Blue Ridge, Ga. – As the Blue Ridge City Council discussed revising the Rules and Procedures of its meetings, conflict erupted over the newly proposed Code of Civility presented by Council Member Mike Panter.
During a very heated discussion, it was also revealed by Council Member Nathan Fitts that Panter had allegedly made criminal threats against him.
Panter read from a letter sent to council regarding the review of the City’s Charter and the recommendations that were being made based on a committee that had been formed for the review.
Along with the committee Panter said input had been taken from several sources including Donna Thompson, who runs a local governmental accountability group, current and previous council members, a local attorney, business owners and residents.
Panter did point out that prior to reading his letter to the council, the letter itself had already been leaked to the public.
Later Council Member Rhonda Haight would question this remark asking Panter, “Do you have a problem with the public knowing what we are doing?”
Panter pointed out that as far as the Rules and Procedures of council meetings, previous City Attorney David Syfan had drafted an ordinance that would still be in compliance with the City Charter.
In an effort to save tax dollars Panter suggested that the city vote on the adoption of this particular ordinance instead of paying more attorney fees to have new ordinances written: “I think we should readopt this ordinance which was done away with by previous council.”
“It (vote to adopt ordinance) was moved a few months later because evidently the council didn’t like what he came up with and they just threw it away,” Panter explained of the ordinance drafted by Syfan and why it was not already put in place.
“I’m totally great with that ordinance that David wrote,” Haight said, adding, “I thought it was wonderful. He did a great job.”
Haight did have concerns over the Code of Civility section Panter was presenting and expressed these concerns.
According to the Code of Civility section, a council member would be asked to resign or a vote could take place for the elected official’s removal after receiving two censures.
This section of the Code of Civility came directly on the heels of a censure of Council Member Nathan Fitts. Earlier in the same meeting, Panter had brought forth a censure against Fitts for “continuous inappropriate conduct”.
Haight felt this particular item in the Code of Civility would be in violation of the City’s Charter since evidentiary hearings would need to take place for a censure vote and no evidentiary hearing was given to Fitts previously that night.
Panter replied to Haight, “Our charter says that we have the right to remove an elected official.”
“For wrongdoing,” Fitts retorted to Panter’s comment. “The only person that has violated state and local law is you and Ms. Whitener.”
Incivility ensued as Mayor Donna Whitener questioned Fitts over his accusations against her. After a brief period of numerous calls to and points of order, discussion continued over the proposed code.
Haight pointed out that the Code of Civility was also attempting to limit the council’s transparency.
The Code states of council that:
“There should be no public statements, letters to the editor or on social media or with an organization, advertisements, emails, texts or announcements regarding official city business without Council approval.”
“As a public official I have every right to tell the public what we are doing. I have every right to post on social media what we are doing,” Haight spoke to Panter, “I will never vote on this as it is.”
Council Member Fitts agreed with Haight that the Code of Civility needs attempts to limit the transparency of local government and needs further review.
Fitts also pointed out the hypocrisy of Panter in not only introducing the Code of Civility but also for the censure that Panter brought forth earlier in the evening.
“You made a criminal threat to me and Ms. Haight this week and said that you were going to drag me out of the council meeting by the hair and beat me up,” Fitts made public the alleged threat by fellow Council Member Panter. “You need to practice what you preach.”
Fitts and Haight have both personally sought legal advice from former Blue Ridge City Attorney David Syfan regarding any proposed new ordinances. Both Fitts and Haight are personally paying Syfan for his help.
“This will not be charged to the city,” Haight made clear her and Fitts personal financial responsibility to Syfan.
Current City Attorney James Balli, according to Haight is not trained in municipal law, where Syfan is.
Panter, who is the newest elected official to the council, questioned why Syfan was let go in the first place.
Leading both Haight and Fitts to agree that Balli was hired solely on the recommendation of Mayor Whitener.
Fitts went into further detail with Haight backing up his recollection of events.
Fitts stated of the reason for Balli’s hire, “She (Whitener) said that because Speaker Ralston was from Blue Ridge and that Mr. Balli was his pick. She said that Blue Ridge would get stuff that we would not get otherwise and that’s why she asked us to choose Mr. Balli.”
Whitener replied that Fitts and Haight’s claims were “more misinformation” and that council had a chance to vote no.
The Rules and Procedures Ordinance along with the Code of Civility will be discussed and reworked before vote will be taken on its adoption.
ATLANTA, Ga – At 9 a.m., The Georgia House of Representatives Governmental Affairs Committee convened to discuss election irregularities.
The House Governmental Affairs Committee report on the June 2020 primary election may be found here: http://www.house.ga.gov/Documents/CommitteeDocuments/2020/GovernmentalAffairs/Elections_Investigation_Report.pdf.
Chairman Blackmon’s committee has established an email for Georgians to report voting irregularities at [email protected].
NORTH GEORGIA – Earlier tonight, Andrew Clyde said, “I’m declaring victory tonight” to a room full of supporters in Commerce, Ga. after he clinched the GOP nomination for the U.S. House of Representatives Ninth District seat.
The night ended fairly early for the gun shop owner and Navy Veteran with the race being called before 10 p.m. on Tuesday, August 11. Clyde won 55.96 percent of the vote with 85 percent reporting. Gurtler received 44.04 percent of the vote. He carried at least 15 of the 20 counties in the Ninth District. Gilmer County was still out at the time this article was published.
President Donald Trump has already called Clyde to congratulate him on winning a hard-fought race.
Now that the runoff is over, Clyde and company will turn their eyes to November. The Republican candidate will face Democrat Devin Pandy, who also won his runoff tonight.
Whoever wins on November 3rd will take Representative Doug Collins (R) seat in the House of Representatives. Collins is currently in a race for Kelly Loeffler’s (R) senate seat.
Clyde will be appearing on FYNTV.com with Brian Pritchard on Thursday at 8.am.
See how all the statewide races in FYN’s coverage area turned out, here.
Interested in viewing local races? Visit the specific county to see who won their runoffs.
Today it is extremely popular to be a victim. POOR ME, POOR MY, SOMEBODY LOOKED AT ME WRONG, BLAH, BLAH, BLAH!! CALL THE WAHH-BULANCE!
Everyone is super sensitive to anything and everything and they get butt hurt if someone sneezes in their direction.
This is an absolute antithesis to American exceptionalism. Americans are not whiners, nor shirkers. Americans saved the world in World War II. Americans are the original rebels and the first to stand up and fight for what is right and good.
Yet, the school systems, the Democratic Party, media and liberal leftists everywhere have taken up the banner of victimhood. Lately, it is like a badge of courage to be beaten down by a paper tiger or an imagined slight. In fact, if someone is wrongly accused and dares stand up for the correction of the issue, they are told that they are out of line and have anger issues.
The words RACIST, XENOPHOBE, WHITE SUPREMACIST BIGOT or NAZI, are like the shields used by knights of old that protect the “victim” of any reprisal. By flashing these key words, no one is supposed to DARE to react to defend themselves. This is complete rubbish, and no one should accept these lame excuses.
Almost every minority has jumped on the bandwagon and are thoroughly enjoying their victimhood.
Which minority has been the most mistreated, yet remains silent?
What about Native Americans? Hear any crybabies from the Native Americans on the news?
No one in our history have more reason to vent their spleens and grievances than the Native People of the United States. Their lands were invaded. They extended the hand of friendship and life-saving help to the invaders. Their kindness was rewarded with treachery, not just once, but over and over again.
Andrew Jackson was a prominent figure in the Nations denouement.
He signed The Indian Removal Act in December of 1830. This triggered the Trail of Tears and a systematic decimation and / or genocide of the Cherokee people. The act was created for the sole purpose of taking ancestral lands from the indigenous people to redistribute their lands to white settlers. (Sound familiar to anyone?)
This was the gratitude Jackson showed to Chief Junaluska of the Cherokee. Junaluska saved Jackson’s life in the war against the Creek Indians at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend, which made Jackson a national hero.
He regretted saving him later, though he was given citizenship and lands in Graham County, North Carolina.
Native Americans were not awarded citizenship in the United States until June 2, 1924 with the passage of The Indian Citizenship Act.
For the first time in history, there are four Native American representatives in Congress at the same time.
This includes the first two Native American women to ever be elected the House of Representatives.
They are Democrats Sharice Davis of the 3rd District of Kansas and Deb Haaland of the 1st district of New Mexico.
Representative Tom Cole and Markwayne Mullin, both of Oklahoma and Republican, have been in the House from 2003 and 2013, respectively.
Has anyone seen or heard them join forces to complain about any mistreatment or discrimination?
Collectively, they have put forth some great ideas and worked to pass bills for the goals they are pursuing for their constituents.
That is the only reason that anyone is sent to Congress or to the Senate. They are to work for the people in their district, supposedly looking after the interests and issues that concern their citizenry.
Drama, victimhood and self absorbed behavior is not one of the duties of an elected official.
All of those in the House and the Senate, get to work, you work for The People, not your own agenda!
Collins Helps House Pass Bill to Protect Medicare Access
WASHINGTON—Today Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) helped the House of Representatives pass H.R. 849, the Protecting Seniors’ Access to Medicare Act of 2017, legislation that would repeal an Obamacare provision that threatens seniors’ access to care.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA), known as Obamacare, established the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), which can be empowered to cut Medicare spending and services without Congressional or administrative oversight. The ACA designed the board to be comprised of fifteen unelected officials, and the Protecting Seniors’ Access to Medicare Act would repeal the ACA provision that created the IPAB.
“The Obama Administration’s move toward socialized medicine gave the Independent Payment Advisory Board broad power to limit access to Medicare for senior Americans. Concentrating such power in the hands of a few bureaucrats risks our neighbors’ access to care, and the Protecting Seniors’ Access to Medicare Act would correct this flaw by repealing the IPAB. This bill would instead protect seniors’ access to health care and encourage meaningful reforms to make Medicare sustainable.
“I am thankful for Congressman Roe’s leadership on this issue and am proud to join my colleagues in voting to repeal this dangerous board,” said Collins.
Rep. Phil Roe (R-Tenn.) introduced H.R. 849, and Collins co-sponsored the bill.
On FYN TV, BKP interviews Georgia’s District-7 Representative Speaker of the House (R-Blue Ridge) David Ralston, as they discuss President Trump’s aggressive plan for 1.5 trillion dollar infrastructure investment that was presented and highlighted at a meeting for Republican leaders including Ralston, Monday at the White House. Speaker David Ralston comments on what that means for Georgia.
Pictured below: Speaker of the House for Georgia District 7 David Ralston at this past weekends Infrastructure Meeting at the White House with Republican leaders and President Donald Trump.
ATLANTA – Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge) attended President Trump’s infrastructure announcement at The White House this morning. Speaker Ralston was one of several local and state elected officials invited to participate in a series of discussions with the President as well as members of his cabinet and senior staff about the plan and the infrastructure needs facing our nation.
“I appreciate President Trump’s emphasis on public-private partnerships, as well as rural areas of America, as we look to address the nation’s infrastructure needs,” said Speaker Ralston. “Much like his Tax Cuts & Jobs Act, this measure will make a real difference in projects of profound economic importance like the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project or long-overdue efforts like expanding broadband infrastructure into rural areas. This is another example of President Trump focusing on creating jobs and expanding economic opportunity across our country. I am honored to represent the State of Georgia at this important announcement.”
President Trump’s infrastructure plan looks to leverage the power of public-private partnerships to improve the nation’s infrastructure including transportation, water/sewer and other critical needs like broadband internet access. More details on the President’s plan are available on The White House website at http://www.whitehouse.gov.
House Passes Collins Bill to Honor Fallen Clermont Marine
WASHINGTON—The House of Representatives today voted unanimously to pass H.R. 3821, to rename Georgia’s Clermont Post Office in honor of Zack T. Addington. Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) introduced the bill this September, and it will now proceed to the Senate for consideration.
“I’m pleased to see my colleagues in the House recognize the legacy of Lance Corporal Addington, who remains an example of selfless courage to our community in northeast Georgia,” said Collins.
Collins also honored Addington when he spoke about the bill on the House floor.
Known to his neighbors as Zack, Addington joined the United States Marine Corps in 1967. A native of Clermont, he became a rifleman in the 3rd Marine Division of the Fleet Marine Force and deployed to Vietnam that year. Addington was promoted to Lance Corporal and served his country honorably until he was killed in action in May 1968.
That June, Addington received the Purple Heart, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal and Republic of Vietnam Campaign Ribbon in recognition of his service there.
ICYMI: House tax reform plan focuses on US workers
WASHINGTON—This op ed by Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) first appeared in the Gainesville Times on November 5, 2017.
Last Thursday introduced Northeast Georgians to what the House, Senate and president have been collaborating on since January: A conservative tax reform bill that makes the first meaningful improvements to the tax code since 1986, when I was a student at what was then North Georgia College and an intern on Capitol Hill.
Since then, time has passed and tax policy has changed, but not for the better. As pundits tackle the details of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, I want my neighbors to be confident knowing what conservatives are doing through tax reform and, perhaps more importantly, why we’re taking these steps.
The legislation the House has introduced focuses on replacing America’s labyrinth of a tax code with a plan driven by fairness, simplicity and opportunity. The IRS has reached its tentacles deep into the pockets of American workers and families to feed a bloated federal government.
I’d like to cut off those tentacles and allow everyday Americans to keep more of the money they earned by the sweat of their brows. I believe that comprehensive tax reform, specifically the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, is the answer to our country’s economic malaise. Our friends across the aisle disagree. Why?
There are two possibilities that explain why someone would oppose President Donald Trump’s call for middle-class tax reform. The person either doesn’t believe that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will actually bring relief to families and job creators or doesn’t think empowering working Americans represents a worthy goal.
Those who claim that our tax plan pads the wallets of the wealthy at the expense of middle America already have been refuted by The Washington Post, which investigated claims that this legislation would raise taxes across the middle class. Senate Democrats tattooed their false claims all over Twitter, and even the mainstream media awarded those claims with “four Pinocchios.” In fact, a family of four earning the median annual income of $59,000 would see their tax burden drop by $1,182, from $1,582 to $400.
To use another example with our community in mind, a firefighter with a $48,000 income would move from the 25 percent income tax bracket to the 12 percent bracket and see his standard deduction double from $6,350 to $12,000. Under this plan, his tax bill would fall to $3,872 from $5,173, and he could invest the $1,301 difference in building his own American dream.
Meanwhile, we’ve raised the Child Tax Credit from $1,000 to $1,600 per child and included $300 credits for adult dependents. We’re getting rid of loopholes in the tax code and killing the death tax, which targets family farms and businesses with double-taxation. We’re reducing the corporate rate from an unsustainable 35 percent to 20 percent so that businesses will bring jobs back home.
And I’m inviting you to fact check us. Anyone can read the text of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and other resources at fairandsimple.gop.
If the Republican tax plan actually does deliver tax relief to middle class filers—and it does—and if it does level the global playing field to allow businesses to close up their shops across the ocean and drop deep roots into American soil, then why would anyone oppose it? Because their objection isn’t practical. It’s ideological.
America’s economy remains the most productive in the world, and the American worker is the foundation of that economy. Conservatives who embrace tax reform want to ensure that hardworking Americans enjoy and invest more of what they earn because we trust them. We recognize that the American worker is industrious and innovative, and that’s what fuels our economy.
Liberals, on the other hand, don’t trust their fellow Americans to make good choices. They believe we have no hope outside of bureaucrats. So their logic demands that they fight to keep control of Americans and their money. Tax reform upsets Democrats because they want to make the government bigger, and they want to use their neighbors’ paychecks to do that.
President Trump and I believe that America’s greatness comes from free people making free choices in a free market. Democrats think its greatness comes from big government. They think Rep. Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Chuck Schumer hold the keys to Gainesville’s success.
In reality, though, Democrats have no hope to offer northeast Georgians because they have no confidence in northeast Georgians (or in most Americans, for that matter). And while the president and Republicans in the House are working to make America stronger, to preserve our position as world leader, liberals want to apologize for what American workers have built and to undermine what their neighbors value.
The last administration tried to spend and stimulate its way to economic success, and we call those eight years the Great Recession. In contrast, conservatives in the House are spending this weekend telling their constituents we recognize that America’s future depends on her workers and families, rather than on Washington.
That’s why our tax reform plan insists that we make our neighbors the agents of their futures once again. We’re offering Americans tax relief today because that’s how we can build a stronger tomorrow.
Doug Collins represents Georgia’s 9th District in the U.S. House of Representatives.
WASHINGTON—The House of Representatives today passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.), Vice Chair of the House Republican Conference, issued the following statement in response:
“This afternoon, the People’s House reaffirmed its confidence in American workers and families by passing comprehensive tax reform. The last three decades empowered the IRS to dig its tentacles deeper into the wallets of our neighbors, and we acted to reverse that trend today.
“Middle-class Americans and job creators deserve relief from burdensome taxes and the opportunity to pursue more of their ambitions on their terms. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act can deliver on both fronts on behalf of our nation’s families and future.”
Collins Votes to Extend Chip and Protect DSH Resources
WASHINGTON—Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) joined the House of Representatives in voting today to extend the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) through 2022 and protect funding for rural hospitals.
The Championing Healthy Kids Act, H.R. 3922, uses offsets to fund CHIP and programs like community health centers while eliminating $5 billion in scheduled cuts to Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospitals (DSH). The bill includes a two-year extension of funding for Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), which focus on delivering health care to underserved populations through community-based and patient-centered models.
“The House’s bill would extend the Children’s Health Insurance Program for five years while strengthening the program to help the children most in need of health care assistance. At the same time, it protects resources for northeast Georgia’s rural hospitals. I’m pleased that the legislation put forward by House Republicans charts a more cost effective—and therefore sustainable—path forward for serving some of Georgia’s most vulnerable populations,” said Collins.
At least seven hospitals in northeast Georgia serve residents with the help of DSH funding, including Elbert Memorial Hospital, Fannin Regional Hospital, Habersham County Medical Center, Northeast Georgia Medical Center, St. Mary’s Sacred Heart Hospital, Stephens County Hospital and Union General Hospital.
*The original release mistakenly included Hart County Hospital, which merged into St. Mary’s Sacred Heart Hospital, and North Georgia Medical Center, which should be Northeast Georgia Medical Center.
FYN TV “Camera-Candidates-and-Issues”
9th Congressional District Debate. The Omnibus Bill, refugee resettlement, the national debt, Speaker Paul Ryan, sanctuary cities, abortion, and yes even the dog and pony show.
Scroll down to watch video.