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Redistricting coming to DeKalb

July 22, 2011 1 comment

I chatted with a local politician recently, and we covered a mryiad of topics including redistricting that will add a 14th congressional seat for Georgia. The seat is going to go to an exurban county on the outer fringes of the northern metro was his evaluation. With that additional seat comes a redrawing of all congressional district lines in georgia. Since Repiublicans control al three branches of Goverment in Georgia, it is a foregone conclusion that the seat will be drawn in such a fashion that a Republican will win the seat with ease. As for the other districts, compromise and legal precedent will shape how those districts are drawn. From what I am told, the fourth district represented by Hank Johnson will be extended futher east taking in the rest of Rockdale county and parts of Newton county.  If the 4th is moved further east, then you may see the fifth moving further east as well. I can remember when the 5th was generally the city of Atlanta. it has since expanded to areas of DeKalb that border the city. In the new alignment, the 5th would suck up what is much of DeKalb inside the perimeter and and South of interstate 85 on the northside. The 5th would become an inside the perimeter district with a few exceptions. I was also told that the fith could extend down into Clayton County to take in parts of riverdale wich is now part of the 13th district represented by David Scott. If that happens, then the 13th would be cut off from the rest of the district in the western part of the metro. That could mean that David Scotts district could be the sacrificial lamb in the redistricting talks. The sixth district in north DeKalb could extend further south down to I-85 inside of 285. If all of this holds true, then DeKalb will continue to be represented by four different congressmen, more than any jurisdiction in the state. Want more info on redistricting, go here to see meeting schedules and times

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

 

Now it is the voters turn

November 1, 2010 1 comment

Now that all of the political ads have run. After all the pundits have prognosticated, and  all the polls have predicted, it is now time for the voter to have his/her say. The voters have to decide what is best for the country, the state, and the district. Neither of the major parties has all the answers. If any one of them did we would not be in the mess we are in now.  In fact the answers lie somewhere in between the the three big boys. There are reasonable people in most parties, but it is the outspoken who command the attention of voters.  Ignore them, for the represent all that is bad in political parties. Party loudmouths and their supporters will vote for corrupt and incompetence just to stay loyal to the party.  A stupid Democrat is a stupid Democrat why put him/her in office. A corrupt Republican is a corrupt Republican. Why choose him/her just because they have an (R) behind their name. When I walk into that booth on Tuesday, I am going to vote for the person who I feel has a vision that is closely inline with the way I think the country should be moving. Party affiliation is not an issue. I challenge all of you to do the same. Don’t ignore or support a candidate based on party alone. If you do you do so you may get that corrupt (R) or that incompetent (D) running things for the next few years or so.

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/

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.

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.

Fresh ideas will never get a chance

May 1, 2010 Comments off

I was reading this particular posting about ballot access laws in the nation. What stood out for me were a couple of things. First was the fact that Georgia has some of the most restrictive ballot access laws in the nation. Basically you must get 1% of the registered voters to sign a petition for you to get on the ballot in Georgia. Unless of course you are a Democrat or a Republican. Take a gander at who made these laws and the courts that continually uphold them; Democrats and Republicans. I raise this point because as a voter, I am tired of the either or options. It is always liberal Democrat or conservative Republican as the choices I have when I go to the polls. It would be nice to have a choice from a person who believes in lower taxes, and a moderate welfare system meant to help those who truly need it. A candidate can be for abortion, and a strong military. There are voters out there who have a variety of beliefs that are not always consistently on one side or another. We need candidates who are like the voters. We need candidates that don’t think and Oath of Loyalty to a party idea makes you a better candidate. The other thing that stood out was democracy angle. In a democracy people have the opportunity to voice their opinions and dislikes. In our representative democracy, we give that voice to our elected officials. When you have only two options to choose from, you are not voicing your opposition or dislikes, you are basically being asked to choose the lesser of two evils. If they wanted the system to be fair, they would allow any citizen who can fork over a modest amount of cash get on the ballot. And any party that registers with the Secretary of State would be allowed to have his or her candidate on the ballot. This will not completely fix the two party monopoly, but it would be a good place to start.

Check out the ballot access article here

Governor’s race – The candidates

March 31, 2010 Comments off

I have been spewing a lot about the congressional races that affect South DeKalb, but have neglected the race for the CEO of the great state of Georgia. So here they are with some campaign sites and my take on each of course. my list is not exhuastive. for the complete list of the governors race as well as others check out this page from the Sec. of States website

Democrats

  • Thurbert Baker, Smart guy, knows his stuff, needs to fix his cut though. Can he win? No. Not because he is not qualified, but because history says he can’t win.
  • Roy Barnes, The former head man is qualified; after all he has held the job before. Can he win? Of course he can win, but he won’t
  • Carl Camon, I didn’t know who this was until I started this list. His bio suggests a hard worker who was not privileged like some of the other candidates. Can he win? No. Small town mayor ain’t enough to overcome the history that says he can’t win.
  • DuBose Porter, This guy seems squeaky clean. Church man, Eagle Scout, family man, all great things. Can he win? Maybe. He might be a dark horse, if he doesn’t have any skeletons.
  • David Poythress, I like this guy. He is a military man, although it is was the Air Force. It is hard to go wrong with a military man. He has been in many leadership positions. Can he win? I think he could go all the way and get beat by any Republican.

Libertarian

Republicans

  • Jeff Chapman, Can he win? I don’t know. Probably not. But who knows. He does have the best website of all the candidates.
  • Nathan Deal, I wonder if this ethics thing has any legs? Can he win? Polling says he is competitive, and would beat Roy Barnes if he were the Republican candidate and Barnes was the  Democrat choice.

Retired naval officer running for 4th House District | ajc.com

January 26, 2010 Comments off

Retired naval officer running for 4th House District  | ajc.com.

As far as I can tell, Larry Gauses candidacy has been around for a while. He has stuff on his Facebook page as far back as mid December 2009. I also saw a political site that had him and Hank Johnson as contenders for the 4th. The site did not have Republican Liz Carter. A Google search of his name has him making an announcement on his twitter page on August 21, 2009. The Peach Pundit has a post here about it. I do not know exactly when he filed the paperwork, but it seems he is in to win.  A quick glance at his site and his Facebook page makes me think he is a true fiscal and social conservative. It also seems that he embraces a populist attitude towards issues. I don’t know how it will play in the 4th. It seems that his Republican challenger, Liz Carter, is a little more moderate, which may play to independents and conservative Democrats. The 4th is looking like the race to watch in metro Atlanta.