Kennesaw questions ban on local control of Confederate monuments

An empty pedestal remains where a statue of Roger B. Taney, former Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court and majority author of the Dred Scott decision, once was before city workers removed the statue on Wednesday in Baltimore, Md. Mark Wilson/Getty Images

The city council of Kennesaw, a community that once built its identity around its role in the Civil War, voted 4-to-1 on Monday night to ask the state Legislature to revisit a 2001 state law that stripped local governments of the power to determine the fate of Confederate monuments in their midst.

At the heart of the matter is a local memorial featuring the Confederate battle emblem. From the AJC’s Ben Brasch:

The flag, which was cut down at least two times last week, is located in the heart of downtown at the corner of Main and Cherokee streets. A recent petition has garnered thousands of signatures to take down the flag following national efforts to remove Confederate items from public spaces following a rally by white nationalists that turned deadly in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The message from the Kennesaw council to state lawmakers was somewhat coded:

Monday night, council members voted 4 to 1 to ask state leaders to “allow local municipalities the ability to determine, in their sole discretion and within their jurisdictional limits,” the best way to honor the service of military personnel.

The Marietta Daily Journal included this extended quote from Mayor Derek Easterling:

“I’m uncertain about the need to move Confederate or other historical monuments of any type into a museum or secluded venue…I am certain, however, of the need to change the direction of our history, the history we are creating today.

“We cannot change the events that brought us to this place and time, but we can certainly change the direction we travel from this point forward. Symbolism is not our enemy — our enemy lies deep in the hearts of these people who use these symbols to express or represent their alternate views.”

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The Augusta chapter of the NAACP has been granted a permit to assemble Thursday in front of a Confederate monument in that city’s downtown, the Augusta Chronicle reports.

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A Houston, Texas, man was charged with attempting to bomb a statue in that city honoring a Confederate military figure. The charges, filed Sunday, were made public Monday, according to the Washington Post.

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The number of Georgia retired university employees, teachers and state employees receiving pensions of more than $100,000 a year has more than doubled in the past six years, according to the AJC’s James Salzer.

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President Donald Trump makes today his first visit to the far West since his inauguration. A political rally in Phoenix, Ariz., may be more notable for who it doesn’t include. Gov. Doug Ducey, a Trump supporter, will greet him as he arrives but will not attend the rally. Neither will Sen. Jeff Flake nor Sen. John McCain, who is undergoing cancer treatment.

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In a town hall meeting in Wisconsin, broadcast on CNN, U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan said late Monday he would not support a resolution to censure President Donald Trump over his comments following the white supremacist march in Virginia. The speaker said it would be “counterproductive.”

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In a Monday night TV broadcast, President Donald Trump, while acknowledging it ran counter to his “original instincts, embraced deeper American investment in the 16-year-old war in Afghanistan. Buried within a New York Times account is what could be the kernel of a 2020 GOP primary challenge to the president:

“Sixteen years and the lives of over 2,000 American heroes are more than enough of a price to have paid to eradicate a terrorist sanctuary,” Gov. John Kasich, Republican of Ohio, who has positioned himself as a possible primary race candidate in four years, said in a statement. “America cannot afford to make an open-ended commitment of further lives and treasure to the improbable proposition of building a cohesive nation in Afghanistan.”

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The first day of qualifying has already claimed its first casualty in the race for mayor of Atlanta. Perennial candidate Al Bartell said this morning he would shift his resources to a 2020 race for the U.S. Senate.

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A constitutional convention requires the approval of 34 state legislatures. Republicans control 32. And so, writes Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson in the Daily Beast, a call by former Oklahoma senator Tom Coburn should be taken seriously:

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Got $1,500 to spare? Politico.com has the details of a fundraiser U.S. Sen. David Perdue is holding in Greensboro, Ga., in October:

Perdue is hosting a retreat at the Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee resort in Greensboro, Ga., on Oct. 27 and 28. Tickets can be had for $3,500 for a couple with two children, $2,700 for a couple, or $1,500 for an individual, according to the invitation. The Larrison Group is handling the fundraising.

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Trackbacks

  1. […] The city of Kennesaw, which this week voted to ask the Legislature to allow local control of monuments, has seen a Confederate battle flag removed twice from a local memorial park this month. One could argue that the current state law doesn’t require the city to spend a dime on a third flag. […]

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