Category: Georgia

Tomlinson Running for U.S. Senate Seat

Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson has announced she is running to be the Democratic nominee in 2020 for the United States Senate seat held by Republican incumbent David Perdue.  Here is her brief resume and request for support:

I have spent my entire career breaking barriers – I was the first female partner at my law firm, where I specialized in complex litigation, and I became the first woman to be elected Mayor of Columbus, Georgia. I have six times been named to the 100 Most Influential Georgians, and I hold a National Security Secret Clearance from the Department of Defense due to my roles as Public Safety Director and the Head of Homeland Security for the second largest city in the State of Georgia.

I’m an eighth generation Georgian with roots all across this state. Throughout my career, first as an attorney and then as Mayor of Columbus, I’ve been willing to take on bullies and stand up for justice. And, if you send me to Washington, that’s exactly what I intend to do for the people of Georgia.

I want to ask you to join me in this fight as one of my very first supporters by making your most generous contribution of the maximum amount of $5,600 TODAY. Can I count on you?

To make this contribution, you can find the link HERE.
You can learn more about my campaign HERE.

If you would prefer to give via check, please make it out to Teresa Tomlinson for Senate and mail to:

Teresa Tomlinson for Senate
Post Master Box 263
2525 Auburn Ave.
Columbus, GA 31906

Thank you so much for your support. I can’t wait to keep you posted on what is to come!

Republicans to Georgia on Disaster Relief: “Drop Dead”

From U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson’s latest newsletter, May 3, 2019:
“On Tuesday, Senator Perdue and I held a bipartisan press conference with several of our colleagues from other affected states to continue our push for critical disaster relief funding. It has been more than six months since Georgia was devastated by Hurricane Michael in October 2018, and Congress has failed to provide assistance. I urge my colleagues in the Senate to take immediate action to provide this critical funding to our farmers. I’m going to continue fighting to see that we get it done. “

Comment: Imagine. We have a Republican President. A Republican United States Senate. Two Republican Senators. A Republican governor. A Republican-dominated Georgia Legislature.

Our Republican Senators have to go public with begging bowl in hand to try to convince the Republican-controlled U.S. Senate to pass disaster relief for Georgians, for a disaster that happened six months ago.

What piece of the puzzle are we missing here? For two years and 4 months, we have argued that the idea that Donald Trump and his Republican minions give a two-bit tinker’s damn about ordinary Georgians is a lie, a Big Lie of monstrous proportions. And yet, Trump’s Republican base continues to support him, despite the fact that they are working against their own self-interests.

Please, you Georgia Trumpists. What piece of the puzzle are we missing?

Reagan Daughter to Republicans: Stop Abusing My Father’s Name

IndieDems.com
Bulletin – May 3, 2019
“At this moment in America’s history when the democracy to which my father pledged himself and the Constitution that he swore to uphold, and did faithfully uphold, are being degraded and chipped away at by a sneering, irreverent man who traffics in bullying and dishonesty, you stay silent.”—Patti Davis

IndieDems to Senators Johnny Isakson and David Perdue, and Representative Barry Loudermilk: Reagan daughter Patti Davis obviously had you in mind when she wrote those heartfelt words. She joins the large and growing chorus of true American conservative voices who have done what any decent American should do and turn their backs on Donald Trump. Isakson, Perdue, and Loudermilk, meanwhile, remain steadfast members of the Trump lapdog club that wages a daily war on God’s 10 Commandments, Jesus’ Golden Rule, the Constitution, the rule of law, and common human decency.  

Can any Georgia Republican be so blind they truly do not see the sewer of a morally and intellectually corrupt Republican Party they are swimming in? Read Patti Davis’ words and see the light:  

Dear Republicans: Stop using my father, Ronald Reagan, to justify your silence on Trump
By Patti Davis

____________________________________________________/

READ MORE

As you read the following, remember that Isakson, Perdue, and Loudermilk have given their stamp of approval to every word and deed of Donald Trump.

President Trump has made more than 10,000 false or misleading claims

The Republican War on Democracy
If you can’t win playing by the rules, you change them.

How conservatives rationalize their surrender to Trump
James Comey is right: The president eats their souls.
By Max Boot, former Wall Street Journal editorial writer

In Barr, Trump has found someone who licks his boots out of principle
William Barr has diminished the independence of his office.
By Michael Gerson, former G.W. Bush speechwriter

(IndieDems note: Substitute the names Isakson, Perdue, or Loudermilk for Barr, and you nail GA Republicans)

Cobb Transportation Plan Up for Public Review

Cobb County Government Announcement

An ongoing series of public meetings offers residents something they can’t always get while sitting in daily traffic — the chance to do something about it. Chairman Mike Boyce said feedback received during the Comprehensive Transportation Plan meetings will help form a project list that could show up in a future Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax or a referendum on transit and transportation programs.

“The residents of Cobb County are the key to the solution,” Boyce said.  “We want to give them a chance to be a part of the solution. Five people (members of the Board of Commissioners) can formulate a product, but I’d be happier if 5,000 people or more have a voice in it.”

A CTP is a county-wide, long-range multimodal transportation plan that will assess Cobb County’s existing and future transportation needs including roadways, bicycle and pedestrian facilities, transit services, and freight considerations.  Cobb last updated its CTP in 2015, this year’s meetings have been dubbed “CobbForward.”

Previous CTPs resulted in such projects as the East-West Connector and easier access to Interstate 75 through diverging diamond interchanges.

“CobbForward will give residents many opportunities to provide their ideas about how we should spend their transportation tax dollars to improve their commutes,” Eric Meyer, planning division manager for the Cobb Department Of Transportation, said.

“They can interact with our staff directly on the topics of transit, pedestrian safety, technology—we want the people of Cobb to give us their insights to further focus our planning on the needs of our communities.”

Some projects may be elevated for consideration in the Regional Transportation Plan and compete for federal and state funds. Cobb Forward will also include county transit recommendations that can be incorporated into the region’s transit vision, which will be developed and managed by the newly-formed Atlanta Transit Link Authority.

Meeting Dates

  • 7-9 p.m., Monday, April 29
    Cobb Senior Wellness Center, 1150 Powder Springs St, Marietta
  •  7-9 p.m., Tuesday, April 30
    Threadmill Complex, 5000 Austell Powder Springs Road SW, Suite 101, Austell
  •  6-8 p.m., Monday, May 6 (NEW DATE, TIME)
    Acworth Community Center, 4361 Cherokee St, Acworth
  • 7-9 p.m., Tuesday, May 7
    East Cobb Senior Center, 3332 Sandy Plains Road, Marietta
  • 7-9 p.m., Wednesday, May 8
    Ben Robertson Community Center, 2753 Watts Drive, Kennesaw
  • 7-9 p.m., Thursday, May 9
    South Cobb Community Center, 620 Lions Club Drive, MabletonFor more information, go to CobbForward.org.


    Cobb Citizen Experts Weigh In

    Two Cobb citizens who follow transportation issues have addressed the issue. IndieDems considers their assessments worthy of consideration.

    Cobb Comprehensive Transportation Plan—Your Input Needed
    By Ron Sifen
    rsifen@aol.com

    Hi everybody.  Every 5 years, Cobb County is required to update its Comprehensive Transportation Plan.  Cobb is beginning the process of a new update now.

    The County is starting out by establishing goals and objectives.

    Currently, the main categories are:

  • Enhance Mobility.
  • Improve Safety
  • Be Cost Effective
  • Use Innovative Technology (invest in 21st century technology)
  • Equity
  • Land Use

The County is asking that you rank the top 4 in order of highest priority. #1 is highest priority, then 2, then 3, then 4.

Obviously, we have traffic/mobility problems countywide.  There are a variety of different types of investments that could improve “mobility”.  Clearly, we need some investments that improve mobility throughout the county.

 Safety speaks for itself.  One of the specifics included in the safety category is to invest in reducing the number of accidents.

One specific that the County is including under Cost-Effective is to keep our transportation infrastructure in a state of good repair.  Over the last few years, Cobb has been under-investing in road repair and resurfacing.  That is why we see so many roads in bad condition.  So as we plan for the future, it may need to be a priority to be sure that we invest sufficiently in keeping all of our transportation infrastructure in a state of good repair.

21st century technology is going to revolutionize transportation.  It may be the most cost-effective investment we can make, and it will accomplish the most to improve both mobility and safety in the future.

Equity means that everyone needs to be treated fairly, or “equitably” by this plan.

What are your priorities?  Don’t let the special interests control the input.  Cobb needs to hear from regular citizens.  What are YOUR priorities? You can provide your input by emailing to cobbforward@cobbcounty.org

Put  CTP recommendations  in the subject line. (CTP is Comprehensive Transportation Plan.)

I will send you more information soon, but now is the time for your input on this part of the process. Please let me know your thoughts.

Thanks,
Ron Sifen


Old Solutions Are not Applicable for the Emerging Future
By Michael Opitz

It takes years to build or make a major change in transportation infrastructure as well as spending millions on construction just to move people from point A to point B and other destinations along the way; however, the primary reason for transportation and commerce to get people to work and back home, and the streets are congested during those peak hours. Government keeps trying to create transportation solutions to address those dynamics of people and getting to the workplace.

Some people think 21st century technology solving transportation involves driver-less cars and other types of people movers. We need to begin shifting and expanding our thinking into another direction as new technology emerges. Typically technology emerges and change begins to happen without having planned or anticipated the impact. We have seen the functional evolution of electric typewriters into word processors to desktop computers that have many times the computing power of multi-million dollar computers sold during the 1980s. And then of course there is the IPhone and other hand held wireless devices. No one predicted these innovations and the impact they would have on society. Those technologies just seem to merge into our lives and businesses all unplanned.

But now the technology infrastructure is in place, if we open our eyes, we can see the next stages of advancement; although we may not yet see the impact on humanity and our society. Most people do not know that we are in the middle of a 5G rollout and implementation. Rather than explain 5G technology here, the more curious can goggle it. The infrastructure of 5G technology is currently being rolled out to some Cobb neighborhoods, but the core technology and antennas will be rolled out initially in metro Atlanta. What does that mean to us?

Knowledge workers will work in a virtual environment in their home. People in manufacturing build will need to go to work to construct the widgets. But most of the other workers will integrate into a virtual reality world.  Before you begin thinking that I have been reading too many sci-fi novels, let me explain that the technology and the future implementations have been in the planning since the 1980s.  While working at AT&T, one of my assignments was to take Bell Lab’s technology and introduce it to the commercial market place. The development of application software, fiber optics, computer chips, Ethernet, 802.3 communications standards leading to the development and implementation of the internet, and so on.

In the mid 1990s Bell Labs developed the first virtual reality device that integrated with hard ware moved objects with a force complying with laws of physics. I experienced this system, and was quite excited about introducing to the commercial markets. One application was to allow a virtual reality engineering team to design a complex device with and another group of consulting engineers across the country. The problem was that the then 2G bandwidth of our long distance communication wasn’t sufficient to transmit solid graphical information and the local computers were not powerful enough to process that information.

5G now makes that transmission feasible and our desktop top computers are now powerful enough to process complex graphical data integrated with voice and video. It will no longer be necessary physically to go to an office to handle administrative and managerial tasks. No need to walk down the hall to meet face to face with another person or group of people. They are all available on a virtual reality headset which is now available now. There will be lots of innovations that will provide more expansive capabilities.

With this kind incredible transformation of information sharing and communications from your home or anywhere, the spending of millions on transportation systems to include cars, rail and highways is in need of drastic reevaluation and a reduced role for government planning. The marketplace has always been the driver for new technology. My advice is government should not embark on massive spending programs until they understand the dynamics of this fast emerging technology.  Consider that technology has reduced the need to build new shopping centers, as we order our products over the internet.

This is just a quick summary of what we will begin experiencing in our daily lives. And I have not begun to discuss the impact home robots and artificial intelligence that is emerging not in the future, but is being implemented now.

Michael Opitz
President
Madison Forum
www.madisonforum.org
“Knowledge is power… Ignorance is slavery.” M. Opitz

The Incredibly Shrinking Johnny Isakson

IndieDems has noted numerous times the fact that Senator Johnny Isakson has remained a faithful lap dog for Donald Trump throughout his presidency, giving the Senator’s stamp of approval to Trump’s litany of lies, racism, misogyny, and xenophobia. Only occasionally has Isakson risen to at least rap Trump’s knuckles, most notably when he rebuked Trump for bad-mouthing John McCain.

What makes Isakson’s toadying to Trump even more inexplicable is that he is virtually immune to the disease that afflicts other elected Republicans: he does not have to live in mortal fear that if he says something that arouses Trump’s ire, Trump will see to it that Isakson has opposition in the next Republican primary. Isakson was re-elected to a six-year term in 2016, and he has health issues that almost certainly will make this his last term in office.

Isakson by now is well situated to serve as a senior statesman in the Republican Party, able to speak freely in support of the basic values of America and traditional conservatism. Instead, Isakson has given unwavering support to a President who is waging a war against those values and against God’s 10 Commandments, Jesus’ Golden Rule, and common human decency.

And now comes the Mueller report—at least, the version as redacted by another Trump lap dog, Attorney General William Barr. The facts Mueller has collected in two years of extensive investigation reveal in bold detail the moral and intellectual bankruptcy of the Trump Administration and the Republican Party.

Rather than prove our point by repeating the extensive media reporting, we simply give you the words of the newly elected Republican Senator from Utah and former GOP presidential candidate, Mitt Romney:

“I am sickened at the extent and pervasiveness of dishonesty and misdirection by individuals in the highest office of the land, including the President. I am also appalled that, among other things, fellow citizens working in a campaign for president welcomed help from Russia—including information that had been illegally obtained; that none of them acted to inform American law enforcement; and that the campaign chairman was actively promoting Russian interests in Ukraine.”

“Reading the report is a sobering revelation of how far we have strayed from the aspirations and principles of the founders.”

And more from George Conway, a prominent conservative lawyer and husband of White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, who said he believes the evidence collected by Mueller is so “damning” for President Trump, he should be impeached immediately.

“What the Mueller report disturbingly shows, with crystal clarity, is that today there is a cancer in the presidency: President Donald J. Trump,” Conway wrote in a scathing op-ed published in the Washington Post on April 18. “Congress now bears the solemn constitutional duty to excise that cancer without delay.”

(Also check out IndieDems’ post The Moral Bankruptcy of Johnny Isakson’s Republican Party, written before the release of the Mueller report)

But—despite these condemnations of Trump from fellow Republicans, Johnny Isakson continues his lap dog support of Trump and remains silent about the Mueller report.

Isakson is a disgrace to his office and does a disservice to the people of Georgia equal to Donald Trump’s disservice to America.

Trump as Hitler Twin: The Link Tightens

Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank offers the following:

This is how submissive Republicans have become to Trump
By Dana Milbank

(Excerpts)

  • This is how far Republicans will go in submissiveness to President Trump: they will vote to surrender military spending projects in their own home states and districts to avoid displeasing him.
  • By upholding Trump’s emergency declaration, they will give him blanket authority to take billions of dollars from any already approved construction projects of his choosing—and spend it on a border wall.
  • Senators David Perdue and Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) will decide whether to offer up 11 projects — for air traffic, cyberprotection and training facilities, and more — at Robins Air Force Base, Fort Gordon, Fort Benning and elsewhere.
IndieDems Comment:

With two years of facts and reality staring us in the face, Donald Trump’s mirror imaging of Adolph Hitler has become glaringly apparent and becomes more real with every passing day. Milbank is stating the simple truth: Trump is to Republicans what Hitler was to the Germans of the 1930s. He is their Der Fuehrer, plain and simple.

Republicans have sacrificed any vestige of decency, morality, and loyalty to America on the altar of pandering to Trump’s approval. Trump’s wishes have become Republicans’ commands. And the Republicans’ willingness to betray America’s basic principles to suck up to Trump is far, far from reaching its nadir. They will continue to scream their approval for at least two more years—just like Germans continued to scream their approval of Hitler as the German war of aggression continued and the box cars took more and more innocent people to their deaths.

At the head of the line of Trump’s worshipers stand Georgia Republicans like David Perdue and Johnny Isakson. Who would doubt if they are practicing their Nazi salute? What evidence would say they are not?

GA Senate Votes Today (3/13/19) on Disputed Electoral System Reform

The Georgia State Senate votes today, Wednesday, March 13, on a bill that provides for a new statewide voting system. The measure, House Bill 316, has already passed the state House, and is supported by Republican Gov. Brian Kemp.

FROM the AJC
Georgia voting machine debate pits election officials vs. tech experts

Excerpts:

  • Georgia lawmakers are preparing for final votes on a statewide voting system that’s strongly supported by government workers experienced in running elections and just as staunchly opposed by computing experts who see an imminent threat to election security.
  • The Republican majority in the Georgia General Assembly is siding with election officials who want to install the new voting machinery…
  • Democratic legislators are aligned with cybersecurity experts who prefer paper ballots bubbled in with pens, a voting method that avoids the inherent risks of a computerized system.

__________________________________________________/

FROM VOTERGA (voterga.org). VoterGA is an independent watchdog group headed by Garland Favorito that closely monitors Georgia’s electoral system.

Will Lobbyists Steer Georgia into $350 Million Boondoggle?

ATLANTA GA – Why would Georgia legislators force taxpayers to buy the most expensive, least secure type of voting system? Why would a governor take out a 20 year bond to pay for a system that has a 10 year life span? Why would a bill authorize new devices to tabulate embedded votes in unverifiable bar codes when six systems tabulate human readable votes? Where is the fiscal note? The answers might be found in which vendors have the most powerful lobbyists.

HB316 has vendor specific language that favors an expensive system proposed by the incumbent vendor, ES&S. The bill attempts to subvert Georgia’s official full face ballot by authorizing small receipts with barcoded voting selections called   “scanning ballots”. The small receipts that studies have proven to be unverifiable are produced by a system that ES&S wants to sell to Georgia and ES&S has doubled down on their lobbying efforts. Former lobbyist Chuck Harper is now the Chief of Staff for Gov. Kemp. ES&S also employs Georgia Link to lobby Speaker Ralston. Founder John “Trip” Martin is from Blue Ridge, the Speaker’s hometown.

In 2002, Lewis Massey successfully lobbied the state to purchase Georgia’s current highly criticized system. He then formed a partnership with Bruce Bowers and John Watson, the current chair of the Georgia Republican Party. They lobby for Unisyn a small voting system vendor that also proposed a system using a similar type of “scanning ballot”. These two vendors and their lobbyists could benefit if specific HB316 language tailored to their systems passes the Senate today.

VoterGA cost estimates confirmed by a new study from the Open Source Election Technology Institute show a statewide implementation costing taxpayers over $150 million initially and over $15 million annually. That is over $100 million more and $8 million more annually than systems which are more secure according to experts like Trump 2020 advisor Tony Shaffer. The $50+ million interest on the bond exceeds the entire cost of a more secure system preferred by experts. Total outlay surpasses $350 million over the next 10 years alone.

The state has already been notified that defiance of all cybersecurity experts will lead to extended federal lawsuits that will cost Georgia taxpayers millions more to defend. It also risks federal intervention into Georgia elections. These are just some of the reasons why HB316 has been dubbed a vendor bill, not a voter bill.

Garland Favorito
Voterga.org
404 664-4044 CL

Racist Incident on KSU Campus Sparks Opposition

Cobb activist Richard Pellegrino has sent us the following notice about a racist incident incident on the KSU campus:

I am writing on behalf of #KSUnited to ask for your support and solidarity. Recently a Black KSU student, Elijah John, was the victim of racism on our campus. A picture was posted by a student to a group chat with the caption, “need to call the Klan to solve this issue”. The group chat also contained offensive slurs in reference to other minority groups, including Islamophobic, transphobic,…See More

Cobb EMC May Support Innovative Financing of Home Energy Efficiency Upgrade

Environmentalists nationwide are teaming with electric utility companies to implement an innovative program to foster energy efficiency upgrades in homes and businesses. The essence of the initiative is an innovative financing mechanism in which a utility uses its borrowing power to finance the upgrades, at no upfront cost to its customers. The result is a win-win situation, in which customers lower their electricity consumption and ultimately their bills, and the utility lowers its costs for the power acquisition.

(NOTE: The new program is not to be confused with the CEMC existing loan program for energy upgrades, as outlined on the CEMC web page.)

Georgia environmental groups are working to implement the new program in Georgia. Cobb EMC Forum, a volunteer watchdog group formed by CEMC members, reports that the CEMC Board of Directors is considering offering such an “Inclusive Financing” alternative to members. For further information contact Patrick Thompson, Advocate for Electric Co-op Members, 770-329-2746.

Here is a report on one of the pioneering programs in this endeavor being conducted by the Roanoke Electric Cooperative in rural North Carolina:

With no upfront costs, this innovative financing tool makes energy efficiency affordable to all

Report provided by ensiaensia is a solutions-focused nonprofit media outlet reporting on our changing planet

Senator Isakson Breaks with Trump, Backs Democratic Bill on Shutdown

Credit Where Credit Is Due–However Temporary It Might Be

Senator Johnny Isakson on Thursday broke with his Republican colleagues and joined five other Republican Senators to vote for a Democratic-backed bill designed to end the 34-day government shutdown brought about by President Trump’s imposing the closure as blackmail to try to force Congress to pay for building a wall on our southern border.

The bill was one of two voted on by the Senate aimed at ending the impasse over the partial government shutdown. Both were known to be dead on arrival but the vote was considered necessary to signal an end to any prospect Trump would get his way on a demand for $5 billion to start construction and pave the way for serious negotiations to appropriate funds to allow government agencies to resume operations.

The vote on the Democrats’ bill was 52 to 44, short of the 60 votes needed to pass.

The vote on the Trump-backed bill was 50 to 47, meaning, the Democratic bill got more votes than the Republican one.

Media reports say Isakson had expressed frustration about the human toll of the 34-day shutdown and had announced plans to work with a bipartisan group to find a way out of the impasse.

In IndieDems’ opinion, a strong incentive for Isakson to come out against the shutdown derived from the toll it was taking on one of his major corporate constituents: Delta Airlines. And a unique event reinforced his concern: the Super Bowl scheduled to be played in Atlanta on February 3. Screwed-up air traffic and a royal mess getting Super Bowl fans into and out of Atlanta airport was the last thing Isakson wanted.

The profits of Delta Airlines and the NFL owners probably provided Isakson more reason to go against Trump than the combined suffering of 800,000 federal workers, their families, and the federal contractors and small businesses who were also taking a hit from the fallout of the shutdown.

But for now, let’s give the Senator the benefit of the doubt. He did the right thing. Maybe the disaster of Trump’s shutdown will prod Isakson to move away from his lapdog support for Trump and adopt a more independent position in which the interests of the average Georgian, not Donald Trump’s orders, guide Isakson’s decision-making.