18 April 2015

4th District GOP Convention Hijinks & Shenanigans?

I wasn't there but...


The following happened, per multiple sources, at the 4th Congressional District GOP convention today in Conyers, GA:

  • In violation of GA GOP bylaws, guests and spectators were not allowed into the convention.
  • All persons present were forced to turn off all electronic devices.
  • Unlike the 10th District Convention , who wisely chose not to seat anyone from Newton Co., the 4th accepted the delegates from the contested Newton Co. convention. If the appeal that is winding its way towards the State Appeals Committee is ruled in favor of (which is what multiple sources are saying will happen) then the 4th Convention will have to be redone at some point in the future.

  • Eventually at one point during the convention, a motion was made to let the disenfranchised electors in. Apparently, one person - and only one person per multiple sources - was rude when the Sergeant-at-Arms made the offer to let folks in. Then, said S-O-A told the assembled body, per multiple sources inside the chamber, that everyone was rude.
  • But folks, that's not even the issue. As stated above, per GA GOP bylaws, it is this esteemed editor's understanding that spectators and guests must be allowed at all GOP conventions. So, another strike there. But, if the original appeal is accepted at the state level (and many indications are that it will be) then there will have to be another 4th convention done at some point after Newton Co. redoes their county convention since voided and non-valid delegates were sat. But, I would think that there's a strong possibility of a fresh appeal also being filed after the train wreck that this morning seemed to be. Nothing like a GOP Congressional District Convention redo in the month of July or August (or later), eh?
  • And again, the 10th didn't seat anybody from Newton Co. per multiple sources. Of course, they're not the seemingly dysfunctional and possibly [removed per advice of counsel] bunch that the folks running the 4th seem to be. To that point, this editor has heard from multiple sources that there has been some interesting things going on with the controlling power source within 4th GOP party.
  • As a member of the Newton Co. GOP said today - this is a very broken GOP. Too bad more people weren't willing or able to stand up and do the right thing in Conyers today. It's a shame. It's all just so very unfortunate...

  • Several folks have theorized that the power structure of the 4th GOP is made up of radical progressives who all infiltrated the party over a generation ago. Most of these folks were life-long Democrats, as we're told. Are these constant and continued violations of rules and all of these bad decisions being made an attempt to try to destroy the GOP's brand in Georgia? At least a few folks, apparently, think so.

23 February 2015

East Metro Bites: 2.23.15 Edition

So much to discuss, so little time. Grab your plate and dig in: 

Newton County Politics is a hot mess right now:

Delia Fleming, Chair of the Newton Co. GOP, has decided to break GA GOP bylaws and state election law in order to maintain her and her cronies' perceived sense of power. Oh brother... 
  • Peach Pundit's coverage. Tone-deaf? Ah...that's a big 10-4!
  • Bill Simon's on the mutha! From his Political Vine e-newsletter:
    "It's not GOP-convention season without corruption taking place somewhere...
    Really?  REALLY, Newton County GOP?  You people just have to be...the most tarded county Republican party in this state (to date, this year, at least...so, you other GOP parties have some guidance now in how idiotic you can act).
    So, here's the gist of the Newton County Republican Party idiocy: After precinct mass meetings were held in February, the county party chair, Delia Fleming, sent a letter out to some of the people who were elected at the precinct mass meetings that they are "ineligible"to attend the county convention in March.  The reasoning is stated to their Newton County GOP Rules that someone has to have accumulated enough "merit points" to participate.
    The ever-so-slight problem with this letter, and her claim, is that their "party rules" are, in fact, ineligible to have any standing to be applied during this Convention Call season.  Yeah, party rules do NOT apply in any way, shape, or form during this bi-annual party reorganization process.
    The only "rules" that apply to judge eligibility of any delegate to a county convention are: 1) The 2015 Georgia GOP Convention Call, 2) the State Republican Party Rules (specifically, Rule 9.2), and 3) Robert's Rules of Order.  All three govern, and no county party's, or even a district party's, rules/by-laws have any legal standing whatsoever.
    In fact...interestingly enough, there are actually a couple of state laws (O.C.G.A.) that apply and nullify letters like the one sent by Chair Fleming:
    Georgia Election Code OCGA 21-2-111: (c) "The respective county executive committees of each political party shall formulate, adopt, and promulgate rules and regulations, consistent with law and the rules and regulations of the state executive committee, governing the conduct of conventions and other party affairs. No such rule and regulation shall be effective until copies thereof, certified by the chairperson, have been filed with the superintendent of the county."
    Fleming's letter notifying some Newton County GOP convention delegates that they have not "fulfilled the requirements of Article II-Party Membership of the Newton County Republican Party" is in direct violation of the 2015 Convention Call, et al.
    AND, there is a remedy for this via this section of OCGA, Georgia Election Code OCGA 21-2-112(a): "When the state executive committee of a political party has reason to believe that the orders, rules, or regulations of the state executive committee, relating to all party matters except the conduct of primaries, are not being, or will not be, fairly, impartially, or properly enforced or applied in any county by the county executive committee of the party in such county, the state executive committee shall issue to such county committee a written notice of opportunity for hearing."
    This letter is in violation of the State Call, and is an attempt by the Newton County GOP to act in an unfair manner against registered voters who complied with the public notice to attend the mass-precinct meeting and qualify to become a delegate.  Their county committee rules have no standing whatsoever.
    This letter from Chair Fleming is in direct violation of the law ordering them to "comply with the orders, rules, or regulations of the state executive committee" because NO SUCH "merit system" applies to delegates elected from the mass precinct meetings.
    You folks on the State Committee have been informally notified of the violation and a link to a copy of the letter.  I imagine there will be a more formal 'notification' via the many people who received such letters in Newton County...but, that process may or may not occur before the county convention.  Is the State GOP going to simply sit on their rear-end while this type of clear violation of the state committee's rules and regulations regarding the 2015 convention process remains unanswered?
    Let me put it this way: It won't be a very wise move if you ignore it, Mr. Padgett...because 2016 is just around the corner, and why would you want to encourage a lot of grief boiling over from 2015 to bleed into the 2016 cycle?  (Of course, if you ask Anne Lewis, I'm sure she'll come-up with some ridiculous, half-assed interpretation of the law that won't make sense to anyone except herself...)"

    And even I get into the act here a few days ago. 

    Also, as I understand it, this is now on the national radar and a writer from Freedom Outpost will be attending tonight's Newton GOP meeting in downtown Covington.

20 February 2015

An Open Letter to Delia Fleming


I'll never forget the first time I spoke with you. I had called you right at the beginning of 2012 to talk to you about the upcoming 2012 convention cycle. You were so mean and rude to me, and that has pretty much continued ever since.

With that said, I always had a soft spot in my heart for you. I would continuously surprise and, quite frankly, amaze people when I would stand up for you or just dismiss your social ineptness and lack of tact. Even though you've been basically horrible to me for the last three years, I couldn't help but to...like you. I've been tagged as an optimist to a fault, and someone who has always wanted to try to keep the peace, but I did truly feel that way.

That is up until yesterday when I found out what you've been up to. You're like a sneaky cat, Delia. I don't know what's wrong with you. Of the approx.120 folks at the precinct meeting on February 7th, pretty much 85-90% of us had come to terms to do the right thing and bring everything together for the future of Newton Co. and in one fell swoop, you pretty much tried to ruin all of that.

Why? That's a good question. Is your ego and sense of importance more important than the future of our county? If so, then that's YOUR problem. Or is it something else? Rumors abound, but I'm not going into that here.

I'm sorry, but with all due respect, I think it's time for you to move on. You need to write another letter to every delegate apologizing for your egregious actions and then I think you need to resign from the Newton Co. GOP.

Disappointingly Yours,

Marshall McCart

12 February 2015

A Write-up In Which I Discuss the Newton Co. County Attorney Situation with a UGA Football Reference/Analogy

I had originally written this over a month ago but decided to sit on it. Against better judgement, I decided to share it, in its entirety, right now. Remember, this is over a month ago. Lord knows, I wanted to edit some things, but then I was just like...Nah!

I'll add a new post with some new thoughts soon. In the meantime, enjoy!


So the Newton County Board of Commissioners voted last night to reappoint William Thomas Craig, Esquire, as the County Attorney of Newton County for one more year. This was not unexpected, but yet it remains quite the mystery why the elected members of the Newton Co. BOC won't even look at trying to find ways to curb the excessive spending that is required for these legal services.

As was mentioned by a number of folks, these expenses are simply outrageous! And way out of line with what other counties of similar size spend on legal services. Hell, right here in Newton Co., we see the City of Covington, with a much higher budget, spending way, way less than Newton Co. does.

Why does this continue to happen? Was JC Henderson right? Has Tommy Craig been the county attorney for 38 years? I was thinking it was more like 25. Surely not 38. God help us if so; are we really that fucking stupid? Regardless, I think anyone that has an ounce of common sense would tell you that it's a very bad idea to have the same County Attorney for so long. It seems intuitive that it would breed conflicts of interest. Having a financial interest in things that aren't in the best interests of Newton Co.? Not a problem. He gets paid either way. If he messes up, as he's done many times over the years, he just gets more money to fix his own screw-ups. Jeez! Good work if you can get it, I guess. Speaking of JC, I hope Tommy Craig bought him some flowers before that meeting. I mean WOW! I think they might have to rate the video of Tuesday's BOC meeting now. Keith Ellis wasn't far behind. Nor was John Douglas or Levie Maddox. Sickening... 

At least we had Nancy Shulz trying to fight the good fight. But then again, Craig's reappointment passed 5-0, so it's not like she really did a whole lot. But still, I appreciate her willingness to try to stand up for some fiscal sanity and respect for the citizenry. Over the years, I don't know how many times I've seen her fight and scrape for something that had no shot. Or how many times she's been willing to make a motion that needed to be made but for no one else to offer up a second. Or how many 4-1 votes there have been where she's the 1. Tell you what, sometimes I think she's the only one out of the bunch that has a set!

And now, time for a musical interlude. From the incomparable Elizabeth Cook:

Maybe the savior of Country Music. She's great, don't you think? 

Anyway, back on point:

As some of y'all may know, I'm a big fan of UGA football. As some of you may also know, we recently lost our Offensive Coordinator, Mike Bobo, after he took the Head Coach position at Colorado State. I'm happy for Bobo. He deserves it. I've pretty much been a Bobo fan for almost 20 years. We're the same age and both attended UGA at the same time. I watched and appreciated his playing career and have since done the same with his coaching career. Despite coordinating the most prolific offenses ever in the history of UGA football, even up until his final game on the staff, Bobo was much maligned and very much a polarizing figure for the Bulldog Nation.

After he took the CSU job, I was sad to see him go but thought, as many others did, if this wasn't ultimately a good thing moving forward. You see, there had always been that rift in the DawgNation about Bobo. Didn't matter about the stats, data, or other info showing that he was a superb OC, there were those, a whole bunch of 'em, who didn't like him and were never going to like him. The rift was just too wide.

And then I think about the Newton Co. BOC. And how they've said time and time again that Wm Thomas Craig was just the greatest thing ever for Newton Co. How he was a genius. How he loved this place. How much money he had saved the county (which for all the tens of millions he's been paid, that would be great if he was able to save a bit here or there, ammaright?). The problem, though, is this: based on polls and just based on an honest feel for the public sentiment, upwards of 80 to 90% of Newton Co just isn't buying it. The popular sentiment is that Craig - making more than just about any County Attorney in Georgia to a tune of upwards of $1 Million per year, and having been in the same position for over a generation (maybe two?), and having multiple conflicts of interest, and, as was all but confirmed by the BOC last night, found to be the one literally RUNNING the county - IS. THE. PROBLEM. The rift just seems too wide.

So...with all that said, I think it's time for William Thomas Craig, metaphorically speaking, to take the Colorado State job already.

15 September 2014

Thoughts on the Proposed Hwy 278 CID. Hint - I'm against it!

A Community Improvement District (CID) is where if over 50% of property owners representing at least 75% of the real estate's valuation of a certain corridor agree to it, then a "self-tax" can be imposed. In the case of the proposed Hwy 278 CID, that new tax would be 5 mils which would translate to an increased tax burden of hundreds, or more likely, thousands of dollars for many property owners in the affected area.

We now see a "full-court press" of sorts going on with this thing. Obviously, the Chamber and the Office of Economic Development are all over it, while the city of Covington has already given $25,000 to help facilitate this thing. And now they keep changing the boundaries of the CID, presumably to help get it passed. The members on the board of directors for the CID's non-profit group? The usual suspects - old money and power elite. 

To me, there's just something quintessentially un-American about a CID. It's majority (mob) rules. Can't afford an extra $1,500 in property taxes? "Tough shit, hombre! 50% plus one of your neighbors ( a lot of them corporations from out of state) have said yes, so you better get ready to cough it up!"

Are we not already paying really high property taxes? This is just typical local level politics. "Let's help beautify the city and our main corridor," they say, "it's not that much more money!" Well, it IS that much more money, and it's the damn principle of the matter! It just isn't right, and it's particularly tough to stomach when one of the biggest property owners on 278 (who also happens to probably be the richest man in Newton Co.) is a huge supporter of this thing when he has easily the worst looking property on the entire road! Plus the man just refuses to cut the grass on said property. It's a major eyesore, and he's pushing for this thing.

Now the word is that after dropping $25K to help with this thing, the city is going to be providing people and resources to help go door-to-door to try sell this thing. That ain't right! No, that ain't right by a sight...

As someone said at one of the preliminary meetings for this thing, we're just basically spittin' in the wind until we do something about our schools. This is akin to putting a band-aid on a broken leg. It's a bad idea and won't do anything to help our city or county. But...someone's going to have to be the administrator or coordinator or whatever you want to call it for this thing. Apparently that's been as issue with other CIDs where most of the money is gobbled up by administrative and salary expenditures. Sounds like age-old C-town politics: somebody must need a job!

Click here for a Covington News article about it.

26 July 2014

Recapping GA House 112

Well...it's been a few days and I've been stewing things over in the mental back-burners and I think I'm ready to get my thoughts out there on this race that has been such an integral part of my life for quite some time.

As some of you may already know, I was very much involved with and had a vested interest in this race as my good friend was running for this seat. You can read my thoughts on why I thought my friend, Aaron Brooks, was the right man for this job here.

My friend lost. By 108 votes. That was the difference in this race. A difference of 1.9% . 2,885 votes vs. 2,777. A very slim margin, but a loss is a loss. It hurts. It sucks. But...it is what it is (and again, for the record, I hate that saying, but sometimes that's all you can say).

As I mentioned, I was very much involved with my friend's campaign. Not in any official capacity. As I told many folks over the last 8 months, I was just a friend trying to help get a good man elected to the Gold Dome. I was equal parts assistant campaign manager, sign putter-upper, canvasser, phone-banker, and fund-raiser. More importantly, I was an adviser, confidant, and friend to the man who had put it all on the line to try to create a better future for the 112th. It was truly an honor, and an experience I will never forget.

And let me just say this: I can't tell you how proud I am of Aaron. He ran a great race, kept it positive, and campaigned on the issues. Even after his opponent went negative with complete and total lies, Aaron had said from the get go that he was going to stay on the high road and stick to the issues and concentrate on hitting the grassroots to get his message directly to the good folks of Newton and Morgan counties. As I mentioned in my previous post about this race, I probably couldn't have done that, but as I also said then - Aaron is a much better man than I. In fact, he was told by folks who do this type of thing as a business, that if he went on the attack and went negative, he would probably most definitely win. Chances are, he would have. But he wouldn't do it. He was going to stick to his principles, and in this day and age, that is so damn admirable. 

So...where do we go from here?

For starters, Newton Co. is having to wrap its mind around the fact that for the first time in generations (maybe in its entire history), that it will not have any representation in the state government. That's a shame when we had someone like Aaron that would have been such a great advocate and representative for the people. But, as many of us know. there were several folks in Covington and Newton Co. that didn't want that to happen. First and foremost would be the man that currently holds this seat, Doug Holt, and the man who finished 3rd in the primary that campaigned on the fact that we had to keep a Newton County resident in this seat - Ester Fleming. There were others as well. You can look at the campaign disclosures and see the usual suspects. The old money. The power elite. When things go the way I expect them to, remember who was responsible for this.

But I will sure as hell say this: Dave Belton, the man that completely changed all of his core stances and co-opted Aaron's entire platform (while also going negative and spreading lies) does NOT have a mandate in Newton Co. Look at the numbers. Aaron won Newton Co. with 60% of the votes and in some precincts was pushing 70%. Even after all of the old guard threw their weight behind Belton and his campaign pulled all of those punches, he didn't come anywhere close to winning anywhere in Newton Co. That's because most folks weren't buying it. And I tip my hat to them.

But, again, you have to go back to the phrase - it is what it is. I tell you one thing that puts a smile on my face, though. They, the other side, gave everything they had and spent so much dang money and completely shot their wad and 50.95% overall and 40% in Newton was as good as they could do. That tells you something right there. That says a lot.

As always, I remain very optimistic about the future.

Til next time...

21 July 2014

Thoughts on GA House 112

Whenever I think about Ronald Reagan, I think about a line in his autobiography. A line, to paraphrase, that talks about him looking at a bunch of people going by in a very busy place and thinking to himself - who are these people; what are their stories?

When I think about the 112th district of the great state of Georgia, I think about the regular folks of that district. And I think about their stories. The working folks, the blue collar, if you will. I also think about most of the the small business owners - the engine of Georgia. Several folks who are very close to me, and several other folks that I know who fit the description of the line in the great Guy Clark song, "the heroes of this country."

When I think about GA HD 112, I think about the power-elite in Newton Co. And Covington. The folks that run the local GOP party. And other folks. The folks behind the 2050 plan. I think about how they have been so dead set on stopping my good friend Aaron Brooks, and, every time I think of this, I realize that my buddy is doing something so right.

And then I think about how a win for Aaron Brooks would be a win for the people in this district. A much needed and hard fought win. After dealing with a tax increase last year, based on millage, and then another tax increase this year, based on real estate valuation, and then I think about the persons I mentioned earlier in this column, and I think about the hardships that these folks will deal with. And the hardship that me and the Missus will deal with with our measly property tax burden and the taxes on our two modest vehicles, even though our income - like most folks - has fallen yet again because, as most of us know, the economy is not in recovery. All because the powers-that-be can't let go of certain things. And that certain things can't get done because...they're "off the table" ( Hell, people, it's a laundry list here: county attorney, hospital authority, landfill contract, ambulance service, etc. etc. etc.)

And then a negative mailer goes out in which every single, goddam sentence is one lie after another. I start to get hot...I can feel the blood pressure going up...but then, I realize a beautiful thing. They are losing. They're getting desperate. And with each move they make, just like the Newton Co. establishment pick a couple of months ago, they hurt themselves more and more. Well, I'll tell you what: It puts a smile on my face...

My friend Aaron Brooks has kept it on the high road. And I have no doubt that he will win Tuesday. I think he would have won even if he hadn't kept it that way. If it was me, I sure as hell wouldn't have stayed high. By God, I sure would have fought fire with fire!!! But...I wasn't running. Aaron was. And he's a much better man than I am. I think helluva lot of him, and I think a lot of folks around town do as well.

So...I guess to find the rub, that would be it. Aaron winning would be a huge win for a lot of folks who need a win right now.

So if this column finds you - I hope it finds you well - and if you were to live in the 112th House District of Georgia and are able to vote in the GOP run-off on July 22nd, I sure hope you cast your ballot for a man that I admire and am fortunate to consider a good friend, Mr. J. Aaron Brooks.