Originally created 02/26/03

Across Georgia



Vote analysis disputes reason for Perdue win

ATLANTA -A new analysis of the election in November that gave Georgia its first Republican governor in 130 years disputes the contention of some analysts that Gov. Sonny Perdue owes his election to a better-than-average turnout among whites.

Data released Tuesday by Secretary of State Cathy Cox show little change in the percentages of white and black voters, compared with the gubernatorial election in 1998.

Mr. Perdue defeated Democratic Gov. Roy Barnes, who blamed his loss in part on anger among white voters for his 2001 decision to all but eliminate the Confederate battle symbol from the state flag.

"There was a lot of speculation that a big groundswell of white males turned the election but this data did not show that," said Chris Riggall, a spokesman for the secretary of state's office. In fact, white voters showed slight reductions in turnouts between 1998 and 2002.

Officials want rules for club fireworks

ATLANTA -Georgia's insurance commissioner and a state senator introduced plans Tuesday to regulate stage pyrotechnics - only days after a fire killed nearly 100 people in a Rhode Island nightclub.

John Oxendine and state Sen. Rooney Bowen, a Republican from Cordele, would place a temporary moratorium on pyrotechnic shows in buildings with a capacity of 5,000 or fewer.

They also want to create a task force of fire safety experts from around the state to review fire codes and make recommendations on improving safety.

The plan also calls for making the operation of a pyrotechnic display without a license a felony.

Police charge judge with sexual battery

ROME -Rome City Municipal Court Judge J. Scott Callan was arrested Monday on charges of sexual battery and simple battery.

The charges stem from an undercover investigation of Judge Callan that began Feb. 7, when a woman told police that he touched her breast without her consent, according to an arrest warrant and Rome police.

The woman said the incident happened in Judge Callan's law office Jan. 14.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation put the judge under surveillance, and an undercover female agent visited his office Feb. 14. The agent reported that Judge Callan kissed her without her consent, according to the warrant.

Judge Callan, 56, was released on $1,200 bail.