Monday, July 31, 2006

Poll: Hecht and Martin, Vote Today

Who do you plan to support for Lt. Governor? Hecht or Martin? Vote here and at the polls this week or on the 8th!

Hecht or Martin?
In the Democratic Primary Runoff for Lt. Governor, will you vote for Greg Hecht or for Jim Martin?
Greg Hecht
Jim Martin

Hecht Has Elves

From the Tip Line: Hecht may be down, but it would be unwise to count him out of this race. Hecht has ground teams in place that are working 24/7 to get his signs and literature out. Did you see the signs appearing over the weekend? And, I heard from friends in metro who received a "push poll" type call over the weekend asking for opinion in the race and then asking whether they would still vote for Jim is they knew...(a list of negatives.)

It may be that as few as 200,000 people vote in the runoff. (Remember that you can early vote beginning today at your local Board of Elections.) Your vote really does count in this type of race. Don't assume that Martin is secure just because of the mass condemnation of Hecht's tactics. Go vote.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

The U.N. Needs to Grow a Backbone

Today the U.N. stopped short of condemning Israel's errant attack that killed more than sixty civilians, including many children. Are we really parsing words so carefully that we can express shock and outrage but stop short of condemning this incident? If the rocket had been one launched by Hezbollah, into Israel, would the U.N. have condemned the act? I suspect it would've been an easy call, and so was this. Israel says they were targeting rocket launchers, and maybe that's true, but to this point, their strikes have not exactly been surgical. Yesterday, before this attack, media reports indicated that more than half of the dead in Lebanon were children. And now this.

And by the way, while I am taking the liberty of talking about international affairs, I heard yesterday that 100 civilians a day are dying in Iraq, yet we stay the course. Can you imagine what might happen in this country if something was killing 100 innocent people every day, 3,000 people every month. Would we just stay the course?

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Nice Try, Sonny

This is the card that came with Sonny's love letter to Cathy Cox supporters. Think this is the message he hoped for?

Sonny Endorses Cathy Cox?

That's how it seems. Since Friday, we have received not one, not two, but three copies of a love letter from Sonny Perdue to the Cox donor list (available in the disclosures filed with the State Ethics Commission.) So, Perdue reached out to Cox supporters, many of whom were first time donors who were attracted to her message of ending partisan bickering. Not a stupid move. If he were telling the truth about his record, it might be a compelling invitation. Unfortunately, he's not.

In the letter, Perdue sings Cox's praises with platitudes like, "Anyone with the courage to stand for election and open themselves to the scrutiny of a statewide campaign should be applauded. Secretary of State Cathy Cox ran a very commendable campaign for Governor." He then co-opts her platform and claims that "many of the issues she talked about, we've already tackled." (Really??) Finally, he says, " I want to continue to create a unified Georgia, ready to move forward in a positive direction. I would be honored to have you join me."

Sonny must've been in a different Georgia than I've been in for the last four years. I haven't noticed any nods toward bipartisanship under the Gold Dome. Instead, Perdue has endorsed a tightly controlled legislative process that truncates debate and ensures that only ideas he endorses have a fair and public hearing. In the letter, Sonny also claims to have tackled ethics reform, yet during his term, he, himself was found in violation, and afterward he found cause to remove from the board an ethics watchdog respected by both Democrats and Republicans. Sonny claims to have tackled our problems in our public schools with $100 gift cards and completion counselors, when what schools really need is for politicians to "complete" their promises of adequate funding for mandated programs and offer our students real hope for the future. Yes, Sonny claims great progress while the rest of us have been in a Georgia that fell from 39th to 44th in overall child and family well-being.

So, Sonny, thanks, but no thanks. Nice try, but you're no Cathy Cox. Thanks for sending along the postage paid card, so we could let you know exactly what we think of your offer!

Friday, July 28, 2006

Hecht Could Win

Stranger things have happened. Nevermind the outrage of political insiders or the predictions of those who think fair play and decency will net a much-deserved victory for Jim Martin on Aug. 8th: Greg Hecht is not out of the hunt in this race. Despite his objectionable campaign tactics and the endorsements Jim Martin has earned, the question comes down to what voters will end up going to the polls. In an e-mail today, Hecht said, "The areas we won turn out well in runoffs. Also, we gained the endorsement of the third place finisher Senator Steen Miles, who won over 64,000 votes and is from Dekalb County where the Congressional runoff is occurring."

That's all true, and this race is going to come down to who is able to put an effective GOTV plan into motion. Those of us who are supporting Jim Martin would do well to remember that and to do all we can to help make sure his voters get to the polls on the 8th.

Moore Endorses Buckner, Ray Endorses Hicks

Darryl Hicks and Gail Buckner were in Macon today for "Politics and Lunch" and in a response to a question about whether they had been endorsed by any of the other candidates, Hicks said that he had been endorsed by Ray, and Buckner says she has been endorsed by Angela Moore. Any thoughts about how those endorsements will impact either of them?

Thursday, July 27, 2006

HD 136 candidate Perera speaks out on Georgia's mental health crisis

MENTAL HEALTH in Georgia ~ written by Beth Perera, Democratic candidate for HD 136 7-27-2006
Georgia is ranked 46th in the nation for Mental Health services funding.
There is a huge divide between those who plan and organize our Mental Health services and those who are expected to provide services. Currently, our overworked and under funded providers are expected to work miracles on practically non existent budgets. So what? So... this affects every one of us. When mentally ill patients lack medication and treatment, they become disoriented or dangerous. When there is no place to put them (no beds in Mental hospitals, no residential homes to house them, no treatment centers available), they are turned out on the streets. I have heard about numerous cases of patients who, within days or even hours, have either committed crimes, become injured (or dead), caused harm to themselves or others, because they had no place to go, no medication to keep them stable, or simply lacked the ability to care for themselves. We would never, as a society, cast children out on the streets to fend for themselves, but that is exactly what we are doing to our mentally ill. WE CAN DO BETTER.
What happens when a mental health patient is in crisis in our area? Well, there is this "hotline" that can be called, that will connect you with a provider, and you then assume your situation will be handled. In a perfect world, yes. But in reality, the budget for our Mental Health system has been cut so severely, that even some of the most basic services are no longer available. Facilities have been closed, services stripped, staff cut, and all the while our wonderful, passionate, caring providers have been left with less and less and expected to do more. This "hotline" itself took $6 million from the Mental Health budget with lofty claims to be the solution to mental health needs. However, the hotline is nothing more than a middle man between those who need care and the care providers. Put that $6 million back into the budget and maybe some of the providers will actually be able to PROVIDE care.
Our own Phoenix Center in Warner Robins just lost funding for its Intensive Day Treatment services. This program provided a wholesome place for consumers to go during the day for counseling and activities. This tragic cut comes not long after a previous funding cut which completely eliminated the Phoenix Center that was located in Crawford County. Did you know that for our ENTIRE STATE, only 32 beds have been allocated for kids with substance abuse problems? Each community likely needs more beds than 32 beds, so that ridiculously low number supposedly accounting for the whole state is a slap in the face to both providers and tax payers.
Ask any Sheriff how our lack of Mental Health services impacts the law enforcement system. 50-60% of the kids who come through the court system have mental health problems. TREATMENT of their mental health disturbances would keep them out of our criminal court system. We can either treat our mentally ill citizens in Mental Health facilities, or we can allow our mental health services to further deteriorate and have our prison systems handle these patients at a much higher cost. I even heard stories of mental patients waiting so long on waiting lists for treatment, that they intentionally committed a crime. They received faster treatment in the prison system than on the outside. WE CAN DO BETTER.
Mental Health providers are given unreasonable goals, mandated by written contracts, that include outcomes and circumstances over which they have no control. They are told how many of their patients are allowed to be homeless, how many days their patients are allowed to miss school, how many of their patients are allowed to get into trouble with the law.... as of a provider has any control whatsoever over these outcomes.
I sat at this morning's meeting [Tranformation to Recovery Initiative Community Focus Groups] in Warner Robins taking notes fast and furiously, shaking my head in disbelief and wondering what in the world is keeping these providers in such a wounded system. Almost laughably, today's meeting was to be about "Recovery," how we can help Mental Health patients "recover" and go on to have happy, productive lives. That's fine and dandy, but we never even got to that topic, as 100% of the discussion focused on the broken system. Our Mental Health system has to be fixed first, before we can even begin to talk about Recovery and long term aid for our patients. The health and safety of our communities depends on this. We cannot as a community allow our mental health patients to go unserviced, untreated, unmedicated, for all of us will suffer and pay the price if we continue to neglect this area. No more dodging the bullet, no more looking the other way. It is time to create solutions and FUND our Mental Health system so that our providers can provide services to our mentally ill. We can pay to treat them as mental health patients, or we can pay considerably more to treat them as prisoners. The choices are somewhat flexible, but they are not optional. WE MUST DO BETTER.

Beth Perera ~ Candidate for House District 136

Jim Martin's Momentum Mushrooms

Adding to the momentum the Martin campaign has gathered since the week or so before the primary, today, the AJC endorsed Jim, saying, "There's no shortage of deceit and demagoguery under the Gold Dome. It's time for a little more common decency, and Martin has demonstrated that he can provide it." I could not agree more.

I've heard from a number of people who supported Hecht in the primary who are now supporting Martin. Several of my friends who voted early, and voted for Hecht, said that based on Hecht's actions just before the primary, they regretted their choice and would never vote early again. In addition, Shirley Franklin has taken her endorsement of Jim to another level and is hosting a fundraiser for him this Saturday morning. Others are also stepping up to the plate, going to bat for a candidate we can all be proud of.

One word of caution, anything can happen in a runoff election where the turnout is likely to be even lower than in the general election. It would be a mistake to assume that these key endorsements alone will carry Jim through. After all, Steen Miles, who got about 15% of the vote in the primary, has endorsed Hecht. If we want to make sure that this rare public servant has an opportunity to move forward in this race, then we have to make sure that his supporters get to the polls!

Georgia's mental health funding crisis

There is a current study underway in Georgia on "recovery model" anticipated to be introduced in GA. We all wish for "recovery" for our consumers and our loved ones for whom we wish the best. But first, Georgia's MH program has a lot of fence-mending to be done and a lot of lost funding that needs to be restored. Tell your story and provide your point of view to:

I was at a meeting with her today and she is very receptive and sympathetic to hearing from caregivers, consumers, and providers on how Georgia can move ahead in providing adequately for our MH consumers.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

One Ringee-Dingee, Two Ringee-Dingees....

Stebin Horne, in a runoff in HD 137, my home turf, has said that if elected he would take steps to put a stop to those irritating roto-calls. Now, I'm not a lawyer (Horne is) but at first blush, I' m thinking that just might trounce on the toes of the First Amendment.

Whether or not a law is passed that curbs the calls, I would favor one that makes them more honest. How about we pass a law that requires the candidate or organization who paid for the call to identify themselves at the very front of the call. "This call is paid for by______." That might at least cut out some of the nonsense of candidates paying for calls that "negatively promote" their opponent (like the calls into Middle Georgia about Jim Martin just before the primary.)

Public sentiment is strongly in opposition to the calls, actually even the calls with live people on the other end of the line, yet political experts seem to agree that the calls are an effective form of voter contact. What do you think?

Vic Says: Support Bibb Mentors Project

First Annual~~~ STAND BY THE MENTORS PROJECT OF BIBB COUNTY CHALLENGE ~~~Sponsored by the Rosa Taylor Area & Riverside Park Neighborhood Watch

To: All Candidates (past present and future), Elected Officials, Clergy, Civic Organizations and Businesses

Dear Leaders,

On August 1st, Macon, Georgia will be holding the annual “National Night Out” to raise awareness for the Neighborhood Watch Program. Our Rosa Taylor Area & Riverside Park Neighborhood has decided to go a step further and also raise much needed FUNDS and awareness for the MENTOR’S PROJECT OF BIBB COUNTY. I’ve heard most all of you express sincere concern for Education, Public Safety and our Youth. WELL, NOW WE ALL GET A CHANCE TO PUT OUR MONEY AND ENERGY WHERE IT CAN REALLY MAKE A DIFFERENCE.

The Top Three Candidates, Elected Officials, Religious Leaders, Civic Organizations and Businesses to raise the most funds for the Mentors Project of Bibb County will get Local/State and National recognition and a place in heaven for their efforts in the first annual “Stand by the Mentors Challenge.”

The DEADLINE FOR THIS CONTEST is our Nwatch meeting on Tuesday August 1st, 6:30p.m. You can deliver your Donations to the Rosa Taylor & Riverside Park Neighborhood Watch Meeting to be held at Rosa Taylor Elementary School 2976 Crestline Dr Macon, Georgia 31204 or mail them to The Mentors Project of Bibb County, P.O. Box 13750 Macon, Ga. 31208 (478) 765-8624.Please label your check: “Stand by the Mentors Challenge.”

For more information, please reply to this email or give me a call at the number below.478-757-0927Victor_Jones_2000@hotmail.com

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Jack Ellis to Run Against Jim Marshall?

The Macon Telegraph reports that Macon's Mayor is angry and says he just may run against Marshall for Congress in 2008. (I guess the good news in that sentence is that Ellis expects Marshall to retain his seat this year in the fight against Mac. Probably a good bet.) Millions of dollars (pork) that Marshall brought home for improvements to the riverfront in Macon is slated to come to the state and flow the county to a nonprofit, NewTown Macon, rather than coming through the City. So, Ellis is upset. In Macon, the governments are not consolidated and, while both are cash strapped, the City as had a history of late audits and allegations of wrong-doing. Suffice to say that the City of Macon does not have a reputation for fiscal soundness. A long-sitting grand jury failed to issue any related indictments, but a federal grand jury is still examining the situation. What will happen? Who knows, but this threat is classic Jack. Earlier this week, the Mayor called for the resignations of all members of the Housing Authority Board following an audit with three findings, all resolved. I don't have the time here to list the issues the City has had with audits since Jack Ellis became Mayor.

This might make an interesting race in '08. Congressman Ellis. Hmm...Washington wouldn't know what hit it. Read the entire story, here.

Monday, July 24, 2006

What Happened to the Taylor Lawsuit?

Remember those lawsuits that were filed during the course of the Democratic Primary for Governor? Media reports indicated that the Taylor Campaign filed a lawsuit alleging that Cox had violated the Open Records law, and then Ben Cawthorn, a former Blakely city councilman, sued Peter Jackson, press secretary to Ms. Cox's campaign.

Many assumed that in a spirit of unifying the Party, these suits would be dropped post-primary. Does anybody know whether that has happened or the current status of this litigation? I hope they've been dropped. If not, after a bitter primary battle, there's a lot of healing that needs to occur so that Democrats can move forward, together, focused on the November elections. Seems like this would be a good place to begin, a gesture becoming a Governor.

How our senators voted on Stem Cell Research

Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act - Vote Passed (63-37)The Senate passed this bill that was subsequently vetoed by President Bush that would have expanded federal support for research using embryonic stem cells.Sen. Saxby Chambliss voted NO......send e-mail or see bio Sen. Johnny Isakson voted NO......send e-mail or see bio

Martin Secures Rare Franklin Endorsement

Today, Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin joined Governor Roy Barnes, Ambassador Andrew Young and a host of others in endorsing Jim Martin for Lt. Governor. Franklin did not endorse either Cox or Taylor in the primary, though many thought that her endorsement would've had a a significant impact on the race. Congratulations to Martin, who has earned this key endorsement!

State Senator Steen Miles endorses Greg Hecht for Lt. Gov.

State Senator Steen Miles, will announce her endorsement of Lt. Governor candidate, Greg Hecht, on Monday July 24th at 2:00. The announcement will take place on the west steps (Washington Street entrance) of the State Capitol. Miles, a former anchorwoman and Lt. Governor candidate finished strong in last Tuesday’s primary, garnering over 60,000 votes.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

The Character Assassination Begins

Perdue began the race to November with a disingenuous gut punch, promising a chunk of the surplus to education. "Too, little, too late," was Taylor's response. Then, today, I noticed the first volley in what is likely to become a consistent undercurrent for the Perdue Campaign.

Over on Peach Pundit, Erick Erickson has already begun comparing Mrs. Taylor to Mrs. Perdue. Some dems responded that the character assassination wouldn't work. I hope they're right, but it took The Perdue Team less than a week to begin to toss these bombs.

This is not what the election should be about, but it seems that the purveyor of the "Rat Ad" intends to "go there." Check this post and the comment stream. I fear that where that came from, there is much , much more in store.

Time's Ripe for "Third Force" in Georgia Politics

Today, the AJC reported that Unity08, a project launched by Carter aides, Hamilton Jordan and Gerald Rafshoon and Doug Bailey, a former Republican operative, aims to shake the political world up a bit by mobilizing millions of Americans who are fed up with both political parties. Prompted in part by a discussion of how negative television ads have hurt politics, they plan to gather millions of voters through the Internet to nominate a centrist presidential candidate who would be required to choose a running mate from the opposing party. Sound crazy? Think again. The founders are veterans of the original political shake up: the election of Jimmy Carter. And, political insiders aren't laughing. Joe Trippi opines that there is plenty of money and will to accomplish exactly what this group aims to do. (Yes, I do remember Trippi's last flop.)

They do not aim to create a third party, but instead to provide a cold shower to the two existing parties they contend are increasingly controlled by their most extreme elements. We're past due for that wake-up call.

Consider these examples. Recently, stem cell research produced the first and only veto of Bush's presidency. House candidates down here in Macon measure "conservative" by whether they endorse no exceptions, one exception or three exceptions when it comes to abortion, and in the Democratic primary for Governor we invested more time talking about who could marry than who would graduate. In a country where more and more people are sick and tired of the partisan bickering that produces both gridlock and extreme polarization, this concept may have broad appeal.

I'm a Democrat and always will be but if a concept like this can move our party from a conversation about how to beat Perdue or Bush to substantive discussions about how to improve education, healthcare, public safety and a dozen other key concerns, then, that would be a good thing.

Read, "Third Force Intends to Put up Bipartisan Ticket."

HoCo Dems will share booth at GNF in October....

Houston County Democrats will have a well-placed indoor booth at the Georgia National Fair in October!!!!!! This booth will be available to area and state candidates who'd like to be able to meet and greet hundreds and hundreds of voters from all over Georgia at a well-decorated booth. In order to help recoup our rather expensive investment, we will sub-let our booth, first come, first serve, to Democratic candidates. (Candidates local to Houston County will use the booth free because they are our "homies"!) The charge will be a mere $50 for 1/2 day (4 hours) and $100 for a whole day (8 hours). We will start filling in the schedule right after the August 8 primary. Contact emails are and

Saturday, July 22, 2006

This Georgia Democrat Can Win. Who is She?

Down here in the Heart of Georgia, Democrats are poised to take a House seat back in District 140. Lauren Benedict, a local attorney and graduate of Mercer Law School, is challenging Republican incumbent Allen Freeman. In 2004, Freeman won this seat, in this Democratic-leaning district, by only 80 votes. This year, Benedict is well-poised to win.

Benedict, from a family of teachers and small business owners, is in a unique position to understand the needs of this district. She became an attorney in order to advocate for the working people in this state, and she wants to continue that work in the legislature. From a fundraising standpoint, Benedict has done very well. As of the last report, she had virtually the same amount of cash on hand as her opponent. She is a smart, determined candidate who has already begun knocking on the doors of people in her district. She has found that people are very supportive and ready for a change.

Whether or not you live in HD 140, Benedict is a candidate we can all support. In a year when we are trying to make gains in the legislature, this is a race we can win. Check out her website.

Can Democrats Win in November?

In November, we will discover whether Georgia Democrats have chosen candidates in the primary who can also prevail in the general election. While Georgia is pretty evenly divided between die-hard dems, die-hard republicans and "swing voters", there is no question that the demographics of a Democratic primary in Georgia are different than the demographics of a general election. Republicans "insiders" tell me that they feel confident that they will take four, perhaps all six of the constitutional offices and at least maintain their majority in the legislature. Let's hope not.

This is not just a problem for Georgia Democrats, but also on a national level where Democrats have had trouble getting a candidate through the presidential primary who can then be elected. This weekend, Democrats are meeting and will consider a proposal to make changes in the primary system that would move a western state and a southern state near the beginning of the process. Recent history suggests that Democrats cannot win the presidency unless the nominee has appeal in the south and west. Nostalgia is great, but it just does not make sense for Iowa and New Hampshire to determine the momentum for the race. Prominent candidates, like Hillary Clinton, object to the change, but this Democrat hopes that the DNC does the right thing. Read more in today's AJC .

Friday, July 21, 2006

"In the Know with Patsy Jo"

I noticed that in the last debate, Greg Hecht stood on a platform higher than Martin's. In truth, Greg's height has never been an issue for me, but lately I have wondered if what he really needs is a booster seat for his character. In addition the two "slick" mail pieces that Hecht sent before the primary, in a letter dated July 14, 2006, on letterhead for Patsy Jo Hilliard, the former Mayor of East Point, and paid for by "Friends of Greg Hecht", Hecht continued his attack on Jim Martin. Here are a couple of choice comments in the letter:

1) "Mr. Martin had three of our friends send out a letter to you without telling them or you the true facts."

I know the women referenced here: none of the three could be duped as this letter suggests.

2) "His (Martin's) law firm also represented a murderer, which Martin's law firm appealed the equalization of strikes law, which finally passed after Martin left the legislature."

Huh? If you can decipher that sentence, more power to you. The equal strikes law was a republican initiative that passed just last year. Many people opposed that law because, believe it or not, the accused are still presumed innocent until proven guilty in this country. Just don't say that to Nancy Grace...

3) "Mr. Martin's obstruction of laws to protect women does not stand alone."

Give me a break. This paragraph goes on to repeat the same out of context allegations as the now infamous "rape" mailer.

This letter is the kind of campaign tactic that will continue as long as the money flows. In this instance, it is an attack, not just on the other candidate, but on the three outstanding women, one of whom was Mary Long, who sent out a letter in support of Jim Martin. Here, Hecht implies that these women were too stupid to check the facts for themselves. I assure you that is not the case. It is Hecht who seems to have developed a casual relationship with the facts. I believe that these tactics did backfire on Hecht, pushing him into a second place finish. Now, will he leave the dirty tricks behind for the runoff?

Want to stop these tactics? Cut off the money to candidates who attempt to deceive the public and the vendors who help them do it.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Buckner or Hicks?? Endorsement Rumors are Flying

Who is the best choice for Democrats? Perhaps I should ask, who is most likely to defeat Karen Handel? Rumors of endorsements for each of them are flying today, but I'm not going to repeat the rumors until I have confirmation from the candidates. (Hint, hint.) That, of course does not stop you from speculating.

If you have not decided who to support in this race, or just want to come out to hear your favorite candidate, join us in Macon next Friday, July 28th at noon for "Politics and Lunch." Both Buckner and Hicks will be in Macon next Friday for this monthly event. More information is available below.


On Friday, July 28th at noon, “Politics and Lunch” will host Gail Buckner and Darryl Hicks, the top two vote getters for the Democratic nomination for Secretary of State. The runoff election will be held on August 8, 2006. In addition, Frank Martin, brother of Jim Martin who is in the runoff for the nomination for Lt. Governor, will be on hand as a representative of the “Jim for Georgia” Campaign.

Politics and Lunch, a forum for policy makers and politicians, meets on the last Friday of each month at noon to examine the relationship between politics, policy and quality of life in the mid-state. There is nothing to join, and everyone is welcome to attend.

Due to the closure of The Willow on Fifth, the new location for the luncheon is Nashville Station, located at 1015 Riverside Drive in Macon. The only cost, for your lunch, is $8.00, plus tax and tip. Reservations are not required but are recommended and may be made by contacting Amy Morton at

Why not restore MH cuts if GA has a $$$ surplus?

From the AJC:
"Perdue announces $580 million state budget surplus"
Say what??????
So why are we turning mentally ill people away from services?
The jails are full of them. Our state psychiatric hospitals have revolving doors. "Community care" is not in place.

Yellow doggette sez:

Yellow Doggette sez: Cathy Cox for Senate in 2008!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

What the AJC Hasn't Printed

Here's what Jim Wooten said recently about the new Kid's Count Data that places Georgia 44th in the nation in overall child wellbeing:

“Georgia is not a family. So to say, as an advocacy group
does with its annual release of a media-bait Kids Count
Data Book, that the state performs poorly in caring for
children is hogwash. If we identify a problem that leads
to the indicators they cite—children in single-parent
families, for example—we may find the solution is not
the state’s. Gimmicks like the Kids Count Data Book
are efforts to raise social spending.”

-Jim Wooten
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Gaye Smith, Executive Director of Family Connections Partnership responded, and that response is printed below. Why am I publishing it here? Because as far as I know, the AJC has declined to do so.

Do Facts about Kids Count in Georgia?
In his June 29, 2006
“ThinkingRight” column, opinion writer Jim Wooten described KIDS COUNT as a media-baiting tactic to convince the government to raise social spending. Family Connection Partnership Executive Director Gaye Smith challenged Wooten’s comments, but the Atlanta Journal-Constitution opted not to print her rebuttal (as of July 11), which merely states the facts:

“Just the facts,” to quote Sgt. Joe Friday, are the essence of KIDS COUNT, a national and state-by-state comparison of data on the well-being of children and families. Thinking “right,” as Jim Wooten purports to do in his June 29 column, should be about using nonbiased data to examine trends, using facts to make decisions, and writing opinions that are constructive and useful for readers.

KIDS COUNT uses ten common data elements, with data gathered by the U.S. Census Bureau, and state health and education departments, to compare outcomes for children and families. KIDS COUNT has published rankings of states for 17 years. The facts are that the highest ranking Georgia ever had was 39th, and for the other 16 years, we’ve ranked in the bottom ten states. The facts are that children in Georgia are born at lower birth weights, die more often before their first birthday, and die more frequently before their 14th birthday than children in most other states.

The facts are that teens in Georgia have more babies and drop out of high school at higher rates than in other states. The facts are that more children in Georgia are members of single-parent families and live in poverty than children in other states.
KIDS COUNT does not “promote more social spending,” as Wooten asserts, as a solution for these issues. KIDS COUNT, in fact, promotes the use of data to make educated decisions with existing funding sources, to link data with current expenditures, and to encourage policymakers to use nonbiased data when they are making decisions on how to spend our tax dollars.

By using biased rhetoric, Wooten does a disservice to Georgia’s children and families. Wooten says that “Georgia is not a family,” and uses the term “hogwash” in denouncing the facts. Facts are facts. We need to dispense with the rhetoric and use facts when describing a situation.

The situation is that Georgia’s children and families deserve media that point out the facts, a legislature that uses data to make informed decisions, leaders with vision to make positive changes, and advocates to remind us all that it is our responsibility to be stewards of Georgia’s future. We have a choice. We can invest in our children now to reap economic benefits for the state, or pay the price later. A stable economy is built upon secure and strong investments that pay long-term benefits. Children are an investment in the future. That’s a fact.

Gaye Morris Smith
Executive Director, Family Connection Partnership

Well said, Gaye. Well said indeed.

Bush vetoes stem cell research

President Bush issues the first veto of his presidency, rejecting a bill to expand federal research on stem cells obtained from embryos.

No One is More Surprised than Reddy

The Secretary of State's race on the Democratic side of the ballot was a hard one to call, and some were surprised by the result. I suspect no one was more surprised than Reddy who proved himself to be a excellent fundraiser and a committed campaigner. He may not be shocked that he lost, but I'll bet he's surprised that Angela "Vote or Die" Moore bested him. There were at least four candidates in that race that we should be proud to have run for office, and two of them are in the run off. I hope that Reddy and Holcomb will also find their way to elected office in the future.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Congratulations Lt. Gov. Taylor

Best of luck into November.

Voting Issues in Macon

I got a call this morning from a voter who went into her polling place, filled out the form for a democratic ballot, was given the card and when she popped it into the machine, a republican ballot appeared. She was given the correct card upon request, but this is troubling because not everyone would ask. It is also ironic because the voter in question is Cox's field coordinator in Middle Georgia. How ironic.

In a separate issue at the same polling place, a voter says that Beth Perera who is running for the House in 136 appeared on his ballot. Great, except that the voters lives in 137. The elections supervisor says that there is no way this happened. So, what the answer here?

Turnout in Macon

At this hour is reported to be light to steady. One worry, a democratic voter in the Vineville precincts reports that she went to vote, filled out the appropriate paperwork and when she plugged in the card, it was a republican ballot. They corrected it upon her request, but that worries me. Not everyone will ask.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Why Democrats Must Win in November

By this time tomorrow night, I hope that we know who the Democratic nominee is for Governor. Then, all the people who have sparred with me and each other over Cox and Taylor can enjoy dissecting Perdue. My preference for Governor is not exactly a state secret, but beyond the person, there are very good reasons to want the nominee to win. Here are just a few of the things that are at stake:

* Georgia will rapidly follow South Dakota to make abortion illegal.

* Republicans will continue to starve our public schools.

* Republicans will seek a constitutional amendment related to the Voter ID law.

* Republicans will move to restrict adoptions by gay couples and individuals.

* Republicans will give greater latitude to developers.

*Republicans will continue their efforts to return government to the shroud of secrecy.

*Republicans will cure Medicaid by dismantling this critical safety net.

Is that enough to convince you to support the nominee?

Taylor to Retire From Politics

Yes, that's what Mark Taylor says. According to the AJC, if he doesn't win tomorrow, it's all over. He has no plans to ever run for another office. This is not a big surprise, but it does explain his slash and burn approach to this campaign. Mark's goal is to be Governor, and if that doesn't happen, he doesn't see a political future for himself.

On his trip around the state today, Taylor rode on his father's plane. What a metaphor for Taylor's political career. His father also provided the trust fund that awaits Mark and helped leverage the loan that allowed him to begin television ads three weeks before Cathy. That kind of privilege is exactly what most Georgians can't relate to. I'll say this, though: this is a family with resources, so it should be one heck of a retirement party!

Cathy Cox jets into Macon today!

Pictures taken at Herbert Smart Airport in Macon, where a goodly crowd of supporters and media greeted Cathy Cox at about 1:45 today, Monday, July 17.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Rep. John White of Albany Endorses Cox

Below is the text of his endorsement, forwarded by Mr. Charles Mathis who is also asking for your vote for Cathy Cox.

Hello, I'm Rep. John White of Albany. I represented Albany and Dougherty County in the State Legislature for over 20 Years. Today I am asking all Georgian's to Vote - Cathy Cox for Governor. I served in the Legislature with Cathy and Mark; and we must not trust Mark Taylor to lead this state for us. I was there in the Senate Chamber when Mark Taylor Insulted Georgia's Black Population. He preached from the well of the Senate; that "He was tried of paying for the sins of his Fathers and Forefathers", then he placed a plan before the senate that reduced Black voting strength which denied Many Black Voters the opportunity to elect candidates of choice to The Georgia Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives; now he has The nerve to ask Black voters to Reward Him with the Governor's Office. That's an Insult. I urge All Black voters to go to the polls on July 18th. And Vote For Cathy Cox. Cathy will be a great Breath of Fresh Air and the Positive voice that Georgia now Needs. She will make you proud that you voted for her. Thank You.

Cathy Cox for Governor: John White: Served in the Ga. House from 1974 to 1997 Tuesday July 18, is Election Day in Georgia.

Rev. Joseph Lowery Endorses Cox

In a rare move, Rev. Joseph Lowery, civil rights icon, has endorsed Cathy Cox for Governor. Below is a copy of his endorsement.

Yet Another Deceptive Attack on Martin: Is Hecht Responsible?

Tonight, down in the Heart of Georgia, phones were ringing. "Orlando" who is with the Gay and Lesbian League called urging voters to support Jim Martin who has always supported issues important to their community. For instance, according to Orlando, Jim was the first of the candidates to oppose the constitutional amendment defining marriage. I thought, I need to call Jim's campaign and tell them that this is a great message for me, a great message for metro, but that I thought that if this call was going into rural Georgia, they needed to fine tune their targeting.

Turns out, the targeting was quite deliberate, but it wasn't Martin doing the targeting. This call did not come from the Martin Campaign. The clear intent of these calls was to dilute support for Martin in rural Georgia. How insidious. How deceptive. How unethical. I can't say for sure who did this, but after the two nasty mailers Hecht sent out this week, let's just say I'm suspicious. Someone who thought that they would benefit from trying to erode Martin's support in rural Georgia is behind these calls, and I think that whoever did it ought to step forward and take their licks.

Yesterday, Mark Taylor said that nobody runs rougher or meaner campaigns than Republicans. I don't know about that. Between Taylor's casual relationship with the truth and Hecht's tactics, it seems as though Democrats have plumbed new depths of dishonest, dirty campaigning. It appears that candidates will say or do anything to get elected. If they can justify such dishonest, underhanded tactics when running for office, while they are in the glare of public inspection, imagine what they will do behind the scenes if elected. This is disgusting.

Debates available online

If you want to watch (or re-watch) one of the political debates they are available online at:

Cox Knocked it Out of the Park!

There is no question: in tonight's debate, Cathy Cox again clearly articulated her vision for Georgia's future, while Mark Taylor continued to spout canned responses. By confronting Taylor about his efforts to pass legislation that would've benefited members of his family in buying land at a discounted price, Cox held Taylor accountable for his history of using his position to benefit "The other Big Guys". Again and again, while Cox confronted Taylor with facts verified by objective sources, he just kept saying, "That's not the case." And because of the credibility he has established during this campaign, we should all just believe him. Right.

One of the places where Cox and Taylor differed was in response to a question about whether they would veto legislation banning gay adoption. Cox said that she would veto such legislation while Taylor said that if the General Assembly passed such a bill, he "would have to seriously consider it." As a child advocate, I know that when children are adopted by stable families, gay or straight, they fare better. It is disturbing that Taylor would consider supporting such a ban. That puts him right in step with Perdue. What is he thinking?

Sen. Staton Throws Pity Party for Ralph Reed

Poor Ralph. He's a victim. Just ask Cecil Staton. Today The Macon Telegraph published the following letter to the editor from Senator Staton. Here, Staton showed a typical yet profound lack of insight. Here's the letter

Ralph Reed a victim

We are saddened that political discourse seems to reach a new low with every passing election. Just when we ask, "How low can it go?" the ads just get more vicious. This has been especially true in the race for lieutenant governor. For more than a year, Ralph Reed has been the victim of a ruthless campaign to smear his good reputation and long list of accomplishments.

For the liberal media and Ralph's opponents, it would seem that a campaign to stop casino gambling in Alabama is more important than the real issues Georgians face like jobs, health-care costs, education or threats to private property rights.

We have known Ralph and Jo Anne Reed for years. As head of the Christian Coalition and the Georgia Republican Party, Ralph has invested his life in promoting and protecting our values. Ralph has been accused of no wrongdoing. In fact, a two-year inquiry in Washington rejected his opponents' accusations and said Ralph was hired by a respected law firm and did his job well. Casino gambling did not expand in Alabama because of Ralph's work.

Ralph Reed is a proven Republican leader. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland supports Ralph. Zell and Shirley Miller support Ralph. We encourage you to reject negative campaigning by voting for a proven R leader, Ralph Reed, on Tuesday, July 18, to be Georgia's first ever Republican lieutenant governor.

Catherine and Cecil Staton

I guess that settles it. By the way, I wonder if Sen. Staton supported Zell in his bid for Governor or whether he approved of him being Barnes' appointment to fill Coverdale's seat.

Prominent Georgia Women Endorse Cox: Add Your Name Here!

During the last two years, literally thousands of Georgia women have stepped forward to support Cathy Cox's bid to become Georgia's next Governor. Now, with the primary election just hours away, Georgia women are again showing their support for Georgia's next Governor, Cathy Cox.

Below, you will find an endorsement letter that has already been signed by many women from all over Georgia, names too numerous to list entirely here. I have included just a sample of those who have already added their names to this effort.

We ask that you add your own name to this endorsement and pass this letter on to others. One easy way to do that is by clicking on the envelope icon at the bottom of this post and forwarding this letter to friends. Let's show our support for Cathy Cox, the one candidate who will stop the backroom deals and make government work for all of us!

Dear Friends,

We, a group of women from throughout Georgia who have signed below, strongly support Cathy Cox as our next governor.

If you agree, please pass this on to as many women as you can, and ask them to add their name and forward to all of their like minded friends. Encouraging committed Cathy Cox supporters to vote is how she can prevail next Tuesday! This is a race which is within the margin of error according to polls and turnout is the key to victory.

On Tuesday, July 18th, voters in Georgia will have the opportunity to make history by electing Cathy Cox as the first woman to be the Democratic nominee for governor of Georgia.

Cathy is a woman of many firsts. She was the first woman to practice law in her hometown of Bainbridge, Georgia and its surrounding counties, and the first woman elected to the state legislature from her area in Southwest Georgia. As Georgia’s first female Secretary of State, she revolutionized our state’s voting machine systems to make this state a national leader on election reform. And we strongly believe that she will become the first woman governor of Georgia.

Throughout her entire career in public service, Cathy has fought hard for Georgia families and women:

· As a state legislator, she authored Georgia’s first anti-stalking law.

· As Secretary of State, she cracked down on deadbeat parents.

· As Commissioner of Securities, she protected seniors and vulnerable Georgians from investment fraud predators and prosecuted the state’s largest security violation cases.

· Cathy has always supported a woman’s right to choose.

· As a candidate for governor, she has offered serious and substantive solutions to this state’s toughest problems: education, health care, transportation, investment security, and law enforcement.

To us, Cathy Cox is a friend, a colleague, a sister, and a role model. She is a leader and a fighter. She represents the future. And her campaign is about changing the way things are done in this state.

It’s time to move forward from yesterday’s brand of politics. It’s time to shake up the good old boys’ network and make this government work for every single Georgian.

And with Cathy as our governor, we can make that happen. Cathy has detailed plans (available on her website to provide Georgia’s children with a world-class education, make health care accessible and affordable to all Georgia families, keep our communities safe and drug-free and reduce traffic gridlock with innovative transportation solutions. She also has plans to protect the environment, reduce our dependency on foreign oil, and provide retirement security to seniors.

A vote for Cathy Cox on July 18th is a vote to end the good old boy network and politics-as-usual. It’s a vote to focus this state on the future and make it a better place for ourselves and our children. And, it’s a vote to make history.

Sadly, voter turnout on Election Day is expected to be very low, so Cathy needs your help! Many of us are giving of our time and energy in these critical days by volunteering on Monday, July 17th and Tuesday, July 18th. No matter where in Georgia you live, you can make a difference on Election Day. You can reach the campaign and offer your help by emailing

Thank you in advance for your support for Cathy Cox. Together, we will make history!

Dr. Portia Shields

The Honorable Dr. Louise McBee
Mickey Montevideo

Heather Alhadeff
Kay Beynart
Caroline Bethea
Carol Binns
The Honorable Lisa Borders
The Honorable Anne Fauver
Caroline Brown
Stephanie Davis
Elizabeth Dennison
Melita Easters
Patrise Perkins-Hooker
Susan M. Hunter
Melanie Goux
Libby Johnson
Mary Long
Kathryn MacDougald
Robin Meyer
Caroline Moise
Carol Morgan
Debbie Neese
Bobbie Paul
Alice Pettway
Lisa Turner
Margot Townsend
Dr. Margaret Scarlett
Polly Simpson
Patty Smitherman
Anna Swinson
Peggy Whitaker
Molly Woo
Ebony Barley
Embri Barley
Sonya Tate
Eleanor Rayton
Ebony Barley

Cobb County
Lacy Barnes

Reba Barley

Glennie Bench
Roslyn Palmer

The Honorable Carolyn Hugley

Donna Darracott

Helen L. Strickland

Judy Burke Bynum

Wendy Boston
Janice Brice
Mary Frances Burt
Lynn Cass
The Honorable Willette Chambliss
Tiffany Cusson
Dr. Peggy DuBose
Dr. Hilary Ellwood
The Honorable Lynn Farmer
Laura Hogue
Earline Ham
The Rev. Camille Hegg
Dr. Daisy Hurst-Floyd
Dr. Ruth Knox
The Honorable Elaine Lucas
Betty T. Lumpkin
Amy Morton
The Honorable Filomena Mullis
The Honorable Anita Ponder
The Honorable Nikki Randall
Nancy Terrill
Pearlie Tolliver
Jo Wilbanks
Dr. Mary Wilder
Joni Woolf
The Honorable Brenda Youmas

Shelia Parrott

Kristina Simms

St. Simons Island

Jimmie Ann Abner

Warner Robins
Betty Pearsall

Maxine Harris

Dr. Kay Weeks

The Honorable Beth English

Michelle Smith

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Cox: Fund Schools for Excellence

There are now counties in Georgia who simply do not have the necessary tax-base to fund their public schools, and when state and federal mandates, that are largely unfunded, are heaped atop their already strained budgets, they face a situation without an easy resolution.

A number of Georgia counties have sued the state over the current funding formula, an illustration of the crisis in funding we face. Mark Taylor's solution is to give schools more money, but he is not clear about where that money would come from. Unless schools are to become a :"capitalist enterprise" as Bill Bolten proposes or get rich from ads on the sides of school buses as Carlotta Harrell proposes, then we have to be open to discussion of new ideas.

Cathy Cox is open to that discussion, and Mark Taylor is not. Today, in the debate, he accused her of wanting to fund schools with sales tax dollars rather than property tax dollars. That is not what she proposes. I have heard her talk about this several times, and the goal is to look for a combination of funding for schools that is both stable and provides enough money to reach for excellence rather than mediocrity in our schools. She is open to the idea of re-vamping how we fund our schools, not to take money from our schools, but instead to provide more. Taylor criticizes her for being open to this discussion and with his words twists her position. What's his Big Idea? More of the same?

Taylor Appointments Short-Change Minorities

Mark Taylor wants to run on his record, saying that what he has done in the past is a predictor of what he will do in the future. He says that he is committed to opportunity for every Georgia citizen, and that commitment will continue as Governor. Nice verbiage, but let's look at his record . In today's debate, Cox pointed out that 50% of her upper-level management are African-American. On the other hand, blacks make up only one in five of Taylor's appointments to boards and commissions. Is this the kind of "opportunity" he's committed to?

Mark Taylor's "Pay to Play" Plan

During today's debate, Cathy Cox called Mark Taylor on his rhetoric about his record by pointing out that those he has appointed to boards and commissions have contributed in excess of $300,000.00 to his campaign. This is an example of (1) exactly what's wrong in state government and (2) the fact that the Big Guy scratches the back of the other Big Guys. If we take Taylor at his word, that his past actions predicts future deeds, then those who can "afford it" get to participate in government. A few powerful people have benefited from that system over the years, but government needs to work for all Georgians, not just the Big Guys. We need the kind of change that Cathy Cox will bring.

Cathy Pick Up Key Endorsements

Momentum for Cathy is growing in these closing hours with new and important editorial endorsements coming from the Bainbridge Post-Searchlight and the Augusta Metro Courier.

Some might think that the endorsement from the Bainbridge paper was a given, but who knows Cathy better than the folks in Bainbridge? Here's what the Bainbridge paper had to say about their hometown girl:

The Bainbridge Post-Searchlight wrote that "...Cathy Cox is the best choice. She's proved that she is a capable leader and administrator, not afraid to take personal risks for principle; she's experienced and effective in the processes of practical politics; she understands the importance of a "Whole Georgia" concept that includes all parts of the state--metro and non-metro--in the allocation, access to and protection of resources; she's owes no allegiance to the ingrained "old boy" network or kingmakers who transcend parties and administrations; she's honest; she can and will hold her own in a tough fight; she loves and is dedicated to the people of this state; she puts principle above party, politics and pettiness; and she's ours."

Friday, July 14, 2006

Savannah Paper Endorses Cox

The Savannah Morning News has endosed Cathy Cox with this headline: "Cox Democrats' Best Hope." The full story can be found here.

Here is an portion:

"Ms. Cox's foresight and innovation were rewarded by voters in 2002 when she was re-elected with 60 percent of the vote, garnering the second-highest ballot count in the state. That's a testament to her abilities as well as her character - voters across the political spectrum were comfortable with her bipartisan style as well as her record. That should appeal to Democrats who must pick a candidate who can beat Gov. Perdue in November."


"...we believe her past accomplishments and proven appeal to a wide range of voters makes her the best Democrat to square off against Gov. Perdue in November."

Should the DPG Censure Hecht?

It's an interesting thought, though not an original one for me. I got an e-mail tonight from a friend here in Macon who said that she had gotten his second mailer today, even after she was so disgusted with the first one that she notified the campaign to take her off the mailing list, and that she thought that the DPG should censure Hecht. I told her that I knew of no provision in the bylaws that would allow for such action. I do understand the variety of reasons why this is not something the Party could or should do, but you have to admit, it's a novel thought.

I actually think that Greg has censured himself. We'll see how the primary turns out, but I predict that these mail pieces were a gigantic miscalculation on his part. It's motivated voters who go to the polls in 100 degree heat, and motivated voters are often educated voters and less likely to buy into this rouse. My husband, an attorney, is particularly disgusted with the "rape" piece. He walked in the door with it tonight, tossed it on the couch and said that if Greg wins this primary, he will not lift his hand or his checkbook to help him. My son told me that he voted early and had voted for Martin because he didn't like the first mailer. He's twenty and knows that this crosses the line. Another attorney said that he voted early, for Greg, but if there is a run-off that includes Hecht and Martin, his vote will be for Martin.

I'd love to blame the mail firm that put this piece out, but the buck stops with the candidate. Greg's a lawyer, and he should know better than this.

Proud to Have Ponder as Chair

"Button" who has a blog, Liberal Lucidity, has written an excellent piece about Dan Ponder, who is Cathy Cox's campaign chair. Some, even on this blog, have pointed a disparaging finger at Dan because he has an "R" beside his name. A flyer being distributed here in Macon makes it a point to say that Mark is the only candidate whose campaign chairs are all Democrats. If you will read "Button's" excellent piece, you will understand why Cathy Cox chose Dan Ponder. This is a primary, but the winner will need to be able to work with Republicans. That leader is definitely Cathy Cox! You can read the post here.

More Misinformation, Lies and Distortions

Word on the street in Macon is that the Taylor Campaign is planning a "death drop" of literature over the weekend that contains misinformation about Cathy Cox. I sure hope this tipster is wrong, but if activity yesterday and today is any measure, it would not surprise me. It appears that a part of the strategy is for Taylor to simply "declare victory" hoping to deflate Cox supporters. Think again. We see right through these desperate tactics.

Yesterday, a Taylorite on this blog was trying to spread a rumor that Cathy is not pro-choice. What a bunch of hooey. Today, it appears that perhaps the two groups who hope and pray that Cathy is not the nominee (Perdue supporters and Taylor supporters) have again joined forces to spread misinformation.

The Big Guys are teaming up: Big Surprise. A "tip"(can't imagine where that came from) appeared on Peach Pundit that Cathy was contacting key supporters and telling them that she was conceding. I laughed and laughed. Believe Republican Blogs and Republican polls if you want. In fact, I hope Taylor supporters do just that: spend their time gloating and pushing misinformation on the blogs. Cathy's Team is busy working. Here's a bulletin:

She's going to win this primary Tuesday and go on to become Georgia's Governor.

The other part of the misinformation that Peach Pundit passed off as a "tip" was that she "just canceled the WXIA debate." Again, roars of laughter. Let's remember, Mark Taylor is the candidate in this race who has gone to great lengths to avoid debates with Cathy Cox. He blew off the Georgia Press Association, the Georgia Chamber, and the Georgia Municipal Association. Then at GABEO, his plane was conveniently late. So, if not appearing for interviews together means a candidate is conceding, then Mark threw in the towel a long time ago.

Besides, why on earth would Cathy pass up an opportunity to take Mark on face to face? At the debate in Albany she did an excellent job as I am sure she will on Saturday and Sunday. Cathy was clearly offering the plan to move Georgia forward. Taylor? I was sure that Rick Dent was behind him pulling a string making him spout out one of about four canned responses.

My understanding is that the thing at WXIA was (1) not a debate, but instead was billed as a "conversation" with no opportunity for "back and forth" and (2) she did not cancel, but instead had never accepted because of scheduling conflicts. A reason, by the way that seemed to work just fine for Taylorites when he blew off a real debate with the Georgia Press Association.

The Taylor Team and The Perdue Team can wish what they want, Cathy is not just in this race: Cathy Cox is going to WIN this race.

Cox Campus: Voters Want Substance

Who can you trust to provide credible information on GA's Democrat candidates for Governor? Who should you trust to help sort through conflicting campaign messages? Should it be the Macon Telegraph, which endorsed Cathy Cox, or the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, which did not? We trust YOU to recognize a clear, articulate vision for Georgia's future when you see it.Compare Cathy Cox's plans for addressing the major issues facing Georgia to opponent Mark Taylor's in a Q&A posted on Click on the following links:

Education Cox: I believe that science classes should focus on just that: science. Taylor: Local school boards should decide.

EnvironmentHealth CareTransportationEconomy

After checking the facts yourself, we believe you will agree with the Macon Telegraph:

“We endorse Cathy Cox on the basis of her past efforts on behalf of consumers and voters and her potential to move Georgia government into new directions.” Please help ensure that Georgia has the leadership it needs to move forward.Vote on Tuesday, July 18 for Cathy Cox for Governor.

CoxCampus is the official statewide campus campaign in support of Cathy Cox for Governor.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Staton Threatens Constitutional Amendment on Voter ID

Like a cold shower, Cecil Staton's words ought to wake up every single Democrat in this state to what is really at stake in this election. In an Associated Press piece, Staton today expressed his "disappointment" that the Voter ID law would not be enforced in this primary, and then in a show of arrogance said that "those who think such voters (black, poor and elderly) cannot get photo identification have a bigoted attitude." Has he glanced in the mirror lately?

And then, Staton dropped the C-Bomb. He said that "if all else fails" he would support drafting a constitutional amendment on the issue. I shouldn't be surprised. At least he has laid his cards on the table. Sure, we've added discrimination based on sexual orientation to the constitution already, why not add discrimination based on race, age and disability. This happens to be my senator, and we have sparred a time or two. His position on this issue is embarrassing. This is the same guy who opined that if someone did not have a drivers license, they could just use their passport.

I have a great idea. Why not put every law into the constitution. That way, there could never be a constitutional challenge. That seems where we're headed. If this doesn't make maintaining our numbers in the legislature a priority, nothing will.

Link to AJC's endorsement of Taylor

You can find the article in the AJC endorsing Mark Taylor at this site:

Taylor Mailer: Sleaze of the Season

The Big Guy has stepped in it Big Time and from what I am hearing from friends in the African American Community, Taylor’s recent deceptive campaign mailer, shown here, will not just hurt him in the primary election but will impact their willingness to support him actively in the General, were he to win.

Yesterday, this Big, slick mailer from the Taylor Campaign appeared in the mailboxes of African American voters. The mailer ignores the facts (Big Surprise), regurgitates unfounded accusations (Big Lies) and distorts Cathy Cox’s record on the Republican Photo ID bill, accusing Cox of taking us “back to Jim Crow and voter suppression.” My friend’s response? “He thinks we’re ignorant.”

The mailer blatantly disregards Cathy Cox’s consistent strong voting record on civil rights and voting rights. She has always opposed the Photo ID bill, and just recently twisted the arm of the current Republican administration to get the data to prove that hundreds of thousands of Georgians risk disenfranchisement this year if the law is enforced. Just yesterday, the very same day this mailer hit, she again gave testimony in federal court in front of Judge Murphy. Based on the evidence he heard, Judge Murphy ruled that the Voter ID Law could not be enforced for this election. Where was Mark Taylor? Rehearsing for the debate?

Based on Cathy Cox’s efforts to insure that voter’s social security numbers did not randomly fall into the hands identity thieves and her vote to require this Republican administration to pay its own legal fees to defend the ill-advised bill, the Taylor Team accuses her of attempting to suppress the vote. What a stretch. The truth (something with which the Taylor team seems increasingly unfamiliar) is that of the two candidates, Cathy Cox is the only one who has consistently fought the draconian Voter ID Laws. Taylor failed to lead early on. Consider this history.The Photo ID bill was first proposed several years ago by former Senator Joe Burton. At the time Mark Taylor was a Senator and had control of the Georgia State Senate, and he allowed this bill to move right on through. Cox was in the House and worked tirelessly to stop the bill and fortunately she succeeded.

Cathy Cox has been on the right side of this fight since day one. Mark Taylor is the one who was late to the party, and it is Mark Taylor who cozies up to a lawyer who fought federal desegregation orders and who himself recently said that when it comes to whether to consider race as a factor in drawing school district lines that it should be up to “local school boards” to decide. Yet, when he’s called on his inconsistent positions, he and his supporters cry fowl and he plays the victim. I guess Big Guys just can’t be held accountable in the same way the rest of us can.

For the record, I didn't like the piece attributed to Cox yesterday either, but when it comes to playing the race card, it pales in comparison to this expensive, long-planned mailing. This kind of high quality printing does not appear overnight. But garbage is garbage no matter what it's printed on.

I have just two questions: Does Mark Taylor have any regard for the truth? And why do he and his supporters think that there is one set of rules for Big Guys and another set of rules for everyone else?

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The Definition of Insanity

There have been lots of interesting comments on the debate tonight, but I have to move this one from Demblogs up front. Here you go:

Slam dunk best describes tonights debate. Even in Taylor's hometown he beat the same drum about what he did in the past and he really can't lay claim to HOPE regardless of what he tells you! Cox spoke with such composure and it was evident that she has really researched and listened to people from all walks of life about what's important to Georgians. Her plan for education makes no promises to fix things overnight but rather to start from the ground up. Do people realize that doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result is called insanity and Mark Taylor's plan for education is just that!

Cathy Cox and Lisa Borders

Cathy has a new commercial out today that is outstanding. It's Cathy and Lisa Borders, and you can watch it here! Thanks for the tip, Justin.

Cathy Wins: Taylor Focused on the Past

Oh, my goodness. When I said that Mark Taylor was the King of the Sound Bite, I was not exaggerating. Tonight, while Cathy Cox offered succinct, common sense solutions to problems and described her track record of bringing people together, Taylor stayed focused on the past. Here's what I take away from this debate: If you are happy with how things have been in Georgia: Vote for Mark Taylor. Let's not forget, Taylor wants to talk about his record, but he was in the Senate and Lt. Gov. at at time when Democrats could move legislation through at will, and despite that "we're still 49 our of 50." As Mac said, "What have you done lately?" Cathy Cox is about change and solutions.

Debate Update

Lower class sizes and restoring cuts to HOPE will fix everything. How do I know? Just ask Mark Taylor. Must've all polled very well.

Debate Predictions

Note the time of this post. I have a couple of predictions about tonight's debate. Let's see whether I get this right- or wrong.

First, Taylor is an experienced debater and the king of the sound-bite. Don't under estimate him. I am sure that Cathy is has not. He has home court advantage tonight, too.

Second, Cathy has been waiting for this opportunity and is will do a good job of contrasting her substantive policies with Taylor's less well developed platform.

Third, expect them both to come out swinging.

Fourth, I trust that the paramedics will be standing by. :)

Can "Cry Me a River" Politics Get the Job Done in Nov.?

Today Charles Bullock profiles what Cox and Taylor might be able to accomplish as Governor. He points out that Taylor's history of confrontation may make it harder for him to accomplish much as Governor. Cox on the other hand has a history of being able to build consensus and this may aide her in working within a "two party" system in Atlanta. For more, check the article posted on Crackersquire.

"New Georgia Black Voters League"

People who say that they are being paid six bucks an hour and being transported in a van driven by someone associated with the Taylor Campaign here locally, are dropping literature in Macon. So far, so good. The literature does not say who paid for it but at the bottom says, "Communique #1 New Black Voters League." What is the New Black Voters League? Is the literature from the Taylor Campaign? Who's paying these folks?

Is Taylor Endorsing Cox's Plan for the Environment?

With the price of fuel soaring and natural disasters warning us that we better pay attention to caring for the planet, it is significant that Cathy Cox has earned the endorsement of the Sierra Club and has presented the most detailed and comprehensive platform on the environment.

I have searched for Mark Taylor's plan for the environment on his website, but cannot find it. How do you run for Governor at a time like this without having a plan for protecting out environment? In the AJC interview, Taylor said,"Alternative fuel programs for Georgia must be a priority for the environment and it will create jobs and save our citizens money." Sounds like Cox's bio-fuel initiative is so good even Taylor is endorsing it.

Take a look at the Q&A for them that was published in the AJC.

On a humorous note, on the Women for Taylor website, they reprinted this article but only with Mark's responses. I guess they didn't want people to know that the only ideas he's had on this subject, he took from Cathy Cox!

AJC Endorses Jim Martin for Lt. Gov.

Jim Martin has had a good week. First, former Gov. Roy Barnes gave him the nod, and today, the AJC, pointing to his 18 years of experience and the respect that he has from both Democrats and Republicans, endorsed him. I like Jim and have been torn in this race because I thought that Greg had the better "political machine" and might be a in a better position to beat Ralph; however, when I watched the debate on Sunday, I was impressed with Jim. He was the statesman on the stage. His answers were on point and succinct. He's a smart guy. And then there was that nasty piece of mail we got from the Hecht campaign yesterday....It sealed the deal for me. Martin gets my vote. Here's the link to read the endorsement:

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Cox Report Reflects Strong Grassroots Support

There are a lot of things about Cathy Cox's financial disclosure that should make supporters feel hopeful. Earlier today, when I posted about the candidate financial disclosures, I relied on an article that appeared this morning in the Savannah Morning News and said that Cox and Taylor had both raised about $1.2 million this period. That was incorrect. Cox actually did out-raise Taylor again this period, bringing in a total of $1,360,096.21 to his $1,338,924.86. He does have more cash on hand than she does, by about half a million dollars. But then he did start much earlier and loaned himself that cool million. It still spends, though.

A real positive is that again, in this report, Cox demonstrates grassroots support with nearly $50,000 in contributions from less than $100 donors. Taylor only has $17,079.48 in this category. Many of the people who write those smaller checks are first time givers. As a friend said- those are voters. Cox has consistently led in this category, and that bodes well for July 18th.

Also, I am going to assume that Taylor's report not being filed until 10:45 this morning is the fault of the POC Ethics Commission website, but what's with all the "information requested" notations on Occupation and Employer? I thought that response was not okay under the newer rules. Am I wrong?

Taylor Repeats and Punts

I thought that you might want a break from discussing whether or not Taylor's choice of Lee Parks as counsel for his campaign raised any questions about Taylor's "transformation" following his decidedly inappropriate remarks as a Georgia Senator. I thought that if I moved on to a discussion of education, it would take us in a different direction, but as it turned out, the issue of race-based redistricting reared its head again, and Taylor's response may surprise some of his supporters.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has done a great public service by asking both Cox and Taylor some tough questions on key issues and then publishing the responses. Today, I read the article Cox and Taylor Stands on Education and was absolutely shocked beyond words (almost) at Taylor's answers.

For starters, in response to the reporter's question about race-based redistricting, Taylor's answer adds a layer of concern to the question I raised this morning. The reporter asked whether the candidates thought schools should consider race when setting new attendance lines and whether they thought that the state should be setting such policies regarding school redistricting.

Taylor's response? "I support neighborhood schools. State government should leave the redrawing of school district lines to the local school boards." What if the lines the local boards draw create largely segregated schools? Should state and federal government stay out of this? As one commenter said today, he cannot possibly believe that Georgia has solved our problems of race, discrimination and disparity of treatment.

Then, in response to a question on the evolution/intelligent design debate and whether these topics should be taught in public schools, Taylor said, "Local school boards should decide." Are you kidding me? Sounds like he's been drinking the Kookie Kathy Kool-Aide. Taylor thinks that the science curriculum should be non-standardized in the State of Georgia? He thinks that if a local school board deems it appropriate, then the science curriculum should include a discussion of intelligent design? What if they think it is entirely inappropriate to teach about evolution? Individual school districts should get to make that call? Oh, my goodness. Is he serious?

To three critical questions, Taylor intentionally gave identical, word for word identical, responses. He thinks that the solution to our drop-out rates, our low SAT Scores and adequate school funding is to stop the financial cuts to education and reduce class size. I am sure that this response polled well, but throwing money at these complex problems and reducing class size will not alone provide solutions. In fact, though it may come as a surprise to most, but there is little if any research that supports the idea that student achievement is enhanced simply by reducing class size. In contrast Cox's answers are detailed, on-point, consistent with the research and very do-able.

Let me be clear. I have made no bones about my support for Cox, yet long before I supported Cathy Cox, I spent many, many hours supporting public schools, and the welfare of our schools is much more important to me than whether or not she is elected. Her answers here reinforce my support for her candidacy. I am stunned by not only the "political correctness" of Taylor's responses but the apparent lack of depth and understanding of the problems. Given that I will be supporting whoever emerges from this primary, I find this troubling. More money and smaller classes are not alone the answer for our education woes. We need a the greater vision and leadership that Cox offers on these issues. I hope that you will read the whole article, if you have not already.

Cox, Taylor, The $$ and The Ethics Commission POC Website

The only information I have on the Governor's cash-race is from The Savannah Morning News and a few blogs posts. (A side note: let's all agree that the Ethics Commission Website is a piece of crap and that if the difference in how Cathy would run government can be illustrated by how well her office handled these reports versus what we now have, we should all run out right now and vote for Cox.)

While Cox and Taylor raised almost identical amounts of cash during this reporting period, ($1.2 million each), Taylor has $1.12 million on hand while Cox has $560,379. This is, of course a significant difference, and can be more than accounted for by the sweetheart loan he was able to leverage with the bank's confidence in his trust fund. Wouldn't we all like to have that kind of flexible financing option?

Cathy Cox has done a remarkable job of fundraising, and has done so with a non-traditional base of supporters who are going to be highly motivated to go to the polls this week and next. Mel, over at Blog for Democracy points out that the winner of the Democratic Primary will probably need just over 200,000 votes. We're about to find out whether the most motivated voters are persuaded by these ads, or whether they've gotten the message that Taylor can't be trusted.
We shall see...

Taylor Apologized, But Has He Changed?

He's apologized, and that should be that. That's what some say in response to Mark Taylor's effort as a senator to reduce to one the number of majority black congressional districts in Georgia and his impassioned plea, "if you're tired of being bullied, and you're tired of paying for the sins of your fathers and grandfathers..." I don't doubt that Taylor recognized his political misstep and that he apologized for his mistake. My question is, has Taylor has changed? What in a man's character makes it possible for him, not only in the privacy of his own thoughts, but in the Georgia Senate, in front of other lawmakers, to stand and say those words? What does he offer as evidence of his transformation? His current choices?

Consider this: Mark Taylor has chosen as his campaign's attorney, A. Lee Parks, who has successfully challenged federal school desegregation orders as well as racial weighting in school admission policies.

In reference to his case against The University of Georgia, where the percentage of black students was about 6% at the time, Parks was quoted in the Washington Post in 2001 as follows: "For so long, the civil rights groups have tried to create a linkage between race and diversity, but now we can see that it's really nothing more than a racial quota system." (Walsh, Edward. Court Strikes Down Georgia Admissions Policy: Federal Appeals Panel Finds University's Race-Based 'Point' System Unconstitutional. The Washington Post, August 28, 2001.)

And, in a separate article, "It's an uncanny quota," Parks says. "They haven't proven there's any educational value to [diversity]. That's an assumption." (Cooper, Kenneth J. Leaders in a State That Once Fought Civil Rights Movement Rise to Defend University's Approach to Affirmative Action. The Washington Post, January 3, 2001)

According to The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, enrollment of black students at The University of Georgia has declined from 5.8% in 2001 to 4.6% in 2004. When ranked in terms of ratio of black students to black population in the state (28.7%), the performance of the University of Georgia is the worst among the nation’s flagship universities.

In addition, in what one writer called, the quiet death of school integration, A. Lee Parks represented white parents in Charlotte in Belk v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education, a case that ended busing to achieve integration. Belk is especially significant because it revisits Swann the Supreme Court case that many credit for putting the teeth in Brown v. Board of Education. (Kirp, David. L. The Quiet Death of School Integration. The American Prospect, August 12, 2002)

Recently, in an effort that cost the Bibb County Board of Education about $200,000 in legal fees (for all counsel), Parks and another attorney represented white parents in Bibb County who sued contending that the M-to-M transfer policy implemented in lieu of busing to achieve racial balance should be subject to space availability. That successful negotiation also potentially opened the door to ending federal oversight of the desegregation of Bibb Schools, something the presiding judge has said he may be inclined to do when he revisits this case in one year. (Hubbard, Julie. Bibb Schools Paying $200,000.00 for Legal Fees. The Macon Telegraph, 4/06/2006.)

These are just a few of the cases the Taylor Campaign attorney has handled. Successful, no doubt, but in light of Taylor's remarks in the senate, does this choice raise some interesting questions?

Monday, July 10, 2006

Truth or Consequences!

“He lies and just takes care of the other Big Guys.” That’s what Cathy Cox said about Mark Taylor, and last week a Pulitzer Prize winning reporter, Randall Savage, agreed.
Why does it matter? If Mark Taylor can’t be trusted, then how can we believe any of his wild, allegations?

For instance, Taylor, in his latest attack, criticizes Cox for doing her job and warning Georgia’s most vulnerable citizens about investment fraud. Relying on half truths and outright false allegations, Taylor accuses Cox of using the ads to promote her bid to become Governor, implies that the SEC sued Cox and seized money from her. Think again, and consider these facts:

An Ethics Watchdog Group Approved of Cathy Cox’s Investment Fraud Education Efforts

Taylor claimed that “…Cathy Cox spent $4 million from a public trust on TV ads promoting her campaign.” The fact is that the ads were funded with money from a national lawsuit against investment firms. States received money from the proceeds of the lawsuit for investor education. The Investor Protection Trust, which disbursed the money, prohibited using the funds to promote individual officeholders but approved of Cox's efforts.

The SEC Never Filed Suit Against Cathy Cox

The SEC and the Investor Protection Trust were awarded money from the investment fraud settlement for investor education. The SEC failed to use their share of the funds and had to fight to keep them from being seized.

The SEC Never Seized Money From Cathy Cox

Trying to salvage a stalled effort at investor education (nationally), a federal judge said that the Securities and Exchange Commission could give $55 million to a foundation created by NSAD. The Investor Protection Trust received about $30 million to support investor education programs at the state level.

Cox Was in Only Four of the Statewide Ads and Didn’t Say Her Name in Those Ads

This is the most deceptive portion of this commercial. During an interview with Paul Yates of WAGA -TV (FOX 5 Atlanta) Cathy Cox was asked specifically about the statewide ads, and responded that she only appeared in four of those ads, and in those ads never once said her name. The clips that the Taylor ad uses are from local PSA’s that ran in communities when Cox was coming in to conduct seminars, not from the ads that ran statewide.

Voters do care about whether they can trust a candidate. It is clear that trust is something Mark Taylor has yet to earn. We deserve better from someone who wants to be Governor.

Advance voting--July 10-14

The advance voting period for the July 18 primary is July 10-14. Check with your Board of Elections if you don't know the location of advance voting. There is no advance voting on the Monday before the primary.

Sunday, July 9, 2006

Cox: One Tough Lady on Education

When four in ten Georgia students fail to graduate on time and SAT scores are in the cellar, Mark Taylor bragging about the HOPE Scholarship is a bit like the Captain of the Titanic complementing the ship’s d├ęcor. While Taylor clings to old ideas that alone have failed our children, Cathy Cox has partnered with the experts-classroom teachers-to develop a bold agenda for change. To stem the dropout rate, Cox proposes a potent combination of effective early intervention to make sure children arrive at school ready to learn and partnership with business and industry to create state of the art tech high schools that will keep children engaged in school and prepare them for the work force. While Taylor proposes simply throwing more money at the problem, Cox embraces innovation, partnership and common sense solutions including relieving teachers of lunch duty and bus duty so that they have more time to do what they do best: teach. Cox has earned my vote in the July 18th Democratic primary because she not only supports the HOPE Scholarship: she offers real hope for the future of our schools.

To Learn More Details:

Read Cathy’s Agenda to Lead Georgia Forward in Education, Health Care and Retirement Security

Televised debates--Atlanta Press Club series!

Televised Debates Starting Sunday July 9th! The Atlanta Press Club will host a series of televised debates for primary candidates beginning Sunday, July 9th on Georgia Public Broadcasting (Channel 8 in Atlanta). GPB will also offer the debates for online viewing.

Telegraph Endorses Cox

My hometown newspaper, The Macon Telegraph, has endorsed Cathy Cox this morning. They said:

Telegraph picks Cathy Cox for the Democratic primary

Describing herself as an agent of change from "good ol' boy" politics, Cox
has promoted ethics reform, use of farm-grown alternative fuels, more passenger
train service, training incentives for teachers, improved early childhood
education and using state tax credits to help Georgians put more money into
retirement accounts.

On balance, we endorse Cathy Cox on the basis of
her past efforts on behalf of consumers and voters and her potential to move
Georgia government into new directions.

Saturday, July 8, 2006

Just 220 Seconds

That's it. For the candidates for Governor, a lifetime of preparation, millions of dollars and endless hours of work boil down to this. The average Georgia voter will hear about 220 seconds of each candidate's position. That's not much time to present detailed proposals. It's really just time to make a first, and maybe a second, impression on the voter. Most voters do not read the paper, watch the news or tune in to the debates. What they learn about the candidates, they see in the commercials. And voters remember negative more than positive. That's why the negative ads are so tempting for candidates, despite the fact that they're a turn-off for voters.

Here, we have a bit more time than 220 seconds, so in addition to posting about whatever is going on day to day next week, beginning tomorrow, I will be posting, issue by issue, why I think Cathy Cox is the best candidate for Governor. She has detailed proposals for everything from education to bio-fuel. While these are all on her website, few people know the details. I intend to talk about her platform and invite others- Taylor supporters, too- to join in the discussion.

Jim Martin in Atlanta Today

I attended an event for Jim Martin today in Atlanta. It was a small gathering of supporters at a private home, and the third or fourth time I have had a chance to hear Jim speak. I like both Jim and Greg, but I continue to be impressed with the wealth of experience and intellect that Jim Martin brings to the table in this race. I have accused him of having Kerritis- being too darn smart for his own good. Jim has well thought out proposals, particularly in the areas of healthcare and education. I have no doubt that he would make an outstanding Lt. Governor. Being able to communicate those ideas to the voters is a succinct manner is his greatest challenge. Gov. Barnes' endorsement should be an important feather in his cap, though, as the election approaches.

Friday, July 7, 2006

Macon Telegraph Endorses Cagle, Hecht

The Macon Telegraph honed in on the importance of character, and on the Republican side of the ticket, endorsed Cagle for Lt. Gov. On the Democratic side of the slate, they endorsed Greg Hecht, but said that between Hecht and Martin, voters really couldn't make a bad choice. Click here to read the article.

Cathy's Radio Ad Featuring Sen. Mark Taylor

Here's the link to the audio that I have been promising. Somehow Taylor's rant about being tired of being bullied rings awfully hollow. Click here to listen.

Thursday, July 6, 2006

Cox Volunteers Ready to Hit the Streets

On Thursday night, scores of Cox volunteers gathered in Macon and in Atlanta to prepare to dial phones, knock on doors, provide rides to the polls and many other GOTV activities. It really is remarkable to see a diverse group of people respond to an opportunity to help elect this remarkable women. In Macon, the group included students, professionals and others who are willing to commit time the week before and day of the election. These folks are not being paid. Instead, they are investing their time and energy in a change that can benefit all of us. This is going to be a different kind of election.

Sins of our Fathers

Wow. I just heard Cathy Cox's new radio ad, and it is very powerful. It begins with State Senator Bob Holmes who says he was "there" when then-Senator Taylor spoke in favor of a plan that would've reduced to one the number of majority black congressional districts in Georgia. He asks members whether they are tired of being bullied and "paying for the sins of their fathers and grandfathers." What, exactly, does that mean? I do have the audio of this ad and will be glad to share it... as soon as I figure out how to upload an audio file.

I do have one question (and this is a partial answer to the quiz question I posted about Lee Parks the other day). The media has referred to Lee Parks as the attorney for the Taylor Campaign. On the website for the firm, the case Miller v. Johnson is listed among the firm's accomplishments. In this case, Parks represented the voters in a Georgia congressional district that had been intentionally drawn to create a majority black district. He successfully argued that racial gerrymandering violated the U.S. Constitution. The State of Georgia argued that the state had a legitimate interest in proportional representation. In a landmark decision, the U.S. Supreme Court held that Georgia's use of race, above all other considerations violated the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. ( Is this the same thing Taylor is referring to here in his senate speech or a different effort? It must be different because it is my understanding that this case addressed a third majority black congressional district that had been drawn.