Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for October 29, 2015


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for October 29, 2015

Sir Walter Raleigh, founder of the first permanent English settlement in America, was beheaded on October 29, 1618 for conspiring against King James I.

Georgia’s first Royal Governor, John Reynolds, arrived at Savannah on October 29, 1754.

John Hancock resigned as President of the Continental Congress on October 29, 1777.

Duane Allman died in a motorcycle accident in Macon, Georgia on October 29, 1971.

The New York Stock Exchange crashed on October 29, 1929, beginning the spiral to the Great Depression.

The first ballpoint pen went on sale at Gimbel’s Department Store on October 29, 1945.

On October 29, 1998, at 77 years of age, John Glenn became the oldest human to travel in space, on the shuttle Discovery.

Former State Representative Paul Jennings died earlier this week from leukemia. Services will be held on Saturday, October 31, 2015 at noon, at Clairmont Presbyterian Church at Clairmont and North Druid Hills. Visitation begins at 10:30 AM before the service.

Rep. Jennings served part of North DeKalb County in the State House from 1998-2002, losing his reelection in 2002 after he was gerrymandered by then-Governor Roy Barnes into a multi-member State House District designed to preserve Democratic incumbents. In 2204, he was  elected again from a single-member district and retired after that term.  Jennings served in the United States Navy and earned an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

PolitiFact tackled the tough issue of whether Steven Smith is actually a Congressman from Georgia’s 15th District. Of course, there is no 15th Congressional District in the Peach State.

Georgia’s real Republican Congressman all voted against the “bipartisan” budget deal.

Rep. Rob Woodall sent along the following statement:

“When House conservatives were successful in implementing the Budget Control Act in 2011, the goal was not simply to limit federal spending, but also to repair and restore important programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and veterans services,” said Rep. Woodall. “The emergence of H.R. 1314 is proof that the plan – mandatory reforms in exchange for sequester cap relief – is working. Unfortunately, H.R. 1314 lifts spending caps without introducing timely spending and programmatic reforms.”

“I’m proud of the progress we’ve made in reducing federal discretionary spending over the last four years, but the truth remains we have much more work to do – and until we address our mandatory spending programs, we are ignoring the real problem. I’m eager to continue the work of crafting meaningful, long-term solutions to our fiscal problems, but I believe we can do better than this budget agreement.”

Senator David Perdue issued a press release that called the budget deal a “backroom deal Congressional leaders made with President Obama to abandon the Republican budget plan, suspend the debt ceiling, and use budget gimmicks to spend more taxpayer money.”

“This bad backroom deal puts unsustainable spending on autopilot and lets Washington politicians simply delay tough decisions for two more years. Congress should be working with a sense of urgency to solve our nation’s debt crisis right now. America can’t afford to wait for a more convenient time for elected leaders to do their job.

“Not only does this deal increase the debt from $18 trillion to $20 trillion, but it also violates the responsible budget principles I have been fighting for every day.  In typical Washington fashion, the insiders get to spend today in exchange for empty promises of savings tomorrow.  Why would we trust a system that has proven to be untrustworthy?

“Earlier this year, Republicans passed a budget that cut President Obama’s proposed spending by $7 trillion over the next decade and finally balanced, but this deal completely abandons that effort.  Our long-term plan was traded for short-term gimmicks, trust fund raids, and even more spending.  This deal isn’t compromise; it’s surrender.”

Jim Galloway has another great column this week, about the divide that appears to be opening between social conservatives – a very important constituency for the SEC Primary and Georgia – and Donald Trump.

Trump has a deficiency that has always existed, but is just now coming into focus. He is not fluent in religion. In particular, Trump doesn’t speak Red State religion.

Last week, a poll conducted by the Des Moines Register and Bloomberg Politics showed Ben Carson surging past The Donald in Iowa. That same survey asked likely GOP caucus goers this question: “Do you think Donald Trump is or is not a committed Christian?” Thirty-two percent said yes, 28 percent said no, and 40 percent weren’t sure.

Larger religious guns have begun to lock their sights onto Trump, including Russell Moore, the top public policy advocate for the Southern Baptist Convention.

“Most illogical is his support from evangelicals and other social conservatives. To back Mr. Trump, these voters must repudiate everything they believe,” Moore wrote in a New York Times op-ed piece, published last week. “We should not demand to see the long-form certificate for Mr. Trump’s second birth. We should, though, ask about his personal character and fitness for office. His personal morality is clear, not because of tabloid exposés but because of his own boasts. His attitude toward women is that of a Bronze Age warlord.”

Questioning from conservative evangelicals is likely to intensify as the GOP contest moves South. “I do public policy briefings all over the state,” said Mike Griffin, lobbyist for the Georgia Baptist Convention. “What I tell people today is to not look for conservatives. Look for candidates who represent a biblical worldview.

“I think that’s more important than candidates who call themselves conservative,” Griffin said. “The word ‘conservative’ can change a little bit.”

Also embedded in that piece is an operational note about the Trump campaign and a possible job opening we had been hearing about, but were sworn to secrecy over.

The campaign acknowledged that it has let go Seth Weathers, a local Republican strategist tapped this summer to organize the Georgia campaign. “We have been in contact with our state leaders in Georgia and will announce a new state director in the near future,” Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks wrote in an email.

“Mr. Trump is fully committed to winning Georgia and has begun allocating the resources necessary to do so,” Hicks wrote. “He received a warm welcome of an estimated 7,500 crowd during his first visit to the fifth largest delegate rich state in October and pledged to return soon.”

Chatham County Commission Chair Al Scott vetoed action by the Commission to put an end to police force merger talks between the City of Savannah and Chatham County.

Georgia State Senator Michael Rhett returned from a junket economic development trip to Cuba with other state political leaders.

Following President Barack Obama’s announcement last year that he would seek to normalize relations between the two countries, the Georgia Senate formed a five-member committee to study what that could mean for Georgia, Rhett said.

Rhett was part of a group of 12 that included the senators, staff members and former Georgia House Speaker Terry Coleman, who visited Havana in mid-October, as part of the committee’s first trip.

“Basically, Cuba’s trying to open up,” said Rhett, a master sergeant in the Air Force Reserve.

As the relationship between the U.S. and Cuba changes, Rhett said he wants Georgia to be included in whatever positive outcomes are available.

“Georgia is well positioned with its ports and close proximity to Cuba to ship products to the Cuban markets,” according to a committee resolution.

Rhett wondered about luring Cuban business to Cobb County with tax incentives.

“It’s a great opportunity to get our foot in the door so all that business doesn’t go to Miami and New York and bypass Georgia. It would be a great opportunity if (Cobb) could connect with (Cuba),” he said.

In totally unrelated news, it was great to see that Havana Sandwich Shop has returned to its original location on Buford Highway near the corner of North Druid Hills after a 2008 fire. The old new location at Buford Highway and Clairmont remains open.

The Georgia Commission on Medical Cannabis met yesterday at the Capitol to discuss how best to supply the substance that was made legal earlier this year.

The change in Georgia law created a registry for patients that wish to use cannabis oil treatment and suffer from a list of eight conditions, including seizure disorders, multiple sclerosis, cancer and sickle cell disease. Those who qualify for the registry can now possess the oil in Georgia, which Aaron Klepinger said allowed his family to return here while continuing Hunter’s treatments.

While it is now legal under state law to possess cannabis oil, it remains illegal to manufacture or distribute it in Georgia. However, a commission of lawmakers, doctors, lawyers and public safety officials is studying how to create and regulate an industry that would do just that.

Aaron Klepinger attended the latest meeting of the Georgia Commission on Medical Cannabis, held Wednesday in Atlanta’s Coverdell Legislative Building, and said he is optimistic about the commission’s progress.

“I’m hopeful that we’ll be able to come up with a solution that meets everyone’s needs and also allows for a highly-regulated growing model,” Aaron Klepinger said.

If the commission comes up with a system to manufacture and sell cannabis oil in Georgia that the Legislature can pass, Aaron Klepinger said, it would make it easier for families like his to obtain oil in Georgia, which is illegal to possess and to transport across state lines according to federal law.

“There’re people that right now that are either shipping it from another state or having someone ship it to them, they’re going out to another state to pick it up,” he said. “All these things are extremely expensive and frankly puts the person at more risk than needs to be.”

Candidates for Pooler City Council will meet and greet voters tonight at a forum sponsored by the Pooler Chamber of Commerce from 6 to 8 PM at the Holiday Inn, 103 San Drive in Pooler.

At Jordan High School in Muscogee County, new dress code rules prevent to wearing of camouflage unless it’s part of an official activity like JROTC.

The Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners has rewritten zoning rules for adult businesses.

Adult bookstores, pornographic theaters and strip clubs will be restricted to industrial areas in Gwinnett County from now on.

The businesses are also now barred from opening near tax-allocation districts, community improvement districts and activity centers, such as the Mall of Georgia and the Infinite Energy Center. The bans on such businesses in commercial areas is part of an overhaul county commissioners approved Tuesday night for adult-oriented businesses.

The new rules mark the first time in 14 years that the ordinances regulating adult-oriented businesses in Gwinnett County have been updated, Planning and Development Director Bryan Lackey said.

“It was time,” Lackey said. “The popping up of (adult novelty store Tokyo Valentino Erotique) on Pleasant Hill prompted us to have to take a good look at our ordinance …. to make sure we could fully regulate that store.”

Savannah Board of Aldermen member Mary Ellen Sprague has come under fire for a piece of political direct mail that pictures her with the Chief of Police.

Alderman Mary Ellen Sprague was on the defensive Tuesday after her re-election campaign recently sent out a flyer to voters ahead of the Nov. 3 election that her opponent and others say implies an endorsement from Lumpkin.

The flyer features a photo of Sprague standing next to Lumpkin, along with text proclaiming “Fighting Crime for A Safe and Secure Savannah.”

A quote attributed to Sprague also states that public safety is her number one priority.

Julian Miller, who is running against Sprague to represent Savannah’s 4th District, said the photo creates a false impression that the chief is supporting Sprague’s campaign.

“You’ve got to be careful with the police department staying out of politics,” Miller said. “This throws them into it.”

Jose da Cruz, a political science professor at Armstrong State University, agreed that voters who received the flyer could be led to believe Sprague has the chief’s support due to the photo. It was also inappropriate for Sprague to use Lumpkin’s image without his permission, da Cruz said, and she should consider sending a new flyer without the image.

“It’s misleading to the voters and the public,” he said.

Good Things Can Happen in DeKalb

At a time when the Director of the FBI is getting press for recalling a conversation he had in which a police officer told him, ““Our political leadership has zero tolerance for you all being connected to another viral video,” this photo probably won’t go viral, but DeKalb Commissioner Nancy Jester joined The Local No. 7, GaPundit, Northlake Tucker CID, Tucker Business Association (TBA), Main Street Tucker Alliance, The Orchard Senior Living, Taggert’s Driving School, Handy Ace Hardware, The Hampton Inn Northlake, and Bruster’s Real Ice Cream – Tucker, GA in supporting the local officers in their community by sponsoring a Police Precinct Appreciation Lunch.

Jester Police

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