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Liz Carter unemployment numbers miss the mark

September 1, 2010 5 comments

unemployment in DeKalb, Rockdale, Gwinnett

Ms. Carter stated that the economy is a priority issue in her District ” with almost 17% unemployment, approximately double that of the nation’s rate”;

via Message to Republicans Abroad 5: Political Sense-and, Sensibility – Washington DC Republican | Examiner.com.

It is a slow time in politics right now, especially concerning the 4th district race, but I was surprised to learn that unemployment in the 4th was nearly double that of the national average. At least that is what Liz Carter is quoted as saying at the above web-site. Apparently Ms. Carter spoke with Republicans Abroad Radio where she supposedly made the statement. After listening to the broadcast, Carter actually stated that parts of the district have rates as high as 17%. But even if she was misquoted, 17 percent unemployment seems high even for parts of the district, so I did a quick dig on the numbers. According to the the U.S. Dept. of labor, the unemployment rates for the three counties that make up the fourth averaged 10.3 percent. Rockdale at 11.2% was highest followed by DeKalb at 10.5% and Gwinnett the lowest with 9.3%. This was in July of 2010, the last numbers available. That s a far cry from 17% and right about the state average of 10.3%. Thats not saying these are great numbers, but not the 17% claimed. Since I could not find up to date district data or census tract data, I decided to use the county data as well as data for sub-groups. All of this can be easily found at the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Because a vast majority of the district falls in DeKalb, It is safe to say that unemployment in the district is not 17%. Now I am sure there are streets, or maybe an aprtment complex or an extended stay motel with extreme rates of unemployment, but it is unlikely any significant portion of the district is suffering from 17% unemployment. For a novice or someone who knows nothing about the district,  they may think the 4th was full of unemployed, good for nothing citizens. It distorts the reality of the district which is in line with state unemployment. After talking with a campaign staffer for Carter, it was obvious that there was no intention to disparage certain parts of the district, but to an outsider it does make the district look worse off than it actually is. A better summation of the unemployment in the district would have been it hovers around ten percent with some sub-groups(teens, less educated persons), that have historically high unemployment, continuing to suffer. Some of you will try to sell me on underemployment, the folks who want to work full-time but can only get part-time work, well they are still employed. Maybe not what they want but employed none the less. I hope Liz was taken out of context and I hope she is more accurate on portraying certain parts of the district, because we all know that 17 percent unemployment would make portions of DeKalb worse off than many developing world countries.

Here is the broadcast

http://www.wsradio.com/player/wsradio-player2.cfm/type/windows/show/Republicans-Abroad-Radio/segment/34308.html

Here is the site that produced the quote and broadcast

http://www.republicansabroadradio.com/

Late night musings

August 25, 2010 Comments off

No public cash for private developers

Connie Stokes and Kathie Gannon reportedly were the only two commissioners to vote in favor of the GM site redevelopment plan. What baffles me is that the entire commission was dead set against raising taxes to cover budget shortfalls, funding of public safety and infrastructure projects but were in favor of a tax increase to take what amounts to a gamble that if lost, the taxpayers would be stuck with the bill. I know the increase was minimal, but it is about principles. If you are willing to raise taxes to fund a private developer, why not raise taxes to fund items that make the county work. As for the 9,000 jobs this thing was going to create, I wonder how many would actually go to DeKalb or Doraville residents. If this thing was funded by private dollars, and the infrastructure could be paid for with out a tax increase, then this thing would have been a no-brainer. This would have turned into DeKalb’s version of the federal stimulus plan.

Not Surprised by nail salon manager

A store, no a nail salon in Lithonia charges a lady an extra 5 bucks because, in their opinion, she is too heavy for their chairs. Michelle Fonville was shocked and almost at tears according to her when she was told she would have to incur an overweight surcharge. Add to that a manager who basically told Fonville eff you, it costs me 2500 dollars to fix my chair because you sat down and broke it. The salon manger told Fonville to take her business elsewhere and even said that had she seen Fonville before she sat down, she would have refused to serve her based on her weight. all this on local TV no less. This does not surprise me at all. Stores like these consistently berate, and belittle the very people who keep them in business. This nail salon manager knows that her business will not suffer any ill-effects of this bad PR. It will be forgotten Thursday, and she will have a packed house on Friday evening. I personally will not give my cash to a store that berates or denigrates it’s customers. This should be a wake-up call. If they treat you like crap and you continue to give them money, what does that say about you. see video of Fonville here.

Hush Money??

DeKalb just can’t seem to stay out of the AJC’s line of fire. After the county rejected using pubic dollars to finance a private project, here’s this. The AJC reported tonight that former communications director Shelia Edwards (she accused NJ police of murder in the death of a friend) is getting a 46k severance to keep her mouth shut. I know these things are typical, even my company did it, but it seems odd they would give her severance and include phrases like not disparage the county, or not sue the county. Tells me she knows stuff that could at the very least embarrass some folks.

A quick note on Dekalb schools.

I talked with a teacher at a school that was recently built under the direction Crawford Lewis, Patricia Pope and others. This teacher told me the school is in terrible shape. Door knobs not working, ceiling tiles falling onto the floor, and leaky ceilings among other things. She told me that she can’t believe that all of the money earmarked for the school construction actually made it there. She told me plainly that she thinks Pope her husband and others took advantage of the school system and should be made to pay. That comes from a teacher who has a couple of decades in the profession. Also, attorneys for Dr. Lewis asked for a change of venue. They say the will be unable to get a fair hearing in DeKalb. If you are guilty, that evidence will follow you wherever you go. A change of venue will not change that.

Lastly, I have to weigh in on this mosque thing that seems to be captivating everyone. I do not believe that this is about reverence for a site that saw the deaths of 3000 people. There is nor reverence here. On the site will rise another structure praising the glory of capitalism. If it was a place to be revered, it would be more like the memorial at Pearl Harbor. In the end this is about hatred of all things Islam, after all it was the religion of Islam that caused the deaths 0f 3000 innocent souls. The idea of government not promoting or sponsoring any particular religion really means that Judeo-Christian principles rule the day, minus the Judeo part. These men and women, being citizens of the United States, have every right to build their place of worship wherever the choose, so long as it meets existing laws/ordinances, and does not infringe upon the rights of those around them.

Competent service from Commissioner Johnson’s office

August 18, 2010 Comments off

I was busy searching for some information on a rezoning request that came before the commission recently when I noticed that several documents related to public meetings were missing from the county’s website. Well, being the pessimist that I am, I immediately thought our local government was trying to hide something. Well I was wrong. Turns out, the BOC and ZBOA minutes have to be approved before they can be made public. the missing documents had not been approved by the CEO or the board and until they are they are not released to the public. How did I find this out? It was a lady who worked in Commissioner Johnson’s office by the name of Ingrid Butler. I called Mr. Johnson’s office because the issue that I was interested in fell in his district, and he voted against the rezone so this was a natural place to start. Ms. Butler was a breath of fresh air. She was polite, knowledgeable and showed a genuine concern for issue. In fact she called me back twice. Once to tell me how to navigate the documents repository that holds the documents for the public to see, which I already knew, and the second call was to explain to me why the documents were not in the repository. I was thoroughly impressed, but was not surprised as she works in Commissioner Johnson’s office and he is one commissioner that actually votes for what is best for his constituents. It seems most of the time when you deal with government employees, local or otherwise, you walk away with a bad taste in your mouth. It is nice to deal with people who are competent, and are not just working a job to draw a paycheck. We need more of these types of people in DeKalb government.

DeKalb gives raises to select few

July 29, 2010 2 comments

Some DeKalb elected officials gave staff raises  | ajc.com.

What really sucks about this is that a few days after this story was reported, a DeKalb officer is shot, luckily not killed, working for a pittance. If this isn’t a slap in the face, I don’t know what is. And it is bad in so many ways. The CEO decided to change job descriptions to get raises for his favored few.

Records obtained by the AJC also show that Ellis changes the scope of work for several of his employees, including promoting one woman from a housing project manager to deputy chief of staff – a job that carried a $31,000 raise.

A back door raise if you may. I will change your duties, and that will get you the raise that you want. Way to go Mista CEO.

But what about Commish Stokes, who wanted to Rep the 4th district. Here is her explanation;

Stokes said she tried to abide by that policy, but when her staff heard about the CEO’s raises, she had to give in. Stokes staff began complaining after the AJC reported that former chief communications officer Shelia Edwards’ salary went from $125,000 to $138,000. Edwards resigned Monday because of other reasons.

However, the records show she also gave two of her staff members raises, including a communications manager and camera-operator for the county’s TV station.

“I thought it was not fair to them when I heard everyone else had gotten increases,” Stokes said Tuesday. “I can’t say the policy is out the window because I don’t run the county, but I understand how it may look.”

Stokes, chairwoman of the commission’s budget committee, gave one of her two assistants, Tonza Clark, a $15,300 raise last week. She argued that her staff was paid way less than other commissioners’ assistants.

However, records show that Clark’s salary was similar to other commission staff.

You didn’t try very hard did you? So you helped pass a resolution that says no raises, for anyone, then you slide a couple of your people some extra cash. And your excuse is that others were doing it also. By that logic, it is OK for me lie, cheat and steal. After all there are plenty of people doing that in the very government that is suppose to work for us not against us. It is hard for me to believe that they thought this would fly. Ms Stokes and her cohorts must have a very low opinion of the residents of DeKalb, and the officers that protect the county. The problem with Ms Stoke and most of the DeKalb leadership is that they have no integrity. This was done without regard as to how it looked or how it affected others on the county payroll. It was selfish and all involved should be made to pay.

http://dekalbofficersspeak.blogspot.com/2010/07/do-they-realize-how-stupid-they-sound.html

see the video of Stokes trying to slither her way out of this stupid decision.

DeKalb school board; of, for, and by the idiots

July 27, 2010 Comments off

DeKalb schools: Diversity trumps costs  | ajc.com.

http://www.ajc.com/news/dekalb/dekalb-probes-sale-of-577838.html

here is a quote from one member in 2009 from the article above;

“I am a very, very race-conscious person,” Walker said in October 2009. “I will never ever try to lead you to believe that I am race-neutral. I see color. I appreciate color. I celebrate color and I love color.”

This is why DeKalb Schools is a failing system on it’s way to accreditation loss. Bad judgement, and clouded decisions. Decisions not based on what is best for the system, but what is best to satisfy a personal agenda. Certain members on the school board have no interest in seeing DeKalb schools improve. Their whole existence is premised on keeping the status quo of failure and mediocrity. Many of them know that voters are far too complacent or too busy to even think about voting them out, so it gives them this thwarted view that somehow they will never be held accountable for their actions.  The problems with the board is that none of the things they do help advance the mission of the school system. They are selfish and pompous, and their main mission is to reward and protect those who they feel should have power in the school system. If they will not hold themselves, or staff accountable for their actions then we must. The leadership is an embarrassment that is moving closer to massive failure, and eventual loss of accreditation. This isn’t a rant against all of the board members, but more than a couple should be sent packing. Believe me, if the vast majority of board members are not tossed out of office ASAP, you are going to see the accreditation status of DeKalb schools put in serious jeopardy.

Johnson, Carter to battle for 4th district title in November.

July 21, 2010 4 comments

Well what can be said about last night’s primary results. Vernon got whacked by an incumbent who will probably return to Washington for yet another term. Liz Carter beat down her competition, and will now become the Republican’s sacrificial lamb in November.

I saw a district, and moreover a county outright reject Vernon Jones. I was one of only a handful of people who thought Jones could push Johnson to a run-off. I was wrong. I was wrong by a more than 2 to 1 vote tally. Going into Tuesday, my confidence in a Jones/Johnson run-off had waned a bit, but I still thought he would make a race of it. I had talked to a couple of people in the Jones campaign, and they told me that they felt if they could run well in Rockdale, they could challenge Johnson in DeKalb, especially South DeKalb. As I watched results start to roll in around 830, Rockdale was going solidly with Johnson. As the night wore on, Rockdale was giving Johnson a comfortable 2 to 1 edge. It never got any closer. By the time I got to Jones possible victory party around 1030 in South DeKalb, It seemed like the votes just were not going to come in. It could be a few weeks before detailed data is available on the SOS site, but I am interested to know what precincts Vernon won. When I talked with a person close to the race in the 4th district the weekend prior to the vote, they told me that Jones would not even make the run-off. I asked why? Their response was that voters in the 4th district do not have short memories. All the baggage that Vernon carried into this race was just too heavy a load for voters to just put away.

I know that Johnson was the incumbent, but he really thumbed his nose at the voters of this district. He put very little effort in this and took for granted that voters would give him a victory. For me this is a turn off. He only attended one forum held in the district, and public appearances were few and far between. In other words, Johnson was more than just confident of a win, he was downright cocky. That was evidenced by his line on ajc.com that he was never really concerned about this race and his desire to get back to Washington as early as possible. Come on Congressman, you can do us better than that. If he was not concerned about the primary, then he must be absolute giddy that he is facing a Republican in a district that has been slobbering over Democrats for nearly 15 years.

In the Republican race, there was only one surprise, and that was that Larry Gause actually put up a fight. Though he was summarily beaten down by a campaign that had made itself the front runner by being a part of any conversation about the 4th, Gause’s vote tally was impressive. When this whole thing started who the heck knew who Liz Carter was. I know I didn’t. Now she is in the championship round, a veritable Cinderella if you may. How long will it be before the carriage falls back to a pumpkin, and the glass slipper comes falling off? I don’t see how Liz is going to get the votes needed to advance on to Congress. She is going to have to convert not just independents; she is going to have to pull a sizeable chunk of Democrats as well. Just look at these numbers: 57, 61, 60, 77, 63, 75, and 99. These represent the percentage of votes won for the Democrat candidate since 1996. It is truly going to be an uphill battle, especially since she did not draw Vernon Jones. I can’t wait to see how she works through this.

As for the other candidates, Cory Ruth and Victor Amendariz flamed out both manages to get just over a thousand votes. Actually Amendariz got more votes than Ruth, so on the Republican side Ruth was the biggest loser. On the Democrat side, Connie Stokes brought up the rear, but kept it close with Vernon until the end. She still has some time left in her career, she may make a few runs at Hank before it is all said and done.

13th district results pt. 1

July 21, 2010 Comments off

David Scott is sailing along in the 13th. He is winning both henry and douglas counties. It is still early, but he may be on his way to the general election.

His opponent is less clear. Mike Crane leads Deb Honeycutt by 7 percentage points. This is with 8 percent reporting

——————————————————————————————————————————————————————

Honeycutt may be in trouble, but it is still early. David Scott is cruisin

Republican Candidates Votes % of Votes
Mike Crane 313 34.3%
Deborah Honeycutt 251 27.5%
“Chip” Flanegan 158 17.3%
Hank R Dudek 95 10.4%
Dave Orr 63 6.9%
Rupert G. Parchment 33 3.6%
Totals 913
Democratic Candidates Votes % of Votes
David Scott 391 77.1%
Mike Murphy 86 17.0%
Michael Frisbee 30 5.9%
Totals 507

Jones, Carter, Johnson only legit contenders for 4th district

July 12, 2010 8 comments

Stokes, Jones, Carter, and Gause were on time. Ruth and Amandariz made it there really late. Hank was a no show again

This weekend was a busy one for the 4th district candidates. They were on GPB TV Friday night, and low and behold, all  showed up in the heart of South DeKalb on Saturday except one(guess who?). I am not going to give a blow by blow of either event, after all, you pretty much know what is going to be said. What I will offer is what I took away from each event. Let us start with the long shots. Larry Gause is not going to win, but he has ideas that are interesting to say the least. He is an intellectual. People do not like intellectuals, ask Al Gore. Mr. Gause believes that the folks in Washington should stay at home most of the time and spend little time in Washington. It is something I am sure he could write a book on, but who cares. People want solutions, real or not, that deal with their everyday issues. Most people could care less about the travel arrangements of their congressperson, unless there is scandal involved. Those are the facts. Not to mention lobbyists would cry foul since they would be forced to go to every little backwoods hamlet looking for congressmen to bribe. It ain’t gonna happen, and Gause is basically running on principle now. He did come to South DeKalb though, which shocked the you know what out of me. Victor Amendariz was much better on TV than he was at the South DeKalb forum. That may have been because he was so late, he only got to answer one question and do his outro. He seems a bit nervous to me. When he had the opportunity to question one opponent, it took him nearly 15 seconds to tell us who his question was for. He stumbled around and stammered like a kid who did not do his homework and was trying to answer a question. Right now, if he was being tossed hardball questions with follow-ups, he would come off pretty bad. Dude is not ready. Moving on to Cory Ruth, my golden boy a few weeks ago has lost some of his luster, and in such a short period of time. Why? I don’t know. I am not sold on him as a candidate. I have seen him in person twice, and both times he seems aloof, almost arrogant. Although he has polished answers, and has a smooth delivery that shows his knowledge of issues, I am just not feeling him. On to Ms. Stokes and her invisible campaign. I haven’t been able to get a read on her at all. If experience and knowledge were the only qualifications, she would be running neck and neck with Vernon. In this game you have to be able to connect with people and she is not connecting, at least not with me. At the forum on Saturday, the applause for her after she spoke was lackluster. I don’t think she has done anything to get her name in the conversation, good or bad. At this stage of the game, you do not want to be an unknown. It is a shame too, because she seems like such a nice person. Now that I have disposed of the also-rans, let’s talk about the three who can win. Let’s start with Hank. He missed the televised as well as the S. DeKalb forum at the mall. Now, I know he is a sitting congressman, and he has to work and campaign, but dang, you would think he would show his face every once in a while. I think he has been to one forum with the other candidates. If I am a new voter in the 4th, I have to wonder what is up with this guy. Is he OK? Is he fit to serve? Hank is going to wake up on the 21st and realize that he is soon to be known as the former congressman from Georgia’s 4th district. That leaves just two. I am going to start with Liz Carter. I get the feeling she has shifted this thing into cruise control, though she and her campaign will deny it. After all she does not want to expend too much energy on what seems to be a done deal on the primary. Her only competition, Cory Ruth is having his conservative credentials questioned, especially his plan to possibly bring Haitians to America while Haiti is being rebuilt. Liz banged him on that one. I checked his site like he encouraged, and this is what is in the letter today –

“My concern is that with temperatures in the nineties, no shelter, no clean water, rampant diarrhea and other diseases, human waste and dead bodies in the streets – are there discussions to begin rapidly transporting the Haitian population to neighboring countries – including the United States?”

Even though he posed it as a question, in this climate you do not want to advocate or seem to advocate bringing any foreigners  into this country to suck our resources dry. It can be the end of your campaign especially if you are a Republican. Anyway, back to Liz. She is playing it safe for now, and seems to be positioning herself for a run at the moderate and independent voters of the district. At about the eleven minute mark, she smoothly explains off any question about her position on issues relating to gays, and puts a states right spin on it. A safe move as to not alienate too many of the 4ths liberal voters. Liz Carter is definitely headed to the big dance, and the last time a moderate Republican female ran was Sunny Warren in 2000, and she got nearly 40% of the vote against a wildly popular, at the time, Cynthia McKinney. Can a moderate Republican win this district? Anything is possible, but she will have to beat an incumbent or Vernon. Last but not least, is Vernon. I am not going to say much about Vernon. The guy is a damn good campaigner, and he truly knows how to move a crowd, albeit a sympathetic crowd most of the time. On Sturday he said He has humor, and he pounds away at you with his accomplishments.  In both the televised and South DeKalb forum, he had a commanding presence on stage. I know that Vernon is playing well in South DeKalb. Just talking to folks in casual conversation, they know him, and they know what he has done, and they like him. My only fear is that his baggage is going to hurt him. It’s not deadly cargo, but it is cumbersome. Had he not been carrying so much extra baggage, I would say without a doubt he will be representing the 4th. It is a shame too, because I much rather see a Vernon/Carter slugfest than a Hank/Carter sleepwalk.

If you missed the debates, here are the Republicans. Here are the Democrats.

Who else will South DeKalb choose

July 8, 2010 2 comments

I am taking a time out from the more interesting 4th district race to look at  other races that affect us here in South DeKalb.

Here is a rundown of the Governor’s race from the Southern Political Report. I personally have not made up my mind in this one. Barnes is making in-roads with me with his commercials that allude to his experience as a former Governor.  To be honest, he is perhaps the best person for this job. I think Thurbert Baker could do the job well, I just don’t see myself voting for him. The race on the Republican side is more interesting. Karen Handel will not get my vote; there is something about her style that I have not liked since she was commission chair in Fulton County. She seems more like an opportunist, playing on voter fears than on actually solving problems. On her website she says she balanced the Fulton budget, with no mention about the commissioners who also helped balance that budget. She just rubs me the wrong way.  As for her opponents, Oxendine and Deal, they seem to have some ethics issues that could make governing difficult at best. Here and here are two Peach Pundit stories about “Ox” that questions his ethics. Seems to me that he can do some questionable things that makes one wonder about his decision making skills.  Nathan Deal, on the other hand, was found to have committed ethics violations while in the U.S. House. Seems he made some questionable moves as it relates to his business. Here is a quick summary from Huffington Post. What he was found guilty of is probably par for the course in the world of politics. The question is will it hurt his run for Governor? In my opinion, it probably won’t hurt him. And finally there is Eric Johnson, lifelong Republican and basically unknown to me until I saw some video of him. I can’t remember if it was TV or internet, but the one thing that stuck in my skull was the statement that he believed in the constitution that our Founding Fathers believed in or something along those lines. For me that is a deal breaker no matter what party you are affiliated with or how charming or successful you may be.

For the few thousand South DeKalb residents in the 13th congressional district, do not vote for David Scott. There is enough paper work about this guy’s ethics, it is surreal. Just Google him. Here, I did it for you. He is not what you want in a U.S. Rep. He is just clean enough to not be caught up in anything serious or do jail time, but if you keep sending him to Washington it just may happen. CREW rated him as one of the most corrupt members of Congress in 2007. If you do enough homework, you will not vote for this guy.  Let me move on to Rupert Parchment. I had seen his signs pop up around the extreme southern portion of the county in recent weeks. I had no Idea who this dude was until I watched a debate among the Republicans running for office. Do not vote for this guy. He lives in Midtown far away from the district. Although it may be legal, which he points out in the televised debate, it is misleading. Do you not like the housing stock in the 13th? Do you not like the environment in the 13th? Whatever his reason,  Why not run against John Lewis, after all that is his Rep, and would be his Rep in congress. He is a fraud just like David Scott. So who to vote for? Well my money and vote would go to Deborah Honeycutt. Check her out here. She is a doctor who has a clinic or two on the southside of the metro. This is her second run for this seat, and she made a respectable run in 2008. In that election she received 31% of the vote. Unlike some of her counterparts, she resides in the district she wants to represent, so she is not pulling a David Scott, and living outside of the district.  She also is a moderate Republican. She does not want to see America fenced off from the rest of the world like many of her Republican mates. And she is not afraid to say what her position is on a variety of issues including abortion which she calls a national offense. I did watch her in a debate recently, which you can check out here. She was not as sharp with her responses as I had hoped, but hell, our last president was about as sharp as a bowling ball, so that should not preclude her from being in Congress. I hope voters in the 13th boot Scott and send him back to Inman Park to fight with his neighbors over a community garden.

Where I got my info:

http://www.sos.georgia.gov/elections/election_results/2008_1104/029.htm

http://www.huffingtonpost.com

http://www.peachpundit.com

http://www.karenhandel.com

http://www.southernpoliticalreport.com/

http://www.citizensforethics.org/node/30131

http://www.honeycuttforcongress.com/

Does Lowery endorsement help Johnson?

July 7, 2010 3 comments

Does him backing a candidate make the candidate more appealing

Lowery to endorse U.S. Rep. Johnson  | ajc.com.

Does this endorsement carry much weight? I mean Lowery has been around for decades, and for many in my generation, getting an endorsement from him seems to mean more of the same old people running a broke system. Not to be knocking Rev. Lowery, but how much weight does this endorsement actually carry, especially in a district that has a median age of about 33 years. Although, he may sway some older voters in this district, I doubt this will be a knockout blow to any of the candidates Johnson is facing. I would venture to say that an endorsement from T.I (God help us))or Gucci Mane (God help us more))would swing the pendulum farther than one from a civil rights icon. Like it or not, this is the way it is.

Info:

http://www.ajc.com/

http://factfinder.census.gov