Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for September 1, 2022


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for September 1, 2022

The Stars and Stripes first flew in battle on September 3, 1776 at Cooch’s Bridge, Delaware.

On September 4, 1682, Edmund Halley first sighted the comet that bears his name.

A fleet of 22 French ships arrived off the coast of Savannah on September 3, 1779 to help wrest control of the city from the British.

Congress created the United States Treasury Department on September 2, 1789.

With the ratification of the Constitution in 1789, the American government established a permanent Treasury Department in hopes of controlling the nation’s debt. President George Washington named his former aide-de-camp, Alexander Hamilton, to head the new office. The former New York lawyer and staunch Federalist stepped in as Secretary of the Treasury on September 11. Hamilton soon outlined a practical plan for reviving the nation’s ailing economy: the government would pay back its $75 million war debt and thus repair its badly damaged public credit.

Former Vice President Aaron Burr was acquitted of treason on September 1, 1804.

Scheduled steamship service first began on September 4, 1807, when Robert Fulton’s North River Steamboat began plying the trade on the Hudson River.

On September 3, 1862, the writ of habeas corpus was suspended in Atlanta and within five miles of its border by the Confederate government. Two years later, September 3, 1864, General William T. Sherman would occupy Atlanta.

Atlanta Mayor James Calhoun surrendered the city to federal forces on September 2, 1864.

Calhoun’s two-sentence letter, directed to Brig.-Gen. William Ward stated: “Sir: The fortune of war has placed Atlanta in your hands. As mayor of the city I ask protection of non-combatants and private property.”

General William T. Sherman ordered all civilians out of Atlanta on September 4, 1864.

On September 1, 1865, Confederate Lieutenant General John Bell Hood withdrew his troops from Atlanta, destroying supply depots and setting ablaze 81 railcars loaded with ammunition.

The Georgia General Assembly expelled 25 of 29 African-American members from the State House on September 3, 1868, arguing that Georgia’s constitution did not allow them to hold office.

The cornerstone of the Georgia State Capitol was laid on September 2, 1885.

The last hanging in Atlanta took place on September 1, 1922 outside the Fulton County jail.

Approximately 5,000 people gathered outside the Fulton County jail to witness the hanging.

Vince Dooley was born on September 4, 1932. Happy birthday, coach!

Anne Frank, age 15, and seven other Jews who were hiding together in Amsterdam were the last Dutch prisoners transported to Auschwitz on September 3, 1944.

Japan surrendered to the United States on the deck of USS Missouri on September 2, 1945.

On Sunday, September 2, more than 250 Allied warships lay at anchor in Tokyo Bay. The flags of the United States, Britain, the Soviet Union, and China fluttered above the deck of the Missouri. Just after 9 a.m. Tokyo time, Japanese Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu signed on behalf of the Japanese government. General Yoshijiro Umezu then signed for the Japanese armed forces, and his aides wept as he made his signature.

Supreme Commander MacArthur next signed, declaring, “It is my earnest hope and indeed the hope of all mankind that from this solemn occasion a better world shall emerge out of the blood and carnage of the past.” Nine more signatures were made, by the United States, China, Britain, the USSR, Australia, Canada, France, the Netherlands and New Zealand, respectively. Admiral Chester W. Nimitz signed for the United States. As the 20-minute ceremony ended, the sun burst through low-hanging clouds. The most devastating war in human history was over.

Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus called out National Guard troops to prevent the desegregation under court order of Little Rock’s Central High School on September 4, 1957.

Author John Ronald Reuel Tolkien died on September 2, 1973.

Having received the Democratic nomination for President, Jimmy Carter began the General Election with an address from his front porch in Plains, Georgia on September 3, 1976.

On September 1, 2004, United States Senator Zell Miller, a Democrat, spoke at the Republican National Convention.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

The Calhoun County Sheriff’s Department is waging war upon the first wave of SkyNet drones used in smuggling, according to WALB.

Josh Hilton, Calhoun County Sheriff, said they currently are holding 50 or more drones, 25 to 30 of which are being used for ongoing investigations.

He said the drones come from people trying to traffic drugs into the prison.

The department turns the drones into something positive for the community. There was a recent exchange between them and Seminole County Sheriff’s Office where they traded drones for a new car they needed.

“I am selling them, I’m trading them. I’ve helped other agencies out that’s needed one in the past,” Hilton said.

Hilton has been doing this for more than a decade and said he sees multiple attempts of drug smugglers a week.

“Some weeks it’s seven, others it is one. It really does change week by week. Sometimes we get multiple different gangs on the same day,” Hilton said.

When they get caught, it’s more than 10 years in prison. Hilton said the judges do a great job prosecuting the criminals.

“If they’re (The drones) in a short distance, (they) could probably do five pounds. Five pounds of meth, five pounds of ecstasy,” Hilton said.

The biggest drones can carry hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of drugs. That’s why Hilton said they’re probably coming back.

“I’ve got some really good guys, they work hard on it. They know what to look for. It won’t take long to look for what people are doing and people that are coming in from out of town,” Hilton said.

Hilton said they are well-staffed and ready for the next round of attempted smuggling.

Governor Brian P. Kemp on Wednesday announced his appointment of Stephen Knights, Jr. as a Henry County State Court Judge, to fill the vacancy created by former Chief Judge David Brown, according to a Press Release.

Stephen Knights, Jr. currently serves as a judge on the Henry County Magistrate Court. Prior to his appointment in October of 2020, he worked in a variety of public and private legal offices. Judge Knights was previously the senior attorney in the private firm of Knights Law Group, Magistrate Court Judge and Pro Tem Judge of the Clayton County Magistrate Court, Senior Litigation Assistant District Attorney (ADA) in the Clayton Judicial Circuit, ADA in the Griffin Judicial Circuit, and Assistant Solicitor General for Clayton County.

Judge Knights earned a doctorate in criminal justice from Capella University, his law degree from Western Michigan Thomas M. Cooley Law School, and a bachelor of arts in Criminology from John Jay College of Criminal Justice. He resides in Locust Grove with his wife and their four children.

Governor Kemp also signed on Thursday two Executive Orders extending the State of Emergency for Supply Chain Disruption, and extending the suspension of motor fuel tax collection. From the Press Release:

Governor Brian P. Kemp today signed two executive orders extending the temporary suspension of state taxes on motor and locomotive fuel as well as the supply chain state of emergency. As Georgians continue to face sky-high inflation due to irresponsible policies and spending from Democrats in Washington, D.C., Governor Kemp is acting to ease the burden these higher costs are placing on Georgia families. Both orders will be effective through October 12, 2022, and can be found here.

“With our nation experiencing 40-year high inflation, ongoing supply chain challenges, and some of the highest gas prices ever, Democrats in D.C. continue to spend taxpayer money with no regard for the costs and its impact on hardworking families,” said Governor Brian Kemp. “While these politicians continue to double down on bad policies, we are using the means available to us to provide much-needed relief to Georgians. As I’ve said since we first suspended the fuel tax back in March, we can’t fix everything Washington has broken, but we can use the resources we have as a result of our responsible budgeting to keep more money in the pockets of hardworking Georgians.”

“As the battle against skyrocketing inflation rages on, Georgians continue to feel the pressure to stay afloat,” said Lt. Governor Geoff Duncan. “I commend Governor Kemp for once again extending the suspension of the gas tax which is helping Georgians lessen the economic burden we’re facing at the pump. Despite Washington’s best efforts, Governor Kemp is keeping hard-earned dollars in Georgians’ pockets and maintaining this state as the best in the nation to live, work, and raise a family.”

“Under Governor Kemp’s leadership, Georgia continues to keep our people and our economy moving by providing tax relief to businesses and families,” said Speaker David Ralston. “Despite Washington’s inaction on combatting inflation, we are working to protect the jobs that put food on family tables across Georgia. I am proud to join with Lt. Governor Duncan and our colleagues in the General Assembly in supporting Governor Kemp’s action today.”

Because of Governor Kemp and the General Assembly’s fiscally conservative approach to budgeting, Georgia can confidently extend the state motor fuel and locomotive tax suspension to help curb historic gas prices. Since the temporary suspension was implemented, Georgia’s average gas price has remained one of the lowest in the nation and is currently roughly 46 cents below the national average for a gallon of regular gas, according to AAA.

From the Associated Press via the Statesboro Herald:

Kemp previously signed a law in March that passed with broad bipartisan support suspending the state’s gas tax through May 31. Kemp signed earlier extensions in May and July.

The order also suspends the state sales tax on train locomotive fuel.

Under state law, Kemp can suspend taxes as long as state lawmakers ratify the action the next time they meet.

Georgia’s gasoline price normally includes a federal tax of 18.4 cents per gallon and a state tax of 29.1 cents per gallon. A number of counties and the city of Atlanta also charge taxes. Federal taxes on diesel fuel are 24.4 cents per gallon, while Georgia’s tax on diesel is 32.6 cents per gallon.

The suspension costs the state more than $150 million a month in tax revenue. Kemp is backfilling money for road building using billions in state surplus.

Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) spoke in Georgia yesterday, according to the AJC.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi headed to Georgia on Thursday to promote federal initiatives to reconnect communities divided by segregation policies.

But as House Democrats’ top recruiter and seat saver, she also gave a boost to U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop, whose 2nd Congressional District was redrawn to be more competitive for Republicans in 2022.

“His race is very important to us. It’s of the highest priority, and it would make a big difference to the people that he represents,” Pelosi said of the 30-year veteran of the House. “He has his vision and he has his goals. And he knows how to work with members to get the job done.”

In a joint interview with U.S. Rep. Nikema Williams, Pelosi expressed confidence that Democrats would maintain control of the chamber despite a tough political climate for the party in power.

“We’ve been preparing since December 2020. We have been mobilizing at the grassroots level to own the ground to get out that vote, because that’s the most important thing,” she said. “We’ve been raising the money that’s necessary to do so.”

“When the Dobbs decision came down, people said, ‘Oh, you got lucky,’” Pelosi said of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that overturned the constitutional right to abortion. “But no, we made our own luck. We have been ready for this.”

The Southern Poverty Law Center and the Community Foundation of Greater Atlanta announced more than $4.6 million dollars in additional campaign voter outreach funds, according to the Valdosta Daily Times.

SPLC and Community Foundation of Greater Atlanta on Monday announced more than $4.6 million in additional Vote Your Voice grants to 39 voter outreach organizations to five states across the Deep South, including Alabama and Georgia. A year ago, SPLC announced the award of $11 million to 55 civic and voter outreach organizations in these states.

“With the recent wave of unprecedented attacks on civil rights and liberties that disproportionately target communities of color, women and people with disabilities, it is more important than ever to defend our right to vote and make our voices heard,” said Lecia Brooks, chief of staff and culture for SPLC. “These grants will empower communities to get out to the polls, exercise their freedom to vote and stand up for their right to an equal voice in government.”

The grants are purposed to support voting education, registration and mobilization, especially among communities of color. The resources represent an addition to an earlier investment of more than $11 million in two-year grants made last year.

A UGA Professor says mining could affect the Okefenokee Swamp, according to The Brunswick News.

C. Rhett Jackson, a professor of water resources at the university, concluded “the water under Trail Ridge will drop as a consequence” of mining near the swamp. Trail Ridge is a geological formation that is believed to retain the water in the Okefenokee.

“Accordingly, the mine can be expected to make the swamp drier in dry periods and also to make dry periods last longer,” Jackson said in his report. “Drought frequency and severity, along with fire risk, would increase.”

“Similar mineral sands mining projects in the area have failed to achieve zero discharge and have had to discharge to local water bodies,” he said. “It is almost a certainty that the Twin Pines project will have to discharge to St Marys tributaries.”

Jackson also predicted the dredging and filling of more than 320 acres of isolated wetlands will have “little to no potential for successful restoration” and will damage the greater Okefenokee ecosystem. Mining will also diminish the value of the swamp as a night sky attraction for stargazing.

The biggest risk, however, is the possible impacts of lowering water levels in the Okefenokee.

Rena Ann Peck, executive director of the Georgia River Network, said the study supports what opponents to the mining project have said for years.

“This assessment provides scientific evidence for denying the mining permit applications on Okefenokee’s Trail Ridge,” she said.

Dozens of Athenians expressed outrage over looming evictions, according to the Athens Banner Herald.

The move comes after Florida-based investment company Prosperity Capital Partners bought more than 500 apartments and condos throughout Athens. At the end of June, property management company Strategic Management Partners notified dozens of residents that the rent would increase by several hundred dollars and that their leases would not be renewed.

Community organizers say the sudden increase has impacted at least 30 tenants in Lexington Heights, Highland Park, Rosemary Place and Hidden Pines. The residents that have been offered lease renewals allege new obstacles to keeping their apartments: Their landlords now require reported income exceeding three times the new rent, as well as renter’s insurance and no outstanding payments. What’s more, Strategic Management Partners no longer accepts Section 8 vouchers.

Residents now face a dire situation: either come up with the new rent, or leave.

“My rent went from $825 to $1,700 for a two-bedroom apartment,” [Juana Hulin] said during the press conference.

“Athens and Clarke County already have a homeless crisis. And if me and my three girls don’t come up with the $1,700, we will be homeless. I have no family that I can live with,” said Hulin. “I haven’t been able to sleep. And I have been very stressed out. This has been a burden on my heart to carry every single day.”

In Georgia, there are no laws preventing landlords from drastically increasing rent or refusing to honor Section 8 vouchers. Local activists and politicians have discussed introducing measures to protect working class tenants. But laws take time, and blowback from the state legislature is likely.

United States Senator Raphael Warnock (D-Atlanta) campaigned in Augusta, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

“Democracy assumes that all of us have value, and if we have value, we ought to have a voice, and the way to have a voice is to have a vote,” he said. “I believe that a vote is a kind of prayer for the world that we desire for ourselves and for our children.”

Warnock issued this call during a rally at Augusta Tech on Thursday, Sept. 1, as part of his campaign for re-election. He was introduced by several Augusta area leaders, who spoke to his character and how important it was to send him back to Washington D.C. for another six years.

“We have a man with empathy and humility,” said District 126 Rep. Gloria Frazier. She explained at a prior rally in Burke County “I had Dori and Walter Scott come to this rally, they are the parents of little Israel Scott that drowned about six weeks ago. They came with their family, and Raphael Warnock met with that family right there after that rally, and he prayed with them. This is the type of man that we have.”

“One of my favorite mottos: people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care,” said District 125 Rep. Sheila Nelson. “Senator Warnock has shown us how much he cares about people. This is one of numerous trips he’s made to Augusta, GA, and will continue to send the dollars to Augusta, GA.”

“I will stand up for working and middle class families every single day because I think it’s ordinary families that deserve a tax credit,” Warnock said.

The State Bar is seeking a temporary suspension of former Augusta District Attorney Natalie Paine over allegations related to her time in office, according to WRDW.

A six-month suspension is being recommended for her.

She issued this response to News 12:

“This complaint stems from an unfortunate oversight on the part of the Sheriff’s office, one that I truly had nothing to do with. My only involvement was notifying the defense attorneys of their clients being transported to the Criminal Investigative Division. In no way did anyone involved in this oversight act with any intention of violating the sanctity of the attorney client privilege, but unfortunately, it happened.”

“I was previously offered a private letter of reprimand by the Bar that I declined to accept, knowing that this would be made public, because I simply cannot admit to something I did not do.”

From WJBF:

The suspension stems from how Paine allegedly handled a murder case in 2017 when she was District Attorney in Augusta. Earlier this year, a Special Master ruled that Paine did not violate any laws when handling the case.

The disciplinary review board says the Special Master is wrong and wants Paine suspended. The case is scheduled to go before the Georgia Supreme Court in the December term.

On February 21, 2020, probable cause was reportedly found by the board that Paine violated state law prohibiting a lawyer from using methods of obtaining evidence that violate the legal rights of the opposing party or counsel.

Romans may be ready to agree to a proposal to split Local Option Sales Tax revenues with Floyd County and Cave Spring, according to the Rome News Tribune.

While commissioners are still mum on the details of the agreement, City Manager Sammy Rich and Mayor Sundai Stevenson confirmed that the board is viewing the plan favorably.

Every 10 years the three governments must renegotiate how local option sales tax revenue is distributed. Up until this past Saturday, talks between Rome, Floyd County and Cave Spring have been essentially stalled. The tentative agreement — on the deadline — deferred the state mandated arbitration that would have kicked in.

The New Georgia Project and the New Georgia Project Action Fund sued the Georgia State Ethics Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission, according to the AJC.

The New Georgia Project and the New Georgia Project Action Fund filed suit Wednesday, saying that the commission is using an unconstitutionally broad definition of a “campaign fund” to allege they raised $4 million and spent $3 million before the 2018 election and illegally failed to disclose it.

Under Georgia law, groups advocating for candidates must disclose contributions and expenditures on a regular basis.

A month ago, the commission decided there was probable cause to believe the two nonprofits raised and spent millions of dollars to aid Abrams’ unsuccessful 2018 gubernatorial bid without disclosing it.

The lawsuit urges the court to declare the state’s definitions of “campaign committee” and “independent committees” under the campaign finance act unconstitutional. Doing so would likely lead to the case against the groups being dropped and could impact other cases.

David Emadi, the commission’s executive secretary, was critical of the groups’ filing.

“First the New Georgia Project gets caught spending millions of dollars in dark, unregulated money to illegally influence the 2018 and 2019 elections,” he told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution when contacted about the lawsuit. “Now they want to literally overturn Georgia laws which require super PACs to register and disclose to the public how they are funded and spend their millions of dollars actually influencing our elections.

“Sounds like par for the course with this organization. We look forward to court and fighting to uphold transparency in Georgia’s elections.”

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