With truth scarce, pants burn
The truth was scarce in Georgia politics last week.
PolitiFact Georgia’s scribes struggled to find scraps of truth in statements on the reapportionment process, Gwinnett schools, Muslims in a potential Cabinet for presidential candidate Herman Cain, and trauma centers.
But it was nearly for naught. We gave three Barely Trues and one Pants on Fire. It was the second time Cain’s britches have burned since he began hinting at his presidential ambitions.
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State Sen. Robert Brown: "We in the Democratic Party had no input into the locations of these hearings, nor did we have input into the process."
It’s important, it’s done once a decade, and many observers can’t wait for it to end.
It’s reapportionment, the high-stakes process Georgia lawmakers use to decide the boundaries of each district in the state House of Representatives and Senate, and congressional districts.
It can cost a lawmaker his or her job, and shift the Georgia Legislature on important issues. The fight led Brown to make the above complaint.
We have trouble with Brown’s comment because all members of the Georgia Legislature were asked for suggestions of sites, and some were located in largely Democratic terrain. Republicans also asked lawmakers for their ideas or concerns about reapportionment.
We rate his claim Barely True.
Gwinnett County Commission Chairwoman Charlotte Nash: "We have the best schools in the United States."
Georgia officials sure do like to brag about where they live.
Nash, the commission’s new chairwoman, made the above comment May 18 in the State of the County address. How could we resist doing our homework about this claim?
Nash based her statement on Gwinnett County Public Schools winning the 2010 Broad Foundation Prize as the nation’s best large, urban school district. The prize, which Gwinnett won in October, is considered one of the most prestigious awards in education.
Students, teachers and parents have reason to be proud, but Nash’s claim omits some critical facts, such as Gwinnett’s average score in key academic categories where it placed behind some other Atlanta area districts. Also, fewer Gwinnett schools made a recent prestigious national ranking than some other U.S. districts.
Nash’s claim rates as Barely True.
Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain: "I did not say that I would not have them [Muslims] in my Cabinet."
Former pizza CEO and talk show host Herman Cain loves to boast that he’s not politically correct. Now, his brash words have pushed him to correct the political record.
On "The Glenn Beck Program" radio show May 24, the Republican presidential hopeful tried to rebut accusations that in March he said he would not appoint Muslims to Cabinet positions or federal judgeships in a potential Cain administration.
It was only his latest attempt to put the controversy to rest. Reporters have dogged him on the issue for two months.
The problem is that Cain’s statement on Beck’s show contradicts what Cain said about his own comments. Cain did say he would not have Muslims in his Cabinet. Not once or twice, but three times in as many weeks.
The heat is on, and Cain’s Pants are on Fire.
Georgia Hospital Association spokesman Kevin Bloye: Roughly 700 Georgians die needlessly each year because they are too far from a trauma center.
Georgia voters are suspicious of new taxes -- so suspicious they voted down an amendment that would have added a $10 fee to the cost of registering a motor vehicle to pay for additional trauma centers in the state.
This wasn’t a penny sales tax to polish the Capitol dome, this was an attempt to improve emergency medical care.
Bloye made the above statement in support of the tax.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics do say that Georgia is consistently above the national average in trauma deaths. But the problem is not solely that trauma centers are too far away. Georgia needs to improve its care systemwide to save these lives.
Another problem is Bloye’s number is outdated and incorrect. The CDC has since released data that places the number well below the 700 range.