Author: The Editors

We Support George Chidi. We Support The First Amendment.

On Monday, Peach Pundit contributor George Chidi posted this piece on Tom Owens, a candidate for DeKalb County’s Commission.  It’s detailed. It’s thorough. It’s tough but it’s fair.  It’s the work of a professional journalist.

Mr. Owens’ response was to accuse George Chidi of stalking him.  He sought and received a temporary protective order from a DeKalb County Magistrate Judge ordering George not to contact Mr. Owens or come within 100 feet of him.

Mr. Chidi has only contacted Mr. Owens at public events and via calls/text messages.  As the tough but fair professional that he is, he wanted to give Mr. Owens every opportunity to get his side of the story on the record as part of George’s piece.

Instead, Mr. Owens has sought not only to chill the efforts of a journalist trying to investigate and inform about the history of a public figure, but has had Mr. Chidi receive a notice from the court that he has violated the TPO by writing about receiving the TPO on his own blog and Facebook.

This, in any reasonable assessment, is unconscionable.

Nine years ago, PeachPundit was launched as a site for discussing Georgia politics.  Today we operate as an established news organization. Our editors are routinely offered press credentials to political events at the State and National level.  Because of sites like PeachPundit, traditional media outlets have embraced and extended the blog format, recognizing that good journalism takes many different forms.

Mr. Chidi is a published freelance reporter with contributions to publications such as The Guardian, The AJC, and Inc. Magazine. Although PeachPundit is considered by some to be ‘right leaning’, Mr. Chidi, has among the many items on his resume that he was an Occupy Atlanta Organizer. Claiming that the ‘blog’ format is not journalism is disingenuous. Dismissing Mr. Chidi’s professional journalism credentials as both a freelancer and contributor to this site is unacceptable.

Those of us at Peach Pundit come from diverse backgrounds and ideologies, but share in common the spirt of learning and reporting the truth, wherever that journey leads us.

Despite our varied political differences, we as the Publisher and Editors of Peach Pundit fully support George Chidi, journalist, and his right to report without the blatantly unconstitutional interference from the DeKalb County Magistrate’s court.  We stand behind George, and will fight to ensure that he continues to be able to report the truth, even when others wish to abuse the legal system as part of a pattern of intimidation.

The Peach Pundit Daily -Administrative Note

This morning’s Peach Pundit Daily included this: 

“New Look For AJC: ajc.com? That is so last week. The new myajc.com is much cooler. Clean lines, minimal ads and easier to navigate. It’s free until May -and then will require a subscription. So, maybe you would subscribe now?”

The item prompted a few emails about whether or not Peach Pundit is being compensated in any way by the AJC. The answer is no, we are not, we just liked their new site and thought our readers might want to subscribe. Thought it was obvious, but probably should have disclosed. Sorry for any confusion.

(You can always sign up for the Peach Pundit Daily here, though.)

Weathering the storm, uniting the caucus and conservative principles

The following was sent to the House Republican Caucus and Peach Pundit by Rep. John Lunsford (R-McDonough).

Since being elected to the House in 2000, I have had two goals. The first was to establish and maintain a majority to better represent my constituents and the other people of Georgia. The second was to create unity within our caucus to be able to ratify legislatively the Conservative values that motivated me to run in the first place. To a large extent, we have accomplished this goal as a caucus by providing tax cuts, passing tort reform, reducing the size of state government, enhancing public safety and crafting many other important measures that have improved the lives of all Georgians.

Now, however, our Caucus faces an unprecedented challenge. When confronted by this situation, I determined that the best way for us to move forward as a caucus was to reaffirm our leadership whoever that might be, while at the same time maintaining the solidarity necessary to continue to accomplish our goals.

After much thought, prayer and discussion with my colleagues, I decided that offering a petition in last week’s meeting was not only the best course of action, but also the only way to ensure that we enter the 2010 session strong, unified and energized. Many advised me against taking this course, arguing that it would hurt my chances at becoming Majority Whip. I told them, as I explain to you now, that my desire to serve as Whip pales in comparison to maintaining our majority.
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The View From the Democratic Side of the Aisle

One thing that is being overlooked is the potential role the minority party could play in the new Speaker’s election. All it takes is a united Democratic front and 15 or 16 disgruntled Republicans lining up behind a David Ralston or Ed Lindsey type figure. Historically these coalitions are tough to put together (just ask the aforementioned David Ralston, Larry Walker, etc). A primary reason is that the members of the two parties are skeptical of each other and rightly so. When it comes time do dole out committee chairmanships and decide on the agenda, both sides are wary of the necessary ideological sacrifices that need to be made in order to obtain power, and vice-versa.

A smart Republican and a realistic Democratic caucus are uniquely able to put the normal differences aside to form a coalition this year where it wasn’t possible in previous years. Instead of seeking big concessions on committee chairs and agenda, the Democrats could simply ask that the pre-Richardson House rules return, with one caveat: proportional membership on committees and minority members named by the minority leader. This would make the Georgia House more similar to the US House, and would do wonders for Democratic recruiting (because a candidate with expertise in education, for example, could be promised a slot on the education committee to entice them to run). This will not necessarily be a plus for the Republicans at the moment, but is a good reform for state government. When the balance of power eventually shifts back to the Democrats, the Republicans who instituted such a rule would eventually be considered patron saints of the new minority.

The 15 or 16 Republicans that join the coalition could still get first dibs at committee chairs, with maybe one or two plum ones going to Democratic leaders. It also makes sense for the coalition to appoint a Democrat Speaker Pro Temp (an empty but symbolic gesture), as well as negotiating for some guaranteed conference committee slots down the road. These conference committee positions are more important than committee chairs in many cases anyway, but don’t come with as glamorous or permanent a title. And the Democrats, in turn for some power and the old rules back, should concede that in a Republican majority body, they won’t be able to block mainstream initiatives that have overwhelming Republican support, afterall in the interest of good government Georgia did elect a Republican majority legislature and if they have any hope in making this coalition last longer than the 2010 elections the Republicans that join it will need to be able to campaign on some ideological victories in addition to restoring dignity to the House come the July primaries.

A Democrat can dream, even in Georgia. If the above happened, it would be a dream come true.

Burkhalter Out

My understanding this evening is that Mark Burkhalter is definitely out of the running. There’s a salacious rumor swirling about him that may have been his undoing. I hadn’t treated it as credible as I’d imagine something like that would be hard to keep a secret, especially for four years.

But lots of people are texting me and emailing me that it is all true. Who knows. One thing I do know — Burkhalter is damaged goods.

2008 – Legislative Superlatives

“Best Looking”  — Judson Hill

“Least harmful to the cause of liberty”  — Tony Sellier for spending the session in the hospital.

“Greatest Grand Stander”  — David Shafer for declaring war on Tennessee and Vincent Fort merely by breathing.

“Most likely to be the subject of an NRA legislative email” — Casey Cagle

“Children’s best friend in a good way” — Eric Johnson for his school choice initiatives

“Children’s best friend in a keep them 1000 feet away way”  Nan Orrock for voting against every one of Johnson’s initiatives.  Cecil Staton for his MySpace regulations.

“Most Frigtard Friendly” — Emanuel Jones for his “life belts” legislation.

Taxpayer’s Worst Enemy — Sonny Perdue

Taxpayer’s Best Friend — The airline pilot who flew Sonny Perdue to the far side of the world

The “Hide Your Child” Award — the bi-partisan group of men from the House and Senate who went to the Cheetah Club that night (you know who you are)

The “This Guy’s In Politics?!?!” Award — Ron Forster and his “Life for Life” legislation

The “Too Honest For This Bidness” Award — Steve Davis

“Most likely to spark a constitutional crisis” — Don Balfor

“Most likely to be indicted between sessions” — Sharon Beasley-Teague

“Mostly likely to have worn a wire all session” — Sharon Beasley-Teague

“Speaker’s Pet Award” — Barry Fleming

“LG’s Pet Award” — Don Balfour

“Sonny’s Pet Award” — Casey Cagle

“Most likely to find themselves out of a job award” – Nancy Schafer

“Milton Award – Named after Milton from Office Space, given to the legislator who is moved to the basement and loses their red swingline stapler” – Tom Graves

“Naga, Naga, Not gonna work here anymore award, given to the legislator most likely to lose their re-election campaign” — Speaker Richardson

“I’m afraid of a girl” award — the Senate for failing to pass the Sunday sales law.

Honorable Mention: God and the Corps of Engineers for bringing back the water to Lake Lanier.  We dare not include Sonny for actually praying lest he get a big head.

Does this elephant need a little guidance?

Clayton’s Note: This post was filed under the author “Administrator”, but is not my work. It was provided by a trusted source who requested anonymity, but Erick and I can vouch for the provenance of the information.

From Jay Hanley, Secretary, Oconee County Republican Party, former member of the Oconee County Board of Elections and two-time candidate for Watkinsville City Council.

Nine weeks out from the Nov. 7 election, it appears that the battle for House District 115 (the Athens-based seat that Jane Kidd is vacating to run for state Senate 46) is shaping up to be a battle between an Independent, attorney and civic leader E.H. Culpepper and Democrat attorney Doug McKillip. A third lawyer, Republican Regina Quick, was a late entrant in the race, filing during the court-ordered extended qualifying period resulting from Kidd’s redistricting lawsuit.

As of June 30, McKillip had over $70,000 cash on hand ($50,000 was a candidate loan). It should be noted that he had been fundraising for almost a year before challengers emerged. Culpepper reported $1,300 cash on hand. However, he had only been raising money for a few weeks before the report was filed. Quick listed a ZERO balance in her campaign fund, and did not list an active campaign committee.

McKillip appears to have the backing of the traditional liberal constituency of Athens. It is said that Culpepper will draw support from longtime Athens residents and the business community, as well as conservative Democrats and many Republicans. Culpepper and McKillip both have name identification in Athens-Clarke County, having run for office previously. Some Republicans have reportedly been unimpressed with Quick and plan to vote for Culpepper. It is difficult to see Quick gaining much ground unless her fundraising and name identification improves.

However, Quick may draw enough support to force a Culpepper-McKillip runoff in December. Runoffs are already expected in crowded races for Athens-Clarke Mayor and commission seats. I believe that a Culpepper victory would be a win for the Republicans in the state House, although Culpepper vows to remain an Independent if elected.

[Editor’s note] As we hear it, Quick still had not appointed a Treasurer or registered with Ethics to receive donations as of the middle of this week.

Do Not Be Alarmed

Yes, Erick and I are making some formatting changes around here. This is not the final template – just something to fill in while we whip something up.

No need to comment or make suggestions yet – we will let you know when we need feedback.