Archive for the ‘eldrin bell’ Category

Endorsement fever: Roy Barnes tightens his grip, and Sam Olens shows GOP depth

Watching the Roy Barnes campaign roll out his African-American support in the Democratic contest for governor is something like watching a python put the squeeze on its chosen victim.

It’s done quietly, respectfully, and with a minimum of fuss. But the progress is relentless, coil by coil, day by day.

This morning at the state Capitol, Burrell Ellis, CEO of DeKalb County – home to Attorney General Thurbert Baker – endorsed Barnes. As did Richard Oden, chairman of the Rockdale County Commission, and Eldrin Bell, chairman of the Clayton County Commission.

Also on a long list of Barnes supporters was state Rep. Calvin Smyre of Columbus, who as chairman of the House Democratic caucus has worked closely with one of Barnes’ rivals, House Minority Leader DuBose Porter. That had to hurt.

In the Republican race for attorney general, Sam Olens – the former chairman of the Cobb County Commission – announced endorsements from two of the most plugged-in Republicans in Georgia.

See today’s …

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Good cop, bad cop and the Georgia testing scandal

State school board member Linda Zechmann and Superintendent Kathy Cox during a briefing on the CRCT scandal. Elissa Eubanks/AJC

State school board member Linda Zechmann and Superintendent Kathy Cox during a briefing on the CRCT scandal. Elissa Eubanks/AJC

The two most important people in Georgia education played good cop, bad cop last week.

The evidence, circumstantial but worrying, indicates that many of the standardized tests measuring student achievement in the state’s schools have been doctored. Nearly 70 percent of the elementary and middle schools in the city of Atlanta — and the adults who run them — have passed under a cloud.

“To misinterpret this, to accuse people of cheating, that’s not going on here,” said state schools Superintendent Kathy Cox. “In these particular schools, we want to go in and take a closer look.”

Gov. Sonny Perdue at a Friday press conference/AP

Gov. Sonny Perdue at a Friday press conference. Associated Press

Gov. Sonny Perdue, on the other hand, was ready to wield his terrible swift sword. “It’s shameful. I’m disheartened,” he said. “We’re sending the signal that … we will tolerate no less than absolute fairness, …

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Your morning jolt: A documentary and the race for attorney general

A documentary of two whistleblowers who began a 2003 fax campaign to expose the finances of Phoebe Putney Hospital Systems down in south Georia had its formal debut in Atlanta on Wednesday evening.

“Do No Harm” focuses on two Albany locals, accountant Charles Rehberg and surgeon John Bagnato. Their faxes described the hospital system’s generous executive salary structure, extensive political and business connections, and its financial holdings, including a Cayman Islands account.

Phoebe Putney filed a civil suit against both whistle-blowers, alleging defamation, fraud and racketeering. Then the fax-senders were indicted and booked on criminal charges of harassment, aggravated assault and burglary.

More details can be found here. The question has been whether “Do No Harm” and its story would become part of Georgia’s political dialogue. The answer, it appears, is yes.

Much of the documentary’s focus is on Ken Hodges, then the Dougherty County prosecutor. Hodges is now running …

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Eldrin Bell: Clayton County may be in a mood to join MARTA

Andre Walker, who is back in business at Blog for Georgia, is pointing us to a Clayton Daily News article that indicates Eldrin Bell is ready to see his county join MARTA.

First this bit of background from the newspaper:

In September, the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA), which is contracted to operate C-TRAN, reported that the county had underfunded the service by $1.3 million, and threatened to end its contract with the county if it did not meet the shortfall.

In an effort to close the funding gap, the Board of Commissioners has proposed the elimination of routes, the elimination of weekend services, fare increases, possibly doubling the cost of paratransit service, and a six-month, $1.75 surcharge on all one-way travel

At a Wednesday evening public hearing, the chairman of the Clayton County Commission said he thinks a 1 percent, additional sales tax may be the way out, in two senses:

“Once the citizens so provide for us a 1-cent sales tax, I would like …

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