Issue 14.56 | Oct. 10, 2014
ABOUT US GwinnettForum.com is a twice-weekly online community commentary for exploring pragmatic and sensible social, political and economic approaches to improve life in Gwinnett County, Ga. USA.
OCT. 10, 2014 -- In preparation for endorsing candidates in the elections this year, GwinnettForum has interviewed 79 candidates this political season. We spent at least 30 minutes with each of these candidates to get to know them, to ask questions, and look them in the eye when they answered
We wanted not just to visit with them, but to get to know something about their make-up, their demeanor, and their political views. We also asked all candidates to give 100 word answers to six questions for our readers to help evaluate their candidacy to determine which candidate the readers would support. You can read their responses beginning today in GwinnettForum.
Study these answers, for this is the candidate directly responding to each reader, with no editing on our part. Unfortunately 13 candidates chose not to visit us in our offices, and therefore waived their right to respond to the six questions. (GwinnettForum posted the candidates answers at no charge to the candidates.)
Now to our recommendations for the 2014 General Election.
U.S. SENATE: We endorse the candidacy of David Perdue, 64, of Sea Island to be the next Senator from Georgia. In effect, some endorsements were made simple, since his key opponent, Michelle Nunn, did not choose to visit with us. Previously, Mr. Perdue has been an advocate for term limits and boldly suggests taxing corporations on profits made abroad, something he feels even Democrats will agree to, which would make a big dent in the U.S. deficit.
U.S. CONGRESS, 7th District: Our choice for this post is Thomas D. Wight, 52, a former Lilburn councilman, trial lawyer and negotiator for 25 years. He believes in health care for all, though he sees flaws in the Affordable Health Care Act. He is also an advocate for finding ways to restore American manufacturing, and repairing and strengthening America's traditional infrastructure.
U.S. CONGRESS, 10th District: Our choice for this open seat is Athens Attorney Kenneth Dious, 67, an advocate of much more support in the district for small businesses, rural development, women's rights and education. He wants the "Do Nothing" Congress to provide more leadership for the country, especially to help create more jobs and speed economic development. He seeks to bring a more balanced representation of the district, a different attitude, rather than the ultra-conservative views of his opponent.
GOVERNOR: Georgians will either re-elect a sitting governor with a questionable record particularly around ethical questions, or seek to bring new vigor to this office. We support the election of Jason Carter, 39, of Decatur, to this office. His advocacy for far better educational standards and funding is particularly of note. He understands that the crimps that the present administration has put on educational institutions at all levels in Georgia is no way for a state to move up that lingers in the bottom rungs of educational advancement. That alone should give Georgians enough reason to support challenger Carter. His fresh face and down-to-earth thinking can propel Georgia toward a better future.
LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR: We favor the candidacy of Connie Stokes, 61, of Lithonia, for this second spot on the Georgia political structure. A veteran state senator with a record of achievement, she recognizes Georgia cannot continue to cut education funds, put more children in classrooms and furlough teachers. As the presiding officer, she wants make sure the Senate reacts more positively to pass significant legislation, and change the agenda by her election. She understands that senators on both sides of the aisle must be able to work together to move Georgia forward.
OF STATE: It is with mixed emotion that we endorse the candidacy
of Brian Kemp, 50, of Athens, to continue in office as secretary
of state. We have not been happy with some of his moves to discourage
voter participation. However, we
ATTORNEY GENERAL: We've been pleased in so many ways that Sam Olens, 56, of Marietta, has conducted himself well as the state's attorney for the last four years. He's gained our trust. He's had some tough cases come before him to defend, and all have not worked out as he would want. But one effort stands out above all: his stance for defending the First Amendment rights of one lone lady recently in Forsyth County who was seeking to film a political gathering. While no one else recognized the lady's right, Sam Olens defended her. That type of clear-thinking we would like to see continue in this office.
COMMISSIONER OF AGRICULTURE: We endorse a tree farmer, who is also a homebuilder, Chris Irvin, 39, from Toccoa, as our choice for this office. You may remember his grandfather, Tommy Irvin, was the agricultural commissioner for 46 years. We think Chris is the best choice for this position, being himself in farming, instead of a special-interest agri-business lobbyist. We feel he has interest in benefitting the small farmers, the key players in Georgia's largest industry. He raises questions about genetically-modified products, and also maintains that the inspection of fuel pumps is, on average, 2.5 years out of date. There are only 20 inspectors for Georgia's 8,200 gasoline stations, a major consumer protection aspect that needs revamping.
COMMISSSIONER OF INSURANCE: For this position, we endorse the candidacy of Elizabeth "Liz" Johnson, 60, of Statesboro. In the implementation of the Affordable Health Care Act, the present insurance commissioner has stymied 600,000 Georgians in enrolling in this new plan, costing Georgians untold millions and untold individual suffering. That is reason alone for Georgians to vote for a new commissioner of insurance. In effect, the current commissioner has been no advocate for thousands of Georgians in guiding them toward better insurance coverage.
SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS: Standing out as the best candidate in the race for the head of Georgia's schools is Valarie Wilson, 55, of Decatur. She is absolutely passionate on improving schools. She understands the needs of Georgia's schools, primarily recognizing the harsh cuts that education has taken in the last several years. She intends to re-introduce vigor to the school's leadership and oversight, working with parents to ensure that each child gets a solid education. She is also a major supporter for Common Core as a strong set of standards and the best way to achieve upgrading of our schools. Her service on the Decatur City Schools and as president of the Georgia School Boards Associations speaks well to her leadership abilities.
COMMISSIONER OF LABOR: This job helps both employers and employees in getting together to improve our statewide business operations. For this office, we endorse the current Labor Commissioner, Mark Butler, 44, of Carrollton. His actions as commissioner are exemplary, having paid off the debt the Department inherited, started major programs, and reduced the unemployment tax to previous levels. An innovative approach was his Customized Recruitment program, which fosters economic development and provides Georgians with jobs.
PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSIONER: (Northern and Southwest): For these two seats on the state commission which regulates utilities, including telecommunications, electric and natural gas services, we endorse the two sitting incumbents, Doug Everett, 76, of Albany, and Bubba McDonald, 75 of Clarkesville. We endorse these candidates together, since we see great need for a commission that has stability and detailed long-range plans in the regulation of the state's utilities. The commission needs to continue to encourage our utilities to explore renewable, and particularly, solar energy in our sunny state, which can reduce electrical costs.
STATE SENATE, District 9: Our choice is former Lawrenceville City Councilman P.K. Martin, 37. He has proven to be an able elected official in his home town, and will serve we feel with distinction and integrity if elected. His relatively youthful age also speaks to him having the opportunity of serving for a considerable length of time, gaining eventual seniority with each election, and thereby benefitting his constituents in this way.
SENATE, District 40: Clearly the current sitting Senator, Fran
Millar, 64, of Dunwoody, is the best person for this
position. His 16 years in the General
Assembly gives him great understanding of the office. He has been an advocate
for creating the cities of Dunwoody and Brookhaven, and recognizes that
education, at the local, college and technical school level, is perhaps
our most important governmental service. He has previously been named
a most influential senator. We urge voters to re-elect Fran Millar to
OF REPRESENTATIVES, District 81: We continue to like the manner
which Rep. Scott
Holcomb, 41, of Decatur, represents this part of Gwinnett, as he has
become a leader among legislators. He is an attorney and general counsel
for a financial services company. His vision for the Georgia of the future
is one of informed leadership, particularly in public policy, that bodes
well for the state. He is vigilant on knowing how to improve legislation
once it reaches the House floor. He is also a strong advocate of education,
and wants to have a more forceful strategic vision for our state.
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, District 94: Since neither of these candidates bothered to visit with GwinnettForum, we are at a loss of which to endorse. Purely on the basis of a more balanced House of Representatives, we suggest the candidacy of Karen Bennett of Stone Mountain as our choice for this post. It's a negative choice, of course, but keeping a close balance between parties is one way of improving our Legislature.
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, District 95: In an effort toward more diversity, we endorse the candidacy of Amreeta Regmi, 54, of Peachtree Corners, for this position. She is a highly-trained businesswoman, who was born in Katmandu, Nepal and came to this country in 1993. She works with multi-lateral banks in providing assistance for developing countries. She maintains that the key issues in this race are education, the environment and ethics. She advocates separate ethical standards for the governor and the legislature. She also sees her candidacy as offering a fresh approach to a growing diverse district.
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, District 105: A senior citizen seeking re-election to this post, and whom we readily endorse, is Joyce Chandler, 73, of Lawrenceville. She's a former school counselor and teacher, who is particularly interested in limiting lobbyist's efforts, and fully funding education. She also operated a non-profit before seeking elective office. She has shown that she can work with legislators from both sides of the aisle at the Capitol.
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, District 114: This race forced two current representatives into a single area because of redistricting. Since neither of these candidates bothered to visit with GwinnettForum, we are at a loss of which to endorse. Again, purely on the basis of a more balanced House of Representatives, we suggest the candidacy of Keith Thomas of Loganville as our choice for this post. It's a negative choice, of course, but keeping a close balance between parties is one way of improving our Legislature.
SOLICITOR GENERAL: This is a key courthouse position that determines which misdemeanor cases will be prosecuted. We endorse Rosanna Szabo, 52, of Lawrenceville, to be re-elected to this post. She runs an efficient staff in prosecuting crime at the Solicitor's office, while looking out for the rights of crime victims as well. She advocates close monitoring of those having been released form incarceration and has developed a program to address this issue. She has served well and we welcome her continued service.
COUNTY COMMISSION, District 2: This area is composed of the southwestern and southern areas of the county. We endorse the re-election of Lynette Howard, 50, of Peachtree Corners, for another term. She has helped bring a new respect for the commission's work, by her calm and deliberate analytical skills. Principally, we see her as being a valuable member of the ruling board of the county, and one that seeks unity and respect of other members. Her experience on the Gwinnett Planning Commission and the depth of her efforts to familiarize herself with commission activities proves her worthy to continue in this position.
SCHOOL BOARD, District 4: Gwinnett's schools are the envy of the state, not only the biggest system, but many feel the best. And with winning the Broad Prize now for two times, even the entire nation is recognizing the superior Gwinnett schools. For the last 20 years, Dr. Bob McClure, 66, of Lilburn, has been a member of the Gwinnett School Board, helping guide the policies for schools. Gwinnett does not need to lose his valuable services. We happily endorse him for another term.
our endorsements. Study them, reads the candidate's responses to our questions
(see above right side of Forum in Candidate Profiles), make up
your mind, and for sure, get out and vote!
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Editor, the Forum:
My concern about the military today is the reduction in authorized strength levels. Don't hold me to precise numbers, but when I retired in 1987, the Army was authorized some 790,000 personnel. Today it is something below 500,000 and seems to be facing more reductions. We do not want to get to the position we were in prior to World War II and have to run a crash course in manning and training a larger force as we did then. We might not be as successful as we were back then.
Village will officially break ground on The Keith Keadle Center for Continued
Care, a new two-story, 18,000 square foot transitional care facility at
a ceremony on October 10 at 1 p.m., marking the start of the organization's
annual Family Weekend celebration. Slated to open in the summer of 2015,
the state-of-the-art facility is designed to meet the unique health and
supportive needs of adults with developmental disabilities and traumatic
brain injuries experiencing a decrease in independent living skills due
to aging and/or characteristics of their disability. When complete, the
Center will mark the successful completion of a three-year capital campaign
in which Annandale Village has expanded its capacity to serve individuals
with intellectual disabilities and traumatic brain injuries.
to Annandale Village's CEO, Adam Pomeranz, the new addition to Annandale's
55-acre campus could not come at a better time. "Within the past
18 months, we expanded our capacity to meet the intense demand for our
services by effectively doubling the size of our skilled nursing center
and constructing the Amy Somers Center for Continued Care. Yet, we are
currently operating at maximum capacity and maintain a robust waiting
list for available services." When complete, the Keadle Center will
strengthen Annandale's ability to allow its clients to age in place, as
well as to welcome new clients to the nationally recognized nonprofit
Lilburn to have first street piano program in county
Street pianos are coming to Old Town Lilburn! At the Lilburn Daze Arts and Crafts Festival on October 11, the City of Lilburn will unveil the first piano in this new public art project.
The project is modeled on a worldwide movement called Play Me, I'm Yours, which installs pianos in public places to become works of art and to provide musical enjoyment to all. After learning about the movement, Lilburn Mayor Johnny Crist solicited donated pianos from the public and asked the Lilburn Arts Alliance to paint the first one. Lilburn painter Jan Clifton Watford has turned a Queen Anne style piano into a canvas of flowers. The piano will be placed on the band shell in Lilburn City Park with an open invitation for anyone to sit down and play a song.
Grayson Farmers Market remains open through November
While many other local markets have shut down for the end of the summer season, the Grayson Farmers Market planned for an extended season on Wednesdays with several local growers to provide produce through November. "In the early summer, several of our vendors asked to extend the market to allow for sales through the fall harvest," explained Sylvia Still, Market Manager. "We're very pleased that the City of Grayson gave us permission early enough to accommodate the planting and harvest that will last through November." The market has growers in North Georgia who will also supply apples as well as ornamental pumpkins for the next few weeks.
Over two hundred people turned out to mark the opening of United Arab Shipping Company's (UASC) new offices in Peachtree Corners recently. The Middle East-based international shipping company chose Peachtree Corners as the location for its North American headquarters after deciding in 2010 to consolidate its North American offices which were located in several states.
Peachtree Corners was selected for its "highly-qualified workforce and access to the Atlanta Airport for domestic and international travel," said Dr. Anil Vitarana, president of UASC North America. The North American headquarters has 160 employees, one third relocated here, the other jobs were filled locally, explained Vitarana. UASC provides containerized and conventional cargo transportation, temperature-controlled cargo to a client base that stretches from the Middle East to around the world. It is the fastest-growing container shipping company in the world. The location represents a $10 million investment.
Three more older subdivisions to get street lights
Gwinnett County has required developers to install street lights in new
subdivisions. For older neighborhoods, commissioners agreed last year
to use funds from the 2009 SPLOST sales tax to pay for streetlight installation
if a majority of homeowners sign a petition and agree to pay annual operating
costs. This week, three more subdivisions accepted that offer.
County, Lawrenceville agree on three projects
commissioners have signed off on a three-pronged agreement with the city
of Lawrenceville covering Rhodes Jordan Park, the site of old county government
offices and a Pike Street parking lot.
amends and renews a 50-year lease for a major portion of Rhodes Jordan
Park. Gwinnett County has operated and maintained the former city park
since 1991, making significant improvements while county and city officials
acquired more land to expand the park.
If the stress of daily news and political wrangling becomes too much, watch the 1948 comedy, Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House. Cary Grant and Myrna Loy decide it is time to leave their crowded New York apartment and pursue the American dream by building a home in Connecticut. A surprise to no one then or now, the wide-eyed couple find themselves putty in the hands of Realtors and contractors. Another great laugh on the unchanged nature of social commentary is the conversation around the breakfast table. The daughter confidently parrots the ills of the older generation to an exasperated father, all while blissfully (and obliviously) enjoying the bountiful fruits of his labor. The comedy is old fashioned and understated. It contains no profanity, nudity, nor heads blown off, but only the humorous realization that challenges are a part of living and each generation will get their turn at bat.
"Trans-Oconee Republic" is the name used by later historians to describe the short-lived independent state established by Elijah Clarke west of the Oconee River in 1794. While occupying areas in present-day portions of Greene, Morgan, Putnam, and Baldwin counties, Clarke and his followers erected as many as six fortified settlements, wrote a constitution, and elected their own officials. But after a few months, pressure from the federal government forced the governor to take action, and Clarke's independent state came to an end.
Like most Georgians at the time, Clarke, shown at left, wanted the hunting lands of the Creek Indians beyond the river to be opened for settlement as quickly as possible. The 1790 Treaty of New York, however, limited Georgia's westward expansion indefinitely and returned to the Creeks some land gained by the state in an earlier cession. According to the treaty provisions, the Creeks were responsible for expelling or punishing intruders as they saw fit. Clarke believed that those settlers whom the Indians were unwilling or unable to expel should be able to settle west of the river.
In February 1794 Clarke resigned from the Georgia militia after two decades of distinguished service. Around that same time he received a French commission as a major general and began recruiting soldiers for an attack on Spanish Florida. The invasion never materialized, and he decided to use the remnants of his army to seize Indian lands west of the Oconee in May of that year. The Creeks did not resist, and the independent state quickly took shape. With promises of land to those who would join the venture, Clarke hoped to fill Creek lands with settlers before the state and federal government had time to react. Many Georgians were skeptical of his dubious plan, and no more than a few hundred crossed the river.
U.S. president George Washington believed that Clarke's scheme was detrimental to relations with both the Indians and the Spanish. In accordance with Washington's policy of neutrality, his administration pressured Governor George Mathews to put an end to the affair and threatened federal military intervention otherwise. To keep the federal government out of what he considered to be a state issue, Mathews issued a proclamation in July officially condemning Clarke and his adventurers. Certain of his innocence, Clarke voluntarily surrendered to authorities in Wilkes County. Four sympathetic justices of the peace released him, and he promptly returned across the river to continue his plan.
Recognizing Clarke's popularity, Mathews hesitated to take further action against him. Furthermore, restoring valuable land to the Creeks, who were despised by many Georgians, would not be received favorably. After a month of indecision, the governor was spurred into action by the "spirited exertions" of Judge George Walton, one of charge to an Augusta grand jury, Walton carefully explained why Clarke's actions were occupied before the lands were legally opened, then nothing would prevent others from doing the same, and federal treaties would be worthless.
With Walton's eloquence and reputation on his side, Governor Mathews felt confident enough to send the militia against the illegal settlements. As 1,200 militiamen under Generals Jared Irwin and John Twiggs marched to the Oconee in late September 1794, Clarke vowed to defend his independent state with his life. However, when Irwin offered full amnesty to those who would peacefully return east of the river, Clarke and virtually all of his men surrendered and went back to their homes. Mathews wrote to the secretary of war in October, declaring that "the whole business happily terminated without the loss of blood." Thus Georgia peacefully ended a tense standoff and avoided a clash with the federal government.
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Gubernatorial and Libertarian candidates were not contacted. Candidates with no opposition are not listed.
U. S. CONGRESS, DISTRICT 7
U.S. CONGRESS, DISTRICT 10
COMMISSIONER OF AGRICULTURE
COMMISSIONER OF INSURANCE
COMMISSIONER OF LABOR
SECRETARY OF STATE
SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS
PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION
PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION
SENATE DISTRICT 9
SENATE DISTRICT 40
HOUSE DISTRICT 81
HOUSE DISTRICT 94
HOUSE DISTRICT 95
HOUSE DISTRICT 105
HOUSE DISTRICT 114
2014 GWINNETT LOCAL CANDIDATES
COUNTY COMMISSION, District 2
SCHOOL BOARD, District 4
Lawrenceville Lawn Grand Ribbon Cutting and Opening, Saturday, October 11 at 11:30 a.m. at 210 Luckie Street. The City of Lawrenceville is opening the Lawn as a component for creating a vibrant sense of place that residents and visitors can enjoy as a gathering place. Mayor Judy Johnson and County Commission Chair Charlotte Nash will help celebrate the opening. Note the steeple of the First Baptist Church in the bottom right of the photo.
Rock'n Ribville will take place in Lawrenceville on October 11 from noon until 7:30 p.m. at the Lawrenceville Lawn. The event is now a sanctioned event for the Kansas City Barbeque Society (KCBS) with strict by-laws and guidelines for their competitors and their judges. Enjoy multiple activities for the kids, too. Details.
Redevelopment Forum for 2014: Thursday, October 16, 7: 30 a.m. until 1 p.m. Studio Movie Grill, Duluth. Topics include maximizing re-development, financing and opportunities through Public-Private Partnerships. Keynote speaker will be Ellen Durham Jones of Georgia Tech, talking on "Sustaining vibrant communities." To register, click here.
Fall Festival and Health Fair at Kingdom Now Ministries,
1805 Shackelford Court near Norcross, Saturday, October 18 from
11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Free health screenings include: HIV testing, Diabetes
screenings (glucose), Blood pressure screenings; Vision and Dental screenings,
and more. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org.
(NEW) Meet the Author: Amon B. Neel Jr., AARP Columnist, will appear October 24 at the Bethesda Park Senior Center to discuss his best-seller, Are Your Prescriptions Killing You? How to Prevent Dangerous Interactions, Avoid Deadly Side Effects, Healthier with Fewer Drugs. The event is free. Books will be available for sale and signing.
(NEW) Writers' Workshop, featuring Danny Schinitzlein, bestselling author of Perfecting your Picture Book, Saturday, October 25 from 1-3 p.m. at the Five Forks Branch of the Gwinnett County Public Library. Partner in the workshop is The Southern Breeze region of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.
(NEW) Re-roofing of the Library at Peachtree Corners will begin on October 20, with the library being closed through October 26. Fines for books or other checked out material will be waived and holds can have pick-up locations reassigned to another library branch. Contact the Library Help Line with any questions or concerns at 770-978-5154.
Exhibit of eight
artists continues through December 2 at George Pierce Park
Community Center in Suwanee. Eight female artists will showcase their
talents, including watercolor, acrylic, oil, color pencil, mixed media,
collage, and pen and ink with color pencil. For more information, call
MORE EEB PERSPECTIVE
Gwinnett Forum publisher Elliott Brack suggests that Gwinnett County needs a long-range list of continuing objectives for improving the county. Read more.
GwinnettForum.com is a twice-weekly online community commentary for exploring pragmatic and sensible social, political and economic approaches to improve life in Gwinnett County, Ga. USA.
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