Issue 12.79 | Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013
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.
Ga., Jan. 29, 2013 -- The judiciary is typically the quietest branch of
government, where change is often gradual and incorporated into long held
legal traditions. Those of us sitting as elected judges prefer to remain
out of the headlines and in our courtrooms, doing our jobs.
But 2012 was a year of change for the Gwinnett judicial branch. First, we had our two chief judges announce their retirement, leading to two election contests for their open seats. After rigorous campaigns, lawyer Kathy Schrader won the open Superior Court seat and attorney Emily Brantley won the open State Court seat.
Court Judge Billy Ray was tapped for the Court of Appeals by Governor
Nathan Deal, and Chief Magistrate George Hutchinson was selected to replace
him on the Superior Court.
dust cleared on January 1, 2013, we had three new chief judges, all three
female: Melodie Conner, Superior Court; Pam South (your writer), State
Court; and Kristina Blum, Magistrate Court.
Melodie Snell Conner, a Gwinnett native, graduated from the University of Georgia School of Law in 1986 and practiced family and criminal law in Gwinnett County upon her graduation. She is the longest serving female judge, having initially been appointed in 1993 to serve as a Magistrate judge and then later was appointed, first to the State Court, and then to the Superior Court, by Georgia's governors. She has faced election cycles without opposition over the years.
After working at Mississippi State University, I moved from my home state of Mississippi to attend the University Of Georgia School of Law and graduated in 1988. After serving briefly in private practice in Covington, I became an assistant district attorney for the Gwinnett County District Attorney's Office for almost ten years; after serving as a magistrate for two years, I was appointed to the State Court bench in 2001, and I have been re-elected to office since that time.
Judge Blum graduated from the Loyola School of Law in 1994. She has represented individuals and business clients in her work at law firms in the Atlanta area and in Gwinnett County. In 1998, she joined the Gwinnett County Law Department and was assigned to represent public officials as well as major departments within the county in ongoing litigation. She left the County Law Department to re-enter private practice in 2005. While continuing to actively practice law, Blum served as a part-time magistrate. Blum was initially appointed as a full-time magistrate in 2009.
Almost 20 years ago, there was not one female full-time judge in Gwinnett. Now, in the Magistrate, State, and Superior Courts, the female-to-male ratio is 40 or 50 percent, and the administrative heads of those benches are women.
Why? Greater numbers of women began to attend law schools in the 1970s and 1980s. Those same women have been more actively seeking judicial seats in the last decade and now have the resources for funding campaigns. Additionally, male lawyers who have been in the trenches with female attorneys, as litigators or transactional attorneys, have provided support for their colleagues seeking judgeships.
Law is a profession where the playing field is level-but the terrain is hard. We on the Bench and Bar anticipate continuing changes coming our way in the judicial arena.
JAN. 29, 2013 -- Job opening: Junior Senator from Georgia.
How to apply: Convince people you will help them all, every one.
Qualifications: Probably best to be a Republican. Or at least a blue dog Democrat who appeals to Republicans upset with moderates. Must be able to stomach a lot of time in Washington, D.C.
When to begin: January 2015. But you must start campaigning immediately.
Campaign war chest requirement: Several million, raising at least $10,000 each day. You are already behind.
Physical requirements: Must be extremely healthy and someone who doesn't get frustrated. That got to the previous senator.
Pay: Not enough for social life required.
One more thing: While campaigning, be able to function on little sleep.
* * * * *
The bombshell hit Friday morning, as U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss announced that he was fed up and frustrated with Washington, because of all the bickering and the partisanship, so he was announcing he would not seek a third term in office.
His announcement caused an immediate uproar across the state, and set in motion the thinking of many Georgians, both in and out of politics, that perhaps this was an opportunity for them.
From what we hear from afar in Washington, we can understand that Senator Chambliss would be upset with the ways of Inside the Beltway. Seeking to be something of a peacemaker between the warring factions, he was rebuffed by Washington, then vilified by some far-out wing-nuts in his home state for trying to make a difference. In other words, his frustrations were coming from all sides, and from some who he would like to think about as friends, in his home state.
Upon returning to Washington after the Christmas holidays, it soon seemed to hit the Senator that matters were unlikely to change. The way the Fiscal Cliff matter was handled, no doubt, and others items on the table, said to him: "Hey, nothing's really changed! It's going to be even more of the same."
So we can understand his decision not to seek a third term. What we lament is that in this move, it effectively means that Georgia will lose 12 years of seniority by Senator Chambliss, a key element in leadership in that body. And whoever takes his place will have to start over at the bottom.
So now no doubt a horde of people are thinking about their possible candidacy. Many will be from the Georgia Legislature. So expect to see all sorts of antics going on, as legislators seek even more to make a name for themselves to put them in the spotlight as possible candidates.
Georgia's Congressional delegation, meanwhile, may be thinking that they should consider "being promoted" to the Senate. But that is a big step. They now represent 1/14th of the state. Getting the other 13/14th behind them is big politically and geographically. Not only that, but back to seniority: is it worth chucking their rise in the House seniority ranks to return to the bottom in the Senate? These Congressmen should think seriously about seeking such an office. There's a possibility that they might even become effective where they are, though many are not showing that tendency.
Another question: is the Senate seat in the 2014 election a lock for Republicans? We would think so, but an effective Democrat, perhaps one with little party opposition, might pull an end run into an effective race against an unsuspecting Republican. Stranger things have happened.
we Georgians watch the 2014 election with renewed interest. No telling
who might decide to seek that job opening.
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Editor, the Forum:
I read with some amusement how the South is out of step with the rest of the country. Ha! Thank goodness! We never cared what the rest of the country thought of us.
I was talking to two sisters recently from California. They were fed up with the liberalism of that state. Where did they decide to move to? Georgia, of course.
And what about Hollywood film makers? Where have they come to shoot movies? Georgia, of course. Why are car manufacturers moving to the South? Perhaps because we have right to work states. I could go and on. And speaking of compromise, I don't see a lot of compromise on the left. No apologies to anyone -- I'll always have Georgia on my mind.
Editor, the Forum:
Dear, dear Elliott, I'm afraid you again miss the point! Those of us of a conservative mind are not sending our representatives and senators to Washington to make deals and get along by going along. That sort of thinking does not produce statesmen; it produces professional politicians, which have been the ruin of civil society.
We elect politicians to carry out our will and to stand on the principles which we still hold dear. The idea that we must all bend to the will of the rest of the country is what we would consider an anathema. I'll quote my mother right here: just because all your friends jump off a bridge, does that make it right for you to do so? As far as I'm concerned, God bless the hardheaded, intractable, stubborn Southerners to whom I trust the future of this country, sir!
Editor, the Forum:
You were dead on target when you wrote that the South is more conservative (and Republican) than the rest of the country. You were also correct in stating that it dates from the 1964 election when Civil Rights legislation stuck in the craw of the South.
When he signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Lyndon Johnson turned to an aide and said, "The Democratic Party has just lost the South for the next 25 years." He was wrong - it is closer to 50 and counting.
On another subject: I simply cannot believe that we are even discussing, let alone seriously considering, building a new stadium for a franchise of the most profitable sports league in the country, the National Football League. The economy is still in the tank, our beloved Governor (note sarcasm) is still looking for ways to cut spending, and they're STILL planning to do this.
If the Falcons threaten to leave over this, I can only say, "Don't let the door hit you in the butt on the way out."
Another area wants to claim that beautiful greenway photo
Editor, the Forum:
The photo in the Forum that appeared earlier in the week as an "unknown" park in Gwinnett is actually the Lilburn Greenway Trail. We now have about three miles of trail through our park whereby a runner/walker can do a six mile run!
Beginning January 28, Gwinnett County Transit (GCT) will implement a number of service enhancements to both Express and Local Service. Enhancements will include linking bus routes, adding stops and extending service times to better meet the needs of downtown and local commuters departure times of some of the Express Service routes to match the current times of the downtown Atlanta route.
addition, the 6:45 p.m. sweeper bus is returning to serve all three Park
and Ride lots through Routes 101, 102 and 103 by making one last stop
to pick up commuters who may have worked late. Route 101 departures will
be every 15 minutes during peak morning commute times and every 30 minutes
in the evening. Route 103 will have 10 to 15 minute departures for the
morning commute and 10 to 20 minutes in the evening.
American Girl doll author to be in Lawrenceville Feb. 23
Evelyn Coleman, the award winning author of several American Girl Doll books including the Cecile series mystery, The Cameo Necklace, will be in Gwinnett for a Mardi Gras celebration and book discussion on Saturday, February 23 at Lawrenceville Presbyterian Church, located at 800 Lawrenceville Highway, Lawrenceville.
This event benefits the Gwinnett County Public Library. The ticket price includes drinks and pastries, a book discussion with the author, an autographed copy of the American Girl Doll series book, plus crafts, and treats.
Tickets for this event are $19, which includes admission for one adult and one child; additional guests are $12 each. Raffle tickets will be available as well. Seating is limited. Tickets are available for either the 1 p.m. or the 3 p.m. seating. Please indicate your preference when ordering. For more information or to purchase tickets visit www.friendsgcpl.org or send an email. For more information about library events, visit www.gwinnettpl.org, or call (770) 978-5154.
Exhibit about Wilson Pickett coming to Norcross Arts Center
An exhibit titled "Wilson Pickett: 25 at the Top" will open in the Norcross Arts Center, 17 College Street, on Friday, February 8. The free reception with live music will be from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
figure in the development of American soul music, Pickett recorded over
50 songs which made the R and B charts, and frequently crossed over to
the Billboard Hot 100. Among his best known hits are Land of 1,000 Dances,
Mustang Sally, and Funky Broadway. Pickett's forceful, passionate style
of singing was developed in church and on the streets of Detroit, and
his breakthrough came when he recorded In the Midnight Hour in 1965. This
song became Pickett's first big hit, selling over one million copies and
earning him his first gold record.
Here's a list of great places to play with leash off your best friend:
For a complete list of dog park rules, refer to www.gwinnettparks.com. If you have any additional questions, feel free to contact Nazanin Weck at 770-822-8866.
"I am a sucker for quaint settings, and I chose this book because it's set on the coast of Maine, which is my very favorite place in the United States. Despite the silly title, this book turned out to be a pretty good mystery. After a divorce, a young woman moves to her dad's blueberry farm in Maine and proceeds to get caught up in the small town life of colorful characters and - in this case---several murders during the town's annual Blueberry Festival. The upside is that the book is a nice, light read. The downside is that I was craving blueberry pie the whole time I was reading it!"
James Wright was the third and last royal governor of Georgia, serving from 1760 to 1782, with a brief interruption early in the American Revolution. Almost alone among colonial governors, Wright was a popular and able administrator and servant of the crown. He played a key role in retarding the flame of revolution in Georgia long after it had flared violently in every other colony.
Wright was born in London, England, on May 8, 1716, to Isabella and Robert Wright. He came to South Carolina in 1730 when his father was appointed chief justice of the colony. By 1740 Wright was a practicing attorney in South Carolina and had been appointed acting attorney general. On August 14, 1741, he entered Gray's Inn in London and was called to the bar.
Returning to South Carolina, Wright practiced law and purchased plantations and slaves. He married Sarah Maidman in February 1742, and they had eight children before her death at sea in 1763. He became attorney general of South Carolina in 1747. He held that position until 1757, when he became colonial agent for South Carolina in London.
Wright's ties with Georgia began when the crown appointed him the third royal governor of Georgia in 1760, after poor health forced Henry Ellis to leave the colony. His appointment coincided with a period of expansion in Georgia, and he encouraged settlement of Georgia's frontier. Wright played an instrumental role in two large land cessions for the state from Georgia's Native American neighbors, one in November 1763 at a conference in Augusta and another in 1773 while he was in London. He eventually purchased 11 plantations, encompassing more than 25,000 acres, and more than 500 slaves.
Wright never doubted his duty to enforce the 1765 Stamp Act, which ignited the Revolutionary crisis, and Georgia was the only colony in which stamps were actually sold. He returned to London in 1771 and was named a baronet in 1772. Despite his popularity and determined leadership, Sir James Wright proved powerless to stop the Revolutionary movement when armed conflict erupted in 1776. Georgia rebels arrested him in January 1776, but he fled to a British warship and returned to London. He lobbied heavily for a full-scale British invasion of Georgia, which finally occurred in December 1778.
Wright returned to British-occupied Savannah in July 1779 and served as royal governor for three more frustrating years. Despite capturing Savannah, the British lacked the resources and manpower to quell the Revolution in Georgia, and Wright was unable to govern effectively. Royal government finally ended in Georgia when the British evacuated Savannah on July 11, 1782. He sailed for London, never to return.
Wright spent his remaining years as head of a board of American Loyalists seeking compensation for losses as a result of the Revolution. Though he claimed losses of £33,000 and his office as governor, he received an annual pension of only £500 for his services. Wright died at his house in Westminster on November 20, 1785, at the age of 69 and was buried in Westminster Abbey. Wrightsborough is named for him.
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Visit this site to see details of the upcoming funerals of Gwinnett Countians from local funeral homes. On the site, sign up at top right and we'll send you GwinnettObits each day.
Click on the names below to see details of their funerals.
"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it."
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.
Or call me (Elliott
Brack) at 770 840 1003 and tell me how to dedicate a book to a friend
(or to you) as he adds his signature!
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Business Owner's Day at Capitol: 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Jan. 31, Floyd Room on the 20th floor of the West Twin Towers Building. State Rep. Dar'shun Kendrick of Lithonia will host this second annual event., along with Reps. Karen Bennett, Brett Harrell and Ron Ramsey. To learn more about the event or to RSVP, visit this site.
(NEW) Facebook workshop: 5 p.m. for networking, 6 p.m. for forum, Jan. 31, Suite 200, 178 East Crogan Street, Lawrenceville. Workshop is free, but space is limited, so RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org by January 25. Learn how you can use Facebook to your advantage. Sponsored by Rock Paper Scissors and Hayslett Group.
Bob, a new play, by American playwright Peter Sinn Nachtrieb, continues through February 10 at the Aurora Theatre in Lawrenceville. Armed with nothing but an unfailing optimism, Bob is the epic, fast-paced comedy of one man's desire for greatness. Performances are Wednesday through Saturday at 8 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday at 2:30 p.m. Call 678-226-6222 or visit online for details.
Civil War Lecture Series at the Lovett School, 4075 Paces Ferry Road in Atlanta, continues a series of four lectures, on Thursday, January 31, at 6 p.m. The next speaker will be Dr. George W. McDaniel, executive director of Drayton Hall, a National Trust historic site, in Charleston, S.C. His topic will be "The Civil War, Vietnam and the Shaping of Values." Reservations are requested via (404) 262-3032, ext. 1717.
Aquatic Job Fair: 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., Feb. 1, Bethesda Aquatic Center, 225 Bethesda Church Road, Friday. Sponsored by Gwinnett County Parks and Recreation, the Fair gives attendees a chance to learn about lifeguarding and instructor opportunities. For details, call 678 277 0880.
Water Conservation Workshop: 7 p.m. Feb. 7. at Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center, 75 Langley Drive in Lawrenceville. Attendees will receive indoor and outdoor water efficiency kits and a do-it-yourself home water guide. For more information about the workshop, send an email or call (678) 376-6722.
Kick-Off Meeting for 2013 of Peachtree Corners Business Association: 7:30 a.m., Feb. 11, Atlanta Marriott Norcross. Speaker will be Joyce Bone, entrepreneur and author, who will speak on the state of the economy. Get details by email.
(NEW) Event for Quilters: 10 a.m., Feb. 19, Cannon United Methodist Church, 2424 Webb Gin House Road, Snellville. Meet Marie Bostwick, a quilter who is author of the Cobbled Court Quilt novels. The event is put on by the Gwinnett County Public Library and the Gwinnett Quilter's Guild. There is a $5 charge to attend for non-members of the Guild. For more information, visit www.gwinnettpl.org.
(NEW) Caregiver's Conference: 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., Feb. 23, First United Methodist Church of Lawrenceville, 395 West Crogan Street. Guest speaker will be Maria Greene, a consultant with the National Association of States United for Aging and Disabilities. Cost, including breakfast and lunch, is $10. This is a program from the Gwinnett Coalition of Health and Human Services supported by Gwinnett Neighborhood Leadership and Friends of Gwinnett County Senior Services. For more information, call 678 964 4838.
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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