On this last day of 2013, we pause for a moment to look back at the year that was. For some of you 2013 was a banner year, for others not so much. Words like sequestration, debt ceiling, and #shutnado became part of our national political lexicon. Statements were made and outrage ensued. Apologies and half-hearted apologies were issued, people resigned or were fired and one person was put on indefinite hiatus for less than two weeks. Such is the tenor or political and social discourse in America today. Many Americans are hurting, perhaps more than have been in a long time in this country, nevertheless we as a nation are blessed beyond measure.
On a personal note I want to thank all of you for reading and participating in the Peach Pundit community. It’s a lot of fun to post here and in large part that’s because of all of you. Thanks and Happy New Year.
We here at Peach Pundit wanted to give out a few awards so I asked the Front Page Posters some questions. Their responses (and mine) are below. Feel free to give out your own awards in the comments.
Best Political Theater Of 2013
Buzz: Atlanta school cheating trials, and the DeKalb School Board removal.
Charlie: Atlanta Falcons Stadium giveaway.
Jon: Hank Johnson on Helium Reserve.
Tim: DeKalb County’s struggle to remain intact. Burrell Ellis is reminding anyone who will listen that he’s still CEO, but he’s also under indictment, and Commission Chairman Lee May is, in effect, running the show. The county has already seen its two biggest most prosperous communities – Dunwoody and Brookhaven – form their own cities, and 2014 could see a city of Tucker/Lakeside/Druid Hills/Northlake/Whatever. Will there be anything left of DeKalb for anyone to care?
Worst Political Theater Of 2013
Buzz: Better Georgia inserting itself in the Wilcox County High School integrated prom.
Charlie: The implosion from within of the Georgia Ethics Commission.
Jon: Bill Heath dodging Lori Geary over Chip Rogers/GPB.
Tim: Sequester. Raise your hand: did anyone feel any impact, whatsoever, when the federal government partially shut down this past summer? Did anyone really care?
Anonymous Front Page Poster: GAGOP state convention where it became a pissing contest between #LIBERTY and #TheEstablishment (No offence to our own peachy lady of liberty Jessica) and how the convention ended with business left on the table to be decided upon by the state committee during the summer.
Most Over-reported Story Of 2013
Buzz: The imminent takeover of Georgia by the Democratic Party
Charlie: Democrats are back – because if you repeat it enough it must be true.
Jon: Dems have a chance to win Georgia Gov, Senate races.
Tim: Arthur Blank’s efforts to get a new nest. Was there ever really any doubt? What an NFL owner wants, an NFL owner gets.
Most Under-reported Story Of 2013
Buzz: How the new (and potentially new) cities in DeKalb County are saving DeKalb county.
Charlie: Continual problems with SOS computers and administration backlog.
Jon: Effects of moving the primary and runoff dates around.
Tim: Dunwoody State Rep. Tom Taylor’s efforts to allow newly incorporated cities to form their own school system. This bill is going to be on a fast track when the legislature reconvenes next month. Even Taylor admits the bill has a steep climb, but if it passes, it will alter metro Atlanta’s local educational landscape forever.
Biggest Government Waste
Buzz: There are so many but let’s go with School Equalization Funds. It’s one of the most socialist things we do (taking $$$ from so-called wealthy counties and giving them to poorer ones) and every school system complains about it. There’s got to be a better way.
Charlie: Chip Rogers still drawing $150K salary from GPB for….less than what we do here for free.
Jon: Falcons and Braves Stadia
Best Government Expenditure
Buzz: Any dollars spent by Georgia to deepen the Port of Savannah.
Charlie: Managed Lanes Freeway expansions signed for I-75 North & South
Jon: Tax credits for movie studios.
Boldest Political Tactic
Buzz: Senator Balfour asking for a speedy trial….and winning.
Charlie: Don Balfour’s request for a speedy trial.
Jon: Balfour demanding a speedy trial and winning.
Worst Political Scandal
Buzz: The scandal at the Atlanta VA Medical Center.
Charlie: Don Balfour still being in the Ga Senate
Jon: Atlanta Public Schools Cheating (tied with Burrell Ellis).
Tim: The DeKalb County School Board. Gov. Nathan Deal removed five of the board of education’s seven members after the system lost its accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Then, four of those suspended members go on a legal spending spree at taxpayer expense (2014’s Biggest Government Waste) to convince the courts that they had been wronged, instead of the almost 100,000 students who were entrusted to them.
Politician Of The Year
Buzz: Senator Chambliss. He created the biggest political story ’round these parts of 2013 and 2014.
Charlie: Saxby Chambliss – he changed the entire landscape this year.
Person Of The Year
Buzz: All those hard working folks out there who get up every day and go about their business making Georgia a great place to live. I apologize for the whimpy answer.
Charlie: Jere Morehead taking reigns at UGA and changes (for the better) he is making
Tim: Dan Cathy. He’s now officially the CEO and chairman of Chick-fil-A Inc., taking over the company that the legendary S. Truett Cathy founded back in the 40s. Under his leadership, the company has weathered a firestorm of political correctness and remains one of the nation’s most recognizable fast-food entities. And it’s Chick-fil-A Bowl will join the BCS championship series in 2014, bringing an ever higher profile to one of Atlanta’s last remaining homegrown corporate citizens.
15 Minutes Of Fame
Buzz: Robin Thicke please go away. Sorry Jessica.
Charlie: Tim Lee – that’s about how much time it took him to lure the Braves.
Jon: Brian Laurens run for House 21. John Douglas for HD 10 Susan Davis for CD 11.
Tim: Atlanta Deputy COO Hans Utz. A city bureaucrat whom no one had heard of two months ago, Utz spent the last couple of weeks of the year in a very uncomfortable spotlight. As news of the Atlanta Braves’ move to Cobb County was disseminated, Utz was reported to have been very cavalier in his negotiations with the team, at one point reportedly telling the team, “It’s not like you can move somewhere else.” Then, he was suspended without pay for three days in late December after remarks surfaced that the Braves were “not going to call themselves the Cobb Crackers or the Smyrna (expletive).” Some people are even still calling for him to be fired. Utz has to be hoping that 2014 will return him to anonymity.
Sorry To See You Go
Buzz: RIP: Rep. Calvin Hill. We’ll also miss retiring State Rep. Doug Holt. The Georgia House will miss them both dearly.
Charlie: Nelson Mandela.
Jon: Boortz? Robert Maloof?
Tim: My favorite two authors, Tom Clancy and Vince Flynn. OK, so there’s not really a Georgia connection here. I’m just one of the millions of people worldwide who thrilled to the exploits of Jack Ryan and Mitch Rapp.
Destined For Political Stardom In 2014
Buzz: Tom Graves, Tom Price, and Erick Erickson.
Charlie: Tom Price.
Jon: Tom Price.
Tim: Michelle Nunn. She is the Democratic Party’s best hope for a return to political relevancy here in Georgia, and if she can finish within a couple of points of the GOP victor in November (see Big Prediction for 2014), she sets herself up nicely for a congressional run in 2016 or another statewide race in 2018.
Destined for Political Oblivion In 2014
Buzz: Michelle Nunn. I think this will be her one and only political race. Hopefully she’ll go back to the charity work she’s so good at.
Charlie: Bob Barr (but he’ll be back. he always comes back).
Jon: John Barge
Big Prediction For 2014
Buzz: Election night 2014 will be a good one for Republicans nationally as well as in Georgia. Our next U.S. Senator will be….I have no idea.
Charlie: Democrats fail to win a statewide ballot office in 2014.
Tim: The Georgia GOP holds onto both the governor’s mansion and retiring U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss’ seat.
New Year’s Resolution
Buzz: To not major on the minors and not let annoying things annoy me.
Charlie: I will suffer fools gladly. I also don’t keep resolutions.