City Ink: Politicians try to exploit racial tensions

If the Augusta NAACP branch’s “rally” in downtown Augusta to remove the Confederate monument on Broad Street turns violent, you can be sure of one thing:


It’s President Trump’s fault.

At least that’s what the left wingers and biased main stream media steadily promoting the racial division will say. If you listen to them, you’d think Trump personally led the KKK protest against destroying the statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee in Charlottsville, Va., despite his repeated condemnation of the hate groups.

Have there been threats to impeach or assassinate the NAACP leadership, other black leaders and leftwing movers and shakers unless they fall into line with conservatives to condemn the radical, violent and hate-filled Black Lives Matter, the velvet robed Black Separatists “religious” hate-spewing preachers, the always violent, anti-American Black Panther Party or other Black Power groups urging not just the tearing down of symbols but also the elimination of white people. No, of course, is the answer. What is heard mostly is cheering from the Democrats and Republicans in Name Only, who hope to be the last ones standing to control the socialist ruins of our country.

Meanwhile, gutless politicians and race baiters from all sides are trying to exploit the situation for any hope for advancement of their already pathetic careers. Hopefully they will fail in the long run unless the governed surrender their futures to the elitists in government and to the false prophets shouting sermons of Earthly damnation. Yes, even those cowards promoting the protests far behind the scenes will be unmasked and shown to be what they really are – racists, clearly.

Being offended does not give anyone the right to promote anarchy.

There are usually two sides to every story. Eliminating one side is not necessarily the best solution. Looking to history would seem to prove the point. So, who wants to talk about it before we rush out to burn something, break into businesses and accomplish the real goal of acquiring a free television. Dialogue: Is that what I keep hearing is needed? Well, here we go!

Beulah Nash-Teachey, president of the Augusta branch of the NAACP was quoted in The Augusta Chronicle on Friday as saying, “When you look at the inscription on the monument, for Augusta to be the center of the Cyber arena, we’d like for downtown to be more inclusive of our entire community.”

Well, Nash-Teachey just needs to go downtown and take a look around.

There’s a James Brown statue, a James Brown Boulevard and a James Brown Entertainment complex. There’s also a black mayor, a majority black Augusta Commission and a majority black administration.

One of the black commissioners, Marion Williams, said he won’t participate in the rally and predicts it could turn violent if the wrong people get to talk and say something people don’t like.

“History is what it is,” he said. “The statues don’t do nothing, but I know some people don’t like them. And I think this thing’s going to escalate all over this country. It’s going to end up with division in this country.”

Augusta had a race relations committee in the past, he said.

“But people wouldn’t talk about the real issues,” he said. “They try to spare people’s feelings.”

Mayor Hardie Davis apparently doesn’t want to talk about the rally. In response to a Saturday morning phone message, he texted that he’d return the call “shortly.”

The state NAACP conference last week called for the removal of all Confederate symbols from state and local government properties.

Money’s There if You Know Where to Look: As I was saying last week, the money to grant Richmond County Sheriff Richard Roundtree’s request for raising his underpaid deputies’ pay at costs of either $2.7 million or $2.8 million could be found by cutting costs instead of raising property taxes.

To recap partially, more than a half million could be cut from City Administrator Janice Jackson’s office by reducing her salary and car allowance and eliminating two deputy administrator positions and public information officer. Another $141,040 could be saved if the mayor would give up the $102,290 increase he received in his office budget this year, as well as the $38,750 for his My Brother’s Keeper program.

In all, $1,252,835 in potential savings was identified, which, along with Roundtree’s suggestion for using $950,000 left in his budget from lapsed salaries, brought the savings to $2,202,835.

Then, reducing the recreation department’s budget to what it was in 2016 and doing the same to the judiciary’s budget, added another $397,690 in savings. Of course, the judges wouldn’t like it. Nor would the Information Technology director when she learned $100,000 had been cut from this year’s $5.97 million budget.

Finally, a 20 percent cut to the strictly non-profit entities’ $1,155,320 allocation brought the total savings to $2,831,589 – enough to fund Roundtree’s plan to give all certified and sworn deputies 10 percent raises and increase the salary of a starting deputy to $40,292 from the current $34,629.

I’m sure commissioners won’t take my budget cutting suggestions, especially the one about reducing their numbers to three from 10.

Information Overload: Government officials are more into spending than saving which is one reason commissioners approved spending $24,000 for electronic message boards for the Marble Palace and IT building. One large message board will be in the main lobby to greet folks and provide them with Augusta news, weather, announcements and other information. Two others will be in the commission waiting area to display agendas for the commission clerk and planning department.

He’s Been Everywhere, Man. And He’s Going Again: Former Commissioner Bill Lockett was at Tuesday’s commission meeting with an update on Age Friendly Cities, an initiative the city adopted at his request in 2014.

While on the commission, Lockett traveled on the taxpayers’ dime more than any other board member, and he’s planning at least one more trip using money the commission budgeted for Age Friendly Cities this year.

He said he paid his own way to attend the Georgia Municipal Association convention in Savannah this year.

“I went to Savannah at my own expense,” he said. “So I’m the only person using my money to work for the government. I’m going to the AARP Livability Conference in Texas in November, and hopefully, I will use some of the money I was allocated.”

Something Funny Here: A 23-count indictment returned by the Richmond County grand jury accusing juvenile court administrative assistant Erin Marie Schmidt of nine counts of theft by conversion, 12 counts of first-degree forgery and one count each of theft by deception and theft by taking is only part of the story about what took place in the court before Schmidt was fired in 2015.

Some juvenile court judges were aware of Schmidt’s behavior and did nothing, so they could be exposed if the case ever goes to court, which it probably won’t.

The allegations against Schmidt include taking property from the Richmond County Juvenile Court charity, the Children’s Closet and being paid to write a grant she didn’t write.