Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 15, 2019

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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 15, 2019

James Oglethorpe left London on November 15, 1732 headed to a Thames River port named Gravesend, where he would board the ship Anne and lead the first colonists to Georgia.

The Georgia Trustees visited the first group of settlers on November 16, 1732, the day before they were scheduled to depart England for the New World.

On November 17, 1732, the first English headed to colonize Georgia set off from Gravesend, England, down the Thames. Their supplies included ten tons of beer.

On November 16, 1737, the Georgia Trustees learned that England’s King George II would send 300 soldiers, along with 150 wives and 130 children to the settlement in Georgia.

On November 15, 1777, the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union were adopted in York, Pennsylvania.

Congress was a single house, with each state having one vote, and a president elected to chair the assembly. Although Congress did not have the right to levy taxes, it did have authority over foreign affairs and could regulate a national army and declare war and peace. Amendments to the Articles required approval from all 13 states. On March 2, 1781, following final ratification by the 13th state, the Articles of Confederation became the law of the land.

Edward Langworthy of Savannah, Edward Telfair, and John Walton signed the Articles of Confederation for Georgia.

On November 17, 1777, Congress submitted the Articles of Confederation to the states for ratification.

Stephen Heard Conan OBrien

On November 15, 1815, Patriot leader Stephen Heard died in Elbert County, GA. Heard served on Georgia’s Executive Council during part of the American Revolution and as its President from 1780 to 1781. He later served in the Georgia House of Representatives, as a judge in Elbert County, and as a delegate to Georgia’s 1975 Constitutional Convention. The above portrait of Conan O’Brien Stephen Heard hangs in the basement (pied a terre) level of the Georgia Governor’s Mansion.

Abraham Lincoln began the first draft of the Gettysburg Address on November 17, 1863.

On November 15, 1864, General William Tecumseh Sherman’s army left Atlanta on its March to the Sea.

On November 15, the army began to move, burning the industrial section of Atlanta before leaving. One witness reported “immense and raging fires lighting up whole heavens… huge waves of fire roll up into the sky; presently the skeleton of great warehouses stand out in relief against sheets of roaring, blazing, furious flames.” Sherman’s famous destruction of Georgia had begun.

On November 16, 1864, Sherman left Atlanta in smoking ruins.

A 2010 Wired article argues that Sherman’s rampage through Georgia and the Carolinas changed modern warfare.

Vengeance aside, the real objective of Sherman’s march was to cut the Confederacy in two, cripple Southern industrial capacity, destroy the railroad system and compel an early Confederate surrender. It was also intended to break Southern morale — in Sherman’s words, to “make Georgia howl.”

Sherman was vilified for his barbarism, but the Union commander was a realist, not a romantic. He understood — as few of his contemporaries seemed to — that technology and industrialization were radically changing the nature of warfare.

It was no longer a question of independent armies meeting on remote battlefields to settle the issue. Civilians, who helped produce the means for waging modern war, would no longer be considered innocent noncombatants. Hitting the enemy where he ate and breaking him psychologically were just as important to victory as vanquishing his armies in the field.

Sherman grasped this and, though he wasn’t the first military proponent of total war, he was the first modern commander to deliberately strike at the enemy’s infrastructure. The scorched-earth tactics were effective. The fragile Southern economy collapsed, and a once-stout rebel army was irretrievably broken.

Meanwhile, the marshals of Europe watched Sherman’s progress with fascination. And they learned.

Herman Talmadge was sworn in as Governor of Georgia on November 17, 1948, ending the “Three Governors” controversy. Click here for a review of the “Three Governors” episode by Ron Daniels.

Richard Nixon declared before a television audience, “I’m not a crook,” on November 17, 1973.

On November 15, 1977, President Jimmy Carter hosted the Shah of Iran in Washington, where they spent two days discussing U.S-Iranian relations.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Yesterday, State Senator Brandon Beach announced he was ending his campaign for the Sixth Congressional District seat held by Democrat Lucy Mc Bath and would run for reelection to the Senate. From a campaign email:

Today, I am ending my campaign for Congress. During this campaign, I have come to realize that a calling to public service does not always mean running for higher office.  After speaking with Governor Kemp this weekend, I believe that, at this time, I can help more Georgians in the positions I currently hold and be more effective in the State Senate than in Congress.

Elected office was not my life’s desire, but a calling. I first entered the public service arena as President of the Greater North Fulton Chamber of Commerce, where I reversed years of mismanagement and debt to create one of Georgia’s most preeminent and well-run business organizations.

I still feel strongly that we must elect bold candidates to federal office who can go beyond the rhetoric and advance common-sense conservative policies and practical solutions to the many challenges facing people across the 6th district and our State.

With that in mind, I will qualify to run for re-election for Senate District 21 next year. If I have the honor to be re-elected, I will continue to work tirelessly for the citizens of North Fulton and Cherokee County to ensure a better quality of life and ensure Georgia continues to be the #1 state to do business in.

I want to thank everyone that has supported my campaign with their time, financial contributions, words of encouragement and support. I am honored to have the continued support of leaders like Governor Brian Kemp, Lt. Governor Geoff Duncan, Cherokee County Chairman Harry Johnston, Cherokee County Commissioner Steve West, Fulton County Commissioners Liz Hausmann and Bob Ellis, and Milton Mayor Joe Lockwood.

Governor Brian Kemp supports my decision and shared these words today:

“I applaud Senator Beach for his willingness to serve in Congress but respect his decision to remain in the State Senate. Quite honestly, we need bold leadership under the Gold Dome to continue our success and keep Georgia the best place to live, work, and raise a family. At the State Capitol, Senator Beach has led efforts to cut red tape and eliminate burdensome regulations on job creators. He has championed crucial infrastructure projects and reforms and worked to protect our conservative Georgia values. I look forward to partnering with Senator Beach in the years to come to lower healthcare costs, protect our families from gangs, enhance our educational outcomes and put hardworking Georgians first.”

State Rep. Michael Caldwell (R-Woodstock), who had previously announced for Beach’s senate seat, said he’s staying in the race, according to the Cherokee Tribune & Ledger News.

Caldwell said there is still good reason for voters to choose him when the Republican primary is held next year.

“I believe I have a positive track record and that we need leadership and a voice from Cherokee County in the state Senate, especially with redistricting coming up next year,” Caldwell said. “I have a strong relationship with Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan and I look forward working closely with him in the state Senate.”

Caldwell said he has been a backer of business growth, and policies that help small business – citing the decision of Woodstock to waive business license fees for small businesses in their first year. “I’ve been a supporter of policies like that and we need to spread them across the state. And, the state Senate is a good place to help make that happen,” he said.

Gwinnett County Commissioner Jace Brooks announced he will not run for reelection in 2020, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

District 1 Commissioner Jace Brooks, who was first elected in 2012 to the commission, announced his decision to not seek re-election Thursday afternoon.

Brooks, who has also been mentioned as a potential Republican candidate for an open commission chairman’s race in 2020, said he does not plan to run for any other office at this time.

“While my time in public service has been rewarding, it is now time to focus more time on my family and consulting work,” Brooks said in a statement. “But my work isn’t done yet. Over the next 14 months, I will continue my record of making bold decisions on the Commission to ensure our future in Gwinnett remains bright. I truly thank the people of District 1 for the honor to serve them.”

Last year’s elections also saw several legislative seats in Gwinnett, two commission seats and a school board seat in Gwinnett flip from Republican to Democrat, prompting speculation about whether several local Republicans up for election in 2020 would opt to not run again.

Brooks is the second of three Republicans on the county commission whose seats are up for election next year to announce they will not run for re-election. Commission Chairwoman Charlotte Nash, also a Republican, announced her decision to not run again earlier this year.

If Republicans can’t field candidates for all three commission seats and successfully defend them, Democrats will become the majority on the commission. There are already two Democrats on the commission: District 2 Commissioner Ben Ku and District 4 Commissioner Marlene Fosque.

If just one of the three commission seats on the ballot next year flips to Democrats, Republicans will have lost the grip they’ve had on power in county government for nearly four decades.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers held a public meeting to discuss a project on the Savannah River and no public questions were allowed, according to GPB News.

A crowd of several hundred gathered in Augusta Wednesday evening to ask representatives from The Army Corps of Engineers how they came to the decision to demolish The New Savannah Bluff Lock and Dam, in spite of overwhelming objections from local residents on both sides of the Savannah River in Georgia and South Carolina.

Army Corps of Engineers Savannah District Commander Col. Daniel Hibner began his presentation by saying, “Due to ongoing litigation, I can no longer take questions as I intended tonight.”

While the rock weirs will improve the lot of the fish, it will lower the water level through downtown Augusta by at least 2 feet. The Corps ran a simulation of conditions on the river with the rock weirs replacing the lock and dam back in February.

It left navigation hazards exposed, docks resting on mud flats, and residents outraged.

DeKalb County Sheriff Jeffrey Mann will leave office, according to the AJC.

The sheriff of DeKalb County, in the midst of an appeal over his law enforcement certification, plans to retire 13 months before his term is slated to end.

Jeffrey Mann, who has been sheriff since 2014, has been fighting to keep his certification after a state panel voted to revoke it in 2017. Mann pleaded guilty to charges after he allegedly exposed himself to an Atlanta officer in Piedmont Park.

“I am grateful and truly humbled that you placed your trust in me. I trust that I have served you well in my duties as Sheriff,” Mann wrote. “I am extremely proud of the accomplishments of the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office. I thank them for allowing me to serve and for their phenomenal dedication, hard work and professionalism.”

With his retirement planned for Nov. 30, the current chief deputy sheriff, Melody Maddox, is set to take over as sheriff. It is believed that she will be the first female sheriff in DeKalb history.

Ramona Tyson will serve again as interim Superintendent of DeKalb County Public Schools, according to the AJC.

In 2010, she assumed the role when then-Superintendent Crawford Lewis temporarily stepped away — and was soon fired — when an investigation discovered a criminal enterprise being run out of the school district and resulted in convictions for Lewis, former Chief Operating Officer Pat Reid and her ex-husband, architect Tony Pope.

Monday, Tyson was lured back to the role after the school board parted ways with Steve Green, who had announced plans to leave the district at the end of the current school year. He came to the district in 2015 under a three-year contract. In 2016 and 2017, the board approved one-year contract extensions. School board members did not approve contract extensions for Green in 2018 and 2019, which would have kept him here beyond 2020.

“With Dr. Green’s immediate departure, we have the utmost confidence in Ms. Tyson serving as the interim superintendent,” DeKalb County Board of Education chairman Michael A. Erwin said Monday.

Augusta Commissioners and Mayor Hardie Davis will take a retreat today, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

Scheduled by Davis, the retreat will be facilitated by Eric Robinson from the Carl Vinson Institute of Government and held at the downtown Marriott. Agenda items include goals and expectations, ground rules, team-building, setting priorities and developing action plans.

Several issues have deeply divided the commission, loosely along color lines, over the past few years, such as the mayor-led effort to build a new civic center at Regency Mall, the decision whether to keep EMS provider Gold Cross or in-source Augusta’s EMS program and very basic matters such as who gets to speak when at meetings.

The Georgia Ports Authority continues to rack up record-book entries, according to the Savannah Morning News.

October turned out another record for the Georgia Ports Authority, with the GPA moving 428,400 twenty-foot equivalent container units (TEUs) during the month, an increase of 14,600 TEUs or 3.5%.

The month gave the Port of Savannah a fiscal year-to-date total of 1.6 million TEUs, up 90,600, or 6%.

“We have seen three years of incredible volume growth, and the economy of the U.S. Southeast remains a powerhouse,” said GPA Executive Director Griff Lynch.

“Georgia’s market share continues to expand as new commodities come online and customers in new regions rely on our services.”

Daytime shipping to and from the Port of Brunswick is normalizing for the first time since the M/V Golden Ray capsized in St Simons Sound, according to The Brunswick News.

Daytime shipping traffic into the Port of Brunswick resumed Thursday, the first time it has been permitted on a regular basis since the Sept. 8 wreck of the 656-foot freighter Golden Ray in the St. Simons Sound, according to the Unified Command.

The 25,000-ton Golden Ray lies capsized on its port side between St. Simons and Jekyll islands, just south of the federal shipping channel that runs through the sound to the port. Unified Command is presently preparing the overturned vessel to be dismantled and removed from the St. Simons Sound, a herculean task that remains in the planning stages.

Shipping traffic through the sound has been limited to overnight hours, leaving the valuable daylight hours to crews working on the Golden Ray. U.S. Coast Guard Commander Norm Witt, Georgia’s Captain of the Ports, determined that preparations on the Golden Ray have progressed sufficiently to allow daytime shipping to resume.

The Whitfield County citizens committee on a new Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) is working to finalize a proposed project list, according to the Dalton Daily Citizen News.

“We have to have a final proposal by the first week of December, and we won’t be meeting Thanksgiving week, so we have a lot of work to do,” said Chris Shiflett, chairman of the SPLOST advisory committee.

The committee won’t determine the final projects that would be placed on the ballot. Those decisions would be made by the county Board of Commissioners in consultation with the councils of the county’s four cities.

Committee members had previously set a goal of having a SPLOST of no more than four years, which would be expected to collect some $66 million. A SPLOST is a 1% sales tax collected on most goods sold in the county.

Superior Court Judge Ralph Van Pelt Jr. signed an order enjoining penalties against local governments deadlocked in service delivery negotiations, according to the Dalton Daily Citizen News.

Lookout Mountain Superior Court Judge Ralph Van Pelt Jr. signed an order on Thursday holding in abeyance state sanctions against the municipal and county governments of Whitfield County for failing to come to an agreement on a new Service Delivery Strategy (SDS).

The order holds off sanctions until May 1, 2020, while the parties take part in a mandatory mediated negotiation.

Due to the failure to come to a new SDS agreement, the governments of Dalton and the other county and municipal governments of Whitfield County would have been subject to sanctions from the state Department of Community Affairs including the loss of qualified status to receive state financial assistance or grants. Van Pelt’s order directs the department to hold off on imposing those sanctions, allowing the governments of Whitfield County to operate as usual while the mandatory mediation of the SDS negotiations takes place.

Mandatory mediation is the next step under the state’s SDS law to resolve a service delivery dispute between governments. The City of Dalton petitioned for a mandatory mediation after the parties failed to come to an agreement by the Oct. 31 deadline, and Van Pelt was appointed to preside over the proceedings on Nov. 8. On Tuesday, Van Pelt appointed Cobb County Superior Court Judge Adele Grubbs to serve as mediator for the negotiations.

Property tax payments are due today in Hall County and Floyd County. Also, I know personally, DeKalb.

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