Today's Athens-Clarke County Commission work session will be moved to City Hall so that it can be recorded and video posted online for the first time.
ACC has broadcast the commission's agenda-setting and voting meetings since 2002, but for years local activists have complained that work sessions—more informal meetings where important decisions are often made—have not been recorded or broadcast, meaning citizens have to physically attend what can often be three- or four-hour meetings to learn about the issues discussed.
Unlike the commission chamber at City Hall, the Dougherty Street auditorium where work sessions are held does not have cameras, which had been county officials' justification for not recording or broadcasting them in the past.
The Mayor and Commission decided at a recent retreat to try moving the work sessions to City Hall—a move some had resisted in the past because they thought the formal setting would stifle what is often a freewheeling discussion.
Photo Credit: Nicole Adamson/file
Chalis Montgomery's campaign called on opponent Richard Dien Winfield today to denounce what it called "escalating and violent rhetoric" against Montgomery.
Both Winfield and Montgomery are running in the Democratic primary to take on District 10 Rep. Jody Hice (R-Greensboro).
Irami Osei-Frimpong, a Winfield supporter who is featured in some of his campaign materials, posted on Facebook Sunday that he would "kill their [white liberals'] Democrat."
The Montgomery campaign took this to be a threat and called on Winfield to denounce it.
“The national sickness of violent political speech—particularly against women—has unfortunately reached our city,” Montgomery spokeswoman Kimberly Davis said in a news release. “This issue is one that transcends this particular election and is reflective of where we are in terms of public discourse in this country. It’s about how we treat all women.”
In a statement provided to Flagpole, Winfield said that he asked Osei-Frimpong to change the language of the post—which he did—and that he would not tolerate inflammatory speech.
Harry Sims will officially resign his Athens-Clarke County Commission seat next Tuesday to run for mayor, he announced at last Tuesday’s commission meeting.
Because Sims has almost three years left in his term, state law requires him to resign before he qualifies to run for mayor the first week in March. Commissioner Kelly Girtz, who’s also running for mayor, is not required to resign his term will expire at the end of 2018—the same time he’d be sworn in as mayor if he wins—although he is not allowed to run for re-election and for mayor at the same time.
Sims said he decided to resign now so that “this seat will not be vacant any longer than it has to be... and to save the taxpayers money.” The timing will allow a special election to be held for his seat on May 22, the same day as the mayor’s race and other commission races.
Oconee County late Tuesday reported its second major spill in less than a month from its Calls Creek wastewater treatment plant outside Watkinsville.
According to the county, an estimated 72,000 gallons of partially treated wastewater was released on Monday and Tuesday into Calls Creek from the plant, which is located at 1100 Durhams Mill Way, on the north side of Watkisville.
The wastewater release exceeded permit limits for total suspended solids.
The county said it notified the Georgia Environmental Protection Division, which classified the discharge as a major spill, and the Oconee County Environmental Health Department.
On Jan. 9, the county reported a major spill of an estimated 24,000 gallons of wastewater that exceeded permit limits for total suspended solids from the Calls Creek plant.
Twenty-eight people turned out at the Oconee County Library in Watkinsville on a rainy afternoon Jan. 28 to exchange nonpartisan conversation with the goals of getting to know each other and of building community.
The sponsors, the Oconee Progressives and Oconee Democrats, had reached out across party lines with their invitations, and they were successful.
Oconee County Commissioner Chuck Horton, a Republican, attended, as did Kate McDaniel, secretary of the Oconee County Republican Party, and Marcus Wiedower, who ran unsuccessfully as a Republican in the special election for House District 117 representative last November.
The event started at 3 p.m. and lasted just an hour, but several people were around a half hour later, continuing the conversations started during the structured part of the session.
Photo Credit: Chris Scredon
State Rep. Deborah Gonzalez (D-Athens) has endorsed Athens-Clarke County Commissioner Kelly Girtz in the race for mayor of Athens.
“Deborah has spent her career working toward a fair, supportive environment, particularly for women and creative professionals, and with that background, we are fortunate to have her representation in the General Assembly,” Girtz said in a news release. “She shares a commitment to ensuring that all people are provided with real opportunity, and I'm grateful for her endorsement in my run for Mayor of Athens-Clarke County. I'm looking forward to continuing our collaborative efforts for the good of Athens and the region.”
Photo Credit: Lee Becker
Oconee County probably will consider whether to pursue a Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax after it completes an ongoing transportation study and might ask voters to approve such a tax next year, Board of Commissioners Chairman John Daniell said Tuesday night.
Daniell made his comment in response to a question posed at the first quarterly Board of Commissioners town hall meeting for 2018, held at the Community Center in Oconee Veterans Park.
Jeanne Barsanti of 1170 Oliver Bridge Road, in the south of the county, asked “what your feelings as commissioners are” about doing a local Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax, now that Clarke County has passed its own T-SPLOST.
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