Photo Credit: Savannah Cole
With nearly twice as many votes as his nearest competitor, Athens-Clarke County Commissioner Kelly Girtz was elected the next mayor on Tuesday.
Girtz had received 60.5 percent of 15,720 votes cast with 20 of 24 precincts reporting and the other four partially reporting. Former commissioner Harry Sims recieved 30.6 percent, and businessman Richie Knight 8.9 percent.
Girtz called the results a continuation of the progressive wave in 2017 that swept two Democratic state representives into office in GOP districts. But Girtz also said he reached out to every part of the county during his year-long campaign and would continue to do so.
Photo Credit: Savannah Cole
Ten of 24 precincts are now reporting, and Kelly Girtz remains in good shape in the mayor's race. He has 58 percent of 4,583 votes cast to Harry Sims' 32 percent and Richie Knight's 10 percent.
The first results in District 1 are in, and Patrict Davenport leads incumbent Sharyn Dickerson 164 votes to 134. But they're from Winterville, which is probably a little more progressive than other parts of the eastern Clarke County district.
In District 9, Ovita Thornton has opened up a 155-vote lead over Tommy Valentine.
More votes in District 2 are in, and Mariah Parker's lead over Taylor Pass has shrunk percentagewise but grown in raw number of votes, from 21 to 45.
Photo Credit: Nicole Adamson/file
Athens mayoral candidate Richie Knight may have violated Georgia campaign finance laws by using company resources for campaign purposes.
Interviews with a number of Knight’s former employees at HW Creative Marketing—the Athens firm Knight co-owns— and former campaign staffers suggest that Knight exceeded campaign contribution limits related to his campaign’s use of his business’s office space and payments made by his company to campaign workers. (Editor’s note: The author is dating a former Knight campaign volunteer, but she was not a source for this article.)
Marc Hershovitz, an Atlanta attorney who specializes in political law, confirmed the appearance of a pattern of apparent violations. Hershovitz’s clients in the past have included Democrats and Republicans, including former Gov. Roy Barnes, former Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin, state Sen. David Shafer and former congressman Ben Jones.
Derrick Maxwell is returning to Cedar Shoals High School. Maxwell—the former Whit Davis Elementary principal who led Cedar Shoals through the unpleasant spring of 2016 after Tony Price was suspended—was named Cedar Shoals’ principal once again. Maxwell had applied for the permanent job two years but was passed over in favor of DeAnne Varitek, who is moving on, and became a middle-school principal in Commerce instead.
Maxwell was among five of Means’ personnel recommendations the school board approved Thursday night. Chase Street Elementary assistant principal Andrea Neher will move up to replace Adam Kurtz. Stacie Carson and Beverly Harper had the interim tag removed at Stroud and JJ Harris, respectively. Harper replaces Xernona Thomas, whom Means promoted to chief of staff earlier this year. And Swade Huff, a former Clarke County educator who most recently served as principal of a Newton County middle school, is the new principal at Clarke Central. The principal position at Whit Davis remains unfilled.
If you liked Kelly Girtz's five-point plans on affordable housing, economic development and the environment, you're gonna love this, comrade: Fellow mayoral candidate Richie Knight has released a plan with, as LeBron James might say, not five, not six, not seven, but 21 points. You can read it here.
In other Knight news, another of his campaign managers, Cameron Jay Harrelson, has resigned. He follows on the heels of Monika Ammerman, who left last summer, and Loran Posey, who was hired to replace Ammerman, then left last fall and went to work for the Girtz campaign. (In a rather extraordinary move, Knight sued Posey for a libel over a Facebook post that was critical of Knight, a lawsuit that Knight recently dropped.)
Mayoral candidate and former commissioner Harry Sims has been feuding with Athens for Everyone over the D- grade it gave him, based in part on his failure to fill out the group’s questionnaire. Well, Sims finally filled it out last week.
In it, he gets in a couple of digs at his favorite foil—activists who speak out—as well as opponent Kelly Girtz, and explains his concerns about various policies A4E favors, such as fare-free transit and Complete Streets.
Here are his answers:
In our local nonpartisan elections, voters often want to know, who’s the real Democrat? The Athens-Clarke County Democratic Committee is here to help.
The committee released a list of endorsements Saturday, includin Patrick Davenport in the Commission District 1 race, former county party chairman Russell Edwards in Commission District 7 (over another former chairman, Bill Overend), LaKeisha Gantt in the school board’s 7th District and Lisa Lott for Superior Court judge.
In addition, it declared the following candidates “qualified Democrats” in other local races:
Athens Popfest has announced the initial lineup for this year's festival, which takes place Aug. 9–12 at the Georgia Theatre, Little Kings Shuffle Club and The Foundry.
Piedmont Healthcare and Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield finalized an agreement Monday for BCBS to continue covering treatment in-network at Piedmont hospitals and by Piedmont-affiliated doctors.
The contract between the health care provider, which owns Athens Regional, and insurance company ended Apr. 1 with the two sides unable to agree on reimbursement rates. Gov. Nathan Deal urged them both back to the negotiating table, and they reached a "handshake deal" on Friday.
Athens-Clarke County police have arrested a man they say raped two women who got into his car mistakenly believing it was an Uber.
At about 3 a.m. Friday, Apr. 20, a woman reported to police that she had requested an Uber and got into a car she believed was her Uber, but realized halfway through the ride that it was not. She asked to be let out of the vehicle, and the driver raped her before releasing her, according to police.
That evening, police received a report of a similar incident. A second woman reported that she had requested an Uber at about 1:15 a.m., and when she was picked up, the driver touched her private areas before she could get out. She took photos of the driver and showed them to police.
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