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Atlanta elections

ATLANTA CITY COUNCIL

Mary Norwood victory
Brant Sanderlin

Norwood, Dickens unseat incumbents in rare feat

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In what many are calling a rare political feat, two incumbents were ousted from the Atlanta City Council, despite heavy backing from Mayor Kasim Reed.

Just how Mary Norwood and Andre Dickens overtook Aaron Watson and H. Lamar Willis for two city-wide seats in Tuesday’s election is the talk of the town.

Was it Norwood’s incredible name recognition — earned after years in office and a high profile bid for mayor against Reed in 2009 — that returned her to City Hall? Or former mayor Shirley Franklin’s endorsement of Dickens, effectively launching him from a relative unknown to a candidate to watch?


ATLANTA PUBLIC SCHOOLS

Atlanta elections
John Spink

Future of Atlanta school board to be decided in runoffs

Voters began transforming Atlanta’s school board in last week’s election, the first step in what many parents and taxpayers hope will lead to an improved public education system.

Four of nine board seats won’t be settled until a Dec. 3 runoff. But it’s already clear that at least five representatives will be newcomers, which creates an opportunity for them to move the struggling school system in a different direction.

» MORE:  New leaders take control  |  Voters didn't change all that they could have

» EXCLUSIVE ANALYSIS: APS gets Teach for America infusion

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Dacula voters barely approve Sunday package liquor sales

Package store liquor sales were approved by Dacula voters by the thinnest of margins — 88 in favor, 87 against, and one disqualified ballot that cast votes both ways.

“Whew,” said Russ Weaver, owner of Dacula Cork and Bottle, the city’s only liquor store and the only business impacted by the vote. “My thing is Dacula won. It’s real simple.

Coping with a suddenly inconvenient senator

There is a game that lawyers play, often after some lubrication, that goes like this: If you were ever brought before a judge and charged with a crime, who is the toughest (insert colorful descriptive noun here) you’d want by your side?

For state Sen. Don Balfour, R-Snellville, it is no game. In September, he was indicted on 18 felony counts associated with misuse of his legislative expense account, charges brought by Attorney General Sam Olens’ office.

Gwinnett sales tax renewal wins widespread approval

For an idea of how thoroughly Gwinnett County voters approved renewal of the one-penny special purpose sales tax on Tuesday, consider this: The tax was voted down in only eight of 156 precincts, and the margin of defeat wasn’t larger than 22 votes in any of them.

Overall, the sales tax handily won renewal, with 58.2 percent of the vote. It is the fourth-highest approval percentage of Gwinnett’s nine votes on the special purpose local option sales tax, dating to 1985.


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