Thursday, April 10, 2014

Fight Georgia Corruption

I try to avoid discussing specific candidates who are running for office but in light of the condition of the Georgia House I am making an exception to write you a personal note on what I believe to be arguably the most important race in Georgia this year. This race is not even in the general election during November but occurs next month on May 20 in the Georgia primaries. It is the 7th District race between Speaker of the House, David Ralston and coach Sam Snider. Most of you know who the speaker is but do not know Sam Snider. Sam is a remarkably successful high school wrestling coach with a work ethic that has resulted in 13 state championships. Coach Snider has a deep faith in God and strong family values, anchored by his 28 year marriage and two grown sons.  He is a citizen with little political experience who wants to serve the district, not a career politician encumbered with a huge burden of special interests. Mr. Snider is challenging the speaker in the Republican primary even though the Democrats will not field a challenger in the general election.

Many of you who work the legislature know that since being elected, the Speaker has run the Georgia House as a dictatorship while Georgians have been fooled into believing the illusion of a democracy.  Specifically, House committee members do not get to vote on what bills will be heard in committees and House Rules committee members do not get to vote on what bills will be moved to the floor for debate. Instead, the speaker instructs the committee chairs as to what bills can be heard while also determining what bills the Rules Committee will allow onto the House floor. Of course, these decisions are made behind closed doors based on political and special interests. So it makes no difference if you voted for a Democrat or a Republican. Their voice will not be heard in their committees and their legislation will die unless it is perceived to have a political advantage or some benefit to special interests. It matters little how much public support there is for the legislation or how good the legislation might be for Georgians.

On February 21st, the speaker went much further than a mere dictatorship when he, some of his lieutenants and his political consulting firm orchestrated a vicious public attack on Rep. Sam Moore of Cherokee County. Moore was recently elected when he defeated Megan Biello, who received all but a few hundred dollars of her $30,000+ in campaign contributions from out of district Georgia legislators, including the Speaker of the House. Moore submitted a bill intended to confirm the constitutional right of a Georgia citizen to remain silent. It also removed Georgia’s rather archaic loitering law. After learning that one sentence in the bill deleted a loitering reference to sexual offenders, the speaker arranged for his lieutenants to publically ridicule the bill on the House floor, staged a media event to politically damage Rep. Moore, and continued portraying the bill as protecting sexual offenders after he had the words “sexual offenders”  inserted into the short title. It was one of the most vindictive acts I have ever seen in the Georgia legislature but such acts have become the norm in recent years.

Ironically, what you may not know is that, as a lawyer, the speaker has a disturbing history of representing convicted child sexual offenders. As originally explained by Vicki Pierce, courtesy of the Political Vine: “In Dayton v. State of Georgia, Ralston argued that a 63-year-old man convicted of 2 counts of aggravated child molestation, oral sodomy and 1 count of regular child molestation of a 13-year-old girl, his step-grandchild, should be found innocent. Ralston argued against the use of the Child Hearsay Statute and claimed that the child initiated the sex and wanted it. In Hyatt v. State, Ralston represented a father convicted of sodomizing his 7-year-old son, saying that the 7-year-old was not competent to testify. This is the precisely the reason that the Child Hearsay Statute is so necessary for the protection of children against Father’s Rights’ litigators such as Ralston — that children are not considered credible witnesses, that youngest of our society virtually have no protection from child predators due to their youth and inability to successfully verbalize under cross-examination. In Chastain v. State, Ralston again advocated to overturn an aggravated sodomy and child molestation case against a father of an 11-year-old girl. Ralston wanted to interview the child as to what she believed to be molestation, trying to say that the child consented to it. The child had previously been caught in bed with an uncle and Ralston tried to show that she was sexual and initiated the acts.”

But it gets worse. Although the speaker has historically blocked every bill he chooses since gaining power, in the 2009-2010 session he allowed a bill to be heard that legalized prostitution for underage participants. That’s right. You read it correctly. Don’t believe me? Here is the HB582 bill’s web page and full text of the bill that was sponsored by Wendell Willard, Ed Lindsay, Mark Hamilton and Judy Manning on the speaker’s side of the House:



The bill reads, in part that Chapter 6 of Title 16 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to sexual offenses, is amended by revising Code Section 16-6-9, relating to prostitution, as follows: "16-6-9. A person who is 18 years of age or older commits the offense of prostitution when he or she performs or offers or consents to perform a sexual act, including but not limited to sexual intercourse or sodomy, for money or other items of value." The term “18 years of age or older” is underlined because it was added to the bill to exclude minors. The bill died in committee after intense opposition from public speakers. If it had passed, the bill would have eliminated a police officer’s ability to protect an underage girl from her pimp by placing her in custody if she was caught performing any such act.

Sam Moore summarized his new experience at the legislature by observing “corruption as far as the eye can see”. He remarked: “It is way more than I imagined”. In fact, Georgia has been rated as the most politically corrupt state in the country. I know there are many important races this year, but if we want to truly fight the corruption in the Georgia legislature we must start by cutting off the head of the dictator. For these reasons and much more, I have decided to put a little of my money and time into a sorely needed regime change that will benefit Republicans, Democrats, independents and all Georgians. If the Speaker of the House is not re-elected on May 20, it will send a shock wave to all of the Georgia Representatives and we may be able to finally end some of the tyranny. I am inviting you to join me this Saturday in the beautiful area of Ellijay to help Sam Snider for just a few hours. Call me if you can make it. If not, you can still join many of Georgia’s most sincere citizens on another weekend or help in other ways. Here are the web sites of the two candidates:



United for any given cause, we can make a difference.
Thank you,

---> Garland Favorito

Special thanks to Bill Simon at Political Vine for some ground breaking research into what really goes on in Georgia state leadership:

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