Your morning jolt: Is anti-TSPLOST campaign targeting candidates? Maybe

With a mere two weeks to go before voting concludes, the dirty-trick season is upon us.

Late last night, a reader sent a scan from a glossy mailer she’d received, which attacked Republican state Senate candidate Brandon Beach of Alpharetta, who is challenging Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers of Woodstock.

You can see the mail piece below. It includes two bogus newspaper headlines and this claim: “Paid for by TrafficTruth.net”.

antibeachflyer

If the sponsorship claim is true, it means that the anti-TSPLOST organization has begun targeting specific candidates on record as supporting the transportation sales tax. Which is an important development.

But here’s the thing: In its most recent, 15-day-out financial disclosure, which can be found here, the organization reports no expenditure that might match the Beach mailer. Moreover, the Transportation Leadership Coalition, which operates the TrafficTruth.net website, reported only $1,254 in cash on hand.

Production costs on a mail piece like the one above can fluctuate, but they’re certain to run more than $1,254. We’ve placed multiple calls to the Transportation Leadership Coalition, but have yet to hear back.

The flip side of the cow mailer, by the way, includes a U.S. Postal Service bulk stamp of “Permit 96″ out of Marietta, Ga. Ring any bells?

***
On a separate state Senate front, in the Republican District 6 race to challenge Democratic incumbent Doug Stoner of Smyrna, a mysterious and slightly ungrammatical robocall has targeted attorney Josh Belinfante.

It attempts to tie him to the 2010 hospital bed tax approved by the Legislature as part of a complicated budget-balancing act that state lawmakers promise amounted to a tax cut. Belinfante is running against Hunter Hill and Drew Ellenburg.

If a caller picks up the phone, the automated message converts into a push poll. If not, this message is loaded onto the voice mail:

”Hello, you’re receiving this important message because you stand for principles of lower taxes and less government that has made our state great. Josh Belinfante says he opposes Obamacare now that he is a candidate for state Senate. But as chief counsel to former Gov. Sonny Perdue, Belinfante authored and promoted a $225 million health care tax, right here in Georgia, during the recession. Partly as a result of Josh Belinfante’s health care tax, hundreds of job layoffs at a major Atlanta hospital were announced in June 2011. This year, please remember, we don’t need double-dealers on taxes like Josh Belinfante down at the state Capitol.”

No sponsorship of the message is offered. Also note that the “major Atlanta hospital” isn’t identified. The phone number belongs to U.S. Disadvantaged Industries Inc., a telemarketing firm out of Birmingham.

***
Meanwhile, the LaGrange News reports that Attorney General Sam Olens has been presented with an intimidation complaint against Troup County Sheriff Donny Turner:

Turner, who has been in office for 20 years, is accused of trying to intimidate a former employee who was campaigning for one of Turner’s opponents in the July 31 election. The employee caught the incident on tape.

The newspaper has helpfully posted the audio. The sheriff admits calling the fellow to express his disappointment.

***
Politico.com reports that Newt Gingrich sent – and then deleted – the following message out on Twitter:

@newtgingrich: I will be on leno wednesday night with Snooki! It should be an interesting evening! I hope she likes zoos and animals!

Video heaven is guaranteed.

***
In Augusta, WJBF-TV has a smart report on the impact that the Richmond County sheriff’s race – a Democratic affair – could have on the Republican contest to challenge U.S. Rep. John Barrow.

A leaching of GOP votes into the hot local contest could undercut 12th District candidates Wright McLeod and Rick Allen, both of whom consider Augusta their geographic base. Lee Anderson of Grovetown and Maria Sheffield of Dublin would benefit. See it here:

***
A good story in today’s New York Times on Republican Mitt Romney’s cautious process for selecting a running mate includes this:

The Romney campaign has cloaked its vetting of possible vice-presidential nominees in layers of secrecy, so much so that it is even considering using a decoy — two sets of planes, two rollout locations, for example — to try to keep the selection from leaking out.

***
The AJC’s Politifact Georgia today takes a look at a statement by Jeff Dickerson, a communications consultant for Citizens for Transportation Mobility, that transit ridership among people age 16 to 34 increased 40 percent between 2001 and 2009.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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

58 comments Add your comment

Baron Dekalb

July 18th, 2012
10:15 am

“two sets of planes, two rollout locations”:

(code name Operation FLIP FLOP & FLY)

Centrist

July 18th, 2012
10:17 am

Good to see that mailer about Beach’s stance on TSPLOST and his missed vote on stopping GA 400 tolls. It was covered in the Milton debate which jgalloway moderated, but he purposely avoided mentioning those things in his two blogs covering the debate. His bias, along with the rest of the AJC, has to be overcome via other ways to inform the voters.

It only gets a reluctant mention here in a negative, accusatory way calling it a dirty trick. The dirty trick is jgalloway and AJC bias trying to ignore those important, unpopular issues to help Beach.

Auntie Christ

July 18th, 2012
10:27 am

That’s a nice photo of Brandon Beach on the right, but the picture of rogers there on the left looks like it was photoshopped. The pictures makes him appear much more handsome there than in person.

Marlboro Man

July 18th, 2012
10:28 am

Waste gas and time in Atlanta traffic day in, day out. Never gets old.

Auntie Christ

July 18th, 2012
10:30 am

Meanwhile a certain ‘centrist’ commenter here claims Galloway is biased because he doesn’t have the same ideas as the commenter does about how to run a blog. YAWN.

Hopper

July 18th, 2012
10:37 am

There’s so much serious stuff to be discussed in this transportation proposal. Flyers like the one against Beach are so stupid and meaningless when we ought to be trying to have a thoughtful dialog about what’s good and bad in the proposal. I’m probably going to vote against it, but I’m torn and don’t feel good about it either way.

DawgDad

July 18th, 2012
10:39 am

Jim, specifically, how does your piece tie in to the opening comment about “dirty tricks”?

the cat

July 18th, 2012
10:41 am

Uh oh-Is newtie going to have snookie as his next wife? Watch out Calista!!!

Newt is nuts

July 18th, 2012
10:43 am

Jim, since it’s clear that you personally support the transportation sales tax, why don’t you put together an article that addresses the concerns of those of us who oppose it?

For openers, why should we trust the DOT folks to spend the money wisely when they have not done so in the past? Why a sales tax instead of a major increase in the gasoline tax, among the lowest in the nation? Why support for the Beltline when it will do virtually nothing to lessen congestion? Why the atrocious spending of money on an Auburn Avenue trolley line when there is now not even enough demand for bus service on the same route? How can we trust the same people who reneged on the promise to eliminate the 400 toll after the bonds were paid? These are the same dolts who didn’t design the Holcomb Bridge/400 interchange properly in the first place. By my reckoning they are now planning the fifth “improvement” in 30 years. The list goes on and on.

And finally, Jim, if this is such a good deal for metro Atlanta, why didn’t the General Assembly just enact the sales tax increase without waiting for a vote?

Aquagirl

July 18th, 2012
10:44 am

It only gets a reluctant mention here in a negative, accusatory way calling it a dirty trick.

Nothing says “commie journalist” like questioning the Constitutional right to mail cow butts.

RomeGaGuy

July 18th, 2012
10:47 am

You should look at the bulk rate permit stamp for the anti-Beach piece and see if it is the same as either Sen Roger’s mailers or the mailers for the Senate GOP Pac. I would bet there could be a similarity with one of the 2

Ga Values .................. VOTE NO FOR WASTE, GRAFT & CORRUPTION

July 18th, 2012
10:55 am

Most of the money contained in the referendum for MARTA – $60 million – is for capital improvements. As for some kind of regional transit system, Brantley said that would take future legislative action.

Fayette County Commissioner Steve Brown, a leading opponent of the referendum disagrees strongly. Brown points out that MARTA CEO Beverly Scott told lawmakers last year that even if the referendum passes, MARTA will still face $2.3 billion in unfunded maintenance needs over the life of the referendum. “Who or what will pay for this?” the commissioner asks, “It reminds me of Nancy Pelosi’s comment about the health care bill: ‘Let’s pass it and then we will see what’s in it.’”

Shawny

July 18th, 2012
10:56 am

Here is the thing…
If GA400 is a parking lot, millions of dollars spent on the interchange off of 285 will not allow you go make the transition to 400 any better. You still aint going anywhere. Same about spaghetti junction with 85.
ALL of the projects are either transit we will not use, stupid street cars we will not use, or interchange improvements. It does not address flow issues that are needed, primarily off ramps and why we exit a freeway directly into a traffic light (the stupidest traffic design in history) instead of a keep moving cloverleaf.
This is just another way of collecting additional state revenue that should be addressed with fuel tax and priorities.
They will tell you GA is 48th in transportation spend, however, we have one of the highest gas taxes in the region. What that means is that the fuel tax is being spent on things other than transportation. So instead of spending that appropriately, they create the ruse that you should pay more so they can continue to use fuel tax revenues inappropriately while you think that this will save you time in traffic. Unfortunately, it will not save much time at all.

Baron Dekalb

July 18th, 2012
10:57 am

DawgDad: Read the piece, specifically the paragraph beginning “here’s the thing”, if you want to understand why the mailing is seen as underhanded. Republicans in GA have a long and sordid history of this kind of thing, as exemplified by Mitch Skandalakis’s racist mailing targeting Gordon Joyner in 1994:

re: a libel suit which Skandalakis settled: “The suit was prompted by a campaign brochure mailed to 100,000 Fulton households that depicted Joyner, who is black, with an exaggerated hairstyle, thick eyebrows and lower lip, crooked eyes and the message “Vote for Me and I’ll Raise Your Taxes.”

“At first, Skandalakis denied knowledge of the brochure. Later, he acknowledged that his campaign paid for the brochure but insisted he did not know the photo had been altered.”

I have a copy of the mailer and should try to get it up on the web, as it seems that noone else has done so.

Bob Loblaw

July 18th, 2012
11:11 am

This is rich. Aren’t these TEA party leaders that are driving the traffictruth.net website and campaign the ones that are filing ethics complaints about elected officals and party caucuses? These are the same folks asking to cap lobbyists’ spending? Really? They just sent a mailer using another entity’s money. Totally illegal. Absolutely hypocritical. Not surprising at all.

jliberal

July 18th, 2012
11:13 am

Probably none of the regulars here will care much about what’s going on down in my neck of the woods, but I do appreciate Jim mentioning the mess with Sheriff Turner down in Troup County. The good ole boy network in LaGrange/Troup County has been exposed.

Coweta circuit DA Pete Skandalakis was originally asked to investigate the complaint of intimidation and misuse of power, but declined due to his “close friendship” with Donny Turner. That’s why it is now going to Sam Olens.

I don’t think TSPLOST would have passed in Troup’s region (Three Rivers) anyway, but I think this helps push Troup’s percentage of “NO” votes even higher as it increases interest and turn-out in the GOP primary.

JDw

July 18th, 2012
11:15 am

Mr. Galloway,

Am I understanding this correctly?? You are dubious on the funds needed to create a “slick” mailer, but NOT the other side and their 10 million dollar Pro-T-Splost campaign??

You really think people would spend $10 Million if they didn’t stand to earn ten times that in profit??

Kris

July 18th, 2012
11:21 am

@ Centrist , Auntie Christ. On the 6pm news Reed has challenger anyone to debate him on the Pocking lining tax…Who’s up to it?

In the meantime let the MUD slinging and lies (tax for roads) to name a few begin

Put Three Crooks Asphalt (reed, dirty DEAL and sonny bonehead) out of business before it starts.

Recall Reed
Impeach DEAL (lied on GA 400) voted most corrupt GOP member.
Arrest Sonny.
Vote NO TAX!

n

July 18th, 2012
11:45 am

T-SPLOST is a multi-billion dollar boondoggle calculated to line the pockets of insiders, developers and road builders statewide. Since there is such a gigantic pot of gold at stake, people who will profit from the massive flood of taxpayer money are pulling out all the stops to get their mitts on all that money.

fiscalconservativesocialliberal

July 18th, 2012
11:54 am

Anyone ever notice how when Fox news editorializes, Fox supporters are quick to point out and say ‘that’s just an editorial’. But when this Galloway guy blog in the editorial section of the AJC, it’s bias. No good, liberal , commie media. It is interesting to see the different slants each TV news outlet in Atlanta has taken w/ the TSPLOST. WSB seems against it, WXIA seems more pro.

NO!!!!

July 18th, 2012
12:03 pm

vote NO on tsplost–it’s a big con, designed to get some connected parties very rich, and taxpayers get hosed! vote NO!

DannyX

July 18th, 2012
12:05 pm

“But when this Galloway guy blog in the editorial section of the AJC, it’s bias.”

I don’t get it either.

I don’t notice a bit of bias in Jim Galloway’s TSPLOST reporting, if I did I could care less. Everyone is allowed to state their case here, if you disagree with the content make your case without the “Why me” whining.

For the record I have always been against TSPLOST.

Auntie Christ

July 18th, 2012
12:10 pm

This topic has been beat to death and I haven;t seen any new arguments for or agin’ adduced in months. The one point that has never been fully explored is the relief to be found in telecommuting. It’s ironic that the corporations who make up membership of the Chamber of Commerce pushing this vote, require their secretaries, managers and officers to sit in the traffic tie ups everyday when these same people would be just, if not more, productive working from their dining room table.

This is the 21st century, you can send the document to the boss’ printer right from you home. If you need to meet, video conference. Video conferencing required hundreds or thousands $ in equipment a few years ago, today Skype is free and a web cam, if it didn’t come with the computer, can be purchased for $20. It is the hide bound, non technical CEO’s demanding their employees show up in person to give them that perceived measure of control over them, that could with one edict, relieve 10-20% of the area’s congestion.

The technology and investment, whether these CEO’s know it or not is already there, bought and paid for, the printers, the networks, the machines. It wouldn’t cost them a dime to allow an employee to be just as proficient and productive from home as from a presence in an office.

If not that, then at least consider the benefit of having them come in or leave later, relieving the AM and PM rush hours. Most office workers come in, read email and converse on the day’s business for the first hour every day. The last hour, ditto. Why do they have to be in an office for this hour?

jliberal

July 18th, 2012
12:10 pm

Arbor Hill

July 18th, 2012
12:12 pm

I have supported Chip Rogers but after he pushed through the T-Splosh, wife and I are voting for Beech, EVEN though he is for it, as we have no choice.
If Beech wins it will be the first time in 30 years I will vote for the Democrap that runs against him or I just won’t vote.

ld

July 18th, 2012
12:41 pm

One thing about Democrats, they are so “eat up with” political correctness that they are more responsive to massive outcries of public opinion and outrage.

As Lyndon Johnson famously said, civil rights laws cost Dems the south for at least a generation. The public outcry at seeing the injustice on tv prompted that “flipflop” in opinion by Democrats –by anyone w/a conscience–toward minorities..

If Georgians actually want change for the better in Georgia–as in being in the interest of the majority of Georgians then Georgia voters should know that the conservatives seek to conserve the status quo, which is that the wealthiest stay wealthy and almost everyone else to tread water financially, working to enrich the wealthiest among us, and their policies are aimed at that one objective, with NO regard for the “least” among us, to wit:

Schools that will serve THAT primary objective–teach just enough to enable the children to be suitable employee-class citizens w/o the initiative or ability to seek to achieve more.

Obstructionism: Wedge issues not being solved gins up the “one-issue” voters.

Government intruding more and more into peoples PRIVATE lives –including women’s healthcare decisions and decisions about whom people should or should not be marry. This incentivises and repays the religious zealots by trading the individual liberty and equal right under law for their votes by adding pseudo theocracy laws to the books state by state until they can do it on a federal level

Economic recklessness: Government increasingly NOT protecting the economy for the working class by giving free reign to the “moneychangers”.

And this is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.
.

Slip

July 18th, 2012
12:49 pm

Beach is certainly within his rights to support the T-SPLOST referendum. His opponent did, too. Yep, Chip agreed to let the voters decide. Now they both have just as much right to express how they’ll vote as you and me.
The mailer, though is a different animal. This is more serious than hiring teens to pull up signs. Falsely attributing a mailer is not only unethical, it’s a crime. But welching on a debt is not a crime, just a character issue.

Slip

July 18th, 2012
12:56 pm

One wonders if Chick-fil-a would find the cow in the mailer confusingly similar to their trademarked ad campaign?
Oh, well, we can be thankful that Georgia is not the gold standard for kooks in the legislature. Enjoy this article from the Arizona Republic:

http://bit.ly/Pi97Y7

steve-o

July 18th, 2012
1:04 pm

It’s funny to see the blatant falsehoods that is being peddled on this forum by those who are opposed to the T-SPLOST. First of all, the project list was drafted after careful consideration and deliberation by democratically-elected officials in plain view of the public at PUBLIC MEETINGS. Meaning that anyone could’ve sat in and watched the process. All of the projects on the list are needed and will reduce average travel delays by 24%.

Second of all, there is a citizens review committe that will be set up to oversee the implementation of the projects on the list with an audit performed annually.

Finally, the tax must expire after 10 years or if the $8.5 billion revenue estimate is reached, whichever comes first. This cannot be renewed undemocratically like the GA 400 toll.

If you want scary bedtime stories about boondoggles and the UN, then listen to naysayers like Steve Brown. If you want to be a grownup and know the truth go to http://www.atlantaregionalroundtable.com

Slip

July 18th, 2012
1:09 pm

disclosure.
T-SPLOST passes, traffic will improve a little, businesses will continue to look at Georgia as having a functional somewhat foreward looking government and will consider relocating here because of climate and the airport.
T-SPLOST fails, traffic will be funneled into pay lanes that will not improve congestion. Public transportation becomes at least 20 years away and as a result, Charlotte, Birmingham, Chattanooga, Raleigh, Jacksonville will take the business relocations, our house values will stay at Detroit levels for another decade or longer and patches of the suburbs will begin to become crime-riddled section 8 blights because there will be nothing but low paying jobs. The ring will erode – see Los Angeles. Or better, look at the demographic reports from the ARC. Already, the high paying jobs have dramatically declined in the suburbs leaving mostly low wage opportunities.

I Voted for the future, I voted for T-SPLOST

Buford T. Justice

July 18th, 2012
1:12 pm

Jliberal@ 12:10. The statutory language is clear and the AG’s hands are tied. The statute doesn’t apply to what the sheriff did. He is not following several Biblical teachings. But that’s between him and God, and perhaps the voters, but not the AG. Maybe the General Assembly should remedy this. The recording is sort of humorous, if you’re not Mr. Turner. How to tell someone you’re going to take away their livelihood in the most polite way possible.

In the old days Georgia sheriffs had their own fiefdoms. Not today, or at least the light of day eventually catches up with those who act that way. I imagine the Sheriff is a pretty nice fellow, who just got mad when he saw someone he thought was being being disloyal to him.

WOW

July 18th, 2012
1:33 pm

@ Auntie:

You state the topic has been beat to death, this may be true. However, this is a political blog in an election year and this is the biggest issue on the ballot for the primary election. I for one, would rather see Jim’ s constant post on the TSPLOST instead of him focussing so much attention on certain state senate (Rogers vs. Beach for example) races that will not directly affect the vast majority of GA citizens.

Baron Dekalb

July 18th, 2012
1:44 pm

Forget Chick-Fil-A, the cow’s holding a giant peach between her legs

Marlboro Man

July 18th, 2012
2:17 pm

Rogers stole from Bartow Co Bank stockholders.

james

July 18th, 2012
2:37 pm

@ Slip- your just another sucker voting for another tax…
The towns you mentioned are as nice to live and most
better then Atlanta– Atlanta traffic stinks and will
get no better with this BS TSPLOST- Vote NO!!

Carol

July 18th, 2012
3:16 pm

The cow ad is just nasty. But I guess it was meant to be offensive. Take note that I am duly offended. By both the picture and the messenger.

Hillbilly D

July 18th, 2012
3:36 pm

People target candidates they disagree with? That’s not exactly man bites dog.

Speaking of Chick-Fil-A, cows and ad campaigns, I’ve always wondered why they chose Holsteins (a dairy breed) instead of beef cows.

Auntie Christ

July 18th, 2012
3:37 pm

IF this brochure was initiated by chip rogers or his supporters as it could very well have been, the voters should be outraged at this blatant misrepresentation! Everyone knows that chip rogers is a horse’s @$$, not a cow”s.

Kara Martin

July 18th, 2012
3:39 pm

Chip Rogers has publicly stated that he is not for the T-Splost and will be voting against this measure. He voted yes to allow Georgians to vote on the topic as he strongly believes that this is something that should be decided by the citizens that it will affect. So how is this a negative on Chip Rogers? I for one find it refreshing that someone in our office feels that the “people” should have some say in the very things that will affect them, instead of just making every decision for us regardless of our views. Beach has also publicly stated that he will be voting yes, considering his current job, is it any wonder why? I am sure the profit to him if this passes will be significant and his view is purely selfish.
I am also irritated that a journalist would print anything without having all the facts. As stated in the paragraph directly below the flyer “IF THE SPONSORSHIP CLAIM IS TRUE”. Perhaps this should be known prior to writing about it. Speculation is reporting is misleading. Reporting should be based solely on verified facts in my opinion. Unless of course you are blogging or writing an opinion piece. The more this election continues the worse it all seems to get.

Anyone But Chip

July 18th, 2012
3:59 pm

This looks just like the “independent” mailings being sent out in support of Senate Republican Incumbents. Chipster is knee deep in that one and probably has his hands in this as well.

Nothing will stick to this guy; he’s the consummate sleazy politician.. If the people in his district don’t vote him out we get what we deserve.

Robert in Midtown

July 18th, 2012
4:14 pm

A new website has Gene Clark (candidate for state court) as a target in Cobb County. http://www.rinobusters.com

Bernie

July 18th, 2012
4:27 pm

Either pick would be like being forced to drink Old Buttermilk past its expiration date. A selection even Vigara could not help excite.

DeKalb Wonkette

July 18th, 2012
4:46 pm

On the purported Traffic Truth flyer for Chip Rogers: I would really like an explanation from Traffic Truth itself. I have respected their leadership so far but now I am not so sure.

If it turns out that Traffic Truth is a shill for Chip Rogers, everything Traffic Truth has done or said is suspect.

On the other hand, it is very easy to believe that Chip finagled this – probably by using his “Independent Campaign” funds.

TRAFFIC TRUTH! Come clean on this one way or the other! If y’all did pay for the flyer, I think that District 21 voters ought to go on Traffic Truth’s website and report voter intimidation. http://www.traffictruth.net/index.php/whistle-blowers/

Baron Dekalb

July 18th, 2012
5:22 pm

“Speaking of Chick-Fil-A, cows and ad campaigns, I’ve always wondered why they chose Holsteins (a dairy breed) instead of beef cows.” I’ve always wondered why cows would not advocate vegetarianism.

Centrist

July 18th, 2012
5:25 pm

I give jgalloway credit today for not censoring my slam about his bias like he did yesterday. He half manned up after purposely not covering the big issues of Beach’s TSPLOST support and missed GA 400 toll termination vote that would have stopped it as were discussed in the Milton debate he moderated and partially covered in two of his blogs.

Jgalloway is a bylined reporter for the AJC. If his blog in the print version of the paper (which I never read) is in the editorial section, it certainly isn’t on this electronic version. It is linked on the front page here under “Politics and Elections” – unlike Wingfield’s which is under “Opinion”.

margaret

July 18th, 2012
5:33 pm

centrist,

I give you credit for being a pud.

Reta

July 18th, 2012
5:35 pm

Steve-O @ 1:04PM

You say ” All of the projects on the list are needed and will reduce average travel delays by 24%”. This statement is in error or a flat out falsehood, no matter where you got the information from. And, anyone who believes the 24% to be true, is not using their God given intelligence.

Anyone But Chip

July 18th, 2012
5:38 pm

Noticed one of the major contributors ($5000) was Paul Hamrick. Wondering if this is the same Paul Hamrick who was indicted on racketerering, conspiracy and fraud while chief of staff of the governor of Alabama?

Trickle Down

July 18th, 2012
5:47 pm

That picture reminds me to buy some Truck Nuts for my brother-in-law’s birthday.

Puerile Pedant

July 18th, 2012
5:51 pm

I give Centrist credit for being a narcisstic, crybaby blowhard who criticizes others for not hating on Galloway.

If you don’t like Jim’s blog, don’t read it…and take your totally fake “centrist” persona with you. Clearly you are a Republican who is ashamed to admit it…..