Political Notes — Kemp’s big plan is overshadowed by other news

[private]Secretary of State Brian Kemp released a blueprint Friday called a “Plan to Strengthen Rural Georgia” that would aim to ease the malaise affecting that portion of the population that lives outside the state’s urban areas.

The release of the plan was intended to make a big splash in Kemp’s campaign for the Republican nomination for governor, but the timing of the release was faulty.

Rightly or wrongly, Kemp finds himself in the middle of a huge controversy over one of the computer servers at Kennesaw State University that contained vital data about past state elections.

A blockbuster expose from the Associated Press reported that all the data on that server was wiped from it on July 7 — just days after a lawsuit was filed that seeks to revamp Georgia’s election systems. The lawsuit hinges on that computer data.

KSU officials finally fessed up that the data on the server had been wiped so that it could be used for other purposes, although there’s a chance that a copy of the data on the server might still be in custody of the FBI.

While the goofup was apparently KSU’s mistake, Kemp still could face criticism as the state’s chief elections officer who is ultimately responsible for the administration of elections.

Kemp has gone on the offensive, announcing Thursday that his office will conduct an investigation of the incident.

“We will not stand for this kind of inexcusable conduct or gross incompetence,” Kemp. “Those responsible at KSU should be held accountable for their actions. The Secretary of State’s Office is also coordinating with FBI officials to get our own copy of the data that was erased at KSU.”

Kemp appears to be in the clear on this incident, but the media’s attention is concentrated on another screwup of the state’s election systems — rather than on any rural redevelopment initiative announced by Kemp’s campaign.

Oliver pushes back at Cagle

State Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver (D-Decatur) represents a district that includes most of the city of Decatur.

She’s not pleased with Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle’s recent accusations that Decatur has become an illegal “sanctuary city” that refuses to turn undocumented immigrants over to the federal government.

In a letter to the Decaturish news site, Oliver fires back at Cagle:

Next year at this time, we will be in the last days of the 2018 campaign for Governor, and it is my hope that one of the super stars named Stacey will win, and be Georgia’s first woman Governor. In the meantime, candidate Casey Cagle has decided that the City of Decatur will be a campaign target and enemy to assist him demonize undocumented immigrants. Casey Cagle’s allegations that Decatur is a “sanctuary city” are false, but deserve an analysis, and I hope that an intellectually honest discussion can save the taxpayers unnecessary expense and pain. Fingers crossed.

The complicated issues of law enforcement, public safety, and immigration are important, and are relevant to the voters. In 2016, the Georgia General Assembly passed a law entitled “Prohibition on immigration sanctuary policies by local governmental entities”. Cagle contends that a recent policy adopted by Decatur on notification procedures to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) violates this statute.

Decatur’s lawyer responded to Lt. Governor Cagle that the September 29, 2017 action by the Decatur Police Department amended its General Order Manual to memorialize in written form a practice that has existed for eleven years. The General Order Manual addresses arrest, custody, and detention policies pursuant to issued warrants for individuals that is consistent with constitutional protections of the 4thAmendment of the US Constitution. It does not address, prohibit or restrict communications or cooperation with federal officials regarding reporting immigration status information, and therefore does not violate O.C.G.A. 36-80-23.

Candidate Cagle is continuing his argument, threatening the withdrawal of state budgeted monies to Decatur and the Decatur School System, and I am worried that he will continue this campaign into the courts and propose new and more punitive legislation towards local governments in the 2018 session. None of this activity targeting undocumented immigrants helps or protects the citizens of Decatur, but will cost money and time and painful effort. I hope I am wrong, and this campaign activity can be avoided, and the elected leadership of Decatur will be allowed to worry about the real problems our citizens face.

Georgia’s unfortunate ranking

The BackgroundChecks.org website has analyzed CDC and other public health data and determined that Georgia ranks fourth on its list of “The 10 most sexually diseased states.”

Georgia ranks just behind Alaska, Mississippi, and Louisiana on this list. The state ranked seventh on the same list in 2016.

“With the popularity of hookup apps like Tinder and Grindr, finding casual sex partners has never been easier, but the increasing convenience of enjoying one-nighters has come with a cost: STD rates are surging in the U.S. like never before,” the website said.

© 2017 by The Georgia Report

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Tags: Brian Kemp , Casey Cagle , diseased states , election computer server , Mary Margaret Oliver