Archive for August, 2011

Possibly, a GOP contribution to a Democratic voting rights suit

A circular thought worth pondering when it comes to the intersection of redistricting and the move to shift next year’s transportation sales tax vote:

– Many Democrats in the Legislature have pulled their support for moving the date of the ’12 transit tax vote because of the GOP decision to seek dominance of local legislation affecting Fulton and other Democratically controlled counties by packing the local delegations. In the Senate, Republicans sliced Fulton into 11 pieces in order to assure themselves of a 7-4 majority.

– Democrats say that such packing amounts to a dilution of African-American voting power, but it is a largely untested area for litigation. Republicans dismiss objections as nonsense, because local legislative delegations are merely advisory in nature. The U.S. Justice Department doesn’t concern itself with window-dressing.

– Because Democrats have pulled their support from the T-SPLOST shift, Republicans in the Capitol will need all the votes their …

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Jon Huntsman: ‘Serious candidates come here’

GOP presidential candidate Jon Huntsman got a standing ovation from a 180-member House on Wednesday. In part, merely because he showed up.

GOP presidential candidate Jon Huntsman (left) with House Speaker David Ralston. Brant Sanderlin bsanderlin@ajc.com

GOP presidential candidate Jon Huntsman (left) with House Speaker David Ralston. Brant Sanderlin bsanderlin@ajc.com

Huntsman was the first Republican in the field to visit the state Capitol since Tim Pawlenty last November. (This, of course, doesn’t count Newt Gingrich, who at one point was supposed to be running a Georgia-centric, favorite-son campaign.)

House Speaker David Ralston announced that any presidential candidate who comes to Georgia while the Legislature is in session will get a full-court reception in his House — are you listening, President Obama?

“It’s good for them to know that Georgia is an important place. Rather than go see them, I think it’s good for them to come to see us,” Ralston told his members.

That might be interpreted as a small dig at Gov. Rick Perry, who has invited state lawmakers to fly to Texas to …

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Nathan Deal pushes a Saturday adjournment of Legislature

In a private meeting with Senate Republicans, Gov. Nathan Deal agreed to amendments to his effort to shift next year’s transportation sales tax vote to November – and urged encouraged senators to hold an unusual Saturday session in order to bring a quick end to the special session.

We’re told that an amendment to the T-SPLOST bill will accede to a demand from tea-party opponents that all future SPLOST votes – for any purpose – will be held only during general elections. That means every other year.

The change was required by the fact that it looks more and more likely that Democrats in the Legislature won’t support the shift.

The November general election requirement for referendums could only be waived by votes of local legislative delegations.

School boards, counties and cities are about to howl.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

For instant updates, follow me on Twitter, or connect with me on Facebook.

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Your morning jolt: Jon Huntsman makes a Southern foray

GOP presidential candidate Jon Huntsman will make a whirlwind tour of the state Capitol this morning, dropping in on Gov. Nathan Deal, Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers, and House Speaker David Ralston.

Look for Huntsman to make a brief appearance on the House floor, but the former U.S. ambassador to China (and Singapore) has no media availability scheduled. The best we can offer is this recent clip of CNN’s Piers Morgan interview with the candidate, who speaks Mandarin with an impressive Beijing accent.

Says Huntsman: “The unfortunate thing is, Piers, I’m known by the wrong quarter of, of the world’s population.”

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The city of Canton may already have a buyer for the reservoir it’s trying to get out from under, according to today’s Marietta Daily Journal:

Leaders of the Cobb County-Marietta Water Authority say they will consider buying out the City of Canton’s 25 percent stake in the new Hickory Log Creek Reservoir in north Canton. That would make the …

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Rob Woodall takes flak for debt-ceiling vote

U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall, the freshman Republican from Lawrenceville, ran into some flak last night over his vote to approve the debt-ceiling deal reached by Congress this month.

Woodall was one of three Georgians to vote “aye” – the others were U.S. Rep. Tom Price, R-Roswell, and Johnny Isakson.

From Blake Aued of the Athens Banner-Herald, who was at the town hall meeting:

Paul Leslie of Winder likened it to driving a bus off a cliff, then opening a parachute.

“Some things you can’t compromise on,” he said. “You can’t compromise with evil.”

Woodall, R-Lawrenceville, said he understands that viewpoint, but stood by his vote.

“I’m proud of that vote,” he told the crowd.

“We’re not,” one man called out.

Aued’s piece closes with this odd exchange:

Woodall defended global free trade, saying that it promotes U.S. exports. The strength of U.S. manufacturing is quality, and Americans should not try to compete on low wages with China and Mexico, he …

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Shirley Franklin on the anxiety of growing old

The final paragraphs from a fine post by former Atlanta mayor Shirley Franklin at Blogging While Blue, on growing old:

Like many seniors who expected to retire, many of us are continuing to work and in many cases competing with younger people for the same positions. If we aren’t competing, we are working side-by-side. Did you notice the man who bags the groceries in your neighborhood store is no longer a teenager? Or the clerk at the dry cleaners? Or the usher at the movie theater? These are not high-paying jobs and sure old people enjoy the social engagement of work but most are working because they need the money. Today in Atlanta, one in nine residents is over 65-years-old and the ratio is declining. By 2030 the Atlanta Regional Commission projects that number will be one in five.

The collapse of the financial markets compounds the challenges the aging population face. Savings and retirement funds accumulated for a lifetime are diminished or wiped out with little chance of …

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A Black Caucus member on shifting the sales tax vote

If supporters of next year’s transportation sales tax vote want to see the referendum shifted to November, they’re going to have to deal with people like state Sen. Hardie Davis, an African-American lawmaker from Augusta.

We told you this morning that Senate Republicans have been made uneasy by tea party opposition to Gov. Nathan Deal’s effort to move the vote away from the July primary.

But members of the Legislative Black Caucus, angered by the Republican effort to control local legislation in Fulton and other Democratically controlled counties, have thrown up their own roadblock.

Davis is no bomb-thrower. He is chairman of the Senate Interstate Cooperation Committee, which means he gets along with Republicans well enough.

I ran into Davis on the Capitol stairs late this morning. He put the matter this way: Republicans appear to want the transportation sales tax passed on the backs of Barack Obama supporters. But if they want control of Fulton County, then they’d …

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Why Jon Huntsman will get a nice reception in Atlanta

GOP presidential candidate Jon Huntsman, the former U.S. ambassador to China, has a first fund-raiser in Atlanta this evening — a 7 p.m. reception at the City Club of Buckhead. We understand he’s to be introduced by state Rep. Joe Wilkinson of Sandy Springs.

Yes, Wilkinson is pledged to Newt Gingrich. But he’s known Huntsman for 30 years — since the Reagan White House years.

Former Utah governor Jon Huntsman/Associated Press

Former Utah governor Jon Huntsman/Associated Press

In the polls, Huntsman is mired in single digits, and has difficulty establishing a productive niche within the Republican electorate. Texas Gov. Rick Perry leads in the one Georgia poll that’s been done, and probably has the largest crop of state lawmakers as supporters.

But when Huntsman dips into the state Capitol on Wednesday for a little handshaking, look for him to get a very, very healthy reception.

Gingrich aside, the last Republican presidential candidate to stop by the Capitol to ask for votes was Tim Pawlenty – last November.

State lawmakers …

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Your morning jolt: Senate Republicans uneasy about shifting T-SPLOST vote

With a deal struck among Republicans on congressional maps, attention is quickly turning to the remaining issue facing the Legislature during its special session – passage of a measure shifting next year’s regional T-SPLOST votes from the July primary to the November general election.

Last week, Gov. Nathan Deal met in private session with House Republican members to argue for passage. But he may need to do the same with GOP senators.

We’re told that – right now – the bill wouldn’t win a majority of the Senate Republican caucus vote. That’s especially important when Democrats in the chamber – specifically members of the Legislative Black Caucus – are still in a pique over the Senate Republican effort to take control of local legislation affecting Fulton and other counties.

No gubernatorial counseling session has yet been scheduled – but keep an eye out for it.

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Regardless of when the regional transportation tax vote is held, proponents have their work …

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John Barrow moved out of Savannah, Tom Price locked out of Buckhead in new maps

Here’s a first look at the new congressional map that’s about to be introduced in the House – but has already received informal approval in the Senate:

ScreenShot123

More maps to come, but you can see that Barrow, a Savannah resident, has been moved out of Chatham County – but his 12th District still retains Augusta and a portion of Columbia County.

Barrow sent out a quick comment indicating he won’t be dissuaded from running:

“This isn’t the first time the folks in Atlanta have put politics above the interests of the people I represent… and I doubt it will be the last.  But I’ve always believed that working hard for the people trumps politics every time….

“I look forward to getting to know the new constituents drawn in to Georgia’s 12th District, and building on the friendships I’ve formed with folks who still call the 12th District home.”

Buckhead has been split two ways — neither of them involving U.S. Rep. Tom Price, R-Roswell. U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey gets …

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