Thursday, July 31, 2008


Regarding the counter-allegations leveled by Andre that Atlanta Progressive News received payment for endorsements, I've received confirmation from APN that the payments were for advertisements. And that candidates who received endorsements and didn't receive endorsements purchased ads with the publication.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Inside baseball update

Apparently betraying the trust of the readers and site hosts isn't is enough to get you kicked off front-page posting honors at Peach Pundit. Consider this posting by Andre, who tries to explain away his non-disclosure of the campaigns he worked on by, well, not explaining away his non-disclosure of the campaigns he worked on, as his final post at that blog as I've gotten confirmation he's lost his posting privileges.

Of course, Andre's final post had a faulty line of argument in it as he claimed Atlanta Progressive News was just as bad because they took money from candidates and then endorsed them. Of course, seeing how APN is an actual media outlet that functions a profit-making corporation, the money they received was for advertisements from the respective campaigns.

There's a pretty good run of posts on this ...

Creative Loafing
Atlanta Public Affairs

Doesn't seem right

Yeah, this resignation business for Paul Broun is too fishy, and good for Bobby Saxon for calling them out on it.

As the article notes, something isn't right about Alysious Hogan resigning as Broun's chief of staff during the allegations of the congressman mismanaging his funds, and something isn't right about Broun's spokesperson, Jessica Morris, drawing her paycheck from the campaign simply because 'she enjoys campaigns.'

You don't want to say they're just out-and-out lying, but if their finances were all in order they'd just go ahead and release them rather than let this issue fester for another two to three weeks.

Just to put some things in perspective, U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords from Arizona spent the most on franking, shelling out $234,000 in taxpayer money in 2007. In the first three months of 2008, Broun spent $110,000 and is on pace to exceed her expenditures by more than $200,000.

Again, it's preposterous to run as a fiscal conservative - and adamently refuse to stick up for local projects in your backyard based on financial reasons - and then spend all of your taxpayer-supported budget on tools to get reelected.

More dissent on Broun

Following up the resignation of Paul Broun's chief of staff, Brian asks if our district is being properly served by Broun. Brian's a good friend and a Republican city councilman for Watkinsville, and while he acknowledges some endearing conservative traits about Broun, he readily admits he's got some legitimate concerns about his ethics and effectiveness.

Philosophical differences with Broun aside, I think the effectiveness issue is a valid one. While it's one thing to hold principled positions on certain issues, it's another thing to put them into practice in a representative democracy. And seeing how he keeps passing the buck for local representation and advocacy onto Georgia's two senators, yet tries to take credit for their work, it seems as if the 10th Congressional District doesn't actually have a congressman.

At some point, glossy mail pieces produced on the taxpayers' dime doesn't equal effective representation.

Broun's COS out

Well, well ... there might be more to this than his office would lead on as Paul Broun's chief of staff has resigned.

Inside baseball

Not entirely sure where I come down on this. It's definitely not illegal by any means, but it is misleading to write only glowing reviews of candidates you are on the payroll of. And that's the point of disclosing who you work for, so folks will know, and I'd encourage them to abstain from any blogging at all on their candidates and their races, but that's just me.

It's more of a transparency thing, which is why I just wonder why Andre wasn't up front about it to begin with. Would have saved a lot of headaches.

Now the Donzella James stuff is interesting, though it seems to be more of gossip and speculation than anything else. If true, it would be pretty bad.

UPDATE: Erick isn't too thrilled about this.

Well, not so much

Bob Bowen and Myrt Ryerson don't see what all the fuss is over Paul Broun potentially spending all of his congressional budget on constituent mail during an election.

The problem is that if Broun did blow his budget by mid-year - and with obvious examples of him indulging in franking privileges and the lack of disclosure by his office - then the congressman going around preaching on fiscal responsibility is hypocritical.

Broun says his office is just fine, but until we see any numbers we just don't know.

Monday, July 28, 2008


Rep. Paul Broun - he of the 'I've Spent All My Money On Franking Privileges By Mid-Year' fraternity - will be hosting a seminar on wise financial management ...

“I am pleased to announce that I will be hosting a ‘Foreclosure Prevention and Education Forum’ at Augusta State University, and I invite anyone interested to come by and learn about protecting their most precious financial asset,” said Broun. “We have been given the opportunity, with our current housing market troubles, to learn from past mistakes and use failures in the housing market as a lesson for future fiscal responsibility. I believe that you, the individual person, can do a good job of running your own life as long as you have the proper tools to do so. Join me Monday morning, July 28th, from 10 until noon at Augusta State University to learn more.”

Um ... wow?

In the 'I Can't Believe This Is Real' category, we've got a comic book by Oklahoma County Commissioner Brent Rinehart who is using it as a handout piece in his reelection bid.

Obviously, it's juvenille, offensive and so absurdly comical you keep scanning the pages looking for a tag from The Onion, but more than that it doesn't really do a good job in actually promoting Rinehart's record. In fact, all I really know about him is that he supported Veterans' Appreciation Month and fought to keep the cross at the community's fairgrounds. That, and he repeatedly misspells pedophile.

The straight face

Mind you, I can be somewhat of a stick in the mud from time to time, but I've got to agree with some of the critics and say that relying on cutesy commercials to explain a complicated and significant shift in water consumption policy may not be the best way to explain it to your customer base.

When I read 'Conservation Greene' and 'Ivana Cleancar' in the article, I said out loud 'seriously?' And, again, seriously? Are we going to promote OneAthens's efforts next by creating a character named 'Joe McPoor?'

Some things just need to be explained carefully and without the need to let folks know how 'cool' we are, and changes to our water policy might just be that.

Then again, I wasn't a fan of the mosquite awareness commercial either.

Powell Op-Ed

Another letter to post, and this one is from Jim Powell, the Democratic nominee for PSC ...

Once again, Georgia’s Secretary of State is hiding behind political spin and misinterpreted law in an attempt to cover up the serious mismanagement and partisan agenda in her office. As numerous news outlets throughout Georgia have reported, Karen Handel personally overruled a nonpartisan Administrative Law Judge, and issued a last-minute order to take my name off the ballot for Public Service Commission in last Tuesday’s primary election.

Ms. Handel’s handling of this entire situation reeks of the worst kind partisan politics – the kind of politics that voters are tired of, and the kind of politics that have gridlocked our state government. Not only did she overrule a well-reasoned opinion of a State Administrative Law Judge, she mismanaged how the matter was communicated to all 159 county Boards of Election as well as to me and my attorney. The record shows clearly that her disqualification order was issued on Thursday, July 10, yet, it was not until late afternoon on Friday, July 11 that she made even a token attempt to contact my attorney by e-mail, when he was out of town. Given that the primary was set for July 15, just two business days later, the courtesy of a telephone call to my attorney would have been more appropriate and professional. Contrary to her statements in this newspaper, I was never notified of my disqualification. In fact, the first time I heard about it was when, acting on rumors, I contacted the Secretary of State’s office directly.

As inept as Secretary Handel was at communicating to me, she was extremely efficient at communicating news of my disqualification to the 159 county elections supervisors in Georgia.

I called Wes Tailor, Handel’s Elections Division Director, on Monday morning, July 14, and he confirmed that Handel had in fact disqualified me. When I asked him when he was going to let me know, he said “we don’t have your contact information, but we did send it to your attorney.” I would point out, quite simply, that I provided the Secretary of State’s office with contact information when I qualified as a candidate on May 2. If, as it appears, they misplaced that information, you can find my contact information on my website. As a candidate, it is in my best interest to be as accessible as possible to the public, and to claim that you couldn’t figure out how to get in touch with my campaign is an argument that holds no water.

With the clock ticking, and less than 24 hours before the polls opened, I was able to obtain an emergency stay order from Fulton County Superior Court, stopping the Secretary’s partisan disqualification of my candidacy, and ordering the Secretary to take immediate action to make sure that I remained on the ballot, so that Georgia voters could exercise their choice. It was my hope that the Secretary of State’s office would act as decisively and efficiently to put me back on the ballot as they did when they took me off a few days before.

Unfortunately, when it came to getting me back on the ballot, it was partisan politics as usual in the Secretary of State’s office. Despite her commendable efficiency in notifying the county Boards of Election of my disqualification, Ms. Handel’s office dropped the ball when she had to step up and reverse her policy. County elections supervisors were not told in a timely fashion, and as a result, polling locations across Georgia opened the polls with prominently displayed signs saying that any votes cast for Jim Powell would not count.

Over the course of Election Day, I was inundated with calls from voters who were infuriated at the trickery and doubletalk from the Secretary’s office. While Ms. Handel and her team delayed, stonewalled, and spun, my campaign team worked hard to resolve the problem and get the message out to voters.

In the end, the voters of Georgia said that I was the right choice – electing me in the Democratic primary with over 85%, despite Ms. Handel’s best efforts to rig the election at the last minute. To those voters who have trusted me with their support, I extend my most sincere thanks. You stood by me, and I’m going to stand by you, both as we continue to fight to make your votes count, and hopefully as your representative on the Public Service Commission.

Jim Powell, Democratic Candidate for the Public Service Commission, District 4.

McFadden responds

I'll give a tip of the hat to Chris McFadden for emailing me a response to this post I did regarding a press release he emailed out touting his refusal to fill out questionnaire, and I appreciate his response. It's a detailed answer, and one that I don't necessarily disagree with.

McFadden's making the argument that, in essence, I think I also made when I alluded to the fact that I didn't care for partisan judgeship races ... which is the courts should act impartially regardless of political persuasion and questionnaires by special interest groups only play into tying politics to the rule of law. It's a fair rebuttal, and I posted it below ...

Fair question, Jmac. Why should you care? You should care if you care about the rule of law. Since you identify To Kill a Mockingbird as both a favorite book and a favorite movie, I imagine that you do care about the rule of law - that you do think it important that courts administer justice fairly and impartially, regardless of political pressure.

The rule of law has been up for grabs in state judicial elections since 2002. In 2002 the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Minnesota judicial ethics rules that had forbidden judicial candidates from prejudging cases.

Later that year, the federal appellate court with jurisdiction over Georgia followed suit and struck down the corresponding Georgia rules. That why the last two contested Georgia Supreme Court elections were so ugly.

Those federal decisions, and other similar decisions elsewhere in the country, are the product of an organized, nationwide attack on such ethics rules. That attack has been brought on behalf of certain ideological interest groups.

Questionnaires like the one I refused to answer are a second stage of that attack. Those interest groups would subject judicial candidates to litmus tests. They want judicial candidates to prejudge certain issues.

I discussed this problem generally in a short op-ed titled "Truth, Justice, All That Stuff," which was published two years ago in the Atlanta Bar Association's magazine and is on my web page, A national organization, Justice at Stake, has a longer discussion in a report at That report discusses questionnaires in some detail, beginning on page 28.

I was actively engaged in the effort to preserve a fair and impartial judiciary before the Supreme Court's decision in the Minnesota case. Because of that involvement, I recognized this questionnaire as part of the ongoing attack on the fairness and impartiality of the judiciary and on the rule of law. That is why I issued a press release about my refusal to answer.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Possible candidates

It's still mighty early, but this is interesting. I've always been a fan of Tim Golden, and I think he'd be a good candidate.

In between being cranky, surly and generally nuts, Bill Shipp also lists Rep. DuBose Porter and former Adjutant General David Poythress as possible candidates for governor in 2010. The GOP has the usual suspects in Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and Secretary of State Karen Handel, and the latter would be the Georgia equivalent of Katherine Harris vying for higher office.

Friday, July 25, 2008

More please


"I don't think there's any doubt it's intensified the rivalry," (Georgia head coach Mark) Richt said Thursday. "But what intensified the rivalry is that we won. OK? I mean, that's the reality."


"You know, people want to talk about streaks in that game. The way I see it, we won last year. We won two out of the last four," Richt said. "And if you want to start going back in history, you might as well go back to the beginning of the history of the series and see where Georgia is there. I don't know why everybody wants to go just 15 games back. I mean, if you want to go back, go back to the beginning. If you want to talk about recent history, let's talk about last year, the last few games, you know."

Misguided arguments

I think the error in Matt DeGennaro's logic is that more well-known research facilities, such as the Center for Disease Control, have not deterred any growth in places like Atlanta. Again, I'm not comparing the functions, safety measures or tasks done/to be done between the two, but merely noting that the CDC is a well-known entity and the proposed National Bio- and Agro- Defense Facility probably won't be.

As a result, I strongly doubt that it will deter any meaningful population growth in the region.

Living on a different planet

Peach Pundit, that bastion of compassionate conservatism, hates Habitat for Humanity ... what with its instilling of a proper work ethic to pay affordable and quality housing. Apparently, they've gone too far by putting in place a micro-lending program to help their clients receive small amounts of seed money, to be paid back over time, to help them launch their own business.


Um, so?

In the 'I Get Emails' department, Chris McFadden, a candidate for an appeals court somewhere here in Georgia, sent me a press release bragging that he didn't answer a questionnaire, to which I say 'who cares?'

A lot of candidates don't answer all the questionnaires that come their way for a variety of reasons, but you don't send out press releases for it.

Silly political attacks

Here's a weird, non-issue that Vernon Jones is trying to use as an attack against Jim Martin ... he's accusing Martin of not wanting Barack Obama to be president by voting against him in the primary.

Martin, according to a press statement posted in the comments, acknowledges he supported John Edwards. Now, it's silly - and a fundamental misunderstanding of how the political process works on Jones's part - to blast an opponent for backing a fellow member of his own party in a primary, suggesting it was a nefarious plot to keep Obama from being president or that Martin doesn't support Obama now. Anyone who's ever voted in a primary election has more than once had their first candidate lose (it's happened to me in every presidential election that I could cast a ballot in except 2000 and this year), only to support the party nominee.

Now, what I will say, if Martin is acknowledging he voted for Edwards ... why did he do so since Edwards had announced he had withdrawn from the race prior to Georgia's Presidential Preference Primary? Perhaps he voted absentee?

Thursday, July 24, 2008


Related to college football, Doug never ceases to amaze me as he's compiled a list of previews for Georgia's upcoming football schedules, all penned by guest celebrity columnists. He's got a few left to trickle in, but here's a summary of what's he got to date ...

Georgia Southern - Dennis Miller
Central Michigan - Chris Hansen
South Carolina - Sen. Barack Obama
Arizona State - Sen. John McCain
Alabama - Bill O'Reilly
Tennessee - Osama bin Laden
Vanderbilt - The LOL Cats
LSU - Britney Spears
Florida - Tom Cruise
Kentucky - David Mamet

Cry babies

Let's chalk things like this up to why I dislike Urban Meyer more than Steve Spurrier, since the latter I actually respect.

PWD sums up my thoughts exactly, and I'm with him.

Bring it.

In other news, Meyer enjoys acting like Bob Dole and speaking in the third person ...

"That wasn't right. It was a bad deal," Meyer says in the book, which is scheduled for a September release. "And it will forever be in the mind of Urban Meyer and in the mind of our football team. ... So we'll handle it. And it's going to be a big deal."

Money for nothing (again)

Someone's not telling the truth, and it's either Paul Broun or the anonymous sources. And, considering the congressman doesn't typically disclose his expenditures, it'll be hard to find out.

It will be somewhat pathetic, though, if Broun blew his budget by midyear by spending more than half of it on franking expenses during a campaign year, thus using taxpayer funds to promote his re-election bid. Furthermore, as someone who I've somewhat respected for his principled philosophical stands - even if I have fundamental disagreements with them and think they're unsuitable for his role as a congressional representative - to see him casually spend public funds for personal gain with no regard for his constituents (or his staff who may or may not facing some cuts in the coming weeks) is beyond disappointing and irresponsible.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


I'm only marginally ashamed to admit that I had absolutely never heard of Gossip Girl until reading this, but I will point out that is a fantastic marketing effort. This show is taking its biggest weakness - criticism over its content - and turning it into a strength by openly promoting said controversial content, thus luring curious viewers to their show.

Now, if someone call tell me what the heck it's about ...

Help needed

While I'm not entirely sure that after all this time, this lawsuit is actually ever going to go anywhere, I do think the state's counterargument to the 'more money' argument coming from the 50 districts is somewhat flawed.

Sure, more money doesn't merely equal more success, but it can provide school districts with additional resources - teachers, up-to-date textbooks, graduation coaches, technology - and those things can provide a means to boost scores. Likewise, it's beyond disrespectful for the state to underfund education and then pass the buck to the schools by saying 'well, they can raise property taxes if they want' while, at the same time, trying to push legislation which caps property appraisals and just pushed a tax scheme that would have removed property taxes.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Inching toward awfulness

I swear to all that is good and pure, Michael Adams don't get any friggin' ideas.

Oil everywhere, none to use

Delving a bit into national/global economic politics for the time being, it seems to me there is a substantial disconnect with regard to what exactly drilling for oil off the coast of the United States or up in Alaska could really bring to us, and that when silly talking points with regard to this issue are parrotted, there's little pushback by the national media.

Case in point in John McCain's claim that prohibiting the drilling off our coasts is the reason that our gas prices are so high, which is beyond silly but also flat-out wrong.

Now, listen to me carefully here, I'm not the kind of guy who's going to sit here and tell you that we shouldn't be drilling up in Alaska so we can save artic animals or off our coasts because we'll pollute our oceans. While those issues do factor in my mind, it's also quite clear we have technology that can enable us to explore for oil in targeted areas in an environmentally responsible way.

The problem, though, isn't totally over environmental or aesthetic concerns, but feasibility ones. There is sparse evidence to suggest there is ample supplies buried beneath the continental shelf to make an impact, and what is there would provide minimal, if any, immediate impact on $4-plus gallon gas ...

"Would starting to drill now do anything for consumers in the near future? The answer to this one, again in my opinion, is probably not, since it'll take so long for new oil or gas to come to market. There is some small chance it would have immediate benefits if the current price of oil is fueled by spectators convinced that supply will continue to remain stagnant in the face of growth. They could take a commitment to drill as evidence that supply constraints will loosen, resulting in lower prices (or slower increases), making oil futures a weaker investment that would trade for less."
- Ken Green, an energy analyst with the American Enterprise Institute

"I think it would have an effect, just not a major effect. The odds are you couldn't get any significant amounts of crude from coastal areas within the next decade. Offshore rigs, if you want to go get one, tough luck. They are all leased out. Even if the infrastructure is there, it would be hard, but the infrastructure isn't there... But markets react to future developments and even if the crude is not flowing, the project itself could have an impact on markets."
- Jerry Taylor, a fellow at the Cato Institute

"There are a number of problems with that argument. First of all I don't think anyone thinks that within the time period of futures trading, that there would be enough additional supply to affect global future prices. Second of all, the market will look at this not only in terms of, 'there is more supply,' but also, 'there is more supply at substantial greater costs to recover than current supply, and with substantial new liabilities' - the communities that are going to sue them when they destroy their beaches."
- Rob Shapiro, co-founder and chairman of Sonecon, LLC

In the Artic National Wildlife Refuge, the Bush Administration's Energy Department says it would only be pennies per barrel by 2030, while the same department notes this about offshore drilling potential ...

Based on studies done 25 years ago, the Interior Department estimates that 18 billion barrels of recoverable oil likely will be found beneath coastal waters now off limits. The U.S. consumes about 8 billion barrels per year.

In a report last year, the Energy Department forecasting arm said it would take until 2030 before offshore production really got going. Even then, the report said, "because oil prices are determined on the international market ... any impact on average wellhead prices is expected to be insignificant."

By all accounts, any oil discovered off our coasts would only be deliverable to our markets in the next 10 to 20 years, which is as far off from 'immediate relief' as you could possibly be. If the entire argument for offshore drilling is that we must do something now - thus providing a bridge to an era of alternative fuels - then the argument itself falls apart underneath the weight of its own evidence.

The conclusion, then, is that advocates of offshore drilling are either operating on extremely fautly logic and evidence or shamelessly moving forward with sham of a plan for personal gratification ... and neither option is particularly comforting.

Again, if we're looking to wean ourselves off not just foreign oil, but oil itself, then the more logical approach to building said 'bridge to independence' is by putting measures in place to reduce consumption, thus lowering demand - fuel efficiency standards need to be raised, more fuel efficient vehicles need to be rolled into the market, incentives for consumers to acquire fuel efficient vehicles need to reinstituted, pilot programs for alternative energy need to be put in place, etc.

Drilling off our coasts won't provide a meaningful economic impact for our consumers, which should automatically remove it from the table of options.

Pot meet kettle

The race to get it handed to you by Saxby Chambliss continues, and it's reached the point know where Vernon Jones is criticizing his opponent for incompetent mismanagement and unethical behavior.

Strange times, indeed.

Still, here are updated poll numbers, and while Chambliss should cruise to reelection, notice how completely convincing his victory over Jones would be.

Good move forward

This is a good move on our part, and a cost-effective one too (if you're going to acquire property for public use, why not do it when the market should, in theory, drive prices down).

It's something that I've been hoping we'd do for quite while, that is set up alternative means of connectivity for pedestrians and cyclists along our major traffic corridors. The fact we get to do it by developing a greenway - and development buffer - is a bonus.

I will say this though with regard to allocating money toward greenspace purchases - if we can agree to put $750,000 of sales tax revenue aside per year for greenspace preservation, I'd like to see us consider putting $500,000 or so aside for affordable housing investments since the $100,000 per year we're doing under OneAthens, while noble, is quite small.

Circular logic ... for us?

It was somewhat hard to believe this letter was real since the logic it used to oppose beer-and-wine sales in Oconee County was actually a stronger argument for beer-and-wine sales in Oconee County, and Ben Teague and Hillary point that out.

Lessons learned

Well, now you know.

Granstand on YouTube, get an unfavorable divorce settlement.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Big news

Well, this has at the same time happened rather quickly, yet been in the works for awhile, but we have sold our house and purchased another one.

In Laurel Shoals.

In Oconee County.

So, I guess I'll let that sink in for a minute.

Now, I know what you're thinking ... Jmac, I can't believe you'd move out there! It's so ... Republican!

That's very true, but it's also where a nice four bedroom, three (full) bath house with hardwood floors throughout and a covered porch in the back and granite countertops in the kitchen and my own office with built-ins (finally!) on a little more than an acre of land dotted with pecan and elm trees that backs up to a horse farm that I'll soon call 'home' is located.

And it's also where something like that, due to the housing market's downturns and owner's immediate need to relocate, became shockingly affordable for us.

Truth be told, The Wife and I realized toward the end of last year that we needed more room as one bedroom was now occupied by The Kid and another had become an impromptu storage closet. Our dining room morphed into my office and our kitchen pantry's door hasn't been able to close for more than three months now since my daughter began eating real food. And I've never been able to fit my car in our garage since we moved in due to its size and the varieties of our lawn equipment.

Cutest baby ever? Well, yeah, but they don't tell you how much stuff they accumulate.

So we began casually looking around a few months ago, got brave enough to list our house about two months back and, once ours sold a little more than a week ago, decided to get serious and looked across Northeast Georgia for our next home. And, as the story goes, The Wife and I fell in love with this house the moment we saw it.

It's going to be hard to not be an official resident of Athens-Clarke County since The Wife and I truly love this community, but we're also excited about not only the new house, but also getting to know folks in our new community.

The blog ain't changing, though I may pull back a bit on criticism of some Athens-Clarke County issues and give a little more focus to the going-ons in Oconee County, but, since it's all official now, I figured I'd let y'all know.

Saturday, July 19, 2008


In the amusing category, conservatives are faux upset that Max Cleland was uninvited to a Barack Obama rally because the former happens to be a registered lobbyist. Obama has a policy of not letting lobbyists attend his events.

Two observations ...

First, all of a sudden Cleland is a 'war hero' to the same Republicans who just a few years back thought he was an ally of Osama bin Ladin.

Second, Obama's sticking to his principles, no exceptions allowed, and that's to be applauded.

Friday, July 18, 2008

You probably think this post is about you

I'm surprised he could peel himself away from the mirror long enough to write this.

The rational moves

Well, um, yeah ... Josh Marshall is right. Though, of course, no one will notice because the national political media is too concerned to see if he's wearing a flag pin.

Programming update

Since I'm apparently the guy who likes to go on the record about non-profit concerns with OneAthens, I'll be on "The Tim Bryant Show" this morning around 9:45 a.m.

Here's hoping I don't make a fool of myself.

In trouble?

Music for the moment

Two sides of the coin

While I do tend to agree with George Maxwell and David Lynn in principle - that more light at nighttime can deter crime and foster a safer environment - I also want to point out that this was one of the very random cuts that was enacted during the discussion to offset the small increase in property taxes. And, if Maxwell is right and his constituents are asking for more street lights rather than fewer, it's somewhat insulting to ignore their wishes and move forward with the cuts and stick them with a higher property tax bill.

Then again, I also find it humorous that Maxwell opposed any property tax increase, but is now bemoaning a cost-cutting move to lessen or remove its impact.


Arguably, this needs to be retracted since Josh Lanier hasn't actually endorsed Jim Martin.

In fact, how does this Associated Press story make it into Friday's newspaper here in town? Particularly after Political Insider noted it was an error on the Martin's campaign and Lanier himself said he wouldn't endorse (including personally emailing me this line - "I took the position in the last debate that I would be standing by on August 6 to support the nominee, so I’m not endorsing.").

And it wasn't as if all of this was on deadline or anything. Lanier told Political Insider he wasn't endorsing anyone around noon and the press releas snafu was cleared up by 4:30 p.m.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Conflict of giving

Folks know that I've tried to honestly and accurately depict the concerns of the non-profit community with regard to OneAthens, particularly with its potential impact - or non-impact - on the fundraising efforts of various organizations in town. It was pointed out repeatedly that OneAthens will not be soliciting the same donors or funding sources as the area non-profits, nor will its mere presence have a negative impact on donations flowing to those groups.

However, I've heard several folks from the non-profit community since that post, and they're telling me just the opposite, and here are the two instances I've heard the most frequently ...

- OneAthens contacted Georgia Shares - a program run by the state government where employees can designate a portion of their paychecks to support various non-profits globally, nationally and locally - about enrolling in their program. Georgia Shares is used by a variety of current area non-profit organizations and it provides a steady stream of revenue for them.

- Athens First Bank and Trust has traditionally hosted a charity campaign that benefits up to six area non-profit organizations. The bank puts up $15,000 and lets customers match those donations over designated period of time, names a 'winner' and then distributes the money to those groups. In 2007 and 2008, this campaign was cancelled with little advance notice to the participating non-profits and, in 2007, the bank contributed a similar amount of money to OneAthens.

Now, I can concede that two instances don't make a pattern, but this does directly contradict the two claims I listed above regarding competing for funds directly and affecting the ability of other funders to give. Again, I'm not here to rain on OneAthens's parade, but it's beyond frustrating to have its leaders go around telling non-profits one thing and then completely doing another. From what I heard from those I spoke with, they're actually content with OneAthens becoming a player in the community, but their concern lies with what appears to be a dishonest and disrespectful approach to them.

If OneAthens wishes to compete for funds - or would at least acknowledge, as was the case with Athens First, that its presence will affect the actions of some donors - then it should be up front about it and not go around saying it won't.

Good read

Brian breaks down how Sarah Bell was so successful in an area that was supposed to be Melvin Davis's stronghold and, in doing so, has a great summary of some of the problems Oconee County is sorting out with regard to development.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

This is kinda random

One of the benefits of working out of your home is that every once in a while, I like to be able to do some work while watching a little TV. And that's what I opted to do earlier today as I worked on editing a couple of letters, and it enabled me to catch up on the early years of ER.

Now, I abhor the show now, but back when it first came out in the 1990s, it was part of my regular viewing because I liked the plots (despite them being more than a littel sensational) and I liked the cast featuring George Clooney, Anthony Edwards, Sherry Stringfield, Eric LaSalle, etc. and etc. But my interest peaked in 1998 - and I'm going somewhere with this - with the addition of Kellie Martin, who I've always had a closet celebrity crush on.

Currently, TNT is rolling through the two seasons Martin was on the show (before she was stabbed to death by a patient in her final episode in a truly tramatic experience for me that, quite frankly, probably spelled the end of my affection for the show), and that's when it dawned on me ...

Martin is one of two actors/actresses who I will absolutely watch whatever it is they happen to star in, and I have no logical explanation why I do so. The other you ask?

Tom Selleck.

Seriously, I've seen a good number of Mystery Woman movie series Martin did for Lifetime and The Wife is always flabbergasted that I will sit through a Jesse Stone movie on CBS featuring Selleck.

I can't explain it. OK, well I can explain the cuteness of Martin, but I can't explain the odd affinity I have for Selleck (and that includes Quigley Down Under).


One of the more interesting things that I've noticed from yesterday's election is the number of Democrats in Oconee County and Walton County who didn't cast a ballot in the Democratic primary because the majority, if not all, of their local candidates were on the Republican ballot. So, as a result, they were forced to choose and opted to vote on a slate of local elections via the GOP ticket, thus preventing them from adhering to their party allegiances and getting their voice heard - and subsequently reheard in the runoff - for the U.S. Senate primary.

Now, this is something we don't have to deal with in Athens-Clarke County anymore because we moved to non-partisan elections for our local seats a few years back following the understandable concern confronting citizens over choosing between a the mayoral race on the Democratic ticket and the U.S. Congressional GOP primary between Max Burns and Athens resident Barbara Dooley. At the time, it wasn't a terribly popular move among area Democrats since they controlled, and still do, the bulk of locally elected offices. And one has to presume that Republicans in Oconee County and Walton County won't be awfully receptive to a switch either.

Still, it was the right thing to do a few years back here, and it's the right thing to do in those two counties (and across the state). From a pragmatic perspective, one's ideological views have less to do with how you'd approach business at the local level. I know plenty of Republicans who are very committed to smart growth policies, while I know plenty of Democrats who are for rampant development. From a fairness perspective, it allows people to participate in their respective party's primaries and still get to have a say in local elections.

What we've learned

Following up on last night's primary election results ...

- Brian wraps up the scene in Oconee County.

- What does a host of endorsements and a fake accent get you? Only 25,000 votes and a second-to-last place finish. Not reflecting good on the AFL-CIO or GAE right now.

- Anyway, we're set up for a fun-filled Jim Martin/Vernon Jones runoff. Judging by turnout projections and voting patterns, I'd give the edge to Martin to pull it out.

- I said it last night, but let's never place a bet against Paul Broun again. He laid the smackdown on Barry Fleming last night.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Wrapping up

So, we're going to wrap up here for the evening.

It appears we've got a run-off for U.S. Senate between Vernon Jones and Jim Martin, though that's not terribly shocking. Melvin Davis ekeing out a win in Oconee County by a mere 100 votes is pretty surprising and almost made my upset prediction come true.

Paul Broun crushed Barry Fleming, running even in Augusta-Richmond County and winning Columbia County ... meaning the GOP establishment will have to finally get behind the doctor from Athens-Clarke County and calling into question the strength of the Augusta Republican machine.

Thoughts loyal readers?

Election Night Live Blog

7:40 p.m. - Ah, yes ... a Missions Commitee meeting running a bit long, but no problem. We're ready to go now and eagerly awaiting results from all over the state. Well, as eagerly as one can anticipate clicking 'update' repeatedly on their laptop. Still, the beverage of choice tonight is Dixe Beer, so we're raring to go.

7:47 p.m. - Unrelated, can I say again how absolutely awesome it was that Josh Hamilton hit 28 home runs in one round of the Home Run Derby last night?

7:49 p.m. - Oooooo ... The Simpsons Movie is on at 8 p.m. on one of the HBOs. That could really hinder up-to-the-minute blogging.

7:54 p.m. - It's early, but Paul Broun is putting big advantages in early reporting precincts in the Northeast Georgia counties which, if they hold percentage-wide, could spell a long night for Barry Fleming. He'll need Augusta-Richmond County and Columbia County to come through for him big.

8:02 p.m. - Sweet! I am absolutely one of the four votes in Precinct 6D that were cast for Josh Lanier. Josh, I'm in Statesboro on Saturday, and you totally owe me a beer.

8:10 p.m. - It's very early, but Rand Knight is in dead last right now, and he's got embarassing numbers coming in from the rural areas. I'm trying to think of where he'd have a base of support, but I just don't know.

8:27 p.m. - Again, still early, but with 19 percent reporting, Paul Broun has a commanding lead ... and that includes leads in both Columbia County (eight of 47 precincts reporting) and Augusta-Richmond County (six of 34 precincts reporting). Nothing from Oconee County in, where Broun should run up huge margins.

8:32 p.m. - This coroner's race should be interesting. Sonny Wilson had comfortable margins early, but Bobby Tribble posted big wins in 2A and 2B and is up 824-789.

8:37 p.m. - I've lost control of the remote control, and we're on Lifetime now, which is disappointing. Still, I've now learned that there is a Lifetime Original Movie coming out that is the fourth installment of the Poison Ivy series.

8:45 p.m. - Bill Cowsert is in control of the primary, but Tommy Malcom is running just a shade behind him in Oconee County with more than half of their precincts reporting. Oh, and Broun is embarassing Fleming. He's expanded his lead in Columbia County. I mean, you don't want to say it's over, but ...

8:57 p.m. - In Oconee County, with eight precincts reporting out of 15, Sarah Bell is only nine votes behind Melvin Davis in the race for comission chair.

9:00 p.m. - Rand Knight - he of the uber-endorsements - is in last place with 23 percent reporting. Wow. Absolutely wow. Maybe he should have run for State House.

9:03 p.m. - Only 5C and 6C are out in Athens-Clarke County, and Wilson is up by 202 votes, and then we want for absentee ballots. Wilson has run strong in District Six, while Tribble has taken two of three precincts in District Five.

9:17 p.m. - Well, I appear to be off on my Dale Cardwell prediction, and it looks like we've got the to-be expected runoff between Jim Martin and Vernon Jones, and with all 199 precincts out in DeKalb County, the latter should have the lead going into the runoff. The only drama now is if Knight finishes in last place.

9:20 p.m. - Only two precincts out in Oconee County, and it appears that Davis will win re-election. He's got a slim 100-vote lead right now, so Bell would need to win huge, which doesn't seem likely.

9:28 p.m. - Sonny Wilson takes the coroner seat from Bobby Tribble, winning 2,405 to 2,180. In Oconee County, absentees and one precinct are out and Bell has pulled within 90 votes. It's a tough lead to overcome, but she's giving Davis all he can handle.

9:37 p.m. - Call me crazy, but what are the odds of Jones avoiding a runoff? He just took the lead from Martin, and there are no results yet from DeKalb County or Atlanta-Fulton County. It's not out of the realm of possibility for him to put up big wins there.

9:43 p.m. - OK, scratch that. Martin's got a slight lead in Atlanta-Fulton County with half of the precincts reporting.

9:47 p.m. - If we should take anything away from this night, it's that we should never - never ever - bet against Paul Broun. He is beating the ever-loving tar out of Barry Fleming. It's a 72-to-24 split right now, and that includes an 1,800-vote lead in Columbia County.

9:54 p.m. - Man oh man! Bell just posted a 100-vote win in the final precinct and is six votes behind Davis with just absentees and provisionals out. I smell a recount ...

9:57 p.m. - Davis takes the absentees and regains a 100-vote lead. I'm not sure what the protocol is for local recounts, but that's probably enough for him to hold on to the seat.

10:06 p.m. - If it wasn't for Athens-Clarke County, Bill Cowsert might be in a tight race with Tommy Malcom. The latter has run pretty strong in Oconee County and Walton County.

10:43 p.m. - It's slow going in DeKalb County, and Jones has opened up a 20,000-vote lead (six percent). There are no precincts reporting - still - and I'm still curious to see what happens. Logic would dictate that he should win comfortably there, thus padding his lead. The caveat, of course, is that it's probably the bulk of the remaining votes that are still out there. Again, we're probably headed for a runoff, but can Jones win big enough to escape it?

10:48 p.m. - OK ... I'm just quitting on this picking stuff. Martin's running strong in DeKalb County, so we're heading to a runoff.

Programming update

Just a heads-up kids, there will be some live-blogging tonight as we sort our who's heading to a runoff from the Democratic side of the U.S. Senate race, who's left standing after the Paul Broun/Barry Fleming death match and who prevailed in a host of local races in Athens-Clarke County and Oconee County.

That's some pop

I missed the first round, but can I point out how ridiculous 28 home runs in the first round is?

Monday, July 14, 2008

Worth the read

Got to say, Blake did some bang-up work with his liveblog of the U.S. Senate debate, and he picks up an interesting nugget that I completely overlooked last night ...

Vernon Jones didn't deny voting for Saxby Chambliss in 2002.

Reality check

Shockingly enough, The Washington Post does some research on John McCain's plan to balance the budget and finds out it's beyond absurd.

Over in DeKalb

Um, wow.

Let's just say that if Chris Huttman plays this kind of hardball in a primary, Lord knows what he'll say about his Republican opponent. Then again, Cecillia Hailey threatening to contact the GBI and pressing charges against Huttman is kinda comical in its own right since ... why? If she was charged of felonies and does have outstanding warrants, how is it exactly against the law to note that?

Pre-Election Day picks

The primary election is only a day away, so I'm curious to hear who my loyal readers are voting for. Let me know in the comments.

Tomorrow, I'll be casting ballots for ...

Josh Lanier (U.S. Senate)
Patricia Barron (Athens-Clarke County Chief Magistrate)
Sonny Wilson (Athens-Clarke County Coroner)
Jim Powell (Public Service Commission)

Likewise, I'm going to play the prediction game and say ...

- Paul Broun wins the GOP nomination for the 10th Congressional District

- Bill Cowsert racks up big totals in Athens-Clarke County and Walton County to hold off Oconee County Board of Education member Tommy Malcom in the GOP primary for the District 46 Georgia State Senate seat

- Down South, John Barrow survives his primary challenge from Regina Thomas and wins the Democratic primary for the 12th Congressional District

- I'm thinking we're headed for a Vernon Jones/Dale Cardwell runoff tomorrow ... I'm probably an outlyer on that, but name recognition might help out the latter.

- And I'll really be an outlyer here ... but I'm calling an upset for Sarah Bell over Melvin Davis in the Oconee County Commission Chair race.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Worth linking to

As y'all know, Flack is running for a seat on the Forsyth County Commission, and he's been out there hitting the pavement something fiece.

I know this isn't exactly local politics for us, but I really enjoyed this exchange in which he defends his views on county-wide elections for commission posts.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Frustrating in more ways than one

Well, yeah, this sucks, but I was never too high on Keith Gross to begin with. But, seeing how it was a good pickup opportunity for Democrats in Georgia, it's a little frustrating there wasn't more substantial vetting done on this guy.

Of course, he was the target of an odd conservative netroots witch hunt, but whatever. And, of course, it's perfectly fine for candidates who don't even live in certain congressional districts to seek the seats of those districts. It's fine for some elected officials to live in Atlanta, but keep token addresses throughout the state and run for reelection in those places.

But Gross hasn't lived in his house for two years so obviously he's unfit to run and represent the district he actually resides in.

Anyway, Flack's got some good roundup of this, and it does all get to finding better candidates. Again, to be fair, I don't necessarily think the Democratic Party of Georgia can bear a ton of blame for this. For starters, if someone wants to run, that that guy/gal is gonna run ... and, in a predominantly Republican state, you often get stuck with some less than ideal candidates in the deeper red areas (like this guy).

But, and this is important to remember, you get some good ones too ... like John Tibbetts and Earl Giddens and Ralph Noble and the trio of candidates that I provide consultation to.

So, yeah, Gross being out is unfortunate, but there's a host of talented, passionate and committed candidates out there worth supporting.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Music for the moment

A contrarian view

Call me crazy, but I don't necessarily think Paul Broun was that off in his assessment of this.

Now, hear me out ... I disagree with Broun's theological interpretations, and he and I are incredibly far apart on ideology, but his statement was directly in response to Barry Flemming's attacks on his character, including drudging up personal struggles and missteps Broun has dealt with many years ago. If he's speaking in response to those attacks - attacks which were so over-the-top that they led to the resignation of Flemming's Franklin County campaign chairman - then it seems entirely appropriate for Broun to cite his faith.

Broun has repeatedly talked about the transformative power of his faith with regard to how he got his life back on track, so it's perfectly logical for him to use it as a way to defend himself from ridiculous personal attacks that stem from information from that period of his life.

So, I can concede that Broun was arguably inartful - and probably did so intentionally to make a political point since, you know, this is an election after all - but his point remains ...

If Fleming claims to be a Christian who supposedly understands the personal redemptive power of said faith, then why would he bring those up? Then perhaps Broun is right and Fleming doesn't understand those qualities that Broun adheres to.

I've got no love for the political views of either Broun or Fleming, and I would suspect that my theological views differ than both men's, but the Christian faith is a big family full of various interpretations, views and thoughts and if Broun said his life was changed by his faith, I believe him on that.

There are plenty of other ways to point out why I don't think he's the best congressman for us, and drudging up personal attacks isn't one of them.

Living Wage redux

This seems to really be more of a chicken-or-the-egg discussion here, doesn't it? While I can concede the point that additional income can assist with paying for child care and transportation and the like, it isn't terribly easy to just drop in additional income to everyone who needs it in our community.

For starters, the Georgia General Assembly - rightly or wrongly - passed legislation which forbids communities from enacting ordinances which create a living wage (either through mandatory increases or by incentivizing businesses to do so), so that automatically hinders us on one front.

Contrary to popular belief among its most fervent supporters, a living wage isn't an end-all, be-all solution to our problems. The market will eventually correct itself with such a drastic increase in wages, small businesses which employ most workers will be saddled with greater expenses and things like child care will still cost a lot of money.

The Wife and I make a solid middle-class living, but we fork over $600 a month in child care expenses and that eats up a large portion of take-home income, and, as a result, that has substantially impacted our lives in other areas. The point being, you have to address things like child care and transportation if you want to move forward.

If you can work to diversify and expand our local economy, thus spurring new, better-paying jobs, and provide assistance in vital areas like child care, health care and transportation, then you're fostering an environment that can promote savings, financial literacy, increased educational opportunities and thus give those citizens living poverty a step up into a better life.

Merely rewarding them with additional income is a noble thing, but it does little to address the actual root problems at work here.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

The big picture

Let's just say that I'm with Flack on this.

Rand Knight had done a lot to impress me in recent months and, despite my allegiance to Josh Lanier, I was hoping that he might be able to slip into that run-off in place of Jim Martin and take on Vernon Jones. Well, no more. I can look beyond a pathetically fake Southern accent, but labeling yourself as some visionary while ripping the hardworking people from both parties who toil away in the Georgia General Assembly is ridiculous.

You see, here's my fundamental problem with folks like Knight and, to a lesser extent, those people who get all hyped up and say Democrats are taking back the governor's mansion and beating Saxby Chambliss ... we're not looking big picture. If you want to start seeing successes in these races, you need to draw from a deep bench and, in order to draw from a deep bench, you have to start getting Democrats elected at the local and state levels.

Now, I'm not trying to make a definitive argument that folks can't make the first foray into politics at the federal level or via a statewide office, but it's also important to remember that much of the success the GOP has had - and that I tip my hat to them for it - is through building up local relationships and effective candidate recruitment.

Look at the 10th Congressional District - while Paul Broun has really surprised the pundits, myself included, the GOP has been able to recruit a pair of qualified candidates with strong ties to their local communities, thus giving them an immediate pool of donors and a reliable voting base.

It's something I wish Knight would have recognized, and perhaps even supported, rather than dismissed.

Money for nothing

Well, this is mighty odd.

According to Lee Becker's blog on Oconee County politics, The Oconee Enterprise contributed three one-quarter page ads to the campaign of Esther Porter, who is running for Post Three of the Oconee County Board of Commissioners. None of the other candidates who advertised with the newspaper received such preferential treatment, meaning they had to fork over the cash like most folks do.

I'm not sure if this is illegal since The Oconee Enterprise is a private entity and can back whoever it wants, though it would bring into play questions of fairness and bias. To my understanding, The Equal Time Rule only deals with broadcasting advertising and not print.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Charitable struggles

At Athens World, Nicki offered her take on this Athens Banner-Herald article regarding the concerns of some area non-profits and OneAthens. In it, she proceeds pretty early on to speculate - or at least feed speculation - that I'm the unnamed non-profit representative offering criticism of OneAthens.

Well, for starters, I'm not. I've offered criticism and commentary on this issue for quite some time now at this blog - one which features a picture of me along the righthand side of this web site - so I don't need to be unnamed for a story of this persuasion. I've tried to be engaged in this process, convey the legitimate concerns of the non-profit community and be open and responsive to the counterarguments and explanations that I hear. And, for the most part, I've been very pleased with those counterarguments and explanations because they address my concerns.

I do have some disagreements with some of Nicki's arguments that I would like to take a few moments to address ...

The reason OneAthens exists is because we have a holistic problem and there is no existing charity that addresses our problems holistically. That's where the focus should be, and it's factually verifiable.

How, though? 'Holistic' means an approach that is concerned with wholes rather than analysis or separation into parts, and we have approachs like that in place. The problem isn't that these approachs are lacking, but that they are small in scale and lack the adequate resources to expand their reach. That's a point I can concede, but to say that the non-profit community lacks a holistic approach is insulting to the non-profits that engage in this on a daily basis.

if OneAthens hurts anyone's fundraising, it will be because OneAthens is better qualified (because it's collaborative, and can marshall multiple nonprofits to address specific problems in a natural facilitation role) to receive funds.

This is flawed in two regards. First, it assumes that OneAthens will be 'better qualified' than existing approaches to channeling money, though there is no evidence to suggest that it will be. I can concede that it may eventually be that, but it could also emerge as another clumsy, bureaucratic body that restricts the giving ability of some, identifies pet projects to support and drowns out well-meaning non-profits with smaller missions (or completely different missions). This argument, however, is something we won't know for some time until we can analyze giving patterns, fundraising successes/shortcomings and budgets after OneAthens is really up and running.

Secondly, if OneAthens is indeed solicitating funds from smaller, local donors than this will have an impact on the fundraising ability of other non-profits. Why? Becuase typically most smaller, local donors either focus their funds on one or two charities they have a personal interest in (church, a non-profit they volunteer with, an organization that has a mission which corresponds with a personal issue, etc.) or they are good-hearted individuals who like to toss some donations around to a variety of organizations.

People only have a finite amount of income to contribute, and if they develop a connection to OneAthens, then this will mean another non-profit will not receive funding (or at least receive a smaller gift). And this would be true of any other organization that opened its doors and began culling through our charitable community for folks who like to support worthy causes.

If a percentage of the population starts giving less money to some non-profits and passing it on to OneAthens (or some other new non-profit), that will cause a financial crunch to those affected non-profits ... and it won't be because the market magically identified these affected ones as 'bad' non-profits.

If OneAthens honestly aims to not solicit funds from donors in the local community and focus on identifying large grants, raising money from out-of-the-area large donors, etc., then this concern of mine will be significantly abated. And, to be fair, this is the message that is being conveyed by those affiliated with OneAthens, many of whom I value as colleagues and friends, so I have grown quite optimistic this won't emerge as a problem.

The larger concern with OneAthens, as I see it, has less to do with fundraising, and more to with some of its proposals. Speaking bluntly, it's attempting to reinvent the wheel in many cases. I alluded to this earlier, but there are plenty of successful programs already in place that have been implemented by a variety of non-profit organizations, but rather than identify those organizations and give them the necessary tools, resources and support to dramatically expand their operations and serve larger populations, OneAthens, in some cases, has proposed completely new progams that offer parallel services.

Consider the fact that OneAthens will 'will advise start-ups on raising money and building boards of directors' and then contrast that with Community Connection which, in large part, offers similar start-up support for non-profits throughout Northeast Georgia. OneAthens has a wonderful and noble goal of increasing employment opportunity and job skills marketing and training, but JobTrec from the Athens Area Homeless Shelter does that as well.

We hear all this talk about how OneAthens will just force ineffective non-profits to shutter there doors and how the non-profits have dropped the ball in the fight against poverty, but I just don't see it all. What I see are non-profits that perform very well, but struggle with raising money and meeting the challenges. Their program structures are sound ones, but they just don't have the existing resources to meet the challenges out there.

Listen, as I've said many times before, I'm very proud of OneAthens, and I'm very optimistic about the good work it can do in our community. My concern all along, as well as many in the non-profit community, is that it either didn't solicit or dismissed the input coming from those on the ground in the non-profit community with regard to fundraising concerns, program duplication, unnecessary competition, etc. Again, I am hopeful that OneAthens will emerge as a great player in the fight against poverty in our community - one that supports the work done by our frontline players - but I want to see that the engagement being put forward by Delene Porter continues and non-profits aren't told they're merely overreacting or offering up invalid concerns.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Couple of things

Just rounding up a couple of things here folks as I've been pretty busy, including a drive yesterday morning to meet with a client in North Atlanta which meant, of course, I had to drive into the teeth of rush hour traffic. Also, my cousin got married last weekend and we're having action on folks looking at our house right now so, it's been kinda hectic.

- Brian's got a collection of headlines, but focuses on the widening of Mars Hill Road in Oconee County, which apparently has moved forward without consultation or notification with the Watksinville City Council on which he serves. He and I are in agreement that more careless commercial development with little regard for the existing environment out there - namely, a very wisely crafted downtown area that preserves and promotes the small town feel that is very appealing about Watkinsville - is not something that area needs more of.

- Blake passes on a letter of resignation from the Franklin County chairman for Barry Fleming's campaign, and I think that, coupled with the story, pose problems for the Columbia County Republican. I know I may be out on my own regarding this, but the majority of those 'issues' shamelessly trumped up by Fleming against Paul Broun are out of date and below the belt. Perhaps Fleming will turn out tons of voters in the Augusta area to knock off Broun, but I think this backfires on him. The rural conservatives up here love them some Broun, and this motivates them even more.

- Yes, work hard to build up a team from scratch and then let the hometown kid with tons of promise go.

- Terrance Moore reveals himself to be even a bigger doofus than we all thought.