Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 12, 2015


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 12, 2015

Georgia and American History

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 12, 1864, Confederate General John B. Hood prohibited Confederate soldier 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.

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.

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.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Democrat Taylor Bennett won the Special Runoff Election in State House District 80, handing Democrats a majority of the Fulton County Legislative Delegation and strengthening their bargaining position on statewide legislation.

Bennett’s election gives Democrats control of Fulton County’s legislative delegation, where Republicans had held a 13-12 majority.

His win also gives Democrats more than one-third of the seats in the state House, which is enough to block constitutional amendment bills from passing if each party were to vote together.

In Houston County, Republican Shaw Blackmon won the Special Runoff Election for State House District 146.

It is Blackmon’s first elected office, though he has been a member of the Technical College System of Georgia’s board of directors, among other appointments.

During the campaign, both Shaw and Walker stood on broadly center-right platforms and promised to look after Robins Air Force Base.

Shaw, who owns a bank supply business, emphasized making government “simpler,” with less red tape.

It was a pricey race. Each man reported raising about $100,000 through the first week in August.

Blackmon will complete the roughly one year remaining in the term of former House Majority Leader Larry O’Neal, R-Bonaire. O’Neal left the Legislature this year to take a judgeship at the Georgia Tax Tribunal.

In South Georgia, Republican Clay Pirkle won the Special Runoff Election for State House District 155.

Turner County farmer Clay Pirkle won the election with 59 percent of the vote, beating out former Ocilla Mayor Horace Hudgins, who took in 41 percent.

Pirkle ran up a strong margin in Tift County, garnering 466 votes to 166 for Hudgins and his home county, Turner, where he took a nearly 3-1 margin. Hudgins won Irwin County narrowly and the remaining counties both went for Pirkle by closer margins.

Johns Creek City Council set qualifying for the November City Council elections.

Qualifying for candidates interested in running in posts 2, 4, 5, and 6 is set for 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m. Aug. 31-Sept. 2 in the city clerk’s office at city hall, 12000 Findley Road, Suite 400.

During the special election, voters will fill the unexpired Post 2 slot of Brad Raffensperger, whose term expires Dec. 31 of this year. They’ll also pick a replacement for Post 5 member Kelly Stewart, whose unexpired term ends Dec. 31, 2017. Both resigned to run for a seat in the Georgia House.

The City of Camilla, Georgia also set qualifying for November elections for two City Council seats, as well as Mayor.

Candidate qualifying in the September 15th Special Election for Fayette County Commission closes at noon Friday.

Candidates must reside in District 5 now, have lived in the county at least 12 months before the special election, be 21 or older, and have not been convicted of a felony unless pardoned by the state.

The qualifying fee is $595.29; candidates can register at the Board of Elections office at 140 Stonewall Ave., Suite 208, in Fayetteville.

Speaking of the Fayette County Commission special election, the legal bill hit the million dollar mark in the fight over whether the seat will be elected by all County voters as an at-large seat or within a single Commission district.

On Wednesday, the board agreed to abide by a judge’s ruling to use district voting in an upcoming special election.

That means her replacement can only be elected by those in her district.

The legal battle has lasted four years and used $1 million in taxpayer money. And while the county board will not fight the ruling on this special election, it continues to fight to preserve a system of voting most Georgia counties have left behind.

If the current legal decision stands, the county would not just have to pay it’s own legal fees, but that of the plaintiff. And those fees currently stand at $850,000 – nearly doubling the tax dollars already spent.

In Houston County, it was incumbent members of the Board of Education, rather than voters, who chose two new members of the Board.

[T]he Houston County school board named a pair of interim members at Tuesday’s meeting.

Lori Johnson will represent District 2, while Dave Crockett will represent District 3.

Johnson, who owns a State Farm insurance agency in Warner Robins, has three sons in the Houston County School System — Payton is a senior at Houston County High, Mitchell is a sophomore and Brock is in second grade at Lake Joy Primary School. Additionally, she worked in the Barrow County school district in Georgia and the Greenville County schools in South Carolina with a master’s degree in education from the University of Georgia.

“It’s definitely an honor to be chosen by the board, and I look forward to working with them,” she said.

For residents of Perry, which District 3 covers, Crockett’s name might be a familiar one. He was the football coach at Perry High School from 1979 to 1983 and also served as athletic director there for five years. That stint came in the middle of a 30-year stretch of full-time work in the county that included classroom teaching and even administration.

Since his retirement, he’s come back for other roles including interim principal at Hilltop Elementary and assistant principal at Bonaire Middle School.

“I think it’s valuable having those experiences, being able to share with the board some of those experiences,” Crockett said.

The Byron City Council is moving toward increasing the existing hotel/motel tax, according to the Macon Telegraph.

Monday, the City Council heard the first reading of a measure to increase the tax on hotels and motels from 5 percent to 6 percent, said Byron Mayor Pro Tem Michael Chidester.

Chidester said the increase originated with the Byron Convention & Visitors Bureau with approval from area hotel and motel owners who hope the increased tax will generate more business. Half the money generated through the hotel-motel tax are mandated to be used for promoting the city’s visitor and tourist trade through brochures, billboards and other means.

Chidester said the Georgia General Assembly already has given necessary approval for the increase. All that remains is for the council to give its final approval, which is scheduled for September.

Politico writer Katie Glueck has Five Takeaways from the Red State Gathering, which is worth reading in its entirety, but we’ll highlight one.

4. There were lots of Carly Fiorina fans, but not necessarily Carly Fiorina voters.

The former Hewlett-Packard CEO, fresh off a stand-out performance in the second-tier debate Thursday night, delivered another well-received speech Friday — she took in more audience questions than any other candidate, according to organizers. Fiorina, one of her party’s fiercest critics of Hillary Clinton, earned some of the loudest applause of the day when she slammed the former secretary of state for “lying” about the terrorist attacks in Benghazi, and about her email practices. But even after that, while many attendees said they liked her and found her impressive, but no one interviewed by POLITICO named her as a first choice, though several said they were interested in taking a closer look.

Is it a case of “Hit dog hollers” that led DeKalb County iCEO Lee May to move to shut down the investigation he started by former Georgia Attorney General Mike Bowers?

With crimes and scandals piling up around him, interim CEO Lee May announced a plan to hunt down corruption and hand over any rogues to the proper authorities. And he had just the man for the job: former Georgia Attorney General Mike Bowers, who with investigator Richard Hyde had tracked criminal misdeeds in the Atlanta Public Schools cheating scandal.

May pledged not to get in the way, and said Bowers and his team could look into other elected officials if they chose to participate.

Four and-a-half months later, and that unfettered investigation seems to be blowing up in May’s face. Bowers and his team have been putting heat on top leaders who are none too pleased, aiming to shut the probe down. May even apologized to one high-ranking official who received a request for spending records, assuring him he would tell the investigators to back off.

“What did he think was going to happen when he said, ‘Investigate us from top to bottom?’” Commissioner Nancy Jester said of May last week. “I think the investigation is too close to something, something that he’s uncomfortable with.”


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