Friday, June 10, 2011

District 113 Campaign Web Sites

Here are the campaign web sites for each of the candidates for Georgia House of Representatives District 113:

Alan Alexander (R)

Sarah Bell (R)

Dan Matthews (D)

Chuck Williams (R)

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Thursday, June 9, 2011

District 113 Special Election

As I point out in my upcoming column for the Banner-Herald, which I think will run on Sunday, 12 June, the partisan voting patterns revealed in the four elections held in Georgia House of Representatives District 113 as it is currently configured do not bode well for any Democrat.  Yes, the special election is “non-partisan," but that means that it will not be preceded by party primaries – not that candidates’ party affiliations will not appear on the ballot.

That being the case, Dan Matthews may have already started hedging his bets.  I see that his blog, formerly known as “Oconee Democrat,” as the URL still plainly indicates, has been recast as “Oconee County, GA Politics.”  I don’t know when that transformation took place – but I find it of note, nonetheless.  Also, I heard an early round of Matthews’ campaign spots on WGAU in which he was noted to be a former “Oconee County Committee Chair.”  Pointedly absent from the terminology, however, was the operative word “Democratic.”

On 09 May, before announcing his own candidacy, Matthews wrote on his blog (and what functions as his pseudo campaign web site), “I would be happy to support her [Bell] in the seemingly inevitable run off but only if she announces as soon as possible.” 

I find Matthews' candidacy interesting, as Bell did just that as noted in this article in the following day's edition of the Banner-Herald.    Also, according to the Secretary of State’s web site, Bell qualified for the election the day before Matthews did: Alan Alexander and Chuck Williams qualified on Monday, 16 May, and Sarah Bell followed on Tuesday, 17 May.  Matthews was the last to qualify on Wednesday, 18 May.

As noted above, Matthews appears to be using his blog as a pseudo campaign site.  Alan Alexander has a dedicated campaign web site.  To the best of my knowledge, neither Bell nor Williams have campaign web sites, but the former distributed this handout at a recent meeting of the Clarke County Republican Party.  Speaking of which, all four candidates are expected to be at the next meeting of the CCRC, scheduled for Monday, 13 June.

I’m not picking on Matthews, it is just that I know little about the other candidates.  Alexander appears to have the political connections, but has some issues; Bell has lots of community service experience; Williams is an unknown to me, other than what I’ve read in the newspaper about the bank failure.

Addendum - Here is the campaign web site for cCuck Williams (thanks to Shawn):  Also, sorry for the weird formatting of this post; I used a word processing progam other that WORD and it appears that Blogger doesn;t like it very much.

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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Sunday Sales & SPLOST 4 Referenda

Here is an excerpt from a Banner-Herald story about Athens-Clarke County’s anticipated Sunday sales referendum from about ten days ago:

Commissioners had considered placing Sunday sales on the ballot in November but opted not to because of a conflict with a November vote on continuing a 1 percent sales tax for local schools.

"We don't want to clutter up the ELOST vote," Commissioner Alice Kinman said. "I don't think it's good to have those two hitched together."

Commissioners say they are concerned that Sunday sales could draw opponents to the polls who also would vote against the Education Local Option Sales Tax, which will fund school construction.

County elections are on an even-year schedule, and Athens-Clarke County would have to pick up the $54,000 tab for a special election this year, an expense the Clarke County School District budgeted for but Athens-Clarke County did not.

"I just don't see how you could justify the cost," Commissioner Doug Lowry said.

A couple of thoughts come to mind.

The first is that the scheduling of referenda, either directly on SPLOST questions or other matters, by the Unified Government and/or Clarke County School District so as to rig the turnout to get a preferred outcome is yet another reason that Georgia's SPLOST law needs to be rewritten.  The idea of splitting the Unified Government’s Sunday sales referenda from the CCSD’s SPLOST 4 referenda so that our betters can prevent the wrong people from voting on both issues simultaneously is inappropriate and condescending.

The second is that City Hall’s preference for a March vote out of monetary concerns rings hollow.  Both November 2011 and March 2012 fall within the Unified Government’s FY 2012 budget, which has already passed.  If funds for a vote in November were not in the budget, were funds for a vote in March?  If so, why?  And if so, could not the funds be used just as easily in November?  If not, the supposed preference for the latter date due to fiscal concerns is specious.

Besides which, if the Commission wanted the vote in November, it would find the money for it, just money has been "found" over the years for all manner of expenditures.  As Kinman makes quite clear, the concern of our betters in government is political, not fiscal.

In the event, I will vote for Sunday sales and against the CCSD's SPLOST 4.  The fact that it will take two trips to the poll separated by months will have no effect whatsoever on my positions.

As an aside, Georgia’s presidential preference primary is scheduled as part of Super Tuesday in February 2012, but that is not one of the opportunities for ballot questions specified by state law.

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