Photo Credit: Formulanone
The Athens Anti-Discrimination Movement, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and other local groups and individuals will hold a "community response forum in support of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School" in Parkland, FL, where a gunman killed 17 people earlier this month.
The forum is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. tonight in the auditorium at the Athens-Clarke County Library. It will open with a moment of silence, then Clarke County School Superintendent Demond Means and state Rep. Spencer Frye (D-Athens) will speak.
The AADM is seeking volunteers to "perform simple tasks for this event." Volunteers should call Knowa Johnson or Michael Smith at 706-380-5256.
John Barrow, running as a Democrat for Georgia Secretary of State, told Oconee County Democrats last week that he was proud of his endorsements from Republicans, including from Oconee County Sheriff Scott Berry and from former Oconee County Commission Chair Melvin Davis.
“Believe me, to have someone like Scott and Melvin on there is an eye opener for folks who know the score,” Barrow said of his list of endorsements.
The more general point, Barrow said, is that it is important for political leaders to listen to people who have views different from their own.
“I think that is just as true for Democrats as it is for Republicans,” Barrow said.
Barrow was the featured speaker at the Oconee County Democratic Committee meeting on Tuesday night, where he followed Lisa Lott, a candidate running in the nonpartisan election on May 22 for judge of the Superior Court for the Western Judicial Circuit, made up of Clarke and Oconee counties.
Lott said she was challenging Regina Quick, appointed by Governor Nathan Deal to the judgship in August of last year, because she felt voters, not elected officials, should pick the Superior Court judge.
Photo Credit: courtesy of Mariah Parker
Activist, hip-hop artist and Flagpole cover girl Mariah Parker is running for Athens-Clarke County Commission in District 2, she announced this weekend.
Parker—a doctoral student in linguistics at UGA who's also known by her stage name, Linqua Franqa—had been Tommy Valentine's Commission District 9 campaign manager, but is now striking out on her own.
She'll face Taylor Pass in the race to replace Commissioner Harry Sims, who resigned to run for mayor, and represent East Athens. Another announced candidate, teacher Mark Martin, has dropped out. It's possible other candidates could jump in during the official qualifying period Mar. 5–9.
Parker said she's running because the commission needs a full slate of progressives to enact policy. From her announcement:
Only three Athens-Clarke County commissioners graded higher than a C on a report card issued by the progressive political group Athens for Everyone earlier this month.
A4E’s grades were based on commissioners’ votes and public statements on the issues of transit expansion, fare-free buses, an anti-discrimination ordinance, Complete Streets, marijuana decriminalization, affordable housing, living wages, early learning and a plastic-bag ban or fee. "Champions" received extra credit for taking a leadership role on certain issues.
The worst commissioner, from A4E’s perspective, was District 7 representative Diane Bell, who received an F. Mayoral candidate Harry Sims received a D- despite opposing A4E on every issue the group tracked. So did Mayor Nancy Denson, who received an F. District 1 Commissioner Sharyn Dickerson also received a D-.
Brad Raffensperger told Oconee County Republicans he is motivated by three key issues in his bid to get the Republican nomination for Secretary of State in the May 22 primary.
He said he wants to make sure that only Americans vote in elections in the state, that Georgia is a great place to find a job, and that Georgia is a great place to build a business.
Raffensperger told the 25 people attending the Jan. 25 meeting of Oconee County Republicans at the very front of his talk that he was running for Secretary of State “to make sure that only American citizens vote in our elections.”
The Georgia Department of Transportation lifted a stop-work order last week against G.P.’s Enterprises Inc., contractor for the widening of Mars Hill Road, that had halted all work on the road project since December of last year.
GDOT had issued the stop work order after discovering problems with storm water drainage at the bridge over Barber Creek that resulted in dirt and sediment entering Barber Creek.
G.P.’s, based in Auburn, GA, has been prohibited from moving forward with all work on the project except for repair of the drainage system at the bridge.
Oconee County Public Works Director Emil Beshara said on Thursday of last week that G.P.’s is getting ready to start paving again, and he does not expect any delay in completion of the $26.4 million contract by the May 31 deadline.
Houston Gaines—the young Republican who lost a state House of Representatives special election to Democrat Deborah Gonzalez last year—announced this morning that he will try for the District 117 seat again in November.
“This district wants and deserves conservative leadership at the state Capitol—and that’s not what it’s getting now,” Gaines said in a news release. "I’m going to provide our district a conservative alternative to the out-of-touch representation we have today.
“I have lived in this district my entire life and had the privilege of graduating from the university in my hometown. My family’s roots run deep here. Just as my grandfather [Joseph Gaines] served this community as a judge, I want to work on behalf of my neighbors in this district to bring high-paying jobs to this region, invest in education to bolster our workforce and prepare students for the careers of tomorrow and protect the high quality of life we enjoy here."
Since taking office, Gonzalez has not shied away from staking out liberal positions on issues like health care and immigration. She co-sponsored a bill to expand Medicaid in Georgia and criticized Clarke County Sheriff Ira Edwards for holding undocumented jail inmates for Immigration and Customs Enforcement to deport.
Today's Athens-Clarke County Commission work session will be moved to City Hall so that it can be recorded and video posted online for the first time.
ACC has broadcast the commission's agenda-setting and voting meetings since 2002, but for years local activists have complained that work sessions—more informal meetings where important decisions are often made—have not been recorded or broadcast, meaning citizens have to physically attend what can often be three- or four-hour meetings to learn about the issues discussed.
Unlike the commission chamber at City Hall, the Dougherty Street auditorium where work sessions are held does not have cameras, which had been county officials' justification for not recording or broadcasting them in the past.
The Mayor and Commission decided at a recent retreat to try moving the work sessions to City Hall—a move some had resisted in the past because they thought the formal setting would stifle what is often a freewheeling discussion.
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