Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for September 24, 2014


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for September 24, 2014

James Oglethorpe was named Commissioner of Indian Affairs and Charles Wesley was named Secretary of Indian Affairs by the Georgia Trustees in London on September 24, 1735.

The Judiciary Act of 1789, which established the first federal judicial system, was adopted on September 24, 1789 with the signature of President Georgia Washington. Under the Act, the original size of the Supreme Court was five Associate Justices and a Chief Justice. Washington nominated John Jay as Chief Justice, and John Rutledge, William Cushing, John Blair, Robert Harrison, and James Wilson as Associates.

Also established on September 24, 1789 were the office of Attorney General of the United States and the United States Post Office Department.

On September 24, 1862, the Confederate Congress adopted the Seal of the Confederate States of America.

The Decatur Female Seminary opened with 60 students on September 24, 1889 and would later be chartered as Agnes Scott College.

On September 24, 1960, USS Enterprise CVN-65, was launched from Newport News Shipbuilding in Norfolk, Virginia, the first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. Enterprise was inactivated on December 1, 2012.

The Warren Commission report on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy was delivered to President Lyndon B. Johnson on September 24, 1964.

On September 24, 1976, former Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter resumed campaigning after the first debate against President Gerald Ford.On September 24, 1979, CompuServe offered the first dial-up computer information service to consumers.

Launched as MicroNET in 1979 and sold through Radio Shack stores, the service turned out to be surprisingly popular, thanks perhaps to Radio Shack’s Tandy Model 100 computers, which were portable, rugged writing machines that dovetailed very nicely with the fledgling, 300-baud information service.

MicroNET was renamed the CompuServe Information Service in 1980. Around the same time, CompuServe began working with newspapers to offer online versions of their news stories, starting with the Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch in 1980. At least 10 major newspapers were offering online editions through CompuServe by 1982, including The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and the San Francisco Examiner.

On September 24, 2009, it was announced that the College Football Hall of Fame would move to Atlanta, where it opened on August 23, 2014.

Carter steps in it

Quite possibly the worst idea the Jason Carter campaign brain trust has had was to propose using the Teachers Retirement to invest in startup firms.

The Democrat argues in his economic pivot  that he wants teacher pensions to be able to pump funds into local startups “so long as we’re making sure that we can manage the risk in ways that make sense.” He sees it as a way to boost a state-backed effort to invest in venture capital firms that…has lagged.

“The things that concern the teachers is to make sure you’re stewarding the pension appropriately. So it’s crucial to make sure that we are managing the risk in ways that works,” he said. “But we shouldn’t have those pension funds losing out on higher growths and higher returns just because of artificial caps on what it can do.”

Essentially, he wants to start strip-mining the teachers’ pension system to “invest” in risky new companies. The two problems with this are (a) teachers are apoplectic at the idea of using their retirement funds for risky investments; and (b) the government doesn’t have a very good track record of picking winning investments.

A teachers group originally started because of dissatisfaction with changes to the state health benefits program objected to the proposal.

As a group, TRAGIC is 100% opposed to any changes in TRS, and many of our members let the Carter campaign know our feelings.

Carter immediately back-pedaled.

Political Rewind tonight

I’ll be on “Political Rewind” on Georgia Public Broadcasting tonight at 7 PM discussing the latest in Georgia politics with host Bill Nigut and fellow guest former Congressman Buddy Darden. There may be another guest, but last I heard it’s uncertain. Tune in on your local GPB station. And then email me your feedback on what I said that’s right, wrong, or just plain goofy.

TV Ad Wars

Political headlines across Georgia

Gwinnett County Elections began mailing absentee ballots last week, sending more than 1500 as of Monday – Gwinnett Daily Post.

Absentee ballot applications are available for download at and on the Georgia Secretary of State “My Voter Page” at Completed applications may be faxed, mailed, emailed or hand delivered to the Elections Office. Instructions are listed on the application form.

The deadline to request an absentee ballot is 3 p.m. on Oct. 31. Applications will be processed in the order received. Completed absentee ballots must be received at the Elections Office by 7 p.m. on Election Day. Any ballot received after that deadline will not be counted regardless of when the ballot was mailed or postmarked.

Another option available to those who cannot vote on Election Day is advance voting. For the Nov. 4 election, advance voting will take place at the Elections Office, located at 455 Grayson Highway, Suite 200, in Lawrenceville, from Oct. 13-31, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. and on Saturday, Oct. 18, and Saturday, Oct. 25, from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Satellite locations will be open on Saturday, Oct. 25, from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. and Oct. 27-31 from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. A complete list of satellite locations is available at

Voters may cast ballots at their regular polling place on Election Day. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m.


Georgia’s oyster season begins at 7 AM on October 1, 2014 – Savannah Morning News.

That old saw about only eating oysters in months with an “r” doesn’t exactly apply to the Peach State, said Dominic Guadagnoli, shellfish fishery manager for the Coastal Resources Division.

Instead, oyster harvest in state waters is typically prohibited from June 1 through Sept. 30 to guard against Vibrio parahaemolyticus, a naturally occurring bacteria found in higher concentrations in oysters when the water is warm.

“As water temperatures begin to drop in October, the (bacteria) levels will decline and the risk lessens,” he said. “Traditionally, most consumers purchase live oysters during the cooler months so commercial shellfish harvesters are fully supportive of this seasonal closure.”

Last year, about a dozen commercial leaseholders in Georgia landed 24,116 pounds of out-of-shell oyster meat valued at $115,189, making it an average year, Guadagnoli said.

If you have a source for fresh Georgia oysters, please drop me a line.

Effingham County Hospital and the county government are working to address a funding shortage – Savannah Morning News.

Macon-Bibb County is considering adding Sunday early voting this year, as the Commission voted to approve $3000 toward the costs. The board of elections meets Thursday morning at 9 AM – Macon Telegraph.

Commissioner Elaine Lucas said Sunday voting appears likely to pass the full commission.

“I think the majority of us hope the Board of Elections will move forward and approve Sunday, Oct. 25, as a voting day,” Lucas told The Telegraph. “I think it will provide one more opportunity for voting. There are a lot of people who work six days a week.”

Lucas predicted some churches could “impress upon the membership the importance of putting that faith into work,” but she said that message would reach both Republicans and Democrats.

The Bibb County Sheriff’s Office will receive a $53,900 grant from the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety to fund an enforcement campaign against impaired driving – Macon Telegraph.

2006 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Muhammad Yunus will address the Rome Chamber of Commerce on Sept. 28 at 4 PM in the City Auditorium – Rome News-Tribune.

Pro-Life activist Abby Johnson will speak at an annual fundraising dinner for the the Women’s Enrichment Center of Dalton and Chatsworth on Monday, September 29, 2014  from 6 to 8 p.m. at Crosspointe Christian Centre in Dalton (2681 Underwood St.).

Thirty-nine new American citizens were sworn in at the United States District Courthouse in Augusta – Augusta Chronicle.

Richmond County Board of Elections Director Lynn Bailey also attended the ceremony and afterward helped nine of the new citizens perform their second act of citizenship – registering to vote.

West Augusta Alliance has asked the city commission to hold public hearings before appointing a new member to a vacant seat for District 7 – Augusta Chronicle.

The Georgia Supreme Court heard oral arguments in private lawsuits against private probation provider Sentinel Services – Augusta Chronicle.

Sentinel’s attorney James Ellington told the justices that the people who filed 13 civil lawsuits against the company were convicted criminals looking for a financial windfall.

The people who filed the lawsuits in superior court in Richmond and Columbia counties were convicted of misdemeanor crimes such as shoplifting and traffic offenses. They claimed they were falsely arrested and jailed, or subjected to such, because they were poor.

Chief Justice Hugh P. Thompson, a former trial judge, said a judge is supposed to conduct a hearing to ensure a person is able to pay fines and fees imposed.

“Does that happen?” he asked.

It can, [defense attorney James] Ellington responded. If someone cannot pay, he can go back to the judge and prove his indigency. The judge can convert fines and fees to community service, Ellington said.

Attorney John C. Bell Jr. responded that the challenge wasn’t about guilt or innocence but a fundamental violation of due process. The law that allows local governments to contract with private, for-profit probation companies has created “cash register justice,” Bell said.

Here’s more of the background on the lawsuits against Sentinel from the Daily Report:

Monday’s case flows from 2000 legislation that transferred the supervision of misdemeanor probationers from the state Department of Corrections to individual counties. State law also allows counties to contract with private companies to supervise and collect fees from misdemeanor probationers.

In their suits, the probationers claim that Sentinel Offender Services, one of the nation’s leading providers of private probation services and the company brought on to handle probationers in Richmond and Columbia counties, unconstitutionally uses the threat of jail in an attempt to collect its fees. The plaintiffs say the company’s revenues are tied to how long people are kept on probation and how many conditions, such as electronic monitoring and blood tests, are imposed.

Augusta Judicial Circuit Superior Court Judge Daniel Craig rejected the plaintiffs’ arguments that the private probation law on its face violates the state constitution’s due process clause and unconstitutionally condones imprisonment of people for failure to pay a debt. Using a theory of money had and received, however, the judge granted partial summary judgment to the plaintiffs and stripped Sentinel of its powers in Richmond and Columbia counties.

The judge permanently enjoined Sentinel from requiring any probationer to submit to any conditions of probation that “are reserved to the Department of Corrections,” including electronic monitoring, as well as enjoining the company from taking any action to supervise or enforce the conditions of any probation sentence “after the date or expiration of the original term of any such sentence.”

Arguing for the plaintiffs along with fellow Augusta lawyer John R.B. “Jack” Long, Bell said the use of private probation companies created “irreconcilable conflicts of interest” given that fees are dependent on how long a probation sentence is “stretched out” based on the recommendations of Sentinel employees. Sentences are imposed by judges, he said, but the judges’ “eyes and ears” have an economic incentive to recommend probation and conditions such as electronic monitoring.

“We’ve got cash register justice,” said Bell.

Nahmias told Bell he had “very compelling arguments” that the state’s private probation statute was being applied in an unconstitutional fashion, such as the plaintiffs’ contention that Bearden hearings are not being held as required.

Bell said the evidence presented in his case should be viewed by the court as “symptomatic of the fundamental unconstitutionality of the statute.”

The Liberia Orphan Education Project, which has an office in Atlanta, is working to bring clean fresh water in remote parts of Liberia and help prevent the spread of disease – Georgia Public Broadcasting.

Emalee Hackshaw (co-founder, The Liberia Orphan Education Project): Well, we are an education based organization. And our focus is on education and training teachers. Liberia is in a state of emergency and schools are closed. They didn’t open this year as they would have in August. And our teachers, as everyone, became increasingly alarmed at the Ebola crisis. And so, the Liberia Orphan Education project talked with our partners in Liberia to see what would be the best thing that we could do to help them during this time. They’re not working in their classrooms and we came up with the Handwashing Hygiene Project with our partners. So {we} are raising funds here in the U.S and we are supplying the funds to our LOEP emergency response team in Liberia and they are the really ones doing the work. This is a way for us to empower our teachers which is really what we always want to do. So we are providing them funds to purchase and distribute the handwashing hygiene stations. The emergency response team came up with a whole plan of what the distribution was going to look like and how it was going to work. And put together a lesson plan on basic disease prevention and hygiene that they are sharing.

For more information on the Liberia Orphan Eduation Project or to donate, click here for their website.

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