Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 14, 2014

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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 14, 2014

On August 14, 1784, Russians invaded settled Alaska, founding the first permanent Russian settlement at Three Saints Bay.

Dentist, gambler, and gunfighter Doc Holliday was born on August 14, 1851 in Griffin, Georgia.

Speaking of Griffin, here’s an interesting list of ten things you didn’t know about Griffin, Georgia.

On August 14, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln hosted a group of African-American men at the White House to discuss emancipation of American slaves outside the United States as colonists.

The Second Battle of Dalton was joined on August 14, 1864.

Veterinary medicine was first regulated in Georgia after the signature by Gov. Hoke Smith of legislation on August 14, 1908.

Governor Richard Russell signed a proposed Constitutional Amendment removing the requirement that all taxes be paid before a citizen was allowed to vote.

The County Unit System of elections was created on August 14, 1917 when Governor Hugh Dorsey signed legislation by the General Assembly.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act on August 14, 1935. The road to perdition is paved with good intentions.

On August 14, 1945, the Japanese surrender to the Allies was made public in Japan.

In the afternoon of August 14, Japanese radio announced that an Imperial Proclamation was soon to be made, accepting the terms of unconditional surrender drawn up at the Potsdam Conference. That proclamation had already been recorded by the emperor.

A Special Session called by Governor Miller to address legislative redistricting after the United States Supreme Court threw out Georgia’s Congressional redistricting map was convened on August 14, 1995.

Public Service Announcement

Suicide-Lifeline

As much as we’ve seen, read, and heard about suicide and depression in the wake of the death of Robin Williams, I’m going to take a moment, and I hope you will too.

If you need help, it’s available, and it’s not what you think it is. Someone who can offer hope, love, and a sympathetic ear. Call if you need to.

Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

The important thing is to first get through the crisis, and once you’re past that, you have my personal guarantee that things will get better. If you are afraid a friend, loved one or acquaintance might hurt himself or herself, call the same number – they’re there for friends and family as well.

Click here for some more good advice on how to help someone in crisis.

Click here to learn factors that put someone at risk of suicide.

Click here to learn warning signs to watch for.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, get professional, trained help immediately. Tomorrow may be too late.

If you suffer from depression or wonder if you are, feel free to contact me via email. I am not the person you need to be speaking to if you’re in crisis, but I’m willing to share what helps me deal with depression, and I’m willing to listen.

Department of Irony

Yesterday, I noticed something ironic in a statement by Jason Carter’s spokesman, responding to criticism that Carter took a walk when things got tough in DeKalb County.

Carter spokesman Bryan Thomas said the attack was a “desperate attempt to deflect from the governor’s abysmal record on education”

So I noted the irony on Twitter. toddmr tweet

And Carter’s spokeman called me dumb.

Bryan Thomas Tweet

Which is itself ironic, since in a discussion of Jason Carter’s complete failure to work for his DeKalb County constituents, his campaign manager insults the intelligence of one of Carter’s DeKalb County constituents, disparages the public education system that produced him, and reveals his California-bred contempt for Georgia voters.

Matt McGrath Twitter

Carter’s other California wunderkind, Matt McGrath then piles on. I bet they shared a fistbump in the Carter campaign office. Maybe even a high-five or a bro-hug.

Because you see, they don’t mind insulting Georgians. After all, they don’t intend to live here. They’ll flee the smoking ruins of Jason Carter’s presidential ambitions the way McGrath fled the now-cratered campaign of Democrat Ed FitzGerald in Ohio.

Fellow Georgia Republican Brandon Howell noted the further irony that McGrath’s snarky tweet also included a spelling error.

Brandon Howell Tweet 2

So overall, it was a banner day for the dynamic duo from California. But they don’t care what Georgians think about them. Like the rest of the Democratic national organization, they only care about two things from Georgia. First is getting Michelle Nunn elected so they have an extra vote in the Senate to keep Harry Reid as Majority Leader. Second is a President Carter: the Sequel.

Apropos of that, Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post’s The Fix wrote about the horror that is Twitter:

The political world is a very small group of people composed, primarily, of politicians, the staff who work for them and the reporters who cover them. And, like any small and largely self-contained universe — most of these people live and work in and around DC — there is an echo-chamber effect in which small things (or even no-things) are made to seem like big things.  Twitter didn’t create that reality but it has super-sized it.  It functions — at least for many people who cover the daily ins and outs of politics — as a sort of grown up (and public) version of the note-passing that went on in junior high school.

 

Twitter fights are begun, won (or lost) and resolved without 99 percent of the public knowing about them. There is nothing worse than watching a Democratic and a Republican operative fight on Twitter. Nothing.  (Worth noting: As of January 2014, roughly one in five of all Internet users were on Twitter, according to the Pew Research Center.) If the phrase “tempest in a teapot” didn’t already exist, someone would have created it to describe political Twitter.

 

And Harris is also right that Twitter has become the default news-monitoring tool for the vast majority of political reporters and staffers.  I can’t even count the number of times that I have sent an email to the Fix posse with a bit of news under the subject line: “Twitter is saying this is happening.” And, in any newsroom you walk through, you will usually see two monitors at most desks; one is for the everyday business of journalism, the other has Twitter (or Hootsuite or Tweetdeck) open — an ever-updating news feed.

Harris is convinced that is a terrible thing. I am less convinced of that.  In days gone by, reporters kept a watchful eye on the Associated Press wire to make sure they weren’t missing any news.  (Many still do.) Twitter has simply become — for many reporters — the way they ensure they aren’t missing anything. (This of course is a fallacy; you are always missing something. But, you get the idea.)

Then Governor Deal’s campaign dropped this photo and dropped the microphone.

Where is Jason Carter

Governor Deal appoints two new judges

Governor Nathan Deal appointed Ellen S. Golden to a new State Court seat in Lowndes County. As it happens, Golden is married to Senator Tim Golden (R-Valdosta).

Golden will fill the new state court judgeship created by the passage of House Bill 986 during the 2014 session of the Georgia General Assembly. The appointment will take effect upon swearing in.

He also appointed Shawn Fitzpatrick Bratton to State Court in Gwinnett County, filling the vacancy created when Randy Rich was elevated to Superior Court.

NRSC on the air with anti-Nunn commercial

The National Republican Senatorial Committee has put $2.5 million behind this ad:

A Good Deal for Transportation?

Landline Magazine, a publication for the trucking industry, has an article looking at Governor Deal’s record on issues important to one of Georgia’s major industries.

In the lead-up to Election Day, it’s a good idea to take a look back at some significant actions by incumbents. For Georgia, Gov. Nathan Deal is again vying for the votes of truckers and others.

It is no small task for Georgia voters to keep up with even the most notable actions taken by the governor during his time in office. While many professional drivers can recall precisely the actions relative to trucking that have been taken, others may welcome a helpful reminder.

 

During his first year in office, Deal ratified a freeze in the tax collected on fuel purchases.

Georgia’s tax is a two-part tax. A 4 percent portion of the tax is calculated twice per year and is based on the average price per gallon of fuel in the state at the time. The rate can change every six months on Jan. 1 and July 1.

The governor decided weeks ahead of the scheduled July 1, 2011, rate increase to freeze the state’s fuel taxes to help consumers avoid more pain at the pump.

As required by state law, the Georgia Legislature approved the freeze through the end of 2011.

Two years ago, the governor signed into law a bill touted to benefit transportation priorities such as increased freight flows from the deepening of the Savannah Harbor.

In yesterday’s Political Insider blog at the AJC, they talked to Governor Deal about the idea of raising the gas tax to pay for needed infrastructure improvements.

The governor said it’s “premature to be talking about an increase in taxation.” Said Deal:

“I want to see what the study committee comes back with. To be talking about an increase in the gas tax means that you’re going to have to have enough votes for the General Assembly to pass it. It would be interesting to see what the members of this study committee recommend.”

Yesterday, former State Rep. Ed Lindsey, a civilian member of the study committee sent an email discussing the infrastructure needs our state has:

[H]ere are 10 sobering facts that came out of our first hearing in Atlanta:

  • The Georgia Department of Transportation’s revenue sources for FY2015 were approximately $1 billion from our state motor fuel tax and $1.2 billion from the Federal Highway Trust Fund.
  • Georgia ranks 49th in the nation in per capita spending on transportation.
  • Georgia presently receives back from the federal government $1.14 for every dollar we pay into Federal Highway Trust Fund.
  • Fuel taxes paid in Georgia consist of 18.4 cents per gallon in federal taxes and 7.5 cents per gallon in state taxes.
  • In addition, consumers pay 4% sales tax on gasoline. Three quarters of that tax goes directly to transportation while the fourth penny goes into the state general fund to be spent on other things. This one penny diversion equals $180 million per year on average.
  • A Georgia driver with a vehicle that gets on average 24 miles per gallon and travels 12,000 miles per year will pay approximately $85 in state taxes.
  • The average driver in Metro Atlanta wastes between $900 and $1100 per year on gasoline sitting in traffic because of congestion.
  • Our reliance on fuel taxes as a principle means of paying for transportation improvements will be increasingly tenuous in coming years as cars become more fuel efficient and the number of electric cars increases.
  • Likewise, given the gridlock in Washington and the rising federal deficit, our reliance on federal funds for transportation is also precarious down the road.
  • Georgia’s Statewide Transportation Plan for 2005-2035 has an estimated cost of $160 billion. Total expected available transportation dollars based on present revenue resources is estimated at $86 billion over this same period of time leaving a funding gap of $74 billion.

The tentative schedule for the remaining transportation funding hearings around the state is as follows:

August 18, 2014 in Columbus
September 2, 2014 in Tifton
September 3, 2014 in Macon
September 30, 2014 in Augusta
October 1, 2014 in Savannah
October 28, 2014 in Rome
October 29, 2014 in Blue Ridge

I can’t think of a better illustration of the structural tension between the need to pay for transportation maintenance and upgrades, and the effect of taxes on the businesses that generate the need for transportation maintenance and upgrades.

Speaking of transportation, it seems that the Jason Carter campaign weren’t the only ones to have a bad spelling day:

auquard

There’s only one word for that: auquard.

Newsbites:

Never a shrinking violet with respect to taking on red-meat national issues, the Marietta Board of Education is criticizing the Michelle Obama administration’s snack food regulations – Marietta Daily Journal.

Several school board members called the regulations, which limit calories, sodium and fat content, an overreach by the federal government.

“Students spend approximately 180 days in school each year, and don’t need Washington making it a joyless experience by ‘legislating away’ their opportunity to have an occasional donut or candy bar,” board member Tom Cheater said during Tuesday’s meeting.

Member Jill Mutimer said the standards make the assumption all children are obese and need caloric control. “What about athletes who need more calories?” she asked. “This rule is much more far reaching than most realize.”

Marietta High School Principal Leigh Colburn also weighed in.

“I think when you’re talking about high school and you’re talking about sales that happen outside of the cafeteria … with 16-,17-, 18-, 19-year-old kids, they’re perfectly capable of making these kinds of decisions for themselves.”

Georgia’s Coastal Health District Director says Ebola is not a threat and Savannah State said it saw no problems from hosting the President of the University of Liberia two weeks ago – Savannah Morning News.

The former manager of a Peanut Corporation of America processing plant linked to a salmonella outbreak testified about positive test results and how the company handled it – Savannah Morning News.

Good news for speeding scofflaws – the Chatham County Recorder’s Court is having a ticket amnesty in which people with outstanding fines will not be subject to contempt of court fines in addition if they pay their tickets – Savannah Morning News.

Dude – you’re doing it wrong. A Rome, Georgia man used panties as a disguise instead of the usual pantyhose when he robbed a Long John Silver’s – Rome News-Tribune.

The Augusta family of a young leukemia survivor remembers having met Robin Williams when the actor-comedian visited St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital to film a TV spot for their fundraising campaign – Augusta Chronicle.

A Georgia House Committee is considering how to decide the amount of compensation awarded to people who are released from prison after being exonerated – Augusta Chronicle. From Walter Jones:

The compensation eight men received ranges from about $17,000 per year of incarceration to $750,000. One man was also required to stay employed and submit to drug testing.

Georgia has no guidelines for how much a freed person should get from taxpayers for time in prison or what types of cases qualify for compensation.

All eight of the Georgians who have received compensation since 2000 were exonerated on the basis of DNA analysis of rape cases. None claimed that prosecutors did anything improper to put an innocent person behind bars, even though one of the exonerated men had pleaded guilty as part of a plea bargain.

There are unlikely to be more than a handful or so of those types of cases in the next dozen years, according to Aimee Maxwell, the executive director of the Georgia Innocence Project. That’s because there aren’t many incidents where the DNA is still available for testing from the period before such analysis became routine.

Some restaurant owners are complaining about proposed changes to alcohol sales rules in Augusta, though one of the changes would be to join Savannah in allowing bars to sell alcohol on Sunday during the March 16-18th St. Patrick’s Day holiday – Augusta Chronicle.

Carroll County is working on an ordinance that would ban wind-power farms in the county – Times-Georgian.com.

Georgia Department of Transportation held a meeting last night in Valdosta to present and receive input on the 2014 Statewide Rail Plan – Albany Herald.

Cherokee County District Attorney Shannon Wallace closed the case on allegations surrounding the Ball Ground Recycling project after a grand jury recommended doing so – Cherokee Tribune.

Carolyn Cosby, a Tea Party leader and candidate for Chairman of Cherokee County, will hold a press conference denouncing Wallace’s decision today at 1 PM – via Facebook.

In Peachtree City, the City Council will hold a hearing tonight at 6 PM on a proposed one-mill increase in the property tax rate – The Citizen.com.

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