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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

4th district candidate questionnaire

June 27, 2010 1 comment

I sent the following questions to all of the candidates in the 4th congressional race. A couple bounced back, so I used their contact form on their website. Only one has responded so far and that was Liz Carter. I am going to post any answers I get in a post sometime next week. Stay tuned

These are the questions I sent to the Dem candidates

  1. As Democrats, it is hard to separate the candidates from one another based on issues. What one thing separates you from the other candidates in the primary and therefore makes you the best candidate to vote for?
  2. Our national government is accumulating massive deficits, trust in government is at an all-time low, and special interests groups tend to be more of a force in national politics than ordinary Americans. What do you think can be done to restore the national government to respectability among average Americans.
  3. How involved should the government be in the BP gulf oil spill?
  4. As a veteran, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are always in my head. The wars have cost taxpayers over a trillion dollars. Do you believe it is time to remove our troops from one or both war zones, and if so how soon would you want to see a withdrawal begin?
  5. For more than a decade, Democrats have been elected to office in the 4th district, but little has come back to the district in terms of jobs, dollars, or respect. Why should 4th district citizens continue to vote for the Democrat come November

Here are the questions I sent to the Republicans:

  1. As Republicans, it is hard to separate the candidates from one another based on issues. What one thing separates you from the other candidates in the primary and therefore makes you the best candidate to vote for?
  2. Our national government is accumulating massive deficits, trust in government is at an all-time low, and special interests groups tend to be more of a force in national politics than ordinary Americans. What do you think can be done to restore the national government to respectability among average Americans.
  3. How involved should the government be in the BP gulf oil spill?
  4. As a veteran, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are always in my head. The wars have cost taxpayers over a trillion dollars. Do you believe it is time to remove our troops from one or both war zones, and if so how soon would you want to see a withdrawal begin?
  5. In past elections in the 4th district, the smaller, less intrusive government proposed by Republicans has fallen on deaf ears. Many in the district rely on   government benefits to make ends meet be it Social Security, Section 8, or Medicare/Medicaid. How can smaller government help those who need help the most.

4th district candidates meet up in forum.

June 24, 2010 18 comments

Well I attended my first candidate forum on Teusday evening at the DeKalb History center. The forum was sponsored by the DeKalb League of Women Voters, and the Champion newspaper. By the time I arrived, they were in the midst of introducing the candidates who were there. In a previous post,  I said Hank Johnson would win this hands down. The forum and other actions since then makes me want to adjust “hands down” to “it is going to be a squeaker”. Johnson still pulls it out, but probably in a runoff. Back to the forum, the following candidates showed up: Victor Amendariz, Liz Carter, Vernon Jones, Cory Ruth and Connie Stokes. Larry Gause and Hank Johnson were no-shows. I must say, it is best to see the candidates in person at least once. You observe t hings about them that you cannot possibly get from a tweet, or a facebook update. My overall take about the forum was that it was civil and light-hearted. no back and forth jabs between candidates, probably becasue the moderator forbade them to do so. The candidate that most impressed me was Cory Ruth. All of his answers to question were to the point. Whether I agree with his answers was not too important to me. After all we know what a Republican believes, and we know what the Democrats believe. For me, last night was a chance to see how the candidate presented themselves, and how they reaceted to their environment. To that point, I had a few qualities I was looking for.

Confidence. Did the candidate seem shaken or sure of their position

Knowledge. Did the candidate have a solid handle on the issues presented to them.

Experience. Not just political, but ability to lead, craft new ideas (Job, business, etc).
Victor Amandariz – He has a great story, son of a successful legal immigrants, successful in his own right, and a straight ” I beleive in the Constitution” guy. His solution to just about every issue raised was less government, more private sector. Though  I agree that government can screw up mightily, I also must recognize that the private sector can muck up stuff as well. His stance on what to do about Section 8 housing was his only highlight for me. He proposed that organizations like Habitat for Humanity should be expanded to provide low-income housing as oppose to the Feds managing a handout. Over all, I was not impressed with Mr. Amendariz. He should consider a run for county commission or  city council. He just ain’t ready for the big stage of Congress.

  • Confidence: He was way sure of his convictions, there were times he was searching for words, but he did a good job overall.
  • Knowledge:  Only because he seems to think that less government solves all problems no matter the issue.
  • Experience:  I cannot recall one time where he referred to an event in his life that would show him as a solid leader.

Liz Carter – Liz was good. she didn’t hit a home run, but she didn’t strike out either. I think she has the best run campaign by far, and she seems at ease and confident talking with folks who were obvious supporters of Stokes and Jones. Though many of here answers were a rehash of the issues on her website, she did provide details at times. On the issue of public transportation, she talked about the need to integrate all of our transport options like rail, bus and other forms so that people on mass transit can move around more quickly and efficiently. She pointed to cities like San Francisco, Salt Lake City and Chicago as examples of cities where mass transit works. One issue where I felt she faltered on was Section 8 housing. The queston was posed by an audience member, who was concerned about the amount of Section 8 housing in the district. I thought this was an excellent question, because, behind foreclosures, Section 8 has been devastating neighborhoods across South DeKalb. Her answer made me feel that she needed an update about Section 8. She gave the typical response about the role of the private sector being better able to handle the issues that come along with Section 8. She followed fellow Republican Amendariz in support for more Habitat for Humanity like projects to help with Section 8 issues. Though her answer to this question was not what I wanted to hear, I still think she will be the Republican candidate, and I also think she will poll well in the general election.

  • Confidence: A, was impressed by her positions on various issues, was not rattled by the vocal Jones and Stokes supporters
  • Knowledge:  Well educated about a myriad of issues. generic response on Section 8 needs revamping.
  • Experience:  Business owner, plus I talked to her Chief of Staff, and she told me they run the campaign like a business. would do the same in Congress probably.

Vernon Jones – I could devote an entire post to Vernon. This was the first time I had seem him in person. His personality is overwhelming, and his ability to stir the crowd and influence those around him were evident last night(after complaining that 60 seconds was not enough to explain a position, the moderator offered the candidates a choice of more time but fewer questions. Vernon in the end stuck with the 60 seconds). He had the most vocal supporters at the forum and there were more than a few people who had their “Vernon Jones for Congress” t-shirts turned inside out. Vernon touted his record as CEO on more than a few occasions. From sidewalks and turn lanes to more open greenspace on both ends of the county, Vernon from the start let the audience know who had the most experience and the most successes in elected office. On the issue of illegal immigratin, Vernon plainly stated that he was against an amnesty program for illegals. he also stated that he supported helping Mexico with it’s economy, and that will help us with our immigration policy. I have heard that before from others, but somehow it gets lost in the conversation. It was refreshing to hear a candidate offer a measure that would truly help with illegal immigration(look to our north if you need any persuasion). Overall, Vernon impressed me. I must confess here that I voted for him both times he ran for CEO. I think he did a respectable job as CEO, though today I wonder if all the projects that he claims as successes are not coming back to haunt the county’s’ finances. He will give Hank a run for his money, and I think he will force Hank into a run-off. That said, the last time Vernon went into a run-off he lost.

  • Confidence: The guy knows what he believes and is not afraid to say it.
  • Knowledge:  He understands a myriad of issues, though I was suprised that he gave a “No Answer” to a questionon about whether he would support and Arizona style immigration bill in Georgia. He admitted to not reading the bill.
  • Experience:  He has the experience to be a congressman, and he has lead a large urban government, something the other candidates cannot claim.

Cory Ruth – As I said earlier, I was most impressed by Mr. Ruth. He explained his positions very well, leaving no doubt as to where he stood. He also made two to three suggestions on how he would handle a particular issue. On Securing our borders he said it was not just about our southern border, he stated that the government was responsible for all of our borders including the northern border, airports and sea-ports. His position was that the focus should be on securing all of our borders, and not focusing all of our attention on just one single issue of Immigration. Of all the candidates, he seemd to be the least political, and seemed to have a genuine desire to solve problems. Though he must know he is fighting and uphill battle, he was as confident as anyone on stage. He never was at a lost for words. I can’t recall a moment where I had to take pause about what he was saying, he was really that good. I think we may hear from him again later on down the road.

  • Confidence:  Really well prepared. Not intimidated in the least.
  • Knowledge:  His quick and concise answers were obvious signs he had studied the issues, and had a solid plan for what he would do.
  • Experience: No mention about past political work, or leadership in organization or business. He did not mention past work that would lead me to belive that leadership has been a primary responsibility.

Connie Stokes – I am finding Connie hard to read. Last night, she showed that she has the knowled and the experience to be a congressperson. She basically reiterated what we already know about her positions. She made a point to mention the work she had done in the state senate, and being a floor leader for former Governor Roy Barnes. She also touts her skills as a county commisoner. On the Section 8 issue, she believes that landlords who own Section 8 property should be held accountable for the upkeep of their properties. On other issues, she towed the line with what would be expected from a Liberal Democrat. She had a sizeable following at the forum, and will definitely siphon votes from Jones and Johnson. She did not hurt herself Tuesady, adn I am sure she will become more visible and more vocal in the next few weeks.

  • Confidence:  Well prepared to explain her positions. Seemed to be searching for words during questions from the audience.
  • Knowledge: Understands issues well, especially those that affect the district directly like unemployment and foreclosures.
  • Experience: Her time in the statehouse, and the county commission, as well as her business leadership makes her a very experienced politician.

Vernon On the Move? Where is Connie? And other musings about the 4th

May 26, 2010 12 comments

Vernon is on the move

You don’t win elections based on yard signs, but driving through South DeKalb you see that Vernon’s supporters havce been busy placing his “jobs first” signs. Many are in yards, but most that I have observed are in places where permission to place the sign is probably not needed. He seems to have a particulary strong sign presence Along Flat Shoals Pkwy, and along the southern end of Wesley Chapel. Of all the candidates, He is the only one I have seen with signs in South DeKalb. On Twitter, VJ has picked up his tweeting. He does not tweet as much as Republican Liz Carter, but he has become familiar with the medium though many of his tweets are just retweets.

Connie Stokes; MIA

Has anyone seen Connie Stokes. It seems to me her campaign is MIA. With Primaries a little less than two months from now I would expect to see more of her in the media, and in the streets. Checking out her website, she attends a lot of events around the district, but she barely gets a mention in any media outlet big or small. Come on Connie, get out there and stir things up.

Liz Carter can win!

I have maintained for a while that a Republican has no chance at winning the fourth district. I still think it is an uphill battle, but Liz Carter has worked her ass off attempting to make this a race. Although demographically the fourth is overwhelmingly Democrat, I think that there are areas that could make the race interesting. Areas around Tucker/Northlake/Briarcliff, Norcross up to Duluth, and those parts of Rockdale within the district could pose a challenge to a weak Democrat. Imagine Vernon Jones beating Hank in the primary and is the candidate against a well organized Liz Carter. Vernon is a polarizing figure. You either take him or leave him. In the aforementioned areas, he may not play well. If he could not get a massive turnout in South DeKalb,  I could see neither getting the required 50+1 and the race going into a runoff. Although this scenario is unlikely, you never know what will happen in the days leading up to any election

Hank wins hands down

As for the reigning champ Hank “the incumbent” Johnson, I see no way he loses in the primary or the general election. He is a safe candidate. He plays well in all areas of the district, with the exception of Liz Carter supporters. The swing voters in Central DeKalb and Gwinnett have no beef with him nor do the fear him, and unless he makes some massive political blunder, he should be a shoe in for another term. If I had to make a complaint against Hank, it would be his inability to bring any significant jobs to the district. I would like to see a manufacturer or some service company announce that it is opening operations in the 4th.

Attack of the cloned politicians

May 10, 2010 3 comments

I recently looked at the four republican candidates trying to be the nominee to “yank Hank” from Congress.  I try to do my due diligence as it relates to my elected officials. So there I was with my web browser tabs open for all four candidates. Actually one candidates site was down at the time but I am pretty sure of what he had to say, based on the other three. The three candidates whose sites were up were basically clones of one another when it came down to where they stood on the issues. It was as if they all read the same playbook. All are for the fair tax, which I believe has some merit. Each candidate blasts illegal immigration, and each was very predictable about how they feel about healthcare legislation. They all basically are regurgitating republican talking points that have existed for at least two decades. With that said, how in the world are you supposed to choose a candidate from a group of people who spew the same ideology, with nothing of substance to separate them? Look at these two pieces from two of the campaigns and decide who would do the better job on the issue of immigration:

We have always had immigration. In fact, this legal immigration is and has been an incredible source of prosperity for America. Illegal immigration threatens the foundation of this system. There is no doubt that we need to fix our immigration system, and it must begin by securing the border and fixing the visa and entry process. This should not include amnesty.

The United States has always opened its arms and welcomed those who seek to come to our great country legally. Process and laws have been put in place to protect our borders and our economy, yet at this time those laws are being broken, challenged and there are those who want to grant “amnesty” to those who bypassed those processes and laws.

Immigration made our nation great. The United States has a diverse population with diverse backgrounds and diverse beliefs. However, illegal immigration has eroded Americans’ trust in government, threatened our national security and hurt fellow Americans.

The solution to our nation’s illegal immigration problem must begin with securing our borders. Without secure borders, we cannot begin to have a rational or logical discussion about immigration policy. Technology holds great potential to help in our nation’s security efforts, and I believe we should use every tool at our disposal to ensure our borders are secure.

Securing our borders is just a piece of this complex issue. The issue does not solely rest with the individual; employers have a responsibility in this equation. We must look closely at our current laws and develop an effective visa program and temporary worker program to support legal immigrants who fulfill important roles in our nation’s economy.

Our border must be secured and our immigration laws must to be reviewed, especially during an economic crisis. We the People cannot afford to pay for and support those who do not follow process and who do not pay taxes.

I think this is why people are jaded with politics in this country. The candidates are clones of one another, so you must come up with other reasons when you try to pick a candidate to vote for. I could say I won’t vote for the black guy or the woman, but that would be ignorant on my part. I could check out the debates but those will not be filled with substantive ways of fixing Washington or helping the district, but will become a televised crap throwing contest to see which candidate can make the one-liner that gets the most media coverage, and therefore makes them the de facto front runner. If I sound a bit cynical it’s because I think our political system needs a healthy dose of cynicism from a lot more people. Our election cycles remind me of high school politics many, many years ago. Every year, a kid would promise the masses that they would change the school. Faculty will respect us; the cafeteria will serve better food. There will be free pizza parties before every exam. The masses loved what they heard and voted for the kid with all the popular ideas. Then they realized that he or she couldn’t do much if any of the things promised. In fact, he had become cozy with the faculty and staff and enjoyed the perks of class leader. They no longer needed their fellow students; after all they had their own agenda, an agenda that benefited their friends and associates. Every year this went on until you went off to college and the merry-go-round started all over again. I feel like I am back on that same merry-go-round from a couple of years ago. As I get older I feel less inclined to vote, knowing that the system will continue to head down the wrong road no matter who I vote for. But deep inside of me, I know that if I stop voting there is one more compliant soul that has been beaten and that’s one less voter they have to worry about.

Vernon Jones loses case and maybe more

April 1, 2010 4 comments

Vernon Jones loses DeKalb discrimination suit  | ajc.com.

Damn Vernon. You discriminatin’ against white people. That’s what a jury said. Vernon, and his co-defendants were found liable for creating a “racially hostile work environment”. let me say this, anytime you have more than one black man in a work environment, it is considered hostile. Two of the plaintiffs were not awarded any damages. This has to be terrible news for Jones. He is running for Congress in a district that has a sizable white population. If they see him as hostile towards whites, this could be the end of his run for Congress. Hell it could be the end of his run for any office outside of the ‘hood. I personally want to see Vernon run a strong campaign, and I hope he can deflect criticism about this verdict and keep the focus on why he should be the Congressman from the 4th. After all, if there is no Vernon this race will be really boring.

Why the 13th in South DeKalb should be put back in the 4th

March 25, 2010 Comments off

Many people in the 13th do not know that part of that gerrymandered district includes a small portion of south DeKalb county. Though I do not live in the 13th, I have family and friends who do, and many who moved into the district were surprised that they were not in the 4th. First, I think that the people of the 13th in DeKalb are more aligned politically and economically with the 4th than they are with the 13th. Nothing against the 13th, but it seems natural from a political standpoint that all of south DeKalb be in the 4th. Next, take a look at the GOP site for the 13th district. Notice anything peculiar. There is no mention of DeKalb county at the welcome. If you go to the leadership page, the link for the DeKalb GOP is linked to the Henry GOP. That is obvious a web authoring mistake, but it is pretty clear that no one is clicking the DeKalb GOP link for the 13th. When the legislature meets to redraw districts after the census, they should consider putting that portion of the 13th back to the 4th. It will not change representation, since that part of the 13th is solidly Democrat anyway.

An update to my social sites post

February 3, 2010 Comments off

In this previous post, I took a look at the candidates for the 4th congressional district and how their campaigns measure up on Twitter and Facebook. I was not too impressed by Congressman Johnson’s efforts. Well I have been taken to task for my not so flattering assessment of his social media skills. As it turns out the congressman has multiple Twitter and Facebook accounts. He has his official Facebook and Twitter accounts that are in addition to the re-election pages posted here. It goes without saying that Congressman Johnson’s efforts are clearly at these two sites as oppose to his re-election pages. I would think that as the incumbent, he will probably start to ramp up on the re-election sites soon. Like I said in the previous post, he can come to the game late but not too late. Oh yea, in an attempt at full disclosure, I was prompted to re-evaluate the congressman’s efforts after a legislative assistant prompted me to take a look at Hanks official pages, which would give readers a better view of the Congressman’s activities.

Social media and the 4th district candidates

February 3, 2010 3 comments

Larry Gause

Gause is not garnering a whole lot of fans on his page at Facebook.  He seems to send updates every other week or so. His last was January 22nd. I do know this much, he is a true republican, no doubt about that reading some of the postings on his wall. He comes across to me as an anti-abortion, fiscal conservative and anti-Obama Republican. That aside, he has posted some informative stuff such as free tax service from the United Way, and this little piece – Today we observe the accomplishments of Dr. Martin Luther King and his vision of equality for all. Let us also acknowledge the contributions his widow Coretta Scott King had in making this day possible 15 years following MLK’s assassination. She sacrificed much to support her husband as he fought to end the plight of many. – which left me a bit surprised, but was glad to see someone acknowledge King’s other half while celebrating MLK. As for his Twitter account, he has been non-existent since his announcement about joining the 4th district race back in August of ’09 He does have nine follower though.

Liz Carter

I like the way Ms. Carter is working her social sites. Her Facebook fan page is constantly updated with her latest visit to one group or another. She then backs that up with tweets to her Twitter friends. She has fresh lively info that lets you know exactly what she is doing, and where she will be soon and her position on current events. I don’t know if she has a professional doing this, or is doing it with the help of her kids, but she is miles ahead of the others when it comes to connecting to the voter in a digital way. She has 755 fans at her Facebook fan page, and the number will increase significantly as we head into the summer months. At her Twitter page, she tweets about everything she is doing. She tweets before she meets with a group, then tweets afterwards letting us know she enjoyed their time. I like the fact that she is following some 115 persons as of today. I bet that number rises as well. She seems to want to connect to her constituents and be as informed as possible about them. If she had a (D) behind her name, she would give the other (D)’s run they would not soon forget.

Hank Johnson

You would think that the incumbent would have a sleek, well ordered, and efficient setup. Well you would be wrong with Hank. He needs to light fire under the social media guy/gal, whose only job is to monitor such things, and keep his Facebook/Twitter stuff up to date. His Twitter page is pedestrian. He should change the default to something else. He is following 113 people, but should have more than 18 followers. His last tweet was late January. Unlike Liz Carter, he does not give you a blow by blow account of his comings and goings. That may change if he feels that he is getting some pressure from his challengers. His Facebook page gets regular updates, mainly press release type stuff and is much more interesting than his tweets. He does have 539 fans so far, and his fans are active on his page, giving him their support. As an incumbent, he can afford to come to the game late, but not too late.

Vernon Jones

Vernon came to the game late. When I first posted a listing of the various candidate sites, only Connie Stokes was less visible. Vernon’s fan page was empty, and he had one tweet to his credit. His still has that one tweet, but he has gotten a few followers since then, though they have nothing to follow right now. Vernon has taken his Facebook profile up a few notches. He still has a ways to go to reach Hank or Liz, and he can start by getting some updates out there. He already has 152 fans, and I am pretty sure they, like I would like to see more info about his campaign and his positions on some issues. Hell, he could just browse on over to Liz Carter’s Facebook/Twitters sites and take a cue from her. After all he doesn’t need to re-invent the wheel.

Poll says Hank trounces other Dems in 4th district

February 1, 2010 Comments off

Found this at the Political Insider blog. Hank Johnson is far ahead of the other Democrat candidates in their race for the 4th district. The numbers included Lee May who has decided not to challenge Hank for his seat. The date for the document is Jan. 28th, so this is recent. I know that these polls are premature, but I think it shows how far the challengers must climb to overtake a non-controversial and popular candidate like Hank.