Politics

Politics
12:06 pm
Wed September 2, 2015

Biden To Test Political Waters In Atlanta, Miami, Pittsburgh

Vice President Joe Biden is mulling over a run for the 2016 Democratic presidential primaries.
Credit Brennan Linsley, File / Associated Press

Vice President Joe Biden may get an early glimpse of his presidential prospects at the start of a three-state trip as he considers a late entry into the 2016 Democratic primaries.

Biden is appearing at a Miami college Wednesday and headlining a private fundraiser for Senate Democrats in Florida as he mulls a potential challenge to Democratic front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton.

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Politics
7:51 am
Wed September 2, 2015

Ga. Democrats Hoping For Rev. Warnock Campaign, Party Revival

The Rev. Raphael Warnock delivers a sermon during church service at Ebenezer Baptist Church where he serves as pastor.
Credit John Amis / AP Photo

“I believe, all the way in my gut, that if Rev. Raphael Warnock should decide to run, he could bring the change we are looking for.” 

Those are the words of Dubose Porter, the head of Georgia’s Democratic Party. 

During a recent Sunday service at Ebenezer Baptist Church, Warnock told the congregation he’s considering a run for the U.S. Senate. 

“I’m gonna go away for a few days in a quiet prayer retreat,” he said, “And then I’m going to come back and talk, and hear you, and then we’ll go together.” 

Warnock will return from his sabbatical soon. 

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Politics
12:40 pm
Fri August 28, 2015

Group: Registering Korean-American Voters Is Multi-Year Effort

Helen Kim Ho, AAAJ-A's executive director, gives an update of the group's 10,000 Korean Votes campaign.
Credit Martha Dalton / WABE

Getting Americans out to the polls during election season can be difficult. It can be even tougher in immigrant communities. Asian and Latino populations usually have lower voter turnout rates than Caucasians and African-Americans. But a local organization that launched an effort to get Korean Americans to vote says it’s making progress.

The Atlanta chapter of Asian-Americans Advancing Justice started a grassroots effort last year, called 10,000 Korean Votes. AAAJ-A’s executive director, Helen Kim Ho, says it’s a multi-year initiative.

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Closer Look
5:11 pm
Thu August 27, 2015

Atlanta Workforce Development Chief Talks Changes At Agency

The head of the Atlanta Workforce Development Agency Michael Sterling has been on the job a little over a year. He took over after an investigation by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution found corruption at the agency.
Credit Courtesy of The Atlanta Workforce Development Agency

A little over a year ago Michael Sterling took over the position of executive director at the Atlanta Workforce Department Agency, or AWDA. Sterling was appointed to the position by Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed after an investigation and scathing report on the agency by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The investigation revealed the AWDA was recklessly wasting money, had inadequate tracking services, and relied too much on community partners.

Sterling joined Rose Scott and Denis O’Hayer to discuss the changes at the agency and more on “Closer Look.”

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Closer Look
4:34 pm
Thu August 27, 2015

Ga. Sen. Isakson Talks Candidly On Veterans’ Health Care, More

The VA medical center in Atlanta provides health care to veterans across the region. Georgia U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson says there are still ''plenty of challenges'' at the VA.
Credit Michelle Wirth / WABE

Military veterans are still running into problems scheduling timely doctor’s appointments, either with the Veterans Administration or a new alternative option called the Veteran’s Choice Program.

Basically, the new Choice Program allows eligible veterans who live more than 40 miles away from a VA health care facility or can’t get an appointment scheduled within 30 days to arrange an appointment with a Medicare-approved doctor, who can schedule an appointment earlier and is closer to the veteran's location.

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Politics
11:46 am
Thu August 27, 2015

Some Seeking Legislative Fix To Controversial Hotel Tax

A $5-per-night state hotel tax that went into effect July 1 hit residents of extended-stay hotels especially hard. A reduction, however, could be in the works for the 2016 legislative session.
Credit Jim Burress / WABE

A $5 nightly hotel tax to fund state transportation projects quietly surfaced in the final hours of this year's legislative session.

It took effect July 1 and instantly caused confusion. 

The Georgia Department of Revenue issued an emergency order in June to help hotel operators. On the consumer side, the department also set up a toll-free number to handle questions.

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Politics
3:42 pm
Wed August 26, 2015

Ga. ‘Made Me Proud’ In Katrina Response, Says Ex-Gov. Perdue

Hurricane Katrina evacuees from New Orleans arrive at Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Marietta on Sept. 4, 2005. Thousands of people from New Orleans fled to Atlanta in Katrina's aftermath.
Credit George Armstrong / FEMA

When Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast 10 years ago this week, thousands of people fled from the category 5 storm. The Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, estimates that more than 100,000 people from New Orleans, alone, made their way to Atlanta in Katrina’s aftermath -- and many stayed.

Then-Gov. Sonny Perdue, like most Americans, watched in horror as the monster hurricane barreled into the Gulf Coast, killing almost 2,000 people, most of them in New Orleans. But Perdue had no idea, at first, how deeply Katrina would impact Georgia.

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A Closer Look
4:24 pm
Fri August 21, 2015

Jason Carter To Take Lead At Carter Center But ‘Legacy Continues’

Atlanta attorney and former Georgia Sen. Jason Carter is taking over as chairman of the Carter Center Board of Trustees. His grandfather, former President Jimmy Carter, made the announcement this week.
Credit David Goldman / AP Photo, File

Former President Jimmy Carter announced plans on Thursday to cut back on many of his activities at the Carter Center in Atlanta as he focuses on his cancer treatment.

Carter also revealed his grandson Jason Carter, a former state senator and a 2014 Democratic candidate for Georgia governor, has been named the new chairman of the Carter Center Board of Trustees. The board selected Jason Carter for the position back in March, according to President Carter.

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Real Estate
4:51 pm
Thu August 20, 2015

Sandy Springs Residents May Sue City Over Housing Development

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, left, holds a model Mercedes-Benz presented to him by Mercedes-Benz USA CEO Steve Cannon at a ceremony announcing the company's U.S. corporate headquarters relocation to Sandy Springs. City residents say they welcome Mercedes-Benz, but are not happy with the home development near the new headquarters.
Credit David Goldman / Associated Press

Some Sandy Springs, Georgia, residents say they're strongly considering suing the city government over a mixed-use development that includes the future headquarters of Mercedes-Benz.

Residents say they have no problem with the car manufacturer moving in. 

What they're not happy about is developer Ashton Woods, which has gotten the city's OK to build 980 housing units on the 75-acre property. 

Ashton Woods will sell part of the land to Mercedes-Benz to build its headquarters on.

Housing Density 

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A Closer Look
2:07 pm
Wed August 19, 2015

DeKalb Commissioner Responds To County CEO’s Criticism

Dekalb County Commissioner Nancy Jester speaks to constituents at a Town Hall Meeting at Brookhaven City Hall. Jester responded to criticisms from County CEO Lee May on ''A Closer Look.''
Credit Todd Rehm / GaPundit.com

Last week on "A Closer Look," interim DeKalb County CEO Lee May talked about the ongoing corruption investigation and the vote to approve county money for a new pro soccer complex. During the interview May criticized DeKalb Commissioner Nancy Jester over her handling of those issues and her communications with him. 

Now Jester has responded to the criticisms in an interview with “A Closer Look” hosts Rose Scott and Denis O'Hayer.

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A Closer Look
4:39 pm
Tue August 18, 2015

Unlikely Political Partnership Boosts Ga.’s Green Economy

Workers install solar arrays in Walton County, Georgia. A new report finds Georgia is leading the country in the creation of new green jobs – mostly in the field of solar energy.
Credit Courtesy of Greg Brooks / Walton EMC

Georgia is excelling in the creation of green jobs. That’s according to a recent report by the national, nonpartisan business group Environmental Entrepreneurs. The report suggests the state of Georgia is creating more green jobs – mostly in the field of solar energy – than any other state in the country.

The spike in green jobs in Georgia is directly related to an unlikely political partnership between liberal and conservative advocates of clean energy policies and issues. It’s a partnership that would have seemed more than unlikely a few years ago and next to impossible.

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A Closer Look
4:16 pm
Thu August 13, 2015

DeKalb Corruption Investigation May Continue After Final Report

Interim DeKalb CEO Lee May says the contents of the final report on DeKalb County government corruption could determine whether an ongoing investigation continues.
Credit Stephanie M. Lennox / WABE

The final report on DeKalb County government corruption is due out before the end of the month. Depending on what’s in the report from special investigator Mike Bowers, the investigation may continue, Interim CEO Lee May said.

May said recently there is no more funding for an ongoing corruption investigation, but he seemed to back off that statement during an interview on “A Closer Look,” in which he clarified the remark.  

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A Closer Look
4:03 pm
Thu August 13, 2015

Former Common Cause Ga. Head Vows To Keep At Ethics Fight

Former Common Cause Georgia executive director William Perry discusses his four year tenure at the organization, why he was asked to leave and more on “A Closer Look.”
Credit Stephanie Lennox / WABE

Ethics watchdog groups make it a point to hold public officials and public institutions accountable and responsive to citizens.

That's actually the core mission of Common Cause Georgia, and for four years William Perry has served as the organization’s executive director.

But the leadership of Common Cause is changing, and William Perry is no longer the executive director.

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Politics
1:10 pm
Wed August 12, 2015

Eradicating Hepatitis C In Georgia An Expensive, Essential Goal

Dr. Gregory Felzien of the Georgia Department of Public Health says treating people with hepatitis C early makes eradicating the virus a possibility. On Tuesday, he told a panel of state lawmakers getting there won't be cheap.
Credit Jim Burress / WABE

When is a $60,000 tab for one person’s medication considered a bargain for Georgia taxpayers?

When it goes to pay for a hepatitis C cure, state health officials told a group of Georgia lawmakers Tuesday.

Hepatitis C used to be considered a death sentence. Now, new drug treatments can cure nearly 100 percent of those infected. But they're expensive — up to $90,000 at a retail pharmacy, or a discounted rate of just $60,000 for health plans.

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A Closer Look
2:42 pm
Fri August 7, 2015

GOP Candidates Head To Ga. For Buckhead RedState Meeting

Republican presidential candidates from left, Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, Mike Huckabee, Ted Cruz and Rand Paul take the stage for the first Republican presidential debate at the Quicken Loans Arena Thursday in Cleveland.
Credit Andrew Harnik / Associated Press

Republican candidates are traveling to Atlanta for the Red State gathering after the first Republican Party debate in Cleveland, Ohio, Thursday night.

Atlanta radio talk show host Erick Erickson organized the three day convention and invited 10 of the 17 candidates who are running for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination.

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Opinion
11:44 am
Fri August 7, 2015

Hopefully, Soccer Team Can Help Unite Fractured DeKalb County

The Atlanta United soccer franchise plans to build its headquarters and $35 million training facility in DeKalb County. The DeKalb County Commission voted to approve the agreement with Atlanta United FC. It would involve a $12 million investment by the county.
Credit Atlanta United

The new Atlanta United soccer franchise announced Tuesday that it had chosen DeKalb County for its headquarters and $35 million training facility. The DeKalb Commission voted earlier that day to approve the agreement with Atlanta United FC, one that would involve a $12 million investment by the county.

"Finally, something good is happening in DeKalb County.”

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Politics
9:26 am
Fri August 7, 2015

Obama Says Biggest Harm To Voting Rights Today Is Apathy

President Barack Obama speaks in the South Court Auditorium in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex in Washington, Thursday on the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act.
Credit Carolyn Kaster / Associated Press

President Barack Obama says all Americans owe a debt to the sharecroppers and maids and ordinary Americans who were brave enough to try time and again to register to vote in the face of violence and oppression. He says without them, the Voting Rights Act wouldn't have been signed into law 50 years ago Thursday.

At a White House event marking the anniversary, Obama said those rights are being whittled away today by voter ID laws and other attempts to discourage voting. He called on Congress to update the law in response to court decisions.

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Politics
12:05 pm
Thu August 6, 2015

DeKalb Officials React To Allegations Of ‘Stunning’ Misconduct

Former Georgia Attorney General Mike Bowers stands with Interim CEO Lee May as the DeKalb corruption investigation was launched in March.
Credit Lisa George / WABE

DeKalb County officials are reacting to a scathing letter that accuses the county's government of being "rotten to the core." It's part of an investigation into corruption in the county.

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Politics
6:05 pm
Fri July 31, 2015

Atlanta NAACP, SCLC: Gov. Deal Won't Talk Confederate Symbols

SCLC President Charles Steele Jr., center, said he and the NAACP are ready to meet with Gov. Nathan Deal. NAACP attorney Gerald Griggs, left, and Atlanta NAACP President Richard Rose, right, held the press conference with Steele to discuss their concerns over Confederate symbols in the state.
Credit Lisa Hagen / WABE

Leaders with the Atlanta NAACP and Southern Christian Leadership Conference say Gov. Nathan Deal declined a meeting to discuss what they say is state sponsorship of Confederate symbols.

They said the Confederate flags found at Ebenezer Baptist Church in downtown Atlanta have only intensified the need for dialogue.

It's an issue of state law. Talk to lawmakers. That's been Gov. Deal's response to previous requests to discuss changes to Georgia's Confederate symbols, including the ones at Stone Mountain Park.

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Politics
11:58 am
Thu July 30, 2015

Gwinnett County Bans New Digital Billboards

Gwinnett County Commissioners voted Tuesday night to ban the construction of new digital billboards in unincorporated Gwinnett, unless a company tears down three static, or paper, billboards first. Digital billboards resemble ballpark jumbo video displays but scroll through several static ads each minute.
Credit Dirk Lammers / Associated Press

There may soon be fewer billboards in Gwinnett County. 

Commissioners voted Tuesday night to ban the construction of new digital billboards in unincorporated Gwinnett, unless a company tears down three static, or paper, billboards first.

The goal is to prevent driving distractions and reduce visual clutter.

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Politics
5:24 pm
Tue July 28, 2015

Georgia Sues Website For Publishing State's Annotated Laws

The state of Georgia is suing a website for publishing the Official Code of Georgia Annotated online. It is available in XML format and scanned copies of the volumes are also available on Archive.org.
Credit Brenna Beech / WABE

The state of Georgia filed a lawsuit against the owner of the website, Public.Resource.org, for publishing the annotated version of the Georgia State code online. 

The owner of the website, Carl Malamud, argues these notes to the law should be free and accessible to the public.

Annotations

The annotations include important notes ─ like when laws were changed and short summaries of court cases that help judges and lawyers interpret state laws. 

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A Closer Look
2:52 pm
Fri July 24, 2015

Ga.'s Sam Nunn: Nuke Deal Prevents Iran From Getting Weapon

Former Georgia Democratic U.S. Sen. Sam Nunn, center, has been monitoring global nuclear issues, risks and threats for years through his nonprofit Nuclear Threat Initiative. He supports the new nuclear deal with Iran.
Credit Katie King / for WABE

Congress has convened hearings this week into the new nuclear agreement reached between the United States and five other countries hammered out with Iran. The deal includes restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for an end to some of the toughest sanctions against the country.

Republicans, including both of Georgia's U.S. senators, have expressed either serious doubts or outright opposition to the agreement, and Israel's government has called it a historic mistake. 

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A Closer Look
4:47 pm
Thu July 23, 2015

Public Hearings Examine Use Of Independent Contractors

Truckers who haul freight around Georgia ports testified at a public hearing this week by the State Senate Study Committee on how independent contractors are classified.
Credit raymondclarkeimages / flickr.com/raymondclarkeimages

Georgia lawmakers are looking into the use of independent contractors and how those contractors are actually classified by the businesses that employ them.

A study by the National Employment Labor Project estimates nearly one in every three workers in the U.S. is misclassified. That can mean a loss of pay and benefits for  employees.

And, in fact, that’s what a number of truckers in Georgia contend is happening to them

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Politics
4:09 pm
Tue July 21, 2015

Decatur Residents Concerned About Loss Of Diversity

The Beacon Municipal Center in Decatur includes tributes to what used to be a primarily African-American neighborhood that no longer exists.
Credit Tasnim Shamma / WABE

Decatur residents are concerned. Home prices are rising, and the city is losing its African-American population.

On Monday night, city commissioners voted to approve a $109,000 contract to hold public meetings about how to keep the city diverse, welcoming and affordable over the next six months. The goal is to come up with a Community Action Plan document for city commissioners to adopt. 

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Technology
1:22 pm
Tue July 21, 2015

Advocacy Group Seeks Exception On Ga. Capitol Drone Ban

Drones are displayed at the National Press Club in Washington. The nonprofit Drone Advocates for Public Safety in Atlanta wrote a letter to the governor asking him to exempt law enforcement and emergency responder drones from the 5-mile ban around the state Capitol building's heliport and the Governor's Mansion.
Credit Jacquelyn Martin / Associated Press

During Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, retired Army Lieutenant General Russel L. Honore was commander of the Joint Task Force. He says drones could have saved lives in 2005.

"It would have gotten places that we had a hard time getting to, and it could cover more ground than two people walking down the street," Honore said. 

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A Closer Look
7:21 pm
Mon July 20, 2015

Ga. Pollster: Trump Comments Could Draw Southern Support

Billionaire developer and GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump is making no apologies for remarks he made about Sen. John McCain's war record over the weekend.
Credit Ross D. Franklin / AP Photo

Real estate and media mogul Donald Trump has been in the headlines for weeks now after declaring his candidacy for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination and he’s back in the spotlight today after remarks over the weekend about Arizona Sen. John McCain’s war record.

A political frenzy erupted Saturday after Trump said McCain was not a war hero.

InsiderAdvantage CEO, political columnist and pollster Matt Towery said during an interview on  “A Closer Look” that there is a sizable element in the Republican party that “does not care for John McCain at all.”

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A Closer Look
6:36 pm
Mon July 20, 2015

Georgia Democratic Congressman Slams Iran Nuke Deal

U.S Secretary of State John Kerry, British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, center, and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, left, arrive at the Vienna International Center in Vienna, Austria, on Tuesday, July 14, 2015 after reaching agreement on a nuclear deal.
Credit Carlos Barria / AP Photo

The United States and five other countries reached an historic agreement with Iran over its nuclear program last week after months of negotiations.

The deal includes restrictions on Iran's nuclear program and requires regular inspections. In exchange, world powers will drop some of the toughest sanctions against Iran.

Georgia Democratic Congressman David Scott opposes the agreement.

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A Closer Look
6:47 pm
Thu July 16, 2015

Ga. House Speaker Seeks ‘Pastor Protection’ Bill On Gay Marriage

State House Speaker David Ralston has proposed a pastor protection bill that would prevent the government from forcing church leaders to perform same-sex marriages.
Credit John Bazemore / AP Photo

The recent U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage has led to a number of questions on what exactly the ruling will mean for religious leaders who refuse to marry gay couples based on their religious convictions.

When it comes to pastors and other religious leaders in Georgia, a lawmaker has proposed a pastor protection bill that would prevent the government from forcing church leaders to perform same-sex marriages.

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Politics
5:42 pm
Thu July 16, 2015

Fayette Residents Continue Fight Against At-Large Voting

A group of residents in Fayette County is continuing to wage a fight against the county's voting procedures.

On Tuesday night, the Fayette County Board of Elections voted 2-1 to proceed with at-large voting to fill a county commission seat after the recent death of the county’s first black commissioner.  

Two years ago, a federal judge ordered the county to implement district-voting and to create a minority district, saying the county’s at-large voting method prevented black voters from choosing a candidate of their choice.  

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A Closer Look
4:13 pm
Thu July 16, 2015

MGM Resorts Ready To Roll The Dice On Casinos In Atlanta

What are the odds that Atlanta will get a casino resort complex now that MGM has offered up a $1 billion proposal? It's still an uncertain gamble, given the political climate on gambling in Georgia.
Credit Ted Murphy / www.flickr.com/tedmurphy/

Top casino operator MGM International is proposing a $1 billion mega gambling and entertainment complex in downtown Atlanta.

Supporters say the project would generate millions in tax revenue, create high-paying jobs and raise millions more for the beleaguered HOPE scholarship fund.

But legislation introduced earlier this year to allow casino gambling in Georgia is facing an uphill battle with Gov. Nathan Deal and in the State Legislature.

That isn’t stopping the giant casino companies from eyeing Atlanta as an untapped gambling market.

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