Category: Georgia Politics

11
Oct

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

Casimir Pulaski, a Polish aristocrat who fought with the colonists in the American Revolution, died in Savannah on October 11, 1779.

Former Georgia Governor and President of the United States Jimmy Carter was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on October 11, 2002.

Bobby Cox managed his last game in Game Four of the NLDS on October 11, 2010.

President Biden signed a proclamation recognizing October 11 as “General Pulaski Memorial Day,” according to WTOC.

The proclamation was made in honor of Brigadier General Casimir Pulaski, a Polish American hero of the American Revolution.

General Casimir Pulaski is celebrated across the nation in schools, landmarks, and parks such as the Fort Pulaski National Monument. It was established as a national monument in October of 1924.

In the proclamation released by the White House, saying the day is to celebrate his life and the “values shared by the United States and Poland, which underpin the enduring bond of friendship between our countries.”

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Early Voting begins Tuesday in much of Georgia. From WSAV:Continue Reading..

8
Oct

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

Saturday is Leif Erikson Day, celebrating the Norse explorer being the first European to visit North America. From Mental Floss:

While the actual date of Leif Erikson Day doesn’t have anything personally to do with Leif, it was picked for the holiday because it’s the anniversary of the day that the ship Restauration arrived in New York from Stavanger, Norway, back in 1825. The arrival of the Restauration marked the beginning of organized immigration from Scandinavia to the USA. The holiday was first recognized by Wisconsin in 1930, eventually becoming a nationally observed holiday in 1964.

The United States Naval Academy opened in Annapolis, Maryland on October 10, 1845.

The Chicago Fire began on October 8, 1871. A completely different kind of Chicago Fire is underway now.

On October 8, 1895, the Liberty Bell arrived in Atlanta for the Cotton States Exposition.

The famously–cracked 2,000 pound pealer left Philadelphia on seven trips between 1885 and 1915. Each time it came home with more cracks. It turned out the men hired to guard the Bell were taking liberties, literally: chipping off pieces and selling them as souvenirs.

Cheering crowds greeted the Bell in Atlanta. A two–mile parade took it to Piedmont Park, where 50,000 people lined up to see it.

Liberty Bell in Atlanta

On October 9, 1963, the Board of Regents approved a new junior college in Cobb County that is today Kennesaw State University. The next year, Cobb County voters approved a bond referendum to fund construction.

Polling released on October 8, 1976 indicated that Democrat Jimmy Carter won the second debate against President Gerald Ford by a 50-27 margin.

Democrat Jimmy Carter challenged President Gerald Ford to make his income tax returns public on October 9, 1976.

On October 10 1976, a poll by Time magazine showed Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter with a 2-1 electoral vote margin.

Carter led in 21 states and the District of Columbia, with 273 electoral votes (three more than necessary to win), while President Ford led in 17 states with 113 electoral votes.

The online Georgia archives at UGA has a collection of campaign materials, including a 1976 Carter for President brochure.

On October 10, 1980, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Historic Site was established in Atlanta.

On October 8, 1981, former Presidents Nixon, Ford, and Carter visited with President Ronald Reagan at the White House before heading to Egypt to represent the United States at the funeral of assassinated Egyptian President Anwar Sadat.

Four Presidents

Long-time Atlanta Braves pitcher Phil Niekro won his 300th game on October 8, 1984, though he wore Yankees pinstripes for that game.

United States Senator Sam Nunn announced on October 9, 1995 that he would not run for reelection. From CNN’s contemporary story:

“I know in my heart it is time to follow a new course,” Nunn told reporters gathered in the Georgia State Capitol. He said his decision followed “a lot of thought and prayer” and he expressed enthusiasm about meaningful days ahead in the private sector.

“Today I look forward to more freedom, to more flexibility,” he said, adding he planned to spend time with his family, to write, and “devote a substantial amount of time” to public policy and public service. He said he has no immediate plans for a presidential bid.

Nunn hailed America as “the greatest country in the world,” but cited problems that need attention, including education concerns, illegitimate children, and widespread violence and drugs. He expressed optimism on such items as the strong military and entitlement reform.

The Chicago Tribune reported that Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich said of Sam Nunn’s retirement,

“For those who listened carefully, it is clear that the Democratic Party is not the vehicle for the values outlined by Sen. Nunn.”

Nolan Waters of Knight-Ridder wrote of the announcement,

Nunn’s departure is a watershed.

“Nunn is the last of the great moderate Southern Democrats. This creates a huge hole for the party,” said Merle Black, a specialist on Southern politics at Emory University in Atlanta.

Nunn, like President Clinton, helped organize a group of moderate Democrats, the Democratic Leadership Council, in an attempt to move the party rightward after the 1984 landslide re-election of President Reagan.

“He has been fighting the liberal wing of his party for over two decades,” Black said. “It’s been a losing battle.”

In place of Nunn, the state’s most prominent politician is becoming House Speaker Newt Gingrich – whose futuristic, activist style of conservatism seems radical along-side Nunn’s traditionalism.

The first C-5A airplane arrived at Robins Air Force Base on October 8, 1997.

C-5 at Robins

On October 8, 1998, the United States House of Representatives voted 258-176 to authorize an impeachment inquiry against President Bill Clinton.

President George W. Bush issued an Executive Order establishing the Department of Homeland Security on October 8, 2001.

On October 10, 2015, Donald Trump made his first campaign stop in Georgia.

Trump Atlanta 1

A fundraiser is being held to help preserve the Avenue of Oaks at the Wormsloe State Historic Site in Chatham County, according to WTOC.

It is the number one most visited historic site in the state of Georgia and a big part of Wormsloe’s charm is the iconic trees.

There are 400 trees on the Avenue of Oaks, but more than 70 of them are dead. Thursday night students from Savannah Country Day and the Rotary Club of Savannah held a pavilion party to help raise funds to replace the trees.

“These trees to me represent more to me than a postcard moment. More my childhood in Savannah and growing up taking filed trips to Wormsloe and being able to learn about the history of our city as well as our country all in one place is very important to me,” said Charlton Strong, President of Savannah Country Day Interact Club.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Can a local government require masks for prospective Advance (In-Person) voters in order to exercise their right as American citizen? From WSB-TV:

Polling locations across Fulton County will require poll workers to wear masks on the job.

When it comes to voters, state law prevents counties from forcing those casting their ballots to wear masks. The lack of a mask mandate has some people concerned.

“Sooner or later somebody’s going to get sick and I don’t want to take that chance,” a Canton resident said.

Another Cherokee County resident, who also didn’t want to be identified, said she had the same concern.

“We went in and only half the people were wearing masks,” she said. “We’re all in line. There’s no social distancing whatsoever. I take a glance around the room and notice at least 50 percent don’t have their masks on.”

Cherokee County provided the following statement when asked about these concerns:

“We are providing masks and face shields to poll workers choosing to wear them. By law, we are not allowed to require voters to wear masks to vote.”

The governor’s executive order prohibits requiring voters to wear masks because a spokeswoman told us they don’t want anyone disenfranchised for showing up without one.

DeKalb County says the following about masks for in-person advance voting:

Restrooms are available, if needed, at many of our Advance Voting locations. Please be sure to wear a mask and practice social distancing at all times. We encourage you to be a good neighbor while waiting in line.

What to bring with you for in-person voting:

• A valid ID, such as a driver’s license, passport, or voter identification card
• A mask to help ensure your safety and the safety of the poll workers and voters around you.
• Chair, water, and snacks if the location has a long wait line
• Your absentee ballot if you are wanting to vote in-person instead. If you do not have your absentee ballot, you will need to sign an affidavit stating that you are instead casting your ballot in-person.

DeKalb County does not say that a mask is required, but it appears that they are implying it. Georgia law requires photo ID to vote in person:

What IDs are acceptable?
Any valid state or federal government issued photo ID, including a free ID Card issued by your county registrar’s office or the Georgia Department of Driver Services (DDS)

• A Georgia Driver’s License, even if expired
• Valid employee photo ID from any branch, department, agency, or entity of the U.S. Government, Georgia, or any county, municipality, board, authority or other entity of this state
• Valid U.S. passport ID
• Valid U.S. military photo ID
• Valid tribal photo ID
• Bring one of these six forms of identification to vote.

The DeKalb Elections offices doesn’t say a mask is required, but it puts it at the same level as a valid ID, which is required. It’s unclear what will happen if you try to vote in person without a mask, but I suspect they’ll offer you one. I won’t let a minor inconvenience prevent me from voting, so I’ll have a mask.

I’m not sure how the presence or absence of a mask mandate will affect voter turnout, but I think it will.

The Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council of Georgia is investigating Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit District Attorney Mark Jones for Facebook posts, according to the Ledger-Enquirer.

“This afternoon I was made aware of his posts on Facebook. I have directed PAC Legal Counsel to research the matter in order to determine whether such statements violate the intent of the Governor’s Order of Suspension,” said Pete Skandalakis, the executive director of the Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council of Georgia. “At this time, I have no further comments to make.”

The agency doesn’t have the authority to discipline Jones, and would offer its findings as advice on his actions. The Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council of Georgia provides important services to elected and appointed prosecutors statewide, including legal research assistance and professional responsibility guidance.

In one post, the chief prosecutor for the six-county Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit that includes Columbus said Kemp “wants the DA seat but it doesn’t belong to him. It belongs to the people.”

Other comments on the post echo similar claims previously made by Jones and his supporters over the last several months: the city’s “good-ole boy network” never wanted him to be elected, and there’s been a concerted effort to remove him from office.

“They never wanted me to be DA,” Jones wrote in response to a comment. “I put the people first, and they couldn’t stand that. So they whip up some charges and basically call me a B word.”

And The Man dropped another load on the head of elected District Attorney Mark Jones. From the Ledger-Enquirer:

Fresh court filings in the felony misconduct case against suspended Columbus District Attorney Mark Jones delve into details of the evidence against him.

The motions filed this week by Deputy Attorney General John Fowler lay out allegations that Jones tried to influence the testimony of a homicide detective and tried to persuade the nephew of a homicide victim to drop a victims rights complaint.

In both cases, Jones’ comments were recorded, including about 10 minutes on police Cpl. Sherman Hayes’ body camera, as Jones confronted the officer outside a downtown bar, and 32 minutes of audio that Chris Bailey recorded over the phone as he and Jones discussed the death of Bailey’s uncle Danny Jones.

Fowler in a separate motion cited Jones’ conduct in a cold-case murder as evidence that he “willfully disregards law and ethics to win murder cases at any cost.”

At some point, all the piling on to Mark Jones seems to reinforce the statements he’s made about the “good ole boy network” not wanting him to be DA. And his response has been almost-Trumpian. It’s an ongoing saga that will likely get more and more interesting.

The Georgia Bankers Association criticized plans by the Biden Administration to require greater disclosure of client information, according to The Brunswick News.

Biden’s new rule would require deposits or withdrawals totaling more than $600 annually of all business and personal accounts to be reported to the Internal Revenue Service.

Joe Brannen, president & CEO of the Georgia Bankers Association, said it would impact every working Georgian and every business.

In a statements released jointly by the bankers association and Georgia Chamber of Commerce Thursday, Brannen said it would be an infringement on personal and business privacy without any grounds for suspecting tax fraud.

“This wrongheaded proposal violates the privacy of almost every American in the name of catching wealthy tax cheats,” Brannen said. “Consumers, small business owners and families should rightly be concerned that their personal financial information will be turned over to the IRS with no assurance their data will be protected from cyber criminals or restricted to this one idea.”

It would create a massive increase in regulatory burden and cost for Georgia’s banks, Brannen said.

The Georgia Bankers Association is not alone in its opposition. Joining it in a joint public announcement this week was the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, which also went on record Thursday as objecting to the Biden proposal.

Chris Clark, president and CEO of the Georgia Chamber, called it a burden.

“This blatant overreach by government would place an incredible burden on our state’s banking institutions and the small businesses that make up 99% of Georgia’s business community,” Clark said. “It undermines the privacy of everyday Georgians and simply outweighs any hypothetical, unproven gains.”

Gov. Brian Kemp also weighed in on the issue Thursday.

“This ridiculous power grab by the Biden Administration is only their latest attempt to hurt businesses and undermine the constitutional rights of hardworking Georgians,” Kemp said. “There is absolutely no reason for the federal government to have the ability to monitor nearly every checking account in the country. This is a reckless invasion of privacy and a gut punch to community banks, small businesses, and large banking institutions alike.”

Cutting federal unemployment benefits in Georgia appears to have not had the intended effect, according to the AJC.

Gov. Brian Kemp eliminated federal unemployment benefits in June, arguing the move would push many people back into jobs and kindle rapid hiring.

Since then, job growth has slowed while hundreds of thousands of job openings continue to go begging.

Moreover, Georgia didn’t add more jobs in July and August than states that continued to disburse the benefits through Labor Day, according to an analysis by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Economists say other factors — child care needs, fear of the coronavirus, a desire to change careers — are still keeping many workers on the sidelines.

“It was not like turning the faucet on,” said William Adams, senior economist with PNC Financial Services. “There are other factors holding back job growth.”

The Georgia film industry may be impacted by a strike, according to WTOC.

Locally, four TV and film productions are currently getting permits from the City of Savannah. That’s according to Savannah’s Office of Special Events, Film & Tourism.

Those productions are The Girl from Plainville, The Menu, The Accursed and Paradise City. The city says all of these productions have some workers part of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Union.

The film industry in Savannah and across the state generate big bucks. This summer, the Georgia Department of Economic Development announced the 2021 fiscal year the film and tv industry spent 4-billion dollars on productions in the Peach State.

[Savannah Film Alliance founder Charles] Bowen points out most of what films in Savannah are not major studio productions, rather, independent films shows.

More money, more shots. This lesson in basic economics brought to you by local governments. DeKalb County got more takers for the COVID vaccine by offering more money than another local government, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

So many people showed up at a COVID-19 vaccination event Saturday in DeKalb County that some were turned away, DeKalb CEO Michael Thurmond said.

Like Augusta, DeKalb is offering $100 gift cards for COVID-19 vaccination, but there are important differences between the two that could explain why DeKalb’s events are better attended than Augusta’s. Most notably, Thurmond said, is that DeKalb is offering $100 per shot while Augusta is offering $100 for full vaccination, which for most people will be two shots, and could lead to some confusion or lack of interest.

“I think that undercuts your effectiveness,” Thurmond said. “This is my opinion. The key is to get a shot, to get a shot in the arm.”

A big advantage DeKalb has had is the ability to have recognized and trusted people serve as spokespeople for its events, with former NBA star Dikembe Mutombo at one event and actor/comedian Chris Tucker at the most recent one.

“The messenger is so important,” Thurmond said. “You need someone that is trusted.”

U.S. Senator Jon Ossoff (D-Atlanta) said he will ask federal help in addressing affordable housing in Columbus, according to WTVM.

Senator Ossoff said there is a shortage of nearly 200,000 affordable housing units in the state of Georgia. Two Biden Administration Housing and Urban Development officials agreed there needs to be a significant investment to create affordable housing.

State House Majority Whip Rep. Matt Hatchett (R-Dublin) announced his team of deputy whips, according to The Brunswick News.

Rep. Buddy DeLoach, R-Townsend, will continue to serve on the team during the 2022 legislative session. The General Assembly will reconvene in January.

In naming his team, House Majority Whip Matt Hatchett, R-Dublin, announced that Rep. Rob Leverett, R-Elberton, will serve as Chief Deputy Whip.

“I am excited and ready to get to work with this Whip team to advance our caucus’ conservative policies,” Hatchett said. “This is a proven group of leaders in the Georgia House of Representatives who work tirelessly on behalf of their constituents and our state.”

Other Republican House members on the team are Reps. John LaHood of Valdosta, Mark Newton of Augusta, Vance Smith of Pine Mountain, Stan Gunter of Blairsville, Matthew Gambill of Cartersville, Houston Gaines of Athens, Noel Williams of Cordele, Ginny Ehrhart of Marietta and Dale Washburn of Macon.

The General Assembly also reconvenes November 3, 2021 for a Special Session.

State Rep. Katie Dempsey (R-Rome) received an award from the Georgia Inclusive Post-Secondary Education Consortium for her work with Georgians who have developmental disabilities, according to the Rome News Tribune.

Former United States Attorney for the Norther District of Georgia Bjay Pak spoke about pressure to resign in January 2020, according to the AJC.

Then-President Donald Trump’s unhappiness with Pak has long been reported as the reason why he stepped down Jan. 4, but transcripts released Thursday mark the first time he described publicly how it all unfolded.

Pak said he wrote his resignation letter after a late-night phone call with Richard Donoghue, who was serving as the acting deputy U.S. attorney general.

“That’s when Mr. Donoghue relayed to me that the President was very unhappy and that he wanted to fire me, that he believed that I was a Never Trumper,” Pak told lawmakers and their attorneys Aug. 11, according to the transcript. “And Mr. Donoghue told me that he had told Mr. Trump that he thought that was incorrect, and that the President did not care but wanted me out of that spot.”

The transcript was included as part of a report from the Judiciary Committee, which spent eight months investigating how Trump and his allies attempted to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. A House select committee has a similar investigation underway, and its scope also includes the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.

Candidates for Garden City Council District 5 say that impacts from the port are a major issue, according to the Savannah Morning News.

As the Nov. 2 municipal elections draws near, issues about livability, driven in large part by the the city’s proximity to the South Atlantic region’s busiest railway, dictate who residents want to see in charge of their local government.

Citizens of District 5, which sits closest to the ports, will choose between four candidates this year: incumbent Kim Tice and challengers Corey Foreman, Todd Payne and Chris Figiel.

A Garden City at-large seat is also up with Donna Williams facing previous council member Bruce Campbell. The District 1 seat, currently occupied by Marcia Daniel, is uncontested.

Issues of traffic, infrastructure and essential resources are Garden City residents’ top concerns.

13WMAZ profiles the candidates for Warner Robins City Council District 5.

Savannah-Chatham public schools are seeing lower COVID numbers, according to WTOC.

The latest numbers show 0.24 percent of students tested positive for COVID, which is down from 1 percent of students one month ago. Teachers testing positive was at 0.16 percent compared to 1.29 percent one month ago.

Quarantines of students was cut in half over the last month. The most recent data shows 3.31 percent of students were quarantined compared to 6.83 percent the first week of September. The school district attributes the decline to everyone following the rules and proper protocol now that they are familiar with the system.

Less than two months ago, Savannah-Chatham Schools had 352 COVID cases among students in just one week, plus another 44 among staff members. At that time, more than 4,200 students and staffers were in quarantine.

Last week, only 88 students and nine staffers tested positive, with slightly more than 1,200 in quarantine. This data includes charter schools as well.

The Savannah-Chatham County Board of Education voted to pay off bus leases early, according to the Savannah Morning News.

The Savannah Chatham County Public School System unanimously passed a motion during Wednesday’s board meeting that will free the district of all of its remaining debt. About $6.6 million will go towards paying off capital leases on bus purchases, an item that wasn’t expected to zero out until 2026.

“Overall, it reduces the tax burden on citizens,” said district 6 board member David A. Bringman. “This past year we were able to lower our taxes and still pay off all of our debt.”

Bulloch County public schools will educate students on human trafficking, according to the Statesboro Herald.

The Bulloch County Schools district has announced that its high schools and middle schools will begin teaching state-mandated, single-day human trafficking awareness lessons this fall.

So, the school district will provide parents and guardians an opportunity to review the lessons before instruction begins. A review session is scheduled for 5-7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 11, in the cafeteria of Southeast Bulloch High School. Families are asked to make an appointment online at https://tinyurl.com/BChumantraffickreview if they plan to attend, or to contact Debbie Sarratt at (912) 212-8566 to schedule an individual appointment for a review.

Georgia House Bill 287, signed into law April 27 by Gov. Brian Kemp, mandates the instruction for all children in sixth through 12th grades.

Sea turtles had a productive nesting season on Tybee Island, according to WTOC.

On Monday, turtle season came to an end here on Tybee. Volunteers with the Sea Turtle Project say it was a longer season than usual due to the rain, but even with a bit of a delay the season ended on a high note.

For the last five months there were turtle nests spread all along Tybee’s five miles of beach. This year there were 19 nests and all of them hatched.

Tammy Smith, the Tybee Island Sea Turtle Project coordinator, says about 2,000 babies safely emerged from their nests. Smith says she’s very pleased with the season and all the hard work the volunteers put in to keep the turtles safe.

Smith says, statewide, there were about 2,500 nests this year.

7
Oct

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for October 7, 2021

King George, III issued the Proclamation of 1763 on October 7, 1763.

With respect to Georgia’s official boundaries, the proclamation expanded Georgia’s southern boundary by giving the colony all lands between the Altamaha and St. Marys rivers. Previously, the Altamaha had served as Georgia’s southern boundary.

So, the impact of the Proclamation of 1763 was to set Georgia’s official southern boundary as the St. Marys River from its mouth to the headwaters, then north to the Altamaha River, then north to the headwaters of that river, and then westward to the Mississippi River. Georgia’s northern boundary was the Savannah River from its mouth to its headwaters.

GeorgiaBoundaries1763

Patriot militia defeated Loyalists at the Battle of King’s Mountain in North Carolina, near the South Carolina border on October 7, 1780.

On October 7, 1916, Georgia Tech beat Cumberland College in the most-one-sided college football game in history, by a score of 222-0.

The Engineers led 63–0 after the first quarter and 126–0 at halftime. Tech added 54 more points in the third quarter and 42 in the final period.

Tech Cumberland Scoreboard Tech Cumberland Ball

Recently, a Georgia Tech alumnus paid $44,388 for the game ball with the intention of donating it to the trade school.

The Democratic Republic of Germany (East Germany) was created by the Soviets on October 7, 1949.

Democrat John F. Kennedy and Republican Vice President Richard Nixon met in the second televised Presidential debate on October 7, 1960.

President Richard Nixon proposed a structure for peace and eventual withdrawal of American forces from Vietnam on October 7, 1970.

President George W. Bush (43) announced military action in Afghanistan on October 7, 2001.

In a televised address that evening, Bush informed the American public that “carefully targeted actions” were being carried out to crush the military capability of al-Qaida and the Taliban, with help from British, Canadian, Australian, German and French troops. An additional 40 nations around the world provided intelligence, as well as bases from which the operations were conducted.

Bush touted the multinational effort as proof that America, in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, was “supported by the collective will of the world.” He also warned that the war in Afghanistan would likely be only the first front in a long struggle against terrorism. He vowed to continue to take what he called the “war on terror” to those countries that sponsored, harbored or trained terrorists.

Arnold Schwarzenegger was elected Governor of California on October 7, 2003.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Early voting for local elections begins Tuesday, October 12 in many municipalities across Georgia. From the Statesboro Herald:

Sixteen days of early voting opportunity begin Tuesday in city elections across Georgia and will include two Saturdays, as required under the state’s voting law changes enacted earlier this year as Senate Bill 202.

Locally, the elections include mayoral races in Statesboro and Register; referendums, also in both Statesboro and Register, on whether to allow liquor stores in their city limits; two separate referendum questions in Brooklet on whether to allow stores to sell alcoholic beverages on Sunday or allow restaurants to serve liquor-based drinks; and races for council seats in all four towns, including Portal.

While the new law expands Saturday voting, it has shortened the timeline for voters to apply for absentee ballots and for election officials to mail these out.

Previously, Georgia voters could apply to be sent an absentee ballot as much as 180 days before an election. The new law reduced that lead time to 78 days for this election, Jones noted.

In previous election cycles, the mailing out of absentee ballots office could continue through the Friday before the Tuesday traditional Election Day. That Friday remains the last day for in-person early voting, but Senate Bill 202 moved the deadline for mailing out ballots to a week earlier.

“So the last day that our office can mail out an absentee ballot for an eligible voter, if their application has been received, is going to be October 22,” Jones said. “So voters won’t have that last week that they previously would have had to continue to submit those requests.”

Voters whose absentee ballot request is received after that date will be sent a notice that the request is denied, and they can still vote early in person until Oct. 22 or at their assigned precinct Nov. 2, she said.

Governor Brian Kemp joined other GOP Governors at the Southern Border in Texas to urge Biden Administration action on immigration, according to 11Alive.

Gov. Kemp spent the morning with fellow governors in McAllen, Texas, touring the southern border and talking about immigration policies.

During the governor’s trip, he stopped to visit Georgia Guard Members currently assisting with U.S. southern border patrol.

In a tweet, Gov. Kemp wrote, “These dedicated men and women are doing everything from vehicle fleet maintenance to providing intelligence support. Great job!”

Gov. Kemp said he’s joining several colleagues “to identify 10 policy proposals that the Biden Administration could enact today to secure our nation’s border.”

From Fox5Atlanta:

The announcement came a little more than two weeks after 26 Republican governors signed on to a letter asking President Biden to meet with them about the situation at the order.

“It’s been 16 days since we sent the President the letter and we still haven’t heard anything back,” said Gov. Doug Ducey, R-Arizona.

Data from U.S. Customs and Border Protection showed from October 2020 through August 2021, they reported 1,741,956 “enforcement actions.” That is up from 646,822 from October 2019 through September 2020.

Idaho Governor Brad Little (R) joined the other Governors in Texas, and while he was gone, Lieutenant Governor Janice McGeachin swiped his pen and stamp and issued an Executive Order of her own, according to the Washington Post.

As acting governor, Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin (R) issued an executive order Tuesday afternoon banning state officials from requiring covid-19 “vaccine passports” from new or current employees. Little quickly promised to undo McGeachin’s order as soon as he returned from touring the U.S.-Mexico border with a group of fellow Republican governors.

This is the second time the state’s top two officials have battled after Little left the state and McGeachin seized the opportunity to issue an executive order in his absence. While Little attended a Republican governors’ conference in Nashville in May, McGeachin banned local governments from issuing mask mandates. Little, saying he wanted those local governments to have control over their communities, rescinded her order when he returned the next day.

Idaho’s constitution requires the lieutenant governor to take over when the governor is out of state. The top two elected leaders run for office separately, not on a joint ticket.

This week, Little is in Texas with almost a dozen other Republican governors to discuss concerns about how the Biden administration is handling border issues. The trip again temporarily elevated McGeachin to power. McGeachin’s most recent executive order expands on one Little signed in April that banned state officials from requiring proof of vaccination from constituents trying to access government services or buildings. McGeachin’s order also prohibits them from requesting people show they’ve tested negative for the coronavirus, and it prevents state officials from requiring employees’ immunization proof.

“I will continue to fight for your individual Liberty!” McGeachin wrote on Facebook Tuesday evening.

Four minutes after McGeachin announced the order on social media, Little fired back, saying he had not authorized her to act on his behalf and promising he would be “rescinding and reversing any actions taken by the Lt. Governor when I return.”

Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit Chief Assistant District Attorney Sheneka Terry was sworn in as acting District Attorney after elected DA Mark “Down by Law” Jones was suspended, according to WTVM.

Terry becomes the first African American to assume the duties of district attorney in Muscogee County.

From the Ledger-Enquirer:

The six-county judicial circuit based in Columbus has its first Black woman leading the district attorney’s office as Sheneka Jones Terry was sworn in Wednesday as acting DA.

Terry had been on maternity leave since July 21, but cut that short Tuesday to return to Columbus from Mississippi, where her family lives, to take charge of the DA’s office. Judge Gil McBride, chief judge of the Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit, swore her in Wednesday morning.

Terry vowed to get the office back on track, filling seven vacancies among 29 staff attorneys and prioritizing murder cases.

“Right now, I think our focus should be on the community,” she said after the ceremony in Judge McBride’s Government Center courtroom. “As we’re all aware, we’ve had a lot of homicides this year, so I don’t think we have time to focus on anything else, except assisting the community in resolving the murder cases, and making sure that people get their day in court.”

Mark Jones says “put up or shut up,” demanding a speedy trial. From the Ledger-Enquirer:

Facing felony charges alleging misconduct in office, suspended Columbus district attorney Mark Jones filed motions this week asking for a hearing to question the witnesses against him and for a Nov. 8 trial date.

Jones argued his suspension violates the will of the voters who elected him to office last year, so his case should be resolved as soon as possible.

“Every day that the public is deprived of their duly elected district attorney is a crime against democracy and the will of the people,” he wrote.

The Georgia Attorney General’s office is handling his prosecution, and the case has been assigned to Superior Court Judge Katherine Lumsden of the Houston Judicial Circuit. Jones so far is acting as his own defense attorney.

And he’s charged with bribing two prosecutors, Kim Schwartz and Sheneka Terry, by offering each a $1,000 bonus for convictions in murder cases. Terry, who was Jones’ chief assistant district attorney, was sworn in as acting district attorney Wednesday, and still faces the prospect of testifying against her former boss.

If Jones is acquitted at trial, he may return to office. If he is convicted, the governor may name a replacement to serve the rest of Jones’ term, which ends in 2024.

I have to wonder about that bribery charge. Is it not legal to offer a subordinate prosecutor a performance-based bonus? I welcome anyone’s knowledge on this. I also wonder if the promotion of one of his accusers to the big office doesn’t create a conflict of interest that would become an issue at trial. All the hours I’ve spent watching “Law & Order” didn’t prepare me for this.

An investigation into allegations against Hall County Tax Commissioner Darla Eden suggest partying too hard might be to blame, according to the Gainesville Times.

A physical altercation broke out after dinner in a hotel lobby between Hall County Tax Commissioner Darla Eden and a subordinate.

As the argument escalated, Eden took Property Tax Supervisor Nicole Griffin’s cellphone, pulled her hair, berated and publicly humiliated the woman at the 2021 annual tax commissioner’s conference in May at the Hyatt Place in Athens, according to an outside investigation into her actions that concluded she broke Hall County’s code of conduct.

“Griffin began to cry, and Eden called her a ‘crybaby,’ mimicking her crying (mocking her) with her balled up fists rubbing her eyes,” the investigation states.

She accused Griffin, 33, of excess drinking and bad behavior, but according to the investigation, it was Eden, 53, who made a scene. Earlier at the conference, Eden ate a cookie out of the mouth of a male tax commissioner from another Georgia county during a vendor hospitality event and did alcohol-fueled cartwheels on the dance floor as the event ended.

The Georgia Department of Labor spent more than $1 million dollars providing meals for employees during COVID, according to the AJC.

A state audit obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution found labor department employees received a daily free meal beginning in March 2020 and continuing for more than a year, violating state purchasing rules. Until it was discontinued this summer, the pandemic-long feast cost taxpayers more than $1.1 million in state and federal money, much of which was earmarked for unemployment benefits.

In an interview on Tuesday, Commissioner Mark Butler strongly criticized the findings, saying he received permission to provide the free meals from Alex Atwood, head of the state Department of Administrative Services (DOAS), which oversees state spending.

Allowing employees to stay on the job helped them process more unemployment claims during the pandemic than the office had in the past 10 years, he said.

“We squeezed every single bit of work we could get in,” Butler added. “I’ll stand up for our folks here. I’m going to take care of them because they were taking care of Georgia.”

The free meal program began in the worst of the COVID-19 crisis, arguably when restaurant closings made lunch offerings for workers scarce. But it continued long after Gov. Brian Kemp declared the state “open for business,” with the department ordering in everything from fast food meals to catered lunches by coveted names like Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q and Proof of the Pudding.

Northlake Mall will find new life as parts are rebuilt as offices for Emory Healthcare, the largest employer in Metro Atlanta. From the AJC:

Most of the mall’s big box stores have closed, but Macy’s will remain as Northlake’s retail anchor tenant. The former Sears location at Northlake is being converted into office space for a new corporate anchor tenant, Emory Healthcare.

It’s leasing 240,000 square feet of space to accommodate 1,600 employees. Becky Willis, Emory University’s senior associate vice president of government and community affairs, said they’ll begin moving workers to the Northlake offices in December.

“We love this location. It’s so geographically close to everything,” she said of the mall’s proximity to I-285 and several MARTA stations.

“What we have here is available buildings and available parking, and we can really make good economical deals to get people to come here,” Mihalopoulos said. “By using existing buildings and being in the position that we are, we can attract other businesses from Midtown, Buckhead, downtown and give them a better financial package.”

He also mentioned that the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the market for outdoor dining, so his company plans to partner with three or four restaurants to open locations with ample porch space along the front of the mall. Those won’t open until next year.

The struggling mall was annexed into Tucker’s city limits in 2019 at the request of ATR Corinth Partners. Tucker Mayor Frank Auman said the Northlake area of the city won’t be recognizable once the redevelopment project is finished.

“It’s the kind of thing that instantly transforms an area,” Auman said. “We’re going to wonder how it ever was whatever it was before. And that’s a good thing.”

Speaking of Tucker Mayor Frank Auman, political analyst Bill Crane wrote the following that was published in the Gwinnett Daily Post:

In Tucker, that new city’s first mayor, Frank Auman, has expanded the job base and tax digest, built out numerous parks and other city amenities, paved miles of roads and new sidewalks, and somehow along with a collegial City Council accomplished all of that with a millage rate of zero.

In full disclosure, I am volunteering my time to support Frank Auman’s reelection.

Columbus will consider revising the policy on cleanup after evictions, according to WTVM.

Usually, the city would come and pick up furniture and debris after an eviction.

“It’s because of a lack of employees in our public works department. As a result of that, we’ve just had a dirty city,” said Lisa Goodwin, deputy city manager.

“But in order for us to continue to maintain and keep our city clean, we need the landlords to step up and do a little more,” Goodwin said.

On October 18, the city will be meeting with landlords and property managers like Councilwoman Charmaine Crabb, who also happens to be a property manager, to adjust the policy for eviction clean up.

“Right now, landlords don’t have to do anything. They just wait for the city to come and clean it up,” Goodwin said.

A strike by film workers is not yet affecting local productions, according to the Savannah Morning News.

A labor strike could be imminent for thousands of International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) members, including those in Savannah, as negotiations continue with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), which represents more than 300 film and television studios.

The issues on the table amount to basic rights, according to Darla McGlamery, business agent for IATSE Local 491, which includes more than 1,000 union members across North Carolina, South Carolina and the Savannah area.

On Monday, 36 local IATSE unions across the county voted to grant IATSE International President Matthew Loeb the authority to call a strike. Voter turnout was around 90% with about 98% of those voting to support the strike authorization. It marked the first time in IATSE’s 128-year history that members have authorized a nationwide strike.

There are currently two major productions filming in the Savannah-area and no disruptions have been reported, according to the Savannah Economic Development Authority, which oversees the Savannah Regional Film Commission. SEDA President and CEO Trip Tollison said his organization is monitoring the situation.

The Democratic Party of Georgia responded to criticism by U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter (R-Pooler) of the Democratic agenda, according to The Brunswick News.

Rhyan Lake, spokeswoman for the state Democratic Party, said Carter is just trying to draw attention away from his own record in the U.S. Congress.

“Rep. Carter voted against the critical relief for businesses and working families in President Biden’s American Rescue Plan and even opposed funding to keep our government open — putting millions of Georgia families, veterans, social security recipients and more at risk,” Lake said.

“It’s time for Rep. Carter to put aside the political theater and heed the call of Georgians to work with the president and Democrats to defeat the pandemic and build back our economy.”

The Pooler Republican’s First District includes Glynn and surrounding counties.

It’s ironic: Rep. Carter’s criticisms of Democratic policies got more ink in that article than the Democratic response to earlier jibes.

The Floyd County Republican Women heard from candidates for Rome City Commission, according to the Rome News Tribune.

U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-Albany) announced $4.5 million in federal funding to expand broadband, according to WTVM.

Georgia Congressman Sanford Bishop has announced that the FCC is awarding more than $4.5 million to local school districts through the Emergency Connectivity Fund.

County school districts in Bibb, Calhoun, Muscogee, Taylor, and Webster Counties are benefiting from the program.

“Ensuring that our students have access to broadband and connected devices helps close the ‘homework gap’ by connecting students to our schools and teachers,” Congressman Bishop said in a statement. “This is a huge federal investment in our communities, and I encourage other schools and libraries across middle and southwest Georgia to apply for these funds.”

A nationwide shortage of crutches is affecting some hospitals and patients, according to The Brunswick News.

“If you have a pair of new or gently used adult regular or universal crutches, we ask that you consider donating them to the health system,” said Kyle Culbertson, manager of supply chain services at Southeast Georgia Health System.

“The donated crutches will be thoroughly cleaned and re-donated to patients in need.”

COVID-19 is the blame for the shortage of crutches and other medical aids in the national supply chain. The virus is behind delivery issues and the interruption of the flow of raw materials needed to manufacture them.

Donations can be dropped off at the Southeast Georgia Health System Foundation office at 2436 Parkwood Drive in Brunswick Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

Georgia’s United States Senators both co-sponsored the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2021, according to the Capitol Beat News Service via the Albany Herald.

Both the offices of Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock issued statements after the legislation, named after the legendary Georgia congressman and civil rights activist, was introduced.

The legislation is designed to restore some protections of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that, Ossoff said, were gutted by the U.S. Supreme Court to prevent states with a history of discrimination — like Georgia — from enacting laws that discriminate against minorities.

The bill also includes Ossoff’s Election Worker and Polling Place Protection Act, aimed at protecting election workers and their families from threats of harm and safeguard election infrastructure.

“Preclearance has been allowed to atrophy, and we’ve seen the results not only in Georgia but in Texas and Arizona and Pennsylvania, all across our country,” [Sen. Warnock] said, referring to a wave of state election law changes critics say amount to voter suppression.

The Senate Judiciary Committee was scheduled to hold a hearing on the legislation on Wednesday, with Ossoff chairing one of the witness panels.

Clayton County is asking Georgia’s senators for help with a taxing matter, according to the AJC.

Warnock and Ossoff recently introduced a federal bill that would allow Clayton to resume collections of fuel taxes from Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, which is operated by the city of Atlanta but is located mostly in Clayton County.

For more than two decades, Clayton received millions in funding from the taxes, most recently getting $9 million for the county school system and $9 million for the county government and Clayton’s seven cities.

But a 2014 Federal Aviation Administration policy mandated all revenue from air travel fees must go back to airports for infrastructure, operations and other airfield needs.

The U.S. Department of Education is making changes in the Public Service Forgiveness Loan program, according to the AJC.

U.S. Department of Education officials announced Wednesday they are making several temporary changes to the federal government’s Public Service Forgiveness Loan (PSFL) program, which forgives the remaining student loan balance for borrowers in these types of jobs after they’ve made 10 years of payments.

The program, though, has been rife with confusing regulations that in some cases prevented many participants from being able to apply payments to their debts. Just 2% of program participants have had their loans erased since the program’s inception in 2007, statistics show.

“It needs to be simpler,” Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said in a video call Wednesday afternoon with three people who’ve had trouble completing the program: a math teacher from Oklahoma, an assistant professor in New York City and an U.S. Army National Guard officer in Pennsylvania.

Through October 2022, borrowers who have worked 10 years in a qualifying job will be eligible for loan relief no matter what kind of federal loan or repayment plan they have.

Three Swainsboro City Council members are suing the Mayor, alleging racism, according to WJBF.

During an August 24th Special Called Meeting, Swainsboro Mayor Charles Schwabe told three council members, “My research tells me that we do not have a quorum and the meeting will stop now.”

Councilmembers Faulkner, Bobbie Collins and John E. Parker say they are speaking in court now, filling a lawsuit earlier this month against the City of Swainsboro and Mayor Charles Schwabe. We told you two weeks ago about a series of meetings that these leaders say impeded completing the important business of the city. After the council unanimously voted to remove the District 1 councilmember due to lack of attendance in August, a quorum battle began over whether three equaled a majority.

“[The] City attorney told us yes that you had a majority. Now when the other members or when someone else contacted the city attorney, he said we did not,” Swainsboro City Councilmember John E. Parker, who represents District 5, said.

The lawsuit goes on to say because the September meeting ended early, the council could not vote on the 2022 budget or submit a report on the more than $2 million of American Rescue Act money. A decision on both items is due at the end of October, with the budget taking effect December 1.

The councilmembers told NewsChannel 6 they feel that since they are the councilmembers who attend each meeting each time and vote, carrying the majority, the abrupt meeting cancellations are due to racism. The lawsuit also states Mayor Schwabe is violating the the Georgia Open Meetings Act, something they believe happened this past Monday when the Mayor canceled October’s meeting.

Valdosta City Schools plan to return to in-person learning on Wednesday, October 13th, according to the Valdosta Daily Times.

COVID numbers are declining in Muscogee County Schools, according to the Ledger-Enquirer. This is also being seen in other school systems in Georgia.

The Pooler Police Department is recommending that trick-or-treating take place on a Saturday, while some locals plan to host trick-or-treaters on Sunday, according to WTOC.

“You know, the children have had a rough two, two and a half years now. If we can make one simple move to let them maybe stay up a little later, sleep in a little longer, not have to rush home put away their candy, get in bed, get up early and go to school the next day. Just to kind of help them have fun a little bit. Enjoy their holiday a little bit more,” said Pooler Police Department Public Information Officer Lindsey Heintzman.

“Usually we don’t change it, we don’t recommend a change. The last time we did this was seven years ago when Halloween happened to again fall on a Sunday,” said Heintzman.

If you’d still prefer to do your trick-or-treating Sunday, “we’re not saying that you cannot do that.” Heintzman says, “we’ve heard some neighborhoods saying, ‘hey, our neighborhood is doing it on the 31st.’ That’s your neighborhood that’s your decision.”

So, there really is a “Fun Police.”

Whitfield County Commissioners will consider an ordinance that would allow farm wineries, according to the Dalton Daily Citizen News.

Farm wineries — which both make and sell wines and grow the fruits and berries used to make the wines — are common in Fannin, Gilmer and Pickens counties. And one local businessman is looking to start the first farm winery in Whitfield County.

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

“We have had people who are not residents (of Whitfield County) applying for licenses,” said board Chairman Jevin Jensen. “Right now, they can do that. That just seems like so much liability (for the county) if there are issues with the license holder. We want to be able to find somebody if there is an issue.”

 

Lake Park City Council approved a Service Delivery Strategy Agreement with Lowndes County, according to the Valdosta Daily Times.

State law requires cities and counties to cooperate in reducing duplication of services, and negotiations have gone on for nearly five years between Valdosta, Dasher, Hahira, Lake Park, Remerton and Lowndes County.

Water and sewer issues and the question of who pays for road maintenance have been the two big holdups in the talks, said Rob Plumb, Lake Park city attorney.

6
Oct

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for October 6, 2021

The first Mennonites arrived in America on October 6, 1683 aboard the Concord.

Cy Young threw his last professional baseball game as a member of the Boston Braves on October 6, 1911.

On October 6, 1953, WTVM-TV began broadcasting in  Columbus, Georgia.

The Jimi Hendrix Experience held its first rehearsal on October 6, 1966.

The second Presidential debate between Republican incumbent Gerald Ford and Democratic challenger Jimmy Carter took place on October 6, 1976. During the debate, Ford said, there was “no Soviet domination in Eastern Europe”. Polling released on October 8, 1976 indicated that Democrat Jimmy Carter won the second debate against President Gerald Ford by a 50-27 margin.

Pope John Paul II became the first Pope to visit the White House on October 6, 1979. Carter’s notes from the meeting are at the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum in Atlanta.

The last four B-52 bombers stationed at Robins Air Force Base in Warner-Robins left the base for the last time on October 6, 1983.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

The perfect political story for Halloween: Campaign to re-elect dead Alabama councilman raises questionsContinue Reading..

5
Oct

Honey is a young female Terrier mix puppy who is available for adoption from Ruff Redemption Rescue, Inc. in Woodstock, GA.

Meet Honey, our little 7 lbs, almost 2 months old bundle of joy! Honey was dumped at a shelter in Alabama along with her 4 siblings at just 3 weeks of age. We took them in the next day and cant say enough about this litter, such beautiful angels. Honey is a cutie with those short ears, which may stand as she gets older. She is spunky and has a huge personality. She is very active, enjoys children of all ages and does great with her foster family’s dogs. When she is finally exhausted from playtime, Honey is ready for cuddles. She is doing well with house training for her age and isjust starting to crate train.

Fritz is a young male Labrador Retriever mix puppy who is available for adoption from Ruff Redemption Rescue, Inc. in Woodstock, GA.

Meet Fritz, an 8 weeks old, 11 lbs mixed breed pup. Fritz was found on the side of a road with his sister Gemma. We believe he is a Labrador retriever mix and will be a larger medium sized dog, 60lbs give or take a few. Fritz is amazing and very intelligent! He is well rounded, catching on so quick to house training, can go about 7 hours in his crate overnight before needing to go out, and doesn’t mind being toted around by four year old human friends. Fritz is very social and independent. He enjoys exploring and playing with his sister and toys.

Oliver is a young male Shepherd and Coonhound mix puppy who is available for adoption from Ruff Redemption Rescue, Inc. in Woodstock, GA.

Meet Oliver, our submissive, loving, and a tad goofy shepherd/coonhound mix. Oliver has such an amazing, sweet soul and has never met a stranger. He is almost 5 months and about 37 lbs. Oliver is in a foster home with several dogs varying in age. He is fantastic with all of them and always up for a game of tug of war. Oliver is great at sharing his toys and will make best friends with a sweet, loving companion dog. He loves his people and will do best with a family that is home more than not. Oliver is about 90% house trained with frequent outings and this cutie is crate trained. He sleeps in his crate overnight but much prefers the bed with his humans. Oliver is a huge explorer and loves affection. Kisses are his thing! We are looking for a forever home with a young, social companion dog. Fenced yard required for off leash playtime.

5
Oct

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for October 5, 2021

On October 5, 1864, the Battle of Allatoona Pass was fought in Bartow County, Georgia.

The first televised Presidential address from the White House was broadcast on October 5, 1947.

At the time of Truman’s food-conservation speech, Europe was still recovering from World War II and suffering from famine. Truman, the 33rd commander in chief, worried that if the U.S. didn’t provide food aid, his administration’s Marshall Plan for European economic recovery would fall apart. He asked farmers and distillers to reduce grain use and requested that the public voluntarily forgo meat on Tuesdays, eggs and poultry on Thursdays and save a slice of bread each day. The food program was short-lived, as ultimately the Marshall Plan succeeded in helping to spur economic revitalization and growth in Europe.

The Georgia Supreme Court outlawed use of the electric chair as “cruel and unusual punishment” on October 5, 2001.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Brian Kemp issued Executive Order #10.04.21.01, suspending Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit District Attorney Mark Jones. From WTVM:Continue Reading..

4
Oct

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for October 4, 2021

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 articficial satellite, on October 4, 1957.

Beverly Hills, 90210 debuted on October 4, 1990.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Today is the voter registration deadline for the November 2d elections. From WTOC:

Early in-person voting starts next week in Georgia, and Monday, Oct. 4 is the final day to register to vote in the upcoming Nov. 2 Election.

Some of the big races going on around our area next month are in Garden City where the District 1, 5 and at-large seats are up-for-grabs. There will also be the race for mayor in Port Wentworth, along with two council seats. And the race for mayor in Thunderbolt.

In Vidalia, the race for mayor is underway. The two candidates running in the mayoral race are incumbent Doug Roper and Gregory Johnson. Both candidates also ran against each other last year in a tightly contested election. After the death of former Mayor Ronnie Dixon, Johnson and Roper ran to fill his unexpired term. Mayor Roper won the seat and now his term is just about over. This time, the two candidates are running for a full term. City Manager Nick Overstreet says people need to get out and vote in November because it’s important for the city to have a strong leader who can make a big impact.

Click here to sign in to the Secretary of State’s MVP portal and check that your voter registration is accurate and up to date.

Click here to find out how to register to vote if you have to.Continue Reading..

1
Oct

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for October 1, 2021

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 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.

Original Communist (O.C.) Karl Marx published Das Kapital on October 1, 1867.

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.

Voters in the state of Washington adopted the state constitution on October 1, 1889.

The first World Series of baseball opened on October 1, 1903.

On October 1, 1908, Ford introduced the Model T.

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

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.

Happy 97th Birthday to former President Jimmy Carter, who was born on October 1, 1924 at Wise Sanitarium in Plains, Georgia, the first American President to be born in a hospital.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt visited Warm Springs, Georgia for the 21st time beginning on October 1, 1931.

In a Special Election October 1, 1940, Florence Gibbs became the first woman elected to Congress from Georgia, completing her late husband’s term and serving through January 3, 1941, but no standing for a full term of her own.

Chinese Communist leader Mao Zedong proclaimed the Communist People’s Republic of China on October 1, 1949.

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 Carter Center in Atlanta was dedicated on October 1, 1986.

Mikhail Gorbachev named himself Chairman of the USSR’s Supreme Soviet on October 1, 1988.

President George H.W. Bush condemned Iraq’s takeover of Kuwait in a speech to the United Nations on October 1, 1990.

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

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

McDonald’s announced the return of the McRib on November 1 to celebrate election season and the Special Session of the Georgia General Assembly that convenes on November 2d. From CNN via the Albany Herald:Continue Reading..

30
Sep

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for September 30, 2021

Wyoming adopted the first state constitution to allow women to vote on September 30, 1889.

President Woodrow Wilson spoke in favor of Women’s Suffrage in an address to Congress on September 30, 1918. The bill to pass the 19th Amendment would die in the Senate that year after passing the House.

On September 30, 1927, Babe Ruth hit his 60th home run of the season.

On September 30, 1976, Democrat Jimmy Carter led the Harris Poll for President over President Gerald Ford by a 50-41 margin. In November 1976, the popular vote tallied 50.08% for Carter to 48.01% for Ford, with an Independent taking nearly a point.

A replica of Christopher Columbus’s Santa Maria will call on Brunswick this week, according to The Brunswick News.

the Nao Santa Maria is a replica of the hearty vessel that joined the Niña and Pinta on that daunting voyage of discovery to the uncharted Americas more than 500 years ago.

But this tall-masted sailing ship bears a striking resemblance to the actual Santa Maria. Folks can see for themselves over the next four days.

The ship will be open for tours from 10 a.m. through 7 p.m. Thursday through Sunday at Brunswick Landing Marina, where it is docked on the East River. The cost is $15 adults, $5 for children and $35 for a family pass.

This Santa Maria was constructed in March of 2018 in Huelva, Spain, according to the 15th century nautical specifications. The ship has a 93-foot-long wooden hull and an 82-foot-tall mainmast. This replica was designed based on detailed Spanish records dating back to the original Santa Maria’s construction. Nao is a term describing a particular model of sailing ship from the late Middle Ages.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

President Joe Biden (D) has nominated two new U.S. District Court Judges for Atlanta, according to the AJC.

President Joe Biden has nominated two women to fill open seats on the U.S. District Court in Northern Georgia: a criminal defense attorney and a lawyer who works for a nonprofit that advocates for prison reform.

Victoria Calvert is set to become the circuit’s second Black female district judge and the first former federal defender to serve in the role. She is currently a staff attorney in the district court’s Federal Defender Program, and before that she was an associate at Atlanta’s King & Spalding firm.

Sarah Geraghty is senior counsel of the Southern Center for Human Rights, an organization that has been involved in lawsuits regarding the conditions and treatment of prisoners in Georgia. Prior to that, she served as a staff attorney in an appellate defender’s office in New York.

Georgia U.S. Sens. Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock had forwarded both women’s names to Biden after receiving input from the Federal Nominations Advisory Commission, which the senators created to help review applicants for those jobs and others. Biden still must fill other positions at the federal court, including nominating three U.S. attorneys.

Governor Brian Kemp announced a new Visa office hub in Atlanta that will bring 1000 new jobs, according to a press release.

“It’s always great to see a world-renowned company like Visa capitalize on the exceptional pool of diverse talent in Georgia and choose to invest in our state,” said Governor Kemp.“Georgia is a growing hub for the FinTech industry thanks in part to our strategic investment in workforce development initiatives, and I look forward to seeing the countless opportunities this significant expansion creates for hardworking Georgians.”

Visa’s mission is to connect the world through the most reliable, innovative, and secure payment network, which enables individuals, businesses, and economies to thrive. While Visa has been employing Georgians for years, its new office will significantly expand its presence. This increased presence and additional investment in the market will serve to support Visa’s clients, partners, and local communities across the Atlanta metropolitan area.

“Atlanta brings together a wealth of expertise and talent with entrepreneurial spirit and a deep sense of community culture,” said Michelle Gethers-Clark, Chief Diversity Officer and Head of Corporate Responsibility at Visa. “We are thrilled to enhance our long-term presence in Atlanta; an expansion that comes with a commitment to invest in Atlanta’s diverse talent pool by fostering the next generation of leaders through rewarding career development and growth opportunities.”

Visa’s new 123,000-square-foot office, located at 1200 Peachtree Street in Midtown Atlanta, is expected to open in 2022. The office will represent a wide range of Visa teams and functions, with a particular concentration of technology and client services teams. The company is actively hiring for careers in client services, product management, software development, risk and security, finance and more. Individuals interested in opportunities with Visa are encouraged to visit: https://vi.sa/AtlantaCareers.

“As the starting point for Atlanta’s Transaction Alley, Fulton County is a national leader in FinTech talent,” said Chairman of the Fulton County Board of Commissioners Robb Pitts. “We are thrilled such a strong company like Visa has decided to invest in our vibrant and tech-centric community.”

“Metro Atlanta is the global hub of the FinTech and payment processing industries as a result of years of strategic ecosystem support and the collaboration of many partners,” said Metro Atlanta Chamber President and CEO Katie Kirkpatrick. “Visa will no doubt benefit from initiatives like Fintech Atlanta, the Fintech Academy, and FinTech South as well as the diverse and industry-specific expertise of our metro Atlanta workforce. Congratulations to Visa and all of the organizations that supported this decision.”

Director of Corporate Solutions and Cybersecurity Kristi Brigman represented the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s (GDEcD) Global Commerce division on this competitive project in partnership with Fulton County, the Metro Atlanta Chamber, and Georgia Power.

“For decades, leadership in Georgia has placed a priority on supporting the university system and educating Georgians for the jobs of the future. Visa’s investment in Georgia is a testament to the strong pipeline of diverse talent we continue to produce in the state,” said GDEcD Commissioner Pat Wilson. “In back to back years, Atlanta has been named the No. 1 tech hub in the U.S., and it is very exciting to see a company like Visa join our roster of world-renowned payment and FinTech leaders that have chosen to invest and build the industry here. Many thanks to Visa for choosing to invest in Georgia.”

The Georgia Department of Education opened a new webpage to show where local districts are spending COVID relief funds, according to WTOC.

You can head to the agency’s COVID resource website to see how much schools receive, what budgets have been approved and the time left in the grant period.

The funds given to school districts so far total almost $6 million in three rounds. The dashboard shows spending under all three rounds.

Twenty percent of the third round of funding must be used to address student learning loss; the remainder of the funds are flexible and can be used to support at-risk student populations, distance/remote learning, school meals, mental and physical health, supplemental learning, facilities and equipment, continuity of core staff and services, and more.

Suspended Nashville Mayor Taylor Scarbrough was convicted on theft-related charges, according to WALB.

The indictment stemmed from an August 17, 2020 incident. According to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI), the Berrien County Sheriff’s Office was dispatched to Scarbrough’s home after James Hobbs alleged that Scarbrough had taken and used Hobbs’ excavator without permission and caused significant damage to the machinery.

The GBI was then requested to assist in the investigation by the sheriff’s office.

Following the indictment, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp selected a commission to investigate the impact of Scarbrough’s indictment.

On March 16, the commission “found that the indictment of Taylor Scarbrough does relate to and does adversely affect the administration of the office of mayor and that the rights and interests of the public are adversely affected thereby; and recommended that Taylor Scarbrough be suspended from office.”

Georgia’s state debt totals about $3500 per taxpayer, according to the Center Square via the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Based on the state’s fiscal year 2020 audited financial report, the state had $30.9 billion available to pay $40.9 billion worth of bills, resulting in its shortfall at the onset of the pandemic, TIA’s annual Financial State of the States report showed. As a result, each taxpayer has a debt burden of $3,500.

Georgia ranked 23rd out of 50 states for fiscal health and budget management, and it earned a C grade in the TIA analysis. Any government with a taxpayer burden between $0 and $4,900 received a C grade. A dozen other states received a C grade.

Georgia’s financial problems mostly resulted from unfunded retirement obligations that have piled up over the years, TIA said. TIA found Georgia did not fund $8.6 billion in pension liabilities and $6.2 billion in retiree health care benefits promised to state employees.

“Georgia’s overall financial condition worsened by $1.3 billion during the onset of the pandemic mostly because pension plan liabilities grew faster than the plan’s assets,” TIA said.

The state’s net tax collections were nearly $27 billion for fiscal 2021, a 13% year-over-year increase. Net tax revenue in Georgia was $2.5 billion in June, representing a $563 million increase – or 29.1% – compared with June 2020, Gov. Brian Kemp’s office said.

Georgia’s rainy day fund grew from $2.7 billion on July 1, 2020, to nearly $4.3 billion by June 30, 2021, because of the surplus. State law requires 15% of the state’s general revenue funds be placed in the reserve account. Lawmakers must decide how to spend the additional revenue

I’m not sure that story is accurate.

Rental eviction filings are up in Metro Atlanta as moratoriums expire, according to the AJC.

In the four weeks after the Supreme Court struck down the moratorium against evictions, landlords in the five core counties filed for nearly 11,000 evictions, more than in the same period last year but still fewer than in 2019, according to the Atlanta Regional Commission.

In the most recent two weeks, though, filings were 19% higher than two years ago, said Erik Woodworth, an ARC data scientist.

During the moratorium, introduced early in the pandemic and then renewed, landlords filed for evictions against roughly 100,000 renters in those core counties. The vast majority are still pending, which means a wave could be coming, he said.

Filings are only part of the story. Typically, most filings do not lead to a tenant’s removal, but there is no central database on the number of times that local sheriffs or marshals execute those writs.

Eviction filings are rising even as the state government, counties and some cities are disbursing rental assistance in two rounds of federal funding appropriated by Congress and administered by the U.S. Treasury Department.

The five core metro counties have disbursed the bulk of funds allocated to them in the initial round. But Georgia’s Department of Community Affairs, which controls the lion’s share of nearly $1 billion in federal rental relief funds earmarked for the state, has moved much more slowly.

The Georgia State Senate Committee on State and Local Government Operations is scheduled to hear legislation to create a new city in Buckhead, according to the AJC.

At a press conference Wednesday announcing the next steps for the controversial cityhood push, Sen. Brandon Beach, the sponsor of the legislation, said Sen. Lee Anderson, chair of the Senate’s local government operations committee, agreed to hold hearings on the matter. “Buckhead City” proponents are also pushing for hearings in the state House of Representatives.

Beach said lawmakers will not take a vote on the bill during the special session, which begins the day after Atlanta’s mayoral election. The bill would allow Buckhead residents to vote in November 2022 on whether they want to split from the city. The discussion has become a major factor in the city’s mayor’s race, which is likely to head to a runoff.

While legislation involving cityhood and annexation typically requires the support of local representatives, Beach said the cityhood bill would bypass that process by being drafted as a “general bill,” meaning it would not necessarily need support from the local delegation to move forward.

Beach said he has talked to Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, who serves as president of the Senate, about the proposal.

“He’s not really for this at this point but he is willing to allow it go forward with discussion,” Beach said.

Nursing homes are working to vaccinate their staffs as a federal mandate will go into effect, according to the Valdosta Daily Times.

Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced the mandate in August, with plans to strip Medicaid and Medicare funding from noncompliant facilities.

Nationwide, 64.4% of nursing homes staff has already been vaccinated, according to the CMS report published through Sept. 12; however, more than half of nursing homes staff in many states fall below the national average of employee vaccination rate.

As CMS is expected to release a final rule and deadline in October, uncertainty remains in many agencies as some anticipate a larger staffing shortage due to the required vaccine.

An estimated 220 of Georgia’s nearly 360 nursing homes have less that 64.4% of its staff full vaccinated.

The Coastal Health District will offer $100 gift cards to vaccine recipients in Long County, according to WTOC.

For the first time, on Thursday, the Coastal Health District will be offering $100 visa gift cards for vaccinations only in Long County, which has 19 percent of their population fully vaccinated.

You will get a $100 visa gift card for the Johnson and Johnson and $50 visa gift card for Moderna first dose and another $50 for the second dose in 4 weeks. This clinic is only for people 18 and older since they will not be offering the Pfizer vaccine. Dr. Davis says in the rural counties, it is easier to have Moderna and Johnson and Johnson for storing purposes and with less waste of the vaccine.

They will provide gift cards to the first 100 people that get their shot on Thursday of either vaccine. “I would be happy if we got to be 50, I would be ecstatic if we got to 100 and anything about that not only great but Icing on the cake,” said Dr. Lawton Davis.

Vaccinations will be available from 8:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. and from 1 p.m. – 5 p.m. The giveaway is only for first and second doses given today — it does not apply to past shots, booster shots or third doses. Appointments are required to get the vaccine in Long County.

Bulloch County lags its neighbors in vaccination rate, according to the Statesboro Herald.

The vaccine effort continues to lag in Bulloch, with all seven of the contiguous counties having higher vaccine rates for both people who have received at least one shot and those fully vaccinated. The county experienced an uptick in people getting vaccinated following the onset of the latest COVID surge in July, as the vaccine rate for one shot jumped from 29% on July 27 to 36% on Sept. 3.

The numbers, however, started dropping about four weeks ago and the Georgia Department of Public Health reported that only five Bulloch residents received their first shot on Tuesday – the lowest number for a non-Sunday single day since vaccinations started being given locally in January.

Across the area, only Bulloch and Jenkins County are below 40% for people getting at least one shot. Bulloch is at 37%, while Jenkins is at 38%. Bryan County has a 50% one-dose rate, followed by Screven County at 50%. Also, Bulloch and Jenkins are the only area counties under 35% fully vaccinated, sitting at 32% and 33%, respectively.

Middle Georgia lags national vaccination rates, according to the Macon Telegraph.

Since the COVID-19 vaccine rollout began in late 2020, more than 5 million Georgians have been fully vaccinated, but the state still ranks in the bottom 15 U.S. states for fully vaccinated residents: 54% of Georgians have received at least one dose of the vaccine, while 45% are fully vaccinated.

Georgia is currently ranked 37th in the country in vaccination rate for first doses.

According to data from the state health department, most Middle Georgia counties have lower vaccination rates that the Georgia average. Only Twiggs County (which has just over 8,000 residents) and Wilkinson County (almost 9,000 people) have rates over 50%. In Bibb County, 41% of residents are fully vaccinated.

Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Tifton will receive near $300,000 in grant funding from UGA, according to the Albany Herald.

Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College has been awarded a three-year $297,000 collaborative grant with the University of Georgia-Tifton Veterinary Diagnostic and Investigational Laboratory to encourage more veterinary medicine students to practice in rural south Georgia.

Activities will center around student recruitment, retention and experiential learning at the UGA diagnostic lab aimed at increasing the overall number of underrepresented and rural undergraduate students qualified to apply to veterinary medicine programs.

Moody Air Force Base is replacing the HH-60G combat rescue helicopters in the 41st Rescue Squadron with a newer model, according to the Valdosta Daily Times.

The Port of Savannah had its second-busiest month ever, according to the Capitol Beat News Service via the Statesboro Herald.

The port handled 485,595 twenty-foot equivalent container units (TEUs) last month, a 10% increase over August of last year and second only to the 498,000 TEUs that moved through the Garden City Terminal last March.

Meanwhile, the authority’s Board of Directors has allocated more than $34 million to add 1.6 million TEUs of new capacity due to come on line in December.

In total, the developments will add 230 acres of container handling space, due to come online in phases by 2023.

“The GPA’s expansion strategy will not only maintain Savannah’s position as the hub port of the U.S. Southeast, but strengthen its ability to drive economic growth and private investment for communities across Georgia,” said Joel Wooten, chairman of the authority’s board.

“In light of unprecedented demand, it is incumbent on the board to maintain our ports to promote job growth for the state.”

Savannah Mayor Van Johnson (D) traveled to Washington and sought funding for local projects, according to WTOC.

Mayor Johnson says he wanted to take the opportunity to meet with Georgia’s two leaders in the U.S. Senate to emphasize that the decisions that are made in D.C. really do impact residents right here in Savannah and all of coastal Georgia.

The $3.5 trillion infrastructure plan aims to invest in areas anywhere from public transportation, to roads and bridges, airports and internet access. After his meeting in D.C. with both Georgia senators, Savannah Mayor Van Johnson says he believes they both understand how much of an impact the spending plan could have on the Hostess City.

“They both recognize the impacts that passing this infrastructure bill will have on local communities, probably unlike anything else. And so the Senate is one thing, the House is something totally different,” said Mayor Johnson.

Georgia’s delegation to the United States Senate is seeking Medicaid expansion, according to WTOC.

“We must expand Medicaid because people are literally dying, especially the working poor,” said Sen. Raphael Warnock.

He recently appeared with Sen. Jon Ossoff and several other senators to say they are working to get a measure to expand Medicaid in the reconciliation bill now slowly making its way through Congress.

Warnock says up to 600,000 Georgians could benefit from an expansion of the program. He says the pandemic has magnified the gap between those who can afford health insurance and those who have none.

“Access to health care shouldn’t depend on where you live or who you are,” said Ossoff.

“Nine hospitals in Georgia have closed in 11 years,” said Ossoff. “And these hospitals have closed, in large part, because our state’s political leaders have refused to expand Medicaid.”

But Georgia Congressman Buddy Carter, a Republican from District 1, said “this is why reconciliation is so dangerous because they add everything to it in order to get their policies essentially passed and this is nothing more than another policy.”

“Now what they want to do is they want to federalize Medicaid,” said Carter. “It should be held at the state level, it should not be federalized. That is essentially what’s happening.

“This is nothing more than socialist medicine, and that’s what they’re trying to do.”

Western Judicial District District Attorney Deborah Gonzalez (D) will receive a grant aimed at reducing racial disparities, according to the Athens Banner Herald.

When Deborah Gonzalez took office in January as the district attorney for the Western Judicial District of Georgia, she noticed that too few defendants, especially Black defendants, qualified for a program that promised treatment for addiction or mental health and not jail.

Like many court diversion programs elsewhere, potential participants in the Athens-Clarke and Oconee counties programs were being disqualified for certain previous charges or police contact. People living in poverty also had a hard time qualifying because of weekly program fees.

“My philosophy is there is racial injustice and disparities of how people are treated in this system. And we have to be intentional in how we address it,” Gonzalez said.

In Gonzalez’s district, for example, about 22% of the district’s overall population is Black. Of the more than 6,800 people charged during 2019 and 2020, the majority were Black. Fewer than 150 were referred to the pretrial program, and most came from a county that is only 5 % percent Black.

She hopes to double participation in her program by 2022, and will put in checks to monitor that the diversity is increasing.

Floyd County Commissioners are considering a performance review of the voting office, according to the Rome News Tribune.

Floyd County commissioners are debating a potential performance review for the elections board as some community members continue the push for an investigation based on the 2020 election and 2021 runoff election.

Trump won Floyd County by a large margin. However, the first ballot audit, ordered by Georgia’s secretary of state, found over 2,500 ballots weren’t counted. The ballots, which elections workers said followed Floyd County voting trends, were entered and counted. Another hand recount followed that audit.

The missed ballots, alongside long lines at polling locations and a confrontational attitude during an elections board meeting, led to the dismissal of the county’s former chief elections clerk.

[County Attorney Virginia] Harman specifically went over a special tool included in the broad legislation that allows local governments and legislators to request a performance review of their local elections boards or superintendents.

The request can be made by either the county commissioners, local state legislators or the Georgia State Elections Board. Commissioners would also have to write out a formal request and the reasons why they think the board should be reviewed.

Commissioners would have to vote on a resolution to initiate the panel. The State Elections Board would then put together a bipartisan panel to review the issues and look into the local elections board.

The Gainesville Times looks at local municipal elections on the November ballot.

The Federal Aviation Administration delayed a decision on licensing a spaceport in Camden County, according to The Brunswick News.

The countdown to a final decision on a license for a commercial spaceport in Camden County was T-24 hours and counting Wednesday when it was put on hold.

The new countdown is five weeks and counting, with a final decision by the Federal Aviation Administration due Nov. 3.

John Simpson, a spokesman for Spaceport Camden, said the FAA was still evaluating the license request.

“We understand the FAA is still working to make sure all the I’s are dotted and the T’s are crossed and remain optimistic for a final decision on Spaceport Camden in a few weeks,” he said.

Hall County Commissioners will vote on raising their pay, according to AccessWDUN.

According to a legal ad regarding the proposal, the commission chairman’s base salary would be raised to $50,000, while the salary of each district commissioner would be raised to $45,000. If approved at the Hall County Commission voting session on Oct. 14, the increased salaries would go into effect on Jan. 1, 2023.

Currently, the chairman and commissioners are each paid varying base salaries. According to Hall County, the commission’s current base annual salaries are as follows:

Chairman: $8,629
District 1: $7,060
District 2: $9,260
District 3: $6,887
District 4: $8,839

Each commissioner also currently receives a per diem of $173 for each meeting they attend, up to 12 times per month. The current maximum per diem per year per commissioner is about $25,000.

[District Three Commissioner Shelly] Echols said she does support a pay raise for the chairman due to the nearly full-time nature of the job. However, she said she will still vote against the proposal as it does not separate the pay increases by chairman and district commissioners.

Habersham County Commissioners voted to waive aquatic center fees for 2022, according to AccessWDUN.

A statement released by the county said anyone who has purchased passes that extend beyond Jan. 1, 2022 will receive a pro-rated refund check.

“The waived daily fee of $4 will allow free access to the gymnasiums and pools, as long as scheduled events are not in session,” the statement said.

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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for September 29, 2021

On September 29, 1526, 600 Spanish colonists led by Lucas Vasquez de Ayllon landed on the Georgia Coast, the first European colonists in Georgia.

Long before Plymouth, or Jamestown or even St. Augustine, there was another settlement in North American: the very first European attempt to establish a permanent colony on the mainland since the Vikings 500 years earlier.

Lucas Vasquez de Ayllon and 600 Spanish colonists landed on Georgia’s coast on this day in 1526, over 200 years before Oglethorpe founded the Georgia Colony.  It also represents another historic moment: the first time enslaved Africans set foot on what is now the United States.

Ayllon established San Miguel de Gualdape on Sapelo Sound in present–day McIntosh County. He sailed north from Hispaniola during the summer and first landed in present–day South Carolina. Meeting no natives, he traveled south along the coast before settling in Georgia.

To help establish the colony, Ayllon brought with him the very first group of slaves.  But hunger, disease, and conflict with the natives all took their toll, and the settlement survived for only three months.

Other sources say that the September 29, 1526 landing was in South Carolina and Vasquez de Ayllon established San Miguel de Gualdape on October 8, 1526.

WSB-TV took to the airwaves for the first time on September 29, 1948.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Federal SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits will increase, according to WTOC.Continue Reading..