Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 10, 2018

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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 10, 2018

On August 12, 1492 by the current calendar, Christopher Columbus set sail from the port of Palos de la Frontera in southern Spain with the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria. Other accounts date his arrival at the Canary Islands off the coast of northwestern Africa on August 12, 1492.

Juan Ponce de Leon invaded Puerto Rico on August 12, 1508 and declared himself Governor.

On August 10, 1774, a group calling itself the “Sons of Liberty” met at Tondee’s Tavern in Savannah, the first move in Georgia toward what would become the Revolutionary War. The Sons of Liberty adopted eight resolutions, among those one that reads,

Resolved, nemine contradicente, That we apprehend the Parliament of Great Britain hath not, nor ever had, any right to tax his Majesty’s American subjects; for it is evident beyond contradiction, the constitution admits of no taxation without representation; that they are coeval and inseparable; and every demand for the support of government should be by requisition made to the several houses of representatives.

Resolved, nemine contradicente, That we concur with our sister colonies in every constitutional measure to obtain redress of American grievances, and will by every lawful means in our power, maintain those inestimable blessings for which we are indebted to God and the Constitution of our country–a Constitution founded upon reason and justice, and the indelible rights of mankind.

The first copy in Georgia of the Declaration of Independence was read publicly in Savannah on August 10, 1776.

On August 10, 1787, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart completed “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik.”

Missouri was admitted as the 24th State, and the first entirely west of the Mississippi River, on August 10, 1821.

On August 11, 1862, Confederate General Braxton Bragg declared martial law in Atlanta.

On August 10, 1864, the bombardment of Atlanta by Union force continued, with Sherman writing, “Let us destroy Atlanta and make it a desolation.”

Sherman-and-Cannon Atlanta

On August 12, 1864, Confederate General John B. Hood prohibited Confederate soldiers from seizing civilian property.

The first Ford Model T rolled off the assembly line on August 12, 1904.

On August 12, 1908, Ford’s first “Model T” rolled off a Detroit, Michigan, factory floor. Within six years, the car, company and man were propelled to unprecedented success, thanks to the new Highland Park plant’s first-of-its-kind assembly line, which created the intricate product quickly and in large numbers.

“If it hadn’t been for Henry Ford’s drive to create a mass market for cars, America wouldn’t have a middle class today,” wrote [Lee] Iacocca.

Increased travel spurred appeals for better and more roads, the development of suburbs, the oil industry’s rise and a boom in gas stations, strip malls and motels.

But the assembly line itself had the biggest impact on American society, Hyde contended, in making possible the swift, mass production of everything from computers to “fast food.”

On August 12, 1910, Georgia Governor Joseph M. Brown signed legislation prohibiting the carrying of a pistol or revolver without a license.

The first Georgia state Motor Fuel Tax was enacted on August 10, 1921, when Governor Thomas Hardwick signed legislation imposing a one-cent per gallon tax.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered the summer commencement address at the University of Georgia on August 11, 1938. Later that day, Roosevelt endorsed Lawrence Camp over incumbent Governor Walter F. George, saying George had not been sufficiently supportive of the New Deal.

Japan accepted unconditional surrender on August 10, 1945, one day after the atomic bombing of Nagasaki.

East Germany began building the Berlin Wall on August 12, 1961.

[T]he government of East Germany, on the night of August 12, 1961, began to seal off all points of entrance into West Berlin from East Berlin by stringing barbed wire and posting sentries. In the days and weeks to come, construction of a concrete block wall began, complete with sentry towers and minefields around it. The Berlin Wall succeeded in completely sealing off the two sections of Berlin.

Three churches in Albany, Georgia first allowed African-Americans to attend their services on August 12, 1962.

The Atlanta Braves signed legendary Negro League pitcher Satchel Paige on August 11, 1968.

On August 12, 1968, Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones and John Bonham played together for the first time.

The first Space Shuttle, Enterprise, made its first flight in the earth’s atmosphere on August 12, 1977.

Red Dawn, the first movie rated PG-13 was released on August 10, 1984.

Wolverines!

On August 11, 1984, Ronald Reagan jokingly announced that he had “signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever…we begin bombing in five minutes,” without knowing he was speaking into a live microphone.

The Gainesville Times looks at how railroads affected Gainesville’s development over the years.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions spoke at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Georgia in Macon yesterday, according to the Macon Telegraph.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions lauded law enforcement officers, chided their critics and announced a $3.4 billion federal grant for local victims assistance programs Thursday during a stop in Macon.

The money comes from the Office for Victims of Crime that collects federal criminal fines, fees and special assessments and contains no tax dollars, according to a Justice Department news release.

More than $100 million will be coming to Georgia, Sessions said.

Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills listened intently. He has been a vocal critic of Georgia criminal justice reforms that have reduced sentences.

Sills said he was impressed by Sessions’ remarks.

“That same attitude needs to be in Atlanta with the state offenders here that we’re dealing with,” Sills said. “We need help on the local level.”

Governor Nathan Deal, meanwhile, spoke to President Trump about Georgia’s criminal justice reform, according to the AJC.

Gov. Nathan Deal touted his criminal justice initiatives Thursday with President Donald Trump and a group of mostly Republican leaders, highlighting a decrease in incarceration rates and new education programs for inmates.

“We’ve been very successful and pleased to share any information we can,” said Deal, who talked of a 10 percent decrease in violent crime and 20 percent overall decrease since he took office in 2011.

Trump’s meeting aimed to boost the pressure on Congress to adopt legislation that would provide $50 million in funding for drug treatment and job retraining programs. The White House invited officials it said represent states that adopted changes mirroring the president’s policies.

Democratic Congressional candidate Steven Foster is caught on video after his DUI arrest. Part 1 from the Dalton Daily Citizen and Part 2.

In nearly two hours of video and related audio recordings documenting Steven Lamar Foster’s arrest, the trip to Hamilton Medical Center for blood tests and his booking into the Whitfield County jail, Foster at times speaks to the officers in Spanish, blames Gulf War Syndrome on the use of uranium in weapons in the First Gulf War and tells the story of putting a Central American man’s head on a spike.

“I hope you got s—loads of audio because I want a copy of it on a FOIA,” Foster said to the officers. “You know what that is? That’s a Freedom of Information Act.”

“Eleven years I served this county,” Foster said. “I hate this county. I prayed to God that he would curse it. And guess what? He did. Man, I saw it hit and cursed, and I saw people laid off right and left — white people. I hate this county …”

Foster then calls the officers “Barneys” in apparent reference to Deputy Barney Fife of “The Andy Griffith Show.”

“It’s all right, they can’t help it,” he said. “They’re not going to arrest no Hispanics. They are not going to arrest somebody that is a damn Arab. They are not going to do that because guess what … (officer slams door).”

During the ride to the hospital, Foster also expounds on immigration and the country “letting … 10,000 run around,” berates the officers for a lack of military service and challenges them to “go one or two rounds.”

Former Democratic Congressional Candidate Kelly Lynn Collins has been indicted in South Carolina for the alleged murder of her campaign treasurer, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

Kellie Lynn Collins, 30, surrendered to authorities in McDuffie County on Tuesday and was charged with murder and grand larceny. The victim was identified as Curt Cain, 41, and found at his residence on the 3000 block of Old Powderhouse Road on Tuesday after his employer requested a well-being check.

Collins was a Democratic candidate for the 10th Congressional District seat in 2018, but withdrew from the race for personal reasons and wasn’t on the ballot. According to a file from the Federal Election Commission, Cain was Collins’ treasurer.

Her former campaign manager, Clayborn Thigpen, said that Cain and Collins were living together in Aiken, but he hadn’t talked to them in five months. Thigpen said he was shocked about the murder and arrest because he knew them really well.

Georgia’s Statewide Opioid Task Force met in Augusta, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

The meeting was the last in a series of three for the Statewide Opioid Task Force, and focused on how Georgia has responded to the national crisis. The task force began in October of last year and focuses on strengthening communication between experts and professionals passionate about the issue, such as pharmacies, doctors and law enforcement, to create public policy and positive outcomes.

“Four Georgians are dying every day as a result of opioid overdoses, so we have created a statewide task force that’s a little bit different than other task forces in that we are just trying to bring experts together to build the infrastructure of communication between experts,” Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr said.

“One, what are we doing to address the crisis, two, how can we work together to leverage the resources we have in the state to address the crisis, and three, if there are gaps how do we fill the gaps,” Carr said.

“Unfortunately this is an issue and a crisis that oftentimes begins with a prescription drug and then turns to illicit street drugs like heroin,” Carr said. “It’s a crisis that cannot, must not, and should not fall on any one group’s shoulders – it’s too big.”

Congressman Buddy Carter (R-Pooler) also discussed opiates, in a meeting with the Golden Isles Employer Committee, according to The Brunswick News.

“We’ve got to address the situation, and we have been addressing it in my subcommittee,” Carter said.

He noted that members of Congress took a significant number of bills that passed his subcommittee and consolidated them in a larger piece of legislation.

“That bill is H.R. 6, and hopefully the Senate will take care of that before we get back after Labor Day,” Carter said. “If they’ll take care of it, then we can go to conference and get it on the president’s desk and get it signed into law.”

The bill, which passed the House 396-14 on June 22, makes a number of changes to state Medicare programs, “alters Medicare requirements to address opioid use” and deals with other opioid-related issues, according to the congressional website.

“(Addicts) need to be healed and we need to help them on that way, to their way of being healed,” Carter said. “That’s what we’re trying to do.”

A Gwinnett County Public Schools bond issue on the November ballot may be affected by the question of grass versus artificial turf, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

The issue to be decided by that referendum, scheduled to be on the ballot Nov. 6, is whether the district should issue General Obligations Bonds worth as much as $350 million to pay for certain projects, including whether to install artificial turf on schools’ athletic fields.

Gwinnett has long been one of the few holdouts among metro Atlanta school systems in making a transition to some sort of artificial turf over the last decade or so.

Gwinnett County athletics director Jon Weyher declined comment when contacted earlier this week, except to say that there are many issues related to artificial turf, including financial and safety impacts, and logistics should the referendum pass and that he is in discussions with school board officials and individual school administrators.

While there have been no published studies yet looking at short- and long-term financial impacts of installing turf in Gwinnett, a report in the Cherokee Tribune and Ledger-News when the Cherokee decision came down in March indicated that the Cherokee school board projected a savings of $1.8 million over 10 years, mainly from decreased maintenance costs.

Macon-Bibb County Commissioners appear to have reached consensus on the property tax millage rate, according to the Macon Telegraph.

After being unable to agree on a property tax rate for months, the commission voted 5-4 in favor of a 3-mill tax increase at a special called meeting Thursday. It will now vote on finalizing a 20.483 millage rate at 3 p.m. Aug. 16 in the Macon-Bibb County Government Center.

Also, commissioners have to decide how that extra $12 million in revenue would be split up among various agencies such as museums, the transit authority, libraries, Macon-Bibb recreation, parks and beautification departments, and Bowden Golf Course.

Without funding, the Washington Memorial Library will shut down Aug. 16. The Macon Transit Authority only has enough money to keep it running through August. And the jobs of more than 100 county employees hang in the balance.

Commissioner Bert Bivins said commissioners have to be willing to change their minds and support an increase that is for the betterment of the community.

Hall County rolled out a new strategic plan, according to AccessWDUN.

Hall County Administrator Jock Connell said the county wanted to put a strategic plan together to prepare for the growth and development its experienced over the last several years.

“The discussion started last summer,” Connell said. “That growth is going to continue and it’s really important that we determine what are our strategic objectives and frame those in such a way that they help the county to move forward, you know, not just in the short run but more importantly in the long run.”

Connell said because the document is not legally binding or required by the state or federal government, the commission will not have to vote to adopt it.

Polk Medical Center has benefited from tax credits for donors to rural hospitals, according to the Rome News-Tribune.

The credit is designed to connect donors and hospitals by making a large percentage of the donations given to a list of hospitals statewide who need financial assistance for a variety of programs they’d otherwise couldn’t afford themselves. The credit in past years hasn’t been fully spent and at least one local legislator wanted to help.

State Rep. Trey Kelley, R-Cedartown, said to members of the Cedartown-Polk County Hospital Authority that the state house and senate put into place an amendment to increase the percentage of tax credits someone can then apply toward their state income or business tax.

“It’s something that we’ve tried to get right over the past couple of years. It started at 80 percent, and we moved it up to 90 percent. This year I carried the standalone bill that made it a true dollar-for-dollar match that would make it the silver bullet to get it right.”

This year’s fund allowed for $60 million statewide for more than 40 hospitals, with Polk Medical Center included on that list from years past with the program and earning $550,000 in donations for its percentage allowed.

The hospital could have taken in up to $4 million in donations.

“Our goal is to try to be able to meet the full amount next year,” Floyd Healthcare vice president Matt Gorman said.

Moody’s ratings agency has downgraded Georgia Power’s debt, according to the AJC.

The credit rating agency lowered the utility’s credit rating from A3 to Baa1, which according to the agency’s rating definitions signifies the company’s shift from low credit risk to moderate credit risk.

Early Wednesday, Georgia Power announced a $1.1 billion increase in the cost to complete construction at the twin nuclear units being built in Burke county. The company said the increase, announced eight months after the Georgia Public Service Commission certified $7.3 billion as the cost to complete construction, would be self-financed.

“Although the additional costs will be covered through new equity issuances at the Southern parent, the latest revised cost estimate risks damaging the ongoing support from regulators, given it occurred so soon after they vetted and approved an earlier estimate,” said Jeff Cassella, senior credit officer at Moody’s Investor Service.

Red Snapper season for recreational fishermen will open this weekend, according to the Savannah Morning News.

The recreational fishery will open for two consecutive three-day weekends: Aug. 10 to 12, and Aug. 17 to 19, with a one fish per person per day bag limit and no minimum size limit.

“That’s a very long-lived species,” said Kathy Knowlton, of Fisheries Management & Programmatic Support at the Georgia DNR. “The last few stock assessments showed it’s overfished. We have to be careful about the number, size, and age of those fished.”

During this special recreational season, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Fisheries Service will have personnel stationed along the coast to gather information from fishermen as they return from their fishing trips. The same will happen along the coasts of the Carolinas and the east coast of Florida with their respective state agencies. The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council manages the fish stocks from three to 200 miles offshore in these states.

Columbus 2025 is seeking ways to make the Georgia city more competitive for new jobs, according to the Ledger-Enquirer.

“The message from business and industry in the greater Columbus region has been heard loud and clear. Continued economic growth and expansion is highly dependent on a talented, educated workforce pipeline,” Jacki Lowe, a retired Georgia Power executive, said in a statement from Columbus 2025. She is chair of one of the group’s focus areas called, “Talented, Educated People.”

Columbus 2025 said it is bringing together 50-plus business, education and workforce organizations to launch what it’s calling a “Talent Coalition” to come up with a strategy for “creating a road map for talent development, retention, attraction and growth.”

“The time is now for Greater Columbus to talk strategically about its current and future talent pipeline,” Avalanche executive Chris Engle said in a statement.

The effort comes with the Columbus metro area now having a labor force of just over 127,000, with its total job count at 122,500, according to the Georgia Department of Labor. The current unemployment rate is 5.1 percent, the figure for June, which is higher than 4.4 percent in May. The July number will be released later this month.

Warner Robins issued a boil water advisory after a water main break, according to the Macon Telegraph.

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