Category: Georgia Politics

25
Jun

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for June 25, 2021

On June 25, 1788, the Commonwealth of Virginia became the tenth state to vote for ratification of the United States Constitution by a vote of 89 to 79. A committee was appointed to be chaired by George Wythe to draft a proposed Bill of Rights.

On June 27, 1864, Sherman’s Union forces attacked General Johnston’s Confederates at the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain.

One year later, the Military Department of Georgia was created to oversee Reconstruction in the state.

On June 25, 1868, the United States Congress provisionally readmitted Georgia to the Union following the Civil War with the requirements that they ratify the Fourteenth Amendment and never deprive any citizens of voting rights.

On June 25, 1876, Indians under the leadership of Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse defeated the U.S. Army 7th Cavalry under Lt. Colonel George Custer at the Battle of Little Big Horn.

On June 25, 1888, the Republican National Convention nominated Benjamin Harrison for President of the United States; Harrison’s grandfather was WIlliam Henry Harrison, ninth President of the United States.

On June 26, 1918, the Georgia General Assembly ratified the Eighteenth Amendment, which outlawed the production, sale, and transportation of alcohol. Governor Hugh Dorsey did not sign it for nearly a week, but the United States Secretary of State considers an Amendment ratified when the state legislature has voted on final passage.

The Gone with the Wind scene that includes the line, “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn,” was filmed on June 27, 1939, along with an alternate that used the line, “Frankly, my dear, I just don’t care.”

On June 26, 1945, the United Nations Charter was signed in San Francisco.

The Berlin Airlift began on June 26, 1948 after the Soviet Union had blockaded West Berlin, which was occupied by the United States, Great Britain, and France.

On June 25, 1990, the United States Supreme Court released its opinion in Georgia v. South Carolina, a boundary dispute. From Wikipedia:

A… 1922 Supreme Court decision, also called Georgia v. South Carolina, 257 U. S. 516, also held that all islands in the river belong to Georgia, but that the border should be in the middle of the river between the two shores, with the border half way between any island and the South Carolina shore.

Since the 1922 case, a number of new islands were created in the river between the city of Savannah and the ocean, due to the deposit of dredging spoilage or the natural deposit of sediments. In some cases, the new islands were on the South Carolina side of the previously drawn boundary, and Georgia claimed that once a new island emerged, the border should be moved to the midpoint between the new island and the South Carolina shore of the river. In some cases, the state of South Carolina had been collecting property tax from the land owners and policing the land in question for a number of years.

When an island causes the border to leave the middle of the river, it raises the question as to how the border line should return to the middle of the river at each end of the island. South Carolina advocated a right angle bend at each tip of the island, while Georgia advocated a “triequidistant” method which kept the border an equal distance between the two shores and the tip of the island (resulting in a smooth curve).

The first Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, was released in the UK on June 26, 1997.

Gone with the Wind was re-released on June 26, 1998.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

The Georgia Dental Association is urging Georgians to get exams now, as many delayed it during the pandemic. From WTVM:

Thursday, the Georgia Dental Association urged the community to return to dental offices for regular dental exams.

GDA says regular dental visits can help treat problems before they become larger or more painful.

“I know that a lot of patients are fearful because the pandemic was something that we never had before. So, we had to create some guidelines and new measures that are out there, but I want to ensure that their oral health is taking care of,” said Louvenia A. Rainge, GDA president.

The AJC Political Insider writes about a poll being conducted regarding the 2022 Republican Primary for Governor.Continue Reading..

24
Jun

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for June 24, 2021

Quigly is a four-year old male Beagle mix who is available for adoption from the Carroll County Animal Shelter in Carrollton, GA.

Quigly is a 4 year old Beagle mix who is a sweet, calm, and elegant boy. He enjoys nice walks, treats, and loves squeaky toys! When you squeak a toy his way, you can see the birddog in him as he begins to point and get excited! Quigly’s ears are the window to his feelings and are very expressive! Despite his size, Quigly thinks of himself as an alpha and would prefer to be the only male dog in the household. Quigly has recently been treated for heartworms and will require limited activity for the next few weeks.

Cosmo is a nine-month old male American Bulldog mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Carroll County Animal Shelter in Carrollton, GA.

Cosmo is full of spunk and energy, perfect for a family who is active or has a fenced in yard for him to play in! Cosmo needs a little work on basic training, but he is still very young so that is to be expected. He likes squeaker toys and will perk his ears up if he hears you with one. Cosmo also likes hugs, as pictured above, and would enjoy snuggling with his people after a day of playing.

Rico is a five-year old male Terrier mix who is available for adoption from the Carroll County Animal Shelter in Carrollton, GA.

Rico is a 5 year old Pit mix who is just the sweetest boy in the entire world! He is a little shy upon first meeting, but this whole experience is very new for him so he just needs to adjust a bit more. He is a calm gentleman who would enjoy a fluffy bed and lots of snuggles. He especially loves butt scratches! Rico is well mannered, walks well on a leash, and is an all around joy to spend time with. He also gives the sweetest kisses! Don’t let his age or size fool you, Rico is just a very big baby who just desperately wants to find his new family soon!

24
Jun

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for June 24, 2021

On June 24, 1497, John Cabot first sighted North America, claiming it for the British Crown.

On June 24, 1795, the United States Senate voted to ratify Jay’s Treaty between the UK and United States. The terms of the treaty required an appropriation from the U.S. House of Representatives to implement it, and Congressional opponents tried to defeat the appropriation, which was approved by a 51-48 margin on April 30, 1796. Click here for more background on the treaty and controversy.

On June 24, 1853, President Franklin Pierce signed the Gadsden Purchase, acquiring what it now southern Arizona and New Mexico from Mexico.

General Robert E. Lee led the Army of Northern Virginia across the Potomac River toward Pennsylvania on June 24, 1863.

John R. Lynch was the first African-American elected Chairman of the Republican National Convention on June 24, 1884; Lynch was nominated by Theodore Roosevelt.

Woodrow Wilson married Ellen Louise Axson of Rome, Georgia in Savannah on June 24, 1885.

On June 24, 1948, the Soviet Union blockaded West Berlin from all road, rail, and barge traffic.

Following World War II, Germany was divided into occupation zones. The United States, Great Britain, the Soviet Union, and, eventually, France, were given specific zones to occupy in which they were to accept the surrender of Nazi forces and restore order. The Soviet Union occupied most of eastern Germany, while the other Allied nations occupied western Germany. The German capital of Berlin was similarly divided into four zones of occupation.

The United States response came just two days after the Soviets began their blockade. A massive airlift of supplies into West Berlin was undertaken in what was to become one of the greatest logistical efforts in history. For the Soviets, the escapade quickly became a diplomatic embarrassment. Russia looked like an international bully that was trying to starve men, women, and children into submission. And the successful American airlift merely served to accentuate the technological superiority of the United States over the Soviet Union. On May 12, 1949, the Soviets officially ended the blockade.

General Lucius D. Clay of Marietta, Georgia was military Governor of occupied Germany at that time.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show was released in West Germany on June 24, 1977. It’s astounding.

Rickey Henderson made his major league debut with the Oakland A’s on June 24, 1979, stealing his first base.

On June 24, 1982, the Equal Rights Amendment to the United States Constitution was defeated, having garnered the ratification of thirty-five states, three shy of the requisite Constitutional Majority.

Hopes for ratification before the deadline next Wednesday were dashed this week when the amendment was rejected by the Illinois House and the Florida Senate, two states in which supporters felt they had a fighting chance.

Had Illinois and Florida ratified the amendment, there was at least some chance that either Oklahoma or North Carolina would have provided the final needed vote.

Prospects were far slimmer in the other nonratifying states: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, South Carolina, Utah and Virginia.

Phyllis Schlafly, a leader of a group called Stop-ERA, hailed the defeat of the amendment tonight, saying: ”They realized E.R.A. is dead and I think that that is an admission they have lost the battle. My feeling is that E.R.A. will take its place with the prohibition and the child labor amendments as ones which did not have enough support of the American people to be in the Constitution.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Brian Kemp announced that the current Public Health Emergency Order will end July 1, 2021, according to the Gainesville Times.Continue Reading..

23
Jun

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for June 23, 2021

On June 23, 903 AD, the Icelandic Parliament, the Althing or Althingi, was established and is the world’s oldest.

In honor of the Icelandic Parliament, here’s the greatest Icelandic band ever, the Sugarcubes, playing at Auburn in 1988.

Off the coast of Charleston, South Carolina, British Commodore Sir Peter Parker spent June 23, 1776 preparing to land the next day, charged with supporting loyalists to the British crown.

On June 23, 1819, Texas declared its independence from Spain.

On June 23, 1862, General Robert E. Lee met with his commanders in preparation for what would be known as the Seven Days’ Battles.

On June 23, 1865, Georgia-born Cherokee Stand Watie became the last Confederate general to surrender.

On June 23, 1888, Frederick Douglass became the first African-American nominated for President, receiving one vote from Kentucky at the Republican National Convention in Chicago, Illinois.

Former Atlanta mayor Maynard H. Jackson, Jr. died on June 23, 2003.

Happy birthday to Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas (1948) and the late Mrs. GaPundit.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Yesterday, Governor Brian Kemp issued what we all hope will be the final Executive Order extending the Public Health State of Emergency in the COVID pandemic. From a Press Release:Continue Reading..

22
Jun

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for June 22, 2021

On June 22, 1633, Galileo Galilei recanted his published theory that stated the sun was the center of the world and the earth was not.

Georgia’s Trustees voted on June 22, 1737 to seek bids for building churches at Savannah and Frederica.

Georgia Whigs voted on June 22, 1775 to join a boycott against British goods. That same day, the Continental Congress approved the issuance of $2 million in debt-backed currency.

The donut was invented on June 22, 1847.

The Battle of Kolb’s Farm was fought near Marietta, Georgia on June 22, 1864.

The United States Department of Justice was established on June 22, 1870.

Judson Lyons, the first black lawyer in Georgia, died on June 22, 1924, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

On June 22, 1944, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the G.I. Bill.

On June 22, 1970, President Richard M. Nixon signed a law extending the 26th Amendment Right to Vote at age 18 to all federal, state, and local elections.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms is again blaming Atlanta’s crime wave on everyone else. Governor Brian Kemp fired back. From Fox News:Continue Reading..

21
Jun

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for June 21, 2021

Georgia’s Royal Colony Seal was approved on June 21, 1754.

Georgia Colony Seal

The Constitution of the United States of America was ratified on June 21, 1788, when New Hampshire became the ninth state to ratify.

On September 17, 1787, after three months of debate moderated by convention president George Washington, the new U.S. constitution, which created a strong federal government with an intricate system of checks and balances, was signed by 38 of the 41 delegates present at the conclusion of the convention. As dictated by Article VII, the document would not become binding until it was ratified by nine of the 13 states.

Beginning on December 7, five states–Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia, and Connecticut–ratified it in quick succession. However, other states, especially Massachusetts, opposed the document, as it failed to reserve undelegated powers to the states and lacked constitutional protection of basic political rights, such as freedom of speech, religion, and the press. In February 1788, a compromise was reached under which Massachusetts and other states would agree to ratify the document with the assurance that amendments would be immediately proposed. The Constitution was thus narrowly ratified in Massachusetts, followed by Maryland and South Carolina. On June 21, 1788, New Hampshire became the ninth state to ratify the document, and it was subsequently agreed that government under the U.S. Constitution would begin on March 4, 1789. In June, Virginia ratified the Constitution, followed by New York in July.

A lynch mob including members of the KKK killed three young civil rights activists who were trying to register African-Americans to vote near Meridian, Mississippi on June 21, 1964.

When Schwerner, Goodman, and Chaney, a young black man, were coming back from a trip to Philadelphia, Mississippi, deputy sheriff Cecil Price, who was also a Klan member, pulled them over for speeding. He then held them in custody while other KKK members prepared for their murder. Eventually released, the three activists were later chased down in their car and cornered in a secluded spot in the woods where they were shot and then buried in graves that had been prepared in advance.

When news of their disappearance got out, the FBI converged on Mississippi to investigate. With the help of an informant, agents learned about the Klan’s involvement and found the bodies. Since Mississippi refused to prosecute the assailants in state court, the federal government charged 18 men with conspiracy to violate the civil rights of Schwerner, Goodman, and Chaney.

John W. Hinckley, Jr. was acquitted of attempted murder of President Ronald Reagan and others in the Presidential party by reason on insanity on June 21, 1982.

Voters in Sandy Springs approved the new city’s incorporation on June 21, 2005.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Brian Kemp last week announced that Georgia’s unemployment rate dropped again for the 13th consecutive month.

Governor Brian P. Kemp applauded Georgia’s unemployment rate dropping for the thirteenth straight month from 4.3% in April to 4.1% for the month of May. The national unemployment average is 5.8%.

“Protecting both lives and livelihoods throughout a global pandemic continues to pay off for hardworking Georgians,” said Governor Kemp. “Despite false attacks from the left and many in the media, the Peach State was the first state to safely reopen our economy and get more Georgians back to work and back to normal. Georgia continues to lead the nation in economic recovery as our unemployment rate drops for the thirteenth straight month.”

The number of jobs in May increased by 7,000, reaching a total of 4,481,100. This number is up 295,800 compared to the same time last year. Since April 2020, 424,100 (70%) of the 609,500 jobs lost in March 2020 and April 2020 have been gained back.

Since March of 2020, the state has supported the creation of nearly 37,000 jobs – totaling 394 projects and 12 billion in investment.

Columbus restaurants are struggling to find workers and blame the federal unemployment supplement, according to the Ledger-Enquirer.

In Columbus, restaurants emerging from the worst of COVID-19 are facing a new issue: finding enough help to keep their doors open.

As the weather warms up, cases trend downward and vaccination rates increase, customers are pouring into restaurants.

A group of restaurant owners and managers who spoke with the Ledger-Enquirer said they are having a hard time filling positions, partly due to federal COVID-19 unemployment benefits.

Workers who left the industry during the pandemic cite a variety of reasons for their departure. Some were tired of the stress and the treatment from owners and customers. Others found better job opportunities with better pay or benefits.

Workers left the restaurant industry during the COVID-19 pandemic for a variety of reasons. Some who spoke to national news outlets cited abuse from customers over COVID-19 protections as grounds for their departure. Others found better jobs and simply took advantage of the opportunity.

Governor Kemp will decide whether Georgia state government will recognize the federal holiday for Juneteenth, according to the Associated Press via News Nation.

It was too late this year for Georgia state workers to get the new Juneteenth holiday off, even though some federal agencies scheduled to close on Friday to observe the day in advance of the actual June 19 date on Saturday.

But Republican Gov. Brian Kemp will soon face a decision about whether Georgia government agencies will close for Juneteenth next year, marking Black liberation from slavery at the end of the Civil War.

State law fixes 12 paid holidays for public employees, including all federal holidays as of 1984, when Martin Luther King Jr. Day was first observed.

“We’ll announce the holiday observances for next year in the coming weeks, like we did last year,” Kemp spokesperson Cody Hall wrote in an email on Friday.

Kemp signed a proclamation Wednesday recognizing Juneteenth, but that didn’t make it a holiday.

Statesboro City Hall was closed Friday in observance of Juneteenth, according to the Statesboro Herald.

As it turns out, when Statesboro City Council voted to that effect on June 16, 2020, the city got a one-year jump on the federal government in recognizing this holiday. President Joseph R. Biden on Thursday signed legislation, passed by Congress, making Juneteenth a federal holiday.

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger announced an upcoming purge of the voter rolls, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Georgia’s secretary of state is making public a list of nearly 102,000 voters who will be removed from the rolls unless they act to preserve their registration.

Republican Brad Raffensperger announced the list Friday, part of an every-other-year bid to remove voters who may have died or moved away. The state has about 7.8 million voters and his office said the removals include about 67,000 voters who submitted a change of address form to the U.S. Postal Service, and about 34,000 voters who had election mail returned.

In the current purge, election officials said, cancellation notices will be mailed and those who respond within 40 days will have their registration switched back to active. Anyone who is removed could register again.

Henry County Superior Court Judge Brian Amero was scheduled to hear arguments on the Fulton County ballot audit this morning, according to the Associated Press via WTOC.

The lawsuit alleges evidence of fraudulent ballots and improper ballot counting in Fulton County, which has Atlanta as its seat. As part of the suit, the nine voters who filed it want to inspect some 147,000 absentee ballots to see whether there are any that are illegitimate.

Henry County Superior Court Chief Judge Brian Amero, who is presiding over the case, last month ordered that the paper ballots be unsealed so the petitioners who filed the lawsuit can inspect and scan them. He had scheduled a meeting with the parties to sort out the logistics of how that review and scanning of paper ballots would proceed.

But before that meeting happened, Fulton County, the county election board and the county courts clerk all filed motions asking the judge to dismiss the lawsuit. The judge canceled the logistics meeting, saying those motions needed to be dealt with first and scheduled Monday’s hearing.

From the AJC:

Election skeptics will argue they need an opportunity to search for possible counterfeit ballots. Fulton officials will ask the judge to put an end to the quest to undermine Democrat Joe Biden’s nearly 12,000-vote win over Republican Donald Trump.

Attorneys for Fulton have argued that the case is a baseless and flawed attempt to use the courts to intervene in an election that was settled seven months ago.

Election officials have repeatedly said there’s no evidence of significant fraud, and two recounts validated the results. The secretary of state’s office is investigating over 100 complaints about last year’s general election, and even if all of them exposed invalid votes, Biden still would have won.

Amero previously ordered Fulton to unseal its absentee ballots so plaintiffs in the case could make high-resolution copies, enabling them to try to find fake ballots. The case is based on sworn affidavits from several Republicans who said they saw “pristine” ballots with perfectly filled ovals and no fold lines during November’s manual recount and audit.

Digital ballot images are now public records in Georgia, available for anyone to review if they pay the county the cost of retrieving them — $240 in the case of Fulton’s absentee ballots. But those images come from ballot scanners that don’t create high-resolution images that the plaintiffs say they need.

The lawsuit is asking county election officials to rescan ballots at high resolutions and also allow the plaintiffs to look at ballots in person. Original ballots would remain in the custody of election officials, and the plaintiffs would be responsible for the costs of the review.

The Federal Aviation Administration weighed in on the Spaceport Camden application, according to the Statesboro Herald.

The project came closer to fruition Thursday, when the Federal Aviation Administration issued its final study on Spaceport Camden’s environmental impacts. The agency concluded that building the spaceport was its “preferred alternative,” as opposed to scrapping the project. That paves the way for a final decision in July on its license to operate a launch site.

Even if approved, there’s no guarantee the project will fire its first rocket anytime soon. Despite increased demand for commercial launches in the past decade, more than half of licensed U.S. spaceports have never held a licensed launch.

The United States Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia is looking at PPP fraud, according to WTVM.

Acting U.S. Attorney, Peter Leary, says his office has been investigating a high volume of cases where people are trying to get rich off of PPP loans through the CARES Act.

He says there’s a number of crimes people are committing here like bank fraud and wire fraud, which come with huge fines and serious jail time.

“So I would hope that folks are not engaging in this activity, and I’ve been very thankful of the citizens out there who are reporting concerns they have of people out there committing this type of fraud,” said Leary. “This is money that’s supposed to be helping small businesses survive the pandemic. Not enrich people who are stealing it for their own benefit.”

U.S. Attorney Leary says people are creating fake companies and seeking those funds.

Chatham County District Attorney Shalena Cook Jones is asking for some funds to be reallocated to more Assistant District Attorneys, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Jones said the reallocated funds would add four assistant district attorneys to the office to help with crime prevention efforts. According to the response, the DA’s office has requested $280,000 to fund the positions. Those filling the roles would work in the newly formed Expedited Case Resolution Program, which would find ways to divert existing cases from the system through diversion programs.

“We do not have the manpower to create preventative programs because we are so overloaded with our current system,” Jones told the Savannah Morning News, adding it’s been difficult to create and maintain programs with her ADAs juggling 600 cases. Jones said on average they should be handling 150 cases apiece. “We need more bodies to get rid of the cases that we have.”

Jones attributed some of the case backlog to COVID-19, but said there was a backlog well before then.

The Gwinnett County Board of Education voted to tentatively adopt a budget and property tax millage rate for FY 2022, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Gwinnett County Public Schools’ $2.35 billion fiscal year 2022 got the official seal of approval from the county’s school board on Thursday, and district leaders are poised to make no changes to the school system’s millage rate.

The school board tentatively adopted a 21.6-mill millage rate, with 19.7 mills going to maintenance and operations and another 1.9 mills doing to debt service. The board is now set to vote on final adoption of the millage rate in July.

The budget, among other things, includes funding for teachers and other staff to get cost-of-living raises in the upcoming fiscal year. There is also about $15.4 million that is expected to be spent on hiring employees, particularly teachers and school support staff, to handle an expected increase in student enrollment in the 2021-2022 school year.

Although the millage rate will remain the same, that does not necessarily mean homeowners will pay the same in school taxes as they paid last year. County commissioners heard a presentation earlier this week about how the county’s tax digest has grown in the past year.

The Whitfield County Board of Education approved a budget for FY 2022, according to the Dalton Daily Citizen News.

The Whitfield County Board of Education approved a fiscal year 2022 budget with $125.9 million in estimated general fund revenues and approximately $127.2 million in general fund expenditures.

The projected general fund balance at the end of fiscal year 2022, which concludes June 30, 2022, is $31.4 million, while the projected beginning general fund balance at the beginning of fiscal year 2022 (July 1 of this year) is $33.2 million.

Coon anticipates Whitfield County Schools will receive about 72% of its general fund revenue from the state in fiscal year 2022, with roughly 28% derived from local sources. She also expects zero percent growth in the tax digest, but that information won’t be available until at least mid-July.

The school system should exhaust the $2.7 million it received from the initial federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act by June 30, Coon said. Whitfield County Schools has used those funds for custodial services, teacher laptops, docking stations and licenses, and a portion of the online high school curriculum.

Coon anticipates spending $11.5 million from the second CARES Act by Aug. 15, 2022, and those funds have been earmarked for 14 new school buses, network upgrades, instructional iPads, Ecovasive treatments, commercial dehumidifiers and ViewSonic digital whiteboards, among other purchases.

Glynn County Tax Commissioner Jeff Chapman, a former state legislator, failed to move forward in consideration for County Manager, according to The Brunswick News.

The three commissioners who supported naming Glynn County Tax Commissioner Jeff Chapman as the only individual under consideration for the top county post failed to reel in a fourth vote to make it official.

Brunson acknowledged Friday that Chapman had not formally submitted an application for county manager by the May 19 cutoff date.

“I think we should honor that process and the candidates that applied and went through that process,” Brunson said. “If the process doesn’t provide a qualified candidate, then we will pursue other options, which will include other interviews, including (Tax) Commissioner Chapman.”

Commissioner Sammy Tostensen made the motion that the commission accept Chapman. Commissioner Walter Rafolski seconded it and Commission Chair Wayne Neal cast the third favorable vote.

The motion failed when the vote ended in a 3-3 tie.

Commissioner Cap Fendig abstained.

Rome and Cave Spring will be hotbeds of election activity this year with 13 seats being elected, according to the Rome News Tribune.

Three seats on the Rome City Commission and all seven on the city school board are on the ballot this fall — and at least two will be filled by new members.

Cave Spring voters also will fill three of their five City Council positions on that same timeline.

The last election in Cave Spring, in 2019, was canceled due to a lack of competition. Mayor Rob Ware was the sole qualifier for that slot and Council Members Tom Lindsey and Joyce Mink had no challengers.

Former Augusta Commission candidate Brian Marcus joins the field of candidate for Mayor of Augusta, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

Marcus joins three candidates who have formally announced for the May 2022 election: Augusta Commissioner Dennis Williams, Tax Commissioner Steven Kendrick and school board president Charlie Hannah.

Four-term former commissioner Marion Williams has talked about running for mayor for months but not yet filed a declaration.

The full-time position comes with a budget of nearly $500,000, a city vehicle and a current salary of around $80,000, but lacks many clearly defined powers. Most decisions such as hiring and budgeting are overseen by the commission.

The Sons of Confederate Veterans Georgia division filed suit over the removal of a Confederate statue in downtown Decatur, according to the AJC.

The nine-page suit filed last week in DeKalb County Superior Court asks that the 30-foot Confederate obelisk, plucked from its perch last June, be returned to its “former place of honor.”

It names Decatur city attorney Bryan Downs and all seven DeKalb County commissioners — including two who weren’t in office when the obelisk was removed — as defendants, suggesting that officials took “collusive action” to circumvent state law protecting Confederate monuments.

18
Jun

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

On June 20, 1732, the signing of the Georgia Charter was completed by the British government. The University of Georgia has the oldest known American copy of the Charter.

British forces under General Sir Henry Clinton left Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on June 18, 1778 after occupying the former capital for nine months.

On June 20, 1782, Congress adopted the Great Seal of the United States. Charles Thomson, Secretary of the Continental Congress, was responsible for the final design presented to Congress. The design approved by Congress was a written description without any sketches.

On June 18, 1807, commissioners from Georgia and North Carolina agreed to recognize the 35th parallel as the boundary between the two states. North Carolina conducted a survey that placed the boundary further South than the 35th parallel, though Georgia never accepted the survey and continues to argue that the 35th is the proper boundary against both North Carolina and Tennessee.

The War of 1812 began on June 18, 1812, as President James Madison signed a declaration of war against Great Britain passed by the House and Senate.

On June 20, 1819, the SS Savannah entered the port at Liverpool, England, marking the first transatlantic crossing by a steam-powered ship, having sailed out of Savannah on May 20th.

The Georgia Whig Party held its first convention on June 19, 1843 in Milledgeville and elected ten delegates to the 1844 National Convention.

The first Republican National Convention, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, ended on June 19, 1856.

The Republicans, who called for the abolition of slavery in all U.S. territories, rapidly gained supporters in the North, and in 1856 their first presidential candidate, John Fremont, won 11 of the 16 Northern states. By 1860, the majority of Southern states were publicly threatening secession if a Republican won the presidency.

The Civil War firmly identified the Republican Party as the official party of the victorious North. After the war, the Republican-dominated Congress forced a radical Reconstruction policy on the South, which saw the passage of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments to the Constitution, abolishing slavery and granting voting rights to African American men in the South. By 1876, the Republican Party had lost control of the South, but it continued to dominate the presidency, with a few intermissions, until the ascendance of Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933.

On June 19, 1864, Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston retreated from Pine Mountain and Lost Mountain toward Marietta. Click here to watch a two-minute video by Georgia Public Broadcasting and the Atlanta History Center about this week in Georgia in 1864.

General Robert E. Lee moved on Union forces under General Ulysses S. Grant at Petersburg, Virginia on June 20, 1864.

On the same day, USS Kearsarge sank CSS Alabama off the coast of Cherbourg, France in one of the most-celebrated naval battles of the Civil War.

Under its captain, Raphael Semmes, the Alabama prowled the world for three years, capturing U.S. commercial ships. It sailed around the globe, usually working out of the West Indies, but taking prizes and bungling Union shipping in the Caribbean, off Newfoundland, and around the coast of South America. In January 1863, Semmes sunk a Union warship, the Hatteras, after luring it out of Galveston, Texas.

During its career, the Alabama captured 66 ships and was hunted by more than 20 Federal warships.

Shortly after the battle between CSS Alabama and USS Kearsarge, Edouard Manet painted the scene from newspaper accounts. The painting hangs in the Philadelphia Museum of Art, where I viewed it late last year. Another painting of Kearsarge is at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

On June 18, 1873, Susan B. Anthony was fined $100 for illegally voting in Rochester, New York. At the conclusion of her trial, the judge read a statement that, “The Fourteenth Amendment gives no right to a woman to vote, and the voting by Miss Anthony was in violation of the law,” and directed the jury to convict her. Anthony responded,

“Yes, your honor, I have many things to say; for in your ordered verdict of guilty, you have trampled underfoot every vital principle of our government,” Anthony said. “My natural rights, my civil rights, my political rights, my judicial rights, are all alike ignored. Robbed of the fundamental privilege of citizenship, I am degraded from the status of a citizen to that of a subject; and not only myself individually, but all of my sex, are, by your honor’s verdict, doomed to political subjection under this, so-called, form of government.”

The Southern Railway Company was organized on June 18, 1894 and through predecessor railroads traces its heritage to the nation’s first regularly-scheduled railroad service, The Best Friend of Charleston. Samuel Spencer, of Columbus, Georgia, was the first President of the Southern. In the 1980s, the Southern merged with Norfolk & Western Railway to form Norfolk Southern.

Jaws was released on June 20, 1975.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

The United States Supreme Court rejected a challenge to Obamacare, according to the Capitol Beat News Service via the Rome News Tribune.

The U.S. Supreme Court Thursday denied a bid by Georgia and 17 other Republican-led states to overturn the Affordable Care Act.

In a 7-2 ruling, the justices declared the two plaintiffs in the case had no legal standing to bring the suit because they could not show they had been harmed by the law.

“Our coalition felt strongly that the ACA was unconstitutional,” Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr said following the ruling. “While we are disappointed that the court declined to weigh in on the merits of the case, we will respect the court’s decision.”

Vice President Kamala Harris (D-CA) visits Atlanta today to promote COVID vaccination, according to the AJC.

After touching down at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, Harris plans to visit the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church in Sweet Auburn for a tour of a pop-up vaccination site at around noon. She’ll then head to Clark Atlanta University to deliver remarks at a vaccination mobilization event, slated for 1:40 p.m.

Later in the afternoon, Harris will participate in private conversation on voting rights with community leaders at CAU before departing Georgia around 6:15 p.m.

Georgia’s vaccination rate has lagged well below the national average in recent months. About 52.8% of adults have received at least one dose, compared to 64% nationwide, according to the CDC. Roughly 44.5% of adults in the state and 34.8% of all Georgians are fully vaccinated.

The current rate has some experts worried Georgia may never reach herd immunity via vaccination. That’s particularly troublesome after the state recently recorded its first cases of the delta variant of the coronavirus first seen in India. The variant is significantly more contagious than other strains and seems to carry a higher risk of hospitalization, researchers say.

Governor Brian Kemp named Robin Crittenden as the new Commissioner of the Department of Revenue, and made two other appointments, according to a press release.

Governor Brian Kemp announced the appointment of Robyn Crittenden to be the Commissioner of the Department of Revenue (DOR), Shawnzia Thomas to become Executive Director of the Georgia Technology Authority Board (GTA) and the state’s Chief Information Officer, and Jessica Simmons to be Deputy Chief Information Officer for Broadband and Special Projects at GTA.

“I am excited to appoint these three remarkable women to such important roles in state government,” said Gov. Kemp. “Each of them brings a wealth of knowledge and experience that will allow Georgia to remain a leader in combating wasteful spending, streamlining government, keeping Georgia the top state for business, and creating new opportunities for hardworking Georgians.”

Robyn Crittenden will become State Revenue Commissioner effective July 1, 2021. She will fill the role currently held by Interim Commissioner Frank O’Connell, who was appointed following the resignation of Commissioner David Curry on June 1. Crittenden will lead the Department of Revenue in its continued efforts to create a pro-jobs, pro-business environment. Commissioner Crittenden will also be the first African-American to lead the Georgia Department of Revenue.

The Georgia Technology Authority Board voted June 17th to appoint Shawnzia Thomas as its new Executive Director, making her the state’s new Chief Information Officer. Thomas will officially begin serving on July 1, 2021. She will begin the transition into this role on June 21. Thomas will fill the role vacated by Calvin Rhodes, who is retiring after 10 years as Executive Director and CIO. Thomas is the first African-American woman to hold the position of CIO.

Jessica Simmons will become Deputy Chief Information Officer for Broadband and Special Projects at the Georgia Technology Authority. Simmons will enter into her new role on July 15, 2021. Simmons will oversee broadband development and other projects as Georgia continues to invest in new infrastructure to bring opportunity to all citizens – no matter their zip code.

Robyn Crittenden most recently served as the Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Human Services (DHS). Gov. Kemp appointed Crittenden DHS Commissioner in January 2019. She served as DHS Commissioner from July 2015 until November 2018, until then-Gov. Nathan Deal appointed her as Georgia’s 28th Secretary of State. Crittenden completed Kemp’s unexpired term as Secretary of State and is the first African-American woman to serve as a statewide constitutional officer in Georgia. Prior to her tenure at DHS, Crittenden served as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the Georgia Student Finance Commission. She also served as General Counsel at Morehouse College, Executive Vice President and General Counsel at the Georgia Student Finance Commission and Assistant Vice Chancellor of Legal Affairs-Contracts for the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia. She also was an Assistant County Attorney in DeKalb County and an Associate at the law firm of Powell, Goldstein, Frazer & Murphy. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Yale University and her Juris Doctorate from the University of Michigan School of Law. Crittenden resides in Tucker, Georgia. She has one daughter.

Shawnzia Thomas has worked for the State of Georgia for over thirteen years, integrating technology in all sectors of state government to improve constituent services and better serve Georgians. Most recently, Thomas served as Assistant Deputy Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Human Services. She previously served as Executive Director of the Georgia Commission on Equal Opportunity and Director of the Georgia Secretary of State’s Corporations Division. Thomas, a native of Macon, Georgia, received her undergraduate degree from Middle Tennessee State University and Master’s in Public Administration from the University of West Georgia. She is a Commissioner on the Georgia Commission on Equal Opportunity’s Advisory Board and member of the Hospitality Ministry at Chapelhill Church in Atlanta.

Jessica Simmons most recently served as a Deputy Commissioner for the Georgia Department of Revenue overseeing the Legal Affairs and Tax Policy Division, the Department’s law enforcement divisions, and the Department’s communications and legislative programs. Simmons is a native of Marietta and holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Georgia. She began her career in public service in the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office. After working in Washington, D.C., Simmons returned to Georgia as the Assistant Director of the Georgia Elections Division and later served as Chief of Staff in the Secretary of State’s Office. Simmons and her husband, Matt, live with their daughter and son in Sandy Springs.

From the AJC:

The state’s revenue and technology agencies will be headed by Black women for the first time, Gov. Brian Kemp announced Thursday.

Crittenden has served as commissioner of the Georgia Department of Human Services, which runs several social service programs, and she served briefly as secretary of state after Kemp resigned that job following his win in the November 2018 gubernatorial election. She also was chief operating officer of the Georgia Student Finance Commission.

Governor Kemp spoke to Fox News Radio about the Atlanta crime wave:

“Well, listen, we are frustrated like the citizens are. I mean, I’ve literally been hearing about this every day for months, and it’s actually been going on for a very long time. You know, I ran on going after street gangs, having a gang task force in the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. So I knew these gang issues, crime issues were an issue three years ago.”

“The Atlanta papers made fun of me for that. And now they’re writing about violent crime in Atlanta every single day.”

“But about three little about two and a half months ago, I became so frustrated and so many people here were frustrated that I asked the colonel for the Georgia state patrol to come up with a plan where we could go after street racers that were terrorizing the city. Large crowds, a lot of violent crime. And we’ve been doing that for two and a half, about two months now, really covert operations. We’ve had GBI involved in that, the Department of Natural Resources. So we have game wardens on four wheelers so we can chase people through parks and chase motorcycles. We’ve got helicopters up in the air and we have a lot of our folks on the ground. The Atlanta Police Department is partnering with us on that. But they’re having to ride in our vehicles because they have no chase policy. It’s hard to go after street racers when you can’t chase them.”

“I mean, I made an announcement the other day that I’m willing to use, you know, millions of dollars out of the governor’s emergency fund to get more resources up here to try to help with the problem.”

“But listen, Atlanta Police Department, they have more officers than the entire state patrol. We have to monitor the whole state and the roadways in the state. So we cannot be a city’s police department, but we’ve got to do something. We are putting a lot of effort into this. I will tell you that the Georgia General Assembly with Speaker Rollston. Their committee is meeting to see what other issues we could do, tweaks to the law and other things. We just passed a really strict street racing bill so we can impound vehicles, suspend driver’s licenses and have stiffer penalties to go after these folks. But I mean, everything’s on the table for us to continue to to push the needle.”

Former Gwinnett County Commission Chair Charlotte Nash will receive the 2020 Citizen of the Year from the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

The Fulton County Board of Education placed a $1.2 billion dollar Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax referendum on the November 2, 2021 ballot, according to the AJC.

Fulton County voters will decide in November whether to extend a one-cent sales tax to pay for school building upgrades, technology and other projects.

The Fulton County Board of Education on Thursday unanimously agreed to ask voters to renew the Education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax for another five years.

The current sales tax expires June 30, 2022.

If renewed, officials estimate it will generate about $1.2 billion over five years to pay for renovations at dozens of schools, refurbished media centers, upgrades to high school athletic fields and new technology, among other items.

Earlier this month, the Atlanta school board similarly agreed to call for a November vote on the sales tax.

Atlanta Public Schools is located in both Fulton and DeKalb counties. The district is in line to receive an estimated $650 million if residents from both counties approve the tax extension.

The Brunswick News looks at how redistricting could affect their local legislative delegation.

“I would be very happy to keep my current district as is, but changes in population will probably require some change,” [State Rep. Buddy DeLoach, (R-167)] said. “It is likely that District 167 has more than the maximum population.”

In Georgia, lines will have to be reshaped to accommodate the nearly 10 percent population growth the state experienced over the past decade, much of it around Atlanta. Many rural areas lost population.

Part of the process includes holding community meetings around the state to collect public input. One is scheduled for Brunswick on July 26.

“I really don’t have any idea what this is going to amount to,” said state Sen. Sheila McNeill, R-Brunswick. “I want to make sure that we’ve heard from the public before I make any kind of promotion or decision. I’m also going to have to research the past and see what we’ve done in the past and how it impacted our communities.”

Georgia’s 1st Congressional District, represented by Rep. Buddy Carter, a Pooler Republican, also will likely undergo some tweaking. The district takes in 15 counties and parts of two others, Effingham and Lowndes.

Glynn, Camden and McIntosh counties, as well as most of the rest of Coastal Georgia, fall in his district.

“I’m looking forward to working with the General Assembly to ensure Georgia has the strongest possible representation in Congress,” Carter said.

From the Statesboro Herald:

Speaking to the Kiwanis Club of Statesboro on Thursday, [State Senator BIlly] Hickman, R-Statesboro, recapped the 2020 regular session and said that southern Georgia probably would lose one Senate seat during the redistricting session.

After saying that he ran on a promise of using his “experience and conservative values to put the good, hard-working folks of our district first, ahead of Atlanta,” he suggested that the interests of the metro area are fundamentally different.

“They’re a different crowd of people than we are, and I’m really concerned with the redistricting that we may lose a seat in South Georgia,” Hickman said. “Our district … the 4th Senatorial District, made up of six counties, I feel pretty good about, because we’ve got two growing counties, Bulloch County and Effingham County, both of them are growing.”

“So I feel like our redistricting is going to be pretty good for us,” he said.

In a follow-up interview, Hickman said he  has heard that one of the 56 Senate districts is expected to be shifted from the southern to the northern part of the state but that the significant population loss has occurred in southwestern, not southeastern, Georgia. Each district must have roughly the same population, so densely populated areas get more districts.

Georgia’s unemployment rate continues to lower, according to the Associated Press via AccessWDUN.

Georgia’s jobless rate continued to fall in May, dropping closer to where it was before the pandemic sent it soaring to an all-time high.

The state’s unemployment rate was 4.1% in May, down from 4.3% in April. That’s still above the 3.6% posted in March 2020, but well below the state’s record high of 12.5% recorded in April 2020, when many businesses shut down as the coronavirus spread.

Fewer people sought jobs in May, but the number of unemployed people fell to about 212,000, because the number of people reporting they have jobs fell more slowly. The labor force remains less than 1% below where it was before the pandemic.

About 130,000 people are still collecting regular state unemployment, while 104,000 people are collecting special federal unemployment assistance available to people who are self-employed, independent contractors, gig workers, or employees of churches and nonprofits. As of last week, another 100,000 or so were getting another 13 weeks of benefits paid from federal money that is paid out after the regular 26 weeks run out.

The Federal Aviation Administration released the Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed Spaceport Camden, according to The Brunswick News.

David Kyler, director of Center for a Sustainable Coast, expressed disappointment in the decision and predicted a legal challenge ahead.

“There’s going to be a lot of wrangling about this for years,” he said.

He predicted a rocket will never be launched from the site, even if the county wins a legal battle. Each launch will have to be approved by the FAA.

Construction won’t begin until the final Record of Decision, which will be released in mid to late July, has been completed and required permits and approvals have been granted.

Chatham County Commissioners expressed concern over a “clogged” justice system during a budget workshop, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Citing a report from District Attorney Shalena Cook Jones, Whitely said the county spends $5 million annually to house inmates who have spent more than 1,000 days in detention awaiting trial.

“There is a need for us to address the clogged-up criminal justice system. We are flushing the system and not pulling the clog out, and we’re expecting it to clear up,” Whitely said.

Jones has requested $280,000 to hire additional assistant district attorneys and expedite prosecutions. Whitely lobbied for granting the request “to get the ball rolling.” He pitched the idea of funding a study to find the best course of action.

“We don’t know what (a study) would cost. I’d have to go back and get the cost. It would be several hundred thousand dollars. And it would be process that would take more than a year,” County Manager Lee Smith said in response.

The Savannah-Chatham County Board of Education adopted a FY 2022 budget and millage rate, according to the Savannah Morning News.

The district will be working with funds from all federal, state, and local sources of just over $662 million.

The new millage rate of 18.131 mills contains a rollback and a reduction from last year’s rate of 18.881.

District 3 Representative Connie Hall took it a step further by tying the district’s financial footing to continued community support for the Education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (ESPLOST). “One of the reasons that we were able to take this leap of faith is because of the outstanding position with ESPLOST,” Hall added. “It will be most necessary for ESPLOST IV to be enacted for us to continue in this manner.”

ESPLOST IV will be on the Chatham County ballot in November. The school district budget is available on the district website at sccpss.com.

Tybee Island Fire Chief Matt Harrell has resigned, according to WTOC.

Oakwood homeowners may see higher property taxes due to rising home values, according to the Gainesville Times.

The city has announced a proposal to set the 2021 tax rate at 4.174 mills, same as it was in 2020. With 1 mill equal to $1 for each $1,000 in assessed property, a $250,000 home assessed at 40% of market value would be taxed at $417.40.

To keep revenues the same as they were in 2020, Oakwood would have to reduce its tax rate to 4.084 mills, said Carl Stephens, city finance director.

By not rolling back the tax rate, the city projects receiving an additional $59,482, he said.

Under state law, not rolling the rate back to a “revenue-neutral” level  is considered a tax increase, and three public hearings must be scheduled.

17
Jun

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

On June 17, 1759, Sir Francis Drake claimed California for England.

On June 17, 1775, British forces under General William Howe engaged American colonists at the Battle of Bunker Hill.

On June 17, some 2,200 British forces under the command of Major General William Howe (1729-1814) and Brigadier General Robert Pigot (1720-96) landed on the Charlestown Peninsula then marched to Breed’s Hill. As the British advanced in columns against the Americans, Prescott, in an effort to conserve the Americans’ limited supply of ammunition, reportedly told his men, “Don’t fire until you see the whites of their eyes!” When the Redcoats were within several dozen yards, the Americans let loose with a lethal barrage of musket fire, throwing the British into retreat.

After re-forming their lines, the British attacked again, with much the same result. Prescott’s men were now low on ammunition, though, and when the Redcoats went up the hill for a third time, they reached the redoubts and engaged the Americans in hand-to-hand combat. The outnumbered Americans were forced to retreat. However, by the end of the engagement, the Patriots’ gunfire had cut down some 1,000 enemy troops, with more than 200 killed and more than 800 wounded. More than 100 Americans perished, while more than 300 others were wounded.

A distant ancestor of mine, John Logue, fought with the Americans at Bunker Hill, though he was not yet an enlisted soldier.

President Andrew Johnson appointed John Johnson (no relation) provisional Governor of Georgia after the Civil War on June 17, 1865; John Johnson had opposed secession.

France announced its intention to surrender to Germany on June 17, 1940.

Five men were arrested for burglary of the Democratic National Committee offices at the Watergate office and apartment complex in Washington, DC on June 17, 1972.

The affair began with the arrest of five men for breaking and entering into the Democratic National Committee (DNC) headquarters at the Watergate complex on June 17, 1972. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) connected cash found on the burglars to a slush fund used by the Committee for the Re-Election of the President, the official organization of Nixon’s campaign.

In July 1973, as evidence mounted against the president’s staff, including testimony provided by former staff members in an investigation conducted by the Senate Watergate Committee, it was revealed that President Nixon had a tape-recording system in his offices and he had recorded many conversations.

After a protracted series of bitter court battles, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the president had to hand over the tapes to government investigators; he ultimately complied.

Recordings from these tapes implicated the president, revealing he had attempted to cover up the questionable goings-on that had taken place after the break-in.

Facing near-certain impeachment in the House of Representatives and equally certain conviction by the Senate, Nixon resigned the presidency on August 9, 1974. His successor, Gerald Ford, then issued a pardon to him on September 8, 1974.

Newton Leroy Gingrich was born on June 17, 1943 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Gingrich graduated from college at Emory University, where he founded the Emory College Republicans. Gingrich’s congressional papers are collected in the the Georgia’s Political Heritage Program at West Georgia College, where he taught before being elected to Congress. Also at West Georgia are the papers of former Congressmen Bob Barr, Mac Collins, and Pat Swindall, along with a near-perfect replica of Georgia Speaker Tom Murphy’s office.

A new historical marker in Culloden, Georgia, tells the story of Jo Ann Gibson Robinson, who as President of the Women’s Political Council, played a major role in planning and sustaining the Montgomery bus boycott, according to the Macon Telegraph.

“I think that people were fed up. They had reached the point that they knew there was no return — that they had to do it or die. And that’s what kept it going. It was the sheer spirit for freedom, for the feeling of being a man and a woman,” Robinson said during an interview for “America, They Loved You Madly” in 1979.

Robinson and her family were honored in Culloden on Wednesday with a historical marker near 3 Old Highway 341 detailing Robinson’s role in the Civil Rights Movement.

She became the president of the Women’s Political Council in 1950, and more than a year before the boycott she wrote a letter to the mayor of Montgomery asking for the desegregation of buses.

Although the boycott is known to have started right after Rosa Parks was arrested, Robinson said in the 1979 interview that the Women’s Political Council in Montgomery had been planning it for years.

After Parks was arrested, Robinson had tens of thousands of leaflets printed to let people know the boycott would start Dec. 5; she had her students at Alabama State College distribute them.

During the 13 months of the boycott, Robinson had her car windows broken and watched police pour acid on her car.

Robinson said in the interview that they held a meeting after the verdict to celebrate their victory.

“We had won self-respect… We felt that we were somebody, that somebody had to listen to us, that we had forced the white man to give what we knew was a part of our own citizenship,” she said. “If you have never had the feeling that this is not the other man’s country, and you are an alien in it, but that this is your country, too, then you don’t know what I’m talking about.

“But it is a hilarious feeling that just goes all over you, that makes you feel that America is a great country, and we’re going to do more to make it greater.”

The Ezekiel Harris House in Augusta was home to a Revolutionary hoax, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

Today we know the structure as the Ezekiel Harris House, which has stood close to Broad Street since it was a Cherokee trading route.

They say the house was built about 1797 by Ezekiel Harris, a tobacco merchant and businessman who among other things gave the Harrisburg neighborhood its name.

Tobacco salesmen, however, aren’t all that interesting, so sometime in the late 1800s, Augustans around Harrisburg started what became the neighborhood’s best urban legend – that the old wooden house was actually the famed “White House,” or Mackay trading post and the site of one of the American Revolution’s most barbaric atrocities.

It was where, the legend said, 13 Patriot prisoners – one for each colony – were hanged from an inside staircase.

But never let the truth get in the way of a good tale. And in 1938, it didn’t.

That’s when a city brochure of tourist sites featured today’s Harris House as the “The White House of the Revolution, or the Mackay House, built in 1750.” It also repeated the legend of the 13 hanging Patriots.

In the 1970s, the state of Georgia acquired the site and sent a young historian named Martha Norwood to examine the house for details in advance of the upcoming 1976 bicentennial. Norwood – evaluating the building’s construction techniques, including the types of nails used – quickly discovered the truth. She told her superiors the house was not built during the Revolutionary War years, but years later. They brought in an expert from Williamsburg, Va., who agreed. A public announcement was made.

Augusta’s esteemed historian Ed Cashin agreed, admitting that, yes, a dozen or so Patriots were probably executed, but that was because they had violated previous paroles involving battles with the British. But it wasn’t at the Harris House.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Georgia’s legislative redistricting committees set a schedule for public hearings, according to the Capitol Beat News Service via the Rome News Tribune:Continue Reading..

16
Jun

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

On June 16, 1736, General James Oglethorpe arrived in England with Tomochichi, the Yamacraw Indian chief, Tomochichi’s wife and several other members of the tribe on a trip to meet the Georgia Trustees and King George II.

On June 16, 1858, Abraham Lincoln addressed the Illiniois Republican Convention as a candidate for U.S. Senate and warned that “a house divided against itself cannot stand.”

The Atlanta Constitution was first published on June 16, 1868.

Bob Dylan recorded “Like a Rolling Stone” on June 16, 1965.

The Monterey Pop Festival opened at the Monterey Fairgrounds on June 16, 1967, often considered one of the opening events of the “Summer of Love.” Among the artists playing the Festival were the Jefferson Airplane, The Who, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, and Macon-born Otis Redding.

Six Flags Over Georgia opened on June 16, 1967.

Atlanta Braves player Otis Nixon tied the modern record for steals in one game with six stolen bases agains the Montreal Expos on June 16, 1991.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Centerville City Council Post 1 goes to a runoff election, according to 13WMAZ.Continue Reading..

15
Jun

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for June 15, 2021

Shakira is a young female Labrador Retriever mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Cobb County Animal Shelter in Marietta, GA.

Adorable, small and cute, sweet and loving, that’s the only way to describe Shakira, though we guess you’d have to add young and beautiful, with a shiny black coat that must be the envy of other Labs. Shakira really is a sweetheart who came into the shelter on June 6 as a lost dog. Her family did not come to find her, so she’s looking for a new family to love. She is about 10 months old and weighs just 47 pounds; she knows “sit” and possibly other commands. Come meet her in Run 48 using ID#629681.

Esther is a female German Shepherd dog who is available for adoption from the Cobb County Animal Shelter in Marietta, GA.

Esther has quite the personality, she prances when she walks as if she knows all eyes will be on her. She’s very sweet and will make some family a really, really good dog. Esther came into the shelter on June 7 and her family did not come to find her. She is about 3 years old and weighs 55 pounds. She has not been spayed yet, but the vet will see to that soon. Come meet her in Run 875 using ID#629659.

Loki is a young male Terrier mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Cobb County Animal Shelter in Marietta, GA.

Loki and Sarabi were brought to the shelter on May 2 by their family, after living in the family’s backyard with their doggie parents. The girls haven’t been socialized but they are young enough to warm up quickly to a patient and loving family. They weigh 34 pounds and likely will be medium-sized dogs when fully grown. Come meet Loki and her sister Sarabi in Run 57; use ID#628740 for Loki anfd ID#628738 for Sarabi.