Archive for July, 2011

Talk of a Macon-for-Thomasville swap in redistricting

Just got off the phone with former House Democratic leader DuBose Porter to ask him about his appearance in Macon last week on behalf of mayoral candidate Robert Brown, the former leader of Senate Democrats.

Current Georgia congressional district boundaries/DOT

Current Georgia congressional district boundaries/DOT

“I think the world of him,” Porter said. But Porter’s presence stirred some speculation that the former candidate for governor might also be kicking the tires on a run against U.S. Rep. Austin Scott, the rookie Republican from Tifton.

Porter said, no, he’s not running. What’s more, he thinks Macon may not be part of Scott’s 8th District come 2012. Porter says he’s hearing a great deal of talk that the Republican-controlled Legislature next month could hand Macon and its mid-state Democratic environs (Fort Valley, etc.) over to U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop and the 2nd District.

In return, the heavily Republican city of Thomasville near the Florida voter – which is now in Bishop’s district – would be shifted over to Scott. …

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Stan Wise says he’s not a candidate to head Cobb EMC

Stan Wise, chairman of the state Public Service Commission, just killed talk that he was leaving. His statement, via my AJC colleague Kristi Swartz:

“In recent days there has been much speculation over my possible candidacy for Chief Executive Officer of Cobb EMC. I am not a candidate for CEO of Cobb EMC. The next CEO faces tremendous challenges, but I am convinced the organization’s leadership and dedicated employees are capable of restoring public confidence.”

The Marietta Daily Journal reported last week that Wise was on a “short list” of candidates to replace EMC head Dwight Brown, who has been re-indicted on racketeering charges.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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Your morning jolt: In search of Beverly Hall

Monica Pearson of Channel 2 Action News is conducting a cross-country search for the former superintendent of the scandal-ridden Atlanta Public School system:

Pearson might want to check in with former Atlanta mayor Shirley Franklin, who said she called Hall after the report was released last week. Posted by USA Today via 11Alive:

“I called to say I was thinking about her, and I hoped she could relax and reflect,” Franklin said. “She said she was intending to do that. This is a really tough report to internalize.”

Franklin said Hall did not offer an apology to her during that conversation.

“I didn’t ask for an apology, and my conversation was short,” Franklin said. “I think she has appropriately apologized to the teachers, students and to the general public.”

Meanwhile, the AJC’s Politifact Georgia today takes a look at Franklin’s evaluation of Hall’s tenure as school superintendent.

***
Cobb County has become the latest Republican-controlled bastion in metro Atlanta to …

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In search of Republicans who have John Boehner’s back

If all goes as planned, Barack Obama and John Boehner will spend Sunday at the White House, locked together in what may be the largest game of Texas hold ‘em the world has ever seen.

The president and speaker are the two figures with the most skin in the Washington debate over an increased debt ceiling and the $14 trillion federal deficit. Obama wants to be re-elected. Boehner wants the U.S. House to remain Republican.

Neither wins with a Wall Street meltdown, which is what we’re assured will happen if the pair don’t reach an agreement on raising the federal government’s borrowing limit by Aug. 2.

U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Savannah/AJC file

U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Savannah/AJC file

Democrats in Congress are likely to rally, however reluctantly, to whatever cuts to entitlements Obama agrees to. But Boehner’s hold on his Republican troops is less secure. Especially if the deal includes increased federal revenue — not through tax rate increases, but the elimination of tax breaks.

Which of Georgia’s eight Republican …

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Sam Olens: Pursuing death penalty against Casey Anthony a mistake

Worth noting from Reporter Newspapers:

Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens told the Rotary Club of Dunwoody on July 8 that he would not have pursued the death penalty against Casey Anthony, a Florida woman who on Tuesday was acquitted of charges of murdering her two-year old daughter.

Olens said prosecutors need to be careful in seeking the death penalty when the cause of death has not been determined, as it was in the Anthony case. Olens said he felt it would’ve been easier to convict Anthony if the death penalty had not been on the table.

“Jurors expect to have a robust set of evidence,” Olens said.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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The implications of a routine appointment by Nathan Deal

A theory posed by Tom Crawford of the Georgia Report:

Gov. Nathan Deal has taken a page from the political playbook of Sonny Perdue by appointing the spouse of the top federal prosecutor for North Georgia to a seat on a state commission.

Deal’s office last week disclosed that the governor has reappointed J. Comer Yates, the husband of U.S. Attorney Sally Q. Yates, to a seat on the Georgia Commission on Hearing Impaired and Deaf Persons.

Because of that gubernatorial appointment of her spouse, Sally Yates, who has extensive experience prosecuting political corruption cases, will be required by Justice Department rules to recuse herself from any future investigations that her office may undertake involving Deal’s activities.

Deal has put himself in a similar position regarding potential federal investigations as his predecessor as governor, Perdue.

In August 2006, as Perdue was in the middle of his reelection campaign, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution published a series of …

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Your morning jolt: Cheating scandal will make APS accreditation harder, says SACS chief

The CEO who oversees the firm that will determine whether or not Atlanta Public Schools will regain full accreditation says the APS cheating scandal is the worst ever seen in the U.S. — and will make it harder for the system to redeem itself by September.

Mark Elgart, president and CEO of AdvanceEd, parent firm of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, made his remarks in an interview with Denis O’Hayer of WABE (90.1FM). Listen to it here.

Among Elgart’s points:

– The APS scandal “is probably more extensive and broad-based than we’ve experienced any place else in the country.”

– “We’re very concerned with the ability of the school system to effectively move forward. It’s critical that the leadership of the system take strong and decisive action to guide it through this very difficult period of time….Leadership by this board – unified, focused and strong – must be demonstrated in order to help this system move forward.”

– Elgart also said that SACS will be looking …

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On text messages that fly between City Hall and the Capitol

A few telling paragraphs from today’s profile of Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed in Roll Call, the Washington D.C. newspaper:

Though Reed is a lifelong Democrat, almost every top Republican in the state sings his praises.

“This is a guy who has taken on some very controversial issues like pension reform, reduction in terms of spending within the city’s budget. And he has done it because it is the right thing to do,” Lt. Gov Casey Cagle (R) [said]. “What I’ve always admired about Kasim Reed is that he’s a person that genuinely puts what’s in the best interest of the city or the state ahead of politics. I think that’s really the defining attribute of a statesman.”

The mayor regularly exchanges text messages, sometimes jocular, with Republican Gov. Nathan Deal’s chief of staff, according to one Atlanta-based GOP source. And Reed, a prolific texter, exchanged SMS messages with staff in the governor’s mansion as the mayor and governor worked to successfully close a deal to bring a Porsche …

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A move to shift transportation tax votes to November 2012?

Over at Peach Pundit, Charlie Harper says that those involved in next year’s regional votes for a transportation sales tax have come to realize that voters in the July 31, 2012 primaries are likely to be throwing an anti-tax tea party:

The referendums are currently scheduled for July 2012, corresponding with the partisan primaries for the 2012 elections.

The current fear is that these contests, especially in the Atlanta region, will be dominated by Republicans who will be anti-tax, with Democrats likely to have few contested battles with which to drive presumably pro-referendum voters to the polls. A bill to move these referendums to November 2012, when President Obama will be on the ballot and driving Democratic turnout, is now viewed as a virtual certainty.

Adding legislation to the special session which would move the referendum is an attempt assist the likelihood of passage by changing the rules before the ground game has begun. This would avoiding the appearance of …

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A brief history of Latino immigration in Georgia – from the other side

The one absolute in broadcast journalism is that you can’t show video over the radio. Which led Shomial Ahmad of WABE (90.1FM) to resort to YouTube to post a gem of an interview with the part-owner of a Latino club down in Alma, Ga.

Click here to listen to Ahmad’s audio broadcast. But below, Maria Patricio, from a chair in El Potrero, gives a brief, 20-year history of the Hispanic experience in south Georgia:

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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