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Posts Tagged ‘Liz Carter’

Mid-term elections: My final analysis

November 3, 2010 Comments off

Well the voters spoke and what they said spoke volumes here locally especially at the school board level. I have not seen turnout numbers yet, but it seems there were better than expected turnouts especially for South DeKalb.

The Republican sacrificial lamb went down in flames against Hank Johnson. I will admit, I was not surprised by the Johnson victory. After all this is an overwhelmingly democratic district. What was surprising was that Liz Carter did not get a higher percentage of votes. Historically, Republicans have gotten about a third of the vote. Carter got only 25 percent. She lost all three counties, but kept it close in Rockdale and Gwinnett. In GWX she won 43 percent and I Rockdale she won 47 percent. It was DeKalb that cost her big time. DeKalb was won by Johnson 79 percent to 20 percent. That is a pure rejection by DeKalb voters of the Republican candidate. I cannot wait to see actual precinct numbers. Carter showed her face at events in South DeKalb more than Johnson, so I would like to see how bad she actually did in southern precincts. These numbers confirm to me that no Republican no matter how moderate can win in the fourth short of redistricting which is coming soon.

Democrat David Scott cruised into another term taking out Republican challenger Mike Crane by more than 2 to 1. Crane lost in every county in the district. The only county where it was close was Douglas, he was  just over 1000 votes behind. The rest were a wash. The Secretary of State’s office is reporting that as of lunchtime Wednesday, only two-thirds of Cobbs vote had been recorded, but I doubt there are enough out there to change the outcome.

The two races above and the 5th district with John Lewis tells me that Democrats have a stranglehold on certain districts, and they can rest assured that those districts will deliver to the Democrats quite reliably. Now let’s see if the Democrats return the favor. To see just how the Democrats have DeKalb in their pocket, consider this; of the major statewide races (Gov., Lt. Gov., SOS, AG, Insurance and Agriculture Commissioner, Labor Commissioner and State School Super.), every Democrat running for those offices got 70 plus percent of the vote.

 

I did not cover the Governor’s race to tough because after the primary it was obvious which party was going to be in the state capitol. What I do want to touch on is redistricting. The Republicans hold all the key statewide positions that influence how districts will be drawn. With Georgia’s population growth in the last decade we are going to get at least one additional House representative and possibly a second. If that’s the case, districts will have to be redrawn. Democrats are going to have a tough time getting districts drawn anywhere near what they want to see. And although the Obama Justice Department has to approve any possible redraw, it is going to be very interesting to see where we all fall in the new order. DeKalb which covers parts of four districts, could see drastic changes in the next year or so. Watch the 13th. People do not like how it meanders around the perimeter from South DeKalb To southern Cobb County. Also watch the 4th. One representative is rumored to want to see the sixth drop further down from its present borders.

Now to the school board. When I first saw initial results on election night around 10 pm I was livid. All of the challengers were behind and behind big. Within a couple of hours the numbers had started to settle and things did not look too bad. As it stands now, no incumbent was defeated outright. District 1 and 7 are going to a runoff. District 3, 5, and 9 are wins for the incumbent. If all things hold as they are, only two seats stand a chance at changing. To me that is not enough. It says overall the citizens are satisfied with the direction of the school board. Donna Edler came close to unseating Zepora Roberts, but fell short. In district 1 Nancy Jester finished at the top but could not clear the 50 plus 1 hurdle. Two things about the run-off in both districts. In both, the incumbent actually received less votes. In District 1 if you combine jesters totals with that of Merope Gillis, the voters actually wanted Jim Redovian out. The voters who wanted Redovian out just split on who they wanted. The same was evident in the 7th. Sixty-one percent of votes cast were against Zepora Roberts. If these trends hold those two seats are gains for those who think it is time for a change. The second observation is will enough voters remain discontent and return to the polls to deliver the message they sent on Tuesday. After all people wanted to see something change in those two districts. If bad news continues to flow out about DeKalb schools then the challengers can win. If the fight is gone and people do not show, the incumbents can get more of their people to the polls and that means sure defeat in the run-off for Jester and Edler.

A couple of other things on the board. Jay Cunningham received 64 percent of the vote in district 5. A man with a felony theft conviction and possible conflicts of interest should have had a rougher time than he did. What is really depressing is that there was one a possibly two candidates that were clearly qualified to do the job. In the past SACS has said that accreditation was not on the line in DeKalb. The also stated they wanted to see how the lections turn out. If none of the challengers’ win in run-offs, will this affect SACS view of the system.

 

DeKalb Results here: http://web.co.dekalb.ga.us/Voter/pdf/GEResult11102010.pdf

 

A few thoughts if you please

October 19, 2010 2 comments
A few thoughts on politics, government and community 

The 2010 midterm elections are approaching fast, and the there are so many candidates and offices up for election that it’s easy to get overwhelmed.  Endorsements are rolling in from groups and individuals whose motives are unknown at best. There are a lot of offices up for grabs for South DeKalb voters, so here is my rundown on some of them.

Let’s talk board of education first. EduKALB has endorsed its slate of candidates for the board of education. As we all know, the board has been the subject of some bad press lately, and the thought of having the accreditation of the county schools revoked has put the spotlight on the board members themselves. EduKALB, a reform-minded group , I think,  has endorsed Dr. Kirk Nooks in the 5th and Corey Wilson in the 3rd district. They also gave the nod to Donna Edler in the 7th district. These seem like reasonable endorsements to me. Having talked to two of the three, I came away with a good feel for both Wilson and Nooks. I have heard Ms. Edler on several occasions, and I think she will be an upgrade in the 7th. What surprised me about EduKALB was the lack of endorsement for Nancy Jester in the 1st district. She seems to be a well grounded individual that has a good command of what is going on in the system and wants to see a change in the way business is done. Maybe Jim Redovian is not like the other incumbents in that he has no dirt that is sticking to him like several of the other candidates. In any case, Voting for Jester would not hurt the 1st district in my humble opinion.
The election for the 4th district congressional seat is probably safe for Hank J., but I wonder how much of a dent Liz Carter will make. She has been at Hank from day one. Even during the primary, Hank was her primary target. She and her supporters make no bones about their lack of confidence in the present representation, but lets be real here, this is a pro Democrat district, and unless there has been some radical change in the last few minutes, it will remain just that. No Republican has gotten more than a third of the vote in this district since it was redrawn back in the mid-nineties, but Carter has been very vocal and has a solid group of hard core supporters that will probably go to the polls. Hank on the other hand has played it quiet, not engaging in debates, and basically ignoring Carter’s call for at least one debate. I do have to wonder why Hank won’t debate Carter; is it fear of a misstep that could be fatal? I doubt that even a few mistakes by Johnson would hurt him in the 4th. What I want to see is if Carter can get between 40-45 percent of the vote. If she does that would be news all its own and could signal a changing of the guard in DeKalb. 

I haven’t spent much time on the 13th district race, but I have to say this; I hope David Scott loses. Why, you ask? Well to start he doesn’t even live in the district. He would rather fight community gardens in Inman Park than live and play around the people he is supposed to represent. If you need more reasons, just Google him and then tell me you still support the guy.

The folks over at Crossroads News have been on point as of late. A series of articles taking the county to task about it’s roadside maintenance has reaped some benefits. In the past few weeks, I have seen not only county workers, but volunteers and community service folks cleaning up major thoroughfares in South DeKalb. One weekend I saw so many orange bags waiting to be picked up I had to wonder where all the trash came from. Now it is up to citizens to do their part. Trash strewn streets and waist high grass is an eyesore and shows a lack of pride in ones own backyard.

Thanks go to a DeKalb police officer who responded to my neighbors alarm. I came home one day and my neighbors alarm was going off I knew she was out of the country and had a home sitter while she was gone. I walked around the house and saw nothing out of place. I called her alarm company since I did not have the house sitters info, and advised them. They told me they saw the alarm, but it was a motion and not a window or door but would call police anyway. When the police arrived about 15 minutes later, the officer checked things out and alerted the alarm company who killed the alarm. The officer was polite and actually thanked me for alerting the alarm company. I wish I had gotten his name because all the crap that he police put up with, he took the time to be polite and friendly.

Lats but not least. The county needs to work on it’s documents depot. That is where average folk like you and me can go to see many of the documents that help us keep track of our elected officials. My beef with the DocDepot is that minutes from BOC meetings are never up to date. In fact if you go there right now, you will not see any minutes from BOC meetings since early July. I know that the minutes have to be approved by the CEO and there are some other additional hoops before they can be published, but there has to be a faster way. You will find agendas and summaries but no minutes. The minutes offer details that summaries and agendas do not. You would think that meeting minutes from August would be posted by now. In this day and age, information moves at the speed of light, but in government, it still moves at a snails pace.

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/

4th district results updated

July 20, 2010 1 comment

I just checked the SOS site, and most of the numbers coming in for the 4th are from Rockdale. Liz has a commanding lead over 2nd place Larry Gause. Hank has a greater than 2 to 1 lead on Vernon Jones who is leading Connie Stokes by just 3 percentage points

——————————————————————————————————————————————————————————–

From SOS site

these numbers prob represent North DeKalb as South DeKalb is always late. Not looking good for vernon. Liz is pulling away with 7% reporting

Republican Candidates Votes % of Votes
Lisbeth “Liz” Carter 1,038 58.2%
Larry Gause 452 25.4%
Cory Ruth 164 9.2%
Victor Armendariz 129 7.2%
Totals 1,783
Democratic Candidates Votes % of Votes
Hank Johnson, Jr. 638 56.3%
Vernon Jones 267 23.5%
Connie Stokes 229 20.2%
Totals 1,134

I am checking multiple sites for results including Fox5Atlanta which is the best site for results in terms of layout. All races are on one page. now i am waiting to see which sites gives latest most accurate update.

Did anyone see any of the candidates for governor in S. DeKalb this cycle. I cannot remember any one showing his/her face.

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.

Mo’ Money in the 4th

June 28, 2010 Comments off

Money means so much when running a political campaign. It can make an unknown candidate a household name overnight. Here are some tidbits I found on the candidates who are running for the congressional seat held by Hank Johnson. These are not eye-popping numbers, but I think it shows how competitive this race will be. If it were not for the PAC’s financing of Johnson, he would be right down there with Vernon Jones and Liz Carter in terms of funds raised from individuals, although he still has raised double what Vernon has in individual contributions. The number that surprises me here is the amount of money Liz Carter has on hand. She has raised just over $28,000 but has about $6,100 on hand. These numbers of course have changed since they were reported in March of this year.  Get the same data and more at the following links:

http://www.opensecrets.org/races/summary.php?id=GA04&cycle=2010

http://www.fec.gov/

Raised

Hank Johnson (D)* $290,143
Vernon A. Jones (D) $37,570
Liz Carter (R) $28,336
Connie Stokes (D) $16,340
Cory Ruth (R) $6,792
Lawrence F. Gause (R) $2,300
Victor Armendariz (R) $0

Hank highlights

72 percent from PAC’s, expected since he is the incumbent and has a wider circle of support

$79,000 from individuals about double Vernon.

$64,000 on hand also double Vernon.

Hanks top contributors:

National Beer Wholesalers Assn: & $11,000

American Assn for Justice: $10,000

Intl Brotherhood of Electrical Workers: $10,000

United Food & Commercial Workers $7500

AFLAC inc.: $7000



Vernon highlights

$37,500 raised

$31,000 on hand

No debt
Vernon has no data for top contributor

Liz Carter highlights

Raised: $28,336

Spent: $22,219

On Hand: $6116

Debt: $1,600

Liz Carter Top Contributors

Davis Wright Tremaine LLP: $2,400

American Hermetics: $2,000

American Hermetics of Ga: $2,000

Iovation Inc.: $1,500

Inside Gwinnett: $1,295

Connie Stokes highlights

Raised: $16,340

Spent: $7,130

On Hand: $9,210

Debt: >$80,000

Individual Contributions: $7,110 or 44%

Self-financing $5,880 or 36%

Top contributors to Connie

Ngp Software: $2,600

Mme: $1,000

Where the mony comes from: In state vs Out of state funds. Not surprising that Hank gets a lot of cash from outside. What is surprising is the out of state money for Liz Carter

In State        Out State    No State

Hank Johnson (D) $53,175 (76%) $17,000 (24%) $2,000 (3%)
Vernon A. Jones (D) $34,700 (99%) $250 (1%) $0 (0%)
Liz Carter (R) $9,691 (49%) $10,000 (51%) $0 (0%)
Connie Stokes (D) $3,850 (55%) $3,100 (45%) $0 (0%)
Lawrence F. Gause (R) $600 (50%) $600 (50%) $0 (0%)
Cory Ruth (R) $601 (100%) $0 (0%) $0 (0%)
Victor Armendariz (R) $0 (0%) $0 (0%) $0 (0%)

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.