Because of the timing of my column deadline, I will have to defer comment on the elections until next week. I can say this much, however. We cast our votes freely and with no tanks in the street. As imperfect as we may think ourselves to be, this is still the greatest country on earth. The only thing that can change that is our own apathy and lack of appreciation for the freedoms we have. ...
Now that early voting has begun, many voters are learning for the first time that there are two different constitutional amendments to the Georgia Constitution at the end of the ballot. The first amendment, concerning public charter schools, has received a lot of attention.
Rep. Edward Lindsey, R-Atlanta, majority whip in the Georgia House of Representatives says he finds himself bordering between "amused and disturbed" by opponents of the charter school amendment, which is set for a vote on Nov. 6. Specifically, he doesn't like the assertion that the state school board retains the power to overrule on appeal a local school board's decision to deny a charter school after the Supreme Court's ruling on the subject in May 2011.
Amendment 1 on the Nov. 6 ballot asks each voter: "Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended to allow state or local approval of public charter schools upon the request of local communities?" As life-long educators, we have sought insight and answers to the reason for this question.
It has been my honor to serve our students, parents and community on the Dawson County Board of Education for 23 years. During that time, I have taken my responsibility to act in the best interests of children very seriously. During the 23 years, I have never felt it necessary to write a letter to the newspaper on a single issue, as I now feel compelled to do regarding a constitutional amendment.
If the pro-charter amendment people are trying to win friends and influence voters to pass the measure in November, they have picked a bad way to do it. Attorney Glenn Delk and proponents are clearly trying to intimidate opponents of the amendment by accusing the state's 180 local school districts of illegally using taxpayer money to campaign against the amendment.
Recently, I've read several statements that I find highly interesting and want to share. I have also heard some good things, but it's safer to quote the written word unless one has a recorder.
If you aren't careful, it is easy to get pessimistic these days. We have gotten too loud, too adversarial, too politically-correct, too ethically-challenged, too secular and too narrow-minded - not to mention slightly humor-impaired. Just when I think that maybe this world and those that occupy it are beyond redemption, I run across someone like Ava White and I am reminded that there are good people quietly doing good things for all the right reasons.
Last week I had a chance conversation with a friend who succinctly summarized part of what many of us ordinary people have been thinking about present-day politics: "I just want to understand how some of these policies and pieces of legislation will affect me." Well, I thought, maybe politicians and pundits do explain their versions and it's like studying the Bible from different translations: It may be a matter of interpretation.
Junior E. Lee, general manager of the Yarbrough Worldwide Media and Pest Control Company in Greater Garfield, Ga., just called me with what he said was an exciting development. It either had to be that he had the latest poll numbers on the presidential race - Junior runs our polling firm, Round or Square Polling Inc. - or that he had finally gotten the termites out of Arveen Ridley's barn - Junior is also a certified pest control professional.
"Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended to allow state or local approval of public charter schools upon the request of local communities?" That sounds like an innocuous question to be on the Nov. 6 ballot. My first question was: Why is a constitutional amendment necessary?
With the vote on the charter school amendment just over a month away, the heat is getting intense. I know. I have felt it. I wrote a column a few weeks ago giving the pro-charter folks an opportunity to make their case for the amendment. For my trouble, a number of anti-charter advocates wondered if I was going soft on them and backers of the bill continued to accuse me of giving out "misinformation." I love this job.
You would have thought someone would have checked this out before they sent this guy to help me, but apparently not. I came down out of the Mt. Hagen highlands of Papua New Guinea after about four weeks to finish up some work in the coastal swamps. I was out of the cool mountains and into the hot sticky flatlands. I met my help at the airstrip and we soon found ourselves pitching tents in a grassy reed area near some bogs.
For this week, I really wanted to tackle a political issue, but that can wait a bit. Time is passing for some local events that, if you haven't already done so, I hope you will consider.
When the gavel bangs to open the 2013 session of the Georgia General Assembly, I would suggest the first order of business be to have Willie Nelson serenade our solons with "The Party's Over." Willie sings that song better than almost anybody and it would be an effective way to remind our intrepid public servants that there is a new sheriff in town. We the Unwashed are calling the shots on lobbying reform these days ...
David Pennington, the mayor of Dalton, is making noises about challenging incumbent Gov. Nathan Deal in the 2014 Republican primary. Say what?
The legislative session has ended, and Gov. Nathan Deal has now either signed or vetoed every bill that passed the General Assembly.
The debate surrounding second amendment rights received national attention a few weeks ago as the U.S. Senate voted down a bill that would require expanded background checks for firearm purchases.
We just wanted to say thank you to everyone who supported the Lady Tigers basketball team this season.
Senator Gooch recently wrote about the final budget for Georgia for fiscal year 2014.
Relay for Life is a stunning example of what the caring, compassionate and hard-working people who live in Dawson County can accomplish.
When I was named chair of the Senate Transportation Committee in January, it was becoming clear that there could be some struggles with producing a balanced FY 2014 budget for Georgia.
When the terrorist attacks occurred in Boston during the running of the Boston Marathon, memories came flooding back of our own dark days in Atlanta. It was 17 years ago, July 27, 1996, when those of us who were a part of the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games had our worst fears realized. A pipe bomb detonated in the Centennial Olympic Park during the middle weekend of that worldwide celebration, killing two people and ...
A friend and I met up in the massive Frankfurt airport's central lobby just by coincidence.
One of the most challenging tasks the Georgia General Assembly takes on each year is sorting through the state's finances. Unlike legislation, the budget isn't something that can be carried over to the next biennial year.
Has it really been 43 years since the first "Earth Day?" I remember it well; that's when I became an environmentalist.
It turns out that you can go home again. I recently established a chair in crisis communications leadership at the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communi­cations at my beloved University of Georgia. UGA President-elect Jere Morehead, along with Dink NeSmith, chairman of the Board of Regents came for the ceremony and both made my family and me feel warmly welcomed on campus. That is something we haven't felt at my alma mater for a long time.
They are the best University of Georgia athletic team you have likely never heard of. They have won five national titles and go into next week's national championships one of the favorites to win it all again.