Michael Thurmond contemplates a run for DeKalb CEO

The race for CEO of DeKalb County may be about to take a sudden turn. From the AJC's Mark Niesse:

Michael Thurmond, a former school superintendent and state labor commissioner, is considering a campaign to lead beleaguered DeKalb County.

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Thurmond told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Wednesday that citizens are encouraging him to run for DeKalb County CEO, though he hasn’t made a “final decision.”

Thurmond would instantly become a formidable contender for the seat that has been held by Interim DeKalb CEO Lee May for two and a half years. May was appointed by Gov. Nathan Deal after CEO Burrell Ellis’ indictment.

We gave Thurmond a shout this morning. "I'm weighing my options. I've talked with my family," he said. But Thurmond said he needed to have some weighty conversations with the law firm that hired him after he left his emergency position as DeKalb County school superintendent last year.

Thurmond was appointed to that job by a DeKalb County school board that was about to be torn asunder by Gov. Nathan Deal for jeopardizing the school system's accreditation. Thurmond became something of a bridge for a board of education ripped apart by racial enmity. Likely, should he chose to run for DeKalb CEO, he'd cast himself in the same role.

ExploreLast week, we pointed you to a survey by HEG/Apache:

Some 83 percent of the respondents said they felt either "frustrated" or "angry" by the way DeKalb operates, and fewer than one in five voters said they were content with the county.

"Voters are unhappy, period," said HEG President Fred Hicks.

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The champions of religious liberty see more pernicious threats to the concept than reluctant lawmakers.

In the Georgia Christian Index, the official newspaper of the Georgia Baptist Convention, editor Gerald Harris writes of the five biggest enemies to religious freedom: Secular humanism, evolution, abortion, apathy, and Islam. Most of these are traditional Baptist targets. But Islam is a relatively new one. A taste:

Muslims are not going to stop having children and they aren't going to have abortions. By their sheer growth through births and immigration their percentage of the population will continue to grow.

Carol Brown, writing for The American Thinker, explains, "Even when Muslims are a minority population they can and do transform whole cultures and societies. And not for the better.

"Why? Because their holy book is a totalitarian ideology founded on submission and world domination. And toward that end, Islam is on the march. Meanwhile, the West remains mired in cowardice and complicity. Nowhere can this be seen more clearly than in Europe, which is on the fast track to join the Caliphate."

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Because you're reading this, you know that our office lottery pool didn't work out. Because you're reading this, we know that yours didn't, either.

Wait 'til next time, when your winnings could be a state secret. You know that state Sen. Josh McKoon has introduced Senate Bill 179, which would grant anonymity to lottery winners -- if they donate 25 percent of their winnings to the lottery education fund or some other tax-exempt charity.

But on his Facebook page, McKoon declared a change of heart on Wednesday:

I am revising SB 179 to simply allow lottery winners to claim their prize anonymously. No fee will be required.

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Atlanta's movie industry is rallying around Georgia's film tax credit after Gov. Nathan Deal signaled he was worried it could be targeted this year by anti-tax advocates.

The governor hinted at as much when he devoted a part of his annual speech to the state's top corporate leaders at the Eggs & Issues breakfast to a defense of the tax breaks that have made Georgia a hub for the film industry.

Our AJC colleague Jennifer Brett was soon inundated with comments from Atlanta's movie elite.

"You guys have taken the time to build up this infrastructure," he said during a Tuesday set visit to the movie "Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life," starring Lauren Graham of "Parenthood" and "Gilmore Girls" and Griffin Gluck of "Red Band Society" and "About a Boy."

"Building up the candidate pool for a crew," Riggle continued. "Getting the transportation down, letting the local police know how to close down a street. It keeps gaining speed. I know crew from California who have moved here because this is where the work is. It would be a tragedy to let it all go."

He's witnessed some sad endings when other states decided to roll back enticing tax credits.

"I saw that happen in Michigan," Riggle said. "They had these big tax breaks. Just as they were coming out of the gates they killed the tax breaks and it all went away. Do you know what that would have done for Detroit?"

And then there are the folks on the other side of the camera:

Packer calls Atlanta home but even when his movies are filmed elsewhere his hometown market responds. The Regal Atlantic Station was the nation's No. 1 theater in terms of box-office sales during "Compton's" debut weekend last year.

"You can't really overstate how important it is to have a market like Atlanta," said Packer, who says the state's tax incentives are essential to his industry sticking around. "At the end of the day, Hollywood is driven by the bottom line. They're going to come to a place where their dollars are going to go further."

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The sudden resignation in December of the executive director of the national fairground in Perry raised more than a few eyebrows. Now the Macon Telegraph has the rest of the story. From the piece:

The Office of the State Inspector General found that under Moore's leadership at the fairgrounds, the Georgia Agricultural Exposition Authority broke state rules when it approved cash payments to employees for leave balances and when it changed rules dealing with overtime.

Some state employees are allowed to convert overtime hours into time off under some circumstances, but Moore and the authority ended that and paid the employees instead, breaking a rule, according to the report.