Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for June 11, 2021


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for June 11, 2021

The first Georgia-Florida war game weekend began on June 12, 1740, as Georgia founder James Oglethorpe led 400 soldiers landing opposite the Spanish fort at St. Augustine.

A “Liberty Tree” was planted in Savannah on June 13, 1775 to symbolize support for independence. The first liberty tree was an elm in Boston that became a meeting spot for patriots, but Savannah’s was actually a Liberty Pole. In 2006, a seedling grown from the last of the original Liberty Trees on the campus of St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland was planted in Dalton, Georgia.

The Marquis de Lafayette arrived in South Carolina to assist General George Washington on June 13, 1775.

On June 11, 1776, the Continental Congress appointed Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, John Adams of Massachusetts, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, Roger Sherman of Connecticut and Robert R. Livingston of New York to draft a declaration of independence from Britain. Language in the original draft that condemned the introduction of the slave trade in the colonies did not make the final draft.

The Virginia Convention adopted George Mason’s “Declaration of Rights” on June 12, 1776. From Wikipedia:

The Declaration was adopted unanimously by the Fifth Virginia Convention at Williamsburg, Virginia on June 12, 1776 as a separate document from the Constitution of Virginia which was later adopted on June 29, 1776. In 1830, the Declaration of Rights was incorporated within the Virginia State Constitution as Article I, but even before that Virginia’s Declaration of Rights stated that it was ‘”the basis and foundation of government” in Virginia. A slightly updated version may still be seen in Virginia’s Constitution, making it legally in effect to this day.

It was initially drafted by George Mason circa May 20, 1776; James Madison assisted him with the section on religious freedom.

The Virginia Declaration of Rights heavily influenced later documents. Thomas Jefferson is thought to have drawn on it when he drafted the United States Declaration of Independence in the same month (June 1776). James Madison was also influenced by the Declaration while drafting the Bill of Rights (introduced September 1789, ratified 1791), as was the Marquis de Lafayette in voting the French Revolution‘s Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen (1789).

The importance of the Virginia Declaration of Rights is that it was the first constitutional protection of individual rights, rather than protecting only members of Parliament or consisting of simple laws that can be changed as easily as passed.

Abraham Baldwin, founder of the University of Georgia, arrived in Philadelphia on June 11, 1787 to attend the Constitutional Convention. Baldwin was joined by three other delegates, William Few Jr., William Houston, and William Pierce; Baldwin and Few would sign the Constitution on behalf of Georgia.

On June 11, 1963, President John F. Kennedy issued proclamation 3542 ordering Governor George Wallace of Alabama to allow two African-American students to register at the University of Alabama, as ordered by a federal court.

On the morning of June 11, the day the students were expected to register, Wallace stood in front of the University of Alabama campus auditorium flanked by Alabama state troopers while cameras flashed and recorders from the press corps whirred. Kennedy, at the White House, and Deputy Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach, in Tuscaloosa, kept in touch by phone.

When Wallace refused to let the students enter for registration, Katzenbach phoned Kennedy. Kennedy upped the pressure on Wallace, immediately issuing Presidential Proclamation 3542, which ordered the governor to comply, and authorizing the secretary of defense to call up the Alabama National Guard with Executive Order 11111.

That afternoon, Katzenbach returned with the students and asked Wallace to step aside. Wallace, knowing he was beaten, relented, having saved face with his hard-line, anti-segregation constituency.

On June 13, 1966, the United States Supreme Court released its decision in Miranda v. Arizona. In Miranda, the Court held that a confession obtained by police without informing the suspect of his rights against self-incrimination (Fifth Amendment) and to the service of a lawyer (Sixth Amendment) was inadmissible.

Thurgood Marshall was appointed to the Supreme Court by President Lyndon B. Johnson on June 13, 1967.

As the NAACP’s chief counsel from 1938 to 1961, he argued 32 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, successfully challenging racial segregation, most notably in public education. He won 29 of these cases, including a groundbreaking victory in 1954′s Brown v. Board of Education, in which the Supreme Court ruled that segregation violated the 14th Amendment to the Constitution and was thus illegal. The decision served as a great impetus for the African American civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s and ultimately led to the abolishment of segregation in all public facilities and accommodations.

In 1961, President John F. Kennedy appointed Marshall to the U.S. Court of Appeals, but his nomination was opposed by many Southern senators, and he was not confirmed until the next year. In June 1967, President Johnson nominated him to the Supreme Court, and in late August he was confirmed. During his 24 years on the high court, Associate Justice Marshall consistently challenged discrimination based on race or sex, opposed the death penalty, and supported the rights of criminal defendants. He also defended affirmative action and women’s right to abortion. As appointments by a largely Republican White House changed the politics of the Court, Marshall found his liberal opinions increasingly in the minority. He retired in 1991, and two years later passed away.

The New York Times began publishing excerpts from the “Pentagon Papers” on June 13, 1971.

After failing to persuade the Times to voluntarily cease publication on June 14, Attorney General John N. Mitchell and Nixon obtained a federal court injunction forcing the Times to cease publication after three articles.Times publisher Arthur Ochs Sulzberger said:

Newspapers, as our editorial said this morning, we’re really a part of history that should have been made available, considerably longer ago. I just didn’t feel there was any breach of national security, in the sense that we were giving secrets to the enemy.

The newspaper appealed the injunction, and the case New York Times Co. v. United States (403 U.S. 713) quickly rose through the U.S. legal system to the Supreme Court.

On June 18, 1971, The Washington Post began publishing its own series of articles based upon the Pentagon Papers; Ellsberg gave portions to editor Ben Bradlee. That day, Assistant U.S. Attorney General William Rehnquist asked the Post to cease publication. After the paper refused, Rehnquist sought an injunction in U.S. district court. Judge Murray Gurfein declined to issue such an injunction, writing that “[t]he security of the Nation is not at the ramparts alone. Security also lies in the value of our free institutions. A cantankerous press, an obstinate press, a ubiquitous press must be suffered by those in authority in order to preserve the even greater values of freedom of expression and the right of the people to know.” The government appealed that decision, and on June 26 the Supreme Court agreed to hear it jointly with the New York Times case.Fifteen other newspapers received copies of the study and began publishing it.

On June 30, 1971, the Supreme Court decided, 6–3, that the government failed to meet the heavy burden of proof required for prior restraint injunction. The nine justices wrote nine opinions disagreeing on significant, substantive matters.

Only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government. And paramount among the responsibilities of a free press is the duty to prevent any part of the government from deceiving the people and sending them off to distant lands to die of foreign fevers and foreign shot and shell.

—Justice Black

On June 11, 1986, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off was released.

[T]he most memorable performer may have been an automobile: the 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California, a custom-built car revered by auto collectors.

According to Motor Trend, the first Ferrari 250 GT Spyder California—colloquially known as the “Cal Spyder”—was produced in 1957 and the last was built in early 1963. In addition to the long-wheelbase (LWB) Spyder, Ferrari also produced a sportier, short-wheelbase (SWB) model. Though estimates vary as to exactly how many were made—Cameron says “less than a hundred” in the film—approximately 46 LWB and between 50 and 57 SWB Spyders were produced in all. For “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” the filmmakers used a modified MGB roadster with a fiberglass body as a stand-in for the Ferrari. The filmmakers reportedly received angry letters from car enthusiasts who believed that a real Ferrari had been damaged.

One 1961 250 GT SWB Spyder California, with chassis number GT 2377GT, belonged to the actor James Coburn (“The Magnificent Seven”), who died in 2002. On May 18, 2008, at the second annual Ferrari Leggenda e Passione event at Maranello, Italy, the British deejay Chris Evans bought that car at auction for 6.4 million Euros, or $10,894,400 (including fees), the highest price ever paid for an automobile at auction.

On June 12, 1987, President Ronald Reagan spoke in then-divided Berlin and challenged Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to “tear down this wall.”

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Former Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed will run for Mayor of Atlanta again, according to the AJC.

Kasim Reed formally entered Atlanta mayor’s race Thursday night with two simple words, telling a cheering crowd at his 52nd birthday party: “I’m back.”

“Atlanta, it’s time to go,” Reed said in remarks captured on video. “Atlanta, tell LA, tell New York, tell Charlotte, tell Dallas, tell Chicago and definitely tell Miami — I’m back.”

There are several other contenders already in the race, including: City Council President Felicia Moore, councilmembers Andre Dickens and Antonio Brown, along with Denton’s attorney Sharon Gay.

But Reed is clearly the most recognizable candidate, having served in the Georgia legislature and two terms as Atlanta mayor, from 2010-17. However, he will have to rebuild trust and confidence with some voters due to an ongoing federal corruption investigation of his administration.

Vice President Kamala Harris will visit Atlanta to promote COVID vaccination, according to the AJC.

Vice President Kamala Harris will visit Atlanta next Friday as part of a nationwide tour to encourage more Americans to receive coronavirus vaccinations, a trip that comes as state health officials race to improve inoculation rates.

The White House said Harris’ trip to Atlanta will highlight the ease of receiving vaccinations and mobilize education efforts to target Georgians who have yet to be inoculated. The vice president will also visit Greenville, S.C. on Monday as part of the tour.

[T]he state’s vaccination rate remains well below the national average. About 52% of Georgia adults had received at least one dose of the vaccine, compared with the 64% national average. Only about 35% of Georgians have completed their vaccinations.

The Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will fund grants to address disparities in health care, according to the Albany Herald.

CDC has awarded the Georgia Department of Public Health and the Fulton County Board of Health $44,133,376 to address COVID-19-related health disparities. The funding, part of a $2.25 billion nationwide investment, seeks to advance health equity by expanding state, local, U.S. territorial, and freely associated state health department capacity and services. This is CDC’s largest investment to date to improve health equity in the United States.

“These grants demonstrate our steadfast commitment to keeping equity at the center of everything we do,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky, said. “They are an important step in our unwavering efforts to strengthen our communities’ readiness for public health emergencies — and to helping everyone in America have equal opportunities for health.”

The intended outcomes of these grants are to 1) reduce COVID-19-related health disparities; 2) improve and increase testing and contact tracing among populations that are at higher risk and are underserved, including racial and ethnic minority groups and people living in rural communities; and 3) improve state, local, U.S. territorial, and freely associated state health department capacity and services to prevent and control COVID-19 infection.

This initiative is funded through the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021.

The Cobb County Board of Education adopted a policy banning the teaching of Critical Race Theory, according to the AJC.

A divided board voted Thursday to ban teaching critical race theory and The New York Times’ 1619 Project in its schools. Its decision comes weeks after its neighbor to the north, Cherokee County, approved a similar resolution.

Cobb’s resolution, which was approved during its work session, was introduced by board Chairman Randy Scamihorn, who said he brought up the topic because educators allegedly said on social media they were using part of the theory in their classroom discussions.

He said critical race theory is a Marxist concept that pits one group of people against another.

The board’s four Republicans all voted in favor of the resolution while the three Democrats abstained from the vote.

Hall County will receive a $2 million dollar federal grant for road work around the inland port, according to the Gainesville Times.

According to Hall County, the project calls for realigning White Sulphur Road, which provides access to Hall County’s Gateway Industrial Centre, where the inland port will be built.

Remaining costs will be financed by a Georgia Transportation Infrastructure Bank grant and either state funding and/or Hall’s special purpose local option sales tax program, officials said.

The federal document says the $2 million will help create 675 jobs and $185 million in private investment.

Chatham County District Attorney Shalena Cook Jones seeks an additional $280,000 in next year’s budget, according to WTOC.

In an eight-page letter, Cook Jones’ office says the allocation of money currently being proposed by the County would only make the criminal justice system less efficient, compromising public safety, increasing taxpayer spending and making crime prevention virtually impossible.

With that $280,000, the D.A. says she’ll be able to on-board four new prosecutors.

Those four assistant district attorneys would be tasked with fixing what was referred to in the letter as the “jail” problem by helping to reduce the population in the Chatham County Detention Center by moving more cases along for people awaiting trial.

Cook Jones says all of the issues facing her office existed pre-COVID, but that she now needs the extra manpower and staffing to deal with the backlogs compounded by the pandemic.

The University System of Georgia Board of Regents tentatively approved M. Brian Blake as the new President of Georgia State University, according to the Capitol Beat News Service via the Albany Herald.

Subject to a final board vote, M. Brian Blake will succeed outgoing Georgia State President Mark Becker next month. Becker is leaving after a dozen years at the helm of what has become Georgia’s largest university.

Blake, a native Georgian, is now serving as president for academic affairs and provost at George Washington, a private university with an enrollment of 28,000 students. He also is a professor of computer science and electrical and computer engineering.

“Dr. M. Brian Blake’s experience as a leader in higher education makes him an outstanding candidate to lead one of the nation’s top universities for innovation in student success,” university system Chancellor Steve Wrigley said.

Augusta will implement policies aimed at reducing purchasing card fraud by employees, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

After reports of Mayor Hardie Davis or staff using his city credit card or purchasing card in ways that could violate current state laws, Commissioner Brandon Garrett recently asked to look at Augusta’s card policies.

As it turned out, the city has no official credit card policy, Finance Director Donna Williams said Tuesday. But it could bring the cards under the city’s stricter p-card policies, both Williams and Procurement Director Geri Sams said.

If the commission approves, “it would make sense for it all to be within our policy,” Sams said.

After a series of state p-card scandals including one that sent a Georgia Tech employee to prison, the state revamped the rules for p-cards and credit cards, but only those issued after Jan. 1, 2016.

Georgia Code 36-80-24 requires each card be authorized by a vote of the governing body, and have specific policies for its use including spending limits, types of purchases allowed, the designation of a card administrator and procedures for conducting audits and addressing violations.

The purchases must be made solely for items directly related to the official’s public duties, and documentation for them must be available for public view, it says.

Harris County public schools announced plans for the next school year, according to WTVM.

According to Superintendent Roger Couch, the Harris County School District plans to return to a normal school year since the spread of COVID has remained low in the area.

“Mask wearing will not be required in schools or on buses,” said Couch. “Individuals have the option of wearing a mask if they so choose. The summer programs across our district will follow these same protocols.”

From the Ledger-Enquirer:

Although the district plans for things to mostly return to normal, at-home instruction will be an option for medically fragile students. According to a press release, the district expects parents and guardians who want to receive at-home instruction for their students to be able to obtain an application from the district’s website by July 1.

Additionally, 27% of Harris County residents are fully vaccinated, which is lower than the state average of 35 percent. There is a 7% chance that there is at least one person who is positive for COVID-19 in a gathering of 50 people in Harris County, according to the COVID-19 Event Risk Assessment Planning Tool from Georgia Tech.

These plans align with Muscogee County School District, which announced a full return to campuses for in-person classes next school year in April. Muscogee also plans to have an option for virtual classes for some students who may be vulnerable to the virus.

Effingham County School District Superintendent Yancy Ford discussed BLM and the classroom, according to the Savannah Morning News.

The Effingham County School District Superintendent is shedding light on the district’s policy regarding political conversations after a former high school teacher resigned in the wake of a conversation with his principal in which the teacher says he was told Black Lives Matter discussions have no place at school.

Tawes, who taught American literature, posted his resignation letter on Facebook on May 28. It all started Jan. 6 when two students had a brief exchange about the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

“Why aren’t they being arrested?” one student asked. “If they were Black they would’ve been,” said another.

The next day, Jan. 7, Tawes said he was called into Principal Amie Dickerson’s office after a white student’s parents complained to her about the exchange. Tawes said his principal told him politics and controversial topics should not be discussed in class. The conversation later shifted to Black Lives Matter.

“Where the conversation really struck me was when she said, ‘Black Lives Matter has no place at school.’ That just shocked me,” Tawes said. “How can a phrase that Black students,’ their lives matter, possibly be controversial? And you know, she responded, with the common go-to: all lives matter.”

The Rome Downtown Development Authority cites survey results that suggest high public approval of a trial run for open containers in downtown, according to the Rome News Tribune.

DDA Executive Director Aundi Lesley provided the agency’s board with survey results Thursday that show a majority of downtown residents and business owners favor giving it a try.

Surveys indicated that 82% of the business owners and 95% of the residents who responded approve of a 90-day trial period for open containers downtown.

The plan coming out of the DDA board meeting Thursday is to make the pitch to the Rome Alcohol Control Commission June 21, follow that with a presentation at the city commission caucus on June 28 and then get an ordinance acted on during the month of July.

The proposal that will go before the ACC would permit customers to walk around downtown with alcoholic beverages in specific cups provided by merchants. The 90-day trial period would allow open containers on Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Hall County Commissioners heard a proposed FY 2022 budget, according to the Gainesville Times.

Next year’s proposed budget is 20.1% greater than last year’s at $344.46 million, and $10.5 million of the nearly $60 million increase is from federal funding as part of the American Rescue Plan.

Other increased revenue comes from a new state sales tax, said Dena Bosten, Hall County’s financial director who presented the budget to the Hall County commissioners Thursday.

“In April 2020, a new state law became effective that required sales tax collection on online sales,” Bosten said. “As a result of that tax base increase, we have also experienced an increase in sales tax revenue.”

The proposed general fund millage rate is 4.636 mills, or $4.636 per $1,000 in property value, which is rolled back from last year’s general fund rate of 4.853 mills. The millage rate for unincorporated property will total 9.226 mills, which includes millage rates for the emergency services fund, development services fund, and the parks and leisure services fund. This rate does not include the Hall County Schools millage rate. The general fund millage rate has decreased each year since 2017, when it was 6.7 mills.

Gainesville‘s transit agency will field golf carts to help pedestrians around downtown construction, according to the Gainesville Times.

From 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday — rain or shine — people can use the eight-person cart to take them to restaurants, retailers and city events in the area.

The shuttle’s range encompases the square, downtown’s two parking decks and the corner of Brenau Ave. and Green Street.

Those who don’t want to wave down the cart, which continuously loops around downtown, can wait to be picked up at the Main Street Parking Deck, Hall County Parking Facility or marked 5-minute loading areas.

Ricketts said the city plans to offer this service for the next few months as economic development plans unfold.

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