Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 15, 2023

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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 15, 2023

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 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.

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.

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.

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

Thursday is the 22d Anniversary of the release of the first Harry Potter film, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

McRib will be available at Georgia McDonald’s stores soon, according to USA Today via the Savannah Morning News.

“It turns out not everyone was ready to say goodbye to the McRib,” McDonald’s said in a news release. However, the popular pork sandwich that made its debut more than 40 years ago won’t be available nationwide — and it won’t be around long.

The McRib is expected to return to menus this week at select McDonald’s restaurants, including Georgia locations.

Yes, the sandwich — typically offered as a LTO (limited time offer) — will return to select McDonald’s restaurants this November, the fast-food giant confirmed in news release on Tuesday.

The sandwich will make its return on Thursday, Nov. 16.

According to a release from a McDonald’s public relations representative, this release will not be nationwide. However, the spokesperson said that all Georgia locations will have the McRib.

Holiday Tour registration for the Governor’s Mansion has opened, according to the website.

It brings us so much happiness to be able to open the doors of “The People’s House” and allow you and your families to create holiday memories here with us during such a special season.

Holiday Tours are Monday, December 4 through Tuesday, December 12. Individuals and groups smaller than 10 visitors can register here. Monday through Saturday tours are 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Sunday tours are 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. All visitors need to be registered to attend.

A group larger than 10 visitors can register for a tour here. Group tours times are the same as individual tour times.

The Mansion Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony is Sunday, December 3 at 6 p.m. Registration for the Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony is now closed.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis (D) said the Trump trial will likely be in session on Election Day 2024, according to the Associated Press via WRDW.

The Georgia district attorney who charged former President Donald Trump over his efforts to overturn the state’s 2020 election said Tuesday that she expects his trial will be underway through Election Day next year and could possibly stretch past the inauguration in 2025.

“I believe in that case there will be a trial. I believe the trial will take many months. And I don’t expect that we will conclude until the winter or the very early part of 2025,” Willis told the newspaper at the The Washington Post’s Global Women’s Summit.

Trump is the early front-runner for the 2024 Republican nominee for president. The timing suggested by Willis would make the Georgia prosecution the last of his four criminal cases to go to trial. Ultimately, it will be up to Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee to set the trial date.

“I don’t, when making decisions about cases to bring, consider any election cycle or an election season. That does not go into the calculus. What goes into the calculus is: This is the law. These are the facts. And the facts show you violated the law. Then charges are brought,” Willis said.

The Glynn County Board of Elections approved the purchase of software to text voting information to prospective voters, according to The Brunswick News.

The program, Text My Gov, is provided by the state for $4,500 a year. For an additional $500, more than 70,000 local phone numbers will also be provided by the state.

The phone list is important because the local elections board has only been requesting phone numbers for new voters since 2019, so the voter phone list is sorely lacking.

Christina Redden, the county’s deputy elections supervisor, said there is often confusion surrounding local elections. Most recently, Redden said her office got a call about once every 15 minutes during the city elections on Nov. 7 by people living outside city limits in unincorporated Glynn County by people asking why their polling places were not open.

The new program gives elections officials the ability to send text messages with the information. It’s also a program that makes it easy for people to opt out if they don’t want the messages.

The responses for simple queries will be done automatically, with more complicated questions directed to staff.

Elections officials are also waiting to learn how the General Assembly will redraw court-ordered voting district lines.

The Floyd County Board of Elections certified last week’s election results, according to the Rome News Tribune.

The Floyd County Board of Elections and Registration has certified the results of the Nov. 7 General Election and there was no change in the results.

The total includes 21 provisional ballots that were counted. Three were rejected.

“I’m glad we got it certified today,” said Floyd County Elections Supervisor Akyn Beck. “It is following a successful audit, which I think is important for election integrity and transparency. It was incredible to see people come out to observe the audit and it’s great to see people come out and see us certify the results today.”

Three Savannah-area elections were decided by small margins, according to WTOC.

In Brooklet, voters had the chance to decide on a packages sale referendum. It would allow stores to sell liquor. Out of about 1,300 voters, only 149 people voted on the referendum. 75 people voted no, and 74 voted yes.

Registered voters said they wish they had voted in Brooklet, but did not.

“I would have probably voted for and I’m a nondrinker,” said one voter “but I figured it would have passed more than that.”

Because of last Tuesday’s vote, the people who live in Brooklet will have to continue driving out of town to get their liquor.

Voters said they hope the package referendum comes up in the next election.

Over in Alma, a similar story took place. They had around1,600 people registered to vote and only 510 people cast a ballot in the mayoral race. The race was decided by four votes.

Port Wentworth’s city council at large post seat election was also close. Thomas Barbie took home the job with six votes over LaShawn Bitten.

A Warner Robins City Council election appears to be decided by a single vote, according to 13WMAZ.

On election night, 13WMAZ reported that Bibb received 1,921 votes and Carter received 1,918 — only three votes between the candidates with four provisional ballots outstanding.

Two of the provisional ballots came from early voters who showed up to try to vote again on Election Day. Those ballots were rejected and not counted.

Two other ballots were accepted from the Mossy Creek Middle location, each counted for challenger Ellis Carter.

That brought the total margin between the two candidates to a single vote, leaving the current and unofficial tally at 1,921 for Bibb and 1,920 for Carter.

Under Georgia law, any second-place candidate who loses by under 0.5% can call for a recount. In the city council race, Bibb won by less than that amount and Carter is within his legal ability to order a recount.

Five elections in Central Georgia are going to runoffs, according to 13WMAZ.

In Georgia, a race goes to a run-off if a candidate fails to secure 50% in the first election. Then, on the second ballot, the top two vote-getters face off in the run-off.

In Central Georgia, five races will be decided in a run-off. In these races, early voting runs until Nov. 27 until Dec. 1. Then, voting wraps up on Dec. 5.

In Fort Valley, three council races are still up in the air. This includes the East Ward race between Sandra Marshall and Alonzo Allen.

In the West Ward, Henry Howard and Marcus Agostino are heading up against each other again.

Plus, in the city-wide council seat, Laronda Eason and Scott Morrill are facing off. In the general election, Eason eeked ahead by only 36 votes. That made the contest 45% to 40% with Eason 5% ahead.

Then, about 40 miles away, Forsyth voters will head back to the polls to settle the Post 3 City Council Race between Lois Allen and Rosemary Walker.

Over in Davisboro — population 1,800 — a runoff will determine the next mayor. That race is in Washington County.

In that contest, 160 went to the polls to cast their ballot. When the race was concluded, Randy McNelly led Sandra Braswell by nine votes.

McNeely had 41% of the vote or 65 votes. Brown had 36% of the vote or 56 votes.

Houston County is appealing a federal court order that requires them to pay for gender reassignment surgery for a former county employee, according to the AJC.

Sgt. Anna Lange, a transgender woman who has worked for the Houston County Sheriff’s Department for 17 years, sued the county and its sheriff, Cullen Talton, in 2019 after she was denied health care coverage for a vaginoplasty, referred to as “bottom surgery” in the trans community. That surgery is estimated to cost about $25,000.

A federal district judge ruled last year that the denial discriminated against transgender people and ordered the county’s insurance plan to cover the treatment going forward.

During Tuesday’s hearing in the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, attorneys for Houston County and Talton asked the appeals court to overturn the lower court’s ruling, arguing that the employee health care plan bans several procedures and medications.

For example, hormone therapy prescribed for gender dysphoria — the diagnosis often given to people who are transgender — is covered by the county plan, but surgeries are not, said Patrick Lail, an attorney representing Houston County.

“(That) shows that transition care is treated here like many other conditions, such as care for weight issues, is generally covered, but care for lap band surgery is excluded,” Lail said.

Two Albany-area state legislators are talking about legislative priorities for the coming Session, according to the Albany Herald.

State Rep. Gerald Greene, R-Cuthbert, the dean of the Georgia legislature, and state Sen. Freddie Powell Sims, D-Dawson, have notified local leaders of plans to hold legislative priority meetings on Tuesday at the Chehaw Park Creekside Center at 105 Chehaw Park Road in Albany.

“We felt having the meetings at Chehaw rather than the cramped room of the government center would be more conducive to getting the work done,” Greene said Tuesday. “We have a full agenda and a lot to discuss.”

Savannah’s proposed budget prioritizes raises for government workers, according to the Savannah Morning News.

“For us, a budget is a moral document,” Johnson said during his opening remarks at the city’s 2024 budget retreat on Tuesday in the Civic Center ballroom.

The retreat featured a bevy of city staff delivering presentations to the mayor and city council that dove into specifics of the city’s $560 million 2024 proposed budget.

The proposed budget was released at the end of last week, but [Mayor Van] Johnson said the retreat signals the “start of a conversation” for how taxpayer money will be spent in the next year.

Tuesday’s retreat was just one step in the city’s budget process that wraps up the calendar year. Up next are public hearings across two Savannah City Council meetings on Nov. 21 and Dec. 7. The budget is also online on the city’s website and at various public facilities around the city.

The top priority in the proposed budget was clear on Tuesday: increase in pay for city workers. There is about $13 million in wage growth opportunities designed to move workers along their pay band throughout their tenure. The city’s market research shows Savannah has competitive starting and ending salaries, but there is room for improvement for pay increases along the way, Melder said.

Some council members expressed support for the proposed budget. District 6 Alderman Kurtis Purtee called it “monumental,” and District 4 Alderman Nick Palumbo expressed support for the investment in city staff.

The Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency (GEMA) awarded grants to local law enforcement agencies, according to WSAV.

The Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency (GEMA) awarded gap funds to 34 organizations across the state.

The Savannah Police Department and Effingham County Sheriff’s Office are among them.

GEMA says agencies who got the money had to prove they had successfully prosecuted gang activity.

We do not know yet how much Savannah Police are getting, but back in August, Savannah Mayor Van Johnson told News 3 that Savannah does not have a gang problem.

“We do not have a gang problem. We have an issue with young people in that community. They don’t necessarily fit the definition of what we have as established gangs, but we have some in this community.”

“We have a gun problem here,” he added. “We have an issue with individuals that are loosely associated with gangs, but in terms of the state law such as racketeering, stalking and coercion, that is not what we have here. What you see here is people making very, very bad very dangerous decisions but not coordinated in the terms of ‘gang activity.’”

From the Augusta Chronicle:

The sheriff’s offices in Richmond and Burke counties were recently awarded grant funds from the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency as part of its initiative against gang activity.

While the amount of money each of the 34 selected agencies will receive has not yet been announced, the budget appropriated for the grant was more than $1.2 million, according to the release.

From WJBF:

The Burke County Sheriff’s Office is working to combat gang- related crimes. The state is giving the agency a grant to help.

“It’s to hire a crime analyst to study our crime data and forecast where crimes may occur so that we can work to avoid them before they happen,” said Sheriff Alfonzo Williams.

Sheriff Williams is asking the Burke County Commission approve a $1.3 million grant, aimed to prevent violent crime.

The City of Douglas approved three pharmacies for low-THC oil sales, according to WALB.

Three local pharmacies in the city of Douglas are adding low-THC oil and products to their shelves. This comes after city commissioners voted 5 to 1 to approve the request in Monday’s commission meeting.

“I think it would benefit the city tremendously,” Rodger Goddard, city of Douglas city marshal, said “It’s been passed by the state legislature and professional pharmacies will be filling the prescriptions for medical marijuana, THC oils and potentials of such, so I don’t foresee it being a problem.”

Although Georgia was the first state to allow pharmacies to sell medical marijuana, a few lawmakers feel the current law is way too strict. State Representative Eric Bell says he plans to introduce a bill reforming the state’s marijuana laws — at the start of the next legislative session in 2024.

Bainbridge discussed results from government surveillance cameras, according to WALB.

The school zone speeding cameras have been in place since early September 2023, and police say they’re seeing a huge difference when it comes to speeding in school zones.

During a trial run of the cameras, there were more than 5,000 speeding citations reported in several school zones. Now, three months after the cameras were activated, police say driving behavior has drastically changed in the five locations the cameras are up. In November alone, there have been 450 citations issued to violators.

DeAndre Hall announced he is running for Bibb County Sheriff, according to 13WMAZ.

Macon native DeAndre Hall announced his candidacy for Bibb County Sheriff on Tuesday, according to a press release.

Hall spent over a decade with the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office and will hold a press conference about his campaign on Wednesday. The conference is open to the public.

Two other candidates are also running for Bibb County Sheriff in 2024. Sheriff David Davis is running for re-election. Hall joins fellow challenger Christopher Paul as they each will look to unseat the incumbent.

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