Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 14, 2018


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 14, 2018

On August 14, 1784, Russians invaded settled Alaska, founding the first permanent Russian settlement at Three Saints Bay.

Dentist, gambler, and gunfighter Doc Holliday was born on August 14, 1851 in Griffin, Georgia.

On August 14, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln hosted a group of African-American men at the White House to discuss emancipation of American slaves outside the United States as colonists.

The Second Battle of Dalton was joined on August 14, 1864.

The County Unit System of elections was created on August 14, 1917 when Governor Hugh Dorsey signed legislation by the General Assembly.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act on August 14, 1935. The road to perdition is paved with good intentions.

On August 14, 1945, the Japanese surrender to the Allies was made public in Japan.

In the afternoon of August 14, Japanese radio announced that an Imperial Proclamation was soon to be made, accepting the terms of unconditional surrender drawn up at the Potsdam Conference. That proclamation had already been recorded by the emperor.

A Special Session called by Governor Miller to address legislative redistricting after the United States Supreme Court threw out Georgia’s Congressional redistricting map was convened on August 14, 1995.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Former President Jimmy Carter endorsed Democrat Stacey Abrams for Governor, according to the AJC.

“Stacey Abrams’ experience, vision, and proven track record of building consensus across party lines are beyond compare, and I will work as hard as I can to elect her in November,” said Carter. “With Stacey Abrams in the governor’s mansion, our state will be in good hands and the Georgia of tomorrow will be bright.”

He’s the third U.S. president to weigh in on the nationally-watched race between Abrams and Republican Brian Kemp, a contest that’s already being seen as a warmup to the 2020 race for the White House.

Obama lined up behind Abrams earlier this month, and President Donald Trump’s support for Kemp in July powered the secretary of state to a dominating runoff victory. A late visit from Vice President Mike Pence helped the seal deal.

Some early voting forms sent out by the Democratic Party of Georgia contained errors, according to WABE.

Errors on forms for requesting absentee ballots that were sent to 30,000 potential Georgia voters by the campaign of Democrat Stacey Abrams are leading to questions from county election officials and threaten to confuse administrators ahead of the November midterms.

“We were concerned when we learned about this clerical error,” said Rebecca DeHart, executive director of the Georgia Democratic Party in an emailed statement. “But were relieved upon speaking with dozens of county officers that this would not impede counties’ ability to process the absentee ballot applications of Georgia voters exercising their rights.”

Incorrect voter identification numbers were included on pre-completed requests for absentee ballots prepared by Deliver Strategies. Over the weekend, the political mail vendor based in Virginia confirmed it was the source of the error.

The mailed requests, sent by the Abrams campaign on Aug. 1, include the name and address of the potential voter receiving them, and the address for the corresponding county election office.

These pre-completed absentee ballot requests are meant to make it easier for people to vote without going to a polling place. A potential voter can simply sign the form they receive and put it in the mail. In return, they should later receive an absentee ballot to complete and submit at their convenience.

U.S. Representative Karen Handel will host an opioid summit on Wednesday, August 15th at 2:30 PM at Sandy Springs City Hall.

Both candidates for Governor will appear at the Georgia Chamber of Commerce Congressional Luncheon in Macon next Tuesday, April 21st.

The Georgia Ports Authority announced July was its second-busiest month ever, according to the Savannah Morning News.

For the month starting July 1, the GPA moved 378,767 twenty-foot equivalent container units (TEUs), an increase of 12.7 percent, or 42,668 TEUs, compared to the same month last year.

“July was an incredible start to our fiscal year, with double-digit growth across our container, breakbulk and dry bulk operations,” said GPA Executive Director Griff Lynch.

From July 2017 to June 2018, rail cargo rail cargo at Garden City Terminal increased by 16 percent (60,000 containers) for a total of 435,000 intermodal rail lifts.

Intermodal cargo in July was the busiest month on record with 41,070 container moves, for an increase of almost 21 percent (7,087 containers) compared to July 2017.

“Greater capacity, via cost-effective 14,000-TEU vessels transiting the Panama Canal, makes Savannah an even more competitive option to serve the Eastern U.S.,” said Lynch. “This, in part, is driving an increase in rail moves to markets such as Memphis and Nashville.”

Lula City Council member Vince Evans resigned his office this week, according to the Gainesville Times.

Joseph Homans, Lula’s city attorney, said Monday that a special election to fill Evans’ seat could not be held in conjunction with the Nov. 6 statewide general election because the 90-day cutoff date had already passed. Lula could hold its own special election entirely separate from all other ballot issues in the general election, but that may create voter confusion and lead to low turnout.

The next available special election date would be March 19, 2019, Homans said. The council will discuss the special election at their Monday, Aug. 20 meeting.

Breatheasy Rome is asking the City Commission to adopt a smoke-free ordinance, according to the Rome News-Tribune.

“Rome is known for being a healthcare community,” said Gena Agnew with the Northwest Georgia Cancer Coalition. “I think we deserve to be a healthy community.”

The group, called Breatheasy Rome, appeared before the commission during caucus Monday night to appeal for support of the ordinance which is modeled after proposals supported by the American Lung Association and American Cancer Society. The aim is to reduce exposure to second-hand smoke and vapor, and their associated risks.

The coalition is supported by Rome Floyd Cancer Initiative, the Northwest Georgia Regional Cancer Coalition, the Floyd County Health Department, Floyd Medical Center, Harbin Clinic, Redmond Regional Medical Center, Rome Radiology and Southeastern Pathology.

Beyond the Georgia Smokefree Air Act, signed by Governor Sonny Perdue in May 2005, tough smoking ordinances have been passed in other cities including Savannah, Augusta and Canton. The latter two cities approved new ordinances, similar to what Breatheasy is proposing, earlier this year.

Augusta University hosted a symposium on opioid abuse titled, “Working Together to Combat the Opioid Epidemic,” according to the Augusta Chronicle.

Dr. Patrice Harris, an Atlanta physician and president-elect of the American Medical Association, was one of the symposium’s guest speakers. She said there are many factors that have led to the epidemic and there is no single solution, but people need to work together to find ways to combat it.

“People that have substance use disorders don’t have a moral failing. It’s not a character flaw,” she said. “These are brain disorders and we have to make sure that we treat substance use disorders in the same manner that we treat every other chronic illness like diabetes or high blood pressure, with compassion and with care.”

Dr. Steffen Meiler, chairman of the Medical College of Georgia Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine, said that different departments in the medical college are working together to find ways to treat patients without opioids. Meiler said they have found ways for patients to have operations and never receive opioids during or after them.

Meiler said the rise in prescription of opioids to patients fueled the problem. According to Meiler, the number of opioid prescriptions more than tripled to about 210 million from 1991 to 2011. He is optimistic that those numbers can be lowered.

Democratic State Senate candidate Evan Ross is raffling off 200 trigger locks, according to the Rome News-Tribune.

“Part of it is a contrast to (Republican gubernatorial candidates) Michael Williams or Brian Kemp giving away bump stocks,” Evan Ross said with a laugh.

“But, look, I’m a gun owner, I have a concealed-carry permit, I support the Second Amendment,” he added. “I just want to emphasize that Northwest Georgia gun owners are very responsible people and they want to be safe.”

Ross — a 49-year-old husband and father who manages deliveries for two local organic farms — is challenging incumbent Republican Chuck Hufstetler for the District 52 seat. The district covers all of Floyd and parts of Chattooga, Gordon and Bartow counties.

“There’s nothing wrong with raffling off trigger locks as a political gimmick,” Hufstetler shrugged. “But I don’t think it’s as effective as people locking up their guns separately.”

“We need to enforce existing laws and put an increased focus on mental health,” Hufstetler said. “We also need to continue to lift people out of poverty. I think that would have more of an effect.”

Statesboro, Bulloch County, and the Bulloch County Board of Education have approved a new Tax Allocation District, according to the Statesboro Herald.

Statesboro City Council’s vote the morning of Aug. 7 was key because the city is the “redevelopment agency” creating the TAD, or tax allocation district. But the Bulloch County Board of Commissioners later that day and the Board of Education on Thursday joined an intergovernmental agreement that also commits their property tax revenue gains in the district after Dec. 31 to public infrastructure for the project.

Centered on The Clubhouse family entertainment center and an area between it and Veterans Memorial Parkway where Tormenta’s 5,000-seat pro soccer stadium complex is planned, the district will encompass almost 290 acres. Also envisioning businesses along the outside of the parkway from the Old Register Road intersection to a proposed extension of Akins Boulevard, the plan was presented as $160.5 million in potential private investment in search of an estimated $4.75 million in public spending, mostly for roads.

“We’ve got the support of the three taxing entities,” South Georgia Tormenta FC President Darin Van Tassell said Thursday evening. “This sends a pretty clear signal to the grocery store group, so there’s that piece, as well as we now start preparing to develop the Old Register Road area. It’s an exciting day for Statesboro.”

The Whitfield County Board of Education adopted the same property tax millage rate as last year, according to the Dalton Daily Citizen.

Board members voted 4-0 to keep the tax rate at 18.756 mills. Because of the growth of the tax digest, that rate will bring in $73,127 more in revenue than in 2017, so it’s considered a tax increase under state law and required public hearings. Board members held their final public hearing before voting to set the tax rate, but no members of the public were present.

The board has not raised the property tax rate since 2012.

“We are trying to be consistent,” said board Chairman Bill Worley. “We certainly don’t want to raise the rate.”

The property tax rate is forecast to bring in $32.838 million this year.

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