Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for September 27, 2022

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Sep

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for September 27, 2022

On September 27, 1779, John Jay, who previously served as President of the Continental Congress, was appointed minister to Spain to seek Spanish support for the revolution.

President Franklin Roosevelt made his ninth visit to Warm Springs, Georgia on September 27, 1927.

September 27 is a red-letter day for the Atlanta Braves and pitcher John Smoltz. The team won a record 14th straight Division Championship on this day in 2005. Smoltz set a team record for regular season wins (24) on September 27, 1996 and extended his team record for strikeouts hitting 276.

On September 27, 2002, Smoltz set a National League record with 54 saves.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

The Hall County Board of Education voted to name an elementary school after the late First Lady Sandra Deal, according to the Gainesville Times.

On Monday, the Hall County school board unanimously voted to name the school Sandra Dunagan Deal Elementary School, located on Ramsey Road and scheduled to open in fall 2024.

“Our family appreciates the honor the Hall County Board of Education has bestowed on Sandra by naming this new elementary school after her,” Nathan Deal, Sandra’s husband and former Georgia governor, said in a press release from the school system. “She was an educator at heart! This will be a fitting memorial to her life as a teacher and as The First Lady of Georgia who was committed to literacy and learning.”

“Sandra grew up in New Holland and she taught and lived in North Hall,” said Hall County Superintendent Will Schofield. “Naming this school after a Hall County woman who devoted her life to the next generation represents everything that is good, noble and true — in public education and in humanity.”

“Hall county’s own, Sandra Deal, had a distinguished career in local education,” said Craig Herrington, chairman of the Hall County school board. “It is appropriate that we honor and recognize Mrs. Deal’s dedication to the children of Hall County and Georgia.”

People concerned about voting fraud allegations are signing up in greater numbers to be poll workers, according to the Associated Press via WRDW.

Outraged by false allegations of fraud against a Georgia elections employee in 2020, Amanda Rouser made a vow as she listened to the woman testify before Congress in June about the racist threats and harassment she faced.

“I said that day to myself, ‘I’m going to go work in the polls, and I’m going to see what they’re going to do to me,’” Rouser, who like the targeted employee is Black, recalled after stopping by a recruiting station for poll workers at Atlanta City Hall on a recent afternoon. “Try me, because I’m not scared of people.”

About 40 miles north a day later, claims of fraud also brought Carolyn Barnes to a recruiting event for prospective poll workers, but with a different motivation.

“I believe that we had a fraudulent election in 2020 because of the mail-in ballots, the advanced voting,” Barnes, 52, said after applying to work the polls for the first time in Forsyth County. “I truly believe that the more we flood the system with honest people who are trying to help out, it will straighten it out.”

The possibility they will play a crucial role at polling places is a new worry this election cycle, said Sean Morales-Doyle, an election security expert at The Brennan Center for Justice.

“I think it’s a problem that there may be people who are running our elections that buy into those conspiracy theories and so are approaching their role as fighting back against rampant fraud,” he said.

The Associated Press talked to roughly two dozen prospective poll workers in September during three recruiting events in two Georgia counties — Fulton County, which includes most of Atlanta and where more than 70 percent of voters cast a ballot for Biden, and Forsyth County north of Atlanta, where support for Trump topped 65 percent.

About half said the 2020 election was a factor in their decision to try to become a poll worker.

“We don’t want Donald Trump bullying people,” said Priscilla Ficklin, a Democrat, while taking an application at Atlanta City Hall to be a Fulton County poll worker. “I’m going to stand up for the people who are afraid.”

I agree it’s a crazy situation.

Forsyth, Gwinnett, and Hall Counties signed an agreement with the state governing water supplies from Lake Lanier, according to the Capitol Beat News Service via the Albany Herald.

“This landmark agreement is the final step in a 30-year-long process to secure water rights for Lake Lanier,” Gov. Brian Kemp declared during a ceremony at the state Capitol. “For our growing population and job creators, this is a crucial asset.”

The water wars originated when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dammed the Chattahoochee River to form Lake Lanier in the 1950s. While the new reservoir was officially designated for flood control and recreation, it was not authorized as a water supply.

Florida dragged Georgia through the courts for years, challenging the legality of what became the largest water supply serving metro Atlanta. A federal judge ruled in Florida’s favor in 2009, but Georgia eventually prevailed last year after taking the case twice to the U.S. Supreme Court.

“Thirty years it has stretched out,” said former Gov. Nathan Deal, who fought the water wars on behalf of Georgia first as a Northeast Georgia congressman, then for eight years as governor. “[Kemp] finally got it to a conclusion.”

Rick Dunn, director of the Georgia Environmental Protection Division, said the contract the water suppliers signed with the state Monday will yield at least 222 million gallons of water per day, 13% of the water in Lake Lanier at full pool.

Eighty percent of the water will go to the water supply providers in the three counties, while the other 20% will be held in reserve for future allocation, Dunn said.

From AccessWDUN:

“Today, we’re celebrating a landmark agreement between the various parties represented here to draw from a crucial asset for both our state and its future – Lake Lanier,” Governor Brian Kemp said. “After decades of work and negotiation, we have reached a sound, carefully developed, and fair resolution to this long and slow battle of the so-called broader ‘Water Wars,’ and I want to thank former Governor Nathan Deal and his administration, Director Dunn and his hardworking team, and the many others who have contributed to this decades-long process to make today possible.”

The contract grants the state 254,170-acre-feet of water storage on which the water service providers are able to draw. That space is about 13% of the lake when at full levels. The storage will cost about $71 million in addition to annual operations and maintenance costs. The $71 million will be spread over 30 years. The state has already made two payments toward the costs, allocating over $14 million in the state budget to secure the agreement. The state will have permanent rights to the water storage once the payments are complete.

Over 1.5 million residents and businesses in Gwinnett, Forsyth and Hall counties along with other portions of north Metro Atlanta rely on Lake Lanier’s water supply. The state previously announced a contract in January 2021 between Georgia and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for water storage in Lake Lanier to meet the region’s estimated municipal and industrial water supply needs. The various water service providers and Georgia’s EPD have completed the process with the new contract.

“After many years of arduous labor, diligent legal work by many parties, and constant effort to see this through to the finish line, I’m so thankful Governor Kemp was able to bring to fruition this quality agreement for all stakeholders,” former Governor Nathan Deal said. “This is a win for all of Georgia, and it underscores the importance of that timeless advice – ‘never give up!’”

Savannah area economic development authority members say tax credits for electric cars are an important issue, according to WTOC.

[Savannah Economic Development Authority] officials say there are now concerns at Hyundai over tax credits included in the recently passed Inflation Reduction Act.

Under the new law electric vehicles must have final assembly in North America to be eligible for the tax credit.

While any electric cars made at the mega site would qualify for the credit, none of Hyundai Motor Group’s current electric car brands are eligible since they’re assembled overseas.

“The tax credits are a big concern to the company, related to the Inflation Reduction Act. There are a lot of conversations going on with the folks in Washington D.C. to see if the administration and obviously the House and Senate can provide a fix to that,” Tollison said.

Valdosta public schools students were stabbed and shot in separate incidents at bus stops, according to the Valdosta Daily Times.

Two violent incidents that happened at two different school bus stops in Valdosta are under investigation.

The first was a 12-year-old who was stabbed during a fight that happened at a Valdosta bus stop Monday morning, according to the Valdosta Police Department.

Police said several juveniles were involved in the fight and a 15-year-old pulled out a knife and stabbed the 12-year-old.

In the shooting incident, parents told WALB News 10 that two shots were fired. One bullet hit a nearby home and after the teen was shot, he got on the bus and was given first aid by other kids on the bus.

“There have been no threats on any of our school campuses and our normal school activity was never interrupted.  Our thoughts are with our students who were involved this morning, as well as with their families,” Valdosta City Schools said in a statement to WALB.

Dougherty County Commissioners approved spending $13,731 with an expected match from Albany, for early voting in the Albany Civic Center, according to the Albany Herald.

“It’s a safer location and accessible to all people,” Frederick Williams, chair of the Dougherty County Board of Elections, told commissioners.

Early voting for the primary election and past elections has been held at the RiverFront Resource Center on Pine Avenue, but Williams said that space is cramped and that the area is harder to control in terms of making sure that voters are not interfered with within the 150-foot radius of the polling location.

“One of the (issues) is too many special-interest groups have access to the polls,” he said. “We find it very hard to enforce the 150-foot radius. When these special-interest groups come, it really creates chaos.

The $27,570 cost includes money for four security officers to be on the site.

Albany is creating a new separate court for speeding tickets issued by SkyNet Red Speed cameras, according to WALB.

Beginning in October, there will be a separate court held for Red Speed camera ticket appeals.

Since the start of the school year, thousands of tickets have been issued.

Chad Warbington, Albany city commissioner for Ward 4, said this is because a lot of people have been speeding.

“I know the Chief told us when such began, like in the first week, it was in the thousands. I mean the first week of school, definitely a lot of citations. A lot of people are speeding,” Warbington said.

“One of the complexities of the school zone citations is it’s a civil matter, not a criminal matter and so if you have a reason to contest your citation from the school zones, it’s not going to go through the normal municipal court system. We’re actually setting up a smaller, separate way for us to hear those appeals,” he said.

“The person that is considered the officers that’s going to be hearing the appeals doesn’t technically have to be a judge,” Warbington said. “It just needs to be somebody that’s part of a police department that can talk through and understand what the appeal is to make a decision on that.”

Warbington said despite the many tickets being issued, he is starting to notice people slowing down in school zones.

Repeat after me: It’s not about revenue. It’s not about revenue. It’s not about revenue.

Tybee Island City Council held a six-hour meeting to hear draft revisions to their Short Term Vacation Rental (STVR) ordinance, according to Savannah Morning News.

A gavel striking wood. Gruff voices and yawns. Stifled applause and murmurs of disapproval. The sounds punctuated a six-hour Tybee Island council meeting that bled well past midnight as attendees and city officials discussed the island’s most contentious topic – the regulation of short-term vacation rentals (STVRs).

No new city ordinances were implemented at the Sept. 22 meeting, but the numerous comments and conversations laid the groundwork for the next meeting on Oct. 13, where more than a year’s worth of STVR debate could culminate in revamped regulations for the growing vacation rental industry.

Thursday night’s discussions touched upon a wide range of proposed regulations designed to rein in short-term vacation rentals – properties rented to guests for 30 days or less on websites like AirBnB and VRBO. Their presence on the island, which city officials say has increased over the years, has dominated and divided the small beach town’s local politics.

Balancing the economic benefits of tourism while sustaining the town’s livability has always been an inherent issue for the island. Now, the conversations have come to a head with STVRs as the mascot for tourism.

United States Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Extreme Northwest Georgia) wants to limit the availability to minors of some elective medical treatments, according to the Valdosta Daily Times.

According to her proposed bill, the Protect Children’s Innocence Act, gender-affirming care includes performing surgery, administering medication or performing other procedures to change the body of an individual to correspond to a sex that differs from the individual’s biological sex.

“The real problem is not only is it happening to kids and they are thinking they’re doing the right thing, many of them are realizing years later when they get a little bit older, that they have made a tragic mistake,” Taylor Greene said at a Sept. 20 press conference. “And the damage is undoable. It’s permanent … double mastectomy, hysterectomy, castration, what testosterone does to a young woman’s body, what puberty blockers do to a young boy growing as he’s going through puberty. All of these changes are prominent and they cannot be undone.”

Taylor Greene said the bill is not an attack on anyone’s sexuality but instead reserves the decision for adulthood.

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