks, lakes and other locales got their names. From Abbeville to Zebulon, the book lists just about every Podunk and Possum Snout in between.

These days it is searchable online, where a curious reader might learn that Bibb County, named for a Virginia-born doctor who would go on to become the first governor of Alabama. The county was almost, by coincidence, named Mercer County after the same Jesse Mercer that the university is named for — but a full decade before Mercer Institute was even founded and long before it even moved to Macon.

Nearly half a century since its original publication, the book and its accompanying website continue to lend anyone interested a connection to history both as a reference and an eye-opening source of entertainment.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

The state-funded Homestead Exemption increase for 2023 only will help homeowners who already have their Homestead Exemption in place, according to the Statesboro Herald.Continue Reading..


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for September 20, 2023

On September 21, 1780, General Benedict Arnold met with British Major John Andre and began plotting to surrender West Point to the British.

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

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

Chester A. Arthur was sworn in as President of the United States on September 20, 1881.

The year 1881 began with Republican Rutherford B. Hayes in office. Hayes served out his first and only term and officially turned over the reins of government to James A. Garfield, who happened to be a close friend of his, in March 1881.

Just four months into his term, on July 2, Garfield was shot by an assassin named Charles Guiteau. Guiteau claimed to have killed Garfield because he refused to grant Guiteau a political appointment. Garfield sustained wounds to his back and abdomen and struggled to recover throughout the summer. Though it appeared he would pull through in early September, the autopsy report revealed that the internal bullet wound contributed to an aneurism that ultimately killed Garfield on September 19.

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

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

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

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

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

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Chatham County Commission District 2 voters will return to the polls for a Runoff Election on October 17, 2023, according to the Savannah Morning News.Continue Reading..


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chickamauga National Battlefield was dedicated September 19, 1895.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Home prices may be dipping. The median listing price is down 4.7% in Richmond County, according to the Augusta Chronicle.Continue Reading..


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for September 18, 2023

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Former Governor Nathan Deal and the late First Lady Sandra Deal, will be honored at the Wesley Woods Foundation’s Heroes, Saints & Legends Gala, according to the AJC.

“From Gov. Deal’s work on criminal justice reform and Sandra Deal’s tremendous literacy efforts in their beloved state to Veronica Biggins’ unwavering commitment to Atlanta’s civic leadership, they have all shown what it takes to be true heroes in our community,” said Diane Vaughan, president of the Foundation of Wesley Woods.

“More than ever, the role of Wesley Woods as an affordable housing provider for our region’s older adults is critical. Funds raised through Heroes, Saints & Legends opens the door to housing and meals to those who have outlived their resources, on-site chaplains providing pastoral care and innovative wellness programming to help seniors live independently for as long as possible.”

Governor Brian Kemp will not suspend from office State Senator Shawn Still (R-Norcross), after Still was indicted in the Trump case, according to the Associated Press via the Fulton Daily Report.

A three-person panel didn’t recommend that state Sen. Shawn Still be temporarily removed from office while the case is pending, Garrison Douglas, a spokesperson for Gov. Brian Kemp, said Friday.

Still, a Republican who lives in the north Atlanta suburb of Johns Creek, is a swimming pool contractor and former state Republican Party finance chairman. He was one of 16 Georgia Republicans who signed a certificate falsely stating that Trump had won the state and declaring themselves the state’s “duly elected and qualified” electors.

Still was the secretary of that meeting and is one of only three members of that group who was indicted. He faces seven counts, including the main racketeering charge as well as felony counts of impersonating a public officer, forgery, attempting to file false documents and false statements and writings, all stemming from the elector meeting.

Like all the other defendants, Still has pleaded not guilty. A lawyer for Still did not immediately respond Friday to an email and phone call seeking comment.

As is required by state law, Kemp appointed Attorney General Chris Carr, as well as Republican state Senate Majority Leader Steve Gooch and Republican state House Majority Leader Chuck Efstration. That group held a closed hearing Monday to consider whether Still should be suspended, issuing a confidential recommendation to Kemp.

Still was not in public office in December 2020 when the Republican electors met. He was elected in 2022 and is serving his first term.

Governor Kemp said the film industry contributed more than $4 billion dollars to Georgia’s economy in the last year, according to the Capitol Beat News Service via the Gwinnett Daily Post.

The film industry spent $4.1 billion in Georgia during the last fiscal year, Gov. Brian Kemp announced.
That was below the $4.4 billion film and television productions spent in the Peach State during the previous fiscal year but above the $4.0 billion in direct spending the industry posted in fiscal 2021 as Georgia began to emerge from the pandemic.

“Georgia remains a global leader in film, TV, and streaming productions,” Kemp said. “Those who benefit most from the significant growth we’ve seen in this industry over the past couple of decades are hardworking Georgians who fill the many behind-the-camera jobs that come with each project. That’s why we’ve worked hard to attract these and other opportunities for those who call the Peach State home.”

Former State Representative Stacey Abrams (D-Atlanta) wants a referendum on “Cop City,” according to the AJC.

Voting rights advocate Stacey Abrams says she supports putting Atlanta’s public safety training center on the ballot for voters to decide.

“I strongly support the right of residents to be heard and that right should not be unfairly impinged upon,” said Abrams, her party’s nominee for governor in 2018 and 2022.

“The rarely used citizen referendum is designed for precisely this type of fraught issue,” she added. “Regardless of one’s position on the subject matter, the leadership of the city should make every effort to allow direct citizen engagement by vote.”

Abrams continues raising money with her leadership committee, according to the AJC.

Abrams, a Democrat, has sent several recent fundraising appeals for One Georgia, the leadership committee that helped finance her failed 2022 bid for governor.

The committee, which can tap unlimited campaign contributions, collected more than $59 million for Abrams’ campaign during the 2022 midterm race. She sent an email Friday thanking supporters — then adding a twist.

“But our journey isn’t over. One Georgia needs your continued support to navigate these turbulent times,” read the note. “With you by our side, we can ensure every voice resonates, and our democracy thrives.”

United States Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Extreme NW GA) had some thoughts to share about Rome City Commissioners, according to the Rome News-Tribune.

“We’ve got Democratic city commissioners that encourage Black Lives Matter and want to defund the police,” Greene said, without offering any specifics. “They also allow the sales of sex toys in front of children and ignore drag queens.”

Greene, a controversial and outspoken supporter of former president Donald Trump, said the city commission is part of the same culture as Democrats in Washington D.C., linking them with Rep. Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Chuck Schumer.

“We’ve got to keep Rome from becoming corrupt like Atlanta, Chicago and even Macon,” Greene said.

She spoke about the need for fiscal restraint, attacking the proposal for Rome City Schools new middle school, which is currently budgeted at $120 million.

United States District Court Judge Steve Jones (ND-GA) aims to decide redistricting cases by Thanksgiving, according to the Georgia Recorder.

And now the question of whether Georgia’s GOP-drawn political maps illegally dilute Black voting strength is in the hands of federal Judge Steve Jones, who told both sides they could expect a ruling by Thanksgiving.

If Jones sides with the groups and Black voters who have brought the legal challenges, the case could affect the balance of power on the national level – where Republicans hold a fragile majority in the U.S. House – and it could shrink the already tightening margins under the Gold Dome.

The state’s attorneys have defended the maps drawn during a 2021 special session as the product of a political process that protected the GOP majority and prioritized incumbency.

Bryan Tyson, who is serving as special assistant attorney general, argued the plaintiffs’ mapmakers overly emphasized race in their alternative plans creating a new majority Black congressional district and multiple legislative districts.

Tyson argued voters here are driven by “party conscious politics, not race conscious politics.” And he raised the question: If racial polarization was such a dominant factor, then how are Black-preferred candidates succeeding in Georgia?

The trial centers on three cases that claim the state’s congressional and legislative district maps violate Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. Civil rights and religious groups and individual Black voters filed the challenges shortly after the maps were first approved. But there are other redistricting challenges pending in Georgia.

University of Georgia political science professor Charles Bullock, who has written a book on redistricting, said he suspects the plaintiffs may prove successful. If so, state lawmakers will be sent back to the drawing board.

“The Legislature will be given the first crack at drawing a new plan. I would think the legislature, if it is given that opportunity, would not behave like the Alabama legislature,” Bullock said this week.

Bullock said he believes that exercise could yield a congressional district where adult Black Georgians make up at least the bulk of the population.

“Now, that doesn’t necessarily guarantee it’s going to elect a Black candidate, but what it does make likely is that the Black voters will be able to choose their candidate of choice. Again, that could be a Black Democrat, could be a white Democrat, but it’ll probably be a Democrat.

Georgia solar arrays are producing large amounts of electricity, but distribution is a challenge, according to the Ledger-Enquirer.

More than 18,000 transmission lines in Georgia move power from a myriad of energy sources.

“They usually take years to build, you have to meet the demand when it comes online,” Craig Heighton, director of external affairs for Georgia Transmission Corporation said. “Those days are gone where you just draw chalk on the map to go from point A to B. We have to do the least obtrusive way to get the job done, and that happens through an extensive routing and siting process.”

Now, both power sources and demand are changing, and the process to get transmission lines built is growing more complicated, hindering clean energy development.

“If you wanted to have transmission in place, say, by 2030, you better have already started planning and working on it right now. It takes that long. That’s the problem with trying to do this: people think 2030 is a long way off. In planning terms, that is today,” Howard Smith, a renewables developer who managed Georgia Power’s integrated resource plans from 1992 to 2001, told McClatchy.

The Inflation Reduction Act is providing $769 million in grant authority to facilitate the siting and permitting of interstate (and offshore) electric transmission lines.

Additional funding from the Inflation Reduction Act will provide $2 billion in direct loan authority for facility financing.

“There are efforts to incentivize renewables from the IRA and there is a lot of money to deal with this transmission challenge. I’m hopeful there is going to be help,” Public Service Commissioner Jason Shaw said.

The state’s best conditions for solar panels are in South Georgia, where land is cheap, sunny, sparsely inhabited and flat.

The large-scale deployment of solar generation in South Georgia would require an accompanying transmission buildout to get this energy to the Atlanta region.

Savannah gun owners are complaining about Mayor Van Johnson’s plan to charge owners who weapons are stolen and used in a crime, according to WSAV.

The proposed ordinance penalizes people who don’t properly store their weapons.

“I think you’re just making criminals out of law-abiding citizens,” legal gun owner Brittany Brown said.

“If it’s your gun and you didn’t secure it or you didn’t report it, then we’re gonna hold you responsible for it because a gun is a responsibility,” Johnson said.

It penalizes gun owners who keep their cars unlocked with their firearms inside. It also calls for them to report their gun missing or stolen within 24 hours.

Some gun owners are questioning the burden of proof and searching for clarity about what the ordinance actually means.

“How are you gonna prove that their car was unlocked or not, that for me, and also the ordinance that I’ve currently read says the firearm should be secured in your car properly, what does that mean, what is the requirement for that and who determines that?” she questioned.

But Mayor Johnson says it’s all for public safety, and the ordinance is an effective way to prevent gun-related crimes.

Democrat Debra Shigley will run against State Rep. Jan Jones (R-Alpharetta) in 2024, according to the AJC.

Jan Jones, the No. 2 Republican in the Georgia House, is in such a safe district that no Democrat ran against her in the 2022 midterm. When she last faced a general election opponent in 2020, she won by 32 points.

She said she entered the race to oppose Republican-led efforts to expand school vouchers, restrict abortions and roll back gun limits.

“I want to make it more affordable to raise a family in our district. As the daughter of two public school educators, I want our kids to go to the best schools in the nation,” said Shigley. “I am running because I don’t hear our district’s voice represented at the Capitol. I’m ready to change that.”

Glynn County Clerk of Courts Ronald A. Adams announced he is retiring, according to The Brunswick News.

Ronald A. Adams, clerk of Glynn County Superior and Magistrate courts, is resigning effective Sept. 30 with Chief Deputy Clerk Rebecca Walden replacing him.

In a Sept. 6 resignation letter to Gov. Brian Kemp, Adams said it had been an honor to serve Glynn County and that he had confidence that Walden was fully capable of filling the post. Under Georgia law, a resigning or retiring clerk can appoint his chief deputy to the office.

Adams won election and took office in January 2017 during a troubled time for the office. It was discovered that a former clerk had stolen more than $1 million from the office, some of it child support payments. A former banker, Adams doggedly dug through the records at his office and at two banks. The county has received just under $740,000 in insurance claims covering the thefts with more than $400,000 in claims to one insurer still in litigation.

Pooler City Council member Stevie Wall announced he will run for Mayor, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Wall began to get involved with local government in 1994, when he got on to the planning and zoning committee. He said all of his other friends were being coaches for their kids, and he didn’t have enough time to do that, but wanted to give back.

In 1996, he was elected to council for the first time.

Since the Pooler City Council once had two-year terms, Wall has been elected a total of 11 times, but this is his first time running for mayor.