Issue 12.54 | Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012
GwinnettForum.com is a twice-weekly online community commentary for exploring pragmatic and sensible social, political and economic approaches to improve life in Gwinnett County, Ga. USA.
2012 -- By the time Americans get around to actually voting, many are
weary of all the previous campaigning, replete with contentious television
commercials, upsetting robo calls, and candidates testing the voter's
In short, the long campaign season wears on the voter. Many have seen their favorite candidates fall by the wayside, with voting resorting to nothing less than using one hand to vote, the other to hold their nose. That's American democracy, 2012 style.
Yet all voters must do their duty, and make a choice in each race. Today GwinnettForum states its choices in local races, from Congress, to the Public Service Commission, and on to state and county offices.
Here goes. We feel the following are the best candidates for these positions:
Gwinnett School Board, District 1: Our choice is the incumbent Republican Carole C. Boyce, 62, a mother of six who are graduates of the Gwinnett system (all doing great), and a strong voice for public education. She has served well, and we hope she can retain the office for years. Her opponent, Jennah Es-Sudan, 60, shows no depth of understanding the office.
Gwinnett School Board, District 3: A newcomer to campaigning, Democrat Jen Falk, 51, has studied the issues, attended school board meetings for the last year, and poured over the 990 page school budget for a better understanding of it. She will give the time to get the job done. Her sitting on this board will stimulate the thinking, but fit in well with overall Gwinnett school board objectives. We endorse her candidacy. Her opponent is veteran school board member Mary Kay Murphy, 75.
Gwinnett School Board, District 5: We endorse the incumbent, Louise Radloff, 77, who runs for the first time as a Democrat, because of legislative gerrymandering of her district. A stalwart of public education in Georgia, Mrs. Radloff exemplifies the best in long-serving candidates. Her opponent, Hussein K. Dido, 40, knows little about public education, having his three children in private school, which does not bode well for this position.
Clerk of Superior Court: Two people seek this office. We support the candidacy of Democrat Brian Whiteside, 54, to the Constitutional office charged with keeping the affairs and activities of the courts functioning efficiently, and the office above reproach. Neither candidate has won elective office before, while the Republican, Richard Alexander, 60, was appointed to the post when the previous clerk died in office.
State Representative, District 81: One of the state's brightest young legislators, Democrat Scott Holcomb, 39, is our choice for this post. An Army veteran having served in Bosnia and Afghanistan, he is an attorney and general counsel for a financial services company. His vision for the Georgia of the future is one of informed leadership, particularly in public policy, that will serve the state well. His Republican challenger, Christ Boedeker, was invited to be interviewed, but did not contact GwinnettForum.
State Representative, District 93: Another Democratic incumbent, Dar-Shun N. Kendrick, 29, is a savvy attorney who has gained notoriety among her peers as a no-nonsense legislator. She knows the issues, and connects easily with her constituents. She is a legislator who will be in leadership roles in the future. Her opponent, Republican Tina Hoffer, 56, is a former neo-natal registered nurse from Snellville.
State Representative, District 95: By default, the choice for this office is Democrat Brooke Siskin, 44, a marketing consultant. She goes up against veteran Republican Tom Rice, who did not respond to the invitation to visit.
State Representative, District 96: One of the longest serving minority legislators, Democrat Pedro "Pete" Marin, 54, has served well, and we endorse his candidacy. We look forward to other minorities becoming legislators, to better reflect our society. A consultant, Rep. Marin is the target of Republican gerrymandering of his district, and deserves another term. His opponent is Mark Williams, 50, a printing company executive.
State Representative, District 101: A first year incumbent, Republican Valerie Clark, 62, had a good freshman term, and deserves to remain in office. A retired Gwinnett school principal, she brings a positive outlook and informed background to the office. Her opponent, Democrat Timothy Swiney, ran as a Republican against Ms. Clark in the 2010 primary. Mr. Swiney did not respond to being interviewed for this election.
State Representative, District 105: A senior citizen coming out of nowhere to win the primary, Joyce Chandler, 71, is the Republican nominee, whom we heartily endorse. She's a former school counselor, who is particularly interested in limiting lobbyist's efforts and fully funding education. Her opponent, Democrat Renita Hamilton, did not respond to any of the Forum's attempts to reach her.
Senator, District 9: Longtime Republican Don Balfour, 55, a
Waffle House executive, has power, prestige and lots of backers, but also
a lot of recent question marks. Therefore, for this post, we endorse his
challenger, Democratic attorney Scott Drake, 50, a former prosecutor
and criminal lawyer. Drake feels there is only one issue in the race:
ethics in government, and that's why we are for him.
Public Service Commission, District 3: Our pick for this post is someone who practiced dentistry in Snellville for 20 years, Stephen Oppenheimer, 57, of Sandy Springs. Of late, he has become involved with energy security issues, one of the oversights of this office. He seeks more homeowner involvement with the PSC, reducing energy rates for Georgia families, and growing more 21st century energy jobs for Georgia. His opponent is current Republican commissioner Chuck Eaton, 43, of Buckhead.
U.S. Congress, District 4: We support the re-election of Hank Johnson Jr., 57, of Lithonia. We like Mr. Johnson's focus to restore jobs and the middle class; to work for efforts to cut costs in the health system; and to bring U.S. troops home from Afghanistan while keeping Iran at bay. His opponent, Republican J. Chris Vaughn, 46, is a church pastor.
Congress, District 7: Two Peachtree Corners residents vie for
this post. It's refreshing to see the Democrats offer an attractive candidate,
Steve Reilly, 51, whom we endorse. He wants to get the economy
continuing in the right direction, draw down our forces in Afghanistan,
tighten sanctions in Iran, and get more people involved politically. His
opponent, Republican Rob Woodall, 42, is a throwback to his former boss,
ex-Congressman John Linder, and offers the same tired suggestions we have
heard about endlessly, such as the "Fair Tax," making it easy
to support Mr. Reilly.
* * * *
The candidates GwinnettForum has endorsed are those who we feel can represent our county best. Many of the races had candidates equally prepared to serve. In those races, we have chosen the Democratic candidate, since one of our Continuing Objectives is to see parity of the two parties through more Democratic candidates and office holders.
Now, you as a reader and voter, have one more important task: to arrive at your own opinion about the various races. Go to the six questions GwinnettForum asked of all candidates (at the right column) to read the views of the candidates. Then go and vote your conviction.
is what keeps this country going, with the people having a selection of
candidates, and those winning office doing the job to the best of their
abilities. That way, our country will have good government, which can
lead to a better life for all of us. So, get out and vote!
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Editor, the Forum:
It was the summer of 1966 and court-ordered school desegregation was being enforced in the Deep South. I had gone through third grade at the school from which my mother had graduated 22 years before, and had been reassigned to one of the elementary schools "in town."
In defiance of the overall court order, a group of more well-to-do businessmen and farmers purchased the property and started a "private" academy, duly segregated (all white) of course.
The phone rang at our house. One of the founders of this new academy was calling. It seemed that someone wanted to pay for me to attend this school. My mother offered me the choice. I was flattered, but my experience in public school had been more than satisfactory. I was attached to my teachers, who had also been reassigned. Though I was just a child, on some level, I understood the underlying reason. They needed me and other "smart" kids as aces in the hole, "proof" that the academy wasn't being started for prejudicial reasons. I declined.
It's been 45 years since then, and I'm sure that the quality of education provided by that academy has, on average, been good. But that has nothing to do with the fact that it was a "private" academy. It has to do with the students themselves.
There's something vaguely familiar about this charter school amendment facing Georgia voters in November. It's slippery. Just like those farmers and businessmen said about racial segregation, proponents of this amendment maintain that the quality of education provided will be higher in charter schools than in the public schools. This is a contention that people who understand statistics and sampling and bother to read the report delivered to the legislature back in February know isn't true. There's no evidence that charter schools (and there are already 162 of them in the state) have improved graduation rates or test scores. Some have even shown the opposite.
I might ignore the amendment, except for the fact that this time, it's not the parents of the students who will pay. It's the public schools themselves, aka all taxpayers in the state, who will pay, whether their kids get to go to charter schools. Local officials will NOT approve these charter schools. They will be run by a small group, a government commission whose members couldn't possibly know the unique challenges of Cordele vs. Columbus, or Cairo vs. Cleveland.
What will happen is that many charter schools will soon be as segregated as were those private academies, but this time, we, the public, not individual families, will pay. In short, this time they'll start their "private" academies and we'll get to pay for it whether we like it or not.
As a skunk wearing fragrance to cover narrow self-interests, the charter school amendment will take us backward, erasing not only the progress of the last 50 years, but that of public education in general. I declined 45 years ago, and by my vote, I will decline this time, too. Please join me.
Environmental and Heritage Center (GEHC) will present Young Architects:
Designing the Future, an exhibit designed by the Children's Museum
of Cleveland and sponsored by the GEHC Foundation. In this exhibit, which
highlights famous architects as inspiration and various block building
media for hands-on interactive learning experiences, children (and adults)
will become architects as they design for the future. The exhibit will
be on display beginning October 26, and will remain on the GEHC campus
until January 19, 2013.
An effort by a local dentist started in 2001 is on the verge of passing the $1 million mark in contributions to the Gwinnett Medical Center Foundation's fight against breast cancer.
Dr. Bruce Carter of Lawrenceville began the program, raising funds by exchanging professional home bleaching services for a $199 tax donation to the fight against cancer.
The Gwinnett Relay for Life was the recipient for the first three years, with the Foundation getting proceeds. Since then, Brighter Smiles for Brighter Futures has helped fund system-wide digital mammography at Gwinnett Medical Center; the Center for Screening Mammography at Gwinnett Medical Center-Duluth;, an ultrasound machine for the Center for Women's Diagnostic Imaging at Gwinnett Medical Center-Duluth; and an ultrasound machine in the new Gwinnett Breast Center in Lawrenceville.
Dr. Slade Lail of Duluth joined the grass-roots program after the first year, followed by 14 other dentists in 2003. Altogether, now there are over 40 Gwinnett dentists participating in the program. Dr. Tina Heil Herrington joined Dr. Carter as co-chair in 2008. The steering committee is comprised of volunteer dentists. There are no administrative fees with all funds going directly to the Breast Center.
In 2012, the program is only $39,000 shy of passing its $1 million mark in donations. Goal for 2012 is to raise $80,000, and that money will be used to purchase a Breast Tomosynthesis Machine, which is new x-ray imaging technology that acquires three-dimensional images of the compressed breast. This will greatly improve the diagnostic ability of the physicians and will save lives. The 2012 campaign began October 1, and continues through the end of January, 2013. For more detailed information and to locate a dentist participating, visit www.brightersmiles.org.
can join the program by contacting Beverly
L. O'Toole, associate director of Annual Gifts and Special Events,
Gwinnett Medical Center Foundation, 678-312-8507.
Worldwide Refrigeration, a leading global provider of commercial refrigeration
solutions, has unveiled its new Innovation Center at its headquarters
at 2175 West Park Place Boulevard in Stone Mountain. The state-of-the-art
facility highlights the company's more than 125 years of refrigeration
expertise with global innovative products, training services and high-tech
laboratory all designed to provide added customer value.
The showroom displays more than 60 refrigeration solutions exemplifying the extensive breadth of Heatcraft global innovation across a wide variety of markets including food retail, foodservice, cold storage, and industrial cooling. The 3,500 square-foot training facility housed within the Innovation Center contains fully operational refrigeration systems designed to create an effective hands-on learning environment for beginners to those with advanced technical skills. Finally, the expanded global lab with locations in both the Stone Mountain and Columbus, Ga. operations will allow for more robust equipment and complete systems testing using realistic environmental conditions ensuring products are up to the highest of quality standards and in compliance with regulatory requirements.
Vibrant colors of fall at Mill Creek Nature Center near Buford
Where do Gwinnettians go to enjoy the exuberant colors of fall? Some drive north to the Appalachian Mountains, while others fly to Vermont. The answer, however, lies closer to home at Mill Creek Nature Center in Buford. On October 13, volunteers picked up trash along the trails of the wetland sanctuary before the start of the annual Rivers Alive event. Few know that the wetland sanctuary is within a stone's throw of the Mall of Georgia! It is no accident, according to Georgia Wildlife Federation Program Director Hank Ohme, who noted, "The Mall of Georgia donated the 88 acres to the Federation." Recently, Ohme joined forces with the Philadelphia Winn Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, and Boy Scouts representing Troops 511 and 575 for the cleanup. From left are several Philadelphia Winn members with Ohme, Vicki Watkins of Lawrenceville, Debbie Houston of Lilburn, Ohme, Pam Lyle of Lawrenceville, and Deena Richart from Lawrenceville.
(From previous edition)
After receiving their charter, Loomis and Burke stepped up recruitment efforts throughout the city of the Columbians in the mid 1940s.. Though they professed to welcome "all members of the white man's community," the two men drew a majority of their support from working-class whites, or as Burke himself put it, "those of our brothers and sisters that many of the politicians call 'poor white trash.'"
During weekly meetings at the AFL Plumbers and Steamfitters Union and at impromptu rallies in mill neighborhoods throughout the city, Loomis and Burke warned audiences against the dangers posed by the city's minorities and urged those gathered to help protect the integrity of white neighborhoods. In order to join, prospective members needed only to fulfill three requirements. "Number one: Do you hate niggers? Number two: Do you hate Jews? Number three: Have you got three dollars?"
Burke and Loomis claimed to have enlisted as many as 2,000 members, though other sources indicate the actual number was closer to 200. Despite their relatively small membership, however, the group made their presence known. Dressed in khaki uniforms that bore more than a passing resemblance to the Nazi Brownshirts, the Columbians held frequent demonstrations, marching in lockstep through the streets of Atlanta and performing military drills in public spaces.
Neither did their small numbers limit the Columbians' ambition. Vowing to "show the white Anglo Saxons how to take control of the Government," Loomis and Burke predicted that the group would win a number of local and statewide elections before making a bid for nationwide control.
In order to fulfill their vision of a "progressive white community," the two men advocated a program of repatriation and deportation for America's minorities. Under their plan, blacks would repatriate to South Africa, which they admitted would first need to be purchased from Britain, and Jews would be deported to an unspecified location in the Mediterranean. "Briefly," Loomis explained, "the mission of the Columbians is to separate the white man from the nigger, and the Jew from his money."
(To be continued)
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© 2012, Gwinnett Forum.com. Gwinnett Forum is an online community commentary for exploring pragmatic and sensible social, political and economic approaches to improve life in Gwinnett County, Ga. USA.
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"I respect faith, but doubt is what gets you an education."
the 2012 general election, GwinnettForum asked all candidates facing
opposition in Gwinnett County to provide answers to a few questions. You
can read the answers of those who responded below by clicking on the links.
Candidates with no
opposition are not listed.
2012 FEDERAL CANDIDATES
U.S. Congress, District 4
Congress, District 7
Georgia Public Service Commission, District 3
State Senate, District 9
State Representative, District 81
State Representative, District 93
Representative, District 95
State Representative, District 96
Representative, District 101
State Representative, District 105
2012 COUNTY CANDIDATES
Clerk of Superior Court
Gwinnett County School Board, District 1
Gwinnett County School Board, District 3
Gwinnett County School Board, District 5
MORE COPIES AVAILABLE
Previously out of print, Elliott Brack's 850-page history, "Gwinnett: A Little Above Atlanta," is now available again. Since its original publication, the book was declared the winner of the 2010 Award of Excellence for documenting Georgia history by the Georgia Historical Records Advisory Board. It is also the winner of the Gwinnett Historical Society's Whitworth-Flanigan Award for 2011 for preserving the history of Gwinnett County.The book includes 143 demographic and historic tables, with more than 4,000 names in the index, and 10,000 names in the appendix.Two versions of the book are available. The hardback edition is priced at $75, while a softback edition is $40. Books are available at:
You can also order
books through the Internet. To do that, go to www.elliottbrack.com
to place your order. For mail orders, there is a $5 shipping and handling
fee. Purchases are also subject to the 6 percent Georgia sales tax.
SEARCH GWINNETT FORUM
THE WEEK AHEAD
(NEW) Halloween Magic Show: 10 a.m., Oct. 27, Aurora Theatre. In this holiday tradition, Arthur Atsma will amaze and amuse people of all ages with sleight-of-hand, audience interaction and comedy. Reservations are strongly recommended for what has always been a popular show. Call 678-226-6222 or visit www.auroratheatre.com for tickets.
Halloween-for-Haiti Carnival: 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., Oct. 27, Christ Episcopal Church, 400 Holcomb Bridge Road, Norcross. Music, food, kids' activities throughout the event. Costume parade with prizes at 5 p.m. Haunted trail from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Proceeds benefit the children of Jasmin, Haiti.
Gruesome Greenway and Halloween Hayride: 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., Oct. 27, Lilburn City Park. This is a free, family event with activities to entertain younger children, while older children and adults take a hair-raising hike on the Camp Creek Greenway. Sponsored by the City of Lilburn. Children under age 8 will not be permitted without an accompanying adult, since it is so scary! Wear your Halloween costume!
(NEW) Braselton Antique and Holiday Festival: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Oct. 27, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Oct. 28, Braselton Downtown Park. Admission and parking are free. Antique and collectible dealers, nurseries, crafters, furniture collections, primitives, ironworks, vintage jewelry, pottery, glassware, yard art, soaps and candles, dolls and food items will be showcased. More info.
ONGOING AND COMING SOON
Terror on the Trail: Friday and Saturday nights, through Oct. 27, Sims Lake Park in Suwanee. Tours begin at 7:30 p.m., with the last tour at 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance at www.terroronthetrail.com or by calling the Aurora Theatre Box Office at 678-226-6222. The park's 1.2-mile looping trail will be transformed into a haunting backdrop for zombies and tales of terror.
Euro in Crisis: 11:30 a.m., Oct. 31, 1818 Club, 6500 Sugarloaf Parkway. The Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce will sponsor a talk by the Consul General of Germany to Atlanta, Christoph Sander. Sponsored by the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce. Info: 770 232-3000.
(NEW) Eighth Annual Hemlock Music Fest: Nov. 2 to 4, Starbridge Sanctuary near Dahlonega. This all-ages, eco-friendly event features three days of live music, primitive camping, educational exhibits, arts and crafts vendors, a kid's nature village, rustic living demonstrations, great food, and free canoeing. Proceeds aid efforts to minimize the impact of the non-native hemlock woolly adelgid parasite, which is devastating the hemlock trees of North Georgia at an alarming rate. More details.
(NEW) Gateway International Food and Music Festival: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Nov. 3, Lillian Webb Park in Norcross. The region's multicultural talent festival will highlight the rich cultural contributions of Gwinnett's diverse communities, through music, dance and cuisine. Details: 770 449 6515. Sponsored by the Gwinnett Village Community Alliance.
(NEW) Fourth Annual Synchronized Swimming Performance: 11 a.m. Nov. 3, Collins Hill Park Aquatic Center. The free patriotic program is a tribute to military veterans and their families. The group is composed of girls ages 8 to 14 who love to swim in an artistic and creative way. More details: 770237-5647 or visit www.gwinnettparks.com.
Wink Art Exhibit: Through Nov. 24, Tannery Row Artist Colony in Buford. Shown will be resident art with a hint of humor, a turn of the phrase or visual twist to make you smile. Details: 678-428-4877, or visit www.TanneryRowArtistColony.com.
Photo Exhibit: Through Nov. 28, George Pierce Park Community Room, Suwanee, during Community Center hours, Monday through Saturday. Frank L. Sharp presents "Israel, the Holy Land," while Wendell Tudor features "Images of the Sea," coastline and landscape images, including photographs from Canada.
MORE EEB PERSPECTIVE
CONTINUING OBJECTIVES FOR GWINNETT
Gwinnett Forum publisher Elliott Brack suggests that Gwinnett County needs a long-range list of continuing objectives for improving the county. Read more.
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