2 Augusta Commission members call for 1,000 to join rally

Augusta Commission members Alvin Mason and Bill Lockett are calling for 1,000 people to rally against “changes that have occurred as a result of commission votes” at noon May 14 on the courthouse steps, according to a news release from Mason campaign Chairwoman Tanya Barnhill.

“We need to send a strong message that the comm­unity will not accept the many changes that have occurred as a result of commission votes and action by the state delegation and others, as it relates to Augusta-Richmond County,” said the message from Barnhill, a former commission candidate.

Lockett said that the release wasn’t intended for “citywide distribution” and that the gathering is a voter registration rally that he and Mason agreed to do months ago.

“I think that was done a little prematurely,” Lockett said. “If it was going to be just one group involved, Bill Lockett would not be involved.”

The two men have opposed and criticized many commission actions for two years. No one had applied as of Wednesday for a permit, which is required in Augusta when groups of more than 50 gather, Richmond County sheriff’s Col. Gary Powell said.