Bradshaw’s follies — Predictions for 2014
Much of the news last year was of ineptness in implementing the Affordable Care Act, chaos in the Middle East, shameful withholding of information about Benghazi, a slowly recovering economy, bickering in Washington, and a surprise announcement that the Atlanta Braves will move to Cobb County. There will be more surprises in 2014.
Prognostication is risky for columnists because readers have the advantage of hindsight and don’t hesitate to remind writers of wrong predictions. I knowingly take the risk and offer 2014 predictions ranging from sports to politics.
• Atlanta Braves General Manager Frank Wren will sign or trade for a high-profile left-handed hitter before opening day. Gerald Laird will replace the departed Brian McCann as starting catcher. The rookie Christian Bethancourt, a future superstar catcher, is not ready for the big show and Evan Gattis is a defensive liability. The future of Gattis is in left field or as trade bait because he can flat out hit! I predict the Atlanta Braves will win 90 or more games and grab the National League East title. The team will lose to the St. Louis Cardinals in the playoffs.
• The Atlanta Falcons will improve from a 4-12 record in 2013 to 10-6 in 2014 while placing second behind the New Orleans Saints in the South Division of the NFC. The team will earn a wild card playoff spot but lose in the first round. The defense is Super Bowl worthy but the offense needs to be revamped with different players and more creditable offensive schemes.
• The Atlanta Hawks will barely achieve a winning record this season due to the injury of center Al Horford. The team will be dynamite in 2014-15 with the steady guidance of an outstanding coaching staff and Horford back in the lineup setting picks on offense and controlling the boards on defense. Bright days are ahead for our Atlanta Hawks.
• My beloved University of Georgia Bulldogs will finish the regular season with a record of 11-1 and beat Alabama in the SEC championship game. The team will be one of four teams competing in the new College Football Playoff. The national championship is still elusive for the Bulldogs and Georgia will lose in the semifinals.
• I wish my Georgia Tech friends the best of luck but their mascot, Buzz, won’t be doing flips in 2014. The ACC is a tough football conference and the Yellow Jackets will be hard pressed to win seven games. My prediction is Head Coach Paul Johnson will leave at the end of the season and be replaced by former Tech All American linebacker Ted Roof.
• There will be little change in the political balance of power in Washington as a result of 2014 midterm elections in November. Republicans will retain control of the House and gain Senate seats but fall short of a Senate majority.
• Bureaucracy officials in the Internal Revenue Service will adopt new rules and regulations to make it easier for the executive branch to monitor and intimidate conservative groups. The new regulations will be beyond the intent of congressional legislation and fly in the face of the U.S. Constitution.
• Circumstances around the 2012 Benghazi nightmare will continue to be covered up while congressional investigations will reveal surprising information about the raid in which Navy Seal Team Six eliminated Bin Laden in 2011. The information will make us proud of our military and cast darkness on the executive branch of government.
• The new Promise Zones touted by the Obama administration will be ill-fated because the concept is a recycled version of the failed Enterprise Zones promoted by Jack Kemp. Throwing hundreds of millions of dollars at urban deterioration and social problems did not work in the past and won’t work today.
• The 2014 Georgia General Assembly session will be short due to the early date of the primary elections in Georgia. Teachers and state employees are certain to receive pay raises. Both groups vote in large numbers and 2014 is an election year.
• The legislature will narrowly pass House Resolution 486 that is a proposed constitutional amendment to be placed on the statewide ballot. The amendment, if approved by Georgia voters, will permit cities formed after 2005 to establish independent city school systems like the 20 that already exist.
Examples of city systems in Georgia include Carrollton, Gainesville , Dalton, Thomasville, Valdosta and other leading communities throughout Georgia.
HR 486 was introduced specifically to permit the new cities of Dunwoody, Milton, Brookhaven and Sandy Springs to achieve independent status from county school systems.
Successful passage will open the door for a future amendment to cover cities like Peachtree City that were created prior to 2005. This statewide issue has implications for the city of Peachtree City where there is some public sentiment for parting company with the Fayette County School System. I predict the creation of a separate Peachtree City School System apart from the Fayette system within the next decade.
• Governor Nathan Deal will easily defeat Dalton Mayor David Pennington and State School Superintendent John Barge in the May 20 primary without a runoff election. He will face state Senator Jason Carter of DeKalb County who is a combative attorney and prolific fundraiser with outstanding political genes.
Carter has two well-known grandfathers in former President Jimmy Carter and former State Senator J. Beverly Langford. Mr. Langford was a political powerhouse in Georgia for almost three decades. My prediction is Deal over Carter in a very close race.
• The U.S. Senate seat held by the retiring Saxby Chambliss is up for grabs. Michelle Nunn, daughter of former Senator Sam Nunn, will defeat retired news reporter Steen Miles and others in the Democratic Primary without a runoff despite having lived in the Washington, D.C., area most of her life. She is a dynamite fundraiser and her father still has influential friends in Georgia politics.
• The Republican field competing for the Chambliss seat is crowded and a runoff is certain. I predict former Secretary of State Karen Handel or Congressman Phil Gingrey will face Representative Jack Kingston of Savannah in the runoff with Kingston eventually prevailing. A potential race between Kingston and Nunn is too close to call, but I’m going out on a limb. The home boy from Savannah will beat the girl from Washington.
• Fayette County Board of Education member Mary Kay Bacallao is in big trouble if she enters the race for state school superintendent. She will raise little money and receive few votes. Georgia residents don’t know her and she doesn’t have behind the scene contacts in Georgia’s 159 counties. There are already six candidates for the post and Governor Nathan Deal’s preferred candidate will not announce until the end of February.
• The Fayette County Board of Commissioners will again work in harmony, thanks to the persuasive work of Harold Bost. My prediction is that the serene atmosphere will last only a few months before another major uprising makes the headlines.
• Fayette County Sheriff Barry Babb will make big news in a positive way in 2014.
• Former Peachtree City Mayor Don Haddix is “laying low” after his defeat but will verbally jump in the Fayette County political fray in 2014. There are rumors he is eyeing a future race for the Fayette County Commission against an unknown opponent for an unknown commission post.
• For the most part, the new Peachtree City mayor and council will function as a cohesive team acting in the best interest of the residents of Peachtree City. Council meetings will be handled in a dignified manner and gutter sniping will be a thing of the past.
•Finally, the Peachtree City Council will make big news in 2014 with a major reorganization of personnel in city government.
[Scott Bradshaw, a resident of Peachtree City, is a real estate broker and residential real estate developer. His family has owned property in what is now Peachtree City since 1820. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.]