Young Turks, Old Guard at odds over who knows best

The struggle between the Old Guard and the Young Turks for political power in Augusta is heating up. And Mayor Deke Copenhaver 's comments in last week's City Ink about the commission needing input from the "best and brightest" got the Old Guard riled up.


The mayor is said to be supporting 31-year-old Sean Frantom for the Super District 10 seat to increase the number of like-minded commissioners in the Royal Chambers. When asked about it last week, he said it was more exciting to see young candidates running and that the commission needs "that young perspective."

Commissioners Joe Bowles and Joe Jackson , who helped host a campaign drop-in for Frantom at the Partridge Inn, are among the Young Turks. Old Guard member and current District 10 Commissioner Don Grantham who is supporting Grady Smith, a man twice Frantom's age, got his nose out of joint over the mayor's remarks.

"Don't you think Hugh Conley still makes a great contribution to this city?" he asked. "And what about Gen. Perry Smith , a retired three-star general? Is he not innovative and creative, writing all those newspaper columns? And what about Ike Washington ? Didn't he contribute to the betterment of Augusta? And Dr. Curley Watson ? A hundred years old. He delivered over 18,000 babies and is still practicing at University Hospital.

"It appears that the wise old men just won't do what our Boy King wants. Therefore, he's looking for young ones who will. And where did they get the name, the Young Turks? If you look into that, you'll find out they would stab you in the back and cut your throat."

IN GOOD STANDING WITH AARP AND NRA: Anyway, if Dr. Watson hadn't delivered all those babies, there wouldn't be enough Young Turks in Augusta to go around.

And look at Judge Carlisle Overstreet , 65 years old and can still shoot straight.

WHAT IN A NAME? Medical College of Gold President ZZZZ wanted to rename the college so that it would better represent its true role as Georgia's medical health sciences university in Augusta. To that end, he appointed the Committee on Re-naming the President's University of Sciences (CORPUS). When CORPUS met for the first time, the members mulled things over awhile and decided they needed a subcommittee -- a team of medical specialists from within their ranks to identify elements that should be in the new name, the order in which they should come, and why. So they appointed a subcommittee to Divide Elements Linking Essential Core Team Initiatives (DELECTI). When DELECTI met, they shortly reached the conclusion even more help was needed to meet ZZZZ's naming expectations, so subcommittee chairman Dr. C.A. Daver proposed forming a sub-subcommittee of CORPUS and DELECTI composed of specialists from Medicine, Cellular Biology and Gasentrology (MCG). After dozens of meetings and discussions, they all came together as one body -- CORPUS DELECTI MCG -- to announce a new name. It was the Medical University of Georgia (MUG), which everybody thought was plug ugly, so the Board of Regents stepped in and renamed the medical college as the Georgia Medical Health Sciences University, Augusta branch.

HE'S JUST A GREAT GUY: The Senior Citizens Council honored Brian Mulherin Sr. with a dinner and roast at The DoubleTree Hotel on Friday for his many years of community service, and about 200 people learned a few things about the man everybody seems to love.

For example, he was once in the seminary studying to be a priest until he discovered he was allergic to celibacy. He rides a Harley. He once owned the Rock-A-Dry-Baby baby diaper service in Augusta and drove a blue station wagon with an emblem of a stork carrying a baby in a diaper on the side. His daughters were so embarrassed to be seen riding in it, they hid. They were so relieved when disposable diapers put him out of business and he had to get a "respectable" job as personnel director at Georgia Regional Hospital, said his daughter Nancy Bachelder , who, along with daughter Barbara Mulherin and son Tommy, spilled the beans about Daddy at the roast. One even revealed that his motto when he owned the diaper service was, "Your baby's poo-poo is my bread and butter."

So many good things were said about Brian there's not space here to repeat them, but Mike Rucker sort of summed it all up when he said: "Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He lives in Brian Mulherin. Nay, Santa Claus is Brian Mulherin."

IRISH BY THE GRACE OF GOD: (Printed in City Ink, April 10, 2005.) Neita and I were talking about Sacred Heart church when she mentioned that Brian's parents, Joe and Elizabeth Mahoney-Mulherin , had gotten married there at 6 a.m. in 1916 and then caught the train for New Orleans. Then she said they weren't Brian's natural parents, that he had been left on the doorsteps of Dr. William Mulherin 's house on Greene Street in 1923 with a note from his mother saying she was too poor to keep him.

Actually, the story was he had been brought to Dr. Mulherin's house when he was 3 weeks old by a girl who said she was on her way home from work when she was stopped by a pretty young lady at the corner of Marbury and Telfair streets. The lady asked her if she knew where Dr. Mulherin lived and gave her a note and a bundle and asked her to deliver them to the doctor's home.

In the note, the mother promised to come to Dr. Mulherin's house the next night to explain everything, but she never showed up.

The Mulherin clan embraced baby Brian and were wonderful to him. Years later, he wanted to know who his natural parents were and went to the state adoption registry for help. Just as the investigator was about to find out, Brian "chickened out."

When he was grand marshal of the 1995 St. Patrick's Day parade, he told the story of his delivery at a breakfast meeting.

"I told them the story about being delivered to Dr. Mulherin and how lucky I was because that's how I became Irish and how I became parade marshal," he said.

"I said if I had been delivered two doors down, I would have been a Silverstein and would have been working at Silverstein's Laundry and Dry Cleaners instead of at the parade."

Bernie Silverstein likes the story, but the truth is, the Rubensteins, not the Silversteins, lived two doors down.

"But I would have been Jewish," he said.

OMG: During the Columbia County Commission meeting Tuesday, state Rep. Ben Harbin was on the agenda to receive an award from the Association County Commissioners of Georgia. He was running late, so commissioners skipped the ceremony until he could arrive. After all the commissioners returned to their seats from bestowing a proclamation in honor of the late Jake Ivey , Commissioner Scott Dean checked the screen of his cell phone and told Chairman Ron Cross that Harbin was on the way.

"Have we not told you about texting from the podium?" Cross quipped.

"The only reason I looked was to check on Ben," Dean said, obviously a little flummoxed.

Before the recent controversy over Dean exchanging text messages with a county employee, he drew attention from the lawyers for Marshall Square because, during the original zoning discussion, he was exchanging texts with school board member Mike Sleeper , his best friend and campaign chairman who was sitting in the audience.

Harbin drove up a few minutes later. Surely he sent his own text message to Dean while safely pulled over, or at least while sitting at a traffic signal, since the state Legislature this year outlawed texting while driving.

City Ink thanks Barry Paschal, the publisher of The Columbia County News-Times, for his contribution to this week's column.



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