Archive for May, 2012

House GOP leader: ‘My goal is to end Fulton County’

When the Legislature passed new maps for the state House and Senate last year, Republicans gave themselves extra slices of certain counties.

Earlier this month, House Speaker pro tem Jan Jones of Milton bluntly explained the merits of the tactic to a group of north Fulton voters. From Neighbor Newspapers:

In January, according to Jones, there will be a north Fulton majority in both the House delegation and the Senate delegation.

Which means, “we can cut Fulton County down to size until we get Milton County,” she said.

“My goal is that we reduce the thumbprint … of Fulton County on your lives and your pocketbooks such that in a very few years, Atlanta and south Fulton will not fight us on recreating Milton County because Fulton County will be insignificant,” she said. “We will begin that process next year.”

Jones said she actually thinks splitting Fulton into three counties would be in the best interest of all citizens.

“My goal is not to re-create Milton …

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Elephant control a point of dispute between Atlanta, Fulton County?

David Perle with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals sends a note reporting that annual visits by Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus have become a point of contention between Fulton County and the city of Atlanta – specifically, the use of bullhooks to control the show’s elephants:

As you may know, Atlanta’s animal control services are performed by Fulton County, which is trying to enter into a new contract with the city for the provision of these services—but despite urging from the local community and PETA, Atlanta is refusing to sign a contract, apparently because it doesn’t want the bullhook ban to be enforced in the city.

Perle says there’s a July 1 deadline, after which Atlanta would be left with no animal control services.
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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The Cherokee County charter school stew

How cool are you with your school?

If you live in Cherokee County, your answer to that question on July 31 will certainly determine who is the next chairman of your local school board.

But that same answer could also shake up the leadership of the state Senate, and, just maybe, offer a hint as to whether Georgia voters – in November – will embrace one of Gov. Nathan Deal’s top education priorities.

Call it the Cherokee County charter school stew.

Here’s the stripped-down back story: Thrice did a group of Cherokee parents petition their county school board to accept the Cherokee Charter Academy into the public school system. Thrice did the school board refuse, on a 4-3 vote. System officials declared that the charter school brought nothing new to the table – and would drain a system already strapped for cash.

But the charter school movement has considerable clout in the state Capitol.

A first effort by the state to force Cherokee County – and other school systems — …

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Governor’s daughter, daughter-in-law on opposite sides in congressional race

We’ve got a soap opera brewing in the Republican race for the new 9th District congressional seat.

Martha Zoller, the former radio talk show host from Gainesville, this afternoon was endorsed by She-PAC, a group that supports Republican women. The Zoller campaign included this paragraph in the press release:

The “Women for Martha” Luncheon was held at Frances Meadows Community Center in Gainesville, GA. Carrie Deal Wilder, daughter of Governor Nathan Deal and honorary Chairwoman of the “Women for Martha” Coalition, was the event’s emcee.

Possibly you remember that Zoller’s opponent, state Rep. Doug Collins, R-Gainesville, was the governor’s floor leader in the House. And that Collins’ chief fund-raiser is Denise Deal, who is married to the governor’s son, Judge Jason Deal.

“The governor’s children are free to endorse or campaign for anyone they like,” said Deal spokesman Brian Robinson, who emphasized that the governor was taking no sides in the contest.

But …

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FreedomWorks endorses Wright McLeod in 12th District primary

The culling may have just begun in the GOP race to challenge U.S. Rep. John Barrow, D-Augusta. From the press release:

FreedomWorks PAC announced its official endorsement of Wright McLeod for Congress in Georgia’s 12th District. Through in-depth, one-on-one discussions with Wright, a review of the candidates in the race, and input from our members in the district, FreedomWorks PAC believes Wright McLeod is the clear choice for voters who support free markets, fiscal responsibility, and constitutionally limited government.

Wright McLeod has a distinguish background that includes an appointment to the United States Naval Academy, service in the Persian Gulf War, a Master’s degree from Georgetown University and a law degree from University of Georgia. He has spent his career as a small business owner in the district and knows firsthand how government overregulation impedes the creation of jobs.

As a judge, McLeod understands what the founding fathers intended the …

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Reading between the lines in a hot Senate race

Before he jumped into the race against Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers of Woodstock, Republican Brandon Beach, president of the North Fulton Chamber of Commerce, made clear that he would have preferred a rematch with state Sen. John Albers of Roswell, who narrowly defeated Beach in 2010.

Rogers on Wednesday released this Feb. 25 email – he’d been copied on the message – from Beach to Albers:

John,

Good Town Hall meeting this morning in Sandy Springs. When asked about the Port of Savannah, I liked your answer that the Governor of South Carolina, Nikki Haley put politics aside and did the right thing in the deepening of the Port of Savannah. I would ask you to do the right thing when it comes to making a slight technical change in the redistricting maps that would allow me to be back in the 56th Senate district. Unfortunately, Chip is friends with both of us and is caught in the middle and would like to right this wrong. In my opinion, it is not fair to have Chip …

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Your morning jolt: Nathan Deal raises big money for transportation sales tax campaign

If we’ve given the impression that Gov. Nathan Deal has only spoken up for a statewide transportation sales tax, we hereby apologize.

Deal’s not merely dipping a toe in the water. He’s hip-deep in the effort.

Click here to see the invitation for a May 23 fundraiser for the statewide arm of the campaign, hosted by the governor but held at the Atlanta home of former Cousins Properties CEO Tom Bell.

Just in case you’ve got some loose change in your pocket, you can become a “platinum” sponsor for only $100,000. Which is no big deal. The metro Atlanta sales tax campaign has a category for gifts of $250,000 and more.

Deal also hosted a fundraiser in Savannah this week. And will show up at yet another in Augusta next month.

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This is the upset that has Washington talking this morning. From the Lincoln, Neb., Journal Star:

In a dramatic, come-from-behind dash to the finish line late Tuesday evening, state Sen. Deb Fischer of Valentine laid claim to the Republican Senate …

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Forbes: Newt Gingrich is ‘America’s Most Indebted Politician’

Forbes magazine has placed former U.S. House speaker Newt Gingrich, who will speak at two state GOP events in Columbus this weekend, at the top of its list of “America’s Most Indebted Politicians.”

The magazine reported that the $4.3 million debt that Gingrich reported before he left the race included “more than $1 million for private jet service and $271,775.58 to the candidate himself for travel expenses.”

Who’s second? Lyndon LaRouche, whose debt races back to the 1980s – followed by many of your favorite characters from the 2012 GOP presidential primary race.

The good news for Gingrich: On Friday evening, his audience will be packed with reliable, GOP donors.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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Club for Growth: ‘Tea party’ class of 2010 no different than predecessors

The Club for Growth today released its 2011 scoring of the “tea party” freshman Republican class of the U.S. House.

The Washington-based anti-tax group, known for its fundraising prowess, did not appear pleased. Which means the effort to push House Republicans to the right isn’t finished:

From the press release:

“After a careful review to see if their records match their rhetoric, the Club for Growth has found that for many of the freshmen Republicans, promises of fiscal responsibility have proven to be empty…

“In 2011, freshmen Republicans received an average score of 71% on the Club for Growth’s Congressional Scorecard. The average veteran received a 69%. This means the freshmen Republicans voted, on average, about the same as the Republicans who were already in Congress.

Among the sinners called out was “tea party star” Allen West, who received “an anemic 64 percent” for voting for raising the debt ceiling and against spending cuts.

Georgia’s two …

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Your morning jolt: Nathan Deal steps up on transportation sales tax

On Monday, Gov. Nathan Deal chose Savannah as a venue for one of his strongest endorsements yet of a penny sales tax to boost transportation spending. From Larry Peterson and the Savannah Morning News:

Deal acknowledged that people don’t like higher taxes.

“The question,” he added, “is what is the alternative to keep your area growing and progressive?”

…He said funds from the measure would help move goods more efficiently in and out of the port of Savannah.

Deal said the increase, which would boost sales taxes in Chatham County to 8 percent, is needed because other revenues haven’t kept pace with growth.

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On a similar note, Lori Geary of Channel 2 Action News draws a line between July 31 transportation vote and the burgeoning race between Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers of Woodstock and Republican challenger Brandon Beach:

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Then we have the case of Cobb County Commission Chairman Tim Lee, who took time from his re-election campaign last week to refer to …

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