Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Run, Pat, Run!!

Georgia Democrats ought to be happy with this one! Today, Pat Dooley qualified to run for HD38, a seat in Cobb County currently held by Steve Tumlin. To this race, Pat brings a wealth of legislative experience and a passion for working on behalf of the people in her district. I understand that at the recent Cobb JJ dinner, the room erupted into cheers of "Run, Pat, Run" when keynote speaker Rep. Dubose Porter suggested to the crowd that Pat had served us well and should be encouraged to run again. And, so she is. Thanks, Pat, for running. Thanks to you, we've got a very good shot at flipping that seat.

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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Republican Pundit Cites Bishop's Vulnerability

Here's another example of why I think Charlie Bishop is in deep trouble. Republican pundit and City Council member Erick Erickson has posted a thoughtful piece about all the reasons why Bishop's re-election will be "difficult." Erickson, who managed Bishop's campaign in 2004, will be "sitting this race out." That's a very bad sign for Bishop. Erickson sees a tough row to hoe for Bishop against Sam Hart, especially if Obama is the nominee. I agree with Erick. Even if Obama is not the nominee, the desire for change, progress and a little statesmanship in government was made clear in Reichert's election. I think we'll see the same thing in the Chairman's race. People are going to cross party lines for a competent leader who works and plays well with others. Plus, I'm already hearing about campaign tactics that are sure to turn off voters.

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Monday, April 28, 2008

There is No Candidate Fairy

There's been a good bit of chatter today about the robo call the DPG commissioned to solicit candidates for some targeted races. I've had several calls, and no one who called thinks it was a good idea. People used words like "embarrassing" and "desperate" and in general made fun of the effort. Truthfully, I could've written the press on it before it ever happened. The spin was predictable, but it points to a larger problem.

We need a systematic program to identify, train and elect Democrats. While the party has a role in this, I'm not sure that this can really be accomplished through the DPG. Some entity needs to have the freedom to focus only on recruitment, and they must have the latitude to be selective about who they support in primaries. It needs to be someone's full time job. I have some thoughts about this, but, that's a discussion for the day after qualifying.

Right this minute, we all need to understand that there is no candidate fairy-there is no pipeline, (though there needs to be a pipeline and there can be a pipeline.)And, frankly, the way to make gains in the House and Senate is not by simply fielding a candidate-any candidate-in every race. It's probably better to have nine candidates in districts we have a great chance of flipping than to have 20 candidates in races where success is unlikely. This isn't just true for Democrats. When we're done with qualifying on Friday, there will be a lot of incumbent Democrats who are unchallenged. Neither Democrats or Republicans will invest a whole lot of money in races they are unlikely to win. Add to that, when you're in the minority, it is no small task to find qualified candidates who have the time to both campaign and serve, especially in districts 250+ miles from Atlanta. The bottom line is that if we want candidates in these key races, we all need to be reaching out to whomever we know in these key districts.
So, get on the phone and call your friends or family in places like Cordele or Camilla.

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Saturday, April 26, 2008


Those pesky sign elves are at it again. By tonight at 8 p.m., the Big Bishop sign still sat in the right-of-way at the corner of Bass and Rivoli, but the Ussery and Allen signs has disappeared! Imagine that.

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Bishop Battles for Right-of-Way Vote

Looks like Bishop responded to my post about his lack of support in North Bibb by planting a sign a rock's throw from my house. Yes, indeed, the Chairman, along with his Republican opponent, Ussery and Jimmy Allen (who is running against Elmo Richardson), all enjoy the support of the residents of corner of Bass and Rivoli. Yep, the crickets living in that spot have a giant green and yellow Bishop sign, along with a sign for Ussery and Allen. I guess it's a house divided. Actually, NO ONE lives in that spot and these giant monster signs are planted in the right-of-way in violation of county ordinances. You'd think that a former police officer, who is currently chair of the Bibb County Commission, and one who wants to be, would know the county's laws and follow them. Signs in right-of-ways REALLY don't vote.

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Friday, April 25, 2008

Don't Waste Your Money Educating Your Daughters

Okay. Pay attention. There really are people who make keeping women "in their place" their life's work, and when women point it out at an SBC Seminary, they're subject to censure. That's what happened to Cynthia Kunsman when she critiqued the statements of Doug Phillips.

Most sexism is veiled, but, here it is, billboard-style. According to Ethics Daily, Doug Phillips, a trained lawyer, founder Vision Forum and misogynist pig, thinks it's a waste of money to educate your daughters:

Phillips says it's a waste of money to invest in an expensive college education for daughters. "It seems very pragmatic," Kunsman said in her lecture. "Why pour a lot of resources when you've got 10 kids and sons to train? You don't want to train your daughter in quantum physics."
Phillips says in his own words: "We do not need MORE female Christian lawyers, doctors or artists, but MORE godly women raising MORE godly children who will fill the earth and subdue it to the glory of God. And does it really make economic sense to invest tens of thousands of dollars for a woman to get an advanced education (often having to go into debt to finance that education) that she will NOT use if she accepts that her highest calling is to be a wife and mother?"

Maybe it's just me, but I think that it was actually Doug's parents who wasted their money educating him.

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Thursday, April 24, 2008

North Macon Looks Like Ussery Territory

The Bibb Commission chair race is heating up, and Charlie Bishop has not one, but two, fights on his hands. He probably shouldn't pick any more. Sam Hart stepped up to the plate last month with an impressive 25K in the bank, and from the signs I'm seeing in yards, North Bibb looks like Ussery territory to me. Vineville, too. I suspect that Chairman Bishop is feeling just a little bit nervous about right now. I'm sure he expected a fight in the general election, but now it looks as though the momentum in the Republican primary is with Ussery. Bishop may not even survive that primary to face a strong Sam Hart in the fall. Some elected officials may feel pressure to support Bishop, or to stay out of the race, in an effort to protect their own seats, but they shouldn't worry. Change is in the air in Macon. It's time to get on that train or pack up your office.

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Help Dee WIN!

I just went online and made a $100 contribution to Dee Haigler's campaign for House District 93. Dee is endorsed by both Georgia Equality (elects pro-LGBT candidates) and WIN List (elects pro-choice female Democratic candidates).This is a special election to fill the unexpired term of Rep. Ron Sailor, who was forced to resign from the seat in disgrace after being caught by authorities laundering money.

To thoroughly confuse you and voters in the district, the regular election is also going on, so the five candidates who qualified for this special election will be qualifying for the primary (to be held July 15th) and general election (to be held November 3rd). If Dee fails to win 50% + 1 of the vote in the May 13th special election, there will be a special election run-off (likely May 27th).

Dee Haigler has dedicated her life to public service as a minister, college educator, community activist, political strategist and organizer. She is a powerful and outspoken advocate for fairness and equality, with the right background and experience to be an effective advocate for all the citizens of House District 93.

Please join me in supporting Dee Haigler by going online right now and making a secure contribution of $500, $250, $100 (match my gift!), or $50 to the campaign.


Dee ran for the state senate seat that includes this house seat in 2006, and she is President of the local PTA and active in the community. She is by far the strongest candidate and can win this special election without a run-off, but only if we step up to the plate and support the campaign to get her message out to voters in the next two and one-half weeks!

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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Dirty Tricks in HD93

Someone is circulating an email claiming that Traci Waites, who is running for HD93, is chair of the "Georgia Association of Black Republicans." It come with art attached that, at first glance, seems to support the claims. Shocking right? Except that it's not true. It's a hit piece. In case you get the email, here's a link to the original page published in the fall 2007 edition of "The Black Republican." Check page two. I've copied it, and the false hit piece below. This is dirty, nasty politics. What a load of crap. I am supporting a different candidate in this race, but it doesn't matter. No one deserves this. It's way wrong.

Below you will find the first, the forged piece that is circulating and below it , a copy of the original page.

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Pennsylvania Prediction

I think Clinton will win tonight, by double digits. I say 12 points.


Or maybe not. Here are some early exits from National Review. They have Obama up by 5 and winning the blue collar vote.

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Play Nice

You can't always play nice in politics. As Roy Barnes once said, this is a blood sport. It is, I know, and some issues are worth the bleeding, but there are times when the process chews up perfectly good people for no good reason. For example, I was sad to get email today announcing that the constituency vice chair for the DPG, Virgilio Perez Pascoe, has resigned. Let me be clear, I have no information about why he resigned, but it sure is sad to lose him. Virgilio is relatively new to party politics-something most of us saw as a plus. He comes from a corporate background where the trains generally run on time. I know for a fact that he spent a tremendous amount of time making sure that the whole delegate selection process worked as well as it possibly could've. For example, he met my husband, who is the 8th district congressional chair, in Macon at 8 p.m. on Friday night to give him the materials for the caucus the next day and then went back to Americus to be the DPG rep at that caucus the next day. That doesn't even begin to count the many, many meetings that he chaired or attended in the run up to this process. Perhaps his departure is unrelated to the stress of that process, but the timing sure is curious. The bottom line is that we can't afford to lose these newly engaged Democrats.

All of these party officers-from Jane on down-are volunteers. Yet, many give full time or nearly full time to their posts at the party. For their trouble, they also get to be the whipping posts when things aren't going well. That's understandable to a degree-they should be accountable to the duties of their elected posts, but it seems to me that the party would be stronger if we spent as much energy complimenting as complaining.

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Monday, April 21, 2008

The Obama Cash Machine

CNN reports that Barack Obama has raised $41 million in March, more than twice Clinton's haul, leaving him with $51 million cash on hand and (this is impressive) $42.5 million that can be spent on the primaries. Clinton, on the other hand reports 10 million in debt, and of her $32 million cash on hand, only about $9 million available for primary spending.

Look, I feel a little silly writing words like "just" before amounts like $9 million, but this cash difference in the campaigns has reached a point of critical mass. Whoever is the nominee is going to have rely on their primary money until the convention, even if the other party drops out of the race. No candidate for president has ever demonstrated the ability to raise the kind of money-from such a broad base-as Sen. Obama has done. It really is remarkable.

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On the way home from Covington tonight, I pulled into a Chevron station to buy gas, and it was $3.98 a gallon. First of all, I have to buy premium for my car, but still $3.98 a gallon???

With these gas prices, if we can't elect a democrat in November, we just need to pack it all up and quit trying. I'm not kidding.

For most families, I imagine this takes a huge bite out of the budget.

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Sunday, April 20, 2008

Democatic Caucus: The Winners

No, I don't have a list of all the winners from yesterday's caucus, but regardless, the real winners were Georgia Democrats. In most, if not all, caucus locations throughout the state, record numbers of participants and delegate candidates participated. We need to capture the names of those folks and work to involve them in the Party. More so this year, but to some degree in every presidential election, Georgians become involved who have been otherwise disengaged in politics. We have a history of failing to capture the names of those individuals. We need to do that in a systematic way and pull them in to other activities. For example, our senate candidate, who I hope will be Jim Martin, needs to know where all these people are-they are potential volunteers!

In general, from what I have heard, yesterday was a good day for Georgia democrats. Despite the logistical challenges involved with the large crowds, I have heard of very few "hitches." That's pretty remarkable, in and of itself, since all of our congressional district chairs were given the task of finding free space, large enough to accommodate the crowds that also had wireless Internet access. They also had to find volunteers to do various tasks. If you were at a caucus location, and the process seemed relatively easy, you may want to send a BIG thank you to your CD, all of whom are volunteers for the party. It's kind of like a ballet-if it is done well, it seems effortless and often the hard work that was done to prepare is not credited.

We also need to say a thank you to Jane Kidd, her staff and the other officers of the Party, many of whom supervised caucus locations. In the 8th, Vice Chair Sally Rosser was here at 8 a.m. to help set up and stayed through the entire process. Good job, everyone.

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Friday, April 18, 2008

Breakfast Before the Caucus

Lauren Benedict, Tom Ellington and I would like to invite you to join us for breakfast before the caucus tomorrow. In the 8th congressional district, Tom and I are both running to be Obama delegates, and Lauren is running for an alternate post for Obama. The breakfast begins at 8 a.m. and the caucus begins at 10 a.m. There is plenty of parking behind my office, and it's an easy three block walk from the caucus location, Mercer Law School. So, join us for some breakfast, and then go with us to caucus for Obama. Here's the invite:

Candidates for Delegate for Barack Obama
Lauren Benedict, Tom Ellington, and Amy Morton
Invite you to Join us for
315 College Street, Ste., 150
Macon, Georgia
Saturday, April 19, 2008
8 a.m.
Before the
Historic Democratic Caucus
Mercer University School of Law
1021 Georgia AvenueMacon, Georgia
10:00 a.m.
*Parking is awailable behind 315 College Street, witihin walking distance of the Law School.
Please come, join us for breakfast, and then go with us to vote for delegates for Sen. Barack Obama. RSVP to (478) 741-1138 for breakfast.
*Doors to the caucus will open at 9 a.m., and participants MUST be in line to register NO LATER than 10 a.m.

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Nunn for Obama

The AJC is reporting that Sen. Sam Nunn has endorsed Barack Obama for President. That's quite a message to rural Georgia Democrats. Nunn may not be a Super Delegate, but he is definitely well respected in Georgia, both in the Party and without. This is a weighty, weighty endorsement. I also, personally, cannot think of a better person for Obama to tap for VP. It would be tough to argue with Nunn national security credentials, and imagine what that team would do for Democratic support and turnout in Georgia, and frankly, in other Southern states. Probably won't happen, but we can always hope.

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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

But Will Estrada Run for Lt. Gov.?

So, we know that Oxendine will run for Governor. I think that's great, in fact, I hope the Republicans have ten or twelve candidates in the race. But the burning question, no pun intended, is whether or not Oxendine's best bud Erick Estrada will move to Georgia to run for Lt. Governor? And, will there be a bulldog in Oxendine's ad campaign?

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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

This is the Moment

If you are a Democrat and live in Georgia, there might never be a better time to run for office. Qualifying for legislative races is just two weeks away. We expect unprecedented Democratic turnout in November. In addition to the interest in the Presidential race, we will have a hotly contested senate race-both will drive Democrats to the polls. So, come on, you know you want to do it.


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Sunday, April 13, 2008

Once Again, You Get What You Pay For

Today, on front page of the Telegraph, Travis Fain has a story with this headline: More than $882,000 spent on state legislators by lobbyists. (Believe it or not, that's actually less than the $931,000 they spent last year.) Of course, like last year, and every other year, the legislators scoffed, "If people think they can buy my vote for the cost of a dinner, they need to think again." But, then, on the front page of section two, we learn that the insurance industry and their well-financed lobby got about 150 million in tax relief while the average Georgian got zippo, nada, nothing. These stories are, of course, completely unrelated. Of course. Oh, come on. Just use the brain God gave you. If lobbyist spending didn't get results, the money would stay in the bank.

The truth is that lobbyist money may not "buy votes," but the dollars do buy access to the lawmakers, and in politics, access is everything. Who do you think wrote the legislation that gave millions in tax breaks to the insurance industry? Do you really think that the legislators who sponsored the bill spent their summer vacation working on the syntax? I'm guessing, no. The bottom line is, if we want money to speak just a little less loudly under the dome, then we need to pass "cup of coffee" lobbyist reform, like, yesterday. It won't solve all the problems, but it's a good start.

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Vote for Me

Next Saturday, April 19th, all across Georgia, Democrats will caucus to elect congressional district-level delegates. If you live in the 8th congressional district, I hope that you will come to Mercer Law School no later than 10 a.m. to participate in the caucus (doors open at 9 a.m.), and I and hope that you will consider voting for me, Amy Morton, for delegate. But no matter who you vote for, before the first ballot is cast, there's already no question who the winners will be: Georgia Democrats.

Never, in the 20-plus years I have lived in this state, have I seen this level of enthusiasm for our candidates and for our Party. Democrats should do very well indeed in Georgia this November, especially if Sen. Obama is our nominee. On the heels of historic participation in the February 5th primary, we have seen unprecedented interest in the delegate selection process. Hundreds of people have submitted delegate applications and large crowds are expected to line up to vote in the caucuses.

When I initially endorsed Sen. Obama, I wrote this post, attributing my decision to "go public" with my support to a conversation with my 22 year old son, Tyler, who reminded me that I've never taught them to "play it safe" and challenged me to endorse Sen. Obama prior to Georgia's February 5th primary. Of course, I did just that. Tyler doesn't know it, but he also influenced my decision to run for delegate. One evening a few weeks ago, I was watching CNN, and Tyler walked through the living room and paused, watching the television. He looked at me, amazed, and said, "He's really going to do it, isn't he, Mom? He's going to win, isn't he?" "I hope so," I said. "You never know what might happen at convention." Tyler was visibly perplexed. "But, he's got the most delegates, he's won the most states, he's ahead in the popular vote. He has to win."

He does have to win. Sen. Obama has done his part, and it is now up to us to make sure he is the nominee. We may very well have a convention where the votes of undecided super delegates make the difference. We have to make sure that we elect delegates who will both be loyal in their vote and who can influence others to support Sen. Obama. I believe that I can do just that, and that's why I'm running for delegate.

Wherever you live, if you are a Georgia Democrat, I hope that you will participate in the delegate selection caucuses. It promises to be a historic occasion-one to tell the grandchildren about. If you live in the 8th, I hope that you will come to Mercer Law School, no later than 10 a.m. on Saturday, April 19th, and I hope that you will vote for me.

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I'm Just Thinking This Bodes Well for Democrats

Crystle Smith is:

  1. 26
  2. from Texas
  3. an entrepreneur
  4. the new Miss USA

And, according to CNN, says, "Fundamentally, I'm a Democrat." Who ever thought all those things would appear in the same bio?

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Friday, April 11, 2008

Blogger "Ethics"

So, let me get this right, a blogger paid to get into an Obama fundraiser and then surreptitiously audio taped Sen. Obama's remarks and posted them on a website. Okay, look, whether you're a candidate for City Council or for President, you have to realize that potentially-maybe probably-all of your statements are public statements, and you need to mind your words. That said, political fundraisers are almost always closed to the press. When a blogger pays to get in a closed-press event and then tapes the comments-there's just a little something Enquirer-esque, as in, I need to bathe after I shake your hand, about that.

Most of the people I know who blog are also otherwise involved politically. They don't write everything they know because, if they did, they would not be trusted with confidential information in their other political involvements. I don't write about conversations I have with elected officials, party folks or candidates unless they agree. I don't write about the confidential work of various boards and committees I serve on. And, I certainly don't write about the internal, strategic plans of candidates. I sure don't sneak into fundraisers for Presidential candidates and secretly record and then publish their comments.

Like any charismatic movement, blogging emerged initially without a lot of formal written "codes" of behavior, or ethics, if you will. The community sort of policed itself. Sort of. And, part of the attraction to blogging is the freedom and immediacy of the medium. But, I suspect that as time goes on and this "blogging" phenomenon sorts itself out more formal codes of ethics will emerge. For example, when bloggers more often get sued for making inaccurate statements about people, there will be natural pressure for standards with regard to fairness and accuracy. In the meantime, we'll have to rely on good faith and good sense, though both seem at times to be in short supply.

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Thursday, April 10, 2008

Georgia HD93

Qualifying has closed for the special election in Georgia HD93. The following people have qualified:

Dee Dawkins-Haigler 6050 Kingston Wood Way Lithonia, GA 30038
Party Affiliation: Democrat

Malik Douglas 5945 Idlewood Place Lithonia, GA 30038
Party Affiliation: Democrat

Colet Odenigbo 4548 Tulie Ct. Lithonia, GA 30038
Party Affiliation: Democrat

Jim Sendelbach 2675 N. Lakeview Dr. SW Conyers, GA 30094
Party Affiliation: Democrat

Traci Waites 1272 Rhodes Walk Conyers, GA 30094
Party Affiliation: Democrat

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Wednesday, April 09, 2008

April 19th: Change, Inside Out

There's more than one way to change the world on April 19th. You can run for delegate, participate in a caucus, or, join with Democrats Work to do this:

Democrats are getting together on Earth Day - Saturday, April 19th - to help green Atlanta with our friends at Trees Atlanta. Join Democrats Work, the Young Democrats of Georgia, and the Mid-Fulton Democrats (and a host of other great Democrats) for this great event.
Click here to sign up for the mulching and weeding project that will help protect trees on the model mile of the Beltline Arboretum. Here are the details:
Saturday, April 19th from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon
Meet at the green space on Muse Street SW (near the corner of Muse Street SW and Ralph David Abernathy Blvd SW in Atlanta)
To see all of the details, get directions, and RSVP, please
visit the Democrats Work website. You can also RSVP by sending an email to
We'll have Democrats Work t-shirts for the first 15 people to RSVP! And we'll have Krispy Kreme donuts and drinks for all volunteers. Wear clothes that can get dirty and bring some work gloves if you have them.
Questions? Contact Suzann Settle at or call 404-317-5569.
Thank you for all that you do for our community. And please help us spread the word to your friends, family, and fellow Democrats. This is a new day in Georgia, and we are putting our values into action across the state.

Jason Carter, Democrats Work

P.S., We know that some of you will be involved in Congressional District Caucuses on the 19th. While you're changing the world from the inside, we'll be changing the world on the outside! Stay tuned for more service events.

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Tuesday, April 08, 2008

560 Apartments Next to Rivoli Downs?

If you live in North Bibb, in Rivoli Downs or other nearby neighborhoods, pay attention. Your property value may be in jeopardy. The Savannah Development Corporation-located in Maryland, not Savannah-wants to build a 560 unit apartment complex at 5259 Bowman Road. This development would come within 20 feet of parts of my single family home neighborhood in Macon. More detail is below, but if you want to make comments in writing you must do so by tomorrow.

When I got home tonight, I noticed-how could I not notice-that there were fliers attached to the street light poll next to my drive way. I mean, like, six sheets worth of fliers. You have to understand, I live in a rather subdued neighborhood. Folks are not much for fliers unless they're missing a cat or a dog. So, I parked and then walked back out the the street to read the signs, half thinking that some creative-but-not-brave neighbor had found a unique way to complain about my garbage can being visible from the street or Veruca's rather enthusiastic barking at joggers. In reality, the signs warned about the planned development and recommended action. Here's the scoop:

On April 14th, the Macon/Bibb Planning and Zoning Commission will hear and application to re-zone 59 acres next to Rivoli Downs in order to build a 560 unit apartment complex. This type of development isn't just bad new for Rivoli Downs, but also for other nearby single family home developments. This type of development just doesn't make sense given that that surrounding property is for single family homes. Neighbors believe, I think correctly, that it would cause our property values to decline and result in increased noise in the neighborhood. The final selling point for me is that the proposed complex would come within 20 feet of Saddle Run Court. Why don't they just use the property to build single family homes?

This proposed development is on Bowman Road, but it will impact Rivoli Downs and other neighborhoods in the Rivoli, Northside Drive, Bass Road areas of town. So, if this is where you live, write Planning and Zoning and plan to attend the hearing at City Hall on April 14th at 1:30 pm.

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Monday, April 07, 2008

Oxendine Slams Staton

The insurance industry sure does love Sen. Cecil Staton. Georgia's Republican insurance commissioner? Not so much. A check of Staton's filings with the State Ethics Commission reveals a number of significant contributions from insurance-related people and entities, but one in particular caught my eye. On December 11, 2007, the Independent Insurance Agents of Georgia, Inc., made an in-kind contribution to Staton of $1,887.26 toward the cost of a fundraiser at Atlanta's posh 191 Club. Let's call it an early Christmas present. Then, during the session, Staton was the first sponsor of SB276, a bill that passed, prompting IIAA to post this on their website.

Not everyone was quite so pleased. On the heels of a bitter, public battle between Speaker Richardson and Lt. Gov. Cagle, Georgia's insurance commissioner, John Oxendine slammed Sen. Cecil Staton for his allegiance to trial lawyers and insurance companies at the expense of his constituents, in print, in Sunday's Telegraph. (Oh, my God, he used the "T" word about another Republican.) Oxendine said the new law (assuming Gov. Perdue signs it) will increase insurance rates and allow insurance companies to implement new rates without checking in with the insurance commissioner. Here's quote:

Sen. Staton may try to confuse the issue, but the bottom line is that Senate Bill 276 is bad legislation, crafted in secret and passed with little notice or opportunity for public input. Georgians deserve better.

I agree with Commissioner Oxendine. Georgians do deserve better. It's time we had elected officials who will stand up for everyday Georgians. With the help of Georgia Republicans, who are continuing to perfect the art of the circular firing squad, we may just have a chance to elect some Democrats this November.

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Sunday, April 06, 2008

Guns at Custody Exchanges

The next time warring parents pull up to the McDonald's for a contentious custody exchange, it's more likely that one or both will be carrying a gun. If they have the requisite permit, then, thanks to the new gun law, they would be allowed to carry a gun to a restaurant like McDonald's. In my real job-family therapist-I sometimes work with families who have rancorous custody disputes. In the worst situations, the custody exchanges are often in public places, often fast food restaurants or grocery store parking lots. The thought of legally adding guns to this already volatile situation scares the hell out of me. Did anyone even consider this? I'm thinking, no. With this new law, judges are going to have to start routinely putting it in the order that neither party is allowed to bring a weapon to the exchange. Holy cow.

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Saturday, April 05, 2008

No Wonder They Need Their Guns...

The clock ran out on transportation, trauma care, tax reform and eduction, but, never fear, on the last day of the session, Georgia Republicans found time to pass a bill that allows folks to take their guns to dinner. No wonder. With the warring factions of the Georgia GOP aiming for each other's heads, Glenn and Casey probably think they need their guns at dinner. Petty personal power-grabs and self-promotion took center stage, once again, for Georgia Republicans who chose to fight with one another rather than fighting for the people they were elected to serve.

Seriously, I've yet to find someone who thinks the session was a success. Check this AJC article by James Salzer: the criticism transcends party lines. Unless you're a big time developer or an insurance company, there was little to celebrate in the session this year. Simple things, like having confidence that you'll have water for your morning shower, a reasonable commute time to work and access to trauma care if, God forbid, you have a wreck on the way, are not partisan issues. These are issues that matter to every Georgian, and sooner rather than later, the voters are going to toss out elected officials who'd rather fight with one another than offer solutions for the real problems we deal with every day. Had enough? Vote for a Democrat.

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Congrats, Flack

Your guys rocked the house, and I'll be pulling for them on Monday!

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Banana Puddin'

Rep. Tim Beardon, winner of one of CL's "Golden Sleaze" Awards (The Is That a Banana in Your Pocket or are You Just Planning to Shoot Me Award) got special gifts tonight-banana's piled on this desk. One was even inscribed, "Armed and Dangerous." The clock ran out on the session, but Rep. Beardon will certainly be making a lot of banana pudding over the weekend. Funny. Very Funny.

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Sine Die: Quote of the Day

The award goes to best friend of Democrats, Glenn Richardson, who, frustrated with Casey Cagle, declared:

"We need a new Lt. Gov. in Georgia."

Me, too, Glenn, a new DEMOCRATIC LT. GOV. He further encouraged all Georgians to rename the Tag Tax the "Cagle Birthday Tax." I suppose this is the close of the session and the opening of the Governor's race. Democrats have no better friend than Glenn Richardson.

Sine die and NO tax break for Georgians. Both plans failed. A very flawed water bill passed. A slightly improved TAD bill passed. The "Is that a gun in your pocket or are you just glad to see me" bill passed. You, too can carry your gun in all manner of public places. Good they stopped before they did any more damage.

Aren't there a finite number of laws that need to be passed? Half the problem is that-to feel productive-these folks think they have to think up new legislation. Less is more.

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Friday, April 04, 2008

Jacobs: A Man Without a Party

I probably shouldn't pick on poor Mike Jacobs. I know he's had a rough day, but this guy, who left the Democratic party last year has just been knee-capped by his brand new Republican colleagues. After today, I have this image of Rep. Jacobs as a nomad wandering about, spitting camel and all, looking for political friends who won't stab him in the back. Good luck with that.

Here's what the AJC Political Insider boys have to say about the fate of Jacob's poisoned Grady bill. (We blogged about this a couple of days ago.) The bill HB1299-and it's anti-abortion amendment courtesy of Sen Shafer-were both defeated today in the Georgia House rendering it dead, dead, dead for the session. Jacob's co-sponsor Rep. Sharon Cooper (R) turned the tables on him and worked to defeat the amended bill. It is notable that another Republican, Rep. Jill Chambers reportedly turned thumbs down in a signal to others to vote "nay" and was heard saying:

As the seconds ticked by, state Rep. Jill Chambers (R-Atlanta), held her thumb downward as a signal to others. “I’m tired of men in the Capitol playing vaginal politics,” she said later.

Me, too, Jill, me, too. Jacobs seemed to have acknowledged his party-less predicament. The AJC reports that he suggested to Rep. Cooper that she might as well write a check to his Democratic challenger. Works for me.

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Tithe that rebate check ! A challenge....

Are you peeved that the Bush administration is going to send out rebate checks using money that is said to be borrowed from China?
Well, then, make a statement when you get your check. Donate at least 10% of it to your favorite Democratic presidential candidate ! I will start off by setting the bar a little higher. When I receive my $600 in May, I will donate $100 of it to my own presidential pick. You are wondering what I will do with the other $500? Easy. I will go to the nearest gas station and fill up the tank of my Chevy Cobalt.

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Thursday, April 03, 2008

Sine Die: Big Payday for Georgia Insurance Companies?

If you don't think that Georgia Insurance Companies need a $150 million dollar payday tomorrow, funded by tax dollars, then you need to call your senator tonight. Tell them to vote "no" on HB977.

When I was in Iowa, the red Traveler's umbrella was a landmark in Des Moines, but if Georgia Republicans have their way, Georgia may become a new haven for insurance companies. Not so much for consumers, though or for children without healthcare. Tomorrow may be the last day of the legislative session, but the insurance industry is still hoping to bank a cool $150 million in tax breaks to push high deductible-let's call these what they really are-"do-it-yourself healthcare plans." "Do-it-yourself" because while you will still pay the insurance company premiums, when it comes to paying the bills, absent something catastrophic, you pretty much have to manage that on your own. I wrote about this earlier this month, and Rep. Tom Knox has earned himself a CL Golden Sleaze Award for his rather friendly arrangement with the insurance industry, demonstrated by his sponsorship of this bill and others.

Over at American Forum, Dr. David Blumenthal has posted an insightful piece about why these insurance policies are probably not worth the paper they're written on. Here's a quote:

Faced with a high deductible and an outlay of cash to meet even minimal health needs, many consumers will postpone needed care and forgo preventive services altogether. In the short run, money will be saved for the consumer and the health care system. In the slightly longer run, asthmatic kids will wind up in the hospital, middle-aged adults with uncontrolled high blood pressure will have heart attacks, and the elderly who failed to get screened for cancer will have it discovered in advanced stages. Health care costs will increase and Georgians will be less healthy.

Please contact your State Senator today and ask him or her to oppose HB 977. Follow the link above, or visit, register your name and address and follow the action steps under state alerts to send an email directly to your State Senator.

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Martin Rakes in Dollars and Key Support

Let me just say, "Wow!" I hoped that Jim Martin would be able to raise a quarter of a million dollars in the twelve days between his announcement and qualifying, but he's exceeded that goal by a cool hundred grand for $350,000 total raised this quarter. Lots of Democratic givers were sitting on their support and their wallets, hoping that Jim would get into this race. Even more important than the money, if the room I sat in today is any measure, Jim also has key support from people who can help him politically and with raising the millions needed to defeat Saxby. Way to go, Jim!

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Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Poison Pill in the Grady Bill

There's not much time on this one, folks. Sen. David Schafer tacked an amendment on the Grady bill that would prohibit abortions at the hospital. The bill passed the senate as amended and will now be referred to Mike Jacobs, the bill's author to see if he will accept the changes. Please read below and call your house member tomorrow.

Note to poor women an girls who are victims of rape or incest and find themselves pregnant as a result: don't bother to go to Grady Hospital. The Georgia Senate has tied Grady's survival to a provision that it no longer preform abortions and will not utilize Medicaid funds for that procedure.

Representative Mike Jacobs introduced HB 1299 in the House of Representatives that would allow Grady Hospital to become a not-for-profit.The legislation went to the Senate today and Senator David Shafer amended the legislation, specific to Grady Hospital. The amendment would prohibit Grady Hospital from providing abortions under state and federal laws and not allow for Medicaid funding of the services.The amendment passed the Senate an hour ago. (It may not be posted until later this evening or tomorrow morning) The legislation will be returned to Representative Jacobs for his yes or no on the amendment.

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