Georgia Politics, Campaigns & Elections for June 14, 2013

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Jun

Georgia Politics, Campaigns & Elections for June 14, 2013

Happy Flag Day, America!

FlagsCoverPhotoToday is Flag Day, commemorating the adoption of the American Flag in 1777 and it is also the day the United State Army celebrates its birthday in 1775. They may all be crazy in Snellville, but they’re also patriotic, and will hold a Flag Day ceremony at Snellville City Hall at 2 PM today.

RLG Pachyderm Banner0614BallotsDueToday

The Cobb County Chicken Wars continue, with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation responding to a complaint by Chicken Fancier Joseph Pond against County Commissioner Joanne Birrell.

Chicken activist Joseph Pond of east Cobb has convinced the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to investigate Commissioner JoAnn Birrell over a zoning case involving his hens.

Pond asked Cobb District Attorney Vic Reynolds and Sheriff Neil Warren to investigate Birrell, and they in turn handed the case over to the GBI June 8.

Pond, who has filed two previous ethics complaints against Birrell, both of which have been dismissed by the Cobb Ethics Board, maintains that Birrell not only violated the county’s ethics code by failing to show impartiality on a variance case for backyard chickens, she gave false testimony during her ethics hearing.

“She broke the law,” Pond said. “She’s given false and misleading information.”

Birrell told the MDJ on Thursday, “All I can say is I can assure you once again that I am innocent of any wrongdoing, I have not broken the law, and I have not acted in an unethical or illegal manner, and as long as this is under GBI investigation I can’t really comment on any specifics, but I can assure you I’ve been cleared twice by the ethics board of anything or really of nothing, so we’ll just see what happens.”

Birrell went on to say, “It’s ridiculous and it is harassment and that’s all I can say.”

Pond has a different view.

“I find breaking the state law very serious,” he said. “I do not consider it ridiculous. Was it ridiculous when Bill Clinton was caught lying under oath and he was impeached? Was that harassment? She’s an elected official, and she broke the law, and she needs to be held to the same laws that we are.”

You know what would be really awesome? If former Governor Foghorn Leghorn Roy Barnes entered the fray. “I say, boy, I say….”
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Bob Barr’s campaign will hold a fundraiser on Thursday, June 20th at Adventure Outdoors in Smyrna, in Remington Hall at 7:00pm with a reception for sponsors from 6:00-7:00 PM. What makes this fundraiser particularly interesting is some of the swag that will be available.
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The MC of the event will be legendary radio personality Rhubarb Jones

We have a lot of great things to bid on at the auction, they include:

A MEAN AR-15 Custom Arms Billet Receiver. This is a one of a kind MEAN stripped lower receiver with BOB BARR1 as the serial number. This MEAN receiver is custom machined from 7075-T651 aluminum and above MIL SPEC. It features a wire EDM cut magazine well with double lead-in for easier insertion/ejection of magazines, an oversized buffer tube attachment point for added strength, and a Type III black anodize finish with a hard-coat.
A Winchester Big Daddy Gun Safe. Granite Gray, Holds up to 54 firearms, and is fire rated to withstand 1400 degree temperatures for 75 minutes.

A trophy skull signed by American Icon Ted Nugent.

University of Virginia political science professor Larry Sabato rates only one Georgia Congressional seat as competitive, placing Democrat John Barrow’s 12th District in the “Leans Democratic” column.

Hopeful liberals keep saying that Georgia might send a Democrat to the Senate next year, and ThinkProgress.org is falling all over themselves in excitement at the thought.

But to be competitive in Georgia next year, some Democrats were hoping to have an anointed candidate nominated without a primary. Branko Radulovacki threw cold water on that idea when “Dr. Rad” filed paperwork to run for the Senate as a Democrat.

Governor Deal is expected to name a panel to recommend whether State Rep. Tyrone Brooks (D, natch) should be suspended after a federal indictment charged him with misusing funds from two non-profits he runs.

Speaking of Governor Deal, the Marietta Daily Journal opines that he’s right to move forward on the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project under state funding.

Much to his credit, and with the clock steadily ticking, Deal says he’s willing to use state money to jump-start the project. The state is required to pay for 40 percent of the project. But rather than wait on Washington, the governor said he’s ready to use the state’s share “up front” to get things going.

“We are going to ask the secretary of the Army to give us the go-ahead to begin to spend our own money with the idea that they will contribute as quickly as possible,” he said.

Added Deal, “We have our money available and we’re ready to spend it to begin this project. We think we need to start as quickly as possible.”

Agreed. And hopefully President Obama and Congress will begin to see the light as well.

Another Georgia project the Feds are dragging their heels on is the Highway 411 connector from I-75 to Rome. Governor Deal is not amused.
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“It’s very disappointing to me that the federal government would, at one point in time, tell us that the route was OK and then come back and change their mind,” said Deal, “especially when the Georgia person who is responsible for the preservation of historic sites said that the mine did not deserve that categorization. “

Deal showed frustration, as he talked with reporters, saying, “It’s gonna cost us money, and it’s gonna cost us time.”

But Deal says he is determined that, even if state planners eventually have to alter the route, there will be a road that connects Rome to I-75.

Congressman Hank Johnson (D) unpacked his grocery bags in the well of the House to share his lunch demonstrate what $31.50 per week in food stamps buys.

Johnson is taking the food stamp challenge, under which he and several other members will live on just $31.50 worth of food for a week. Johnson and other Democrats are taking the challenge to highlight cuts to food stamps that are being proposed in both the House and Senate farm bill.

“I went to Safeway, and here is my bill,” Johnson said as he unpacked his bags. “It is for $29.76.”

Johnson unpacked a container of Quaker Oats, which he said he might eat for breakfast or dinner. For breakfast, he also bought a box of Eggo waffles and some sugar-free syrup.

“They already have butter in them, so I didn’t have to buy the butter,” he said of the waffles.

He bought bacon, milk, tea, hot dogs, bananas and Ramen noodles. “I used to eat those a lot when I was in college,” he said.

Johnson agreed that his week’s worth of food is short on fruits and vegetables and said the store he went to didn’t have much variety. He did try to buy broccoli, but that put him over his $31.50 limit.

“This is what I’m going to be eating for the next seven days, starting tomorrow,” he said. “It’s going to be a challenge.

“I certainly will not be eating three meals a day. I will eat in the morning, and then I will eat in the evening.”

Former Floyd County Chief Magistrate Chris Mathis is accused of fraud in what prosecutors call a classic Ponzi scheme.

An FBI probe of the Savannah-Chatham Police Department, requested by Chief Willie Lovett, found no violations of federal law, but suggested follow-up on some complaints regarding crime reporting.

There’s some question about whether he quit or was fired, but no question that Mark Crowe is no longer Chief of the Pembroke, Ga Police.

The Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice has suspended 19 investigators and the former head of the investigations division in the wake of a federal report rating four Georgia Youth Detention Centers as among the nation’s worst for sexual abuse.

The Peace Officers Retirement Fund receives money from traffic ticket fines, but it’s not a conflict of interest because most officers don’t realize that traffic fines help fund retirement benefits.

The General Assembly and Gov. Herman Talmadge created the Peace Officers’ Annuity and Benefit in 1950 as a supplemental retirement fund. Today, the account has 13,942 active members, a retirement roll of 4,525 officers and assets nearing $580 million.

“The fund is not an incentive to write traffic tickets, by any stretch,” Executive Director Bob Carter said. “Most officers do not even realize the fund is in part funded by traffic ticket fines.”

Carter said Wednesday that the pension this year added 313 certified law enforcement officers from city, county and state agencies. The maximum monthly benefit a member can receive after a 30-year membership is $732.30.

Though the profits might seem marginal, fines can add up quickly. During Operation Thunder, 2,290 citations were issued for various offenses, including impaired driving, seat-belt violations and suspended licenses.

The court system collected $404,062 in criminal fines, advance ticket payments and partial fees in May, the first month Operation Thunder defendants began appearing before a judge.

Villa Rica Mayor J. Collins vetoed a measure passed by City Council that would have allowed yards in unfinished subdivisions to “return to their natural state,” which would violate current ordinance that requires a lawn be kept trimmed to eight inches or shorter.

Georgia Public Service Commissioner Tim Echols took his Alternative Fueled Vehicles Road Show to Savannah.

For Echols, promoting the use of alternative fuels that are cost-effective and clean for the environment is more about common sense than about party

“I am a Republican. I am an evangelical. I have seven kids. So, I am very conservative,” he said, adding those evangelical roots drive him to be a better steward of resources.

“By using natural gas or electricity in your car, you not only save money yourself, but you provide for a cleaner atmosphere and you really help lower the cost for everyone else.

“If people can figure out how to conserve and how to use less power, it helps their neighbors and everyone else across the state not to have to pay a disproportionate amount for peak energy use.”

Two retired Major Generals say that academic shortcomings are a national security issue because it means that a large number of Americans are ineligible for service in our military.

The Carrollton Board of Education approved a $33 million budget for FY 2014.

Rome City Schools and Floyd County have an $82 million wish list for E-SPLOST funds, to be paid for with $39.4 in projected revenues.

Chatham County Commissioners are considering fee increases to address budgetary shortfalls, including nearly doubling the trash pickup fee.

 

This evening, from 5-7 PM at Bar One in Grant Park, the Fulton County Republican Party and Georgia Black Republican Council will celebrate Juneteenth, the anniversary of the June 19, 1865 notification of Texans that slavery was abolished. Bar One is located at 687 Memorial Dr SE, Atlanta, GA 30316. Click here to R.s.v.p. on the Fulton County Republican Party website.

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