Georgia Politics, Campaigns & Elections for August 16, 2013


Georgia Politics, Campaigns & Elections for August 16, 2013

Cobb County Sheriff Neil Warren injured in wreck

Sheriff Warren and Chief Deputy Milton Beck were driving to the State Capitol for the swearing-in of Supreme Court Chief Justice Harris Hines when another vehicle struck theirs. Warren was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital and the other driver was cited for failure to maintain his lane.

Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill acquitted on corruption charges

If jury trials are often won or lost in jury selection, the most important decision by Victor Hill’s defense team may have been not to seek to have the trial moved from the county that elected Hill Sheriff despite being under indictment.

Odd fact: the jury foreman, Markeith Crabb, said his occupation is “Gangsta rapper.”

Throughout the trial, which began Aug. 5 with jury selection, Hill has had supporters in the courtroom and in the hallways, including former DeKalb County CEO Vernon Jones, former Clayton Commission Chairman Eldrin Bell and one-time state Sen. Frank Redding, who served time in federal prison.

It will be interesting to watch the relationship between Hill and Clayton County District Attorney Layla Zon, also a Democrat, who prosecuted him.

Bert Lance dies

Georgia political legend Bert Lance, who served as Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Transportation, ran for Governor and was President Jimmy Carter’s Director of the Office of Management and Budget has died in Gordon County. Lance also headed the Democratic Party of Georgia in the 1980s.

Chris Christie to Republicans: “Fuhgeddaboutit!”

Republican New Jersey Governor Chris Christie told the Republican National Committee Summer Meeting in Boston that his election in a blue state with support from traditionally-Democratic constituencies demonstrates a way forward for the party. He also may have echoed comments by Newt Gingrich the day before. From the Washington Times:

Gov. Chris Christie, saying it’s time to get over 2012 and begin working toward 2016, told Republicans on Thursday that the party could learn from what he has done in New Jersey.

Interesting tidbit:

“Despite dozens of reporters waiting for his arrival, Christie was able to slip into the hotel ballroom relatively unnoticed and later left through a back door of the ballroom without addressing the media.”

Really? Chris Christie snuck anywhere?

The Pauls fire on Christie

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) and his father Ron Paul wasted no time in criticizing Christie, whom many view as a potential Presidential rival to the younger Paul in 2016.

“We are not a debating society,” Christie argued. “We are a political operation that needs to win.”

Ron Paul fired back first, telling Wolf Blitzer on CNN’s “Situation Room” that Christie’s argument was superficial.

“There’s more to it than just power,” he said. “To say and do anything you want just to be in government? You have to believe in something and understand economics or you just keep doing the same things and deficits keep running up.”

Rand Paul’s team also weighed in on Christie’s comments Thursday.

“So if I translate Gov. Christie correctly, we shouldn’t be the party of ideas,” Paul adviser Doug Stafford told CNN in an email. “We shouldn’t care what we stand for or even if we stand for anything. We reject that idea. Content-free so-called ‘pragmatism’ is the problem, not the solution.”

Rand Paul and Christie engaged in a high-profile public dispute earlier this month over the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs. Christie says they’ve kept the country safe, while Rand Paul argues they’re a violation of civil liberties.


Former Pennsylvania Senator and 2012 GOP Presidential candidate Rick Santorum had an interesting perspective on the decline of western civilization. From the Washington Examiner:

Former-Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., explained at the Family Leadership Summit in Iowa on Saturday that social conservatives were getting beat by pop culture.

“We’re losing this debate not because of politics, let’s be honest about that,” Santorum said. “Politicians didn’t change the culture, popular culture changed America.”

Santorum pointed out that most conservatives take a more passive stance by trying to protect their families from some of the values celebrated by pop culture. At the same time, he added, their children spend as much as eight hours a day in front of a screen, and only average about ten minutes a day talking with their parents or going to church.

“Who’s raising your children? Who’s creating the moral imagination for the future of our country?” Santorum asked.

“For us to sit here and think we’re going to win the country back politically when the culture continues to show your children when they watch that people like them are weird, people that hold your values are bigoted or hateful, it’s no wonder young people overwhelmingly are supporting the other side because they don’t know the truth,” Santorum said.

Santorum admitted that Christian-themed films and art were often times “inferior productions” even though they reflected traditional values.

As for the quality of some Christian-oriented entertainment, I’m inclined to agree with Jesus-loving cultural critic Hank Hill.

Campaigns & Elections

Georgia’s bipartisan one-two punch of Governor Nathan Deal and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed received a boost from Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce head Sam Williams.

“We urge everyone here, we in the business community, that these two gentlemen deserve a second term because of all the great things they’ve accomplished in their first term together,” said Williams.

The endorsement isn’t likely to make much of a difference to Reed, who faces no high-profile competition in his November re-election bid. But it could prove important for Deal, who already faces a challenge from Dalton Mayor David Pennington and a possible push by Superintendent John Barge.

It’s also important to note that Reed and Deal were high-profile supporters of last year’s failed transportation sales tax vote – the top priority for the chamber in 2012.

“Jobs, jobs, jobs is what we’re all about. The governor has done a stellar job in his first term and we’re looking forward to his second term. And the mayor and his partnership with the governor have done an incredible job not only in this region but also working across the state.

First Lady Sandra Deal has launched her own campaign, this one against underage drinking.

The new campaign, called Reel Change GA, encourages Georgia high school students to submit a 30-second video about why they choose not to drink as part of a statewide competition.

“Georgia’s children are our greatest resource and our most cherished gift.  It is imperative that they are able to remain healthy, productive and safe as they grow and learn so that they can live fulfilling lives. Alcohol abuse especially introduced at a young age can destroy both potential and lives.”

Whoever came up with the name “Reel Change Ga” gets awarded two points for sneakiness. And docked two points for obvious brown-nosing.

At least two open seats on the Marietta City Board of Education will be on the November ballot as Ward 2 BOE member Tony Fasola will not run for reelection. Fasola joins Ward 5 member Stuart Fleming who previously announced his retirement from the Board.

The Rockdale County Board of Education will ask voters in November to approve an $83.6 million dollar E-SPLOST; the previous penny sales tax for education expired in March.

Rockdale County Post 2 Commissioner JaNice Van Ness says the County Commission should consider reducing the 100 percent Homestead Option Sales Tax to 65 percent, which would have the effect of raising property taxes. In the HOST, which currenlty exists in only Rockdale and DeKalb, voters approved a penny sales tax and dedicated the proceeds to property tax reduction.

Calling Ron Swanson

The City of Brookhaven is hiring a director of parks and recreation. I wholeheartedly endorse Ron Swanson.

Don’t Fear the Reaper

Blue Oyster Cult guitarist Allen Lanier has died at 67. We offer this tribute:

Destined for News of the Weird is this bit out of Rome, Ga, where the city government is sending 20,000 pieces of direct mail to resident touting the Myrtle Hill Mausoleum.

Rome’s Public Works Committee on Wednesday heard about the proposed mailer for the mausoleum. The mailer, which has gone through several revisions, features a photo of the mausoleum on its front. The back has information about famous people buried in the South Rome cemetery and prices for the mausoleum’s crypts and cremation niches.

“It’s a beautiful, beautiful spot,” said Commissioner Sue Lee.

City officials are preparing for the mailers’ printing. Steven Foy, assistant director of the Public Works Division, said the advertisement would reach more than 20,000 residences in the city and county.

“The costs are really low for how many people we can reach,” he added.

It will cost some $5,000 to distribute the mailers, Foy said. The city would recoup the cost by selling one burial crypt.

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