Political Insider

An AJC blog about Atlanta politics, Georgia politics, Georgia and metro Atlanta election campaigns. Because all politics is local.

Amazon hunt may be forcing a Cobb County shift on transit


There's nothing like being left out of the money to force a rethinking of policy.

In today's Marietta Daily Journal, we have an account of a Monday meeting between Gov. Nathan Deal and Cobb County leaders. The latter are worried that they -- and Gwinnett County -- might be left out of the hunt for a new Amazon.com headquarters because of transportation issues.

Among those attending the Monday session were state Sen. Lindsey Tippens, a Republican from west Cobb, and Gary Bottoms, chairman of the Cobb Chamber. From the newspaper:

What is needed, Bottoms argued, is an overarching transportation committee that pulls together all the individual county committees to offer solutions to metro Atlanta’s traffic congestion...

Bottoms said Deal was on board with the idea of such a unifying transit committee and charged Tippins to meet with the heads of the Senate and House transportation committees, and their leadership and report back to see what could be accomplished.

Consider this one more piece of evidence that January and the 2018 session of the Legislature could bring some significant shifts in the state commitment to mass transit.

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Speaking of get-around-ability, the godfather of the Beltline has endorsed the project's godmother in the race for Atlanta mayor.

Ryan Gravel, who dreamed up the idea to turn rail lines circling the city into a necklace of trails and parks, said he's backing Cathy Woolard because the "Beltline wasn't possible without her, and because its promise needs her to survive."

Woolard was one of the biggest champions of Gravel's idea while Atlanta City Council president in the early 2000s, and she's put the legacy of the project at the heart of her campaign. "If you like the Beltline now, you're going to love it when I'm mayor," her campaign website reads.

The project has had its growing pains. The Beltline's chief executive was forced to resign in August amid sharp questions on the program's affordable housing policies.

A July investigation by the AJC and Georgia News Lab found that the Beltline had funded so few of the 5,600 affordable homes that the city required it to create that it may never reach its 2030 goal. Some of the affordable housing units it did create already are starting to vanish.

The Trump administration, under White House pressure provide backing for a reduction in the number of refugees allowed into the United States, has rejected a study by the Department of Health and Human Services that found that those fleeing from abroad have generated $63 billion more in government revenues over the past decade than they cost, according to the New York Times.

Over at Flagpole magazine, Blake Aued tells us that the Athens-Clarke County Democratic Committee may be fixin' to get ready to boot Mayor Nancy Denson from the governing body because her support for a Republican in a special election to replace state Rep. Regina Quick, the Republican recipient of a recent judgeship.Denson held a fundraiser for Houston Gaines, her former campaign manager -- and most recently, past student body president of UGA. He's running against Democrat Deborah Gonzalez. Denson notes she was leaving the committee anyway, so that she can continue her support for Gaines, saying: "As an American, as an Athenian and a Georgian, I want the best candidate."

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Qualifying for state Rep. Geoff Duncan's Cumming-based district starts on Wednesday and ends Friday. The Republican resigned weeks ago to run for lieutenant governor, leaving his ruby-red district vacant. The vote for Duncan's seat and several other open state legislative spots will be held on Nov. 7.

Still uncertain is the fate of two other soon-to-be vacated seats. Republican state Rep. Bruce Broadrick of Dalton said Friday he was stepping down, citing health reasons. And Democratic state Rep. Keisha Waites of Atlanta is leaving her seat to run for Fulton County Commission chair.

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Brian Kemp's top aide is leaving state government for a gig with one of the state's most prominent regulatory law firms. David Dove is headed to the Robbins Firm in October, where he plans to focus on municipal and election law litigation. He was Kemp's chief of staff for nearly two years, and previously served as his deputy general counsel and interim director of the office's elections division.

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Here's a sentence we never thought we'd write: Stacey Abrams beat out Kevin Durant and Colin Kaepernick. The Democratic candidate for governor was named the 16th most influential black American between the ages 25-45 by The Root - just ahead of Durant, Kaepernick and other big names. Check out the entire list here.

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Over at Defense News, U.S. Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., appears to be testing his chops as an action-adventure novelist. His opening paragraphs in a recent op-ed:

The hot, dry air hit us like a wave as we stepped off the ramp of the CH-47 helicopter onto the gravel surrounding Technical Base Gamberi in East Afghanistan. As a young U.S. Army officer greeted us, he warned that the base was often the target of indirect fire. Another jarring reminder that American forces are still engaged in the longest war in our nation’s history in Afghanistan.

It was July 4th, Independence Day, and I was in Afghanistan to meet with U.S. military leaders, diplomats, and Afghan political officials about another independence – that of Afghanistan’s freedom from the tyranny of terrorism and instability – and America’s role in the region.

Actually, the article was a full-throated defense of President Donald Trump's Afghanistan policy.


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About the Author

Jim Galloway is a three-decade veteran of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution who writes the Political Insider blog and column.