A group calling itself a "collective body representing every aspect of the black community" held a news conference Monday behind the Municipal Building, at the base of the Lady Justice statue, criticizing Augusta Commission District 1 candidate Matt Aitken for not appearing at three candidate forums last week held by black organizations.
"This is the most important election since consolidation," Antioch Baptist Church pastor K.B. Martin said. "If Matt Aitken is ignoring us now, what is he going to do when he's elected? He is ignoring two-thirds of the district's voters."
The group, which included commissioners Betty Beard, J.R. Hatney and Calvin Holland and former commissioner Marion Williams, also decried the notion of the racial balance on the board tipping 6-4 in favor of whites if Mr. Aitken wins.
They said the city charter intended otherwise, and the Rev. Alexander Smith, a Southern Christian Leadership Conference board member, called it a "constitutional violation:" and said an injunction may be in order.
Asked by a reporter if whites should not, then, be permited to qualify to run for District 1, the Rev. Smith said that's a possibility.
Asked if two black candidates, then, should not have run against Commissioner Joe Bowles in District 3, the group was silent.
"Don't answer," someone muttered.