By Charlie

About That Superlien Story

We’ve got a story in our Morning Reads and also in the Peach Pundit Daily (Sign up here for your daily email!) about “Superliens”. This is a situation where a person has both an unpaid tax bill and another lien on a home which ties the tax lien into Georgia’s foreclosure process. Representative Scot Turner has a bill to change the process. Legislators write laws, and legislators get to change laws when they believe they’re not working as intended. We’ll leave that actual debate to another day (or at least to y’all in the comments. I haven’t studied the bill and have no opinion on it.)

What I have seen is this WSB report claiming that a woman had her house taken in an act of “legal theft”. It’s remarkably one sided, and can serve as a reminder that balance in journalism is now just a concept. Facts that take away from the narrative are often buried.  This way all involved can claim that they were included, but one set of “facts” is presented as the story, and all contradictions are buried and given significantly less than equal weight.

How does this work? Let’s go to the printed copy of the piece. Early in the story there’s a couple of lines designed to pull at your heartstrings and draw sympathy for someone who is apparently having a house surprisingly taken away from her – and also designed to stoke fears that it could happen to yooooou…

“We didn’t have time to do anything, Jessica Davis Smith told Byfield.”

and this one three paragraphs later:

“Sims said she did not know her uncle was $14,000 behind on tax payments.”

And then compare it to this paragraph, buried at the very bottom, from the lienholder’s attorney:

The three Davis heirs inherited property in 2009. They elected to never pay taxes on it. My client paid two of the three heirs for their ownership and they gladly signed deeds. Those same folks, through their lawyers, agreed that my client should foreclose their uncle out of the property and signed a court order to that effect. Eventually, after not paying taxes for six years, the third Davis heir was finally foreclosed. His lawyer sent me an email stating that he would not oppose the foreclosure. He could have paid off what he owed, but simply elected not to. Had he expressed any desire to remain in the property, my client would have worked with him to keep him there.

Read more

Liberty Tea Party Of Ellijay Honors Law Enforcement

Jack Smith of Ellijay's Liberty Tea Party honors local law enforcement
Jack Smith of Ellijay’s Liberty Tea Party honors local law enforcement
I had the honor of speaking to the Liberty Group Tea Party in Ellijay earlier today. It was a good group of roughly 50 folks that attended a monthly meeting known as the “lunch crew”. They treated the interloper from the city quite well. We enjoyed good discussion.

The highlight of the day was observing the group honor representatives of their local law enforcement. Members of each of Gilmer County’s law enforcement agencies were on hand to receive thanks for putting their lives on the line every day to protect and serve. Tea Party leader Jack Smith, pictured on the right, presented awards to Sgt Bryan Troglin of the Ellijay Police Department, Chief Larry Callahan of the East Ellijay Police Department, and Sheriff Stacy Nicholson of Gilmer County (each pictured left to right).

I figure a picture of them with the same note of thanks is more important than anything I said. My added thanks to what you and the members of your force do.

6 Republicans Qualify For Senate District 20

6 candidates, all Republicans, have qualified for the seat vacated by the resignation of Senator Ross Tolleson. Tolleson recently announced his decision to leave the legislature due to health reasons. Qualifying has now closed.

Those that will appear on the December 1st ballot include:
Vivian L. Childs
Post Office Box 6382
Warner Robins, Georgia 31095

Brooks Keisler
Address not provided by SOS office

Jon Martin
262 Springhaven Road
Dexter, Georgia 31019

James N. Pettis
Address not provided by SOS office

Mike Reece
252 Lake Joy Road A
Perry, Georgia 31069

Larry Walker
1110 Washington Street
Perry, Georgia 31069

In the likely event that no candidate exceeds 50% of the total vote, a runoff is scheduled for December 29th, which would allow vote certification and swearing in of the eventual winner prior to the start of the General Assembly session in January.

A Local Issue With A National Lesson

This week’s Courier Herald column:

This week many municipalities across Georgia will host elections for positions such as mayor and for city council. In DeKalb County, citizens will also have the opportunity to determine if two new entire cities are created as well.

Tucker and LaVista Hills are following in the footsteps of Dunwoody and Brookhaven, which decided new city governments were needed in previously unincorporated areas of north DeKalb. Sandy Springs in Fulton County began the movement toward new cities ten years ago. Fulton has seen the creation of three other cities since, with neighboring Gwinnet also getting in on the action with the creation of Peachtree Corners.

Unlike the previous two DeKalb incorporations, Tucker and LaVista Hills are not traditionally Republican strongholds seeking to gain some power back from a county government that is controlled by Democrats. Dunwoody residents focused on reducing taxes when creating their city. Brookhaven cited the need for increased public services, especially public safety and an expanded police presence.

Critics of the cityhood movement have painted the new cities as a paradox to Republicans’ belief in “less government”. After all, how can a party that wants limited government keep creating new entire governments – first with the approval of a Republican legislature then with the vote of Republicans in most of these areas? Read more

Isakson A “No” On Budget Deal

Per a press release:

U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., today released the following statement after announcing that he will vote against the Bipartisan Budget Act:

I cannot support a bill that raises the debt ceiling to an unspecified amount. Further, this bill undoes many of the achievements of the Budget Control Act by allowing for increased government spending without the inclusion of critical reforms to address our deficits and long-term debt.

“While this legislation takes a positive step toward securing long-term savings through structural reforms to Social Security, we must go further to reform mandatory spending programs in order to get our debt under control. It is critically important that we get our nation’s finances in order and make meaningful spending cuts so we do not continue to mortgage our children’s and grandchildren’s futures.”

WGST Peach Pundit Radio – GOP Debate Edition

As we noted Friday, WGST and Peach Pundit will be broadcasting live from the Mellow Mushroom South Buckhead location tomorrow (Wednesday 10-28) from 6-8PM to preview the CNBC GOP debate from Colorado.  Come on out and join us.  Order a pizza or three, maybe a beer or….make sure you have a designated driver if needed.

We’ll be on the patio (covered, heated if necessary. Do I need to tell you to wear layers? How old are you that you need to be told this?) and will be talking Presidential politics.

Do YOU want to talk Presidential politics too?  YOU’RE IN LUCK!

Thus far we’ve heard from representatives from the campaigns for Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, and Marco Rubio that will be stopping by. It’s likely there are others.  They’ll probably want to tell you why their candidate is the best, not a total loser, and classy, despite what you may have heard.

Parking at the Mellow Mushroom can be tight.  After 5PM you can park behind the 1776 Peachtree Building for free (you’ll need code snu 755).

Typical Road Show rules apply:  You pick up your own tab, and tip your servers well.  Enjoy some conversation and just like Letterman’s show back when it was funny, NO WAGERING!.

We look forward to seeing some of you.  Others, not so much.

Where:  Mellow Mushroom Buckhead, 1770 Peachtree Street NE Atlanta (Just north of the Amtrak station, Peachtree St & 26th Street in “Brookwood”/S Buckhead)

When:  Wednesday, October 28th, 6-8PM

Who: You and other people we can tolerate, plus a few folks that are working for some Presidential campaigns

Why: Because you enjoy watching live radio happen, you want to be around people, you enjoy pizza and/or beer

GOP Race Not About Tapping Into Anger

This week’s Courier Herald column:

A little over two years ago, I wrote a column suggesting it was time for Republicans to retire the term “RINO” – an acronym for “Republicans in Name Only”. Not surprisingly given the state of the GOP many are still using the epithet. I wrote the following then:

“The term was once used to identify a Republican that actively supported the agenda of the opposition party against those of the Republican agenda. It has now become an overused lazy pejorative carelessly thrown about by purists any time they observe or hear something that does not conform to their personal world view – regardless whether or not the “RINO” in question has actually strayed from the party position.”

I have noticed a recent flare up in the use of the term during the decision to see who will replace John Boehner as Speaker, as well as who Republicans will nominate for President. In virtually every use of the term I can stand by the above assertion. Its use serves little more purpose than to spew invective.

The name calling in politics has become a ridiculous crutch for those who are not able to walk through an argument using the legs of reason and persuasion. Republicans or even “conservatives” have been in intraparty warfare long enough that the terms are virtually meaningless to how an independent views them according to issues.

It only further divides the party when those attempting to hold down the fort and simultaneously implement strategies to govern refer to insurgents and their supporters as “crazy”. Unfortunately, that’s not an acronym, and is equally less than helpful in political discourse. Read more

WGST-Peach Pundit GOP Debate PreGame Roadshow

This Wednesday the Republican Candidates for President will debate on CNBC from Boulder Colorado.  We know you’re all as excited as we are.

BEFORE that, we would be tailgating but that would be weird. Even for us.  Instead we’ll team up with WGST and our gracious sponsor & benefactor of Peach Pundit Radio, Sully, for a couple of hours on pre-debate coverage.

Join us if you will from the Mellow Mushroom Buckhead, 1770 Peachtree Street Northeast, Atlanta GA 30309

Sully and I will be on the patio broadcasting live, and we’ll mix and mingle with those gathered to cheer or jeer their favorite candidates during breaks.  Come for the pre-game, stay for the debate.

As usual, we look forward to seeing some of you.  Others, not so much.

WGST Peach Pundit Radio – 10/23/15

This post serves as your reminder that it’s time again for Peach Pundit Radio on 640AM WGST.

On today’s show I’m going to talk about the GOP’s minority of the minority of the majority problem.

Jon Richards has a couple of topics up for discussion including the criteria of companies considering moving to (or staying in) Atlanta, and a couple of factors that weigh in on that broader topic such as our educational system’s goals and when “Atlanta” will begin to function as one region instead of a highly balkanized group of cities and suburbs.

Stefan Turkheimer has some thoughts on the City of Lavista Hills (5 points should be deducted on their “yes” vote next Tuesday for the poorly chosen name alone), and if we have time, we’ll jump the Perimeter (without the aid of a Cheesecake Factory Bridge) and talk about the Braves Stadium.

All that, and probably more, starting at noon today. Live on 640AM WGST, or online at this link right here.

Georgia’s Ports To Get Additional Investment

GPA Colonel's Island Terminal, Port of Brunswick 3
GPA Colonel’s Island Terminal, Port of Brunswick 3
A couple of weeks ago I detailed the ongoing expansion plans of the Port of Savannah after the State of the Port briefing there. For those unfamiliar with the actual operations in Savannah, I would encourage some time to understand how fast this port has grown. Savannah’s Garden City Terminal has gone from the relative minor leagues to the largest container port in the U.S. in less than 15 years. It’s amazing that we also export as much as we import from our ports.

Savannah is often our port that is in the limelight, given both the growth and the public attention given to the planned dredging of the Savannah River to accommodate the larger ships soon to be traveling through the Panama Canal. Georgia has another port, however, that is also a leader in it’s main type of Cargo – Ro/Ro. That’s short for “Roll on, Roll off”, or in plain speak, cars. Given the increase in automotive production in the Southeast, the port at Brunswick is also seeing growth in traffic and not just in imports. Brunswick exports vehicles made by Mercedes Benz at their Vance Alabama plant to other world markets.

One of the keys to Georgia having world leading transportation infrastructure such as Hartsfield-Jackson Airport and our Ports is the constant reinvestment of revenues. Most Georgians are unaware that their tax dollars do not directly fund the operations of these facilities. Rather, user fees are collected for operations with any “profits” used to fund infrastructure upgrades and expansion.

As such, the Georgia Ports Authority held the State of the Port address for Brunswick, and outlined a similar plan for our Southern port. Anticipating future capacity needs, the Georgia Ports Authority plans to triple the investment over the next decade than was made in the last decade in Brunswick. The Brunswick port will seek to leverage its success in Ro/Ro much as Savannah has become the leader in Container traffic. Both ports continue to serve multiple other purposes across a diverse customer/industry base as well.

The full details of the plans for Brunswick, as well as highlights of their operating performance, are contained in a GPA press release that follows. Read more

Crime Spike Another Opportunity For Reform

This week’s Courier Herald column:

One of the legacies of Governor Nathan Deal will be his continued efforts toward Criminal Justice Reform. Over a period of years, the Governor and a near super-majority Republican legislature managed to reclassify many low level non-violent felonies as misdemeanors, revamp the juvenile justice process, and address the need for those convicted to be able to re-enter the workforce once they have served their time. The overriding theme is that we would rather have Georgians working and paying taxes than overpaying their dues to society.

Nationally, the criminal justice reform effort has created a bipartisan effort in Congress toward sentencing reform. At the heart of the issue is ending the widespread practice of establishing mandatory minimum sentences for certain federal crimes, many of which are non-violent.

Reluctance to move many of these issues forward has largely been seen as politicians not wanting to appear “soft on crime”. Given that we’re in another Presidential election cycle, those needing an example of what could go wrong should remember (or Google) the name Willie Horton.

Horton was serving a life sentence without parole in Massachusetts yet was allowed to participate in a weekend furlough program – one that he didn’t return from. He later committed a violent rape and other crimes in Maryland. The “soft on crime” image was affixed to Massachusetts’s Governor Michael Dukakis, one that he wasn’t able to shake during his ill-fated run for President.

Criminal justice reform proposals at both the state level and national level have been clear to differentiate between violent and non-violent offenders. Most have also been focused on reducing the number of those incarcerated and the costs associated on those incarcerations. The continued costs post-incarceration of unemployment or underemployment have received proper consideration in the discussions.

The results are paying dividends. And yet, crime is again becoming a political issue. Read more

WGST Peach Pundit Radio – October 16th

In today’s installment of Peach Pundit radio, we’re going to start with a little discussion of how expectations have exceeded most realities in our “reality” culture, including in politics.

Jon Richards is going to tell us about an Entrepreneurship program in Gwinnett Schools.

Mike Hassinger will talk DeKalb. Apparently it’s still DeKalbing.

And then we fight.

Tune in live on 640AM – WGST at noon. Or, you can listen live at this link right here.

$250 To See A Doctor? Thanks Obama!

There’s no co-pay for this one, but your $250 contribution includes lunch.  Dr. Ben Carson is coming to Augusta, hosted by former Congressional Candidate Wright McCleod and the family of the late Congressman Charlie Norwood.  The lunch will be held tomorrow at The Legends Club in Augusta.

Carson Invite

Democratic Presidential Primary Debate Open Thread

At 8:30, you can watch several old white people compete for the Democratic nomination for the Presidency.

Tune in to hear that, though Republicans were mocked for calling the Democrats Socialists just a year or so ago, there’s now a Democratic Socialist in strong contention – and why that’s not the same as saying Democrats are Socialists, even though the words are. exactly. the. same.

Tune in to hear Hillary Clinton not answer questions she could have answered a year ago by saying these questions have been asked and answered.  Bonus: watch to see if her campaign team tries to rope off the moderators in an attempt to keep them from asking her questions other than “queso or guacamole?”

Tune in to see if Mayor Carcetti announces Season 6 of The Wire.

Tune in to determine if the Lincoln Motor Company or Lincoln Chaffee better represents your memories of the seventies.

And, for fun, enjoy candidates that accidentally acknowledge Jim Webb call him a Republican (Jim Webb for Speaker?).

OK, whatevs.  My partisan sleights are rusty.  Fill in your own observations below.  OPEN THREAD: