The blog.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for September 6, 2023

The Mayflower left Plymouth, England for a voyage to America on September 6, 1620.

The United States government was nicknamed “Uncle Sam” on September 7, 1813.

On September 7, 1864, General William T. Sherman sent a letter to his Confederate counterpart, General John Bell Hood, offering to transport civilians out of Atlanta for their safety.

President William McKinley was shot on September 6, 1901. He is buried in Canton, Ohio, not far from the Professional Football Hall of Fame.

Alonzo Herndon founded the Atlanta Life Insurance Company on September 6, 1905, one of Georgia’s great success stories.

The first supermarket, a Piggly Wiggly, opened on September 6, 1916 in Memphis, Tennessee.

On September 6, 1941, Margaret Mitchell christened the cruiser USS Atlanta – Atlanta would later sink after being hit by 50 shells and a torpedo during the Battle of Guadalcanal.

The Professional Football Hall of Fame opened on September 7, 1963 in Canton, Ohio.

The Summerhill Race Riot broke out in Atlanta on September 6, 1966.

Future Atlanta resident Curtis Mayfield saw his song, “Superfly” turn gold on September 7, 1972.

Here’s my favorite song by Curtis Mayfield, “People Get Ready.”

Former Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter returned to the Little White House in Warm Springs, Georgia, on September 6, 1976 to kick off the final phase of his presidential campaign.

On September 7, 1977, President Jimmy Carter signed the Panama Canal Treaty, which promised to turn over control of the canal to Panama by 2000.

Google was founded by Larry Page and Sergey Brin on September 7, 1998.

On September 6, 2014, USS John Warner (SSN-785), a mighty Virginia-class nuclear attack submarine, was christened at Newport News Shipbuilding. Big John calls Naval Station Norfolk its homeport. USS John Warner was commissioned on August 1, 2015 at Norfolk Naval Station.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

A local judge ruled the court has no power to force two Camilla City Council members out of their seats after previously ruling both were not residents of the city, according to WALB.Continue Reading..


Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for September 5, 2023

Camden County and the local Humane Society have ended their collaboration, according to The Brunswick News.

Seth Collins, Camden County’s deputy county administrator, said the only requested change in the new agreement was for county representation to be added to the board of directors. He pointed out the county was the Humane Society’s primary funding source.

“It’s what we were hoping for so we could have increased transparency and accountability,” he said. “It would have led to more understanding on the ground level. They decided against that.”

Dave Brown, the Humane Society’s president, said the county’s proposal was to have a majority of county officials on the organization’s board of directors.

“They tried to stack the board,” Brown said. “This was a counter offer two days after we signed an agreement for the upcoming fiscal year.”

Camden County was unprepared for the Humane Society to cancel its long-time agreement with the county, which was paying $14,000 for the shelter’s services.

The Humane Society shelter is now no kill, but it is very selective in the animals they accept. No strays or animals captured by animal control officers are accepted.

Drewls Barrymore is a young female Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from the Humane Society of Camden County in Kingsland, GA.

Class clown seeks good-humored soul mate ready to let the good times roll. My playful jokes, love of all things chewable and slapstick comedy will keep you and your friends doubled over laughing for hours. When I hog the spotlight, just let me know the joke’s over and I’ll settle down. Recommend 6 years and older.

Buttercup is an adult female mixed breed dog who is available for adoption from the Humane Society of Camden County in Kingsland, GA.

I’m a fun-loving, happy-all-the-time, glass-is-half-full kind of dog looking for someone who loves to laugh and play around. Must have a great sense of humor and some time to spend with me. I’m a dog on a mission to please you. Recommend children 6 years and older.

Arlene is a young female mixed breed puppy who is available for adoption from the Humane Society of Camden County in Kingsland, GA.

Go Getter – want to get more exercise? Action is my middle name. My “”Let’s go!”” lifestyle will keep you motivated to get outside and move. I’ve got tons of energy; and just like the sun, I’m burning and working 24 hours a day, seven days a week. I’ll run for miles, chase a ball for hours, and still want to play at the end of the day.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for September 5, 2023

On September 5, 1774, the Continental Congress convened for the first time at Carpenter’s Hall in Philadelphia; delegates attended from all the colonies except Georgia.

The Heart of Atlanta Motel opened at 255 Courtland Street in downtown Atlanta on September 5, 1956. It included a three-story diving platform reached by spiral stairs and a pool large enough to hold a ski boat. African-Americans were not allowed at the Heart of Atlanta. [Photos © Georgia State University]

heart of atlanta

After passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which banned racial discrimination in interstate commerce, the Heart of Atlanta’s owner sued the federal government, asserting that the Act was an overly broad interpretation of the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution.

The resulting decision by the United States Supreme Court upheld the Act, finding that Congress was within its authority to ban racial discrimination in businesses affecting interstate commerce.

Atlanta Time Machine has a webpage with interesting images of the Motel.

On September 5, 1969, United States Army Lieutenant William Calley was charged with murder in connection with the deaths of 109 Vietnamese civilians at My Lai. An Army inquiry listed 30 people who knew of the event and charges were filed against 14; Calley was the only conviction. Later, President Nixon paroled Calley. From 1975 to 2005 or 2006, Calley lived and worked in Columbus, Georgia, before moving to Atlanta. In 2009, Calley apologized for the events at My Lai while speaking to a meeting of the Kiwanis Club of Greater Columbus.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

State Senator Colton Moore (R-Extreme Northwest Georgia) will hold a Press Conference this week to continue defecating on his colleagues raise some more campaign funds announce his call for a Special Session, according to a Press Advisory.

The AJC Political Insider asks what Sen. Moore’s colleagues think about his antics.

Moore’s actions beg another question: Will the Senate move to sanction Moore?

He has repeatedly insulted his GOP colleagues and posted several of their personal phone numbers on social media. Several lawmakers have reported being targeted with threatening or harassing behavior as a result of the pro-Trump fury. And Moore has apparently ignored efforts by Senate Majority Leader Steve Gooch, R-Dahlonega, and others to dial back his language.

Governor Brian Kemp issued Executive Order #, appointing a three-member commission to review the indictment of State Senator Shawn Still (R-Norcross) and recommend whether Sen. Still should be suspended. The Committee members are Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr (R-Cobb County), Senate Majority Leader Steve Gooch (R-Dahlonega), and House Majority Leader Chuck Efstration (R-Dacula).

From the AJC:

“The evidence at trial will show that Sen. Still is innocent as the day is long,” Still attorney Tom Bever said last month. “We look forward to our day in court to clear his good name.’”

Under Georgia law, Still could be suspended from the Senate while the case is pending.

The commission is required to provide a “speedy hearing” under state law and produce a written report within 14 days. If the commission determines the indictment relates to or adversely affects the administration of Still’s office, and the public is adversely affected, Kemp is mandated by state law to “suspend the public official immediately.”

Still’s indictment has added to a fraught environment in the state Senate, where normally congenial GOP colleagues have been engaged in a bitter back-and-forth over efforts to punish Willis for bringing the charges.

From 11Alive:

Under Georgia law, Kemp is required to wait 14 days before appointing a commission that will review the indictment and is charged with appointing the panel. Kemp said he received the indictment on Aug. 16.

The review commission can recommend Still’s suspension but it will be up to the governor to make the final call. The suspension would last until the case is settled or until Still’s term ends — whichever event comes first.

I hope the commission and Governor Kemp will consider the ramifications upon Georgia’s Constitutional Separation of Powers of allowing a District Attorney to sideline a member of the General Assembly by indictment.

Governor Kemp announced that Hyundai Motor Group and LG Energy Solution will invest an additional $2 billion dollars in the Bryan County Metaplant, according to a Press Release.

Governor Brian P. Kemp today announced that Hyundai Motor Group and LG Energy Solution (LGES) will invest an additional $2 billion in their battery cell manufacturing joint venture (JV) at the Metaplant in Bryan County, raising the JV’s total investment value to more than $4.3 billion. This expansion will create another 400 new jobs.

“In a single year, we broke ground on the largest project in state history, landed multiple suppliers across the state for Hyundai’s Metaplant, and welcomed LGES to Bryan County. Today, we’re building on that success as we continue to make Georgia the e-mobility capital of the nation,” said Governor Brian Kemp. “These types of major investments ultimately go to hardworking Georgians in the form of paychecks, improved schools and infrastructure, and more. Thank you to Hyundai Motor Group and LGES for again recognizing that the No. 1 state for business is a good investment.”

“This incremental investment in Bryan County reflects our continued commitment to create a more sustainable future powered by American workers,” said José Muñoz, president and global COO, Hyundai Motor Company and president and CEO, Hyundai and Genesis Motor North America. “Hyundai is proud to partner with LGES and we are grateful for the support of Governor Kemp and the many communities throughout the State of Georgia that help drive our operations everyday as we work to be a global leader in the electrified mobility industry.”

In May 2023, Hyundai Motor Group and LGES signed a memorandum of understanding establishing LGES as the partner for Hyundai Motor Group Metaplant America’s (HMGMA) onsite battery cell manufacturing JV. With today’s announcement, the EV manufacturing facility and the battery JV represents an estimated $7.59 billion in investment and will create 8,500 new jobs for the region over the next eight years.

“In collaboration with our trusted partner Hyundai Motor Group, this investment underscores our dedication to driving America’s EV transition while bolstering the local economy through the creation of quality jobs,” said Dong-Myung Kim, president and head of the Advanced Automotive Battery Division of LG Energy Solution. “Thanks to the support from the State of Georgia, we are excited to bring in our top-quality products and storied operational experience to grow together with its communities.”

The 30 GWh facility will be able to support the production of 300,000 units of EVs annually at full operations. Hyundai Mobis will assemble battery packs using cells from the plant, then supply them to the Hyundai Motor Group’s U.S. manufacturing facilities for production of Hyundai, Kia, and Genesis EV models.

“Today’s announcement that Hyundai Motor Group and LG Energy Solution will make an additional investment in the onsite EV battery cell manufacturing joint venture will bring 400 additional well-paying jobs for those in the Savannah region,” said Carter Infinger, Chairman of the Savannah Harbor-Interstate 16 Corridor Joint Development Authority. “The continued investment by Hyundai Motor Group and the announced suppliers like LG Energy Solution is truly remarkable and will be transformative for our region.”

Director of Project Implementation and Supplier Strategy Alyce Thornhill represented the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s (GDEcD) Global Commerce team on this competitive project in partnership with the Savannah Harbor-Interstate 16 Corridor Joint Development Authority (JDA), Georgia Power, Georgia Ports Authority, and Georgia Quick Start.

“Governor Kemp set a goal of Georgia becoming the top location for EV manufacturing in the United States, and with this announcement today, the state is in a great position to claim that distinction,” said GDEcD Commissioner Pat Wilson. “Through our focus on building an ecosystem that supports the entire EV supply chain, Georgia continues to add to our industry-leading success, bringing the jobs of the future home to Georgians in every corner of the state. State and community partners like the Savannah-area JDA, utility providers, Georgia Ports Authority, and Georgia Quick Start create a collaborative, business-friendly environment that sets Georgia up for success. Congratulations to LGES, Hyundai Motor Group, and all the partners we are celebrating today!”

As the emerging EV market continues to grow, Georgia has pursued job creation along the entire supply chain, resulting in more than $25 billion in investments and the creation of over 30,000 jobs since 2018. Battery related projects have accounted for at least $11 billion in investment. In fiscal year 2023, job creation in the automotive industry increased by 324 percent when compared to FY21.

From the Associated Press via the Statesboro Herald:

Hyundai said in 2022 it would invest $5.5 billion to assemble electric vehicles and batteries on 2,900 acres in the community of Ellabell.

It’s not clear whether the additional investment and jobs announced Thursday mean the Hyundai/LG battery plant will produce more batteries. When the joint venture was first announced in May, the companies said they would supply batteries for 300,000 EVs per year — equal to the initial projected production of the adjoining vehicle assembly plant.

It also wasn’t clear whether the state of Georgia and local governments were kicking in additional incentives.

They have already pledged $1.8 billion in tax breaks and other perks. It’s the largest subsidy package a U.S. state has ever promised an automotive plant, according to Greg LeRoy, executive director Good Jobs First, a group skeptical of subsidies to private companies.

From the Statesboro Herald:

It brings the number of jobs at the Metaplant alone to 8,500 while increasing total investment in the EV facility there to more than $7.59 billion, according to Kemp’s office, which announced the additional jobs and investment roughly an hour before the ceremony following a brief meeting of the Savannah Harbor I-16 Joint Development Authority to sign the updated agreement between the JDA and Hyundai.

Not counted in Thursday’s announced investment and jobs total is Hyundai supplier Hyundai Mobis’ construction of a $926 million facility in Richmond Hill at the Belfast Commerce Park. That plant, which will manufacture the power systems that operate the EVBs, is expected to employ at least 1,500 people and should begin operations in 2024.

It also doesn’t include various announcements from suppliers to the Hyundai plant, which to date add up some $2 billion in investment and roughly 5,000 related jobs being created in Bulloch, Chatham and Effingham counties, also a part of the JDA, and in several other counties in Georgia farther afield.

Hyundai partners with Effingham County schools for a new STEM program, according to WSAV.

Hyundai has partnered with Effingham County middle schools to implement a new hydrogen STEM program. The automotive giant hopes to raise awareness about alternative energy sources through the school-based program.

“The partnership we are starting to develop with Hyundai is outstanding,” said Todd Wall, chief
executive officer, Effingham College and Career Academy. “They are here looking to build
relationships with parents, teachers, and administrators, and most of all, they are building relationships with our students who could one day be employees in the future for their companies.”

The Hyundai Hydrogen STEM Program has been shared with over 800 students in Georgia and California. This year in Effingham County, students built their own hydrogen fuel-cell-powered miniature-model vehicles and raced them on a Hyundai racetrack.

St. Joseph’s / Candler is partnering with Bryan County schools to create more career opportunities in healthcare, according to the Savannah Morning News.

St. Joseph’s/Candler President and CEO Paul P. Hinchey led an announcement Aug. 25 at Richmond Hill High School. He summed up a partnership the Bryan County School District as “marrying academics with real-life job experience.”

A press release from St. Joseph’s/Candler ahead of the news conference noted that the hospital and the school district “have created a partnership that will eventually expand the health science curriculum for students at Richmond Hill High School and prepare them for careers in healthcare.”

Hinchey highlighted how the two partners had already piloted a program in Spring 2023 with 40 Richmond Hill students who engaged with 22 departments at St. Joseph’s/Candler.

“A cornucopia of jobs … under the dome of the hospital,” said Hinchey, referencing more than 200 different possible career tracks.

“The most obvious one,” he said, “might be the clinical track.”

According to St. Joseph’s/Candler, “the School System and the Health System have been working for months to create a plan that will help expand Richmond Hill High School’s certification programs.”

To assess long-term success of the program, the Richmond Hill Healthcare Science Pathway instructors are developing a system to track healthcare science students who matriculate into healthcare programs and careers beyond high school.

At the end of his speech, Hinchey cited the vision of the St. Joseph’s/Candler Board of Trustees as a major driver for the partnership.

“The board believes that community hospitals need to be partners in economic development as a community grows,” Hinchey said.

“(St. Joseph’s/Candler) believes that it’s our responsibility to work with schools to foster a new generation of caregivers,” said Hinchey. “[The partnership] is unique and expansive, providing long-term benefits for the students and the community and it is structured in such a way that it can evolve and change as the needs of the school system changes.”

But see the article linked later about Statesboro’s property tax and the “Hyundai effect” on labor markets.

U.S. District Court Judge Steve Jones will hear a case about legislative redistricting, according to the Associated Press via the Macon Telegraph.

Democrats could gain a seat in the U.S. House and multiple seats in Georgia’s Legislature if a judge rules Republicans drew maps illegally weakening Black voters’ power.

The trial beginning Tuesday is part of a wave of litigation progressing after the U.S. Supreme Court earlier this year stood behind its interpretation of the Voting Rights Act, rejecting Alabama’s challenge to the law.

In Georgia, U.S. District Judge Steve Jones is hearing what is expected to be a two-week case without a jury. If he rules against the state, he is likely to order Georgia’s Republican-controlled General Assembly to redraw districts to comply with the law. The trial yokes together three different cases, meaning Jones could rule for the challengers in some instances and not others.

Charles Bullock, a University of Georgia political scientist who studies redistricting, said he expects Jones to side with the plaintiffs. “He found the plaintiffs had proven the elements of a Section 2 violation at that point,” Bullock said of the earlier ruling.

The state, though, argues the plaintiffs haven’t proved voters act the way they do because of race, arguing partisanship is a stronger motivator.

Republicans held an 8-6 majority in Georgia’s U.S. House delegation in 2020, but majority-GOP state lawmakers redrew lines to eliminate one of those Democratic seats, boosting their majority to 9-5. If the plaintiffs win, the balance could revert to 8-6 Republicans. However, lawmakers also could try to convert McBath’s current seat into a majority Black seat.

The GOP currently holds a 102-78 majority in the state House and a 33-23 majority in the state Senate. While a plaintiff’s victory is unlikely to flip control in either chamber, additional Black-majority districts in the Senate and House could elect Democrats who would narrow Republican margins.

From the AJC:

The case focuses on the fundamentals of representation for Black Georgians, who overwhelmingly support Democratic candidates. A majority of white people generally vote for Republicans in Georgia.

Jones wrote in a previous ruling that the plaintiffs are “substantially likely” to prove violations of the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965, which was designed to protect representation of Black voters. A U.S. Supreme Court ruling recently upheld the Voting Rights Act in a similar case in Alabama.

State Senate Majority Leader Steve Gooch said legislative leaders crafted Georgia’s districts after holding multiple public meetings across the state to hear from residents. Those public hearings were before the GOP maps were released, though.

“Redistricting can be challenging, and that’s why there was a robust outreach and engagement process,” said Gooch, a Republican from Dahlonega. “The Joint Committee on Redistricting traveled all over the state, from Dalton to Brunswick, gathering input from the communities we serve and elected officials. I am proud of the work that went into the finished product.”

Jones, who was nominated to the court by President Barack Obama, left Georgia’s Republican-drawn maps in place in 2022 because it was too close to primary elections to make court-ordered changes.

Longtime Dean of the Georgia General Assembly former State Rep. Calvin Smyre was appointed by President Biden to serve as a delegate to the United Nations, according to the AJC.

Former state Rep. Calvin Smyre is headed to New York City this month to serve as one of the United States’ official delegates to the United Nations General Assembly.

In this role, Smyre will rub elbows with leaders of nearly 200 nations and participate in discussions on global issues such as climate change, immigration and the impact of war and other international conflicts. The General Assembly is the main legislative body of the United Nations, and Smyre will serve as one of the United States’ five delegates alongside two members of Congress and two other private citizens.

“I am deeply honored to be appointed representative of the United States at the United Nations, and I am excited to have this opportunity to serve and represent the United States,” Smyre said in a statement Sunday. “I am grateful to President Biden for this opportunity and the trust he has shown in me.”

The United Nations delegate role is a temporary one and not subject to Senate confirmation. It is separate from the permanent, Senate-approved positions, such as the one held by U.N. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield and formerly by Nikki Haley.

Two Georgia State Senate Committees will hold joint meetings to research Artificial Intelligence, according to Atlanta News First via WRDW.

Senator John Albers and Senator Chuck Payne are leading the Georgia Senate’s new subcommittee on artificial intelligence. Albers said the goal of the committee is to educate members of the General Assembly on what AI is and where it is going.

“It’s the greatest disrupter we have seen in maybe a hundred years. It’s going to impact every part of our lives. It can bring enormous benefits to things such as healthcare, automation and solutions to some of the problems we face on a day-to-day basis. However, what can be used for good can also be used for evil,” said Albers.

Said Payne: “As chairman of the Senate Science and Technology Committee, I look forward to the opportunity to collaborate with Chairman Albers and the Public Safety Committee, to best address real concerns related to advances in artificial intelligence and to mitigate any risks facing the citizens of our state.”

The joint committee will bring industry experts to the table with the goal of analyzing current and projected future artificial intelligence practices.

“I want to commend Chairman Albers and Payne for their proactive work on this important issue,” Burt Jones, Georgia’s lieutenant governor, said. “Artificial intelligence is evolving rapidly and it is important for us to analyze current and future AI practices. We must look at the pros, cons and potential unintended consequences of AI and I look forward to the work of this Senate joint committee.”

Check out the original Senate Press Release here.

Georgia Craft Brewers are asking for additional legislation to benefit their industry, according to the Capitol Beat News Service via the Rome News Tribune.

“Senate Bill 85 was a great step forward,” said Joseph Cortes, executive director of the Georgia Craft Brewers Guild. “(But) it left a lot of restrictions in place for our small brewers. … They’re still limited in what they can do within their four walls.”

Cortes’ group is gearing up to push for passage next year of legislation that was introduced in the state Senate this year but failed to reach the Senate floor for a vote.

Senate Bill 163, which remains alive for consideration in 2024, would repeal a provision in the 2017 law that limits craft brewers to selling no more than 288 ounces of beer per day — equivalent to one case — for off-premises consumption.

“That’s an artificially low barrier,” Cortes said. “Every other surrounding state except South Carolina has no limit or a larger limit.”

Instead, the bill would let craft brewers sell up to 3,000 cases of beer per year directly to retailers within a 100-mile radius of the brewery without going through a wholesale distributor.

While the bill hit a dead end in the Senate Regulated Industries Committee this year, there’s support for it among the chamber’s Republican majority, said Sen. Chuck Hufstetler, R-Rome, the measure’s chief sponsor.

Martin Smith, executive director of the Georgia Beer Wholesalers Association, pointed to the rapid growth of the craft beer industry in the Peach State during the last decade as evidence craft brewers are doing fine under the current law.

“The current system dictates that if a brewery wants to get a product to market, they have to enter an agreement with a wholesaler,” [Cortes] said. “It’s nearly impossible to terminate that agreement or switch to another distributor.”

But Smith said giving craft breweries free rein would disrupt the “three-tier” system of beer producers, distributors, and retailers that has existed since the end of Prohibition.

“What the brewers are asking for would take away from a structure that’s there for healthy growth,” he said.

Gwinnett County launched Ride Gwinnett, a micro-transit service, which I can only imagines moves micro-people from place to place. From AccessWDUN:

Microtransit is an on-demand, shared-ride service that allows customers to request shuttle pick-up through the Ride Gwinnett application, according to Media Relations Manager Deborah Tuff. The new service is available within “designated zones” in both Snellville and Lawrenceville, operating Monday through Saturday from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.

When using the app, customers are now able to set pick-up and drop-off locations and pick-up times and clarify the number of riders. Each microtransit ride costs $3 per passenger and can be paid through the app or in-person through exact change, officials said.

In addition to the microtransit option, Ride Gwinnett has also added two new routes.

Statesboro City Council will host two state-mandated meetings to discuss their proposed property tax millage rate increase, according to the Statesboro Herald.

After feathering back a proposed 2-mill increase in the city property tax rate to a 1.9-mill increase, Statesboro officials are heading toward a series of public hearings on a total advertised property tax increase of 44.75%.

The first two hearings will be held Tuesday, Sept. 12, at noon and 6 p.m. in the council chambers at City Hall. The third hearing is set for Sept. 19 at 5:30 p.m., which is also the time of the second regular City Council meeting of the month. The council could then vote to adopt the proposed millage rate or change it.

That 44.75% number, from the city’s own published notices, includes a 26% increase in the millage rate itself, atop more than 17% inflation in the assessed value of taxable property in the city limits. The Bulloch County Tax Assessors and their staff gauge the property values based on the past year’s sales, but the mayor and council set the city’s millage.

“I know people don’t like to talk about raising taxes, but this is my fourth year with the city of Statesboro, in fact I’m just starting my fifth year … and the first time I ever presented a budget to you [in 2020] I told you that in my opinion, professionally, we needed to increase our tax rate. …,” [City Manager Charles W.] Penny said. “There are outside pressures that you can’t control that we’re going to be dealing with.”

He noted that personnel costs make up about 70% of the city’s general fund spending. Now, he said, the Hyundai Motor Group’s electric vehicle and battery manufacturing Metaplant America, under construction in Bryan County, is putting upward pressure on area labor costs. He also noted that the city has budgeted a pay study to be completed before the next fiscal year. It is being done by the human resources consulting firm Condrey & Associates.

“We can’t do the work we do without personnel, and so these increases are tied to personnel,” Penny said. “We are in the process of a pay study so that next year we make sure our salaries are competitive so we maintain our work force. I’ll also just share with you, Hyundai is already impacting our workforce. We’ve already lost an employee to Hyundai.”

The city’s tax increase notices state that the proposed tax increase for a home with a fair market value of $200,000 amounts to approximately $222.15 and that the proposed increase for a $200,000 non-homestead property would be approximately $227.84.

Perry City Council is also considering a property tax millage rate increase, according to 13WMAZ.

The City of Perry is raising its millage rate by nearly 9%.

The city says for a home valued at $150,000, your bill would increase by $67. For a home valued at $300,000, your bill will increase by about $135. These rates don’t include exemptions.

LaGrange is considering measures to combat violence, according to WTVM.

LaGrange city officials announced new initiatives to help combat crime after a man was shot to death while walking at a city park.

At the conference, authorities stressed to the public if you see something, say something. They also announced a gun buyback event, a youth crime prevention program and promised more resources for police.

City of Rome Finance Director Toni Rhinehart discussed municipal cash flow, according to the Rome News Tribune.

The city began the year with a cash fund balance of $24.2 million. That total currently stands at $3.4 million.

“We do start every year with a very healthy fund balance or a healthy cash balance,” Rhinehart said. “However, we have a lot of expenses between January and the current time that take most all of that. We are not at our lowest yet. September will be our lowest cash balance.”

In September of last year, the balance was at $2.6 million and Rhinehart anticipates being lower than that this year. However, money will start coming in during the months of September and October from tax collections, and the cash balance will start going back up.

“What we report at our end of year, which is Dec. 31 because we are on a calendar year, is our highest point,” Rhinehart added. “Where we are now, and in the next month, is our lowest. It looks like we have tremendous cash at the end of the year, but it takes that to carry us through until we start collecting taxes again.”

It’s a fascinating article that highlights the importance of strong fiscal management in government. Political nerds may wish to read it in its entirety.

United States Senators Jon Ossoff (D-Atlanta) and Raphael Warnock (D-Atlanta) surveyed hurricane damage in Valdosta, according to WRDW.

“We are here with you for a long haul. We will stay in touch with the White House and all of our partners to get the federal resources that this region needs and deserves,” Warnock said.

Ossoff said: “That means supporting the immediate clean-up and recovery efforts. Also, the long-term rebuilding that will be necessary for the business and agricultural communities.”

The senators were joined by Valdosta Mayor Scott James Matheson and met with local leaders, including Lowndes County Chairman Bill Slaughter, state Reps. John LaHood, Chas Cannon and Dexter Sharper, and Valdosta Police Chief Leslie Manahan, among others.

On Thursday, the senators sent a letter to President Joe Biden, urging him to deploy federal disaster assistance as soon as Gov. Brian Kemp requested a federal disaster declaration.



Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for September 1, 2023

Coastal Pet Rescue will return from evacuation ahead of Idalia, according to WTOC.

“We had 41 dogs and cats and kittens that needed to be removed and by Tuesday at 7 p.m. All of them were out.”

Coastal Pet Rescue director Lisa Scarbrough says they started hurricane prepping last Friday urging people to house the animals during the storm.

She says aside from damage to the kennel roof, they came out okay.

She says even being at full capacity, all animals had safe places to stay during the storm.

“Being able to send the animals out to fosters closer-by makes everything a little bit easier. but like I said, we started on Friday moving pets and that advantage of having additional days made sure everyone was placed by Tuesday evening.”

She says a few animals have returned with rest coming back after Labor Day.

You can donate online to Coastal Pet Rescue and I’ll match up to $500. Just make your donation and email me to let me know what I owe in matching.

Zander is a young male Labrador Retriever or Hound mix who is available for adoption from Coastal Pet Rescue in Savannah, GA.

Zander is a little love bug. He wants all of the snuggles, all of the time. He prefers being with his people, even over playing with his litter mates – which he still very much likes to do. As the runt of the litter, he puts on a tough front with the pack and will be the first to get everyone riled up. When he’s not snuggled up in your lap, he loves to play with squeaky toys and will proudly bring them to your feet. If you’re looking for a loving, loyal, sweet-as-can-be puppy, Zander is the guy for you.

Thor is a young male Wire Haired Terrier mix who is available for adoption from Coastal Pet Rescue in Savannah, GA.

Thor found himself in rescue after his owner passed away. He can be a little stand-offish when he first meets new people and it takes him a few minutes to be comfortable with new people. He would do best placed in a home without young children. He is housebroken and does wonderfully with the other dogs in his foster home, as well as the children (after very slow introductions). He loves to sleep in the bed and sit by you anytime of the day.

Stormy is a young male Shih Tzu and/or Terrier mix who is available for adoption from Coastal Pet Rescue in Savannah, GA.

Stormy was one of a group of dogs that were dumped in Midway and were trapped and rescued by one of our volunteers. It has taken Stormy awhile to come around with our volunteers, but after some patient daily contact, he has started to show his playful personality. Being a long-haired dog, he was a hot mess after being in the woods for several days and was just recently groomed close to allow his coat to start over. We believe that Stormy could be a shih tsu/terrier mix. He is learning to be playful with people and has always gotten along with the smaller dogs at our facility. Trust is something that an adopter will need to earn from Stormy, but we believe he will be an affectionate playful boy with the right owner, Due to the nature of his previous life and the known fact he is a runner, A SECURELY FENCED YARD IS REQUIRED.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for September 1, 2023

The Stars and Stripes first flew in battle on September 3, 1776 at Cooch’s Bridge, Delaware.

On September 4, 1682, Edmund Halley first sighted the comet that bears his name.

A fleet of 22 French ships arrived off the coast of Savannah on September 3, 1779 to help wrest control of the city from the British.

Congress created the United States Treasury Department on September 2, 1789.

With the ratification of the Constitution in 1789, the American government established a permanent Treasury Department in hopes of controlling the nation’s debt. President George Washington named his former aide-de-camp, Alexander Hamilton, to head the new office. The former New York lawyer and staunch Federalist stepped in as Secretary of the Treasury on September 11. Hamilton soon outlined a practical plan for reviving the nation’s ailing economy: the government would pay back its $75 million war debt and thus repair its badly damaged public credit.

Former Vice President Aaron Burr was acquitted of treason on September 1, 1804.

Scheduled steamship service first began on September 4, 1807, when Robert Fulton’s North River Steamboat began plying the trade on the Hudson River.

On September 3, 1862, the writ of habeas corpus was suspended in Atlanta and within five miles of its border by the Confederate government. Two years later, September 3, 1864, General William T. Sherman would occupy Atlanta.

Atlanta Mayor James Calhoun surrendered the city to federal forces on September 2, 1864.

Calhoun’s two-sentence letter, directed to Brig.-Gen. William Ward stated: “Sir: The fortune of war has placed Atlanta in your hands. As mayor of the city I ask protection of non-combatants and private property.”

General William T. Sherman ordered all civilians out of Atlanta on September 4, 1864.

On September 1, 1865, Confederate Lieutenant General John Bell Hood withdrew his troops from Atlanta, destroying supply depots and setting ablaze 81 railcars loaded with ammunition.

The Georgia General Assembly expelled 25 of 29 African-American members from the State House on September 3, 1868, arguing that Georgia’s constitution did not allow them to hold office.

The cornerstone of the Georgia State Capitol was laid on September 2, 1885.

The last hanging in Atlanta took place on September 1, 1922 outside the Fulton County jail.

Approximately 5,000 people gathered outside the Fulton County jail to witness the hanging.

Vince Dooley was born on September 4, 1932. Happy birthday, coach!

Anne Frank, age 15, and seven other Jews who were hiding together in Amsterdam were the last Dutch prisoners transported to Auschwitz on September 3, 1944.

Japan surrendered to the United States on the deck of USS Missouri on September 2, 1945.

On Sunday, September 2, more than 250 Allied warships lay at anchor in Tokyo Bay. The flags of the United States, Britain, the Soviet Union, and China fluttered above the deck of the Missouri. Just after 9 a.m. Tokyo time, Japanese Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu signed on behalf of the Japanese government. General Yoshijiro Umezu then signed for the Japanese armed forces, and his aides wept as he made his signature.

Supreme Commander MacArthur next signed, declaring, “It is my earnest hope and indeed the hope of all mankind that from this solemn occasion a better world shall emerge out of the blood and carnage of the past.” Nine more signatures were made, by the United States, China, Britain, the USSR, Australia, Canada, France, the Netherlands and New Zealand, respectively. Admiral Chester W. Nimitz signed for the United States. As the 20-minute ceremony ended, the sun burst through low-hanging clouds. The most devastating war in human history was over.

Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus called out National Guard troops to prevent the desegregation under court order of Little Rock’s Central High School on September 4, 1957.

Author John Ronald Reuel Tolkien died on September 2, 1973.

Having received the Democratic nomination for President, Jimmy Carter began the General Election with an address from his front porch in Plains, Georgia on September 3, 1976.

On September 1, 2004, United States Senator Zell Miller, a Democrat, spoke at the Republican National Convention.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Brian Kemp will survey parts of South Georgia to assess hurricane damage, according to WALB.

Governor Kemp and First Lady Marty Kemp will make their way to Valdosta to meet with state and local officials from EMA agriculture and other departments.

He will also hold a news conference to give updates on overall recovery efforts Friday afternoon.

Governor Kemp will not entertain calls to target Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp is rejecting calls to discipline or remove Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis from her position following the fourth indictment of former President Donald Trump.

“As long as I’m governor, we are going to follow the law and the Constitution regardless of who it helps politically,” Kemp said during a press conference Thursday.

The governor said calling a special session of the Georgia legislature to remove Willis from her position, which some Trump-aligned legislators have demanded, is not feasible and “may ultimately prove to be unconstitutional.”

“Up to this point, I have not seen any evidence that DA Willis’ actions or lack thereof warrant action by the prosecuting attorney oversight commission,” he said. “But that will ultimately be a decision the commission will make.”

From the AJC:

“The bottom line is that in the state of Georgia as long as I’m governor, we’re going to follow the law and the Constitution, regardless of who it helps and harms politically,” Kemp said. “Over the last few years, some inside and outside of this building may have forgotten that. But I can assure you that I have not.”

Kemp added: “In Georgia, we will not be engaging in political theater that only inflames the emotions of the moment. We will do what is right. We will uphold our oath to public service. And it is my belief that our state will be better off for it.”

The governor is pushing back against an effort by Republican state Sen. Colton Moore to impeach Willis in the General Assembly. Beyond the significant legal issues that raises, the push is politically impossible because it requires Democratic support.

Republicans, the governor said, should be talking to Georgians about their economic policies and public safety platforms and “not focused on the past, or some grifter scam that somebody’s doing to help them raise a few dollars into their campaign account.”

The governor joined a chorus of Republicans seeking to lower the temperature of the escalating rhetoric. House Speaker Jon Burns wrote a lengthy letter to Republicans warning that the initiative flouts “the idea of separation of powers, if not outright violates it.”

“These rules and laws work both ways for all parties — Republican, Democrat or otherwise,” the governor said. “And you have to be very careful when you’re in power in government not to abuse that power, because if you do, you set the precedent for the other side using what you did in the future against them.”

Bluestein gets five bonus points for correctly using the word “flouts” instead of “flaunts.”

Former Governor Nathan Deal spoke at Brenau University on Tuesday, according to AccessWDUN.

Deal’s lecture titled “The Keeping of Our Republic” discussed the challenges of the past 250 years to our form of government at the state and federal levels.

“It’s an honor to be invited, I get a lot of invitations to things. But I think it’s always important for us to be an educated population,” Deal said. “I think that’s the great thing about the BULLI program is that even those who are perhaps beyond the normal timeframe of being educated in a college or whatever, that they can continue to learn, and they can continue to explore topics, that perhaps some of them like me, have always wanted to do, but never had the time while they were living and working and raising family.”

“The Keeping of Our Republic” will be expanded into an in-person six-week BULLI course taught by the former Governor.

“It comes from the statement that Benjamin Franklin made when he was asked the question at the end of the Constitutional Convention of 1787, ‘What have you given us, Dr. Franklin?’” Deal said. “And his answer was, ‘A republic, if you can keep it.’ So we’ve been keeping it for these 236 years. It’s always good for us to review where we came from, and see how we got to where we are now, and then try to forecast where we may be going in the future.”

“It’s important for us to remember that our founding fathers when they were drawing up our Constitution, they always deferred to two things. One was the states, the importance of the states,” Deal said. “And secondly, and more important than the first was the people. It was always the idea that it was the people who were the very backbone of our country. We forget that sometimes. We get so caught up on other things that we forget that we have responsibilities to make sure we keep the Republic.”

In his lecture, Deal talked about the importance of the judicial branch and how it is the backbone of looking at the country through history.

“The judicial branch is the best one to look at, in terms of where we are, in terms of how we’ve progressed to deal with issues that are very different and impossible for our founding fathers to actually contemplate,” Deal said.

“I have always believed that one of the most, if not the most, important function of anybody who is an elected official is to serve the people, the people who elected you,” Deal said. “People have problems. They have problems with understanding what their government and the government programs that affect their lives actually do. And they need help. So I always felt like the greatest service that, especially as a member of Congress, that I could provide, was to help them with their problems.”

The Georgia Department of Transportation will not close lanes this weekend, according to the Valdosta Daily Times.

To allow for the anticipated increase in Labor Day weekend traffic congestion, the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) has announced the suspension of lane closures on Georgia interstates and state routes beginning Friday, Sept. 1, at noon until 5 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 5.

While construction-related lane closures will be suspended, the department reminds travelers to exercise caution as crews may still work near highways, and safety concerns associated with Hurricane Idalia may require some long-term lane closures to remain in place. In addition, incident management, emergency or maintenance-related lane closures could become necessary at any time on any route.

GDOT’s seven-day travel forecast for metro Atlanta interstates this holiday weekend indicates the heaviest traffic volumes will occur on Friday, Sept. 1. Motorists can expect to add approximately 30-45 minutes to their travel times.

An Augusta Commission Committee will consider a “right-sizing” proposal, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

The Augusta Commission Administrative Services committee this week approved the administrator’s rightsizing plan as a working document.

The proposal from Takiyah Douse, interim administrator for the Augusta consolidated government, totaled more than $10 million either in savings or new revenue, although some proposals are still tentative pending a compensation study. The proposal was prepared in response to the end of federal funds provided due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which will be running out.

The committee had previously heard a presentation on the proposal and taken no action in July. On Tuesday, several commissioners expressed disappointment that so much of the plan was based on projections of revenue growth and not hard cuts to departments.

“It’s different from what I would have thought would have been given,” Commissioner Wayne Guilfoyle said. “I would have separated the hard costs from the soft costs, and find hard dollars.”

Turtle nerds are checking out the nesting situation in coastal Georgia and South Carolina after Idalia, according to WTOC.

About a third of the sea turtle nests on Hilton Head Island are yet to hatch so far this summer, and the concern heading into Idalia was that they would flood. That the water, and the storm surge would come up so high that it would rise to levels above where these nests have been laid and the nests would be inundated with water, killing all the eggs. For the most part, they don’t think that happened.

WTOC did a ride along with the sea turtle patrol Thursday morning as they started to go out and take inventory of this storm’s impacts. They said, at this point in the season, it’s too late to relocate nests, so heading into Idalia all they could do was hope for the best and cross their fingers the storm surge didn’t get too high.

“I believe it’s better than it was, than we thought it was going to be. Susan and I were personally out on the beach Tuesday evening, and it seems that the tide is about the same as it was Tuesday evening maybe a little bit worse, but I think we are better off than we thought we would be,” Carrell Cranswick, with Sea Turtle Patrol, said.

Sea Turtle Patrol said that two nests were lost to storm surge and 12 nests were significantly overwashed but could make it. There were a total of 348 nests on Hilton Head Island this year.

Floyd County Board of Elections will vote on moving some voting locations, according to the Rome News Tribune.

The Floyd County Elections Board is set to meet on Tuesday, and one of the orders of business is to move the location of three voting sites. Up for changes are the Town Rome, East Rome and Fosters Mills locations.

The called meeting will take the place of the regular elections board September meeting. Lee said in order to move the voting locations the board needs to take action 60 days prior to the election, to provide enough notice to the voters.

The city precincts will have the Ward 1 and Ward 3 Rome City Commission races on the ballot, and all precincts will see the countywide SPLOST referendum. Early voting will begin on Oct. 16 and election day is Nov. 7


Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for August 30, 2023

Hank is a senior male mixed breed dog who is available for adoption from the City of Sparta, Georgia.

Hank is a senior but don’t let that stop you from adopting him. He is a sweet, loving and calm furkid. He is house broke and ready for his fur ever home.

Humphrey is a young male mixed breed dog who is available for adoption from the City of Sparta, Georgia.

Humphrey is around 2 years old and boy is he a silly guy. If you are lucky enough to welcome him into your home, he is sure to bring your lots of laughter. Pretty sure he’s house broke and he is such a good boy for car rides.

Sophie is a female mixed breed puppy who is available for adoption from the City of Sparta, Georgia.

Sophie is only about 6 months old. She is a love bug and will be a wonderful addition to any home. She is deaf but is learning hand signals and didn’t let it affect her in any way.

Sprocket is a young male mixed breed dog who is available for adoption from the City of Sparta, Georgia.

Sprocket is around 3 years old and a huge ham. He is house broke and very intelligent. Medium size and ready for a furever family to call his own.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 30, 2023

On August 31, 1864, Confederates charged Union forces at the Battle of Jonesboro, in which the CSA suffered more than 1400 casualties in one hour.

On August 30, 1888, Asa Griggs Candler bought one-third interest in the Coca-Cola company, bringing his total ownership to more than two-thirds of the company.

Georgia native Ty Cobb debuted with the Detroit Tigers on August 30, 1905.

On August 31, 1955, the first solar powered car was demonstrated by William Cobb of General Motors.

On August 31, 1965, the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation creating the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which the Senate had previously passed.

On August 30, 1979, President Jimmy Carter reported being attacked by a rabbit near Plains, Georgia. Here’s an interview in which President Carter was asked about the rabbit incident.

Atlanta Mayor Bill Campbell was indicted on August 30, 2004 on racketeering, bribery and wire fraud charges and would later plead guilty to tax evasion.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Bulloch County has declared a local state of emergency anticipating Idalia’s landfall, according to the Statesboro Herald.Continue Reading..


Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for August 29, 2023

Canine Cellmates pairs Fulton County jail inmates or recently released inmates with dogs needing homes, according to Atlanta News First via WRDW.

“Those were dark days for me. I made a lot of bad decisions,” Howard said.

In 2017, Howard says he was serving time at the Fulton County Jail for theft charges related to his drug use. It wasn’t his first time behind bars, but it was his first-time meeting Susan Jacobs-Meadows.

Jacobs-Meadows runs Canine Cellmates, a program which has traditionally paired shelter dogs with inmates at the Fulton County Jail. The idea is to help inmates develop communication skills, make better choices, and take responsibility for something other than themselves.

Jacobs-Meadows got Howard involved in the program and paired him with an English bulldog, named Tyson.

“The time that I was working with him, it just, it helped me see the other side to life. Then I started to think well, you know? There’s some good there. I never knew about these feelings that I had,” Howard said.

Eventually Tyson was adopted, and Howard got out of jail. But this time, he had a new perspective. That’s when he started his own contracting and restoration company.

“I love working. I love helping people. And I love sharing my story because I’ve been through a lot. I’ve struggled a lot in life. So, I feel like if I can overcome the obstacles that I’ve overcome, then anyone can do it,” Howard said.

Due to ongoing health and safety issues at the Fulton County Jail, Canine Cellmates is not currently allowed to run their program inside the facility. Instead, they are working with recently released inmates at their West Midtown facility. They’ll being a new “beyond the bars” program in September.

Sandy (above and below) is a 2-year old, 45-pound female Terrier mix who is available for adoption from Canine Cellmates in Fulton County, GA.

Meet Sandy, formerly known as Casey! Casey was named for Sandy from SpongeBob SquarePants. Sandy from SpongeBob Squarepants is a squirrel – our Sandy is definitely not a squirrel, but she is adorable nonetheless! Our Sandy is a short stack with a smushy face that makes you think there is some boxer in there with what is surely pittie. She is around 2 years old, and a perfectly compact 45 pounds.

Jazzy is a 9-year old, 60-pound female Terrier mix who is available for adoption from Canine Cellmates in Fulton County, GA.

Jazzy is our longest term resident. She was adopted previously, but came back to us from her adopter, who had a change in his mobility, and was no longer able to care for her. She went through Beyond The Bars as a refresher, and excelled – again!  We believe her to be a shar-pittie (sharpei, pittie mix). She weighs 60 pounds. She would prefer to be an only dog adored by as many two legged family members as possible, but she would probably be okay with an mellow boyfriend around her age. 

Jazzy has lived most of her life in a shelter, or kenneling, environment, and would love nothing more than to live the rest of her life in a home, with people who will adore her!

Fiona is a 3-year old, 60-pound female Terrier mix who is available for adoption from Canine Cellmates in Fulton County, GA.

Meet Fiona, named for Fiona of the Netflix series Shameless! At the shelter, her name was the endearing Amazing Grace – we suspect that is because she is an amazing girl! Fiona came to the shelter after she was found loose near, and then placed in, a dog park. She has a beautiful red coat, and the sweetest face you’ve ever seen! Fiona is a 60 pound pittie mix – maybe with a little lab? – with a taller, more graceful build than most.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 29, 2023

General Robert E. Lee’s Confederates met General John Pope’s federal forces at the Second Battle of Manassas on August 29, 1862.

Union General William T. Sherman’s forces tore up 12 miles of railroad between Red Oak and Fairburn on August 29, 1864.

The United States Air Force Academy moved to its permanent home in Colorado Springs on August 29, 1958.

The Beatles played their final concert at San Francisco’s Candlestick Park on August 29, 1966.

On August 29, 1971, Hank Aaron broke the National League record for most seasons with 100 or more RBI, as he drove in his 100th run to make 11 seasons hitting that mark.

On August 29, 1977, Lou Brock stole his 893d base, to surpass the record set by Georgia-born Ty Cobb.

On August 29, 2008, Republican John McCain announced Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate.

“She’s not from these parts, and she’s not from Washington, but when you get to know her, you’re going to be as impressed as I am,” McCain, a 72-year-old Republican senator from Arizona, told a rally while making the announcement.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Chatham County District 2 voters are going to the polls in a Special Election, according to the Savannah Morning News.Continue Reading..


Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for August 28, 2023

Tiger Lily is an 8-month old female mixed breed puppy who is available for adoption from the Albany Humane Society/Sally Wetherbee Adoption Center in Albany, GA.

Lambert is a 9-month old male mixed breed puppy who is available for adoption from the Albany Humane Society/Sally Wetherbee Adoption Center in Albany, GA.

Thelma is an 8-month old female mixed breed puppy who is available for adoption from the Albany Humane Society/Sally Wetherbee Adoption Center in Albany, GA.