Archive for the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ Category

Why the Atlanta stadium debate remains alive: Location, location, location

The latest Journal-Constitution poll now measures opposition to a new, $1 billion version of the Georgia Dome – and a new home for the Atlanta Falcons, its chief tenant – at 72 percent of all Georgians.

That level of unpopularity shouldn’t shock you. But you might be surprised by the fact that, despite an approval rating only slightly better than that of Congress, the issue will be very much alive when the Legislature opens this week.

State lawmakers will be asked to approve $300 million in public funding, through a hotel-motel tax on visitors to Atlanta. Mayor Kasim Reed remains confident of success. Gov. Nathan Deal and House Speaker David Ralston are less so, but neither has closed the door on the project.

Such a situation is sure to breed cynicism. Politicians doing the bidding of billionaire Falcons-owner Arthur Blank, one jaded voice in your head is saying. Another directs your attention to the much-vaunted friendship between the mayor of Atlanta and the governor.

But …

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Your morning jolt: A proposed revival of sales tax holidays

Legislation that is about to surface, aimed at enforcing the current sales tax on Internet purchases, would also restore and expand two statewide sales tax holidays this year and in 2013 in an effort to kill any talk that a tax increase is afoot.

The tax holidays will be included in an amendment to HB 993, sponsored by state Rep. Matt Ramsey, R-Peachtree City.

A 48-hour sales tax holiday aimed at back-to-school shoppers would be scheduled for Aug. 10-11 this year; Aug. 9-10, 2013. Another set of 72-hour sales tax holidays, aimed at purchases of energy- or water-efficient products, would be scheduled for Oct. 5-7 this year, and Oct. 7-6, 2012.

Georgia dropped its sales tax holidays in 2010, as the budget pinch from the Great Recession hit its peak. But other states did not, with many Georgia cities along the border, retailers had argued that shoppers were crossing into South Carolina, Florida and Alabama to make purchases.

The more controversial portion of the bill will be …

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Your morning jolt: Rick Santorum, Ann Romney headed to Georgia

We know that Newt Gingrich, who avoided the Republican presidential contest in Michigan, will be at the state Capitol this morning.

We know that Gingrich has declared a win in Georgia, which he once represented in Congress, to be crucial to his GOP presidential campaign.

What we didn’t know is whether a win-hungry Rick Santorum, deprived of victory in Michigan by Mitt Romney last night, will put all his eggs in Ohio and seek a post-industrial rematch with Romney. Or might he concentrate on the South?

We’re told this morning that the former Pennsylvania senator, who has a foray into Tennessee today, will be in Dalton at 8 a.m. Thursday for a rally outside City Hall.

Atlanta, GA – Republican Presidential candidate Rick Santorum will visit Georgia tomorrow morning, beginning with a manufacturing plant tour and a Town Hall meeting in Dalton. Santorum will then head toward Atlanta, holding an 11 a.m. rally at the Atlantic Aviation hanger, 240 Airport Road, at Peachtree Dekalb …

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Your morning jolt: Alabama immigration law sweeps up Mercedes-Benz exec

Over the weekend, Alabama discovered that its new illegal immigration law also applies to some pretty important Europeans. From the Associated Press:

A German manager with Mercedes-Benz is free after being arrested for not having a driver’s license with him under Alabama’s new law targeting illegal immigrants, authorities said Friday, in an otherwise routine case that drew the attention of Gov. Robert Bentley.

Tuscaloosa Police Chief Steven Anderson [said] an officer stopped a rental vehicle for not having a tag Wednesday night and asked the driver for his license. The man only had a German identification card, so he was arrested and taken to police headquarters, Anderson said.

The 46-year-old executive was charged with violating the immigration law for not having proper identification, but he was released after an associate retrieved his passport, visa and German driver’s license from the hotel where he was staying, Anderson said.

Mercedes-Benz builds sport-utility vehicles …

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Occupy Atlanta plans a Saturday re-occupation of Woodruff Park

Looks like a busy weekend ahead for the city of Atlanta. The following has been posted prominently at occupyatlanta.org:

#occupyAtlanta will be staying on the 4th floor of Peachtree and Pine until we are ready to re-occupy public space. The ATL General Assembly decided to re-occupy Troy Davis/Woodruff Park on the 5th of November.

Remember that note last week from Rainbow/PUSH, advising Occupy Atlanta not to bicker with Mayor Kasim Reed over a park? Doesn’t seem to have worked.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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

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Occupy Atlanta shifts aim toward home foreclosures

Now that it doesn’t have to worry where it will spend the night, Occupy Atlanta apparently has decided that it’s time to focus.

The group attempted to shout down Fulton County’s courthouse-step auctions of seized property today. From Channel 2 Action News:

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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

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Kasim Reed, Occupy Atlanta, and a fresh wave of history

Derrick Younge of Atlanta holds a sign next to Occupy Atlanta leader Tim Franzen, left, during a press conference at Woodruff Park discussing their next move Thursday afternoon in Atlanta. Jason Getz, jgetz@ajc.com.

Derrick Younge of Atlanta holds a sign next to Occupy Atlanta leader Tim Franzen, left, during a press conference at Woodruff Park discussing their next move Thursday afternoon in Atlanta. Jason Getz, jgetz@ajc.com.

Fifty years ago, when Shirley Franklin was still a high school teenager, she slipped away from her Philadelphia bed – without telling her mother – for an anti-nuke march on the Pentagon.

The biographical tidbit is necessary to any assessment of last week’s decision by Mayor Kasim Reed, Franklin’s successor, to clear Occupy Atlanta and its tents from a downtown park – and send the bonded-out protesters against corporate greed and economic disparity on a nomadic trek across the city, like some Lost Tribe of Ishmael.

Atlanta may not have realized the implications at the time, but the city crossed a generational divide when Reed was elected two years ago. Born in 1969, he is the first mayor in nearly 40 years who did not spring from a culture of protest.

However …

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Rainbow/PUSH to Occupy Atlanta: Stop bickering with mayor over park

Three days ago, in the aftermath of the forced eviction of Occupy Atlanta from Woodruff Park, longtime civil rights leader Joe Beasley, the Southern director of Rainbow/PUSH, denounced Mayor Kasim Reed as an “unchristian” throwback who ought to be removed from office.

Beasley has befriended the movement, and was among the 52 arrested early Wednesday for refusing to clear out.

But a message just arrived from Rainbow/Push’s headquarters, putting a great deal of distance between the organization and Beasley’s harsh comments.

“Joe was not speaking on behalf of Rainbow or (founder) Jesse Jackson,” said vice-president Janice Mathis in a quick phone interview. “We love and admire and respect Joe. But the positions he was taking with Occupy Atlanta were not our positions.”

Here’s a healthy dose of the her statement, advising Occupy Atlanta not to pick a fight with the mayor:

The Occupy Movement is less than two months old. Its goals – fairer distribution of income, more meaningful …

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Your morning jolt: Herman Cain courts Georgia congressmen

With several glowing polls at his back, GOP presidential candidate and Georgia entrepreneur Herman Cain apparently thinks its time for his home state’s Republican leadership to take him more seriously. From Politico.com:

Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.) [said] that Cain – the former Godfather’s Pizza executive who’s been near the top of recent national polls – is coming to meet with fellow Georgia Republicans next Wednesday in his Cannon office.

“I’m looking forward to that opportunity,” said Gingrey, who is already endorsing Newt Gingrich. To date, Cain has not earned any endorsements in Congress.

While he scores well with local tea partyers, Cain has yet to obtain any endorsements from ranking leaders of the Georgia GOP. In addition to Gingrey, Gov. Nathan Deal and U.S. Reps. Jack Kingston of Savannah, Tom Price of Roswell, and Austin Scott of Tifton are still with Gingrich, the former U.S. House speaker. Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle has declared himself a fan of Texas Gov. Rick …

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Your morning jolt: A hip-hop concert becomes weak spot for Occupy ATL

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. left, is separated from Occupy Atlanta protesters, right, by a securtiy guard as they face off during the mayor's press conference at City Hall in Atlanta on Monday afternoon. Curtis Compton, ccompton@ajc.com

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. left, is separated from Occupy Atlanta protesters, right, by a securtiy guard as they face off during the mayor's press conference at City Hall in Atlanta on Monday afternoon. Curtis Compton, ccompton@ajc.com

The man with Ludacris’ phone number sought the high ground in the battle for Woodruff Park on Monday.

In press conference packed with weirdness, Mayor Kasim Reed announced that Occupy Atlanta protesters would be cleared from the green space “at a time of my choosing.”

He asked a cadre of religious leaders, lined up behind him, to negotiate a peaceful exit for Occupy Atlanta. If there is no deal, force will be used, the mayor promised.

But it was the way the mayor built his case before reporters – arguing he was obligated to oust a group he had sanctioned two weeks ago — that was unusual. In declaring that the city’s relationship with Occupy Atlanta had changed for the worse, the former music industry attorney based his decision largely on his …

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