Thursday, October 30, 2014

Shady Deal

Why I oppose Gov. ‘Shady’ Deal

Unfair and Unbalanced

Thursday, October 30, 2014 5:41 AM CDT
In an effort not to offend readers of this paper, as well as the Publisher, I will put this as delicately as I can: Gov. Nathan Deal is the biggest political crook in the modern history of Georgia!

I only recall two other elected officials who Deal may be in competition with for that title. In 1979, U. S. Sen. Herman Talmadge was censured by the U. S. Senate for improper financial conduct. In 1980, he lost his re-election campaign. In 1984, Georgia Commissioner of Labor, Sam Caldwell was convicted of conspiracy to defraud the State by using state employees to perform personal tasks. He was forced to resign.

Since Deal has not been convicted or charged with anything (yet), you will need to use an old adage as your guideline, “If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, then it’s a duck”.

In 2010, Congressman Nathan Deal was under investigation by Congress as to whether he strong armed an exclusive State contract for his junkyard in Gainesville. He resigned Congress, which ended the investigation. He returned to Georgia and ran for, and was elected, Governor. He was practically penniless and on the verge of bankruptcy. His junkyard was $2 million in debt and his outdoor store was already bankrupt. He sold the outdoor store (which he denied even owning) to an individual that specializes in sex stores. Now he desperately needed to sell his junkyard.

Newly elected Gov. Deal appointed a new Revenue Commissioner who audited the biggest competitor of Deal’s junkyard, Copart, Inc. The audit revealed Copart owed the State of Georgia $74 million in unpaid taxes. Jackpot! Shortly, Copart bought Deal’s indebted junkyard and paid Nathan Deal $2 million up front, plus $10,000 a month for 10 years. The $74 million in taxes owed to the citizens of Georgia are still unpaid. However, recent records show Copart, Inc. contributed $100,000 to the Republican Governor’s Association ostensibly for Deal’s campaign. Quack!

Shortly after Deal’s election in 2010, an ethics complaint was filed against him for illegally paying his personal legal fees from his campaign funds and accepting contributions over the legal limit. Deal’s staffers then pressured the Ethics Chief, Stacey Kalberman, to drop the charges against Deal. When she refused, she was fired. Ms. Kalberman filed a lawsuit against Deal, and a Fulton County Jury awarded her $1.5 million for wrongful termination. Due to this essentially “guilty” finding, the State of Georgia settled with three other employees who were forced out for an additional $2.5 million. Our tax dollars! Quack!

Meanwhile, Deal handpicked a neophyte, Holly LaBerge, to be the next Ethics Chief. When she did not move fast enough to make the charges against Deal go away, staffers threatened Ms. LaBerge. The ethics charges against Deal were dismissed and he agreed to pay $3,350 for technical defects in his campaign report. Throughout all the litigation, Deal claimed neither he nor his staff were involved and, lacking any proof of his involvement, a Fulton County Superior Court Judge ruled that Deal did not have to testify at the Stacey Kalberman trial. This removed the possibility of perjury charges for the Governor. However, the proof surfaced just recently in the form of a memorandum prepared by Holly LaBerge that memorialized the threats and pressure she received from Deal’s staffers to make the charges go away. This memo had been deep-sixed by the State Attorney General, Sam Olens. A Fulton County Superior Court Judge sanctioned the Attorney General for fraud against the Court and fined him $10,000. Our tax dollars! Quack!

You can see the feathers with this one. On Aug. 12, 2014, State Sen. Tim Golden gave Deal the maximum contribution allowed by law, $6,300. The very next day, Aug. 13, 2014, Deal appointed Tim Golden’s wife to a Superior Court Judgeship in Lowndes County. Quack! Quack!

Georgia taxpayers cannot afford another four years of Nathan Deal getting rich at our expense. I do not understand why the polls are showing that the upcoming election for Governor is a dead heat between Jason Carter and that Duck.

Marilyn Langford of High Falls writes a regular op-ed column in the Reporter sharing the liberal perspective on events.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

War on Women

Ga. women going backwards


Unfair and Unbalanced

Wednesday, October 8, 2014 7:42 PM CDT
There’s a lot of talk about the “War on Women” but that may be a mischaracterization. “War” suggests that two factions are fighting against each other. I see no evidence that women are fighting back. Women have surrendered. Women have quit fighting. Therefore there is no war.

REMEMBER THE saying, “You’ve come a long way baby?” Women were united in the 60’s and 70’s against social injustice. Much was accomplished for female equality.  The bawdy saying was, “Women went from the bedroom to the Board Room.” After all the years of being seen and not heard, women found their voice. Now in 2014, women have no voice and we are still fighting the same battles.

THE GENDER wage gap still exists with women making 81 percent of what their male counterpart makes for performing the same job. Come on! The Equal Pay Act was enacted fifty years ago! Raising the minimum wage would benefit women the most. However, the idea of raising the minimum wage is spurned by lawmakers. What gender represents the majority of the elected body on the national level? Men!

IN GEORGIA, women are going backwards for sure. White men are telling women what they can do with their bodies. Yes, I said white men! Further they are mostly old white men who are Republicans. If they have their way in Georgia (and they may), women will not have access to insurance covered contraception. This battle should have ended when the Supreme Court upheld Roe v. Wade some 42 years ago. Yet, here it is 2014, and women face most of the same obstacles as then.

NOW BEFORE you accuse me of unfairness in singling out white men, show me one female Constitutional Officer in Georgia. You can’t. In the State Senate only 20% are women. In the State House, only 22% are women. We have two white male U. S. Senators and not a single Congresswoman from Georgia. Of Governor Deal’s 51 appointments to the top three most powerful State Boards, 43 of them are white men. Further, I think it’s important to note that those 43 white men have contributed more than 1.3 million dollars to Gov. Deal’s campaign. He claims, “but they are all qualified!” That’s just great! Not only do you have to be a white man to get appointed to these high decision-making positions, you also have to be rich.

IN FAIRNESS to women, they didn’t intentionally lay down the fight. I shake my head in disbelief at how my daughter-in-law juggles her demanding full-time job, her long commute to work, the car-pooling of three school-age children to various sports and activities, and running the household. She never seems to have a discretionary moment. So it is completely understandable that women are exhausted, distracted, and somewhat oblivious to what is going on in our State.

LADIES, FIND your voice again! You have the power on Election Day, Nov. 4! Women registered voters represent from 51 percent to 57 percent in all counties in Georgia. You are going to be very popular. Your phone will ring off the hook. White male Republicans will be courting your vote to maintain their status quo. Just remember, when they are courting you, they will tell you anything they think you want to hear to get what they want. Don’t be an easy mark. Study the candidates and decide which one will do the right thing for you and your family. If all things are equal, then vote for a woman!

Marilyn Langford of High Falls writes a regular op-ed column in the Reporter sharing the liberal perspective on events.