The progressive group Athens for Everyone gave mayoral candidate Harry Sims a D- on its commission report card last month, and Sims is not happy about it.
The former commissioner has started a change.org petition taking issue with his grade. “[W]e believe Commissioner Sims’ words and actions were deliberately omitted or incorrectly characterized in a way manner [sic] to create a false impression of the commissioner’s positions,” the petition says. “We believe that the A4E report card fails to disclose relevant information, lacks important disclosures of what criteria were used and does not disclose any conflicts of interests that might exist between the group and the candidates/officials that were evaluated.”
The Athens Anti-Discrimination Movement will host a forum featuring mayoral candidates Kelly Girtz, Richie Knight and Harry Sims from 6–7:30 p.m. today at the Athens-Clarke County Library.
The forum will "center around their action plans to address poverty in Athens, quality of life, diversity and community inclusion," according to the AADM.
Originally the forum was set to be held at Ciné, but it has been moved to the library.
Photo Credit: Lee Becker
Rick Jeffares, running for Georgia lieutenant governor, told Oconee County Republicans that he doesn’t expect the Republicans to lose any state offices in November and that the party is likely to control state politics for at least eight to 12 more years.
Jeffares, from Henry County, said he expects fewer people to vote in the May 22 Republican primary than voted in the primary four years ago.
“When things are good,” Jeffares said. “When the stock market is good and people have got jobs, I hate to say it, they don’t care about politics at that point in time.”
Jeffares used the Feb. 22 meeting of the Oconee County Republican Party to state his positions on a variety of issues.
He said he wants to reduce regulations that restrict businesses, increase technical offerings in high schools, improve rural broadband service, invest more in roads and infrastructure, and reduce tuition at state universities.
Photo Credit: Lee Becker
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-.
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.
Photo Credit: Nicole Adamson/file
Chalis Montgomery's campaign called on opponent Richard Dien Winfield today to denounce what it called "escalating and violent rhetoric" against Montgomery.
Both Winfield and Montgomery are running in the Democratic primary to take on District 10 Rep. Jody Hice (R-Greensboro).
Irami Osei-Frimpong, a Winfield supporter who is featured in some of his campaign materials, posted on Facebook Sunday that he would "kill their [white liberals'] Democrat."
The Montgomery campaign took this to be a threat and called on Winfield to denounce it.
“The national sickness of violent political speech—particularly against women—has unfortunately reached our city,” Montgomery spokeswoman Kimberly Davis said in a news release. “This issue is one that transcends this particular election and is reflective of where we are in terms of public discourse in this country. It’s about how we treat all women.”
In a statement provided to Flagpole, Winfield said that he asked Osei-Frimpong to change the language of the post—which he did—and that he would not tolerate inflammatory speech.
Photo Credit: Chris Scredon
State Rep. Deborah Gonzalez (D-Athens) has endorsed Athens-Clarke County Commissioner Kelly Girtz in the race for mayor of Athens.
“Deborah has spent her career working toward a fair, supportive environment, particularly for women and creative professionals, and with that background, we are fortunate to have her representation in the General Assembly,” Girtz said in a news release. “She shares a commitment to ensuring that all people are provided with real opportunity, and I'm grateful for her endorsement in my run for Mayor of Athens-Clarke County. I'm looking forward to continuing our collaborative efforts for the good of Athens and the region.”
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