Author Archives: staff writer

Florida School Shootinig

My heart is heavy as I try to make sense of what happened at Marjory Stoneman High School in Parkland, Florida on yesterday. None of us will ever be able to understand the reason why one person, would make the decision to go to a school, pull the fire alarm, and fire endless rounds of ammunition into unsuspecting students. As far as I am concerned, there is never any reason for the needless bloodshed of innocent lives.

The schools in our communities are the places we send our children to get an education. Our schools are supposed to be safe for all those who enter through their doors. The thought of being injured or murdered at the hands of someone who chooses to engage in gun violence is not something that many Americans believe could ever happen to them, or anyone that they love. It is clear that gun violence has become commonplace in our communities, and was on full display on Valentine’s Day, a day we all celebrate love, and many celebrated Ash Wednesday.

I remain hopeful that one day, and I am prayerful that day will come soon, that those of us who have been elected to serve, and the citizens that we serve will come together and say once and for all that we are tired of the gun violence plaguing our communities, and make the decision to do something about it to protect the lives of our children, and our neighbors. We cannot allow the murders of American citizens, and our children to continue to be commonplace, and par for the course. These things are not normal, and we should never accept these tragedies as a norm in our society.

Help Shape Gwinnett’s Future

HELP SHAPE GWINNETT’S FUTURE

BY ATTENDING A 2040 UNIFIED PLAN OPEN HOUSE

 

(Lawrenceville, Ga., Jan. 23, 2018) – The Gwinnett County Department of Planning and Development is soliciting public input to assist in the development of the 2040 Unified Plan through several community open houses, starting Jan. 25 at the Five Forks Branch of the Gwinnett Public Library. The community open house events will feature interactive exercises to encourage people to imagine Gwinnett County in 2040 and share their vision of what it could be.

 

The Unified Plan, called a comprehensive plan in other jurisdictions, combines many different plans into a coordinated, working blueprint to help shape future policies by many County agencies. To better create a plan that reflects the community’s desires, Gwinnett County will collect public feedback to produce a broad, long-term vision to guide growth and development over the next 22 years as well as a short-term list of projects and programs.

 

Throughout this process, the Planning and Development Department and its consultants, Pond & Company, will also seek input from elected officials, regulatory agencies, business and community leaders and others. Upon completion, the plan will be presented to the Board of Commissioners in October, and then be forwarded to the Department of Community Affairs and the Atlanta Regional Commission. Once the DCA and ARC review the plan and it is subsequently adopted by the Board of Commissioners, the County becomes eligible for state and federal funds.

 

Additional public input will be sought through a survey available online and at select community events and public locations. Residents can make their voices heard through one of several community open houses, online surveys or living room chats.

 

To learn more about the plan, visit www.Gwinnett2040UnifiedPlan.com and follow the Gwinnett 2040 Unified Plan on Facebook. Email questions to gwinnett2040@gwinnettcounty.com.

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2040 Unified Plan Community Open House Schedule

Jan. 25 – Five Forks branch of the Gwinnett Public Library, 2780 Five Forks Trickum Road, Lawrenceville

Jan. 29 – Dacula branch of the Gwinnett Public Library, 265 Dacula Road, Dacula

Feb. 1 – Lilburn Activity Building, 788 Hillcrest Road, Lilburn

Feb. 12 – OneStop Centerville, 3025 Bethany Church Road, Snellville

Feb. 22 – Bogan Park, 2723 North Bogan Road, Buford

 

Self-Service Kiosks for Tag Renewal

Gwinnett Tax Commissioner Announces New After-Hours

Self-Service Kiosks for Tag Renewal

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

(Lawrenceville, Ga. Jan. 25, 2018) Tax Commissioner Richard Steele announces the addition of two new self-service kiosks for citizens to renew their tags nights and weekends. The kiosks are located at the Lawrenceville tag office, 750 South Perry St., and the North Gwinnett tag office, 2735 Mall of Georgia Blvd., in Buford.

 

Customers will be able to renew their vehicle registrations and immediately receive current decals for their license plates. Credit and debit cards accepted are Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express. Processing fees apply and are added to the total due.

 

In addition to the two new kiosks, Gwinnett citizens can also use self-service kiosks located in Kroger stores in neighboring counties, including DeKalb, Walton, Hall, Clayton and Fulton. For Kroger locations, visit dor.georgia.gov/mvd.

 

“I am constantly looking for ways to make tag renewal more convenient for Gwinnett taxpayers. The after-hours kiosks will offer a new option in addition to paying online, mailing in payment or visiting a tag office.” explained Tax Commissioner Steele. “We are also looking forward to adding additional kiosks in other county locations in the future.”

 

To renew your tag at a kiosk, you must have a valid Georgia driver’s license, and your address must be correct on your renewal notice. Your proof of liability insurance must be transmitted to the state system, and if applicable, you must have a valid emission inspection on file.

 

The kiosk located in the entrance foyer at the North Gwinnett tag office is available 24/7. The kiosk in Lawrenceville is available 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. Monday – Friday, and 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Saturdays.

 

More information is available at GwinnettTaxCommissioner.com or email tag@GwinnettCounty.com.

 

The Tax Commissioner of Gwinnett County is a constitutionally-elected official responsible for billing and collection of property taxes and for administering homestead exemptions. Serving also as an agent for the State of Georgia, the Tax Commissioner registers and titles motor vehicles and collects all associated revenue. Learn more at www.GwinnettTaxCommissioner.com.

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Joining Donna McLeod

There was a packed house for the Donna McLeod’s campaign kickoff for House District 105 at Jays Caribbean Cuisine in Duluth on Saturday January 27, 2018.

Joining me in this photo from the left is  Rep Pedro Marin (HD-96) , Senator Nikema Williams, Donna McLeod and me.

Donna McLeod joins me in a photo.

Savannah State University

HBCU Day at the Capital for the Georgia Colleges.  Here I am with Savannah State University Alumni Beauty Baldwin and President Cheryl Dozier.  They gave a great presentation requesting  funds to renovate the Dr. Charles H. Herty Hall that was built in 1938 .

MLK Statement

A few months ago, the Georgia General Assembly unveiled its newest memorial on the grounds of the statehouse: an eight-foot tall, bronze-coated statue of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Overlooking the very boulevard named after him, Dr. King’s new monument marked the end of a years-long effort to erect the first statue of an African American under the Gold Dome.

The irony was not lost on me during the commemoration that morning as I focused my attention to the stone staircase behind the new sculpture—the same steps we had stood more than three decades earlier in the hopes of establishing a state holiday for Dr. King.

Every January, the King family would lead hundreds of supporters for a march through downtown Atlanta, from the original Ebenezer Baptist Church to the northwest entrance of the capitol building; and every January, they found themselves on the top steps of the stone staircase, met by locked doors and security guards. Even in their own statehouse, Dr. King’s family and supporters were still unwelcome guests.

I joined the march in 1978, a few years after signing with the Falcons. Atlanta opened my eyes to social and civil issues and the power of social change. It also introduced me to Reverend James Orange, a close confidant of Dr. King who continued working in the labor movement as an organizer for the AFL-CIO after King’s death.

No matter the workplace—poultry plants, textile mills, sewing factories, manufacturing plants, shipyards or airports—Reverend Orange carried King’s message of economic justice, emphasizing that King’s dream also required economic justice for workers and equality in the workplace, that workers’ rights are human rights—or, as King said it best: “Our needs are identical with labor’s needs: decent wages, fair working conditions, livable housing, old-age security, health and welfare measures, conditions in which families can grow, have education for their children, and respect in the community.”

It wasn’t long before Reverend Orange invited me to join him, along with Walt Bellamy and Martin Luther King III, to speak at an organizing event for furniture workers in Sumter, South Carolina. Although I was socially aware at this point, I was still far more athlete than activist. I knew little of the furniture workers’ struggle; but as a member of the NFLPA, I knew the value of union representation firsthand.

A dynamic orator with a deep resounding voice, James had the rare ability to overpower any audience. That day in Sumter, he stole the show, bringing the rally to a triumphant close and giving the workers the hope and courage to continue in their campaign to form a union. I watched with admiration as the workers rose from their seats, an awe-inspiring scene as he concluded his rousing speech.

“I am!” James shouted in his strong baritone voice.

“Somebody!” the workers chanted back in unison.

The spark was lit that day in Sumter. I soon found myself riding with Reverend Orange to community events, often with Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes playing as our soundtrack. “Wake up everybody,” James would sing over the car stereo in his booming, baritone voice, “no more sleepin’ in bed … no more backward thinkin’, time for thinkin’ ahead.”

As the youngest member of Dr. King’s inner circle, James had long known the importance of mentorship. After King’s death, he took on the role as mentor to me and many of my teammates for a life beyond football, to make a name for ourselves both on and off the field. The Falcons allowed us name recognition and a platform, while James provided the guidance to make impactful change—the same tools and practices passed down to him from Dr. King.

”Hey Leader,” he would say to us, knowing our potential long before we were worthy of the title. The civil rights movement relies heavily on mentors. Dr. King’s mentorship was crucial to James and his peers, just as James was crucial to me and my peers.

Together, we would all march to the state capitol on King’s birthday, urging state officials to pass legislation honoring our late leader. The last march to the statehouse was in 1983, and it was our biggest to date. Five years after Sumter, I somehow found myself standing next to Coretta Scott King and Reverend Orange, speaking to a crowd from the top of those stone steps. The doors were still locked and state legislators were still adamantly against the idea of the King holiday. Congress stepped in a few months later, passing legislation to create a national holiday beginning in 1986.

Although the holiday and statues are much-deserved, well-received tributes, the best way to honor Dr. King is through activism, mentorship and love—as leaders and advocates of social and economic justice. King Day may be a “holiday” by name, but it is by no means a day off. It is a day on—a day of action. There are no parades, only marches.

MLK Day 2018

At the Capital with the Class Of 1965 from Florence South Carolina at the Martin Luther King Jr. Statue as he looks at his Street.

What a great day.  The  Martin Luther King holiday was Monday on his birthday, January 15, a day on not a day off.

New Mayor For Atlanta

I had a great morning attending the Inaugural Interfaith Worship Service  for the 60th Mayor of Atlanta Keisha Lance Bottoms.  She stated that she is thankful for all who attended and is looking forward to uniting the people of Atlanta.  I am looking forward to that as well.  Her Swearing was later in the day.

Atlanta forward … Georgia forward..

Merry Christmas

A Very Blessed Merry Christmas to you , your family and friends from our home to yours.  I am looking forward to going over to our youngest daughters home for the Christmas dinner.

What a Great Day as my next door neighbor of over 35 years!  Teddy Self turned 83 on Christmas Day and he truly is an Outstanding Georgian as well as a great neighbor.  I am very blessed and wish him many more Christmas Days.

Enjoy the Holidays and 2018 !

Wishing a safe and prosperous New Year, 2018 to All.

Always 100