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Georgia Politics, Campaigns & Elections for October 17, 2012

October 17, 2012

Clyde is a hound dog mix approximately 8-10 months old and 51 pounds. He walks great on a leash, sits on command, and gets along with other dogs. He is available for adoption from Walton County Animal Services beginning tomorrow at 3 PM.
Stanley is Clyde’s best friend, and probably his brother. They were turned in stray together, and Stanley also walks well on a leash, sits on command and gets along well with other dogs. He will also be available for adoption from Walton County Animal Services tomorrow at 3 PM. How awesome would it be to rescue both of these dogs and keep them together?

Georgia Politics, Campaigns & Elections

The AJC informs us that white voters in Georgia vote differently than those in Virginia and Maryland.

In Obama’s first bid for the White House he received just 23 percent of the white vote here, compared to 39 percent in Virginia and 34 percent in North Carolina, according to exit polls. As of last week, Obama had the support of just 22 percent of Georgia’s likely white voters, according to a poll conducted for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and released Sunday.

Political analysts cite several factors as explanations for the difference: demographics, culture and organization.

The demographic calculus centers primarily on education.

Non-Hispanic whites in North Carolina and (especially) in Virginia are more likely to have college degrees than their peers in Georgia, according to census figures.

Both Virginia and North Carolina have large pockets of highly educated, socially liberal white voters with strong connections to government, and they tend to vote Democratic. In Virginia they cluster in the D.C. suburbs of northern Virginia and in the Tidelands; in North Carolina they’re concentrated in the university-rich Research Triangle of Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill.

Whites in Virginia also enjoy a considerably higher average household income than in Georgia, although North Carolina lags both.

“I’m pretty sure, despite Atlanta, that Virginia’s educational level among whites is higher than Georgia,” said Larry Sabato, a national political expert at the University of Virginia. “It’s not income so much as it is education. The higher the education level, the more likely they are to vote Democratic.”

I didn’t know you could write a story about politics and demographics in Georgia without quoting Merle Black or Charles Bullock.

It appears that the Mike Jacobs v. MARTA matchup is becoming a battle royal as the MARTA unions have jumped into the ring and are going to work on MARTA management.

MARTA union leaders don’t see the recent management audit of the financially troubled transit agency as a blueprint for survival. They see is as an assault on labor.

“It is a clear attack on labor, and ultimately it is an attack on the community,” said Curtis Howard, president of the Amalgamated Transit Union chapter at MARTA. “We’ve been giving concessions (for years) to keep our jobs. We don’t have any more to give. … We’re down to the bone.”

Howard said the audit — which says the transit agency is spending $50 million above the national average for employee benefits — glosses over realities and management shortcomings and makes it appear that employee benefits and loafing workers are pushing the transit agency toward insolvency. Bad management is the root of the problem, he said.

On Tuesday, the union lashed back publicly when it released a statement saying privatization plans threaten service and rider safety.

“Many of these companies look to pay the lowest wages without regard to safety and service,” Howard said. “It is a lose-lose proposition.”

Attorney General Sam Olens (R) has joined with forty other state AGs in asking Congress to refrain from legislation that would allow payday lending to return in states like Georgia that have outlawed it.

The Georgia General Assembly essentially outlawed payday lending in 2004. About a dozen other states have done the same.

But a bill pending in Congress would allow it, though regulate it heavily.

Nels Peterson, Georgia’s Solicitor General, says the Attorney General’s office opposes the bill as a matter of principle. “The Georgia General Assembly has made the policy judgment, that payday lending ought not to be permitted in Georgia under the circumstances and conditions that they put in the statute. And this federal law would essentially undo that,” said Peterson.  “And the Attorney General believes that it’s the prerogative of states to make those sorts of policy judgments without the federal government coming in and overruling it.”

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