Posts Tagged ‘Josh McKoon’

My Dell with Windows Vista Doesn’t Know me Any More

October 8, 2013

Here I was, all set to write a post on my recent visit to Williamsburg, Virginia replete with pictures when BAM! my 6-year-old Dell laptop with Windows Vista decided it didn’t know me any more.  A notice came up saying that my Profile Service service had failed. That meant I couldn’t get to my pictures which had been transferred to my PhotoShop 6 from my camera card.  I have since learned I can get a camera card adapter for my iPad, which fortunately still works fine, and I’ll take care of that tomorrow.  So maybe I’ll be able to to do the post on Williamsburg tomorrow.

Then, again, if the Columbus Academy of Lifelong Learning class we call What’s Happening, a current affairs discussion class, produces some espeically interesting information on the subject “Why Has the Georgia Legislature Abandonned Public Education?” I’ll probably do a post on that and wait till later on Williamsburg.  Georgia State Sen. Josh McKoon, a Republican, and Rep. Carolyn Hugley, a Democrat,  will participate in the discussion at the CSU Turner Continuing Ed Center.  There is a good chance that someone will try to refute the premise of the subject and tell us that the Georgia Legislature has not abandoned public edcuation.  It should be interesting.

Meanwhile, my ailing Dell with Windows Vista is in the shop,  and hopefully will soon be back on line.  I probably should get a new computer.  6 years is probably considered ancient for a computer by the in-the-know computer aces.  I’m thinking about a MacAir.  I understand there is a learning curve when switching to a Mac, but learning new things is supposed to be good for seniors like me.

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At Least it’s a Start

January 16, 2013

The greatest value in the Georgia Senate approving a rule that Senators can’t accept gifts from lobbyists of more than a $100 is that it kept the issue in the public  eye. It really doesn’t stop Senators from being showered with gifts by lobbyists trying to influence how lawmakers vote. It doesn’t specify the number of gifts so a lobbyist can give any number of gifts valued at a hundred dollars each. It also doesn’t apply to junkets.

Columbus Senator Josh McKoon, who is leading the movement to strengthen ethics laws, isn’t going to let up on getting some effective ethics legislation passed in this session and thinks the rule  change  is a first step in the process. Let’s hope he can get it done.  Georgia is one of only three states that still allow  unlimited lobbyists’ gifts.

Profound for Monday

January 7, 2013

It’s Monday, so I guess I need to come up with something to say. Then again, I don’t want to say something just to be saying something. I need to come up with something profound.

My coughs getting better. That’s only profound for me and my friends and family.

What can I say that is profound for everyone?

We need more ethical, just, and moral government, and not for just a few, but for everyone. Thankfully, some of Georgia’s state legislators also believe that, or, at least say they do. State Senator Josh McKoon says he believes that and is willing to  stand up for it. Let’s hope he gets support, and let’s hope we get more than window dressing in the bill that gets passed, if one gets passed. 

What else can I say that is profound? I didn’t say original, just profound. 

We have term limits for president of the United States, and we have term limits for governor of Georgia and Alabama, and probably other states. But, what we don’t have  and what we need most is term limits for national and state legislators. Something really needs to be done to encourage lawmakers to do the right thing for all of us, instead of just pandering to those who pour money into their campaigns.

Let’s see if I can come up with one more profound statement. How about this: we need news media who seriously do investigative reporting by reporting the stuff that somebody doesn’t want you to know. The internet showed promise in providing a platform for reporting stories that the mainstream media either ignored or was afraid to report. It turned out a lot of  misinformation and some out-and-out lies, were being posted on the web. You really have to check out sources to make sure what you are reading  is true.

Okay, now we can stop the profound parade and get ready for the really big story, one that will no doubt win the rating wars tonight: Alabama and Notre Dame playing for the national college football title. I have connections with Alabama so I’ll be pulling for the Crimson Tide.  

 

 

 

 

Cain’s Fifteen Minutes are Over, but Not Newt’s

December 3, 2011

State Sen. Josh McKoon on C-SPAN

After Columbus State Senator Josh McKoon made his rousing speech for Cain on C-Span at the Cain political rally in Atlanta,  Herman Cain suspended his campaign.  No, I’m sure it  had nothing to do with Josh’s remarks. More about Josh in a moment.

Herman Cain on C-SPAN

Cain dropped out, he said,  because of the distractions  and pain to him, his wife and his family that were caused by what he called false statements about him.  He blamed the media and politcians for his troubles.  

He didn’t say the statements were about his alleged sexual adventures with some women other than his wife, but everyone knew what he was talking about when he said he was at peace with himself, that his wife and family were also at peace.

As I watched Cain’s rally-turned-rout, I had to reflect how much Georgia has played a lead role in national politics since Jimmy Carter was elected president. In the Republican presidential primary we had two Georgians making national headlines as their poll numbers put them on top. One of them, Newt Gingrich, had already reached a pinnacle of national power when he became Georgia’s first Speaker of the U.S. House.

Newt wasn’t born in Georgia, and he doesn’t live in the state now. He was born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; he and his third wife live in McLean, Virginia, though he comes back to Georgia. He has spoken in Columbus a couple of times in recent years. I read where he gets $60,000 per speech. Wonder if he got that much when he spoke in Columbus. And,  he did graduate from Baker High School in Columbus, and Emory in Atlanta, and was elected as a Georgia Representative to the U.S. House six times, and was a Georgian when he was Speaker of the House.

Cain was born in Memphis, Tennessee, but grew up in Atlanta where he was educated, married, and still resides.  He and I have something in common. We both worked at WSB in Atlanta. He had his talk show until recently. I did the morning newscasts and some DJ work a very long time ago.

How do I  feel about the suspension of his campaign?  I don’t think could have handled the office of president.  999 is not enough. You have to have a clue about places like Libya where the U.S. military is involved.  And leading the free world isn’t exactly the same as running Godfather’s Pizza.  No, he doesn’t, in my view, have the intellect or grasp of foreign affairs that President Obama does.  As far as the sex mess, he certainly isn’t alone in that area.  It just happened to come out before, not after he was elected. Works better for the candidate when it’s after.

Newt? Well, he is quite intelligent and an adept politician, and definitely has a way with words.  He had his sex scandals, too, but he isn’t letting that stop him. And, he can really be nasty when he wants to, which is a lot of the time.  Nasty, though, seems to appeal to a lot of voters. But, would he really be good for the country? Can he rise above partisan politics and do what’s best for the common good?  He is credited with starting the egregious partisanship that has been gridlocking Congress for a number of years now.

Is he electable?  With his personal and political baggage I don’t see how, but as H.L Mencken said, “No one in this world … has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people. Nor has anyone ever lost public office hereby.” (Thanks to Mike Nichols for that quote.) 

Now, about my good Republican friend Josh McKoon.  Knowing that Cain was probably going to pull out, I was really somewhat surprised when I heard him make his stem-winder speech  about  everyone getting on the Cain train, that he is the man to get the country out of the economic mess it is in.  I would have thought Josh would have been more likely to support Newt.  Wonder if he will now.

Cain says he is out of the race, but not out of the fight. He will continue to air his views on his website, he says. Welcome to the club. There are millions of us bloggers.

The Education Solution: Are More Local Control and Charter Schools Really Better?

February 7, 2011

Sen. Josh McKoon, (Rep) Georgia 29th District

There is a hue and cry by some for more “local control” in Georgia’s public school system.  Newly elected Georgia 29th District Senator Josh McKoon tells me he is going to introduce a bill to provide more local control.

In an email he said, “First and foremost is to make it easier for local school districts to elect charter system status. This status allows local school districts to reassert control over their district and frees them from one size fits all state mandates. Every education success story I’ve read about involves heightened local control. So I intend to propose legislation that will allow local boards of education to elect charter system status provided they are meeting or exceeding the state average on the CRCT test.”

There is already a law on the books that addresses charter schools, according to Muscogee County School District Superintendent Susan Andrews.  There is a big problem with it for Columbus, she says, because it rules out admission requirements for any school.  She emailed this to me: “By 2014 local school districts must decide to operate under what is described in Georgia Law as IE2 (I,E squared) or become a Charter System.  If systems decide not to select one of these umbrellas under which to operate the Board of Education and Superintendent must sign an affidavit that they will accept the “Status Quo.” Of course, who wants to do that with the negative connotations that brings with it? To operate as an IE2 district, the school district must develop a Strategic Plan which outlines the student achievement improvements which will be made in exchange for flexibility or exemption from State Board rules and/or State laws.  The district in its plan can request the specific rules and/or laws from which it wants to be exempt. 

“To become a charter system, all schools in the district operate under a district charter but there can be no admission requirements for any school in the district.  Currently, we have admission requirements for Columbus High, Britt David Elementary, Hardaway’s, Richards’, and Clubview’s International Baccalaureate Programs, Arnold’s Magnet Program.  Unless we are willing to dismantle those programs, we would not be eligible for Charter System Status. 

“I believe IE2 offers the most flexibility and that is the one we will most likely pursue.” 

Josh tells me that IE2 allows local school boards to apply for charter status.  He promises to give me a fuller  explanation. When he does, I’ll pass it along.  He also has some other interesting plans for public education in Georgia.  More on that, too, later.

Some think the charter school concept is the magic bullet in making schools better. Some think they are overrated.  I’ll deal more with that in my next  The Education Solution series.

Josh Qualifies, as Expected

April 26, 2010

Josh Mckoon, Columbus attorney and former chair of the Muscogee County Republican Party, was the first to qualify this morning in Atlanta as a Republican primary candidate for the Senate District 29 seat being vacated by Seth Harp. His news release contained this statement:

“Today represents the start of a new phase in our campaign to bring conservative reform to Atlanta. Over the last 10 months, I’ve been traveling the District and listening to you. Over the next 10 weeks between now and the Republican primary, my campaign will be offering solutions to our problems and outlining in detail my vision for conservative reform at the Capitol.  I am excited to continue to work hard to earn your support to become the next State Senator for District 29.”

I’ll have more on this. Stay tuned.

Senatorial Candidate Josh McKoon’s Solutions to the State Budget Crisis

March 26, 2010
With attorney Ron Mullins out of the Georgia Senate District 29 race, Josh McKoon, former chair of the Muscogee County Republican Party, could be the replacement for Sen. Seth Harp, who is running for Georgia Insurance Commissioner, but who is still a state senator and has to deal with the budget crisis at the state capitol. Feeling that the crisis will continue if Josh takes Seth’s seat in the Senate, I decided to find out where he stands on the issue. The online interview follows:

1. How do you feel about cutting $300 million for Georgia’s universities and colleges?

Candidate Josh McKoon and the man he could replace in the Georgia Senate, Sen. Seth Harp (Photo was supplied by the McKoon campaign)

No one feels good about reducing funding for our institutions of higher education or K-12 education for that matter. It does appear that the additional reductions that were being discussed will be less than originally anticipated. It is going to be important as we go forward to continue to make education a top priority in building future budgets.

2. Are there other cuts that could be made instead of draconian cuts in the education budget?

Education needs to be at the top of our budget priority list. I’m not sitting around the table at the budget meetings, so it is difficult to second guess what additional cuts might be made at this time. I do believe that if we start with the proposition that we are going to focus funding on core functions of government instead of personal pork projects that we can identify more money for education.

3. How about the water and transportation problems? They are still very much with us.

We must improve our bargaining position in the water discussions. I plan on working with Republicans statewide to make sure our region has a seat at that table. We also can improve our bargaining position by moving aggressively on conservation measures, increasing our capacity through permitting of new state reservoirs and research of additional ways to bring new capacity online, such as desalination.

Transportation as an issue involves two primary problems, governance and funding. We are in a much better position on the governance side after the adoption of legislation last year to streamline operations at GDOT as well as the welcome move of bringing one of the most experienced legislators on transportation issues, Vance Smith, into the Department as the Commissioner. I have proposed increasing funding for GDOT by adopting legislation that would require revenue generated by the unit tax on motor fuel to be spent on DOT Project List items instead of being put into general appropriation where the revenues may be used for personal pork projects.

4. Would you support a tax hike of some sort?

I am a fiscal conservative. I believe trying to tax your way out of problems causes more problems. We need to focus our spending only on core functions of government and if we prioritize in that fashion we will identify more tax dollars for education, transportation and infrastructure.

5.Is the legislature to blame for not being better prepared to handle this budget crisis? Surely they had to see this coming.

In hindsight, one can always identify other things that could have been done to prepare for a crisis. Unfortunately our legislators did not have the benefit of that hindsight prior to the budget crisis. This is the worst economic slide since the Great Depression. No one could have predicted the extent and nature of these economic conditions. I think it is far more valuable for one seeking to set public policy to focus on the future and how we get out of this mess. Focusing on the core functions of government reduces the need to impose tax liabilities to our citizens. This allows the introduction of tax incentives to stimulate economic activity and get things moving again in the right direction.

6. Are there any statesmen left in the Georgia legislature?

Senator Seth Harp for one. Seth has done a great job of serving our district and I am proud to have his support. Yes I believe there are many good men and women working hard to improve public policy in Georgia.

Josh McKoon Defends Opposition to MCPEC

December 2, 2009

Josh McKoon, Columbus Republican leader, candidate for Georgia Senate District 29

Columbus attorney Josh McKoon sent me and Richard Hyatt an email defending the Muscogee County Republican Party’s opposition to spending more money to build the new Muscogee County School District administrative building.  McKoon, who is running for the State Senate District 29 seat, is the former chair of the Muscogee County Republican Party. 

 

It’s a bit long so I am not going to post the whole email, but you can read it by clicking on the “comment” button. 

Here are some excerpts: 

The points that at least I and the members of the Muscogee County Republican Party who approved a resolution opposing the expenditure were trying to make were #1)–the School Board should be held to its word as provided in the plain language of the 2003 SPLOST, #2)–that if monies over and above the $12.3 million had to be spent, that the School Board should have to ask voters to approve such an expenditure and #3)–that in the absence of seeking voter approval that the School Board at least seek public input before committing such a large amount of taxpayer money to a project.   

It seems that at a time when unemployment is at 10%, when schools are suffering from overcrowding and teachers are having to be furloughed due to plummeting revenue at the state and local level, that it might have been the prudent course of action for the MCSD to have held on to that borrowing capacity and perhaps built a more modest building that could have been expanded as times, and sources of revenue, warranted. 

He also defended the Taj Mahal comparison: 

The reason I think so many latched on to the term Taj Mahal was not only to reflect the extraordinary price tag of the building, but also of the attitude expressed by the majority of the Board that public input or approval of the additional money was irrelevant and unnecessary.  Who knows if the MCSD had made the case to the people as to why the additional funds were necessary, the public might have approved it, as they did with the 2009 E-SPLOST.

Josh’s Explanation

July 12, 2009
Dick,
Not to get too deep into semantics but Bo did win the popular vote in 1966. The Democratic legislature elected the 2nd place finisher. So when I said popularly elected I believe that is accurate, while true that he was never seated as Governor due to the law on the books at the time.

As always, thanks for your fair coverage.

Regards,

Josh

 

As reported in the previous post, you’ll see that what Josh said in his press release was,  “It is an honor to have the support of the first popularly elected Republican Governor of Georgia after Reconstruction.”  

Bo Callaway Endorses Josh McKoon for Georgia Senate Dist. 29

July 10, 2009

One minor correction, Josh: Bo Callaway was never Governor of Georgia.

Josh McKoon announcing for GA Sen. Dist. 29, Hamilton, GA (Courtesy; Josh McKoon)

Josh McKoon announcing for GA Sen. Dist. 29, Hamilton, GA (Courtesy; Josh McKoon)

  You can understand Josh McKoon’s enthusiasm about getting Bo Callaway’s support.  However,  as distinguished as the former Secretary of the Army’s  career has been, he lost the governor’s race in 1966 to Democrat Lester Maddox in one of the most famous elections in the history of this state.   I covered the election in the Georgia House where it ended up after no one got a majority in the election.  Callaway won a plurality,  but in 1966 that wasn’t good enough.  A lot of the House Democrats would have preferred him over Maddox, but they were not about to put a Republican in the governor’s office. 

Howard "Bo" Callaway, when he was Sec. of the Army (Courtesy: U.S. Army)

Howard "Bo" Callaway, when he was Sec. of the Army (Courtesy: U.S. Army)

Josh’s news release said that he said, “It is an honor to have the support of the first popularly elected Republican Governor of Georgia after Reconstruction.”

He was the first Georgia Republican elected to the United States Congress since reconstruction.  I covered the election in which he beat former Georgia Lt. Governor Garland Byrd for the 3rd Congressional District seat.  Sonny Perdue is the first Republican elected Governor of Georgia since reconstruction.

With Josh’s roster of supporters –  the news release says,  “Howard Hollis ‘Bo’ Callaway joins community leaders such as Sam Rawls of
Knight-Rawls, former AFLAC executive George Jeter, Sheriff Mike Jolley
of Harris County and Synovus Chairman Richard Anthony as part of the
Steering Committee ” – you would  think any potential challenger might just forget it.  Not so.  Attorney Ron Mullins, who is seriously considering a run,  hasn’t been scared off yet.  At least,  not the last time I talked with him about it.