Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 15, 2017

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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 15, 2017

On August 15, 1903, Georgia Governor Joseph Terrell signed legislation requiring that Georgia schools teach elementary agriculture and civics. Two days later, on August 17, 1903, the General Assembly condemned the practice of whipping female inmates.

The Panama Canal opened on August 15, 1914. On September 7, 1977, President Jimmy Carter signed a treaty promising to give the Canal to Panama.

Georgia Governor Thomas Hardwick signed legislation creating the Georgia State Board of Forestry on August 15, 1921.

On August 15, 1969, the Woodstock Festival began in upstate New York.

Apocalypse Now by Francis Ford Coppolla was released on August 15, 1979.

Paul Anderson, known for years as the “Strongest Man in the World” for his weightlifting feats, died on August 15, 1994 in Vidalia, Georgia. Anderson was born in 1932 in Toccoa, Georgia. He won an Olympic gold medal in the sport of weightlifting in 1956.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Nathan Deal issued an Executive Order suspending Walton County Sheriff Joe Chapman from office for thirty days for thirty days.

From CBS46:

Gov. Nathan Deal has suspended Walton County Sheriff Joseph Chapman for 30 days following an investigation into his May 2016 arrest in Florida.

Surveillance video shows Chapman and Major Kipling Mercer get into a scuffle last May.  Both men were arrested.

Our investigation found they never reported the incident to the Peace Officer Standards and Training Council within 15 days as required.

Attorney General Chris Carr investigated the incident and according to a letter he sent to the governor, “Sheriff Chapman indicated to the committee that he regretted not having reported this matter to P.O.S.T. at an earlier time, but stated he was unaware of the 15-day reporting requirement.”

The Sheriff’s suspension will take effect on Wednesday, August 16. CBS46 asked the governor’s office if the suspension will be with or without pay and a spokesperson said it’s a county decision.

In addition, P.O.S.T. is investigating the incident and could take up the issue in October.

Senator Johnny Isakson held a Town Hall at Kennesaw State University last night.

Isakson’s first remarks were a stern rebuke of the racist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend and received a standing ovation for doing so. The senator singled out the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis and other racist groups as having no place in American discourse.“We can have differences over a lot of things, but there’s never going to be a difference over human dignity, the right to life and the right to live in the freest, greatest country on Earth without fear of intimidation because of your race, your religion, your sex, your national origin or any other factor,” Isakson said.

One of the hottest topics of the night was health care. An advocate for people with developmental disabilities from Temple asked Isakson why he voted for the failed Senate health care plan that would have stripped insurance from millions of Americans, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Isakson said he did not like the bills, but voted for them with the belief that the plan would be improved in a conference committee.

“I couldn’t get to where I wanted to go unless I followed the road that led me there,” Isakson said. “If I was going to downtown Atlanta and didn’t get on 75, I probably couldn’t get there. But getting on 75 and fighting traffic would eventually get me where I wanted to go. And where you are is where I wanted to go.”

Many of the questioners said they wanted Congressional leaders not to repeal the Affordable Care Act and to expand Medicaid in Georgia.

Isakson did not commit to either of those actions, but said he will work to ensure Americans have access to health care.

“I know how lucky I’ve been all my life, how fortunate to live in America,” he said, adding that he does not intend for the government to cut services for people with disabilities.

Isakson said he wants to replace the individual mandate with “something better,” and gave the example of how requiring drivers to have auto insurance to get their license increased the number of people with auto insurance in Georgia.

The Fulton County Board of Elections voted against a proposal to change some voting precinct locations.

The Fulton County Board of Elections met on Monday to discuss proposed changes to several polling locations in predominately black neighborhoods in Fulton County.

The board voted to reject those changes for now.

After many voters said the changes would affect mainly African-Americans, the American Civil Liberties Union fired back with a lawsuit, claiming voters weren’t given proper notice of the changes. That lawsuit was filed on July 18.

Georgia law requires election officials to publish proposed polling place changes for at least 14 consecutive days before approving them. The Board had published the proposed changes just 6 days in advance.

State Rep. Betty Price (R-Roswell) now says she’s unlikely to run for Mayor of Roswell.

Dr. Price, the former City Council member and wife of U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Tom Price, said she is considering the run “like anything else,” but the likelihood of her running is not a great one.

“I’m very happy where I am in the legislature, and our issues there are in line with my experience,” she said, adding it would not be “wise” to abandon the State House District 48 seat to run for mayor. “I can’t imagine running, but a lot of people are encouraging me.”

The man who filed the lawsuit against Wood, Michael Litten, has already declared his candidacy several months ahead of next week’s qualifying period.

When asked if she planned to endorse anyone, Price said she will most likely sit on the sidelines, as it will be a “good sport to watch” candidates battle for the hearts and minds of Roswell voters.

 

The Muscogee County School District will ask Board of Education members to approve a loan to address a delay in property tax collections.

The Muscogee County School District administration plans to ask the school board next week to approve a resolution authorizing a short-term loan that would plug the expected gap in delayed local revenue as the Columbus Consolidated Government deals with thousands of appeals from property owners upset about their assessments soaring by as much as tenfold.

The delay is a bigger issue for the school board than the Columbus Council because MCSD receives a larger percentage of the Columbus property tax revenue than the Columbus Consolidated Government, approximately a 60-40 split, and 41 percent of MCSD’s fiscal year 2018 revenue is expected to come from local property taxes while the figure is 31 percent for CCG.

Although the school district previously announced it postponed nonessential expenditures while CCG deals with the property tax controversy, MCSD chief financial officer Theresa Thornton told the Muscogee County School Board during its monthly work session Monday evening the administration now recommends securing a Tax Anticipation Note.

If the board approves the resolution during its Aug. 21 meeting, Thornton said, the administration must decide by the September meeting whether to seek the loan through a request for proposals or an invitation to bid for the funds to be available by October and for MCSD to pay back the loan by the end of December.

The University of Georgia New Faculty Tour stopped in Tifton and Griffin, where Georgia Agriculture was highlighted.

The tour, which introduces new UGA faculty members to economic mainstays throughout the state during a five-day trip, visited the Food Product Innovation and Commercialization Center (FoodPIC) at UGA-Griffin Wednesday. Thursday, the tour stopped at UGA-Tifton, where faculty visited the energy-efficient Future Farmstead home and learned about peanut breeding and dairy research, according to a UGA press release.

“We are very happy the New Faculty Tour made a stop at the Griffin campus this year,” said Lew Hunnicutt, assistant provost and UGA-Griffin director. “They had a great tour and a great meal and I think they left impressed with what we offer at the Griffin campus.”

n terms of Georgia agricultural production, which totaled $13.8 billion in farm gate value in 2015, UGA-Tifton is an important stop on the tour every year, said Joe West, assistant dean for UGA-Tifton.

“What makes Georgia agriculture unique is its diversity,” West said. “Multiple commodities dominate the agricultural landscape and I’m glad we are able to showcase a few of those.”

“It is important for these new faculty members to learn about the importance of agriculture to the state and the many ways the University of Georgia is helping Georgia farmers sustain their operations,” said Laura Meadows, UGA interim vice president for public service and outreach. “Most of the faculty members on the tour are new to Georgia, many are new to the South, and they need to understand the major drivers of the economy here.”

Forest Park Mayor David Lockhart is on the defense for allegedly partying at a strip club.

While partying at Rumors strip club on a Friday night, several customers recognized him and called a local Forest Park councilwoman.

“They said he was a mess, dancing on stage, twirling his shirt around, walking around, and falling over on people. People holding him up,” said Latresa Wells.

We caught up with Mayor Lockhart at the ribbon cutting for a new restaurant in the city.  He explained before he was Mayor, he was a lead singer in a band and he likes to entertain people.

Then, we showed him a picture sent to us of him, apparently wearing a bra in the middle of the barroom.

“That’s just outrageous, isn’t it? It looks outrageous to me,” admitted Lockhart. “Not sure if that’s a tank or what. In any case, would I advertise that? No, absolutely not. I wouldn’t advertise that, but it’s ok to act silly from time to time, in the right circumstances.”

City Councilwoman Sandra Bagley defends her Mayor and believes all the attention is due to the fact that David Lockhart is up for reelection.

“I don’t think it’s fair. I think its trial in media.  Exactly what I feel, trial in media during an election year,” said Bagley.

But councilwoman Wells, an admitted political adversary sees it differently.

“You represent everyone who voted for you to be Mayor of our city. It’s not only embarrassing to your family and council members; it’s embarrassing to the entire city.”

The Hall County Board of Education voted to fund a program called “We Celebrate All That Unites Us” in response to Charlottesville.

Augusta National Golf Club is suing to prevent the sale of a green jacket.

Augusta National Inc. filed the federal lawsuit against Florida-based Green Jacket Auctions Inc. seeking to stop the company from selling a champion’s green jacket and two member green jackets, as well as silverware and a belt buckle bearing Augusta National’s map and flag logo.

The jacket may not be removed from the Augusta National grounds except during the first year after it is presented, according to the lawsuit. After that first year, the jacket must be stored on Augusta National premises and can only be used on the grounds and during the annual tournament. Augusta National said it owns the jackets, and the champions have “possessory rights” when they’re on Augusta National grounds.

The same rules apply to the member green jackets, except they may never leave Augusta National grounds, the lawsuit says. Each jacket is marked for identification and authenticity.

“It appears that Augusta National Golf Club is attempting to assert ownership claims to every green jacket ever produced, regardless of who currently owns or possesses the jackets,” Green Jacket Auctions co-owner Ryan Carey said in an email. “Obviously we at Green Jacket Auctions dispute such claims, and will litigate the matter, if necessary.”

The jacket was where it was supposed to be, in storage at Augusta National, during a physical inventory in 2009. But a recent check determined that it is now missing, the lawsuit says. It is unclear how the jacket and other items ended up on the auction block.

By mid-afternoon Monday, the online bidding on the jacket, which closes at 8 p.m. Saturday, had reached $114,874.

Former Bibb County Superintendent Romain Dallemand pled guilty to taking a $100,000 bribe.

Grand jurors indicted Macon-Bibb County Industrial Authority Chairman Cliffard Whitby, 54, of Forsyth on charges of conspiracy to pay a bribe to an agent of an organization receiving federal funds, conspiracy to launder the proceeds of unlawful activity, and five counts of paying a bribe to an agent of an organization receiving federal funds, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

In a move related to the indictment, former school Superintendent Romain Dallemand, 49, pleaded guilty in Florida Wednesday to filing a false tax return for 2012, under-reporting his income and over-reporting his itemized deductions, according to a statement from federal prosecutors.

The indictment, unsealed Friday morning, said Whitby approached Dallemand sometime between August 2011 and June 2012 “to ensure Dallemand would support” the Promise Neighborhood plan. That was an ambitious project designed to help transform the impoverished Unionville and Tindall Heights neighborhoods so students there — and their families — would have better lives.

Later, Whitby “offered Dallemand $100,000 for his support.” Dallemand, the indictment said, “accepted this offer and agreed to support” the program.

Later, Whitby offered Dallemand 10 percent of the $1 million the school district would contribute to the Promise Neighborhood program each year, the indictment said. “Thus, Whitby indicated that Dallemand would be paid $100,000 every year for 10 years for his continued support” of the program.

Dallemand accepted this offer and “understood that he needed to ensure the (Bibb County school district) continued to financially support” the Promise Neighborhood plan.

Dallemand received a $100,000 check from Whitby on Nov. 19, 2012, “with assistance from” Harold Knowles, part owner of Pinnacle/CSG, a Florida-based construction company that was contracted to provide software to the Bibb school system in 2012, according to Dallemand’s plea agreement.

2018 Elections

State Rep. Stacey Abrams (D-Atlanta), a candidate for Governor in 2018, called for the removal of the Stone Mountain carving.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams called for the removal of the giant carving that depicts three Confederate war leaders on the face of state-owned Stone Mountain, saying it “remains a blight on our state and should be removed.”

“We must never celebrate those who defended slavery and tried to destroy the union,” Abrams said in a series of tweets posted early Tuesday, a response to the deadly violence sparked by white supremacist groups in Charlottesville, Va.

The Georgia code has a clear mandate for the memorial, saying it should be “preserved and protected for all time as a tribute to the bravery and heroism of the citizens of this state who suffered and died in their cause.”

Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle (R-Gainesville) held a rally in Buford last night.

Atlanta resident Angelic Moore considers herself a “huge supporter” of Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and his wife, Nina — so much so that she hopped in her car and drove to Buford on Monday night to show it.

Moore was among the supporters who attended the Women for Cagle Rally at the Buford Community Center. The event was a launch of sorts for the Cagle campaign’s effort to reach out to women voters, although there were a few men and several children in the crowd as well.

More than 60 people attended the rally, including local officials, grassroots Republican activists and families. The event was first of several campaign events Cagle will attend around north Georgia throughout the week.

It was sort of a hybrid between a political rally and an end of summer party, with the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office showing off its Jail Dogs program in the parking lot and a balloon artist making balloon animals and play toys for kids.

Cagle also laid out his vision for the state as he addressed the crowd. He said he wanted to address Medicaid issues to make sure groups such as senior citizens, the blind and people with disabilities can get medical care while still being fiscally responsible.

Cagle also pledged to cut taxes by $100 million for a family of four, to create 500,000 new jobs, to invest infrastructure, such as building out the road system, and to focus on workforce development.

“When you look at Georgia, there is so much opportunity, so much chance, to be first in class in every category, and we’re going to do that,” he said.

Buford-based Sen. Renee Unterman, who is the Women for Cagle chairwoman, said the idea behind the group is to highlight women-related topics, such as health issues, medical care and issues facing the elderly.

“Women for Cagle is focusing on those types of issues, and we have Nurses for Cagle and different groups to get women out to vote,” Unterman said. “We’re excited about it.”

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