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26 April 2010

Fmr. Sheriff Victor Hill Attempting Political Comeback Against Valencia Seay

Throughout the day, I've been monitoring the candidates qualifying for office this year using the Secretary of State's candidate qualifying database.

Monday afternoon, a name familiar to a lot of folks in Clayton County (as well as many people across the metro Atlanta area) appeared on the Democratic primary ballot in state Senate district 34 -- Victor Hill.

Victor Hill served as sheriff of Clayton County before being defeated in the Democratic primary by Kem Kimbrough two years ago.

Clayton County Democratic Party Chairman Kevin Thomas confirmed that Victor Hill is indeed running for state Senate against incumbent Valencia Seay. Seay, who has battled with her health during the 2010 legislative session, qualified for re-election earlier Monday morning.

Son Of Democratic State Representative Qualifies As A Republican

After sixteen years of service in the Georgia General Assembly, state Representative Jay Shaw (D - Lakeland) is retiring to take a seat on the state board of transportation.

His son, Jason Shaw, qualified today to fill house district 176 as a Republican.

Jason Shaw must be considered the favorite to take the seat long held by his father. If Jason Shaw is elected, a 16-year Democratic seat will switch over to the Republican column.

Election 2010: The Libertarian Slate Of Candidates

This past weekend, the Libertarian Party of Georgia nominated its slate of candidates for the November General Election.

Jason Pye, a delegate to the 2010 state Libertarian convention, provided a list of his Party's nominees:

  • US Senate - Chuck Donovan

  • Governor - John Monds

  • Lt. Governor - Rhonda Martini

  • Attorney General - Don Smart

  • Secretary of State - David Chastain

  • School Superintendent - Kira Willis

  • Insurance Commissioner - Shane Bruce

  • Agriculture Commissioner - Kevin Cherry

  • Labor Commissioner - William Costa

  • Public Service Commission (2nd District) - Jim Sendelbach
One piece of the puzzle is now complete.

Georgia voters have a full slate of Libertarians to consider on the ballot this fall. The Democratic and Republican parties will nominate their candidates later this summer.

The electorate should learn as much as they can about these candidates. The Libertarians, much like the Republicans and Democrats, have a message and a vision for this state that deserves to be heard on the campaign trail.

And finally, as always, don't forget to vote.

22 April 2010

State Rep. James Mills Picks Up Democratic Challenger

After nearly a decade of running unopposed in the General Election, state Representative James Mills (R - Gainesville) faces his second Democratic opponent in the last four years.

Michael Parker, a 54-year-old home loan consultant for American Legacy Mortgage, emailed Thursday afternoon that he's "called quite a few people about running for the Georgia House, district 25."

Parker, who received a degree in political science and business administration, also holds a mortgage loan originator license and has a background in banking.

Hank Johnson Endorsed By President Obama

The re-election campaign of 4th district Congressman Hank Johnson received the endorsement of President Obama. Below is the press release announcing the endorsement:

President Barack Obama announced Thursday his endorsement of Congressman Hank Johnson, who represents Georgia's Fourth Congressional District.

"Congressman Johnson has done an outstanding job," said President Obama. "Together, we are fighting to renew our economy. Together, we passed historic health care reform. I am proud to stand with Hank and support his re-election.”

"I am proud to have President Obama's endorsement,” said Johnson, who is running for a third term. “I am determined to continue our work to move America forward.”

President Obama and Congressman Johnson were colleagues in Congress and fellow members of the Congressional Black Caucus. Congressman Johnson was the first Member of Congress from Georgia to endorse then-Senator Obama's presidential campaign and served as its co-chair. He has been a strong supporter of President Obama's legislative priorities, including the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, health care reform, and financial regulatory reform.

Congressman Johnson serves as Southeast Regional Whip in the U.S. House of Representatives. He sits on the House Armed Services and Judiciary Committees and chairs the Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts and Competition Policy.

Georgia's Fourth Congressional District includes portions of DeKalb, Gwinnett, and Rockdale counties.

Isakson Launches Opening Salvo Against Thurmond In Press Release

Wednesday, Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Michael Thurmond said he had never run a single negative ad in any of his campaigns for public office.

"Americans are sick of negative campaigning," Thurmond declared during a press conference at the State Capitol.

The presumptive Republican nominee, Sen. Johnny Isakson, must not have received that memo. In a press release, the Isakson re-election campaign suggested that a Democratic U.S. Senator from Georgia would be a rubber stamp for the Obama-Pelosi-Reid agenda.

U.S. Senator and Senate candidate Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., announced Wednesday that he is organized in all 159 Georgia counties and is prepared to aggressively campaign to represent the people of Georgia in the U.S. Senate for a second term.

"I am energized and ready to run a vigorous campaign that will give Georgia voters a clear choice," Isakson said. "Georgians will get to choose whether they want someone who represents their conservative values or someone who will push the Obama-Reid-Pelosi agenda of government health care, cap and trade taxes, skyrocketing debt, auto bailouts, government takeover of student loans, jobless stimulus packages, terrorist trials in U.S. courts and forced unionization of private sector employees by repealing their secret ballot."

GA GOP Sen. Isakson to run aggressive campaign. WTVM-TV. Retrieved on 2010-4-22.

So we now know Johnny Isakson's strategy -- portraying the Democratic nominee as too liberal and too out of touch for Georgia. The Isakson campaign has $4.4 million in the bank to hammer that message home.

Ethics Watchdog Lists Perdue Among Nation's Worst Governors

The Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) released a report Wednesday that listed the nation's worst governors. Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue is among those receiving the dubious honor of state chief executives who are unethical, incompetent and frequently put their self-interests over the interests of their states'.

Below is the indictment from CREW against Gov. Perdue:

Accepted gifts and travel from lobbyists;
Violated campaign finance laws;
Failed to file complete personal financial disclosure information and supported a tax loophole that benefitted him personally;
Allegedly thwarted an investigation by the Governor’s Office of Consumer Affairs; and
Appointed a business associate to a state position

CREW’s executive director, Melanie Sloan, said Wednesday, "There has been a great deal of focus on the ethics of Congress over the past few years, but CREW’s report shows that state governments are not immune to ethics problems. Too often -- whether in Washington, D.C. or in South Dakota -- our country’s political leaders are more focused on what’s best for the favored few, rather than on improving the lives of Americans."

Georgia Democratic, Republican Parties File March 31st FEC Reports

(as of March 31, 2010)
Cash On Hand
Democratic Party
of Georgia
Georgia Republican

21 April 2010

Former House Speaker Terry Coleman Considering Run For Labor Commissioner

Here's a rumor making its rounds throughout the State Capitol:

Former House Speaker Terry Coleman is currently testing the waters for a potential run for Labor Commissioner.

Eric Johnson, Carol & DuBose Porter To Qualify Monday

Next week, the 2010 election campaign begins in earnest as hopefuls for various elected positions officially put their names on the ballot for the July 20th primaries.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Eric Johnson announced on Facebook that he plans to qualify Monday. Democrats Carol and DuBose Porter will also qualify Monday morning. Carol Porter is running for Lt. Governor. Her husband, DuBose Porter, is a candidate for governor.

Candidate qualifying begins Monday, April 26th and ends Friday, April 30th at 12 NOON.

Michael Thurmond: We Need A New Direction In Washington

Below a painting of Georgia founder James Oglethorpe in the Capitol rotunda, State Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond announced his candidacy for U.S. Senate.

"At its core, Washington is broken," Thurmond said. "There is a desperate need or fundamental change in the way the people's business is being conducted in the nation's capital."

Making jobs the centerpiece of his platform, Thurmond said he'll fight to create new jobs and spur economic growth. Thurmond also said that, in the Senate, he'll work to create a fairer tax system, put an end to fiscal irresponsibility and reduce the federal deficit.

"I will stand up for families whose homes are threatened by foreclosure and small business owners who are struggling because bank credit has dried up," Thurmond said. "I will stand up for families who simply want to provide a good education for their children and support their families."

"It's time to send someone to Washington who will put you and your family first. We need, no we must have, new vision, new leadership and a new direction," Thurmond continued.

Michael Thurmond's entry into the Senate race represents a major gamble by Georgia's Democratic Party. Of the three Democrats who currently hold statewide positions, two are running for higher office and one is retiring. If Thurmond and the Democrats win this November, then it could signal a resurgent Democratic Party in Georgia. If Thurmond and the Democrats lose though, the state Democratic Party will end up with no Democrats in statewide offices.

Thurmond, who is the first African-American to be elected statewide in Georgia without being appointed by the governor, will face R.J. Hadley in the Democratic primary July 20th.

The Democratic nominee will take on Republican incumbent Johnny Isakson this fall.

CQ Politics rates the 2010 Georgia Senate race as "Safe Republican."

Juan Antonio Samaranch: A "Most Exceptional" IOC President

Every native Atlantan remembers this moment on September 2, 1990:

Juan Antonio Samaranch announces Atlanta as the host city of the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games

The voice of Juan Antonio Samaranch speaking Atlanta's name, on that September day, is literally engrained into the collective memories of those folks lucky enough to experience the moment. Samaranch died today in Barcelona, Spain. And I must say that Juan Antonio Samaranch was a most exceptional International Olympic Committee President.

20 April 2010

Money, Money, Money: Congressional Candidates File March 31st FEC Reports

The following FEC campaign finance reports covers the period between January 1, 2010 and March 31, 2010:

(as of March 31, 2010)
Cash On Hand
Jack Kingston (R)

(as of March 31, 2010)
Cash On Hand
Sanford Bishop (D)
Bobby Brown (R)
Lee Ferrell (R)
Mike Keown (R)

(as of March 31, 2010)
Cash On Hand
Westmoreland (R)

(as of March 31, 2010)
Cash On Hand
Liz Carter (R)
Larry Gause (R)
Hank Johnson (D)
Vernon Jones (D)
Connie Stokes (D)

(as of March 31, 2010)
Cash On Hand
John Lewis (D)

(as of Msrch 31, 2010)
Cash On Hand
Tom Price (R)

(as of March 31, 2010)
Cash On Hand
Clay Cox (R)
Doug Heckman (D)

(as of March 31, 2010)
Cash On Hand
Ken DeLoach (R)
Angela Hicks (R)
Jim Marshall (D)
Diane Vann (R)

(as of March 31, 2010)
Cash On Hand
Cates (R)
Tom Graves (R)
Lee Hawkins (R)
Eugene Moon
Bill Stephens (R)
Steve Tarvin (R)

(as of March 31, 2010)
Cash On Hand
Paul Broun (R)

(as of March 31, 2010)
Cash On Hand
Phil Gingrey (R)

(as of March 31, 2010)
Cash On Hand
John Barrow (D)
Jeanne Seaver (R)
Carl Smith (R)
Regina Thomas (D)

(as of March 31, 2010)
Cash On Hand
Michael Crane (R)
Michael Frisbee (D)
Deborah Honeycutt (R)
David Orr (R)
Rupert Parchment (R)
David Scott (D)

This is blog entry #4,000

4,000 blog entries. . .that is a lot of blogging.

I've been blogging on and off now for five years. I've ruffled some feathers. I've made some friends. I've made some enemies. And I'm having a lot of fun doing it.

So today, I drink from the keg of glory once more. Bring me the finest muffins and bagels in all the land.

Here's to 4,000 blog entries on Georgia Politics Unfiltered

19 April 2010

Lee Hawkins Goes Up On Air In 9th Congressional District

Lee Hawkins, a candidate for Congress in the 9th district, took to the airwaves recently with this ad:

Mary Norwood Will Be Fulton County's Independent Voice

AJC Political Insider Jim Galloway brings word that former Atlanta City Council member Mary Norwood plans to challenge Democrat John Eaves for Fulton County Commission Chair this November.

Norwood will run as an independent. But first, she must obtain ballot access.

State law dictates that Norwood collect signatures from 5% of the total number of registered voters eligible to vote in the last election [O.C.G.A. 21-2-170(b)]. The Fulton County Elections Dept. says that number equals 22,598. In other words, Mary Norwood has to file a nominating petition containing the signatures of 22,598 Fulton County voters before July 13th in order to get on the ballot.

I intend to sign Mary Norwood's nominating petition. And if you're a registered Fulton County voter, I urge you to do the same.

Mary Norwood will be an independent voice for Fulton County, working with Democrats and Republicans to promote good government and good public policy.

I look forward to seeing Mary Norwood's name on the ballot this fall, so that I can cast a vote not for a Democrat or a Republican, but for an independent who will put people first.

Muscogee County Sheriff Endorses Poythress For Governor

The Poythress gubernatorial campaign issued the following press release announcing that Muscogee County Sheriff John Darr endorsed the former Adjutant General of the Georgia National Guard.

General David Poythress, the former Commanding General of the Georgia National Guard and Democratic candidate for Governor, received the endorsement of Sheriff John Darr today. Poythress was in Columbus attending the Pig Pickin' of the Muscogee County Democratic Party.

Ask about his endorsement of General Poythress, Sheriff Darr said, "The General is the best one to win the election in November I believe him when he says that he is going to solve our water problems and bring jobs back to Georgia. He means what he says; he's not just paying lip service."

During his remarks to an enthusiastic crowd, General Poythress reiterated his pledge to walk the walk with the people of Georgia by not taking a salary as Governor until the state's unemployment rate falls below 7%. Latest statistics from the Department of Labor show Georgia's unemployment rate at 10.6%.

In addition to Sheriff Darr, Poythress has also received the endorsements of Muscogee County Marshal Greg Countryman, Rev. Dr. H.L. McCall (Senior Pastor of Corinth Missionary Baptist Church) and Rev. Albert Sanders (Associate Pastor, St. James Missionary Baptist Church).

Poythress, former Secretary of State and twice-elected Commissioner of Labor, says Columbus is essential to his strategy for 2010. "Muscogee County is crucial for me, not only in the July 20th primary election but in the general election as well. I'm excited about the support that continues to grow in Columbus and honored to have another law enforcement leader join our team."

Quote of the Day: the Carol Porter edition

"The Republicans have given us the issues to win on a silver platter. If we don’t get out there and win, it is our own fault."

-Lt. Governor candidate Carol Porter (D - Dublin) speaking at a barbecue hosted by the Muscogee County Democratic Party April 17th.

One thing about Democrats, if there's a way to lose, the Democratic Party will certainly find a way to do it.

Local School Boards Should Take A Serious Look At Privatizing The School Buses

This is another blog entry that is not likely to score me friends, especially among the labor unions, but here goes anyway:

School systems across the state are facing a tight budget crunch these days. The Fulton County School Board is considering cuts to arts and music [Bond Staples, Gracie (2010-3-30). Parents extend fight 
to save band program. Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved on 2010-4-19.], along with a possible tax increase [Bond Staples, Gracie (2010-4-16). Fulton County school board to consider raising millage rate. Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved on 2010-4-19.]. DeKalb County is considering school closures [Kuzj, Steve (2010-2-19). DeKalb County To Close Some Schools. WGCL-TV. Retrieved on 2010-4-19.]. And in Cobb County, the most radical idea of them all is currently all the table:

Privatizing the school bus system.

The [Cobb County] school board [...] tossed around the idea of turning the whole transportation department over to a private company.

"Since we've got to make some tough decisions, I think that's something we have to consider," said School Board member Dr. John Abraham. "Is to be able to maybe get an RFP to contract the whole bus service out." RFP stands for "request for proposal."

Board members said they believe privatization could be cheaper in the short run, also it could reduce the hundreds of bus driver jobs off their roles, reducing health care and retirement costs to the taxpayers.

Cobb To Slash School Bus Fleet. WSB-TV. Retrieved on 2010-4-19.

As local governments struggle with balancing their budgets, everything should be considered including this radical proposal.

Privatizing the school bus fleet is an idea worthy of discussion.

There's no telling how much money a school system might save due to the privatization of their bus fleet. Still, if the choice is between cutting arts and music, closing down schools, raising taxes or privatizing the buses, I lean towards privatizing the buses.

Tough times call for tough decisions, and this is one of them.

Congressional Candidate Liz Carter Endorsed By State Senator John Douglas

4th district congressional candidate Liz Carter announced the endorsement of Georgia State Senator John Douglas. Below is the press release from the Carter campaign:

State Sen. John Douglas (R-Social Circle) has offered his endorsement for leading Republican candidate Liz Carter in the Congressional District 4 race.

Douglas said he greatly respects Carter’s strong stand and dedication to bringing real conservative vision to a district much in need of such leadership. He added that U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson has lost touch with the needs of his own constituents.

“We need to send Liz Carter to Washington to send a strong message to those who support Obamacare, bank bailouts and other out-of-control liberal spending schemes,” Douglas said. “We need a break from representatives that simply vote along with D.C elites. There is no stronger conservative Republican on the ballot than Liz Carter, and I’m proudly asking everyone to join with me in voting her to victory.”

Carter said she is grateful for Douglas’ support, echoing his sentiments of a need for real change in Congressional leadership. She said the current liberals at the top must see that Georgians are ready for a new approach, not more business as usual.

“We have seen a commitment to cutting taxes and ending wasteful spending from John Douglas in the General Assembly, and I am committed to bringing the exact same approach to Congress,” Carter said.

“Hank Johnson has spent to much time blindly voting the way Speaker Pelosi and President Obama have asked – we all know that is not real leadership,” Carter added. “I am asking for voters’ support to really get our economy moving through tax incentives and saving healthcare with more choice, not big government wasting our money.”

Liz Carter ( is not waiting until she’s elected to serve the people of Georgia District 4. As the owner of a small business consulting firm, Liz has put her career on the back burner in order to meet with her fellow citizens and understand the needs and challenges of her community. Among Liz’s many professional accomplishments is the successful management of a multi-million dollar business unit and a track record of increasing revenues and effective cost cutting - all skills that will be employed to the benefit of her District once she is elected. Liz is focused on much needed job creation, strong national security, and improving education.

Former U.S. Attorney Endorses Hodges For Attorney General

The Ken Hodges campaign announced the endorsement of former U.S. Attorney Richard H. Deane, Jr. Below in the press release touting Deane's support:

Today, former U.S. Attorney and magistrate judge Richard H. Deane, Jr. announced his endorsement of Ken Hodges (D) to be Georgia’s next Attorney General.

"Hodges was the first District Attorney in the state to bring Georgia’s racketeering laws to bear on payday lenders,” Deane said. “We’re right to point out his leadership in this area, because it's the kind of prosecutorial experience an Attorney General needs. Hodges has my full support."

Deane was appointed by President Clinton to be the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia in 1998. A Stone Mountain resident and now a partner in Jones Day’s Atlanta office, Deane boasts a long record of arguing cases in both state and federal courts, including appearances before the Fifth and Eleventh Circuit Courts of Appeal. U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno recognized Deane’s legal stature when she chose him to serve on a Justice Department advisory committee.

Among Deane’s many public honors is a spot on Time Magazine’s “Time 100 List of Innovators,” when in 2001 the magazine honored him for his creativity in using Georgia’s racketeering laws to fight local crime.

“To have Richard Deane’s support is unique and meaningful to me, because of the experience we share using racketeering laws to fight for victims. I’ll keep fighting for those victims in the Attorney General’s office, and I’m honored to know that Deane is standing with me.”

Ken Hodges served for 12 years as Dougherty County’s District Attorney. A proven prosecutor, Hodges earned distinctions as the Chairman of the Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council of Georgia, the President of the District Attorney’s Association of Georgia, and as the state’s District Attorney of the Year in 2002. A winner of the Georgia Criminal Justice Coordinating Council’s Eagle Award, Hodges believes in prosecuting public corruption, cracking down on gangs and urban crime, and supporting law enforcement in its efforts to protect all Georgians.

16 April 2010

GOP Dirty Tricks Under Way (Again) In Georgia's 13th Congressional District

Michael Murphy is one of two candidates challenging Congressman David Scott in the July 20th General Primary.

Michael Murphy says he's a Democrat. I say that's a bunch of bullshit.

Michael Murphy is no more a Democrat than Newt Gingrich is, and here's why:

Murphy, according to his biography on Honeycutt, remains active in the Cobb County Republican Party. As recently as 2008, Murphy served as a co-chair of the Cobb GOP's outreach committee; a committee charged coordinating outreach efforts of the Cobb County Republican Party.

During the 2008 election cycle, Murphy served as campaign manager for Deborah Honeycutt's failed congressional campaign. Murphy was paid over $37,000 by Deborah Honeycutt for a variety of activites related to promoting her candidacy [SOURCE: Federal Elections Commission].

Michael Murphy is attempting to perpetrate a fraud on the people of Georgia's 13th congressional district. Murphy is no Democrat, and this move by him has Republican dirty tricks written all over it.

Michael Thurmond Considering Challenging Johnny Isakon

The state Democratic Party may need to find a candidate for Labor Commissioner if the current officeholder challenges Johnny Isakson for U.S. Senate.

Georgia Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond has told The Associated Press he's leaning toward a run for U.S. Senate.

The 57-year-old Democrat says he is strongly considering a challenge to Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson. Thurmond says his experience as labor commissioner would serve him well if he decides to run, because jobs are a top priority for the nation

Thurmond, an Athens native, says he will announce his decision on Wednesday.

Haines, Errin (2010-4-16). AP: Georgia labor chief leaning toward Senate bid. Macon Telegraph. Retrieved on 2010-4-16.

R.J. Hadley must be seriously annoyed at this new development, especially considering that he's been the only Democratic U.S. Senate candidate in the race for nearly a year.

If Michael Thurmond decides to run, I'm casting my vote for R.J. Hadley in the Democratic primary. I have no personal animosity towards Thurmond. I just believe that Hadley should be rewarded for spending his time, energy and money towards a Senate race that no one's paid attention to until now.

Candidate qualifying for Georgia's U.S. Senate seat begins April 26th.

[UPDATE:] R.J. Hadley commented on the possible candidacy of Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond --

"It looks like an establishment politician is looking to enter the race at the final hour. We've seen this before. It's politics as usual. We showed the leadership needed to step forward EARLY when everyone said the incumbent was unbeatable. We showed the courage to take our campaign into hostile territory. For me, this is about the people not the politics. Those who will continue to stand and fight with me, I thank you."

Rufus Terrill: A Case For The "Stand Your Ground" Law

I know I'm not likely to win a lot of friends with this blog entry, but I'm writing it anyway.

Rufus O. Terrill, owner of O'Terrill's Pub in midtown and a Democratic candidate for Lt. Governor in 2006, was arrested Saturday after shooting an unruly bar patron in the leg. Below is the AJC's report on the case:

Rufus Terrill, 59, was arrested after he allegedly shot a man police describe as belligerent in his bar Saturday.

According to the police report, the victim, Charles Little, was shot in the left leg by Terrill after he became loud and violent towards a bartender.

Little became verbally abusive towards Michael Manthey, the bartender, after he was asked to pay his tab, according to the police report.

Terrill arrived at the bar after being called by Manthey. He arrived with his gun and shot Little after Little yelled at him and threw a barstool at the owner.

The bullet grazed Little’s leg.

Simon, Mashaun D. (2010-4-15). Bar owner shoots belligerent patron. Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved on 2010-4-16.

Rufus Terrill was charged with aggravated assault, a felony under Georgia law. I believe, however, that based on the reported facts in this case, Rufus Terrill has a legitimate defense under the provisions of Georgia's "Stand Your Ground" law.

In 2006, the Georgia General Assembly passed Senate Bill 396; the so-called "Stand Your Ground" law. S.B. 396 states the following:

"A person who uses threats or force in accordance with Code Section 16-3-21, relating to the use of force in defense of self or others, Code Section 16-3-23, relating to the use of force in defense of a habitation, or Code Section 16-3-24, relating to the use of force in defense of property other than a habitation, has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and use force as provided in said Code sections, including deadly force."

The law also says:

"A person who uses threats or force in accordance with Code Section 16-3-21, 16-3-23, 16-3-23.1, or 16-3-24 shall be immune from criminal prosecution therefor unless in the use of deadly force, such person utilizes a weapon the carrying or possession of which is unlawful by such person under Part 2 or 3 of Article 4 of Chapter 11 of this title."

Quite frankly, when the belligerent patron hurled that barstool at Rufus Terrill, Terrill had a right to defend himself with the use of force. When Terrill shot the unruly patron in the leg, he was defending himself. He was defending others. He was defending his property.

It is difficult for me to see a manner in which the charge of aggravated assault holds up in court if Terrill’s attorneys seek immunity under the “Stand Your Ground” law.

15 April 2010

Bishop Challenger Reports Raising $110K During 1st Quarter Of 2010

State Representative Mike Keown, one of three Republicans hoping to unseat Congressman Sanford Bishop this November, released his 1st quarter fundraising totals Thursday afternoon.

The Keown campaign will report raising $110,035 in the 1st Quarter of 2010 with the Federal Elections Commission. That, according to the Keown campaign, will bring their fundraising totals to $246,079 with $193,792 left in the bank.

“The people of Southwest Georgia are giving our campaign an overwhelming response and putting their money where there mouth is,” said Keown. “I am truly humbled by the amazing support we’re receiving.”

“I do have to say a quick thank you to Sanford Bishop,” Keown continued. “His votes to make Nancy Pelosi Speaker, for the National Energy Tax and for Obamacare have shown the people of Southwest Georgia that he does not share our values or have our best interests at heart. He has done a great job making the case for our campaign.”

Keown faces fellow Republicans Bobby Brown and Lee Ferrell in the July primary.

Democrat Mike Freeman Drops Out Of 9th District Congressional Election

Left on Lanier has news that Democrat Mike Freeman withdrew from the May 11th special election in Georgia's 9th congressional district.

Freeman was the only Democrat running in the election.

A Libertarian Walks Into A Democratic Party Meeting. . .

. . .And no, it's not the beginning of a really funny joke.

As a Libertarian, Randy Reynolds said his appearance at Friday’s county Democratic Party meeting was “a missionary effort,” but it’s a trip more to find common ground than converts.

“I will be trying get people on board intellectually and emotionally, and then ask some rhetorical questions,” he said.

Reynolds’ talk with local Democrats stemmed from an effort between him and Rockdale Democratic Chairman Stan Williams to search for common ground among them on, at least, local issues. Williams was the guest speaker at the Libertarians’ party meeting recently. Friday’s meeting will return the favor, Reynolds said.

Jones, Jay (2010-4-14). Libertarian chair to talk to local Dems. Rockdale (County) Citizen. Retrieved on 2010-4-15.

How's that for bipartisanship, huh?

I'm actually glad that the Rockdale County Democratic and Libertarian parties are listening to each other and looking for common ground. On local issues, everyone wants low taxes, low crime and good schools. On the national issues, we can have legitimate disagreements. Still, it does not hurt to listen to folks who you may not agree with.

The Ghost of C-TRAN Lingers (in the form of a resolution)

State Senator Emanuel Jones (D - Decatur) is making it known that he cares about mass transit in Clayton County even though he's a resident of DeKalb County.

Jones introduced a resolution Wednesday urging the Clayton County Commission to rescind the vote that shut down C-TRAN last month. The resolution, S.R.1482, is not Jones' first foray into Clayton County politics.

In February, Jones was chastised on the Senate floor by state Sen. Valencia Seay (D - Riverdale) for sticking his nose into Clayton County's business. Seay, who represents a portion of Clayton, said to Jones:

“I rise to let it be known that I too care about the people of Clayton County. We have been working diligently on this matter,” Seay said. “And the last time I looked, the “C” in C-Tran stood for Clayton.”

Suggs, Ernie (2010-2-17). Senators spar of territory, C-Tran at issue. Gold Dome Live. Retrieved on 2010-4-15.

The "C" in C-TRAN may stand for Clayton, but traffic congestion and poor air quality affects us all. So, I think a Georgia State Senator from DeKalb County has good reason to advocate for mass transit in Clayton County.

14 April 2010

Ken Hodges Endorsed By Clayton County Law Enforcement Officials

The following press release just hit my inbox:

Today, Kemuel “Kem” Kimbrough, Tracy Graham-Lawson, and Tasha M. Mosley, three of the top law enforcement officials in Clayton County, jointly announced their endorsement of Ken Hodges (D) and his campaign to become Georgia’s next Attorney General.

“Ken Hodges has done so much for Georgia in the courtroom, fighting to protect its citizens for more than a decade,” Sheriff Kimbrough said. “I’m confident that he’ll keep doing the job Georgia needs him to do in the Attorney General’s office.”

Kimbrough was first elected to the Clayton County Sheriff’s Office in 2008. He previously served as a police Major under former Clayton County Sheriff Stanley Tuggle, and as a Child Advocate with the DeKalb County Juvenile Court.

"As a judge, I've seen first hand that we need an experienced trial attorney in the Attorney General's office," Graham-Lawson said, "and Ken's got more experience with Georgia courts than any other candidate."

A judge with the Clayton County Juvenile Court since 1999, Graham-Lawson was elected in 2008 to the county’s District Attorney’s office, having served as Assistant District Attorney from 1985 to 1995. Mosley was elected to the Clayton County Solicitor-General’s office in 2008.

“I am truly honored and blessed to receive the support of three members of the law enforcement community as qualified and experienced as Sheriff Kimbrough, District Attorney Graham-Lawson, and Solicitor-General Mosley,” Hodges said. “Their record of protecting the most vulnerable in their community is an inspiration, from Sheriff Kimbrough’s time on the board of Clayton Youth Leadership, to Mosley’s work with pre-trial diversion efforts, to Graham-Lawson’s leadership fighting youth truancy. I will carry their same dedication and commitment to fighting crime against women and children to the Attorney General's Office.”

Census Bureau Director Says Mail It Back

With three days left to mail back 2010 Census forms, U.S. Census Bureau Director Robert Groves today sent an urgent message to the people of Georgia:

"The census form on your kitchen table is a vital investment in your community. It's time for all of us to do our part. Fill it out and mail it back today. Get it in the mail by Friday and you can avoid a visit from a census worker in May.

"Remember that the U.S. Constitution requires that we count everyone. That means we must visit every household that doesn't mail back a form. It's much easier for all of us - and much less expensive for taxpayers - if we get your census responses by mail. After Friday we have only two weeks to determine which of more than 134 million addresses we must visit in person starting May 1. Join your neighbors who have already performed this important civic duty and take the 10 minutes or less that are required to fill out the census."

As of Tuesday, April 13, 65 percent of households in Georgia have mailed back their form. Nationally, 67 percent have. In the 2000 Census, 72 percent of the public mailed back their forms.

Households that normally pick up their mail from a post office box are already slated for follow-up in May from census workers. But if you are concerned that your household is not in the census address list and that you won't be counted, you can submit your census responses in one of the following ways. Note, however, that there is still a strong likelihood that you will be visited by a census worker in May because of the time it takes to process and verify addresses from these sources:

(1) Call the 2010 Census toll-free Telephone Questionnaire Assistance number, where operators who are sworn to protect the confidentiality of your answers can take your responses over the phone.

-- English: 1-866-872-6868
-- Chinese: 1-866-935-2010
-- Korean: 1-866-955-2010
-- Russian: 1-866-965-2010
-- Spanish: 1-866-928-2010
-- Vietnamese: 1-866-945-2010
-- TDD (Telephone Display Device for the hearing impaired):
-- Puerto Rico (in English): 1-866-939-2010
-- Puerto Rico (in Spanish): 1-866-929-2010

(2) Pick up a form at a Questionnaire Assistance Center or Be Counted site in community locations nationwide and mail it back by Friday. The pick-up locations can be found at:

Macon Democrat Announces For Public Service Commission

It's about damn time these Democrats stopped pussyfooting around on this.

A member of Macon Mayor Robert Reichert's staff is throwing his hat in the race for a state agency job.

Keith Moffett says he'll run for the Georgia Public Service Commission, district two seat.

The Public Service Commission regulates electric, telecommunication, and transportation services throughout the state.

Susskind, Stephanie (2010-4-13). Macon City Official Will Run for State Public Service Commission. WMAZ-TV. Retrieved on 2010-4-14.

A Quick Word On The 2010 Agriculture Commissioner Election

I don't believe a Republican has ever been elected Commissioner of Agriculture. Tommy Irvin has held the position since 1969, but this year he's retiring.

To date, no Democrat has thrown their hat in the ring to succeed Commissioner Irvin. No Democrat has even filed papers with the State Ethics Commission to begin raising money for the race.

I am not content to let a Democratic seat go uncontested for the first time. . .ever. So I'm issuing an ultimatum:

If no Democrat files papers with the State Ethics Commission by April 19th (that's a Monday), I'm filing papers to run.

Furthermore, if no Democrat qualifies for Agriculture Commissioner by Friday, April 30 at 9AM, then I'm running myself.

I do not want to run for this office, but I'm not leaving it uncontested. Find a Democrat to run or I'm running.

House Speaker To MARTA: Drop Dead

AJC Political Insider Jim Galloway brings our attention to some disappointing comments made by Georgia House Speaker David Ralston (R - Blue Ridge) concerning the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority.

Denis O’Hayer of WABE (90.1FM) has posted the second part of an audio interview with House Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge).

The speaker drops few clues on what a passable transportation bill might look like. But this exchange doesn’t bode well for the transit agency:

O’Hayer: Can MARTA survive another year without a transportation plan that includes some loosening of the restrictions that it faces on how it spends the tax revenue it gets?

Ralston: I’ve been trying to understand how MARTA got in the problem they’re in. I think that we have to have a better understanding of what brought us to this point before we know how to get out of the problem.

Galloway, Jim (2010-4-13). House Speaker David Ralston: MARTA will have to wait. Political Insider. Retrieved on 2010-4-14.

For all intents and purposes, the Speaker told MARTA to drop dead with his comments.

You see, MARTA is a transit agency that receives no funding from the state. In addition, MARTA isn't able to access half the sales tax revenue it collects due to a restriction put in place by the legislature four decades ago.

Last year, MARTA was brought to the brink of draconian cuts to service before the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) stepped up and bailed the transit system out [Shirek, Jon (2009-4-10). Suburbs Save MARTA. WXIA-TV. Retrieved on 2010-4-14.]. There was hope, at the time, that the ARC bailout would convince legislative leaders to pass a bill giving MARTA access to the estimated $65 million it has sitting in the bank.

That hope has faded with the words of House Speaker David Ralston.

It is disheartening that our legislative leaders seem to have no vision or foresight.

13 April 2010

Quote of the Day: the Albany Herald edition

Some Georgians are still under the mistaken impression that they can send a representative or senator to Atlanta and that lawmaker is free to vote as he or she believes those constituents want. The truth is, it doesn’t work like that, and it hasn’t for a long time, not in Atlanta and not in Washington, D.C. Lawmakers are free to vote their convictions ... as long as those convictions don’t run afoul of positions the ruling party has a real interest in.

Legislators pay for no-tax votes. Albany Herald. Retrieved on 2010-4-13.

Shame, ain't it?

12 April 2010

A Note From A State Democratic Committee Member

Rarely do I write a blog entry in my official capacity as a member of the state Democratic committee, but there is a growing concern in my mind regarding the campaign for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination.

Four years ago, Georgia's Democratic Party had two great candidates for governor -- Cathy Cox and Mark Taylor. Sadly, these two superb candidates spent more time tearing each other down instead of focusing on Gov. Perdue's failed policies.

The Taylor campaign strongly suggested Cathy Cox was not to be trusted. And the Cox campaign portrayed Mark Taylor as a bigoted member of the southern "good ol' boy" club. The end result was a badly divided Democratic Party that got trounced in the general election.

As a member of the state Democratic committee, I do not want to see a replay of the 2006 primary campaign. That's why I'm asking the Democrats running for governor to sign a clean campaign pledge.

The clean campaign pledge is very simple. It says:

I pledge to conduct my campaign for public office openly and fairly. I will discuss the issues and participate in fair public debate with respect to my views and qualifications.

I will not engage in, nor permit defamatory attack upon, the character of my opponent(s) nor shall I engage in unwarranted invasions of personal privacy unrelated to campaign issues.

I shall not appeal to, and I shall condemn appeals to, prejudice based on race, creed, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, or political affiliation.

I will not permit the use of any campaign material or advertisement which misrepresents, distorts, or otherwise falsifies the facts regarding my record or that of any other candidate.

Finally, I will publicly repudiate support deriving from any individual or group whose activities would violate this Fair Campaign Practices Pledge.

In signing this pledge, I assume personal control and responsibility for the conduct of my campaign.

Quite honestly, there is no weight behind this pledge. Thurbert Baker, Roy Barnes, Carl Camon, DuBose Porter or David Poythress are under no obligation to agree to this pledge. There's no punishment if the Democratic gubernatorial candidates violate this clean campaign pledge.

Still, with all the issues facing our state --double-digit unemployment, transportation, jobs, education-- I'd think that the Democrats hoping to be Georgia's next governor would prefer to spend more time discussing the issues and less time tearing down their opponents.

10 April 2010

Savannah Doctor Announces Candidacy For State House District 163

With state Representative Burke Day (R - Tybee) announcing that he would not seek re-election this fall, candidates are coming out of the woodwork to replace Day in the Georgia General Assembly.

Savannah doctor Ben Watson announced Friday that he will be a candidate for State Representative, district 163. Below is the press release announcing Watson's candidacy:

Savannah physician Ben Watson announced Friday that he will be a candidate for State Representative, district 163. Watson is a Republican seeking the open seat of retiring Rep. Burke Day.

"Our community is extremely concerned about the state of affairs in government. We need good conservatives who are willing to stand up and change things. That's exactly what I intend to do as State Representative."

“It’s a sad state of affairs that some of the most important discussions on health care are being made in the legislature rather than the exam room, but that is where we find ourselves,” said Watson. “From the government takeover of medicine coming out of Washington to the budget crisis in Atlanta, it concerns me that those debating the issue have little practical experience in the field.”

With the retirement this year of State Senator Don Thomas (R-Dalton), the legislature is set to lose its only practicing physician at the end of the current session.

In addition to health care, education and job creation top Watson’s concerns for the district that encompasses the islands and eastern Chatham County.

“We must get Georgians back to work,” Watson said. “To do so, government needs to get out of the way and quit changing the playing field. Our state should take the lead in providing certainty to small business and becoming the model for growth through targeted tax and regulatory relief. We must also seek to provide business with an educated and prepared work force. This generation isn’t competing against those from across the state. They are competing against those from across the world.”

Watson has served as a primary care physician in Savannah since completing his residency at Memorial Medical Center in 1988. A native of Twin City, Georgia, Watson is a graduate of Emanuel County Institute, the University of Georgia and Medical College of Georgia. Ben and his wife Bernice, a Savannah-Chatham Public School teacher, live at Isle of Hope with their three sons.

New Daily Kos/Research 2000 Poll Says Barnes Electable, Baker Not So Much

The prominent liberal blog, Daily Kos, is out with a new poll from Research 2000 that tests the performance of two leading Democratic gubernatorial candidates versus the top GOP candidates.

If the election for Governor were held today, for whom would you vote for if the choices were between Roy Barnes, the Democrat, and:

Nathan Deal, the Republican -

Barnes: 44%
Deal: 42%
Undecided: 14%

Karen Handel, the Republican -

Barnes: 44%
Handel: 43%
Undecided: 13%

John Oxendine, the Republican -

Barnes: 45%
Oxendine: 42%
Undecided: 13%

If the election for Governor were held today, for whom would you vote for if the choices were between Thurbert Baker, the Democrat, and:

Nathan Deal, the Republican -

Deal: 48%
Baker: 35%
Undecided: 17%

Karen Handel, the Republican -

Handel: 49%
Baker: 35%
Undecided: 16%

John Oxendine, the Republican -

Oxendine: 48%
Baker: 36%
Undecided: 16%

The poll doesn't test Republicans Eric Johnson or Austin Scott. It doesn't test DuBose Porter or David Poythress. Carl Camon should be accustomed to being excluded by now.

This poll suggests that Roy Barnes is the Democrats' most competitive gubernatorial candidate. Thurbert Baker, on the other hand, has some work to do. He's losing to "The Ox" (rolls eyes).

09 April 2010

One More Republican Joins 7th District Congressional Race

The following press release just hit the inbox:

William F. “Bill” Malone, Jr., a career tax and accounting professional, former volunteer firefighter, and lifelong community servant, today launched his grassroots campaign to win the Georgia 7th District Congressional seat that is being vacated by John Linder.

“I’m running for Congress because it’s time we had a strong voice in Washington, not just a party-line vote from yet another career politician,” says Malone. “We’ve stood by while our children’s futures have been mortgaged to fund crippling entitlement programs and an out-of-control government machine. We need a fiscally conservative leader with practical solutions and no political debt – one who will truly represent the will of the people with intelligence, common sense, and uncompromising integrity.”

A conservative Republican, Malone believes in limited government and balanced budgets. He has never held political office. Malone says his professional and personal experience, combined with his standing as an “unpolitician,” clearly distinguishes him from other candidates. “As a tax professional, I’ve managed complex U.S. and international tax issues for both large and small businesses, and I’ve had my own small business. I’ve created multi-year, multi-million dollar budgets that resulted in zero tax increases for municipal fire services. Personally, I’ve stood on the unemployment line and felt the frustration and discouragement that comes from being unable to provide for my family. My family has gone without some pretty basic necessities in order to pay exorbitant COBRA premiums. We clip coupons and drive basic cars and live within our means. In short, I understand what it means to be an average American because I am one.”

In addition to his 25-year professional career, Malone has proudly served his community in a wide variety of volunteer roles: firefighter, homeless shelter coordinator, Youth Ministry Board Treasurer, little league baseball and soccer coach, and timer/judge for his community swim team.

Malone and his wife Leann (a native of Morrow, GA) have been married since 1992. They live in Snellville with their three children, Amanda (17), Meghan (13), and William (11), and are active members of St. Marguerite d’Youville Catholic Church in Lawrenceville.

Quote of the Day: the Athens Banner Herald edition

"No incumbent elected official, even one arguably as popular as Congressman Broun, should get a free pass to another term."

-The Athens Banner Herald editorial board discussing the candidacy of Democrat Russell Edwards. Edwards, 28, is challenging Paul Broun for a seat in the 112th Congress from the tenth district of Georgia.

Democratic Governors Association Showing An Interest In Governor's Race?

Could the Democratic Governors Association be showing an interest in Georgia's gubernatorial election this year?

There are signs that this could be the case as the DGA prepares to compete in 37 governor's races across the country this year.

The DGA, flush with $22 million in the bank, announced last month that they will spend more on races in 2010 than they spent in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009 combined.

"We've trimmed our operating expenses significantly so that we can put more resources where it matters - into the races on the ground - and our burn rate is the lowest it's ever been," said said Nathan Daschle, the DGA's executive director. "We are committed to spending every dollar wisely because the stakes are so high - Republicans are planning to win so many governorships that they can redistrict themselves back to power."

Listed on page ten of the Georgia Democratic Party's March 31st State Ethics Commission campaign finance report is a contribution from the DGA totaling $10,000. In addition to the $10,000 contribution to the state Democratic Party, the DGA also opened up a state political action committee in January of this year.

Couple these two developments with DNC Chairman Tim Kaine saying that Georgia's gubernatorial race is "very appealing" to national Democrats, and one starts to think that maybe the Peach State is on the radar for a possible turn from red to blue this fall.

We'll have to wait and see.

CQ Politics rates the Georgia Governor's race as "leans Republican."

The CBO Tells Us What We Already Know: We Must Get Spending Under Control

Fiscal conservatives take note.

The director of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) says America's current fiscal policy is "unsustainable."

“U.S. fiscal policy is unsustainable, and unsustainable to an extent that it can't be solved through minor changes,” Congressional Budget Office (CBO) Director Douglas Elmendorf told reporters at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast.

Spending on Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, plus defense programs and debt interest, will exceed the rest of the federal budget in 10 years if most of the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts are extended, as President Barack Obama has proposed, Elmendorf said.

The CBO projects that Obama's policies would produce deficits averaging nearly $1 trillion for the next decade.

Alarkon, Walter (2010-4-8). Congressional budget office: Fiscal policy is 'unsustainable'. The Hill. Retrieved on 2010-4-9.

The national debt currently sits at $12.7 trillion. The Congressional Budget Office says that if we don't get spending under control, the national debt will rocket to more than $20 trillion by the end of the decade.

That is unacceptable.

We are spending money we do not have, and it is high time for fiscal conservatives to more actively assert themselves so that the country can get this spending under control.

To pull a line from, " We will must maintain fiscal responsibility, so that we do not mortgage our children's future on a mountain of debt."

In Case You Missed It: Attorney General Candidates Meet In April 5th Forum

The Fulton County Daily Report posted video of a Monday night forum featuring the candidates for Attorney General.

The forum, sponsored by Ford & Harrison, LLP, the YLD Juvenile Law Committee, the YLD Litigation Committee, the Atlanta Junior Chamber of Commerce, Voices for Georgia’s Children, and Waddell & Reed, was held at the Park Tavern.

VIDEO: Attorney General Candidate Forum

08 April 2010

Rep. Jim Marshall Need Not Worry About Republican Valerie Meyers Anymore

Republican Valerie Meyers is ending her campaign to unseat 8th district Congressman Jim Marshall (D - Georgia).

Bonaire Republican Valerie Meyers announced Wednesday that she's dropping out of the race for the Eighth Congressional District.

She released this statement:

"While we have achieved much in our campaign efforts, I believe taking this step is the right thing for me and my family at this time. I have enjoyed working with all of our wonderful volunteers and appreciate the opportunities I have been given along the way."

O'Donnell, Bernard (2010-4-7). Meyers Drops Out of Congressional Race. WMAZ-TV. Retrieved on 2010-4-8.

Meyers announced her candidacy last November. There are no campaign finance reports found for Meyers on the Federal Elections Commission web site. Generally, federal candidates are not required to file an FEC report unless they have raised or spent $5,000.

Roy Barnes At 47% In New Insider Advantage Poll

Former Gov. Roy Barnes continues to hold a large lead over his competitors in the race for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination.

Insider Advantage Georgia and WSB-TV Atlanta released a new poll Thursday that reported the following results:

Roy Barnes - 47%T
hurbert Baker - 18%
David Poythress - 6%
Dubose Porter - 5%
Undecided/No opinion - 24%

New IA poll: Georgia Democratic governor's race. Insider Advantage Georgia. Retrieved on 2010-4-8.

Barnes also holds the lead in fundraising. According to campaign finance disclosures filed with the State Ethics Commission, the former Democratic governor raised $912,798.18 during the first three months of 2010. Barnes reports having $2,837,384.23 in cash on hand.

State Democratic Party Raises $477,000 During First Quarter Of 2010

For the reporting period ending March 31st, the Democratic Party of Georgia raised over $477,000. The Georgia Republican Party reported raising nearly $570,000 for the same reporting period.

(as of March 31, 2010)
Cash On Hand
Democratic Party
of Georgia
Georgia Republican

[SOURCE: State Ethics Commission]

07 April 2010

Karen Handel Announces 1st Quarter Fundraising Totals

The following press release just came over from the Karen Handel gubernatorial campaign:

Former Secretary of State and gubernatorial candidate Karen Handel announced today that her campaign had raised nearly $400,000 in the first three months of this year – 3/4 as much as it had raised in the last six months of 2009.

Handel, who is in a clear second place in the polls and in a strong position to be in the nearly inevitable runoff election in August, reported having nearly $600,000 cash on hand. This brings the total raised by the campaign to over $1.3 million.

"I am grateful for all of the support my campaign has received from people across Georgia and am determined to do them proud in this campaign," Handel said. "Georgians are clearly responding to our message of economic growth and ethical leadership and I am excited to have this level of momentum as we head into the critical months ahead."

Blacks Can Be Every Bit As Racist As Whites. . .

. . .Especially against their own people.

They've been called Oreos, traitors and Uncle Toms, and are used to having to defend their values. Now black conservatives are really taking heat for their involvement in the mostly white tea party movement -- and for having the audacity to oppose the policies of the nation's first black president.

"I've been told I hate myself. I've been called an Uncle Tom. I've been told I'm a spook at the door," said Timothy F. Johnson, chairman of the Frederick Douglass Foundation, a group of black conservatives who support free market principles and limited government.

The Associated Press (2010-4-6). Black Conservative Tea Party Supporters Take Heat. WXIA-TV. Retrieved on 2010-4-7.

As much as I hate to admit, this kind of racism amongst black people happens all the time.

State Rep. Ralph Long was accused of running away from his race when he backed Mary Norwood over Kasim Reed for Atlanta mayor [Galloway, Jim (2009-11-12). Your morning jolt: Ralph Long and his lonely endorsement of Mary Norwood. Political Insider. Retrieved on 2010-4-7.]. Norwood is white. Reed is black.

Black lawmakers, including Georgia Congressmen John Lewis and David Scott, were under enormous pressure to support Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton simply because Clinton is white and Obama is black.

The quote that stands out in my mind came from Illinois Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr.

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver of Missouri said Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. of Illinois had recently asked him"if it comes down to the last day and you're the only superdelegate? ... Do you want to go down in history as the one to prevent a black from winning the White House?" [Espo, David (2008-2-15). AP: Black lawmakers rethinking support for Clinton. USA Today. Retrieved on 2010-4-7.]

What does that say about black people?

What does it say about the black race when someone gets chastised, ridiculed and criticized for refusing to support a politician simply because that politician is black.

What does it say about blacks when we can't even criticize the first black president without being labeled an Uncle Tom; an Oreo; a traitor to our race.

Allow me to answer my own question. It makes us look as stupid and ignorant as those racist rednecks we protest.

Blacks should not give the first president who looks like us a free pass.

That's ignorant.

We need to hold Barack Obama accountable, and let him know that he should not take the black vote for granted. If Barack Obama wants black support, he needs to earn it like everyone else. And that goes for every other black politician across the nation.

Don't expect the votes of black people. Earn the votes of black people, and expect to be held accountable.

Southside Transportation Hopes To Fill Void Left By C-TRAN

The demise of Clayton County Transit (C-TRAN) may lead to the rise of a private bus company that could fill the void left by public transit.

The Georgia Public Service Commission voted Tuesday to grant emergency authority to Southside Transportation to provide transportation service to Clayton residents left without a ride when the cash-strapped county commission voted to shut down C-TRAN on March 31.

According to the company’s application, Southside will operate two 15-passenger vans that will carry passengers from Clayton County to a MARTA Park-and-Ride lot on Riverdale Road. Riders will pay $2 per trip.

Williams, Dave (2010-4-6). Vans to replace Clayton County buses. Atlanta Business Chronicle. Retrieved on 2010-4-7.

Plenty of Republicans will cite the article above as an example of what happens when government fails, and private individuals pick up the slack. And in this case, they would be right.

The Clayton County Commission failed their constituents when they voted to end C-TRAN. Now, private enterprise is stepping up to the plate and picking up where government left off.

If Southside Transportation is successful (and I believe they will be), then the private company gradually will buy more vans from local dealerships and hire more drivers from the local community, stimulating the economy more effectively than any bailout possibly could.

Southside Transportation could be extremely beneficial to Clayton County. The only thing missing is a public-private partnership that provides Southside riders with discounted transfers to MARTA and vice-versa.

This could work, folks. I'm excited about it.

Graham Balch Raises Nearly $32K In First Quarter Of 2010

Remember Graham Balch?

He's the political newcomer challenging state Sen. Vincent Fort in the 39th district Democratic primary this summer.

Tuesday evening, the Balch campaign released their first quarter fundraising totals.

To date, Graham Balch’s state senate campaign has raised more money than his opponent from African-Americans, Asians, Caucasians, Hispanics, Atlanta residents, East Point residents, business leaders, lawyers, educators and the LGBT community. Highlighting the diversity of Balch’s growing support are contributions from his opponent’s African-American city council representative in East Point and Balch’s LGBT city council representative in Atlanta.

Graham Balch's March 31st campaign finance disclosure shows that during the first three months of 2010, he raised $31,761.47 from 151 contributors including a $2,400 donation from former Cousins Properties CEO Tom Bell and Cox Enterprises' Anne Cox Chambers. That brings Balch's fundraising totals to $104,185.58 in contributions since he launched his campaign. Balch has a net cash on hand total of $74,953.78.

State Sen. Vincent Fort, who is prohibited from raising money while the legislature is in session, only has $1,534.61 left in the bank.

Balch said of his fundraising success, "In this difficult economic environment, quite honestly, I have found fundraising difficult."

"It is only through the help of Atlanta and East Point residents who want more effective representation in the state senate that we have been able to achieve our fundraising success to date. Going forward, I am confident that with their help we can raise the money we need to win this election. As I have said from the beginning, united we succeed."

06 April 2010

Republican Jef Fincher Joins Race To Succeed John Linder

Jef Fincher became the latest Republican to announce his candidacy for Congress in Georgia's 7th district. The incumbent, John Linder, is not running for re-election in November. Below is the press release from the Fincher campaign:

Local conservative activist and longtime community volunteer James “Jef” Fincher will announce his candidacy for Georgia’s 7th Congressional district on Wednesday, April 7, 2010. Fincher, a 34-year veteran flight attendant with Delta Airlines and local real estate broker, will throw his name in the ring for the seat that U.S. Congressman John Linder will vacate at the end of this year.

A supporter of Republican candidates and causes for many years, Fincher became involved with the national Tea Party Movement in 2009 and began rallying in Washington D.C. with hundreds of thousands of anti-tax activists from all over the country. Always having had a fundamental belief in conservative values, it was these rallies and marches that propelled Fincher to take a stand and run for U.S. Congress.

“I am running for Congress because I could no longer sit by and watch as the Democrats in power put the futures of my two daughters in peril,” said Fincher. “I have been involved in this community for 25 years, and the 7th District needs someone in Congress who is ready to fight the battle for conservatism every day, and who also understands the needs and values of the people he is serving.”

Fincher is an active member and past Chairman of the Duluth Rotary Club and has worked with the Duluth Fall Festival committee for the past 18 years. He has also served on the foundation board of the Gwinnett Medical Center and on the board of the Gwinnett Council for the Arts. Fincher has been married to Kathy Andrews Fincher of Duluth since 1985 and they have two daughters, Maggie (24) and Kelley (22). Jef and Kathy Fincher live in Duluth and are members of Duluth First United Methodist Church.

State Sen. Don Thomas Not Running For Re-election

Another state legislator is retiring from office at the end of the year.

On Monday, state Sen. Don Thomas, R-Dalton, said he will retire at the end of the year.

Part of his decision, he said during his announcement at WDNN-TV in Dalton, was that his wife, Emma Jean, was diagnosed with lung cancer two years ago.

“I’m much more needed now at home, in my medical practice, and first of all, in helping take care of my wife in her illness,” he said.

Bradfield, Timothy (2010-4-6). Thomas to retire; Williams to seek re-election. Chattanooga Times Free Press. Retrieved on 2010-4-6.

Dalton City Councilman Charlie Bethel is hoping to replace Thomas in the state Senate.

Secretary of State Launches Voter Fraud Web Site

Secretary of State Brian Kemp announced a new web page designed to stop voter fraud Monday.

The site, which can be found at, allows people to report possible voter fraud online. Voter fraud can also be reported utilizing the new voter fraud hotline: (877)725-9797.

In Case You Missed It: The J-Hey Kid's First Career Homer

What a way to start the season!

First career at-bat for Braves rookie Jason Heyward, and he goes yard for his first career home run.

How ya like them apples!

Dates Set For 2012 Democratic National Convention

Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine announced Monday that the 46th quadrennial Democratic National Convention would be held the week of September 3, 2012.

My friends at Democratic Convention Watch report that Charlotte, Philadelphia and Phoenix are among the top cities being considered to host the DNC.

I'm supporting Charlotte's bid because it is high time the Democrats came back to the south. Our region continues to grow and after the cenus is completed, the south will increase its numbers both in Congress and the electoral college. The fact is that Democrats cannot afford to ignore the south if they intend to build a lasting majority.

While we're on the subject of the Democratic National Convention, let's talk about delegate selection. Here's how it'll go:

  • The Democratic National Committee (DNC) will adopt the Call to the 2012 Convention and the Delegate Selection Rules (likely in August, 2010);

  • The DNC will then forward those documents to the state Democratic parties for use in crafting their delegate selection plans;

  • The state Democratic committees will adopt their delegate selection plans (likely in the summer or early fall of 2011); and

  • 2012 National Convention delegate selection starts with the first determining step --a primary or caucus-- to allocate district-level and at-large delegates.

05 April 2010

Back By Popular Demand: The Vernon Jones' Rape Documents

Three years ago today, I posted this blog entry. Since then, this post became the most searched entry on this site. Sex sells, so I'm front-paging the Vernon Jones' rape documents. -Andre

Tuesday night, at Manuel's, I was provided with a packet of documents containing police reports and various witness accounts of Vernon Jones' alleged rape of a "29 year old aspiring singer at his [Vernon Jones'] home in south DeKalb County on the night of Dec. 28." [Source: 1/5/2005 11Alive article "DeKalb CEO Denies Rape Allegation"]. As you probably know, DeKalb County District Attorney Gwen Keyes Fleming decided not to prosecute "at the accuser’s request," which in turn made Vernon Jones elicit the response that "the D.A.’s decision not to prosecute proves the rape accusation was false." [Source: 11/5/2005 11Alive article "Jones' Accuser Finally Speaks Out"] Of course, that isn't necessarily true, because the DeKalb County D.A. said "nothing was proven or disproven."

Last night, I finally got around to reading the police report and the victim's account of what happened at Vernon Jones' home the night of December 28, 2004. I have to warn you that these documents contain very explicit material, but I want the world to read what I've read and make their own judgements. So here they are:

First, the police report:

Next, the victim's account of the events:

And finally, the third woman, Heidi Lee's account of the events:

Nonbinding MARTA Referendum For Clayton County Moves Forward

One could call it a case of too little, too late, if the referendum meant anything.

Last week, as Clayton County shut down its public bus system, the House passed legislation authorizing a nonbinding referendum on MARTA in ClayCo. House Bill 1446 puts the following question on the July primary ballot:

"Should Clayton County become a full participant in MARTA (the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority) and levy a sales tax in support of MARTA and Clayton County's public transportation needs?"

I believe the "yes" votes will vastly outnumber the "no" votes on this question. But, I don't believe Clayton County's Commissioners will pay attention to the referendum's results. MARTA could be in ClayCo today if the county commission would simply authorize a binding referendum on the issue. They haven't, and they won't regardless of how the people vote; unless, of course, the people start sending some county commissioners home.

GOP Attorney General Candidates Say They'd Challenge Health Care Law In Court

The debate over the constitutionality of the newly-enacted health care law has spilled over into the race for Attorney General.

Two Republican candidates hoping to be the state's chief top lawyer say they would have filed suit challenging ObamaCare in court.

Former U.S. attorney Max Wood and former Cobb County Commission Chairman Sam Olens said at a University of Georgia debate that they would have joined a dozen other states in suing to have the health care law President Obama signed last week declared unconstitutional.

"This is a huge, huge step toward socialism that we need to push back on," said Wood, who served as the federal prosecutor in Middle Georgia under President George W. Bush.

"This is an unprecedented federal directive," [Olens] said. "You're taxing someone for doing nothing."

Aued, Blake (2010-4-2). AG hopefuls say they would've joined suit. Athens Banner Herald. Retrieved on 2010-4-5.

The Democratic attorney general candidates, Ken Hodges and Rob Teilhet, haven't responded to whether they would challenge the health care law in court. As the campaign progresses though, the two Democrats may be forced to go on record and defend their position in this conservative state.

David Scott Hosting Jobs Fair - April 23rd

13th district Congressman David Scott is hosting his seventh annual jobs fair April 23rd at the Georgia International Convention Center.

Over seventy employers are confirmed for the event. Job seekers are strongly encouraged to dress for success and bring several copies of their resume.

What: 13th Congressional District Jobs Fair

When: Friday, April 23, 2010 (10AM - 4PM)

Where: Georgia International Convention Center
2000 Convention Center Concourse
College Park, Georgia 30337

Quote of the Day: the Connie Stokes Edition

"I'm the frontrunner in the Congressional race."

-DeKalb County Commissioner & 4th district congressional candidate Connie Stokes

11Alive's Doug Richards reports that the Connie Stokes campaign has "never looked better" because two of her opponents stumbled politically this past week.

Congressman Hank Johnson put his foot in his mouth, and former DeKalb County CEO Vernon Jones was found guilty of reverse discrimination.

So Connie Stokes, by virtue of keeping her mouth shut, is the front-runner. Oh boy, I can see the campaign bumper stickers now:

Vote for Connie - She'll embarrass us the least.

Or better yet: Connie Stokes - Seen & Not Heard.

Former State Senator Thinks Legislature Could Stay 'Til May

Former state Senator Michael Meyer von Bremen (D - Albany) thinks the 2010 legislative session could last until early May
[Meyer von Bremen, Michael (2010-4-3).
Session could last until May
. Albany Herald. Retrieved on 2010-4-5.]
. I believe he's right.

The legislature's only constitutionally-required mandate is to pass the budget. As of April 5th, the 2010 supplemental budget sits in the House awaiting further action after passing the Senate in February. The 2011 "big" budget has yet to pass out of committee.

The budget is such a mess right now. Everything in it stands upon the edge of a knife. Stray but a little, and the budget will fail to the ruin of all. Thursday, legislators got a sample of that when the Senate spent hours searching for votes to pass the hospital bed tax. The word around the Capitol Thursday seemed to be that without the bed tax, the entire budget would fall apart.

The bed tax passed the Senate, but now it goes back to the House where I'm sure they'll disagree with the Senate's bill, insist on their position and appoint a committee of conference.

That, my friends, is when the real fun begins as the House and Senate takes some time to negotiate a final bill.

And let's be truthful here, the General Assembly needs time (and lots of it) to fix this budget with or without the bed tax.

Lawmakers are off this week. They return Monday, April 12th for the 34th legislative day. That leaves six legislative days in the 2010 session. Candidate qualifying is two weeks later. Fiscal Year 2011 does not begin until July 1st, which means that the legislature could conceivably adjourn for qualifying and then come back in May to pass the budget.

That may seem far fetched to some, but it is an option probably being considered by legislative leaders.