Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for June 10, 2015


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for June 10, 2015

Bridget Bishop was the first person hanged after being convicted of practicing witchcraft in the Salem witch trials on June 10, 1692.

On June 10, 1793, Washington, DC officially replaced Philadelphia as the Capital of the United States. To honor Washington, today we will adopt a smugly superior attitude, name-drop constantly, and speak condescendingly to those who currently live in the states we used to live in.

Rebecca Latimer Felton was born on June 10, 1835 in Decatur, Georgia and later became the first woman to serve in the United States Senate after being appointed by Governor Thomas Hardwick to fill a vacancy in 1922.

The United States Naval Academy graduated its first class on June 10, 1854.

The Girl Scouts of America were incorporated in Washington, DC on June 10, 1915.

The Republican National Convention in Cleveland became the first political convention broadcast on the radio on June 10, 1924.

Alcoholics Anonymous was founded on June 10, 1935.

President John F. Kennedy signed the 1963 Equal Pay Act on June 10, 1963.

I AM delighted today to approve the Equal Pay Act of 1963, which prohibits arbitrary discrimination against women in the payment of wages. This act represents many years of effort by labor, management, and several private organizations unassociated with labor or management, to call attention to the unconscionable practice of paying female employees less wages than male employees for the same job. This measure adds to our laws another structure basic to democracy. It will add protection at the working place to the women, the same rights at the working place in a sense that they have enjoyed at the polling place.

While much remains to be done to achieve full equality of economic opportunity–for the average woman worker earns only 60 percent of the average wage for men–this legislation is a significant step forward.

Apple Computer shipped the first Apple II computers on June 10, 1977.

Coca-Cola introduced Classic Coke on June 10, 1985.

Ray Charles, who was born in Albany, Georgia died on June 10, 2004.

Those of you who attended the 2003 Inaugural of Governor Sonny Perdue will remember that Ray Charles played that night.

Georgia Politics

DeKalb County Commissioner Nancy Jester released a statement yesterday:

The ban on P-Cards in DeKalb County is long overdue and just a beginning to reforms needed in DeKalb to restore trust, bring real reform, and establish true transparency, ethics, and integrity back to DeKalb County government.

I support serious efforts to expose abuse, corruption, and malfeasance. Exposing abuse of P-Cards is not small potatoes or sensationalism – it is uncovering waste and evidence of criminal activity, which must be sent to the appropriate legal authority and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Upon my election, I directed that my office would not receive any P-Cards or participate in the use of P-Cards. I have repeatedly called for my fellow Commissioners to voluntarily suspend using P-Cards. It is regrettable that it took the expense of taxpayer dollars on special investigators to force the County to end the P-Card program in DeKalb County.

It is extremely troubling that an audit of the county’s purchasing-card spending found lax oversight of the program and receipts missing for some expenses.

The audit found that the DeKalb Board of Commissioners, and its staff, have spent $257,170 on P-cards since 2006. Receipts were submitted for only 57 percent of those transactions. It is essential that every single penny of taxpayer money spent by a DeKalb County Commissioner and staff be accounted for. Failure to do so is unacceptable.

Contrary to some who have suggested too much emphasis has been placed on investigating P-Card abuse, I call upon appropriate law enforcement agencies to move with all haste to prosecute those who have used P-Cards to waste and misuse taxpayer dollars.

Common sense and integrity does not require a recommendation from special investigators after the fact – it is essential the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners restore trust by making all their records relating to P-Cards public – immediately.

I want to be clear; I know the vast majority of employees of DeKalb County are hard-working people who do their jobs everyday with honor and dignity.  However, it is imperative the taxpayers of DeKalb County know we are serious about restoring the public’s confidence and seeing all who abuse their tax dollars face scrutiny and justice.

Among the goofy purchases by DeKalb County officials and employees, according to the AJC,

• questionable purchases such as dance lessons, computers and international plane flights…
•  Flowers
• Membership dues to bar associations and private organizations
• “Self-aggrandizing” donations to charities
• Employee meals totaling thousands of dollars
• Coffee, water and break room supplies

Congratulations and condolences to State Rep. Tom Taylor (R-Dunwoody) who takes over the Chairmanship of the MARTA Committee, providing legislative oversight for MARTA.

As we predicted, Rebecca Chase Williams was appointed Mayor of Brookhaven by her colleagues on City Council last night and took the oath of office from DeKalb State Court Judge Mike Jacobs.

“I look forward to the opportunity to continue to build a great city, where our mission statement says we strive to be a national model, a place where our residents and businesses flourish,” Williams said. “I will continue to build on the work already accomplished, to learn from experience and to build a government that is exceptional in all regards.”

Following Mayor Williams’ oath, she appointed District 1 resident Linley Jones to represent that district. The election for that seat will also be this November.

The councilmembers elected District 3 Councilman Bates Mattison as Mayor Pro Tem.

Bill Torpy of the AJC challenges DeKalb County voters to show up at the polls in the Special Election for District 5 Commissioner.

And then he continues on the AJC paysite,

A special election Tuesday [June 16th] will begin the process of determining, once and for all, whose bottom should warm the seat that represents southeast DeKalb for the next 18 months.

District 5 has suffered all sorts of indignities in recent years: a rash of foreclosures, low graduation rates and high crime stats, all compounded by 22 months of having no district commissioner to articulate the frustrations of its 145,000 citizens.

So far, during two weeks of early voting, barely 150 people have bothered to cast ballots. That’s right, the district has been without adult supervision for two years, and corruption is routinely uncovered, but just 10 people out of 95,000 registered voters come in each day to vote.

Maxine Daniels, DeKalb’s elections director, remains optimistic, thinking the compressed election cycle has caused voters to delay casting their ballots so they can compare and contrast the candidates.

Even so, special elections are notoriously unattended. She figures 5 percent is a normal turnout. That means maybe 5,000 voters will turn out and two candidates can survive to the July runoff by garnering as few as 1,000 votes each.

For fun, here’s a map of early votes cast in DeKalb, Fulton, and Forsyth Counties.

Gov. Deal Announcements

Governor Nathan Deal announced yesterday that German auto parts manufacturer NIFCO KTW will locate its US operations in Toccoa, Georgia, bringing 200 new jobs.

“Automotive suppliers such as NIFCO KTW choose Georgia because they trust that our state is the best place to grow their business,” said Deal. “Stephens County boasts pro-business resources and a ready-to-work community that provides a stable foundation for global companies to flourish. After more than 40 years of business ties with Germany in this region, I look forward to the high-quality jobs that this thriving, industry-leading company will bring to this community and our state.”
NIFCO KTW supplies many automotive manufacturers around the world. The Toccoa-based facility will supply injection-molded parts to BMW and Mercedes-Benz USA, among others. The quality injection components can be found on the interior and exterior of a variety of vehicles.”

“We at NIFCO KTW are proud and feel very fortunate to have found Toccoa in Stephens County as the home of our new U.S. headquarters and production facility in North America,” said NIFCO KTW Managing Director Roland Furtmayr. “Local and regional connectivity is the basis for our success in Germany and we strive to do the same in the U.S. We would like to offer our qualified and motivated employees pleasant and attractive surroundings. In the City of Toccoa, we have found the perfect partner in North America for this goal. NIFCO KTW looks forward to becoming a reliable and successful employer that contributes to positive economic development in Stephens County.”

Deal also announced that state revenues in May 2015 were up 3.1% over the previous May.

Georgia’s net tax revenue for May 2015 totaled $1.43 billion, which was an increase of nearly $43.3 million, or 3.1 percent, over May 2014. Year-to-date, net tax revenue collections totaled $17.21 billion, for an increase of $1.09 billion, or 6.8 percent, compared to the previous fiscal year, when net tax revenues totaled $16.12 billion through 11 months.

Year-to-date gross tax collections, before refunds and distributions to local governments, totaled nearly $24.14 billion, which was an increase of roughly $1.41 billion, or 6.2 percent, compared to the year-to-date total of $22.73 billion in May 2014.

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