All anybody is interested in talking about today is the Super Bowl, so that’s what we’ll talk about.
Augusta Mayor Deke Copenhaver is picking the New England Patriots, 31-24. Mayor Pro Tem Joe Bowles likes the New York Giants but thinks the Patriots will win 42-38. Commissioner J.R. Hatney said he didn’t have a clue who’d win but is pulling for the Giants. As for the score, he said he didn’t know because he’s not that “hip” about the game.
Commissioner Wayne Guilfoyle said that since the New Orleans Saints lost, he has no reason to watch the games anymore. Commissioner Grady Smith predicted the Giants would win 28-21.
“I’ve got my eye on Eli (Manning),” he said. “Eli’s coming.”
Tax Commissioner Steven Kendrick said the Giants would win by five or six points because “our hometown guy, Deon Grant, is going to intercept a pass. The other team is going to be driving for a touchdown, and he’s going to stop them.”
Commissioner Matt Aitken wants the Patriots to win because he’s from Massachusetts. He says the score will be 24-20.
Commissioner Corey Johnson is pulling for the Giants because Grant will be playing.
“It will be a close game, decided by three points, 27- 24,” he said.
Commissioner Joe Jackson says, “New England by three, 30-27.”
City Administrator Fred Russell said, “Who’s playing? I’ve been busy trying to find consensus among the commissioners.”
PIE IN THE AIR: To go with the Super Bowl are some Super Ideas.
“I think it’s time for a fell swoop of directors in our government,” Bowles said.
“I’m tired of the tail wagging the dog – we being the dog,” Guilfoyle said. “We’re being left out of the loop. Information is given to us a few days before we’re supposed to vote on it. It’s shocking really to learn about these liens put on the parking deck, and they’ve known about it from day one. Information on a need-to-know basis needs to stop. We need to clean house.”
Another super idea Guilfoyle said he has is for the state Legislature to change the charter to reduce the number of commissioners from 10 to six.
“We’re governed by a faulty document,” he said.
Smith’s super idea is for commissioners to come closer together in their thinking, run the government like a business and quit “pondering” so much about every little thing.
“Like Yogi (Berra) said, ‘If you ever come to a fork in the road, take it.’”
Aitken said his super ideas “fell out” the first year he was elected.
Jackson said a super idea is for commissioners to approve the TEE Center parking deck agreement.
“The same creative deals are being put together across the state,” he said. “You’ve got a bunch of super critics that think we’re not doing what taxpayers want us to do in approving the super deal put together by the super people in our government. And I don’t think our attorney, Jim Plunkett, Paul Simon or the $500-an-hour bonding attorneys would lose their livelihood over some crooked deal.”
Russell said he didn’t know when the next Super Bowl will be available but that between now and then, the city should build a dome to play it in.
“We could buy the air rights for the Golf and Gardens property and build it there,” he said.
STUPOR BOWL I: Augusta commissioners competed in Stupor Bowl I at the city’s new TEE Center on Super Bowl Sunday XLVI. It was supposed to be a Super Bowl, but that was changed right after the first practice when Hatney pulled a hamstring, Bowles sprained his ankle and Jackson came up with shin splints. So they decided to match wits instead, though the winning team seemed like a foregone conclusion considering how Brigham and Smith got snookered into voting for a redistricting map with six majority-black and four majority-white districts.
Parking for the Stupor Bowl was free at the new deck on Reynolds Street, but the city only owns the air, which made tailgating next to impossible. Signs were posted warning everybody that the ground below had liens on it and could be repossessed by the bank at any time, which meant they could be ticketed for trespassing when they tried to leave.
Commissioners were divided into two teams along racial lines, as usual. The team of Johnson, Hatney, Bill Lockett and Alvin Mason was short one player, so they drafted Tax Commissioner Steven Kendrick to even things up.
Bowles, Brigham, Jackson, Smith and Guilfoyle made up the other team. Aitken wasn’t there because he had to work.
Boy King Mayor Deke seemed to be the perfect choice to referee because he doesn’t like to take sides. The first question submitted earlier by a fan was, “Who’s the biggest crook in city government?’
Lockett hit the buzzer first. “Everybody!” he shouted.
“Wrong!” said the mayor-referee. “Next question. What is the city’s greatest need?”
Again, Lockett was quick on the trigger. “A forensic audit!”
“Wrong,” said the mayor-referee. “The correct answer is more new buildings I can cut ribbons for and go into my spiel about how excited I am about how great everything is in Augusta.”
“With all due respect, Mr. Mayor,” Lockett said. “You should have been the head cheerleader. Not the referee.”
“I’m going to let that slide. The score is 0-0, so we’ll go on to the next question. Does the TEE Center parking deck deal stink?”
Brigham hit the buzzer first. “No more than the Laney-Walker/Bethlehem deal. We need a forensic audit on that, too. It’s all part and parcel of the same ‘creative financing.’ Give $37.5 million of tax money for Laney-Walker, and you get your TEE Center.”
“Wrong,” said the mayor-referee. “The Laney-Walker/Bethlehem revitalization is always being praised as a model project. The housing department presented it at the New Partners for Growth Conference in San Diego.”
“Yeah, well, the parking deck just got an award from the American Concrete Institute,” Brigham said.
“OK, let’s move on. What was the most important thing that happened in Augusta last week?”
Smith hit the buzzer first. “Groundhog Day!”
“Wrong. Sales tax revenues were up 2.56 percent. The score is still 0-0. Now, what is the best thing in Augusta?”
Everybody hit the buzzer at the same time. “Me!” they shouted, except for Smith who yelled, “The Augusta National!”
“Wrong again. You’re all wrong. The most important thing in Augusta is me and my prayer breakfasts. If somebody wasn’t praying for this city, there’s no telling where we’d be.”
And so it went all evening until they all got tired of being wrong and left early; whereupon, the mayor-referee breathed a sigh
of relief at not having to break a tie and called Stupor Bowl I a draw.