Hunter’s meeting with NAACP ends early

Members of the Gwinnett County NAACP are far from ready to forgive Gwinnett County Commissioner Tommy Hunter for his Facebook attack on civil rights icon and Democratic Congressman John Lewis. When Lewis questioned President Donald Trump’s legitimacy shortly before last month’s inauguration, Hunter responded by calling Lewis a “racist pig” on Facebook. Hunter’s attempt to begin repairing relations between himself and Gwinnett’s growing minority community crashed with a thud Tuesday when he attended the monthly NAACP meeting. Actually, he attended part of the meeting before abruptly leaving in the face of anarchy among the members and an open rebellion against the NAACP leadership. NAACP members, leadership and a Hunter spokesman all expressed frustration following the meeting that few got to express their views.  Hunter aide Seth Weathers said the meeting had reached a point that it no longer made sense for Hunter to stay. “It is not what it was billed as,” he said. “All the time they were shouting him down. Temperatures were rising, and that was just a protest.” NAACP member Penny Poole was most outspoken in protest of both Hunter and the group’s leadership for having him there. “I had to stand up and be rude, and I am not a rude person,” she said.  “We did not want him here tonight.” Poole repeatedly challenged NAACP local president Marlyn Tillman for inviting Hunter, and then for taking 30 minutes asking the commissioner prepared questions rather than accepting questions from the members.  Poole, and many who sided with her at the meeting, carried signs demanding Hunter’s resignation. Hunter has repeatedly said that is not going to happen,...

VIDEO: Dahlonega Hosts GOP Chair Candidate Debate

  On Saturday, some politically committed souls spent their Saturday night listening to the pitches of four candidates for the Georgia Republican Party Chairmanship. Alex Johnson, Michael McNeely, John Watson and Mike Welsh laid out their experience and strategy for the GOP going forward. One of the issues that came up frequently was fundraising. The state party is currently hampered with some fundraising challenges. The party currently has about $38,000 in the bank and nearly $320,000 in debt. The past year’s politics have perhaps been rough on the state party. Many Trump voters that could potentially be donors to the state party believe the party is too “establishment” and some Republicans who are dismayed with the rise of Trump may be reluctant to give to a party that is, in effect, run by him. Johnson has been a candidate for chair previously and has run for state senate in a heavily Democrat district. He started his political career with the Oglethorpe University college republicans. He has been heavily involved with DeKalb County Republicans for a number of years. Johnson is concerned about the lack of the presence of the party in Georgia. The elections in 2016 showed some gains by Democrats in a few areas and Johnson doesn’t want to see the Republicans continue to lose ground. Johnson believes the party needs to build a stronger grassroots effort and not just spend money on mail and consultants. McNeely has been the First Vice Chair for the state party for a couple years. He is from the Augusta area and was a police officer for 14 years while serving in...

Attorney General secures big win for Georgians

  The battle against predatory pay-day lenders is not a new issue in Georgia, but recently-appointed Attorney General Chris Carr may have just won the war.  A settlement between the state and online lending companies Western Sky Financial, CashCall, and other affiliates has resulted in $40 million going back into the pockets of Georgians who fell victim to the schemes.   Last Fall the Georgia Supreme Court ruled that out of state online lenders such as the defendants were subject to Georgia’s Payday Lending Act, which dictates that loans of $3,000 or less may not have interest rates above 10%.  The ruling threw a wrench into the business of the California-based lending companies, which were charging nearly 20,000 Georgians with interest rates between 140% and 340%. The settlement demanded the companies pay some $27 million in restitution to their ex-customers as well as offering  $17 million in loan relief.  An additional $1 million civil penalty to the State and $500,000 in legal fees capped off the deal, the largest monetary settlement with the lender in the nation to date. A monumental victory for Chris Carr and his legal team, including Counsel for Legal Policy Timothy Butler and Assistant Attorneys General Charlene Swartz, Monica Sullivan and Andrew Chesser.  More good press for the AG as he continues to make himself one of the state’s most popular politicians heading into his (re)election bid in...

New House bill pushes for state takeover of failing schools

  After much anticipation, Plan B — an alternative to the Governor’s Proposed Opportunity School District — made its debut late Friday when Rep. Kevin Tanner (R-Dawsonville) published HB 338.The new legislation is designed to create an intervention plan for chronically failing schools after voters turned down Amendment 1 (OSD legislation) last November. HB 338 would allow for a state takeover of struggling schools, and like the OSD legislation, would create a new position for a state official to oversee these schools. However, under HB 338, there would be no state appointed Superintendent who would report to the Governor. Instead, a Chief Turnaround Officer (CTO) would be appointed by the State Board and report directly to them. Under HB 338, the CTO should be an employee of the Department of Education, although this person will report directly to the State Board and will serve at the pleasure of the State Board. Legislation also outlines qualifications of the CTO, including: holding the position of principal or higher in a public school system for a minimum of three years; and “extensive experience in turning around failing schools.” The authorities of the CTO are outlined in the 12-page document, including the CTO’s responsibility to recommend personnel to serve as turnaround coaches for State Board approval. The coaches would assist schools identified as in the greatest need of help with ongoing assistance and input, and the coaches could be assigned to one or more school schools. Legislation also states that turnaround coaches “shall assist in creating local collaborations to address personal and community conditions, which shall include the needs, issues, and problems within...

Battle over Ga. driver’s licenses to illegal aliens

The Georgia Department of Driver Services liaison to the General Assembly, Michael Mitchell, is locked in a battle with the Dustin Inman Society’s D.A. King. The issue? Mitchell has been telling state lawmakers that illegal aliens are not getting Georgia drivers licenses. King flatly says: “That is not true” and adds documentation from former Attorney General Sam Olens: It has been happening since mid-2012. King notes legislation ( Senate Bill 6) has been passed in the state Senate to alter the license given to illegals so that it does not look exactly like the license given to foreign diplomats, legal visa holders like Mercedes Benz executives and real, legal immigrants. Indeed, he notes even the liberal AJC covered it. Last Thursday, Atlanta’ WSB TV station interestingly even ran a correction to a story based on DSS’s Mitchell’s statements claiming illegals don’t get driver’s...

Breaking: Deal sets date for 6th district special election

  Let the race begin! Following Tom Price’s confirmation as Secretary of Health and Human Services Friday morning Governor Nathan Deal announced the key dates in the election to replace him. Qualifying begins next Tuesday, February 14th, giving candidates two months to prepare for the special election on April 18th.  A runoff, if necessary, (a near certainty) would take place on June 20th. So look for the field to round into shape next week, and then away we go! See Deal’s full executive order...

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