Sandy Springs May Be The Next Ogdenville?

Sandy Springs isn’t content to be the home of Georgia’s busiest intersection nor several stops on Marta’s Red Line.  Growing Congestion has some in the city thinking about adding a few miles of monorail to tie it all together.  Doug Richards of 11Alive reports:

There is little question that Sandy Springs has transportation challenges. MARTA has a rail stop here but its roads are getting more clogged – it seems – by the day. “There seems to be thousands of more people on the road and I don’t know where they come from,” said Susan Hoffman, a Sandy Springs resident who has lived here since the 1960s.

Hoffman says she would like to see a larger public transit presence in Sandy Springs. The city has taken that idea and refined it.

“What was suggested was four or five miles of monorail,” said Assistant City Manager Jim Tolbert, who says it originated as a remark made during a planning commission meeting. Tolbert says it’s only an idea at this point — one that could connect some of Sandy Springs transportation flashpoints in a modest monorail system.

We took a look at a monorail proposal that was more extensive as a ring around the city similar to I-285.  Commenters noted that the relative slow speed of a monorail (about 30mph top speed) wouldn’t make it a practical application for long distance transit.  But for a 3-5 mile circulator between transit stations and major retail/employment centers?  Maybe.

Maybe we should start calling it Sandy Springfield.

Stacey Abrams Wants to Register 170,000 New Voters Before November 2016

You may remember the New Georgia Project from the 2014 elections. It was an effort spearheaded by House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams to register 120,000 new minority voters that would potentially vote for Democratic candidates Jason Carter and Michelle Nunn. After some controversy over missing voter registration forms that eventually amounted to nothing, the effort came up short and drew criticism from some within the Democratic Party that Abrams should have minded her knitting in the Gold Dome instead.

Today, Max Blau, who has done yeoman’s work covering the New Georgia Project in the past, brings us the news that Abrams has set a new goals of registering 170,000 voters before the presidential election and running a GOTV effort that will get up to 600,000 voters that don’t normally cast a ballot to the polls. She hopes to raise $10 million to support the effort.

These details are outlined in a pair of fundraising memos obtained by Atlanta magazine. Abrams has asked Democracy Alliance—a national progressive network of donors that Politico called the “closest thing the left has to the vaunted Koch brothers’ political network”—to donate up to $5.9 million for the New Georgia Project and contribute another $4.35 million for Voter Access Institute, a little-known progressive advocacy group she founded last year. Her funding requests aren’t surprising; one of the Democracy Alliance’s members, Democratic financier George Soros, wrote Abrams’s political action committee, Georgia Next, Inc., a $500,000 check in 2014 to fund her voter registration efforts. But the two requests are ones that, considering the funder’s secretive reputation, raise even more questions about the New Georgia Project, which has been criticized for its lack of transparency and its failure to live up to its expectations.
Abrams intends for her latest iteration of the New Georgia Project to be a constellation of projects scattered throughout the state. Voter registration efforts are centered in six cities, where, according to one memo, she plans to set up field offices with dozens of paid staffers. A series of smaller civic engagement projects are designed to push people to the polls. Her staff hosted a “hack-a-thon” where teams of computer programmers competed over a 48-hour period to create apps to make it easier to vote (#UnlockTheBox), held a five-day training course for applicants participating in a crash course to become campaign operatives (B.L.U.E.), and launched a series of citizen academies designed to demystify public policy at the local level (Advocates for Change Institute). The course even gave ACI graduates their own Apple laptops.

Time will tell whether the 2016 effort will be more successful than the one from last year.

Trump: The Devil Comes Back To Georgia

Donald Trump returns to Georgia today, to Macon, where he will likely say something stupid and outrageous about African-Americans. There’s something to be said for picking your audience, after all, and Macon — where slightly less than half of the county is black — is as good a place as any for it.

He’s primed the pump, after all, announcing that he would be meeting with black ministers for an endorsement last week. That meeting appears to have been called off after basically every black activist in America tracked down every single pastor who had been considering it to give them a piece of their mind.

Mary-Pat Hector, a freshman at Spelman — and a major local Black Lives Matter activist — set off alarm bells in the activist community almost immediately. One by one, she and her partners contacted people in the Trump flier, circulated by Mark Burns.

Reaction was swift. Wiley Jackson, a megachurch pastor with churches in southeast Atlanta and Stone Mountain, said “I’ve always encouraged the people who listen to me and believe in me to get involved in the political process,” in a YouTube video responding to criticism. “There should be a coalition of leaders in a position to ask the hard questions … Nowhere on the flier did it say we endorse Mr. Trump, or I personally endorse Mr. Trump. However, we need to ask the hard questions.”

Jackson didn’t say what those questions might be, of course.   Read more

Lewis Grizzard Is Dead And I Don’t Feel So Good Myself

This week’s Courier Herald column:

At the beginning of the 1993 football season, Lewis Grizzard penned a column headlined “Us versus Them, gridiron style”. In it he used a tale of his and a friends attendance at the 1981 Sugar Bowl to explain the importance of college football to southern fans.

His friend’s wife, concerned how worked up he was getting, tried to tell him it was just a football game. The friend quickly exclaimed, “It’s not just a football game. It’s our way of life against theirs.” Grizzard – the patron saint of Georgia football and barbecue – included that he once checked out of a London hospital with a heart infection and flew home for Georgia’s 1985 season opener with Alabama because he “wasn’t about to stay in no foreign country during college football season.”

In looking at the upcoming season, he wrote “Us could win them all in ’93, by the way, or Us could lose a few. But, right or wrong, win or lose, always Us.” That would end up being Grizzard’s last season of UGA football. And to paraphrase him, Lewis Grizzard is dead and I don’t feel so good myself. Read more

Cyber Monday Morning Reads – 11/30

Here’s your special flash deal of the day: Cyber Monday MRs at a deeply discounted rate!

The turkey has been consumed and people are now spending their productive hours at work trying to find the best deals.




CJ Pearson Says He Is No Longer A Conservative

Thirteen year-old CJ Pearson, who gained more than 100,000 Facebook fans for his homemade videos criticizing President Obama, told CNN that he is no longer a conservative, saying he was concerned about the GOP’s positions on racial issues.

“I was tired of being a champion of a party that turned a blind eye to racial discrimination. Tired of being a champion of any cause that denies equal rights to every American. Tired of being a champion of a party that doesn’t care about the issues important to young people,” Pearson wrote in an email.

“Over the past few days, I thought about essentially how I don’t want people to follow me because I’m that anti-Obama kid, or who called out Hillary Clinton or who took Bernie Sanders to task,” Pearson said. “I don’t want to be the conservative wonder kid that people follow because I make them feel good and like young people are part of their movement. I want to be followed because I’m the voice of a generation that doesn’t have a voice at the table.”

One of the reasons Pearson cited for leaving the conservative movement is that he felt his fans would not appreciate his speaking out on racial issues, including the alleged shooting of Laquan McDonald by Chicago police, according to the CNN story.

Pearson’s celebrity has had its ups and downs. In July, he got into a Twitter argument that may have been contrived. In September, he claimed he had been blocked on Twitter by President Obama, a claim that was quickly discredited, and for which he later issued an apology.

Until early November, Pearson had been chairman of “Teens for Ted” Cruz.

Earlier this week, Pearson announced he was running for the chairmanship of the Georgia Teen Republicans.

Happy Birthday Jon Richards

Today’s Black Friday special is a happy birthday wish to Jon Richards.

Jon is our Front Page Editor, with loosely defined duties including keeping content on the site fresh, managing the interns when we have them, and somewhere in there we may have made him the unofficial photographer.  He’s the contributor you’ve most likely met, as he attends damn near every political function within a reasonable traveling distance from his home in Gwinnett.  Somewhere in there between events he finds time to not only write them up but to wonk out with an extended analysis.

Jon is one of the folks I’ve had the privilege to meet through Peach Pundit, and he’s become a trusted and reliable friend.  Y’all take a break from shopping or consuming mass quantities of leftovers and wish him a Happy Birthday.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us here at Peach Pundit!

May your stuffing be tasty, may your turkey be plump. May your potatoes and gravy have nary a lump. May your yams be delicious and your pies take the prize, and may your Thanksgiving dinner stay off of your thighs.

Apparently Stacey Evans Isn’t Alone In Sending PSAs

Friend and GOP stalwart Justin Tomczak forwarded me an email from State Representative Pat Gardner (D-Atlanta) also encouraging her constituents to take preventative measures against identity theft.  Interestingly enough, the email is almost, an exact copy of Stacey Evans’ email that she sent out earlier this week.  The only exception is that Rep. Gardner’s email ends with “Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!” instead of another paragraph like Rep. Evans.

Either the honorable ladies have the same consultant who used a cookie cutter approach in order to seize the opportunity created by the Secretary of State’s mistake, or perhaps there is another person looking forward to the 2018 election.

Thanksgiving Can Be Fun Again

Like most folks of a certain age, Thanksgiving conjures happy memories of snoring, comatose adults on couches while the kid’s touch football game unfolds outside. After all, it’s not fun until somebody bleeds, right?

These days our betters want to commandeer our Thanksgiving mealtime conversations to topics they believe are more important. As if the day wasn’t already filled with loony relatives and burned casseroles.

Our buddy Ace comes to the rescue with the ultimate guide on how deal with the crazies. Read and enjoy. And comment on which strategy works for you.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Harris County Sheriff Puts Up a Politically Incorrect Sign

In Harris County, Sheriff Mike Jolley has caused a stir by posting a controversial sign in front of the sheriff department’s headquarters. Below a standard welcome to the county sign, he adds a second one, which says,

WARNING: Harris County is politically incorrect. We say: Merry Christmas, God Bless America and In God We Trust. We salute our troops and our flag. If this offends you… LEAVE!

The six term sheriff paid $553 out of his own pocket for the sign. The sign has become the talk of social media, with comments such as these:


What do you think about the sign? Take our poll:

Chatham County Sheriff Al St Lawrence Has Died

Chatham County Sheriff Al St Lawrence lost his battle with cancer Tuesday night, as reported by the Savannah Morning News:

St Lawrence was elected sheriff in 1992. He had said this would be his last term.

The sheriff’s office released a statement around 8:30 a.m. today expressing its “profound sadness that the family and this Office announce the passing of our beloved Sheriff, Al St Lawrence to cancer on November 24, 2015.”

St Lawrence, a five-year veteran of the United States Air Force, was stationed at Hunter Army Airfield and decided to make Savannah his home. He began a career in law enforcement in 1959 with the Chatham County Police Department. In 1971, he was appoint chief, a position he held for 21 years unit his retirement in April 1992 to pursue the office of sheriff, according to the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office.

During his career in law enforcement, St Lawrence was appointed twice to the Georgia Peace Officers Standards and Training Council (1985 and 1989). St Lawrence is the only law enforcement officer in the State of Georgia to be named both Georgia Chiefs of Police Association Outstanding Chief of the Year (1990) and twice named Georgia Sheriffs Association Sheriff of the Year (1995 and 2015).

Congressman Buddy Carter said the following this morning regarding St Lawrence:

“Al was a model public servant, having served the people of Chatham County with distinction for 56 years and serving his country in the Air Force before that. His 23 years as Sheriff transformed the Department into a modern crime fighting force. Through it all he maintained a servant’s heart, giving back to our community and to those across our state through the Georgia Sheriff’s Youth Homes which he supported vigorously. Amy and I send our thoughts and prayers to Pat and the entire St Lawrence family as well as the Chatham County Sheriff’s Department as we all mourn this loss.”

We extend condolences and prayers to the family and friends of Sheriff St Lawrence, as well as the law enforcement community of Chatham County.

Pre-Thanksgiving MRs

Who else is already in line for Black Friday??!?!

“Muscle’n Flo” by Menomena.

After you watch GSU beat the University of Old Mississippi tonight, stay tuned to watch the Erislandy Lara bout.

  1. Washington Post: Former GSU coach Lefty Driesell “absolutely belongs in Hall of Fame.”
  2. BBC: Our own Clarkston is the “most diverse square mile” in the U.S. 
  3. The Bern and Killer Mike walk into Busy Bee Cafe…
  4. Marketplace looks at the fight in Atlanta betwixt Uber and cabs. TL;DR–cabbies whine “but we were here first!” 
  5. Atlanta has three of the country’s worst bottlenecks. Shocking, I know. 
  6. The latest, pie-in-the-sky expansion plan for MARTA. (All this could be yours for the new, low-low price of $8 billion!)
  7. Did you know there is a website to track Atlanta’s bond package? 
  8. Gang numbers in Atlanta spike. And they’re found in the safe, bland utopia of OTP. 
  9. Savannah’s the Grey wins (another) national award; Atlanta’s award winners aren’t too shabby. 

Is Georgia Withholding State Aid from those that need it most?

The Georgia Department of Community Health is responsible for administering the Georgia Pediatric Program (GaPP) that is supposed to assist medically fragile children in this state in getting their healthcare needs met.

According to parents of those children it isn’t doing so. Judges who have heard their Americans with Disabilities Act complaints agree, and the Commissioner of the Department wants it all to go away. Or so it seems, he won’t answer the questions of Matt Pearl of 11Alive who broke the story.

11Alive requested an interview with commissioner Clyde Reese. The department refused.

We then requested an interview with anyone who could speak about the program. The department refused; its communications director, despite having received little background on the story, sent the following statement [unresponsive statement probably cut and pasted from a pamphlet removed].

We, in return, sent specific questions in writing, like “Why reduce nursing care for children whose conditions have not changed?”

The department refused to comment further.

The kids’ stories are heart-rending and failing to provide the legally required assistance (mostly nursing care) is an unlawful attempt to shift the burden onto the parents. I’m assuming everything in the legal decisions and parents.

(embedded video after the jump, autoplay)

Read more