Earlier today, I received a press release announcing a new candidate for mayor. Just one thing was missing: a name.
Apparently he announced on Tim Bryant's radio show this morning, but I didn't catch it. After some online speculation—Batman? "The Man With No Name," Clint Eastwood? Should we get the Hardy Boys on the case?—campaign manager April Carson was kind enough to fill me in. The candidate is Antwon Stephens.
If the name sounds familiar, it's because Stephens—then going by Keyantwon—was involved in a controversy as the 17-year-old head of the Athens Tea Party Patriots back in 2013.
For your Sunday reading pleasure, here are a couple of items from the AJC that will be of special interest to Athenians:
First, Greg Bluestein reports on whether Gov. Nathan Deal, who vetoed campus carry last year, will sign it this time. He says it's likely, because exceptions added to the bill this year make it more palatable to the governor.
Photo Credit: Paul Joseph
Watkinsville voters overwhelmingly approved the Sunday sales of alcoholic drinks in the city’s restaurants and the Sunday sales of beer and wine in the city’s convenience stores in voting in the special election that ended Tuesday.
Vote rturnout was low, but the margins in favor of Sunday sales in the city were even higher than they were when county voters approved Sunday sales last November.
Photo Credit: Lee Becker
Only 63 of Watkinsville’s 2,117 eligible voters participated in the three weeks of early voting leading up to todays ’s election on whether Sunday sales of alcohol should be allowed at the city’s restaurants and convenience stores.
The turnout of less than 3 percent of the city’s voters suggests that only a small number of the city’s voters will decide the issue.
In the Mar. 17, 2015 special election in the city on liquor by the drink, only 265 voters cast a ballot, representing just a little more than 15 percent of the 1,759 registered voters. Positive votes were cast by 216 of those voters.
Voting on Sunday sales will take place from 7 a.m.–7 p.m. today at the city’s two precincts, City Hall and Annex.
This may be the worst-kept secret in Georgia politics, but the AJC reported today, citing an anonymous source, that Secretary of State Brian Kemp will run for governor in 2018.
Rumors have swirled that Kemp, who also served a term representing Athens in the state Senate, was gearing up for a run for governor almost since he was elected secretary of state back in 2006.
Photo Credit: Blake Aued
The presidential race feels like it's barely over, and local elections are still 15 months away, but campaign season officially arrived again when young businessman Richie Knight declared his candidacy for Athens-Clarke County mayor today, joined by a few dozen supporters at City Hall.
Knight said he wants to "see a new generation take over the helm... We've been stuck in a rut the past 20-30 years."
His top priority, he said, is economic development—high-paying jobs to alleviate the city's 30-plus percent poverty rate. He said he would focus on recruiting businesses that will pay a living wage, although he hasn't settled on a figure of what a living wage should be. (It's $10.17 an hour in Athens, according to MIT.)
"We need to have real conversations with employers, not just about coming here, but about what it means to be part of the community, whom they should be hiring, wage amounts," he said.
Photo Credit: John Buckley
GREENSBORO — A large crowd of energized and vocal opponents of the new administration’s policies attended Friday’s constituent service meeting in Greensboro, hosted by representatives of Rep. Jody Hice, a Republican who represents Athens, and the state’s two senators, Johnny Isakson and David Perdue.
Some were wearing the pink “pussy hats” worn during the recent wave of demonstrations in Washington and in cities across the country, and many held up hand-lettered signs. The room was packed, and most of the crowd—estimated by Greene County Sheriff Donnie Harrison at more than 500—was standing in the back and along the sides of the room.
After the staff members introduced themselves to the crowd, Josh Findlay, a Hice staffer, said that it was “the largest crowd we’ve ever had” at this kind of meeting. He then announced that due to the crowd size, meetings would be held individually in nearby private rooms. At this point people, in the crowd began booing loudly and howling that they wanted to be heard by the legislators’ surrogates, and sustained chants of “Hear our voice!” “Cowards!” and “This is what democracy looks like!” rang out.
Photo Credit: Joshua L. Jones/file
"Hundreds of concerned citizens" will travel to Greensboro Friday morning to "voice their opinions on current national issues and seek answers to questions surrounding the same issues," according to the local activist group Athens for Everyone.
They'll meet with staff members for Rep. Jody Hice (R-Monroe) and Republican Sens. David Perdue and Johnny Isakson from 10 a.m.–noon at the Greene County Government Office, 1034 Silver Drive.
Photo Credit: Kat Khoury
Several hundred students, professors and community members gathered on Friday at 11:45 a.m.—the same moment that President Donald Trump was inaugurated into office—to voice opposition to the incoming administration. “Walk Out” protestors met in groups at the main library on the University of Georgia's North Campus and the ROTC building on South Campus. Two parades of black-clad marchers then made their way to the rendezvous point at Tate Plaza.
Real Food & Amnesty, the Lambda Alliance, the Women's Studies Student Organization, the UGA National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the Undocumented Student Alliance, Students for Justice in Palestine and Athens for Everyone had representatives speak to a crowd that continued to grow. The black clothes of the marchers eventually mingled with the plainclothes passersby who were drawn to stay, some out of solidarity, some out of curiosity.
“We were hoping for a good turnout; this is an amazing turnout,” said Adwoa Agyepong, co-president of Amnesty International at UGA.
Former commissioner Chuck Horton defeated Marcus Wiedower by a 520-vote margin Tuesday night in the special election runoff for the open Post 2 seat on the Oconee County Board of Commissioners.
Horton carried seven of the county’s 13 precincts, including the two largest, to get 56.8 percent of the vote overall.
A total of 3,845 voters cast a ballot, representing 15.6 percent of the county’s 24,657 registered voters.
In other county action tonight, the Board of Commissioners postponed a decision on a requested rezone in the western part of the county for a solar farm.
The board also approved a change in the county’s alcohol ordinances to allow for Sunday sale of beer and wine in groceries and convenience stores and beer, wine and alcoholic drinks in restaurants. The ordinance goes into effect immediately.
For more, visit Oconee County Observations.
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