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Aitken a no-show at two forums Monday

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District 1 commission candidate Matt Aitken was a no-show for two candidate forums Monday night -- one at Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Harrisburg, another at Eastview Community Center in East Augusta.

They were the first two forums since the Nov. 3 general election, in which four candidates vying for Betty Beard's commission seat were whittled down to Mr. Aitken, the first-place finisher with 40 percent, and Bill Fennoy, who came in second with 32 percent. The two face off in a runoff Dec. 1.

At both forums, organizers said Mr. Aitken had declined invitations, saying he would only take part in a "meet and greet."

Reached by phone, Mr. Aitken said he had to work Monday night and couldn't have made either forum but that, regardless, he won't be taking part in any more debates.

"I don't think it would be productive," he said. "We have a city that's hurting, and I need to move forward with my campaign."

At Eastview, the meeting briefly became a symposium on the need for a black commissioner to represent a district that's 65 percent black. If Mr. Aitken wins Dec. 1, the commission's 5-5 racial balance will be tipped to 6-4 in favor of whites.

Another forum is scheduled for 7 p.m. today at the Lucy Craft Laney Museum.

Reach Johnny Edwards at (706) 823-3225 or johnny.edwards@augustachronicle.com.

Comments (36) Add comment
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Asitisinaug
3
Points
Asitisinaug 11/17/09 - 02:21 am
0
0
We have a city that's hurting

We have a city that's hurting and therefore not showing up at a debate to possibly win over votes isn't in the best interest of the city? Although I do think of the two, you are the best choice for the office, it is simply wrong not to make time for these forums and shows you may not make time for us as a leader in our city. I strongly suggest you show up at Lucy Laney tonight and prove the naysayers wrong otherwise you really don't deserve the office of commissoner. If you wish to represent the people, then you better be listening to the people, even if you don't like what they have to say because if you can't handle in when running for office you will never make it if you are in office. And, save the excuses, they are a waste of time. And, if you are doing this because of some political consultant, then you are further showing you will play politics vs. being a true representative of the people. Again, of the two, you are the best but you need to prove it to us each and every day and if you aren't willing to do that 100% prior to the election then you sure wont be there for us if elected and we have enough of that already.

omnomnom
3964
Points
omnomnom 11/17/09 - 03:33 am
0
0
write 'em both off, write-in

write 'em both off, write-in Butch Palmer.

Riverman1
93233
Points
Riverman1 11/17/09 - 05:09 am
0
0
Yep, Deke, the Boardman's and

Yep, Deke, the Boardman's and Billy Morris made a big mistake by backing the wrong candidate to accomplish their goal.

TrukinRanger
1748
Points
TrukinRanger 11/17/09 - 06:10 am
0
0
Campaigning season should be
Unpublished

Campaigning season should be over.. by now everyone should have already made up their mind on who they're giving their vote to.

Notreally
4
Points
Notreally 11/17/09 - 06:47 am
0
0
LOL again those two places

LOL again those two places are in the black community so he wasn't coming from the beginning. Now had that been first baptist, or somewhere else, he would have probably gotten off work early in time enough to attend. So if I was (which I wasn't) going to vote for him he lost it with this move. Let's go Fennoy, use this to your advantage.

ColCo
919
Points
ColCo 11/17/09 - 07:13 am
0
0
"I had to work"... that

"I had to work"... that phrase is pretty easy to understand. For those that say only a black person can represent the district, how can you justify the United States having a black President?

halffull
0
Points
halffull 11/17/09 - 07:52 am
0
0
The is not a new pattern for

The is not a new pattern for Aitken, he did the same during the election. It's an effort to avoid the questions from the very folk he plans on representing. If he doesn't have time for those folk now he surely won't have time if he is elected. Or maybe he is confident and cocky like another politician named Charles Walker who took his constituents for granted and would not show up or debate. "I don't think it would be productive," what a political revelation of a person who wants to represent Black people but don't think interacting with them (except the 'chosen' few) would be productive.

ONLY THE TRUTH
2
Points
ONLY THE TRUTH 11/17/09 - 07:56 am
0
0
Black people don't understand

Black people don't understand the concept of having to work?????? Imagine that.....

Lorraine
145
Points
Lorraine 11/17/09 - 08:32 am
0
0
Campaigning season is over?

Campaigning season is over? Just a worthless comment or excuse. Just maybe there are those who have not yet made up their minds..

Notreally
4
Points
Notreally 11/17/09 - 08:38 am
0
0
ONLY THE TRUTH I wonder how

ONLY THE TRUTH I wonder how many white people don't understand that concept as well, for that matter Asians, Latinos etc. GET REAL. Like white people are the only ones who work imagine that.

Notreally
4
Points
Notreally 11/17/09 - 08:40 am
0
0
Oh and what about the people

Oh and what about the people who was there WORKED that day and showed up, ever think about that ONLY THE TRUTH? Imagine that.

InChristLove
22485
Points
InChristLove 11/17/09 - 09:32 am
0
0
What is it with the

What is it with the commission having to be racially balanced? Shouldn't the commission be represented by 10 men/women who represent their district, whether it's prodominantly black or white. Geez, this racial stuff is getting old quick. I don't care whether my commissioner is black or white so long as he or she represents my district to the best of his/her ability and what is in the best interest of the district.

joebowles
104
Points
joebowles 11/17/09 - 09:59 am
0
0
The fact here is that many

The fact here is that many organizations hold a forum solely to try and legitimize themselves. What in the world do you have 2 in one day for???????????????????????? Much less two in one week??

Notreally
4
Points
Notreally 11/17/09 - 10:04 am
0
0
So you saying joebowles you

So you saying joebowles you wouldn't attend a scheduled forum if it was two a week or two a day?

joebowles
104
Points
joebowles 11/17/09 - 10:40 am
0
0
What I am saying is how many

What I am saying is how many times do you need to hear the same questions and answers. How can you call it a scheduled forum and it's not scheduled with the candidates???

Notreally
4
Points
Notreally 11/17/09 - 10:51 am
0
0
So you saying the man didn't

So you saying the man didn't know anything about either forum, if that's the case why is this news? He had to have known for it to make news. I personally don't care and I wasn't there, his actions speaks VOLUMES so I'm going to vote for Fennoy. I don't need somebody representing me HALF HEARTEDLY.

joebowles
104
Points
joebowles 11/17/09 - 10:54 am
0
0
The events are nothing more

The events are nothing more than a show and tell and after a few nothing more than a waste of time!!!!! And yes I know this from being a part of some of them.

bbright1
6
Points
bbright1 11/17/09 - 11:04 am
0
0
Mr. Bowles, I totally

Mr. Bowles, I totally disagree, he was informed; Mr. Aitken called our committee chairman and stated he wanted to do a meet and greet and pay for it, which is not what we had planned for the evening.

On your second point, Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, Inc. is a national organization that provides service to our communities; the program was a part of our Voteless People is a Hopeless People program which began in 1930. We do not have to, as you say hold a forum solely to try and legitimize ourselves, we have been legit since our founding in 1906.

It bothers me that you would say that in that I really thought you were much better than that, especially since the forum was advertized on local radio stations and press releases were sent out, we were unaware of anyone having a forum, our forum, was done as stated earlier as part of our community service endeavors, unlike the folks at good government or others, we do not endorse or recommend who one should vote for, we provide a forum for citizens to ask questions and urge them to vote their conviction, not for the black or white candidate running.

Notreally
4
Points
Notreally 11/17/09 - 11:13 am
0
0
So joebowles you didn't

So joebowles you didn't attend any of your show and tells when you were a first timer? why are they a waste of time now? when you first ran for commissioner did you think like that, or are you so seasoned now politically (locally) you have started to think like that? I would hope you don't think you are so CONCRETE sitting as a commissioner, isn't it a time limit in those positions? Once your time limit is up what then a run for Mayor or something else, wouldn't you have to attend forums then, or will they be a waste of time if you choose to run for higher office?

joebowles
104
Points
joebowles 11/17/09 - 11:17 am
0
0
I didn't state all forums

I didn't state all forums were a waste of time. The fact is that these forums are redundant, and having too many, as is the case this week, does not serve the population because it becomes fragmented. With so many forums it is no longer about the community but about the specific groups. Having several large forums would better serve the community and the candidates. And no I am not saying your group shouldn't be one of those to host, my point is there are way too many. I don't know why you are taking a broad statement as personal as you did and I apologize. There was no indication in the article of who hosted other than the locations.

joebowles
104
Points
joebowles 11/17/09 - 11:19 am
0
0
Notreally, You need to

Notreally, You need to lighten up a little on the coffee!!!!!!!!!

Notreally
4
Points
Notreally 11/17/09 - 11:23 am
0
0
Well again the Augusta

Well again the Augusta commissioner seat is a time LIMITED one, you are in the door for now, but once you term limit is up joebowles you will be needing and attending every forum you can to try and win a higher seat. I hope you remember you stated they are a waste of time.

bbright1
6
Points
bbright1 11/17/09 - 11:42 am
0
0
Mr. Bowles, I thank you for

Mr. Bowles, I thank you for explanation and the apology is accepted, the reason why is, though the statement was a broad one, I knew, we were not out to score any points or fragment the community, our goal is to bring everyone together. The article did not mention the organizations, which it should have. I just pray that the commission and this city stop looking at issues in black and white and look at it in the only color that matters "green" and that we will move forward, hand in hand and side by side, working together for the betterment of everyone, regardless of race, creed or color.

sjgraci
2
Points
sjgraci 11/17/09 - 11:46 am
0
0
o t t = racist

o t t = racist

baronvonreich
1
Points
baronvonreich 11/17/09 - 11:52 am
0
0
These black voters sound a

These black voters sound a bit racist too me. They "need" a black commissioner? Cause Betty Beard has been good for them?

1941
4
Points
1941 11/17/09 - 12:00 pm
0
0
Why are there only ten

Why are there only ten commissioners? In most large cities. they have an odd number. This is the reason this city will never move forward.Common sense, would tell the city to change it to eleven!!!!

justthefacts
24891
Points
justthefacts 11/17/09 - 01:04 pm
0
0
Common sense would say divide

Common sense would say divide the City into East and West.

john
1211
Points
john 11/17/09 - 02:57 pm
0
0
The whole structure is black

The whole structure is black vs. white balance. white mayor and black pro tem and vice versa. There is so much hubub about Aitken altering the balance, I guess if you are a hispanic or asian american who wants to serve the community, you are pretty much screwed.

Doyougetitnow
4
Points
Doyougetitnow 11/17/09 - 04:32 pm
0
0
1941, good question, I've

1941, good question, I've wondered that myself. Maybe the other article in today's paper can answer it. The one about re examining the Consolidation Charter. jtf, like Berlin? Already been tried, didn't work. Interesting observation john. I can't recall any non black or white running for anything around here, but I'm sure there are some that are qualified.

Emerydan
10
Points
Emerydan 11/17/09 - 05:01 pm
0
0
Didn't Aitken make a big deal

Didn't Aitken make a big deal about how he would be able to reach out to the black community.. yet he blows off all of the debates and forums in the black community? I guess he has just written off the black vote. Of course during the regular campaign he also paid no attention to Harrisburg. Now all of a sudden he is for Butch Palmer's Chronic Nuisance Property Ordinance.. when he was against it during the regular campaign. I'm writing in Butch Palmer.. neither of these guys deserve our vote. Make a protest.

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