Political news

David Goldman / Associated Press

Rev. Raphael Warnock, the pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church, says he will not run for U.S. Senate, leaving Georgia Democrats without a candidate to oppose Republican incumbent Johnny Isakson. 

Warnock had been considering a run for months, and just last week spoke at a major Democratic fundraiser. 

In a statement Warnock said, "As much as I would have been honored to run and to serve, I have decided that, given my current pastoral and personal commitments, this is not a good time." 

Todd Rehm / gapundit.com

The new report on DeKalb County government corruption released this week by special investigators Mike Bowers and Richard Hyde called for the immediate resignation of interim CEO Lee May and five of the seven county commissioners.

The very first line of the report sums it up.

"Appalling corruption and a stunning absence of leadership in the DeKalb County government are a disgrace to its citizens and an embarrassment to our state."

Bowers, a former Georgia attorney general, was actually hired by May to investigate misconduct within the county government.

Dekalb County Interim CEO Lee May and Mike Bowers at the podium
Lisa George / WABE

An explosive new investigative report on corruption in DeKalb County government calls for Interim County CEO Lee May to resign.

The report was released Wednesday after a months-long investigation by special investigators Mike Bowers, a former Georgia attorney general, and Richard Hyde.

During a press conference Wednesday, May called the report a waste of taxpayer money.

The report concluded that May needs to step down for several reasons, including what Bowers and Hyde called a failure of leadership in addressing chronic financial wrongdoing in the government.

Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga.,  July 23, 2013.
Charles Dharapak / Associated Press

Republicans in Congress announced Wednesday that the U.S. House of Representatives will hold leadership elections Oct. 8.  

Georgia Republican Rep. Tom Price of Roswell is competing to be the majority leader, the No. 2 spot in the House.  

Speaker of the House John Boehner announced his resignation last week, and that has House Republicans jockeying for leadership positions.  

Don McCullough / flickr.com/DonMcCullough


Is Georgia's ban on drones flying within a five-mile radius of the governor's mansion legal? What will drones look like in five years? 

State Rep. Kevin Tanner of Dawsonville, Georgia, is looking to answer those questions during the first of five House Study Committee meetings starting Wednesday. 

This summer, the Georgia Building Authority banned drones flying over not only the state Capitol building's heliport, but also the governor's mansion.

Brenna Beech / WABE

The city of Brookhaven released all of the minutes from its City Council executive session meetings for the past seven months on Friday. 

The minutes, with a redaction for privacy, are now available through open record requests. 

It's in response to a complaint that The Brookhaven Post, a news website, filed with the state attorney general's office. 

Brett Levin / flickr.com/scubabrett22

A new organization says it wants Georgia lawmakers to allow marijuana to be grown and harvested under close monitoring to treat certain diseases.

Georgians for Freedom in Health Care plans a launch event Tuesday at the Capitol. The effort comes a year after lawmakers approved a medical cannabis registry. People with their doctor's permission can register with the state, allowing them to possess cannabis oil that doesn't cause a "high."

GSU Law Professor, Tanya Washington, center, speaks against the installation of a retention pond in the Peoplestown community at a protest on the steps of City Hall in Atlanta, Ga., on Sept., 21, 2015. Washington lives in one of the affected homes.
Tasnim Shamma / WABE

An Atlanta City councilman wants to put on hold plans to build a stormwater retention pond and park in the Peoplestown neighborhood.

The Department of Watershed Management has been looking to demolish about 30 homes to build the stormwater retention pond to alleviate flooding in the area.  

Councilman Michael Julian Bond said he didn’t want to be morbid, but one option was to put the project on hold.

A Georgia state trooper works the scene of a deadly crash in which five people died and three others were injured early Wednesday, April 22, 2015, in Ellabelle, Ga., west of Savannah.
Russ Bynum / Associated Press

Trucking industry officials say they think training should be required first, before requiring drivers to install new technology that hasn't been tested in the real world. 

U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson from Georgia introduced the Safe Roads Act of 2015 that, if passed, would require all commercial motor vehicles to have automatic braking systems.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump finishes up speaking before a crowd of 3,500 Saturday, July 11, 2015, in Phoenix.
Ross D. Franklin / AP Photo

Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump is calling for an overhaul of the tax code that would eliminate income taxes for millions of Americans, and lower them for the rich.

Trump is unveiling his tax plan at a press conference Monday at Trump Tower in Manhattan.

The plan calls for eliminating federal income taxes on individuals earning less than $25,000 and married couples earning less than $50,000.

But the plan would also benefit businesses and the rich.

SC Flag Protester Sparks Conversation About Activism

Sep 25, 2015
Activist Bree Newsome, removes the Rebel Flag from the South Carolina Statehouse Confederate War Memorial, and is immediately arrested.
R Kurtz / flickr.com/kurtz433

Bree Newsome never considered herself a political activist until recently.

A filmmaker and artist, Newsome earned national attention by removing the Confederate flag flying over the South Carolina Capitol this summer.

She said she was initially prompted to action by the 2012 death of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin and also has been arrested in her native North Carolina while protesting for voting rights.

Speaker of the House John Boehner speaking at the Values Voter Summit in Washington, DC in 2011.
Gage Skidmore / flickr.com/gageskidmore


Less than a day after Pope Francis’ historic speech to Congress, the leader of the U.S. House of Representatives announced he was resigning.

Speaker John Boehner, an Ohio Republican, shocked the American political world on Friday by saying he would leave office at the end of October.

Boehner is reportedly resigning over an inability to unify his party over protracted budget inaction that could shut down the U.S. government.

Martha Dalton / WABE

A coalition of grassroots groups rallied in Woodruff Park Tuesday to spotlight National Voter Registration Day. Groups like the NAACP, Asian-Americans Advancing Justice and the American Civil Liberties Union were all out encourage voter participation.

Last year, some of the same groups said tens of thousands of people they helped sign up weren’t registered when they went to the polls. State officials have denied that.

Atlanta NAACP President Richard Rose says it’s unclear whether the issue has been resolved.

Georgia legislators' 2016 agenda may include discussion of how to regulate and get taxes from vacation spots beyond traditional hotels, especially through Airbnb and other rental websites.

Tuesday's first study committee meeting on the issue revealed some tricky questions awaiting lawmakers.

Offerings include apartments or homes available 365 days a year versus private homes in Athens only rented out during the University of Georgia's six home football game weekends.

Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson speaks at a news conference before a campaign rally at the Sharonville Convention Center, Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2015, in Cincinnati.
John Minchillo / Associated Press

Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson says "P.C. culture" is to blame for the fallout over his statement against electing a Muslim president.

Carson tells reporters in Ohio on Tuesday that his view is that anyone wanting to be president must embrace the Constitution and American principles. He says anyone who does can be president. Carson adds that would also oppose a Christian for president who wanted to establish a theocracy.

To recover from the controversy, the retired neurosurgeon said he'd have to fix "a P.C."— or politically correct — "culture."

Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio speaks to supporters in Buckhead.
Johnny Kauffman / WABE

Rep. Geoff Duncan, R-Cumming, took the stage before Rubio. 

He said, "There's nobody I trust more in this campaign to handle this nation's security."

Rubio gave a stump speech that addressed North Korea, Russia and reached its climax with harsh criticism of the Iran nuclear deal.

"The Iranians run by a radical Shia cleric will also develop a nuclear weapon because of this recent deal the president is ramming down our throats," Rubio said.

Seth Wenig / Associated Press

Donald Trump's advice for high school students in suburban Des Moines, Iowa, is uncharacteristically wholesome: Avoid alcohol and drugs as well as cigarettes.

The billionaire businessman and Republican presidential candidate is also encouraging the teens to follow their hearts and do something they love, even if it means making less money.

Denis O'Hayer interviews Georgia Governor Nathan Deal
Katie King / WABE

Georgia's 2016 presidential primary is set for March 1.

Gov. Nathan Deal on Wednesday signed an executive order setting the date. The order was published online on Friday.

Southern states are hoping to create regional super primary that day, with the nickname "SEC Primary" after the collegiate Southeastern Conference. Alabama, Arkansas, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia also have moved their primary dates to March 1.

Supporters say the shared date is giving the South more clout with presidential candidates from both parties.

Martha Dalton

Atlanta residents tuned in to the Republican presidential debate Wednesday night. Some flocked to Manuel’s Tavern in Virginia-Highland, known as a Democratic hangout during election season. It was packed with debate watchers, like Megan Harrison.

She wasn’t pleased with the questions candidates were asked, like whether they’d feel comfortable with Donald Trump’s fingers on the nuclear codes.

The view of Atlanta from Jackson Street Bridge in Atlanta, Georgia on Tuesday, April 21, 2015. (Photo/Brenna Beech)
Brenna Beech / WABE

The city of Atlanta, like any big city, faces any number of questions as officials try to plan for its future. Questions about transportation, housing, preservation and sustainability, among others, top the list.

Answering some of those questions falls into the domain of a city planning commissioner, and Atlanta has a new one. Formerly with the city of Charleston, South Carolina, where he had a similar job, Tim Keane was confirmed by the Atlanta City Council as the city’s new planning commissioner in July.

In this Sunday, June 7, 2015, file photo, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting in his Jerusalem office.
Sebastian Scheiner, File / Associated Press

The White House says President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will meet at the White House on Nov. 9.

It will be the first formal meeting between the two leaders in months.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest says the two leaders will discuss implementation of the Iran nuclear deal and other regional issues, as well as efforts to counter the Islamic State's activities in the region.

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders makes his first campaign visit to Atlanta Friday.

The Vermont senator is hosting a fundraiser downtown at 200 Peachtree starting at 6 p.m.

Sanders has been making gains in the polls behind his opponent Hillary Clinton, and that could affect Clinton's strategy in Georgia and neighboring states, says Andre Gillespie, associate professor of political science at Emory University.

Elise Amendola / AP Photo, File

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter recently held an unprecedented press conference to disclose his cancer diagnosis and reflect on his life's work. Carter, who will be 91 on Oct. 1, told journalists from across the globe that he has been as blessed as anyone.

It is hard to overstate the contributions that Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, have made in Atlanta, Georgia, the nation and the world.

It's time for Atlanta to say thank you to Jimmy Carter. Few men have had a greater impact on our world than our own President Carter.

President Barack Obama

The White House says President Barack Obama has told advisers he wants to let 10,000 Syrian refugees into the U.S. in the coming budget year.

The U.S. has accepted only about 1,500 Syrians since civil war broke out more than four years ago.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest says about $4 billion the administration has provided to relief agencies and others is the most effective way for the U.S. to help meet the humanitarian crisis in Europe. Tens of thousands of people from the Middle East and other war-torn countries are seeking safe haven across Europe.

Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, participates in a business round table at Draft Sports Bar & Grill in Concord, N.H., Monday, Aug. 31, 2015.
Cheryl Senter / Associated Press

As other Republican presidential candidates go after Donald Trump, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is getting cozy with him. The two men are in a so-far cordial competition for many of the same anti-establishment conservatives, and they're about to share a stage.

On Wednesday, at Cruz's invitation, Trump is to appear with him at a Capitol Hill rally protesting the proposed nuclear agreement with Iran.

Joe Biden speaking at Ahavath Achim Synagogue, in Atlanta, Georgia on Sept. 3, 2015.
Alison Guillory / WABE

Vice President Joe Biden says he does not know yet whether he will seek the Democratic nomination for president.

Speaking in Atlanta Thursday night, Biden indicated that he and his family may need more time to recover from his son’s death.

Biden’s voice was hoarse, and he appeared a bit tired, as he spoke to a group of 2,000 people at the Ahavath Achim Synagogue in Buckhead.

He had spent the last two days in Florida but had to fly back to Washington, D.C., for an emergency National Security Council meeting before making his way to Atlanta.

In this July 21, 2015, file photo, Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a roundtable discussion at the Advanced Manufacturing Center at Community College of Denver. Biden and his wife are retreating from Washington for a week in South Carolina with litt
Brennan Linsley, File / Associated Press

Vice President Joe Biden may get an early glimpse of his presidential prospects at the start of a three-state trip as he considers a late entry into the 2016 Democratic primaries.

Biden is appearing at a Miami college Wednesday and headlining a private fundraiser for Senate Democrats in Florida as he mulls a potential challenge to Democratic front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton.

The Rev. Raphael Warnock delivers a sermon during church service at Ebenezer Baptist Church were he serves as pastor.
John Amis / AP Photo

“I believe, all the way in my gut, that if Rev. Raphael Warnock should decide to run, he could bring the change we are looking for.” 

Those are the words of Dubose Porter, the head of Georgia’s Democratic Party. 

During a recent Sunday service at Ebenezer Baptist Church, Warnock told the congregation he’s considering a run for the U.S. Senate. 

“I’m gonna go away for a few days in a quiet prayer retreat,” he said, “And then I’m going to come back and talk, and hear you, and then we’ll go together.” 

Warnock will return from his sabbatical soon. 

Martha Dalton / WABE

Getting Americans out to the polls during election season can be difficult. It can be even tougher in immigrant communities. Asian and Latino populations usually have lower voter turnout rates than Caucasians and African-Americans. But a local organization that launched an effort to get Korean Americans to vote says it’s making progress.

The Atlanta chapter of Asian-Americans Advancing Justice started a grassroots effort last year, called 10,000 Korean Votes. AAAJ-A’s executive director, Helen Kim Ho, says it’s a multi-year initiative.

(waiting for caption info from Eboni)
Courtesy of The Atlanta Workforce Development Agency

A little over a year ago Michael Sterling took over the position of executive director at the Atlanta Workforce Department Agency, or AWDA. Sterling was appointed to the position by Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed after an investigation and scathing report on the agency by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The investigation revealed the AWDA was recklessly wasting money, had inadequate tracking services, and relied too much on community partners.

Sterling joined Rose Scott and Denis O’Hayer to discuss the changes at the agency and more on “Closer Look.”