City Ink: Fumbles aplenty in Augusta’s Stupor Bowl

 

The Augusta Commission’s Stupor Bowl kicks off today at the old Regency Mall site, which has been transformed into a stadium fit for a king.

There’s tons of parking, concession stands serving Sconyers Bar-B-Que, state-of-the-art scoreboards, TV monitors and no hope of ever getting a professional team to play there.

After searching far and wide for a permanent team with no success, commissioners decided to create their own team – the Augusta Zebras – so named because no two of them are alike. They challenged the Columbia County Commission Double Crossers, so named because they’ve been accused of double-crossing the builders, the residents and Pam Tucker.

Since there will be 10 commissioners and a mayor on the home team’s sidelines and only four commissioners and a chairman on the visitors’ sidelines, Columbia County was allowed to supplement its team with able-bodied board of education and staff members.

The first issue the Augusta team had to tackle was who’d be quarterback, because they all thought they should run the show. In Columbia County, that wasn’t an issue. Everybody knew Chairman Ron Cross was going to be calling the plays.

After a three-hour huddle, the Augusta team voted to let the mayor be the quarterback because he’s so good at calling audibles.

He could have been the timekeeper, but they were afraid he’d run the clock out and say the game was over if he didn’t like the way things were going.

Commissioner Marion Williams will play wide receiver since he’s always way out there anyway. Commissioner Sean Frantom will be the center because he always wants to be in the center of everything.

They tried to find Commissioner Sammie Sias a position where he won’t get hurt because they know if he does, Gold Cross EMS will take forever getting there because he’s working so hard to put them out of business. So they made him the coach.

They were going to make Commissioner Grady Smith a tight end but heard he’d stopped drinking.

Commissioner Dennis Williams will play both offense and defense because he’s smart enough to read plays and big enough to tackle a running back.

Commissioner Ben Hasan will be a running back because he’s shifty and can change directions in the blink of an eye.

Commissioner Wayne Guilfoyle will kick field goals because that’s the only way he can get his points across.

Commissioner Bill Fennoy will be sidelined with a bad knee from kneeling every time he hears the national anthem.

Commissioner Andrew Jefferson will play defensive lineman because he looks like one.

Player Shortage: Cross wanted to recruit his son-in-law, Mike Sleeper, who allegedly played football for two NFL teams, but the NFL can’t find the paperwork on it.

Commissioner Doug Duncan, who’s running for commission chairman, won’t play because he’s too busy putting up campaign signs. Neither will Commissioner Trey Allen, who is too busy trying to get appointed to another state board.

Commissioner Bill Morris is retiring and doesn’t want to play ball with the boys anymore. And Commissioner Gary Richardson is too busy with his $9.95-a-month unlimited car washing enterprise to play.

The Double Crossers are recruiting Administrator Scott Johnson and his two deputy administrators, but game time might conflict with working on their new consulting firm that was not conceived or talked about on county time.

Sideline Reports: They were going to let former Mayor Deke Copenhaver referee, but he doesn’t like to take sides and was going to be in Hilton Head. So they asked former Coroner Grover Tuten to referee because he’s out of prison, staying at a halfway house, but still has a striped shirt.

They’ll have to watch him during the coin toss, though, because he’s been known to steal pennies off a dead man’s eyes. Sheriffs Richard Roundtree and Clay Whittle will escort him off the field to make sure the coin doesn’t go missing.

If Augusta wins the toss, they plan to kick off, and the mayor, without consulting anybody, will announce he’s going to be the kicker and ask Commissioner Mary Davis to hold the ball. And just like Charlie Brown in Peanuts, every time he tries to kick the ball, Mary moves it, and he misses it and falls flat on his back.

But it doesn’t really matter. The stadium is empty because everybody’s afraid to go to Regency Mall.

It will be televised, though, and some people might watch it at home. A one-minute commercial costs $12. Columbia County bought six commercials saying, “Don’t live in Augusta. Downtown’s not safe.”

The Metro Augusta Chamber of Commerce bought twice that many, saying “Live Downtown and Avoid the Traffic Jams Caused by All Those People Moving out of Richmond County.”

Decisions Decisions Decisions: Augusta’s real Stupor Bowl took place at the Marble Palace during three hours and 44 minutes of committee meetings.

The public safety committee received an $11,000 check from Fix Georgia Pets to Augusta Animal Services for spaying and neutering pit bulls and bully breed dogs. Animal Services had raised $11,000 to meet the matching grant.

The public services committee approved placing an “Art Cart” beside the public defender’s office on Greene Street, proclaimed Augusta a Purple Heart City, approved a master plan for the Lock and Dam, voted to upgrade the James Brown exhibit at Augusta Regional Airport, and decided to recraft the city’s new litter ordinance which Sias said isn’t working. They talked so long about the litter ordinance that Guilfoyle said they needed to hurry up so they could go home.

“Go home?” Mary Davis said in surprise since Guilfoyle’s committee was only the first of five.

“Four hours from now we will,” he said.

The engineering services committee talked about raising the fee for cutting vacant lots from $70 an hour to $300 an hour. Nobody present knew how many owners were paying the city for their lots being cut now.

“If they’re not paying now, if they increase the fee, more won’t pay. … Let’s kind of think this thing through,” Hasan said.

As a prelude to discussing Fennoy’s request to rename Calhoun Expressway to the Trump-Calhoun Expressway, Fennoy asked Clerk Lena Bonner to read a letter to the mayor and commissioners from John Hayes, who urged them to reconsider Fennoy’s earlier request to rename the road, as the Calhoun name says to people coming to Augusta, “Welcome to the Old South, the South of slavery and secession.”

Fennoy said he believed that if Calhoun were alive today, President Trump would have chosen him as a running mate..

“I believe that the ‘one Augusta’ our mayor talks about actually exists,” he said. “And that’s why I have it on the agenda.”

It couldn’t have anything to do with that huge chip on your shoulder, could it?

Another thing Fennoy had on the agenda and on his mind in his constant search for ways to save the taxpayers money was how much money is available for commission travel.

The city pays $32,000 a year in dues to the Georgia Municipal Association; $15,000 a year to ACCG; $4,000 to NaCo; and $11,000 to the National League of Cities.

Fennoy says that if they’re going to be members, there ought to be money available for them to attend.

“If you don’t go, you won’t grow,” said Marion Williams.

 

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