Saturday, December 30, 2006

Happy New Year!

Hope the holidays have been enjoyable for everyone, and of course they have had a lot to do with the reduction in posts. We promise to step it up in January, so please keep reading. Pour some out for James Brown and Gerald Ford while you're celebrating Sunday night. See you guys next year.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Since you mentioned LPDS...

I have a question. Does Athens have a provision, like the one I've heard about in other places, under which a permit expires if it's not acted on within a certain period of time (usually 1 year)? If so, is Bruno running the risk of losing LPDS or having to go through the process again? Or has he already taken some step that moots the issue?

Ok guys, you win

Let's talk about this. Jane's gonna run to be state party chair. Can she win? Is this a good spot for her? Will it help Athens candidates?

From where I sit, any change has got to help. The state party is terrible.


Sunday, December 10, 2006

Sunday Banana Hearald wrap up

Two stories this morning (Sunday) appear concerning the recent local elections. First Blake Aued has a story concerning the significant changes in our incoming commission. See it here:
Line up Favors Mayor

Anyone else a little creeped out by the power-hungry tone of Elton Dodson's comments?

And then there's this editorial, which I'm going to assume is the work of Jason Winders. (Let us know if I'm wrong, Jason)
I think this idea is only a good one if we actually had a committed, informed electorate. Unfortunately, we don't. I'm still reeling with all of the potential implications this type of system could have, so for now, I'll just put it up for general discussion

Friday, December 08, 2006

Irony Alert

Heidi signs sticking out of recycling bins around town.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

The Cobbham Elite

Kinda like The Power Elite, as envisioned by the groundbreaking sociologist C. Wright Mills back in the 50's (minus the military part).

During this campaign season it's been interesting to observe the epithets and hand-wringing done by many of the ABH crowd (Anybody But Heidi) over the so-called "elitism" of the intown neighborhoods, particularly Cobbham. Five Points seems to have more of a smattering of conservatives, but the Cobbham and Boulevard 'hoods seem to be overrun (according to right wingers) by elitist liberal snobs ("treesex freaks", as we have learned here on this blog). And Heidi and Kelly were their candidates, and what they say, goes, and they always win, according to the opposition.

Whether it's factually true is difficult to measure. Cobbham doesn't always win (see also: defeat of three-laneing Prince Avenue). And Cobbham may be a haven for the well-to-do or it may not, depending on how one measures "well-to-do" and Cobbham itself. There is just the historic district, and then there are the surrounding areas (The Plaza) that would suggest Cobbham is much more diversified than rumor has it.

Nevertheless, the question I pose is rather simple: why the perception? Why is "the Cobbham elite" seen as this force of movers and shakers, especially in the world of politics? Is it true if you get Cobbham's blessing ($$$$), you automatically win? Why the split between the intown neighborhoods and everyone else in Athens? Is there an "elitism" amongst the "townies", or is this all designed to create an "us v. them", left v. right mentality that makes things (elections) simpler?

Inquiring minds...

UPDATE: A reader emailed me to suggest that maybe the ABH (Anybody But Heidi) crowd of developers, insurance, conservatives, the Chamber, etc. (what Pete lovingly refers to as "Doc 'n them") were really the "power elite", and that the Cobbham Elite were enjoined to basically "fight the power". Hmmmm....

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Monday (Wednesday) morning quarterbacking...

Come on, you know you want to.

What did Charlie do wrong? What did Heidi do right? Is Alvin Sheats tree of liberty dead, (property rights) or just shedding leaves for the winter?

Here, I'll get us started. I think last night was in many ways proof positive that the folks who worked so hard to give us non-partisan elections two years ago basically wasted their time. "Common knowledge" (see how I snuck that in) was that non-partisan elections were going to spell the end of the "Cobbham elite" controlling local politics, and return power to them, whoever they are. Well guys, you put your candidate up, and he lost. And now you can't blame it on the restrictions of primary elections, or a contested local republican house race, etc.

I, for one, am a little surprised, and while I'm glad (mostly) that Heidi won, I'm also a little disappointed that the non-partisan thing didn't shift us towards the middle a little more. Maybe it will, in time, with different candidates, and different strategies.

What does everybody else think?

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Gametime Redux

Well, it's time once again to wait all night for votes to be counted in the ACC. Hopefully not "all" night, since there's only 3 races (did you even know the Public Service Commissioner race was gonna be on there too? I didn't....and I consider myself informed. Oh well.)

So it was you all along, Snowman. Is it Charlie's official position, then, that Heidi is a "fucking snob", or was that comment made purely in your capacity as a citizen?

There is, by the way, for all of you policy freaks out there, a lame duck Commission meeting tomorrow. Among other things on the agenda are the re-adoption of the cruising ordinance without a sunset provision and the domestic partner benefits thing.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Dashing Through The (Finish Line) Snow

To build on a few of Blackfin's observations, based on what I'm reading from reader comments to our wonderful blog here, the following:

Heidi worked for the Chamber of Commerce
(and is therefore a sellout). Heidi worked for the Chamber and got fired (and is therefore not a sellout).

Charlie is going to liberate Athens
from the tyranny of the intown neighborhood "treesex" freaks. Heidi is going to liberate Athens from the tyranny of developers and other anal-retentives.

Charlie is a goof and a puppet of the Chamber with few ideas of his own. Heidi is the anti-christ, beholden to intown granolas and other communists who look longingly towards May Day.

Charlie is pro-smoking. Heidi is pro-smoking. No wait, both are against smoking. No, wait, they are for it, before they voted against it.

Benefits Good, Benefits Bad. Benefits Gay? Benefits Rad.


Election day tomorrow...

So go nuts guys. Rumors abound. Heidi has an army of ent-like tree creatures knocking on doors to get out the granola vote... Charlie's going to borrow Bill Cowsert's SUV and tow a Ford plant back to Athens to create more jobs... Damn liberals were seen last week voting, then cutting their stinking long hippie hair, voting again, taking a bath, then voting again, shaving their legs, then voting again... Doc Eldridge was driving van-loads of African Americans to the board of elections to vote early for Maddox... There's going to be an armed takeover of PPA tonight, you're with us or against us... Oh yeah, the tree of liberty, don't forget the tree of liberty (but don't have treesex with it, or in it)...

Thursday, November 30, 2006

This just in..

This just might be worth ten bucks, for the sheer fireworks factor...

This is your last chance to mingle with the mayoral candidates before you
cast your vote on December 5th!

Northeast Georgia Business Council &
Athens Area Chamber Commerce MBAC presents...

First Friday Mixer
The premier networking event for Northeast Georgia's business professionals


When: Friday, December 1, 2006 6-10p.m.

$10 cover (includes food and drinks)
Where: Athens Area Chamber of Commerce
246 West Hancock Avenue
Athens, GA 30601

Door prizes before 8p.m.
Doors Open at 6:00pm (Professional Socializing)
Parking in the rear, enter on the Chastain Building side.
Mayoral Candidates and District 9 candidates will be in attendance.
* Celebrate your Promotion, Anniversary or Birthday with us!!
* Complimentary Food Buffet
* Professional Atmosphere

This set is designed for Grown People who want to relax in a nice
environment and vibe to mature conversation, libations, and good people.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Final Debates

I wasn't there last night, so can't comment first-hand, but from Blake's coverage in this morning's Daily Planet, it seems as though no news is good news for the candidates.

"Mayor Heidi Davison defended herself again from charges that she's ignored economic development and certain groups of residents during her tenure, while challenger Charlie Maddox again offered few specifics, as he tried to deflect charges that he's short on substance."

Nothing new there. Seems the only bone of contention was providing benefits for domestic partners of city employees: "The two also tangled over a proposal, scheduled for a county commission vote next Wednesday, on whether to offer health insurance to the domestic partners of unmarried county employees. Maddox said the vote is being rushed.

"I'm against this right now," he said. "We have no idea where this could take us financially."

"Davison said the proposal has been coming through the pipeline for six months and is ready for a vote. Insurance for more employees will save the county money on indigent care, she said. Davison also accused Maddox of changing his position since last month. Maddox said he wanted to study the issue more, and now he has.

"I talked to people in the insurance field and other people who said this could be disastrous," he said.

I believe this issue has been discussed on the blog before, but what say the readership about it now? Pro or Con on domestic partner benefits? Likely to change a vote or two?

The funniest and liveliest exchange seems to have come in the District 9 Commish faceoff between Sheats and Girtz.

"Kelly Girtz, a candidate for District 9 on the county commission, stumped opponent Alvin Sheats, a former commissioner, with two questions on Sheats' past votes. Girtz asked Sheats why he was the only commissioner to vote in favor of rezonings for a 1,000-bedroom apartment complex in 2002 and a waste transfer station in East Athens in 2001. Sheats said he couldn't remember either vote.

"That was five years ago," Sheats said. "How many of you remember what happened five years ago?"

"Sitting in the front row, county planning commissioner Jerry NeSmith raised his hand."

LOL. No offense to Alvin, but if you can't remember what happened five years ago, you probably shouldn't be in politics. Or breathing, for that matter.

Either way, it's almost over, folks. Early voting is ongoing...Git'r'Done.

Monday, November 13, 2006

More on Barrow/Marshall

Interesting bit in this morning's New York Times:

"Politically speaking, Georgia proved to be a mirror image of the rest of the country in the midterm elections. Republicans swept nearly every statewide office, and turnout among Democrats was low, thanks to a lackluster candidate for governor. But two Democratic congressmen in highly competitive races in the state seem to have successfully fought those odds, though they are hanging on by the slenderest of margins and are still waiting for their opponents to concede."

I wasn't aware that Collins/Burns hadn't conceded, though it doesn't surprise me. How much of a loser can you possibly be if you can't beat Democrats in the State of Georgia?

"The two Democrats, Jim Marshall of Macon, in the Eighth Congressional District, and John Barrow of Savannah, in the 12th District, were on the Republican Party’s short list of beatable incumbents. Their adjoining districts, which encompass large rural areas, were redrawn by a Republican legislature, their opponents were former congressmen, and the National Republican Congressional Committee poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into the races. President Bush campaigned in each district twice."

Sounds like Collins/Burns should have taken a page from Charlie Crist in Florida and run like hell when Bush came calling.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Barrow Claims Victory

OK, moving on now. New topic. Given the change in leadership in the house, is a Barrow victory really a good thing for progressive democrats?

'cause he really smells a lot like Zell Miller these days....


OK, not trying to beat a dead horse here, but this is an interesting topic, based upon the various postings from folks since the election.

What's curious about this to me is the party dynamics of this. A lot of the pro-McKillip postings previous have accused all of the insinuations and nay-saying to be sour grapes from republicans. But I know personally several "real" democrats who have the same questions/concerns as have cropped up on the blog here.

Personally, the endorsement thing was a slimy manuever. The letter in today's paper defending it is just plain stupid. When I was a kid and my dad caught me doing something I knew I shouldn't do, I would try to wheedle out of punishment by claiming he'd never actually, told me NOT to do it. And he'd smack me upside the head and accuse me of being legalistic.
The endorsement thing reminds me of that, a slick lawyer move. And it turned me off. So I didn't vote for him. And I voted for every other Democrat on the ballot.

My point is, and I want some real, not campaign propaganda responses here if possible, what's the deal with Doug?

None of the other Democrats in these local races were facing criticism from democratic voters like he was/is?

And, does it matter? Or is there a great, uninformed chuck of voters out there who will vote for a ham sandwich as long as there's a "D" by it's name?

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Mea Culpas and Various Gloating

First the mea culpas. I was way off on my state-wide predictions. I really thought Mark Taylor was going to do better than 38%, which is why the Libertarian (who pulled at least 4%) would have thrown it into a runoff. However, I'm glad it's over. Talk about your choice between Dumb and Dumber (I'll leave the readers to plug in who's who).

Jim Martin did better state-wide than Taylor, as did Jane Kidd in her district, but neither was close in the end. I didn't predict SoS, but I would have guessed Gail Buckner would have done better than she did.

Looks like the only Democratic statewide bright spots were Thurbert Baker and Athenian Mike Thurmond. And Carol Hunstein, if you believe she's "one of them activist, liberal jerdges".

Locally, I did much better in my predictions. Right on Heidi/Charlie, right on Girtz/Sheats, and half-right on McKillip/Culpepper. Turns out the ABH endorsement flap was a non-starter, but I didn't think McKillip would take more than 50%.

So, we have the prospect of four more weeks of mayoral campaigning. History favors the runner-up in these things (the one exception being the Chisholm/Overend solicitor scrap last summer, but that was damn close), so Heidi shouldn't assume 45% was a "near victory". The flip side is 55% of the city/county didn't support her, so Charlie could and will make up big ground. Should be a long four weeks.

And how weird will it be to see candidates out at the mall campaigning during the Christmas shopping season? Ho, Ho, Ho.

On the bright side...

things look good on the national level.

My message to the DNC....

Don't blow it.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Wow... what a disappointing evening


a) we were wrong about a lot of shit.


b) the only democrats who are doing well are ones I didn't vote for.

The really scary thing is not the landslide in the governor's race, but the astonishing numbers being turned in by sacrificial lambs like Perry McGuire and Brent Brown.

I guess this is our new day in Georgia, huh?


Well, CNN now officially has their exit poll data out of quarantine. Any hard results are obviously still several hours away.

I don't know whether to be amused or scared that elected officials are themselves running into problems voting today. Gov. Sanford in South Carolina had to go back to his house to get his voter registration card (which is apparently required to be on you when voting in SC); and there were a couple of other instances of representatives having problems voting. The bigger issue is the array of systematic problems reported in numerous states. I understand that unexpected things can happen, but seriously, doesn't it seem like it's a lot harder for us to have elections in this country since 2000? Perhaps it's just the increased focus on such things...

The rain is relentless, and has surely depressed turnout, which is not good. Hopefully you all got out there anyway.

We'll be here all night, folks.

First CNN report on exit polls:

Corruption is the biggest issue (42 %)
57% disapprove of the war in Iraq.
62% said that national issues made a bigger difference in their decision than local issues.

Monday, November 06, 2006

24 Hours

We need a clock ticking in the corner of the blog (3 days, 48 hours, 24 hours...just six more minutes to vote!)

Anyway, I only make predictions at Oscar and Election time, so here are my predictions, fwiw, (and mainly echoing my fellow authors regarding runoffs):

Mayor: Heidi and Chuck in a runoff (one more month of campaigning, folks).

Commission 9: Girtz and Sheats in a runoff (too bad, because I liked Ed Vaughn).

House District 115: Culpepper and McKillip in a runoff (the "endorsement scandal" is a non-starter).

Board of Education: John Knight. Why? Because he named his son "Noble". Seriously.

Upset predictions:

GA Senate Seat 46
: Jane Kidd.

Lite Guv: Jim Martin.

Guv: One more month of the big guys. Perdue and Taylor in a runoff. I think Hayes siphons off enough votes to throw the gubers into a runoff.

That's echo Publius, go vote, bitchez.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

48 Hrs.

Ok, so nobody cares about the national races (or maybe it's just the weekend, and you guys have social lives). Fair enough, back to the local stuff. In this article, the consensus seems to support my position on the three runoffs. Interestingly, Doug McKillip says he "knows he's in the lead", even after the endorsement ad gaffe. Take the Democrat vote for granted much? I'm not so sure personally; I've been hearing a lot of Democrat support for Quick, and less than hearty support for McKillip among Democrats (and that was before the endorsement situation). I think it's even possible to have a runoff that doesn't include McKillip. What do you guys think?

Saturday, November 04, 2006

It's Invasor!

And for the rest of you normal people who don't give a crap about horse racing, let's start an open thread about the national races. Are the Democrats gonna take back Congress?

To get you started, CNN reports that a Mason/Dixon poll has Burns and Tester tied in Montana.

3 Days Out

Blake reports on early voting. Garland's just gonna go to Loco's on Monday; Heard endorses Lyle for the school board District 5 seat.

From where I sit, I see probable runoffs in the Mayor's race, District 9, and House 115. Am I wrong? If so, tell me why; if not, tell me who you think will be in the respective runoffs.

Friday, November 03, 2006

House 115

OK, this seems to be heating up a bit. From the Banner Hearald this morning:

Plainly speaking, in not disclosing the full context of the Oct. 24 editorial in his ads, McKillip showed himself, at best, as someone willing to shade the truth, and, at worst, as someone willing to try to lie to get into the state legislature.

McKillip's willingness to bend - if not exactly break - the truth should raise in voters' minds the all-important question of whether he has yet to develop the ethical maturity needed by someone seeking public office.

And now I see scanning the ole blog here that McKillip has lost at least one strident supporter (And my point is illustrative, NOT picking on the poster for flip-flopping):

September post by UGADemocrat:
UGAdemocrat said...
It's clear from the people that support Mr. Culpepper (the few, the old, the Republican) that he is no independent. It comes as no surprise that Mr. Culpepper would have a yard sign for an inexperienced, previous losing Republican. He will face the same fate as Mr. Cowsert, a definitive defeat. Mr. McKillip is campaigning on the progressive ideals that define Athens in the state of Georgia. He is supporting the issues that reflect the will of the voters. He will win hands down because Ms. Quick sadly has decided not to run a campaign despite getting herself on the ballot and because of the fact that Mr. Culpepper is a Republican in hiding who is connected to losing Republicans and party switching Athens politicians who were swept from office. Mr. Culpepper is no more of a threat to Mr. McKillip than Mr. Cowsert was to Rep. Kidd two years ago. The reason is just as Rep. Kidd was an excellent candidate for House, Mr. McKillip is ready to join the Athens delegation in Atlanta and work for the issues that matter to us.

Today's post:

UGAdemocrat said...
It's official, I'm going to vote and...

Regina Quick for House 115.

That's a pretty amazing turn-around for a guy with "democrat" in his blogger handle...

I don't really have an opinion (yet), as I don't know any of these folks besides EH and him only by reputation. But I do know that conventional wisdom last January was that 115 was still a Democrat's to lose even after Republican gerrymandering.

If you believe everything you hear, "Karl" Eldridge and other Republicans put up EH to run. But I've been seeing a lot of culpepper signs in the same yards as Jane's. (Including folks like Louise McBee).

So in the true spirit of slowing down to gawk at a car wreck... Are we witnessing a... um, car wreck in the form of the McKillip campaign? (I know, same metaphor twice in a row...)


Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Chamber Endorsements- Everybody sit down, it's a real shocker....

Press Release
Release Date: October 30, 2006
Subject: AACOC PAC Endorses Candidates for Commission, Mayor, GA House & Senate

One of the missions of the Athens Area Chamber of Commerce Political Action Committee (AACOC PAC) is to encourage and support candidates who understand the importance of business to the local community. Prior to making endorsements, the PAC requested that local candidates for Commission and Mayor provide written answers to questions submitted by Chamber members. The questions and candidates’ answers can be found on the PAC’s web site: www.AthensBusiness.Com. The PAC also sponsored forums and debates for candidates. After careful consideration, the AACOC PAC endorses the following candidates in the upcoming election.

Commission District 1: The AACOC PAC endorses James Garland. This was a difficult decision for the PAC because both candidates are supportive of our concerns. However, we recommend that our members support Mr. Garland. In his answers to the PAC’s questions, Mr. Garland displays a strong belief in private property rights and the value of businesses to the community. Over the past several years Mr. Garland has been a strong advocate for the free-enterprise system and less government. The PAC believes that Mr. Garland will be an uncompromised voice for business, lower taxes, and prioritized spending on issues such as roads, sewer service, and water lines.

Commission District 2: The AACOC PAC endorses Alvin Sheats. Mr. Sheats has years of community involvement, serving previously as a Commissioner, the Executive Director of the Hancock Development Center, and as a soldier in the Army National Guard. Mr. Sheats’ service in the Hancock Development Center provides him with first-hand experience in understanding the needs of economic development and workforce development initiatives. Mr. Sheats thoroughly understands that Government working with education and business can make a difference in economic development for our community. The PAC believes that Mr. Sheats will bring that experience and advocacy to the Commission.

Mayor: The AACOC PAC endorses Charlie Maddox. The business community is pleased that Mr. Charlie Maddox and Mr. Tom Chasteen understand the importance of business and industry to the quality of life in Athens. However, we believe that Mr. Maddox is the best candidate for our members. Mr. Maddox is a former small businessperson, a veteran, and a retired employee of the State’s award-winning Labor Department. Mr. Maddox has worked with Chamber member businesses over the years, and he will bring an understanding of our fundamental concerns to the Mayor and Commission sessions. Mr. Maddox understands that business friendly is also community friendly. Most importantly, Mr. Maddox will bring a fresh perspective to Athens Clarke County Government and can bring together our sometimes disparate communities.

GA House District 113: The AACOC PAC endorses Bob Smith. Representative Smith is an uncompromised advocate for education and business in our community. He is a strong supporter of Athens businesses at the state level and chairs important House committees that support economic development for the Athens-Clarke area. Mr. Smith has earned our support.

GA House District 115: The AACOC PAC endorses E.H. Culpepper. Mr. Culpepper is a long-time advocate for Athens-Clarke County, and he understands why the redevelopment of the 316 Corridor can assist Athens in its pursuit of the bio-tech industry, cleaner jobs, and higher paying wages for its citizens.

GA Senate Seat 46: The AACOC PAC endorses Bill Cowsert. Mr. Cowsert’s is a local small businessperson who has bold ideas for our local problems, such as ways to help businesses provide employees with health insurance. Mr. Cowsert is also a supporter of responsible growth and private property rights. We believe that Mr. Cowsert will be a fair and balanced advocate for the Athens area at the State level.

In addition to supporting each of these endorsed candidates financially, the AACOC PAC also asks that you vote for each of these individuals on Tuesday, November 7th 2006.


Michael R. Rainer, Chair
Athens Area Chamber of Commerce PAC, Inc.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Early Voting Today

Early voting starts today. Not that I need to tell anyone who reads AthPo about early voting, because you cats are the hippest, most in-touch, political geeks in the state. (Eat that, Peach Pundit!) So let this be a reminder to you, and maybe you'll remind a few of the unwashed masses. Early voting is a great thing.

In you live in Athens, you can vote at the Board of Elections, downtown on Washington St. (Just down from the City Hall.) In Oconee, you're over at the Courthouse in Watkinsville. (You can vote early from 9am - 5pm today through Friday, and yes, stickers will be available.)

Go vote, bitches.

Speaking of Mayors

Heidi is going to have an event, and if you're still undecided (word on the street is that a lot of folks are - not me, I'm voting for Eric Krasle), you owe it to yourself to take some of Al Davison's advice. Hie thyself out to Winterville and see Heidi, ask her a question or two, put her on the spot. It's cool, she don't mind.

Now, we've given Heidi a little grief around here in the past, and we'll continue to when we don't agree with her. But here's one thing that you can say about Heidi - ask her a question and she'll give you a real answer. And she'll tell you to your face if she thinks you're full of crap, although she's usually pretty nice about it.

Here are the details on the event.
It's this Friday, November 3. Starts at 5pm ends at 7pm, at the Winterville Depot. Hot chocolate will be served, and so help me, Al if it's not good, it's on your head, pal! Capice?

Friday, October 27, 2006

Mayoral Mob Scene

So I went to the Melting Point on Wednesday to see the Mayoral candidates square off, expecting very little in the way of substance or surprise, and basically got what I expected...very little in the way of substance, but perhaps a bit more surprise.

First, I don't know why they call these things "debates" anyway. No one is "debating" anything at these forums. Instead, each candidate is trying to rush their views into a 60 second sound byte, some being more successful than others, but no one really being able to say enough to move a voter from one camp to another. The questions, while adequately posed by Flagpole, Banner-Herald and Red & Black, were standard "debate" fare; too much time on sewerage, not enough time on any "hot" topics like underage drinking or the smoking ban.

That said, my impressions of the candidates really weren't formed until the closing two minute statements. And by the time they were done, I was more confused than ever about for whom to vote on November 7th.

Andy Rusk dropped his withdrawal bombshell during his last two minutes. While having provided comic relief throughout the debate, Rusk had the audience cheering at the end, arguing he didn't want to split the "townie vote" with Mayor Heidi Davison, and that "discretion being the better part of valor" it was time for him to "take a powder". While he half-heartedly threw his support her way, he also praised the other candidates, especially Charlie, for being "great guys". I agreed with Heidi when she said "I hope you run again". With a little more seasoning (and a few fewer PBR's at the debate table), the dude's got a future in politics here.

Richard DeRose stuck to the same themes he's always stuck on/with. I still don't get DeRose, beyond his status as perennial mayoral gadfly, and I don't know if he threatens this every four years, but he said he was just about through with Athens and the University of Georgia, and that we "didn't have much time left". I'm still not sure I "got it", but it was certainly a strange campaign theme: vote for me or I'm leaving town.

Tom Chasteen was over-scripted, wooden, expressionless and stiff during the debate and during his close. I've seen Chasteen more animated at Commission meetings at 3am than during this debate, so I'm not sure what gives. With all the support and base he's built over the years in this town, he should be doing better than he is. I wouldn't underestimate that base, but as a candidate he's got to come off the script and speak more from the heart.

Charlie Maddox surprised me at the end. After offering up various platitudes all night regarding the issues, his closing statement was more revelatory than Rusk's. Voice cracking, pausing to gather his composure, Maddox let loose a seemingly heartfelt tirade on his being an independent, "own man" candidate, and not a stooge for the Chamber or Republicans. I don't know if he's done this kind of thing before (crocodile tears), but his "I'm unbought and unbossed" channeling of Hosea Williams was a powerful, dramatic moment in a "debate" that lacked any soul or interest up to that point. It definitely had several people exchanging "WTF?" glances at one another.

Heidi was Heidi. When she finally stopped scribbling long enough to look up and address the audience (I swear, she was writing on legal pads the entire time she sat at the debate table), she captured her passion from four years ago. Her closing statement reminded everyone in the room who voted for her four years why they did, and really made an impassioned case for another term. Her command of the issues was stellar, and she laid out a brief but comprehensive plan for the next four years, should voters give her that chance.

I agree with Pete McCommons when he wrote that Heidi can be "prickly" and not the most warm and fuzzy candidate you'll ever meet, but we're not electing a den mother, folks. This is Mayor. And while we have a weak Mayor system, you've got to have someone in the hot seat who can, when necessary, corral the other personalities on the Commission and bring some kind of order to the mess. Perhaps Tom Chasteen is that guy, and the robotics were just an act. Perhaps Heidi Davison deserves another four years to keep asserting herself. Maybe Maddox is his own man who wants be the candidate of everyone.

Try to attend the last "debate" if you can. You should meet your candidates and see them up close to form an impression. Me? I still don't know who I'm voting for. Maybe if we could get the leading three candidates to actually debate, I might be able to make up my mind.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Post Debate Open Thread

Coverage tomorrow. Probably.

Anyone there? What did you think? I hear the closing statements were um...interesting.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Master Debaters

Like I was going to pass that joke up.

Here's the skinny, cupcakes.

Debates. Athens Press Club. Tomorrow and Wednesday. Melting Point (at the Foundry Park Inn). Start at 7 sharp both nights. Also on the radio - 1340 AM. Most local and state candidates will be there.

Be there, or Ben Emanuel will leave a flaming bag of poo on your doorstep.

From the Davison Campaign

[Al was kind enough to take us up on our offer for some free space. Here's what he had to say. Previously posted as a comment, but moved to it's own post to promote comment and discussion.]

OK, folks. I sorta promised I’d blog a little about Heidi’s campaign when I had a moment to catch my breath so, here is just a little. (Obviously I’m not going to tell everything.)

We are taking NOTHING for granted in this race! We’ve been busting our humps since the day Heidi announced. We knew we’d be leading from the moment she announced because of all the urgent pleas we were getting for her to run again. It seems that the more they heard from the other guys in the race, the more pressure they put on Heidi to run again. And, yes, it was completely true and sincere that she was not sure whether she wanted to do this job for another 4 years. It’s a life-swallowing job if it’s done right and “right” is the only way Heidi would ever do it. Finally, she decided that she had to do it because the other choices were just not acceptable. She loves this town and she couldn’t abandon it or trust it to any of the other announced candidates. It may sound cheesy or trite but, it’s just absolutely true that she’s running out of a sense of duty and responsibility.

We’re proud of all our endorsements. We’ve gotten endorsed by everybody who does endorsements – except the Chamber PAC and they have yet to announce. We’re starting to wonder if they are afraid to endorse their candidate (you know who I mean) since we’re seeing lots of signs (pun intended) that the Chamber and hard-core Republicans are getting nervous about how closely their candidate is being identified with them.

On that subject, I have to say that there is really nothing at all non-partisan about this race in actuality other than the missing party identification on the ballots. The vast majority of the local (and state-wide) Dems have lined up behind Heidi. The vast majority of the Deep Red Team has lined up behind one of the other 2 “serious” candidates. That is not to say that Heidi does not have support from a lot of locals who usually vote Republican – she does. It’s just not any of the rabid far-right crowd. Heidi has built some great relationships with folks who don’t really agree with her on a lot of issues but they trust her and they know that they can work with her so, they appreciate that she’s honest and will seriously consider their points of view even when they don’t necessarily agree. That’s all good because we can’t win without support from folks who disagree on some issues.

In fact, one of the most gratifying things that we’re discovering about Athens voters is that there are very few “single-issue” voters out there. There are also very few who vote along the lines of race or gender. I’m pretty happy at how savvy is the majority of the local electorate. In fact, I’m proud of us! I’m equally happy that this town still frowns heavily on negative campaign tactics. I truly believe that, in Athens, the first one to go negative loses. We will absolutely NOT go negative! It’s not just good campaign strategy, it’s the only way Heidi and I will ever run a campaign. We do expect some last minute desperation attacks because that’s been the style and tactics that we’ve seen from the folks who are actually running some of the other campaigns – not the ones who have their names listed but the real campaign teams. Good luck to them – it won’t stick to us but it will stick to them long after the election is over. My old football coach once told me something I’ll never forget: “you play the way you practice”. We plan to “practice” and “play” in ways that will never cause us shame even if we lose.

OK, what else can I tell you? I guess the main thing is that we’re doing all we can to win this thing on November 7th. I think I was the only person in town that thought this was possible up until recently. I always knew it could be done. I’m not predicting anything – I’m just saying that there are now a lot of pundits who agree that we might win without a run-off and I’ve not heard from any respectable pundit who thinks Heidi won’t win on either Nov. 7th or Dec. 5th. We aren’t going for a landslide – we don’t really care if we only win by only 1 vote. There are other candidates in this race that are decent folks with plenty of support so there’s no reason to think that Heidi is going to win unanimously. ;-)
I do hope that we don’t have to campaign through Thanksgiving, though. I can imagine that the voter turn-out on Dec. 5th will be one of the lowest on record (unless there is a run-off for Governor).

Good luck all the candidates! Keep it clean, keep it issue based and true – let the people decide and be happy with the results if you can. There is life after Election Day.


Friday, October 13, 2006

Candidates! Listen Up!

Want to guest blog and promote yourself on AthPo? Email us.


As everybody and their bartender knows, rumors are flying that the Commission has just about had enough of people going downtown to drink and listen to good music, so they're taking steps to make downtown Athens "safer."

Ok, before you guys get all over my ass, they're going to ask the state legislative delegation to do some legislatin' to ostensibly cut down on underage drankin'. Among the proposals:

  • Adding a bar code with DOB information to your driver's license.
  • Making it a crime to have someone else's ID if you're caught drinking underage.
  • Making doormen criminally liable for letting in underage people.
WTF? Now, I'm ok with the second point. Although, I would mention that there are plenty of legitimate reasons why you might have someone else's ID. Still, that doesn't really matter, since (as the local govt. wants the statute written) you've already been busted for drinking underage. So we'll hope that law enforcement and prosecutors use a little common sense if this law gets passed.

The bar code thing isn't going to solve very many problems, unless the ACC Commission or the state gummint is planning on providing scanners at little or no cost. If they don't, then this is just another unfunded mandate thrown on to bar owners. Also, I expect to see the tinfoil hat crowd go apeshit about this one. Please don't disappoint me.

Now, making doormen criminally liable for letting in the younguns? I'm not so sure about that one, to be honest. First of all, let's be clear. If a doorman is knowingly letting in the youth of Athens, then sure, bust them. But think about any crowded night downtown. When customers are stacked 8 or 10 deep at the door, and with fake IDs getting better and better, is it really good policy to hold door staff responsible for an honest mistake? The net result of a law like this is pretty clear - no doorman wants to get arrested, they'll move on to doing something else, and the bars downtown will have less doormen and less experienced doormen. And the crowd control problem grows.

Elton Dodson: The Voice of Reason
That's one I never thought I'd type. But Super-Commissioner Dodson (I assume he wears the cape and tights on his own time) has a point, and the ABH is wrong for calling him out in this editorial.

Let's give credit where credit is due - and Elton (along with County Attorney Bill Berryman) has a point. Other local bloggers are on this like white on rice in a snowstorm, so I don't have much to add. Here's Adrian. Here's JMac.

The Bar Owners are Peee-yossed!
So local bar owners are organizing. The leadership appears to be coming from the cats who own Walker's, but sources tell me that they had a very well-attended meeting on Wednesday evening with about 25 - 30 bar owners in attendance. The bar owner's association meeting covered a variety of topics, with one of the main things being why the Mayor and Commission keeps picking on them with skyrocketing property taxes (some bar owners have seen around a 300% property tax increase in the last four years), the extra excise tax on liquor drinks, the sidewalk cafe railings that make crowd control harder, and a handful of other issues.

This is a group that is going to get politically involved pretty soon, as I understand it.

There are two mindsets on this whole issue of how the Commission treats bar owners. Either the bar owners are legitimate business owners who deserve to be treated with the same dignity that the owners of other businesses get from the gummint; or they are ruthless merchants of sin and iniquity that happen to be a convenient piggy bank for those times when the general fund gets a little short.

Here's what I don't get. Many of our commissioners, and certainly our Mayor, talk a good game about being supportive of the downtown entertainment industry. I've seen Heidi downtown. Same with Elton, David Lynn, and a few others. But once they get behind the rail - well, I'm not ready to say that they are anti-bar yet. I will say that the bar owners have a couple of good points to make.

Not to sound too Donald Rumsfeld here, but you build a local economy on the businesses you have, not the businesses you wish you had. If you've lived here for a few decades, as I have, you might remember what downtown looked like a few months after Georgia Square Mall opened up. It wasn't a pretty sight. Bars and music venues kept downtown Athens from looking like any one of hundreds of blighted city centers. They also contribute a lot of money into the local economy.

In any event, it's a good thing that the bar owners are getting organized. The main problem between government and business in this town is a lack of communication.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Voter ID Letter

I wonder how many Athenians will be affected by this letter from the State Election Board:

"More than 300,000 Georgians have received inaccurate letters from the State Election Board telling them about acceptable forms of identification when they vote in the Nov. 7 elections. The one-page letter says the recipient is on a list of registered voters who might not have a driver's license or photo ID card. It requests those who do have licenses to contact the county elections and registrations office and let it know their IDs are valid. Driver's licenses aren't needed to vote, the letter continues, because voters can use five other photo IDs when voting.

"But the letter is wrong because a court ruling bars the state from enforcing the controversial voter ID law."

Presumably, these letters were mailed before the Voter ID Act was struck down (for the umpteenth time) by an "activist jerdge" in Fulton County.

Meanwhile, given our higher than average share of poor folks here in ACC, I can't help but wonder how many Athenians received this letter and are thinking they can't go to the polls in November.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Hi John

We see you looking. Thanks for visiting. (Realistically, it's probably a low-level flunky of course.) Either way, get Firefox like the rest of the bipeds, mmmkay?


From the Chamber's website:

It's popcorn, lemonade, peanuts and politics at the the bi-annual HOB NOB, Old-Fashioned Political Rally Wednesday, October 4th beginning at 6:00 p.m. at the Holiday Inn. Hear stump speeches from ACC Mayor and Commission candidates, State House and Senate Candidates and statewide candidates all in one big event.

Also, there is of course the mayoral debate on the east side mentioned in the comments.

Finally, kudos to Elton for dropping in and sharing a piece of his mind. No matter what you may think of him or the words he chooses to use to describe certain commission candidates, I think it's always positive when the candidates and officeholders choose to engage the public in general and us in particular. Heck, the guy even put his cell # out there. More guts than me.

Go and do likewise, gents.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

On the other hand...

So this Elton Dodson thing is becoming a little mini-shitstorm on the blog, and sources who were hanging out at the Iron Triangle festivus today tell me that at least the usual inside baseball players are talking about it.

Did the Commish go too far? Well, before you jump to conclusions, bear in mind that Chuck Jones had, at various times in his campaign, alluded to (and in some cases directly charged) that the ACC Commission was corrupt and engaging in collusion. He didn’t specifically exclude Dodson, so one presumes he includes him in his allegations of corruption and collusion. Dodson had every right in the world to respond, and he had every right in the world to respond in the way he did.

On the other hand, Dodson is a public figure and those kinds of charges get thrown around a lot from challengers looking for traction – it’s part of the game. On the other hand, Jones , at the time of Dodson’s comments, was not a candidate. But that doesn’t mean that he’s longer a public figure.

However, Chuck Jones is no moron. (And there’s the slogan for next time: “Chuck Jones – he’s no moron.”) As I’m sure the Commish hisself would tell you, you don’t get through law school if you’re stupid. Chuck is, in my opinion, wrong on just about every issue. As a candidate, he was waaaaay too quick to throw around charges he couldn’t back up. And there was the unfortunate Cobbham listserv incident. When you get right down to it, Chuck’s Achilles heel as a candidate was a lack of judgment and a surplus of immaturity. On the other hand, Dodson’s quote indicates a temporary lapse of maturity as well.

Here’s what I know. Dodson should have used a more diplomatic choice of words, if for no reason than taking the high road usually makes one look better.

Here’s the other thing I know. We can massively increase the revenue in the ACC General Fund if Chuck will move to the 10th District in 2008 and run against Dodson. We’ll make them debate each other every week, and put it on pay-per-view. Should be interesting and lucrative.

Name Calling

Some of you may have missed the article in the Red and Black yesterday, so here's the link:

Students are pissed, but lazy.

The article itself is an unremarkable, sometimes inaccurate, diatribe the likes of which we've seen for years. I bring it up here for the purpose of discussing District 10 Commissioner Elton Dodson's on-the-record reference to then-candidate Chuck Jones as a "moron."

Is that really appropriate talk from one of our elected officials, especially concerning other candidates?

BTW I think it's a little harsh. Chuckie is naive and a little silly, like all of the other "student" candidates who have preceded him, but "moron?"

I mean, sure, we pick on him here, but we're not elected officials either...

Friday, September 29, 2006

Heidi on the Radio...

Mayor Davison will be interviewed on WXAG 1470 this am at 11:30.

Send us info about upcoming appearances, etc. Sad as it sounds, for some of the smaller races, this blog is the only source of news.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

''Sweatin" the Judge's race....

Reports just in of candidate Stan Durden shooting a TV spot on the steps of the courthouse this week. There's been very little press on this contested Superior Court Judge's race, and myself being admittedly distrustful (if not not downright contemptuous) of lawyers generally, I'm even more ignorant about this race than I was about the Solicitor's race this summer.

I do know it's pretty rare for a sitting judge to be challenged. Anyone (maybe our attorney readers) have any insight for the rest of us?

Heidi/Charlie blurbs...

Received a press release from Jeff Snowden of Charlie Maddox's campaign. Charlie has posted his answers to the Athens Grow Green Coalition questionnaire of mayoral candidates. You can read his responses here.

Saw my first Heidi signage the other day. Nice, narrow vertical blue and white signs reading "Heidi Our Mayor". Very catchy.

Everyone to your corners.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

From the Culpepper Campaign...

E to the H' folks sent us a press release concerning his K-12 education plan. Full details can be found here:

Press Release

Commission Candidates debate at the Chamber of Commerce; Chuck Jones withdraws from 9th Race

The candidates in the 1st and 9th District Commission races participated in a forum/debate sponsored by the Chamber PAC and held at the Chamber building.

The 1st candidates seemed to have a little bit of the "I agree with Governor Bush" syndrome going on, with little to separate them. On the few questions that produced discernible disagreement, I think I would have to with Garland. For example, Lowry trashed college students in his answer on rental registration, which he basically seemed to support, and he said he wanted "no new bars" downtown in response to a question about whether local government should be involved in regulating the daylife/nightlife balance downtown. Garland, on the other hand, opposed rental registration and suggested existing ordinances as the means to deal with rowdy, messy college students living in our neighborhoods, and didn't think it was government's job to tell business owners what kind of businesses to put downtown. I happen to agree on both accounts.

Then came the 9th debate. The day began with four candidates, but it was announced by moderator Tim Bryant at the beginning of the debate that the field had been narrowed to three by the resignation of Chuck Jones from the race (Mr. Jones reportedly phoned his opponents personally earlier in the evening to inform them of his resignation as well). Alvin Sheats chose not to participate, and so only Kelly Girch and Ed Vaughn took part in the debate. Both trumpeted their experience, Girch as an educator and Vaughn as a city planner and government contractor, as a reason to give them the job. Vaughn challenged the Chamber on why it had not done more to help downtown businesses, who in Vaughn's words have been getting "hosed" for the past four years under the current commission.

There are several more debates scheduled during the month of October for both the commission races and the mayor's race; it's late and so I don't remember dates right now, but I'll perhaps do another post with those later.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

The Swift Boating of John Barrow

Even though John Barrah is no longer Athens' congressman, his name continues to come up here, and 12th district Democrats should take heed of this: The Swift Boat Veterans for Truth (who are neither honorable veterans, nor truthful in any respect), are back, and this time they're taking aim at two congressional Georgia Democrats to "swiftboat".

"The man who helped put up the money to pay for the Swift Boat attacks on Democratic Sen. John Kerry's war record has an new target. Bob J. Perry, a Texas homebuilder with close ties to White House advisor Karl Rove and former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, have given $5 million to the Economic Freedom Fund, a newly created California group targeting Democratic candidates.

The Economic Freedom Fund, which is headquartered in California, has paid for TV ads, fliers and telephone messages criticizing Jim Marshall and John Barrow, whose re-election bids are among the hottest races in the country this fall."

Don't you just love that ambiguous, kinda classy name? The "Economic Freedom Fund"? Like they're a bunch of economists sitting around planning economic theory, as opposed to a goon squad of malcontents out to destroy congressional careers.

The problem, as blackfin pointed out in Barrow's ads posted on Youtube, is that Barrow can't really fight back in any meaningful way. While he can "denounce" Perry's tactics, he is still running on the very same "I ain't no Nancy Pelosi, Ted Kennedy, Cut and Run Democrat" platform that Perry et al are swiftboating him to begin with.

That's why any 12th district Democrats reading this need to do the work for him. As Kerry said recently, capital D Democrats everywhere need to stand up and be prepared to "kick their ass from one end of America to the other."

Or at the very least, back to Texas and out of Georgia's politics.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

What's on YOUR "Sonny Do" list?

And finally (for this evening), and fittingly, since my suggestion to Publius on this subject is what led to my invitiation to join this little party, I now must open the floor for suggestions for Governor Purdue's "Sonny Do" list.

If you missed the original commercial introducing the idea, here's a link:

Sonny Doo Doo

(I did an actual spit-take with my corn flakes the first time I saw this, no lie.)

So come on, I know you've been dying to.

Also acceptable are ideas for a "Sonny don't" list, like, "Sonny, don't pretend that taking our school system from dead-last to next to dead-last is something to be proud of..."

Earl and Eddie and John

Since he's not on the ballot here anymore, many of you may not be aware of John "Zell" Barrow's current campaign message. I think's it's probably best to let his radio ads speak for themselves. Suffice to say, I thought these ads were a parody of some kind... but they are real. Let the fun begin.

I'm not sure if "them dawgs" really need your approval, John, but what's with dissing the Braves?

And we're back! (cue the radio "zinger")

I also want to thank (I refuse to "give a shout out to") Publius and DoubleDawg for asking both Mitchell and myself to keep the party going.

I have lived in Athens for 10 years, and am Georgia born and raised. While I've never met our other three contributors, I've sparred with them a time or two online, so this should be fun. Don't bother checking out my blog It's a Blackfin Day, as I am woefully bad about updating it.

I'm a Democrat, but pissed off about it much of the time.

Just a couple of other races to talk about that Mitchell overlooked.

It's been a while since we heard much from the McKillip/Culpepper/Quick house race. McKillip seems to be lining up all of the usual suspects of local "progressive" supporters, and I'm pretty sure E.H. has a Bill Cowsert sign in his yard... which leaves us with Ms. Quick who has kept pretty quiet. Word on the street is that she is not your typical pro-life, pro-Sonny, ten comandments on the wall Republican, but I don't know her, and as a first timer, she has no record to look at. Anybody got any insight?

And even though he's "our congressman" for only a few more months, I just can't resist this John Barrow guy. Actually, this needs it's own post so...

look up....

Never Surrender

Greetings everyone. I appreciate Publius and DoubleDawg's invitation to post to Athens Politics and try to keep this party going. Unlike them, I have no life to speak of, so blogging and trying to find some time to hit a few posts here shouldn't be too much of a stretch for me.

As a brief intro, I've lived in Athens approximately 8 years, and while I blog on other topics more national in scope at Article of Faith, I will admit to being somewhat left of the political spectrum both locally and nationally. I call myself a Kerrycrat as opposed to a capital D Democrat (yes, there are a few of us who "still believe" in another Kerry run), but I appreciate the chance to "go local" and will try to keep my comments "fair and balanced". [snicker]

A few observations on this beautiful Game Day Saturday morning:

Where's Heidi's campaign? I'm not the most politically connected person in Athens, but it seems that in the most obvious and public areas (signage, advertisements, etc.) her's is nowhere to be found. Maybe I'm not seeing it, but Charlie Maddox's campaign seems to be outworking Heidi's re-election effort. With just over six weeks to go to the election, that doesn't bode well for the incumbent Mayor.

Speaking of signage and Charlie's campaign anyone else notice that the "I'm With Charlie" yard signs seem to be springing up in lawns and yards (especially up on Milledge) alongside Republican candidates like Bill Cowsert and Perdue? I'm just sayin....

Mentioning the Cowsert race, is it wise for his opponent Jane Kidd to be expending phone bank energy this early in the race? I think I've been called at least twice in the past month, but maybe the fact that I'm talking about it shows it's working. You tell me.

Last comment, this one on the state Governor's race. Frankly I find Mark Taylor's "gettin tuff" on crime ads to be abysmal. Hasn't the Democratic Party, particularly the state party, learned that you can't out right the right? The "abolish parole for violent criminals" was ambiguous enough, I guess, but the death penalty for sex offenders? Shameless.

The only people turned on by those issues are voting for Sonny Perdue anyway, and as this poll shows, Taylor is still 20 points behind. Who exactly is he trying to motivate with ads like this? IMO, having sent an emissary to Athens to make up with all the Cathy Cox supporters would have garnered more votes than those ads will ever generate.

One last note: the same poll above shows lite guv Democratic candidate Jim Martin, who's "more liberal and doesn't try to hide it," in a dead heat with Republican Casey Cagle.

Makes you go "hmmmm..."

Friday, September 08, 2006

I quit!

That's right, I'm done with the blog. Why? Well, I'm not quite ready to give up my career, which I feel like I'd have to do to go on with the blog properly. Plus, politics in Athens is too dysfunctional for me to do any good on here anyway. And I've got some screenplays to write; I'm not getting any younger! Good luck.

Monday, September 04, 2006


Ok, so I guess I'm doing all of my comments as new posts until I can figure out what's wrong. So here goes.

Here's the short version of my response to Chuck, cause I'm not typing all of that again:

Yes, there is a "controversy" over the war, obviously. I didn't think that's what you meant. If that's what you meant, then you were basically saying I should be talking about the war instead of your legal ads. Well, ok. We've talked plenty about the war on here.

I was saying that I didn't think the protests themselves were very controversial. Nobody is trying to keep anyone from doing it (either them or you), and nobody seems terribly excited about either group of protesters. That's all.

Anyway, send your ad if you find it; I'm still curious.

On to other things, it's Labor Day, and with it comes the news that Athens firefighters might be forming a union.

All for now; enjoy the rest of your day off.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Response to Chuckie, etc.

I'm doing this as a new post instead of a comment because my word verification on the comment page is having a fit and won't let itself be seen by me. Which makes it hard to verify.

Anyway, I'm not sure my previous post could be characterized as "going crazy" criticizing your ad. I just mentioned it because I was told it existed and I wanted to see it. If it never existed, so be it.

And while we're citing Red and Black articles, check this one out about local blogs; we are specifically mentioned, as well as JMac and Hillary.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Gameday, Bitches!

Ok, fair enough, here's a new post.

So I have it from someone I know that Chuck Jones has an ad in the Red & Black. Since I don't necessarily spend that much time on campus these days, I haven't read an issue lately, and so I haven't seen it. My source describes the ad as "over the top." Has anybody seen it? Can we get someone to drop it in the ol' scanner and get us a copy? If so, we'll put it up (no, not to give Chuck Jones free press, but to laugh at him mercilessly; although I guess those two things are not necessarily mutually exclusive).

Chuckie, maybe if you're still reading, you can just send it to us (although with that sendup I just gave it, maybe you're not so inclined).

Go Dawgs, and so forth.

Friday, August 25, 2006

The Culpepper Campaign Responds

Hi kids. If you've been following things here on AthPo for the last few days, you know that there's been some back and forth about the House District 115 race. Supporters of Doug McKillip and E to the H Culpepper have been going round and round. The Culpepper campaign emailed me a more official response, which I'm posting here in toto for your perusal. Go nuts.

In the last few days I have been following the rancorous online debate of several issues concerning the candidacy of E.H. Culpepper, the first independent to seek the District 115 seat in the Georgia House of Representatives. I feel it imperative to address several points raised in these commentaries. Several issues are of factual note and several are more abstract.

I'd like to start with the factual, personal arguments brought to bear on E.H. The most prevalent issue is over a tax lien levied against E.H. in the early '90s. My, and our, response is this: it is true that due to a lack of attention to the proper amount E.H. owed in the early 90's the IRS did issue a tax lien to E.H. in May of 1996 for the years of 1988 - 1991. Just like many other taxpayers that do not have their taxes prepared for them, E.H. simply did not pay enough. In fact, in the last 11 years more than 6 million Federal tax liens were issued in the United States (IRS website, in the taxstats section). That number may seem surprisingly high, but is in fact a low estimate of how common a mistake this is (especially considering the low rate of auditing by the IRS). That analysis is not an excuse; it admittedly was a mistake. A mistake E.H. corrected long ago (as opposed to a anonymous poster's claim that these still exist). It is ancient history, and as such this will be our only comment on it because this election is about the future of our community and the candidate whose professional experience best suits the needs of Athens-Clarke County and The University of Georgia.

Another seemingly factual argument is the E.H. is really a Republican. Well, I've known E.H. personally, as have many of you, and I know his ideas for our citizens future genuinely do not fit in with either of the two parties' ideology. Of his voting record (available at the ACC Board of Elections), he has frequently voted in both parties' primary elections. Of his public contributions (available at, he has given to Jack Quinn (R), Barbara Dooley (R), Roy Barnes (D), Johnny Isakson (R), and Max Cleland (D). He's worked tirelessly for the Athens Greenway, the Georgia Rail Passenger Authority, the Classic Center initiative, 441 Heritage Corridor, the Northeast Georgia Roundtable, the BrainTrain initiative and a slew of other projects (check out the full list available on our website). There isn’t a partisan pattern – that’s why E.H. is a fit for Athens. He can’t be stereotyped, no matter how hard you try. The only logical explanation is that E.H. supports the candidates and initiatives he feels are best for this community, and has for close to a half century.

The accusation that E.H. is in any way discriminatory is definitively laughable to literally anyone who knows him. That being the case, I will not respond to such unfounded attacks that try to make this race a character battle that no one would win. In actuality, this community will lose with a lack of actual exchange of real ideas on the progress of our community (if you want to know about E.H., ask any one of his friends rather than throwing around the names of national political groups with no impact or role in Athens).

E.H.'s candidacy is based on the fact that he is the best candidate for the district. The reason’s are outlined in the five “E’s” on our website: Experience, Education, Economic Development, Effectiveness and Environmental Health. E.H. has proven he has the unique leadership skills and long-term relationships to get more results in these areas than any of the other candidates. As the campaign moves along, more and more detail will be provided on the specifics of E.H.'s vision and how he will work with the community to get tangible results back from our state government.

As I have insinuated throughout this post, E.H.'s campaign will not engage in the type of partisan rhetoric that we and the citizens of Athens-Clarke county abhor. That is part of the reason E.H. believes his independent candidacy is in the best interests of Athens-Clarke County: we can honestly evaluate the candidate that the community feels is best on the issues that genuinely affect our citizens.

To Mr. McKillip's supporters I ask this: To you, does progress mean continued slick campaigning on frivolous and personal issues? Or does it mean, as Mr. McKillip has eloquently stated himself, “debat[ing] real issues, such as education, health issues and the environment (ABH, 10/24/00)?” I think all the candidates and voters deserve a constructive airing of the concerns at stake in this race. I thank all of E.H.'s supporters and would encourage them to continue to be active in debate of these important issues.

Our Campaign invites intelligent discussion on the variety of issues in the race for House District 115. It is our contention that E.H. represents a real chance in Athens for substantive representation, as opposed to the symbolic or formalistic representation offered by our two opponents’ candidacies. As a start and on a personal note, I would like to thank Publius for posting the article on the BrainTrain. As one of E.H.'s strongest initiatives, we welcome a debate on this issue who's fate can greatly enhance the economic development, employment level, education and overall quality of life (among other affairs) of Athens-Clarke County.

We look forward to hearing from anyone who reads this who might have any information or questions relating to the issues in our campaign. Please feel free to frequently check our website for updates and continuously forthcoming information about E.H.'s Legislative plans and contact us via email or the “Ask E.H.” section of our website ( We'll talk to you soon!


Ryan Hicks

Campaign Manager


Thursday, August 24, 2006

The AthPo Reader's Poll

Nah, we don't have any of those fancy-schmancy polling widgets, so just use the comments thread.

Which local race are you thinking about the most, or put another way, which local race has got you excited? On a similar tip, who are you lukewarm about?

Comments below.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

C'mon, ride that train. Or not.

Just to take a break from some campaign politics for the nonce, let's take a look at some actual policy. Got a question on a previous thread about whether I'd ride the choo-choo to the ATL. (I had mentioned that I'm not a supporter of the Brain Train.)

So let's talk about the Brain Train for a second, and I'll tell you why I'm not supporting it. There are basically two reasons, one practical, one fiscal.

The practical reason is that I just don't think the BT is going to go anywhere I need to go in Atlanta, except for the airport. Folks, Atlanta is all sprawled out. (I know, shocking.) To get anywhere, you either need effective public transportation or you need a car. Now, effective public transportation is something I do support, and very strongly. But Atlanta doesn't have it yet, and I don't know if they will even in my lifetime. Try to get the rich folks in North Fulton to let MARTA come in and see how far you get. Gwinnett County is also severely lacking in that department. So, I wouldn't take the choo-choo to Atlanta, because it's easier to drive my car to where I need to go rather than braintrain it to a central hub and take my chances with public transporation which may or may not go where I need it to go.

To a certain extent, then, I think that pushing the Brain Train through right now is really putting the cart ahead of the horse. Regional public transportation is great, but we need the local public transportation to support it in place first. I don't believe that Atlanta is there yet.

Here's a little bit of a sociological sub-reason to this as well. Americans, and especially those who live in the South and West, are ingrained with car culture. Now, that's not necessarily a good thing, but it is what it is. You'll need a sweeping change in the cultural zeitgeist to overcome that, and it won't happen overnight or even over a generation. So, even having the Brain Train in place doesn't guarantee that people will use it, and most people probably won't.

Now my fiscal reason is a little simpler. Friends, I love public transportation, but we cannot afford this right now. Estimates vary on the cost of this project, but it's going to be expensive. Legislators, do me a favor, please. Put that money into health care, into PeachCare, into public education, or helping small businesses stay afloat in the first few years of existence. Hell, put the money into helping local governments fund more and better public transportation on the local level. I'd love to buy the choo-choo, but we've got other more pressing problems to pay for first. The revenue to pay for choo-choos has to come from one or both of only two sources - either cut spending or raise taxes. I'm not a huge fan of the latter, for obvious reasons, and while I favor spending cuts, this legislature tends to pull money out of things like, oh, I don't know, having enough teachers, or making sure your kids can see the doctor.

Friends, I'm convincable on this issue. I'm open to debate, and I'd like to know why I should get behind the choo-choo, but right now...well, not so much.

Cowsert's website is up

He let us know last night. Anyway, it's a pretty nice website; some of the photography is top-notch. He's messaging on two things - common sense (which I like), and conservatism (which I used to like in some respects until some of Mr. Cowsert's colleagues in the GOP hijacked the word and redifined it to mean hating on gays, Mexicans, and anyone else who isn't white, fundamentalist, and Southern. Ahem. For what it's worth, I've met Bill, and I don't think he's got an intolerant bone in his body, but that's not particularly true of some of his fellow Republicans.)

Sorry about that. Sometimes... Anyhoo, Bill's website is up. The issues section is pretty nice, although I think many of us would like a leeeeeeetle more detail about his plan on health care. He wants to allow small business owners to join a pool of insurance buyers, which is a good idea, since 90% of Georgia's workforce works for small businesses. Still, while that might make a dent in the number of uninsured folks who are driving up health care (and thus health insurance) costs, he doesn't say anything about the insurance companies themselves, which - some believe - share a part of the blame.

Cowsert also says that he's "committed to fully funding our educational system." OK, Bill, if you get elected, we're holding you to that. You may have noticed a big honkin' University in our back yard. We take education pretty seriously around here, and given the dropout rate in the Clarke County public schools, I don't know that Athens voters are going to look too favorably on three years of education cuts, followed by an election year education funding orgy, as Sonny did, with the help of the GOP-held state legislature.

One other issues point, and then I'll let you make up your own mind. I liked what Cowsert has to say about transportation and air pollution. But then I read a little deeper, and caught this: "I will work with state and regional transportation officials to promote making Hwy 316 an interstate-style road without excessive fees and tolls." Hmmm...without excessive fees or tolls, meaning that the option is open. I'm not strongly decided on that particular issue, except that I'm opposed to having to pay to drive to Atlanta, and I'm pretty sure that Atlanta will get the lion's share of the revenue. Bill also loves him some Brain Train, which I don't really care for.

Finally, Bill has a blog. It's apparently the happening thing for candidates.

Mayor Heidi is gonna clean this town up greenway at a time. If you'd like to help her in her effort to do that, then you should stop by the Sandy Creek Nature Center this Saturday at 9:00 am. She'll provide bags and refreshments.

Hey, as far as candidate events go, it beats punch and cookies.

Random aside: Heidi's campaign committee is called "Elect Heidi Mayor Again!" I dunno, sounds a little ungainly. I prefer Heidi 2.0, or perhaps "Heidi Part II: The Reckoning." But what do I know?

Hey, speaking of candidate events, the man we've annointed to make Ralph Hudgens cry like a little bitch, Mac Rawson, is having a soiree next month. It could be a big deal, so we're telling you now. It's going to be in Winterville on September 14, and will feature Gov. Roy Barnes and other dignitaries. In an effort to make the event as unstuffy as possible, sources in the Rawson camp tell me that barbecue will be served, and the hit to your pocketbook will be reasonably light. Y'all go.

Speaking of fundraisers, Congressional candidate Terry Holley, the man we've annointed to have his lunch eaten by Charlie Norwood, will be breezing through Athens this week to raise some cash. Folks, don't waste your time or your money on this one. As of his June 30th disclosure, Holley had raised less than $8,000 for this race (Norwood raised a shade over $1.1 million in the same time period) and had less than $2,000 cash on hand. (Norwood has over $1 million on hand.) Not to criticize Mr. Holley or anything, he's a nice guy with good ideas, but if you're thinking about writing some candidate checks, then please, consider Rawson (he needs your help and he's got a shot against Hudgy), or Jane Kidd or Bill Cowsert, whichever floats your particular boat. Another thing about Holley, for a candidate who wants to represent Athens, we haven't seen very much of him, other than at Democratic party functions (and those cats are already voting for him.)

Monday, August 21, 2006

Doug McKillip, Regina Quick, and E to the H

Here's what I know.

First of all, I got no dog in this fight. If you asked me right now for whom I would vote, my answer would be "uh..." (As opposed to "eh")

So here's what I know about these cats. Some of it's positive, some of it's negative, but like they say, you take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have... you get the idea.

E to the H Culpepper
Well, he's got a cool name. And the establishment Democrats, most of whom are no longer actually Democrats, seem to love him. That's cool, if you dig that crowd. His website is the best of the bunch from a design standpoint. And, he's running as an independent, a move that would probably work well in a lot of other districts, but maybe not so much in this one, where a lot of the electorate is still fairly proud to call themselves Democrats. (God knows why, given the state of our state and local Democratic parties, but I digress.)
A lot of folks are talking about the fact that E to the H is a closet Republican. Maybe so, I don't really know him to speak to him. But, I would say this. Don't assume that the independent label is a harbinger of a 5% vanity vote, like it is in most cases. Culpepper has some very smart people working for him. He could surprise some people.
As far as issues go, I'm not impressed. Culpepper's website is - well, prosy is a good word. I'm all in favor of lots of issues stuff, but the language is kind of stiff and formal. More importantly, after reading it, I'm still not sure what he stands for, other than the Brain Train. For instance, dig this section about economic development:
"One of E.H.’s biggest priorities is finding the best way to create meaningful jobs here in Athens, which coincides with community improvement on a number of levels. E.H. has the unique expertise and leaderships credentials that will get the greatest return for the Athens community. Through involvement in statewide organizations such as Parks & Historic Sites, Rail Passenger Authority, and DOT; regional and corridor development initiatives such as 316 Alliance and BrainTrain Group; and involvement in numerous local arts, church, university, and business development programs, E.H has proven himself as a leader who can help bring greater economic prosperity to our region." I mean, that's all very lovely, and we're sure you've done a lot in your long and storied career. But there's no real mention of what you're going to do in the future. There's a maxim in marketing about selling benefits, not features. Past accomplishments are features, but plans are benefits.
However, worth checking out is the "Q&A with E.H." section, where the campaign talks a little more in-depth about the independent run and jazz like that.
Finally, here's something else I know about E to the H's campaign. They should quit their bitching about the poll floating around. They've spun this as being akin to a push poll, disseminating inaccurate information. I would note that, while they've alleged the information is inaccurate, they haven't put out the "real facts" as they see them. In any event, based on what I've heard about the polling questions (and if the Culpepper folks want to give me some more detail, they can and I'll re-evaluate my position on this), this is normal political polling procedure. You test your positives, your opponents' positives, your negatives and their negatives. It's how you develop a good message. Now the only way this is a push poll is if the sample size is way out of the ordinary. Normally, you would sample 400 - 500 folks. If the sample size is closer to 2,000 or so, then it's a push poll. I'm hearing that the poll came from McKillip's campaign or the state Democratic Party, so if one of those fine organizations would care to shoot me their survey and sample size, we can clear this up once and for all.
One other thing. (I know, I know, I already said "finally.") The Culpepper campaign is the only one of the three that is keeping us in the loop on their campaign news. So, if you're interested in who's reaching out to the new media, there you go. We're interested in that, but it's kind of our job to be interested.
And that's what I know about E to the H.

Doug McKillip
Well, what do I know about Doug McKillip? He's rich like Croesus. He cut me off in traffic once in his Mercedes. (DiDDY was with me, he can vouch.) He's run before for things. He put up a lot of yard signs before his uncontested primary - which kind of seemed like a waste of yard signs, considering how those things disappear.
Issues-wise, McKillip is more specific than E to the H. He opposes cutting funding for public education, and Peachcare. More importantly, on one of our pet issues, McKillip wants to do away with the law which prevents local governments from passing living wage ordinances. By the way, McKillip doesn't have an "Issues" section, per se, on his website, so browse around.
Personally, I'm not a huge fan of McKillip, and not just because he cut me off on Atlanta Highway that time. I've met him, heard him talk, and it just seems like he's reciting the Democratic Party talking points, without putting a whole lot of thought into the issues or coming up with something new and exciting.
And that's what I know about Doug McKillip.

Regina Quick
Don't know much about Regina Quick. She's a Republican, but sources tell us that she's actually pretty liberal on a lot of issues. She seems like a nice kid, but I have no clue what she stands for. She's a Republican, so I don't see her doing very well in this district. No website.
And that's what little I know about Regina Quick.

Conspiracy Theories Abound...
...about this race. The big one going around town (and mentioned in a previous thread) is that the local GOP was less than thrilled with Regina Quick as a candidate and recruited Culpepper. If he wins, according to this theory, he'll jump ship to the GOP.
Yeah, I don't know about that. Multiple sources tell us that the local GOP is less than supportive of E to the H and his candidacy. Culpepper's website mentions that the local Republican party sent down an edict promising swift and sure vengeance to any members signing his petition. (I'm guessing that involves the water torture, three weeks at Gitmo, or at the very least, a flaming bag of poo on your doorstep.) So, I'm going to need more proof before I'm ready to buy that one.
If you want my theory, here it is. Culpepper wanted to run for State House. So he did. Sometimes, the easiest theory is the best.
Oh, you want more detail? You want at least something involving shrewd political manuvering? Fine, I'll expound on why he's running as an independent. Culpepper can't run as a Republican, because he'd get his ass handed to him in 115. (Plus, he is probably more of a Democrat than he is a Republican.) He can't run as a Democrat because some of his biggest financial backers aren't Democrats. Finally, as an Independent, he avoided a primary, giving himself more time to stockpile his resources for the election that matters.

To the Culpepper and McKillip anonymous lurk-flamers on the blog: Here's your thread. Go nuts!


New policy on candidate links. We're only providing the linky goodness to the candidates that interact with us. Don't worry, not feeding us press releases and information won't affect how we cover candidates, except to the extent that we have less information on which to base our comentary.

Petty? Perhaps. But hey, if you don't keep us in the loop, then why should we bother to give you any help?

Check to the right to see the list of candidates who give a fat rat's ass about local electronic media. (You might need to refresh.)

Among the candidates who should know better: Jane Kidd, Tom Chasteen, Charlie Maddox, Jim Ponsoldt, and some others. Shame on you.

And, if you're a candidate, or know someone who is, the address is

One other thing:
James Garland has an "En Espanol" section on his site. That's a really good idea, and we extend a laurel (and hearty handshake) to Garland for remembering that there is a wide and diverse Athens community.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Open Thread: ACC Mayor's Race

Sorry folks, been a little busy, but let's pick it back up with the mayor's race. We haven't heard much out of this one lately, so give us some scoop, why dontcha?

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Couple of things

1. VOTE, bitches. Turnout is pretty bad.

2. E to the H (Culpepper, that is) has launched his website. It looks pretty nice, actually. Content-rich. Check it out, and post some comments about it.

3. My battle royale with Charter Communications is still ongoing. They decided not to show up yesterday. Look for my new blog: coming soon. (Unless that domain is taken, which wouldn't surprise me.)

Pretty Peach Sticker Redux

Martin, Hicks, and Overend.

Turnout looked to be shit, as expected.

What's the good word out there?

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Up yours, Charter!

Ok, this isn't necessarily political, per se, but I've got to rant. Please note, if you're an elected official, there's a special note for you at the bottom of this post. So, Ms. Publius and I have Charter cable and high-speed internet over at the dojo. Now, a few weeks ago, Charter was kind of in and out, or in our our neighborhood, pretty much just out. I called Charter a few times, was told that there was an outage in my area due to some maintenance and upgrades. I was told we'd be back up and running in just a few days.

Not so much.

In fact, we've now been almost three weeks sans internet at the ol' homestead. The supposed maintenance outage has been resolved, but still no internet. So, we call in to the helpful folks over at Charter. After 45 minutes on hold (while listening to recorded ads touting their great customer service), we finally get to a real live human being in their tech support department. Now this guy is clearly on top of his game. In fact, we can actually hear him flipping the pages in his "resolve any technical issue through asking questions" notebook. After an hour of back and forth, Einstein has a solution: It's clearly our network card.

Well, no, says Ms. Publius (who was kind enough to spare me most of the tech support ordeal), you see we both own laptops, and his (mine) worked on both a wireless and plugged-in connection at work, only a few hours ago. And, to boot, we have no connection on hers either. So, if it's the network card, clearly, both of our laptops would have had to have lost their network cards independently within the last two hours.

"Ma'am, listen to me, it's your network card," says Einstein.

"Can I talk to your supervisor?" says Ms. P, "I don't think you're understanding our problem."

"Why? So he can tell you the same thing? It's your network card!"

...and so on. Here's the best part, though. Einstein (hereafter referred to Captain Technology) actually asks Ms. P if she could "put her husband on, so that he can explain it" to me. Aw shucks, lil lady. Don't you know that having a Y chromosome actually gives the bearer the ability to understand a higher level of technology? (Shit, I can't even program the VCR.)

Finally, we convince him that it isn't the network card and that Ms. P is perfectly capable on her own of understanding big words like "network card," connectivity," and "douchebag," and he promises to send someone out on Monday between 1pm and 5pm. Well, Ms. P is pretty strong-willed, especially when she's pissed off. She semi-politely informs Captain Technology that we have jobs - jobs which *gasp* require our presence at a location other than our home during normal business hours. Captain Technology, suitably cowed, arranges for a Saturday appointment.

Well, AthPo readers are pretty bright, and you've probably noticed that I'm actually typing this post on a Saturday. You might assume that Charter showed up, fixed the problem, and I'm happily sitting on my couch, watching tv, and luxuriating in my refound internet.

Not so much. In fact, we called to confirm this morning that Charter would be dropping by today. Nope. After another 45 minutes of holding, etc, we get to another service moron. Our appointment was in fact not scheduled for today, it was scheduled for Monday, or perhaps Thursday. Ay, there's the rub. So Ms. P asks again for a supervisor. No problem, but you'll have to hold, as there are about 6 people ahead of us waiting to talk to him too.

Sigh. If anyone needs me, I'll be here. Political stuff returns tomorrow. Don't forget to vote Tuesday.

A special note to all of our readers who are candidates or elected officials:
Guys, I know we just signed on with Charter for another ten years or so, but seriously, can't we allow some competition or something in the marketplace? Charter is shit. Don't believe me, ask around. I'll bet there are hundreds of your constituents who have had equally shitty experiences with these douchebags - I know most of my friends have.

Less than two hours after I slapped this angry post up, I got a very nice email from none other than her Honor herself, Mayor Heidi. She brought my rant to the attention of the proper folks in the local gummint, which was far more than I was expecting.

See, I wrote this post initially for two reasons: first, I was righteously pissed, and second, there's an old saying in customer service/marketing that every customer who has a bad experience tells ten friends. I just took that adage to the next level.

But with Mayor Heidi getting involved, well, it's a good thing. I doubt this will ever progress much farther. Charter will (hopefully!) come by and fix my shit tomorrow, and all will be right with the world. Still, this is a good reminder of why Heidi got elected and why she's most probably going to get re-elected. Details and retails, kids. She gloms on to the little details - very little that goes on in this city is off her radar. And she's a master of retail politics - reaching out to folks one-on-one. And, for a lot of voters, "I can't believe she supported rental registration/the smoking ban/what have you" is trumped by, "I bitched about something and she called me personally."

Anyway, the substance of my Heidi email was that she forwarded my complaint over to the right folks, I can file a formal complaint (which probably won't do much good), and as many of you said, the dish and dsl is the way to go. She also mentioned, rightly enough, that I probably wouldn't be particularly satisfied with any of the other providers. (Judging by context, I'm guessing that the lack of competition thing is more FCC than ACC.)

So, the bottom line of Heidi's email is that there isn't a whole hell of a lot I can do, unless I'm into filing compaints and shaking my fist in impotent rage. (I'm not. Well, ok, I sorta am.) But none of that really matters. Like I said, my shit'll get fixed, or I'll switch to BellSouth. The important thing, from a political perspective is that sometimes, City Hall is on your side. And just like I told ten friends about a bad experience with Charter, I'll give credit where where credit is due, and tell you guys and more about a good experience with the ACC gummint.