City Ink: Commissioners might be more productive during shutdown

When the federal government shut down last weekend, the impact on Augusta was hardly noticeable. As a matter of fact, some folks say it might be nice if the Augusta government would shut down now and again.


Essential services such as fire, police and trash pickup would still go on, but the Augusta Commission wouldn’t meet, and all of those highly paid bureaucrats would no longer gather daily trying to figure out how to steal more money from taxpayers’ pockets.

Did anybody notice that city commissioners didn’t meet last week, and would anybody miss them if they never met again?

With no meetings, Mayor Hardie Davis wouldn’t waste everybody’s time with mini-sermons and other control maneuvers such as 30-minute recesses for no good reason.

With no meetings, Com­missioner Grady Smith could go back to plumbing or dreaming of his glory days.

Commissioner Wayne Guilfoyle would have time to master the mathematical details of the presentation he’s been coached to make instead of getting lost in the middle of it.

Commissioner Bill Fennoy, who wants to change the name of Calhoun Expressway to Trump-Calhoun Expressway, could stop kneeling during the prayer and Pledge of Allegiance before commission meetings and kneel in the middle of Calhoun Expressway instead.

Commissioner Sean Frantom could spend more time running for mayor. Somebody should.

Commissioner Sammie Sias could spend more time at the Sammie Sias Community Center aka Jamestown Community Center.

Commissioner Marion Williams could take a break from repeating the speech about how the government doesn’t do anything to draw people to Augusta with something like a James Brown museum, an interactive James Brown exhibit or a big replica of James Brown’s head on the riverwalk that people could walk through.

Commissioner Dennis Williams could spend more time straddling the fence trying to decide which side to be on.

Commissioner Andrew Jefferson could devote more time to counting his retirement checks.

Mayor Pro Tem Mary Davis could spend more time not saying anything to ruffle anybody’s feathers.

Commissioner Ben Hasan could go back to publishing the Urban Pro Weekly newspaper and give everybody the inside scoop on what really goes on in those “executive” sessions and who the executives are since nobody sees any going in there.

Unfortunately, the government won’t shut down, and it will be politics as usual with the upcoming elections.

Fresh Meat to Grill and Grist for the Mill: Two candidates for the Super District 10 seat Smith will vacate next year have emerged. They are John Clarke, a relative political newcomer whose skeletons haven’t been examined yet, and former mayoral candidate Lori Myles, whose skeletons were picked over during her last political outing.

Myles, a now-retired Josey High School teacher, was a constant source of quotable quotes when she ran for mayor in 2014. When asked during a TV interview whether she’d keep the mayoral car and gasoline card, she responded, “Will I take a car and gas? Oh, quite naturally. And another thing I truly believe we need to do. We need to establish a mayoral house. If this is part of what’s already been set aside, there’s no need in us deciding humility and say, ‘Keep all those things.’”

Myles harped on black and white unity, just like Davis did and does, but when asked during a TV interview to identify the highest leadership position she’d ever held, she touted her work with the Augusta chapter of the Coalition of 100 Black Women.

In 2016, Metro Courier newspaper publisher Barbara Gordon filed a civil lawsuit accusing Myles of misspending money donated to the chapter. A judge appointed Coliseum Authority attorney Ed Enoch to review the chapter’s finances a year ago, but nothing has been filed since last February.

On Friday, Enoch said he hasn’t had time to work on the case because he was out for a while with a hip replacement, which makes me wonder whether the bad hip was caused by Regency Mall owner Alan Cardinale twisting his leg over a deal for arena land.

Another thing I wonder about is that Enoch, the mayor’s campaign chairman, is investigating somebody who ran against the mayor.

Myles has made the news on other occasions. If you’re interested, Google her.

Clarke, a commission regular and frequent contributor to the Facebook page of the Augusta Political Watch online forum, is both critic and cheerleader for the local government.

“I study every issue,” he said. “I research every issue, and I don’t shoot from the hip. I love Augusta. I just want to be a part of making her better.”

Don’t they all say that?

Who’s Running? Yu. No I’m Not. Who Is? Yu. Now stop that!! The third time could be a charm for 12th Congressional District Republican candidate Eugene Yu, who announced he’ll take on Congressman Rick Allen in this year’s primary.

Or it might be three strikes and Yu is out.

Not so, says Yu.

“We always say, ‘Never give up!’”

Yu says Allen isn’t doing a bad job. He’s just not doing anything.

“Right now, I think my president, Donald Trump, needs a person like me to fight for him,” he said. “He cannot fight everybody by himself.

“He is fighting for America. The Republicans don’t ever help. I’m from Korea. I think America needs me to take care of the problem with North Korea.”

Yu said he attended a Heritage Foundation seminar where experts and scholars spoke on North Korea. After about two hours, they stopped and asked whether anybody had any questions. Yu raised his hand and said, “If you guys are so expert, why are we still having this problem with North Korea? It should have been taken care of 20 years ago. Is it job security for you guys, or what?”

Yu said he’d go to North Korea with a carrot in one hand and a sledgehammer in the other and say, “Take your pick.”

Speaking of skeletons, Yu has a few that were exposed and gnawed over by his opponents and the media his last two times out. Problematic campaign finance reports. You can Google him, too.

They’re Going to Chal­lenge Winning: Mean­while, the young socialists who have given former Demo­cra­tic Party Chair­man Lowell Greenbaum and the other establishment Democrats fits say they’ll challenge last Saturday’s committee member elections although every socialist who ran was elected.

Talk about dumb politics.

“We have to,” said Joey Traina. “If we’re not doing things correctly, we have no integrity.”

According to a party official, Traina came to the voting site and was videotaping the proceedings and when asked to stop, caused a disturbance and was escorted off the premises by a sheriff’s deputy and an undercover officer.

Afterward, 12th District Democratic Party Chairman the Rev. Christopher Johnson sent an e-mail to party officials stating that he was asking the Richmond County Democratic Party Committee to bar Traina from the premises until he has a mental evaluation and writes a formal letter of apology to the committee and his office.

Traina’s account of events is quite different. He said they have no evidence he was disruptive.

When asked to stop videotaping, he did, but kept recording.

He was outside talking to people, and the officer asked him to leave.

“The officer was so nice,” he said. “He knew that it was ridiculous. It’s a secret ballot, but it’s not cloak and dagger.”

Meanwhile, Mtesa Cotemand Wright, the local party chair, e-mailed members telling them not to say anything to the Republican-leaning Augusta Chronicle except that it was campaign season because distractions would cause them to lose focus.

Theirs. Not the Chronicle’s.