Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for June 6, 2017

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Jun

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for June 6, 2017

The expulsion of the Cherokee from Georgia began on June 6, 1838 as 800 members left by riverboat.

On June 6, 1944, seventy-three years ago, Allied forces under the command of General Dwight D. Eisenhower began the invasion of France, called D-Day.

On the morning of June 5, 1944, U.S. General Dwight D. Eisenhower, the supreme commander of Allied forces in Europe gave the go-ahead for Operation Overlord, the largest amphibious military operation in history. On his orders, 6,000 landing craft, ships and other vessels carrying 176,000 troops began to leave England for the trip to France. That night, 822 aircraft filled with parachutists headed for drop zones in Normandy. An additional 13,000 aircraft were mobilized to provide air cover and support for the invasion.

By dawn on June 6, 18,000 parachutists were already on the ground; the land invasions began at 6:30 a.m. The British and Canadians overcame light opposition to capture Gold, Juno and Sword beaches; so did the Americans at Utah. The task was much tougher at Omaha beach, however, where 2,000 troops were lost and it was only through the tenacity and quick-wittedness of troops on the ground that the objective was achieved. By day’s end, 155,000 Allied troops–Americans, British and Canadians–had successfully stormed Normandy’s beaches.

On June 6, 1949, George Orwell published 1984.

The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer spoke to two local WWII veterans about D-Day.

Charlie Maupin, 97, and Jim Wooters, 94, both of Columbus, didn’t know each other at the time but they were only a couple of miles apart on different ships in the English channel on the morning of June 6, 1944.

“When I landed, I saw rows and rows of bodies covered on the beach,” said Maupin, who was delayed before going ashore on June 7, 1944, with the 175th Infantry Regiment, 29th Infantry Division. “They died for the cause of freedom. We must never forget.”

Wooters served on the USS Arkansas with 1,200 sailors, and most thought they wouldn’t survive the pounding by the German guns. “We knew that we were going to be hit and we didn’t think we would come out of it,” he said. “When you know you’re going to die, you are no longer afraid. That has stuck with me over the years since Normandy.”

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Nathan Deal announced that May tax revenues were up more than ten percent over the same period last year.

Gov. Nathan Deal … announced that Georgia’s net tax collections for May totaled nearly $1.73 billion, for an increase of $161.5 million, or 10.3 percent, compared to May 2016. Year-to-date, net tax revenue collections totaled roughly $19.79 billion, for an increase of $880.3 million, or 4.7 percent, over last year when net tax revenues totaled $18.91 billion.

Individual Income Tax: Individual Income Tax collections for the month totaled $871.4 million, up from $740.8 million in May 2016, for an increase of $130.6 million, or 17.6 percent.

Corporate Income Tax: Corporate Income Tax collections for May totaled $33.4 million, for an increase of $6.3 million, or 23.2 percent, compared to last year when net Corporate Tax revenues totaled $27.1 million.

Republican Karen Handel and Democrat Jon Ossoff meet tonight in a debate televised by WSB-TV.

The debate will be hosted by Channel 2 Action News Anchor Justin Farmer and will include panelists WSB Radio’s Condace Pressley, Atlanta-Journal Constitution’s Greg Bluestein and WSB-TV Political Reporter Richard Elliot.

The debate will take place tonight from 8 to 9 p.m. The debate will air LIVE on Channel 2, and will be livestreamed on WSBTV.com and the official WSB-TV Facebook page.

If you have questions for the candidates, tweet them with the hashtag #WSBdebate, according to Richard Elliot.

Handel spoke yesterday to the Cobb County Chamber of Commerce.

Republican candidate Karen Handel pledged in front of Cobb Chamber of Commerce members to be a “pro-business” congresswoman as the race for Georgia’s 6th District congressional seat made an early stop here Monday morning.

Both Handel and her Democratic opponent, Jon Ossoff, were invited to Monday’s event, but the latter did not attend, citing a “schedule conflict,” Chamber Chairman Gary Bottoms said during the organization’s First Monday Breakfast.

“If I have the privilege of being your next congressman, you will have a pro-business individual in this seat just as you did with Tom Price and Johnny Isakson, and before him, Newt Gingrich,” Handel said, vowing to help roll back “the onerous regulatory climate” and push for comprehensive tax reform that would bring down both the corporate and individual rates.

“Those are the things we need to get this economy going again,” she added.

Reality Leigh Winner, an Augusta woman, has been charged with sending classified documents to news media.

The government announced Reality Leigh Winner’s arrest Monday, about an hour after The Intercept reported that it had obtained a top-secret National Security Agency report about Russia’s interference. The NSA report, according to The Intercept, says Russian military intelligence officials executed a cyberattack on a U.S. voting software supplier and sent spear-phishing emails to more than 100 local election officials days before last November’s presidential election.

Winner is a contractor with Pluribus International Corporation and is assigned to a U.S. government facility in Georgia, where she has held a top-secret clearance, according to the U.S. Justice Department. The government started investigating her after the news outlet contacted it on Tuesday about an upcoming story concerning the intelligence materials.

While the Justice Department did not identify the material Winner allegedly mailed the news outlet, it did disclose it is classified at the “Top Secret level, indicating that its unauthorized disclosure could reasonably result in exceptionally grave damage to the national security, and is marked as such.”

Winner’s attorney, Titus Nichols, said she is a U.S. Air Force veteran with no criminal convictions. Winner’s last station with the Air Force was at Fort Meade in Maryland, where the NSA is located. She was still in federal custody Monday, Nichols said, and a court hearing about her detention is set for Thursday. Nichols plans to argue for her release.

“We look forward to getting the evidence and reviewing it and working hard to resolve this matter so my client can put it behind her and so she can go back on with her life,” he said. “She is a good person.”

 Some state legislators are looking to Electric Membership Cooperatives (EMCs) to fill in broadband gaps.

At least two of Georgia’s 41 not-for-profit electric membership corporations already offer fiber broadband service; at least one other, Central Georgia EMC in Jackson, is considering it.

“For us, broadband makes a lot of good sense,” said Erik Brinke, economic development director with Blue Ridge Mountain EMC.

“It’s similar in a lot of ways to the electric service that we started out with in the late 1930s, and it’s just kind of an extension of that,” Brinke said. “We’re just building a different kind of utility infrastructure.”

Not everyone may see it that way, though. Some states have barred EMCs from offering broadband service, although Tennessee recently reversed course.

In Georgia, a bill that stalled this year but remains alive for next year would clarify in state law that the electric co-ops are authorized to provide broadband service.

A legislative study group that examined rural broadband issues last year concluded a clarification was in order. A new rural development council is also likely to consider whether a legislative fix is warranted.

“While the EMCs can and will contribute to the solution to the problem, no one should be under the impression that the EMCs represent the silver bullet for rural broadband,” [Georgia Electric Membership Corp. (EMC) CEO Dennis Chastain] said.

 Warner Robins City Council voted to enhance employment benefits for veterans in a bid to lure more to work for the municipality.

The council approved a resolution that would give new hires who have served in the military and extra week of vacation and to make them immediately eligible for benefits. Currently there is a 60-day waiting period for new city employees to get benefits.

The council approved a second resolution that would apply only to the 74 veterans already working for the city. That change will allow veterans to have military service count toward the calculation of retirement benefits with the city.

Each four years of active-duty military service would count toward retirement as one year of service with the city, up to 20 years of military service. That would mean a maximum of five years counted toward city retirement. Also, each eight years of guard and reserve military service would count for one year toward city retirement. It would apply only to the calculation of retirement benefits, the resolution states, not for vesting or retirement eligibility purposes.

A second part of that resolution would apply only to new hires as a recruiting incentive. That would give a $1,000 bonus for each four years of active-duty service and each eight years of guard and reserve service up to a maximum of $5,000. The money would be paid in annual installments over five years.

Warner Robins City Council also heard a report that salary levels could be negatively impacting employees.

Some Savannah residents took to the streets to protest President Trump’s pull-out from the Paris Accords.

Hall County Commissioners are looking to break ties with a medical clinic that was expected to provide services to indigent residents.

Augusta Commissioner Marion Williams is urging his colleagues to burnish the image of James Brown.

The City of Pooler deeded land for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to build a new crime lab.

Gwinnett County Tax Commissioner Richard Steele announced new hours for county tag offices.

Tax Commissioner Richard Steele announced the new office hours on Monday. The changes are two-fold. For starters, all offices will be open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., five days a week, starting July 1. For most branch offices, with the exception of the Lawrenceville one, that means a Monday through Friday schedule.

The Lawrenceville tag office’s will be slightly different because it and the North Gwinnett tab office in Buford will trade responsibilities for being open on Saturdays. That means the North Gwinnett office will now be closed on Saturdays and the Lawrenceville office, at 750 South Perry St., will now be open on that day instead.

Columbus is considering raising property taxes.

“The budget tentatively adopted by the Columbus Consolidated Government requires a millage rate higher than the rollback millage rate,” according to a news release issued by the city. “Therefore, before the Columbus Consolidated Government may finalize the tentative budget and set a final millage rate, Georgia law requires three public hearings to be held to allow the public an opportunity to express their opinions on the increase.”

Property taxes would increase by 7 percent in urban service districts 1, 2, 5, 6 and 7; and 1 percent in Urban Service District 4, the release said.

Public hearings on the tax increase will be held 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. Tuesday, as well as 9 a.m. on June 13. The meetings will be held in Council Chambers on the second level of the City Services Center, 3111 Citizens Way.

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