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.
Donald Trump underperformed in Oconee County on Nov. 8, compared with how Republican presidential candidates fared in 2012 and 2008, an analysis of the official results for the last three presidential elections shows.
Trump got 67.4 percent of the vote in Oconee County, compared with Mitt Romney’s 73.6 percent in 2012 and John McCain’s 70.8 percent in 2008.
Photo Credit: Joshua L. Jones/file
Like many people, you may find yourself wondering, "What now?" after Donald Trump's stunning win Nov. 8. Athens for Everyone's answer is: "Organize!"
The local progressive group is holding a public mass meeting at 3 p.m. today at The Cotton Press (a catering facility in the Chase Park warehouses) to discuss how Trump's policies could affect Athens and how to resist the president-elect's agenda. The organization says:
Georgia-based sketch comedy duo Home Brewed humor took to the streets of downtown Athens last weekend to interview drunk Auburn and Georgia fans about Donald Trump's win.
The results were predictable but will nonetheless make you despair for your city, your school and (possibly) your race. Warning: Language is NSFW.
Photo Credit: Lee Becker
Dan Matthews, a longtime Democratic activist and a fixture in the Athens music scene for decades, has won a Watkinsville city council seat, according to the Athens Banner-Herald.
Matthews, the office manager at Eric Krasle’s law firm, beat Mark Melvin 570 votes to 568. He was declared the winner Monday after a handful of absentee ballots arrived from overseas. It was Matthews’ fourth run for local or state office.
Most Flagpole readers probably are still processing Donald Trump’s stunning upset, the biggest since at least Harry Truman in 1948. If it’s any small comfort for local Democrats, you did just about everything you could to elect Hillary Clinton.
Turnout was higher in Clarke County this year than in 2012, with 4,000 more votes cast, and Clinton won 65 percent of the Athens vote, outpacing Obama by two percentage points. Trump won just 28 percent of the vote locally, six points less than Mitt Romney. Libertarian Gary Johnson won 4 percent—a bit higher than usual—and 1,137 people cast write-in votes, but looks as if third-party candidates drew more from Trump than Clinton, at least locally.
Still, Trump won Georgia handily, 51-46, which is about the usual margin we’ve come to expect here. I have thoughts on the national race—though I wouldn’t blame you if you don’t care, given the pundits’ record—and we’ll get to those, but first, some more local results:
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