City's board system questioned

Terms expire; service continues

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Augusta has a vast system of at least 29 boards, authorities and commissions whose responsibilities range from governing the city's airports and entertainment venues to financing economic development projects to hearing dog-bite cases.

The most current information on file with the Augusta Commission, however, reveals that nearly 70 appointees' terms have expired, some more than a decade ago. Among the approximately 270 appointees, terms of 40 more expire this week.

According to Commission Clerk Lena Bonner, many of the boards' bylaws specify that a member can continue to serve until a qualified successor is appointed.

Such is the case with the Augusta-Richmond County Coliseum Authority, where all seven members' terms have expired. The terms of Joseph Collier, Shirley Darby and Bonita Jenkins ran out Dec. 31, 2009, and the terms of Louis Harris, David Hogg, Brad Usry and Cedric Johnson expired Dec. 31 of last year.

On the Development Authority of Richmond County, the terms of five of the nine members expired in 2009.

Most of the boards have 12 members, with 10 appointed from a commission district by one or more commissioners and two appointed by Augusta's legislative delegation. Among the approximately 30 board members appointed by the legislators, only six have expired terms.

The unwieldy system has not escaped notice of commissioners, who were presented a list of all board members last week.

Commissioner Jerry Brigham remarked that some of the names "were serving 10 years ago." Commissioner Grady Smith asked whether there was a way to keep attendance at the meetings.

"There are a lot who want to serve," he said.

The grand jury alluded to Augusta's system of boards and committees in a January report on the planning commission and the city's plans to subsume licensing and inspections within planning. While noting that combining activities into a single department could save money, "one area of dysfunction centers on the 20 to 30 economic development boards that exist in the area," a grand jury subcommittee wrote.

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Riverman1
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Riverman1 03/28/11 - 08:56 pm
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Mike...wow...powerful facts.

Mike...wow...powerful facts. I think that's the way to do this. Post the stories with the comments and links. The AC is going to extremes to prevent this from being said it appears. I mean Brad was on the DDA and he is reporting what transpired.

mike71345
75
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mike71345 03/28/11 - 10:00 pm
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Glad to. By the way, I just

Glad to. By the way, I just got this warning from the computer robot at the Chronicle. Strangely, the robot has a personal email at the Chronicle.
"Your recent post has been flagged by another user as a possible violation of the Terms of Service, triggering this automatic notice.
Public blogging, commenting, and other interactive features of the site are provided as a public service to promote constructive conversation in the community. We'd like to encourage you to continue as a member within the framework of the user agreement -- which you approved by creating your account -- and within the spirit of our community goals.
Thanks."

mike71345
75
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mike71345 03/28/11 - 11:19 pm
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Man, I'm saving all Brad's

Man, I'm saving all Brad's comments on the following story right now. The story is two years old–how did I not see it till now? A better question, of course, is why are they yanking his comments today?
http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/2009/05/15/met_524009.shtml

Riverman1
78408
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Riverman1 03/29/11 - 04:56 am
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Mike, that story and comment

Mike, that story and comment must be past the statue of limitations or something. Ha. It is fantastic. The only one I don't agree with was made by ME. I told Brad to calm down and stop making accusations. Boy, was I ever wrong that time. Way to go Brad. Repeating the link here.

http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/2009/05/15/met_524009.shtml

Brad Owens
4097
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Brad Owens 03/29/11 - 09:13 am
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RM1, Thanks, I have much more

RM1,

Thanks, I have much more than that on these bozos. I can expand on all those dirty deals listed and God only knows what they have been up to since me and Andy Cheek left the DDA.

I still say that the bribe deal with the TEE center has these guys smell all over it. No one has looked into who all profited on the TEE and how, and it seems that all has been forgotten huh? Maybe Fry will come clean ion his true motives, but I bet not. Ifhe keeps his mouth closed, and takes the rap, they will reward him when he is done being punished and I bet he gets an ultra-light, almost non-existant punishment.

The fact is, if there is this much rotten corruption on the DDA can you just imagine what we would find if we started removing the layers of ALL the boards?

When I was on the DDA everyone thought I was just trying to make waves to get noticed so I could run for office. I screamed at everyone to look into the dirty deals I uncovered, but because these folks were "Pillars" of the community, and I was just a loud mouthed wannabe, everyone gave them the bennie of the doubt.

I was proven right on the Whites Building, the Widows Home, the Haughton School, the sidewalk, The Delaigle House, and now I want to look into King and his wife's activities in the Historic Augusta Board and the Historic Pres Board...lots of grants, tax holidays, and potential for abuse by unethical developers there.

Wait and see what I dig up once I start looking...and I am going to start looking for sure.

Brad

happychimer
15312
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happychimer 03/29/11 - 10:36 am
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Brad go for it!

Brad go for it!

Riverman1
78408
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Riverman1 03/29/11 - 10:51 am
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It's disgusting when you

It's disgusting when you think of the level the corruption reaches. When some of us try to point out improprieties we are met with organized opposition.

It's obvious what went on with the TEE center. The threats to pull out investments and so on. Many of us said it was too dangerous to gamble $100 million on building and it appears we are being proven correct. There has been one statewide convention booked so far and that same convention has been here before using existing facilities.

Plus, the hotel is now on hold with no construction date in sight. They had intended to borrow the money and the banks have backed out. Didn't we try to say the whole concept was suspect? Didn't the Texas A&M professor tell you it wouldn't work? Didn't Fry's attempt to bribe the commissioners say anything? Sigh.

Brad Owens
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Brad Owens 03/29/11 - 10:55 am
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I see more of my comments

I see more of my comments havce been removed again..seems that you cannot mention the Boardmans or King without it being removed...

I can back up anything I put on here with black and white facts.

If I am lying, let them sue me, but I am telling the truth and they know it. I would love to have King have to defend himself on the stand under oath.

Brad Owens
4097
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Brad Owens 03/29/11 - 10:57 am
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RM1, Seems that NO ONE cares.

RM1,

Seems that NO ONE cares. There is not one investigative reporter who will go after these bozos. To close to the boss I guess.

The DDA should be defunded and all of their business deals should be investigated by the Grand Jury.

Brad

Emerydan
10
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Emerydan 03/29/11 - 11:10 am
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Brad, perhaps the Atlanta

Brad, perhaps the Atlanta media will pick up this story. As you know there are no investigative reporters in Augusta (well they do exist, but they are not allowed to do their jobs). The Metro Spirit of 10 years ago would have been all over this story.. until they started doing cover stories on inane things like disc golf.

daphliondawall
0
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daphliondawall 03/29/11 - 11:55 am
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It seems that the DDA is run

It seems that the DDA is run by the good ol' boy/girl system. I'll do something for you, if it benefits me. The Aug Chron is part of that system too.

daphliondawall
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daphliondawall 03/29/11 - 12:00 pm
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Also that poor excuse for a

Also that poor excuse for a lady (chain smoker) (devil with red horns) thats running around downtown she slanders everyone that she doesn't like, sad but true.

Brad Owens
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Brad Owens 03/29/11 - 12:07 pm
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Emerydan, If the IRS or GA

Emerydan,

If the IRS or GA Dept of Revenues ever did an audit of these guys and the giverment programs they oversee, it would be a shocker for all involved I am sure.

The funny part is, they don't think they are doing anything wrong. They think that this is how things are supposed to work.

It is 'sefl-help' in their opinion and they feel that since they are doing something "good" for the community that they should be able to help them selves to our monies and get all the breaks.

The fact is, they really don't see how corrupt and unethical their behavior is, because they have a warped set of values in the first place.

The thing I can't understand is how folks can sit back and watch but not get involved. There is one little rotten cabal who runs it all and seems to get away with everything.

That is why I gave up, no one cared and everyone sioad that since these guys did so much 'good' for the community, that they should be given passes on this stuff.

The rot goes to the core,

Brad

Lori Davis
737
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Lori Davis 03/29/11 - 12:48 pm
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Johnny Edwards would be the

Johnny Edwards would be the perfect reporter. He is working for the Atlanta Journal/Constitution, whichever it is now. I imagine he left the Chronicle because he couldn't report what he wanted to. The Metro Spirit will be up and running again in a couple of weeks. Maybe they will take some of these issues on.

Also, I agree with Brad when he speaks of giving up. This would be easy to do and believe me, I know. I am going to continue the fight for those of us in Augusta who are being affected by all of this mess on a daily basis.

Brad Owens
4097
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Brad Owens 03/29/11 - 01:15 pm
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Lori, I obviously still care,

Lori,

I obviously still care, but I moved on to a different part of my life. Augusta politics is a cess pool and I got tired of wallowing in the filth myself.

All of the things I have posted are facts. I was blocked form getting information that I needed to make good votes on the DDA. I was blocked because they don't want the people to know about thier inside deals and corrupt members.

I though to myself, 'If this is the level of corruption on the lowest possible political office, a local appointed board, what would we find the higher we go?'

Besides, I broke the golden rule in Augusta, 'Thou shall not speak ill of a Boardman'...the mayor, whom I campaigned for, didn't even let me speak at the vote when I was removed from the DDA, he is cousins by marriage to the Boardmans.

And even my life long freind from high school, Joe Bowels, voted against me for reappointment to the DDA.

I guess I am just a trouble maker and they wanted me out.

Brad

Riverman1
78408
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Riverman1 03/29/11 - 02:10 pm
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The pessimistic mood we're

The pessimistic mood we're all in today about the corruption, all we need is for Countyman to show up and tell us how great things are. Heh, heh, heh.

Emerydan
10
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Emerydan 03/29/11 - 02:12 pm
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countryman would find a way

countryman would find a way to paint a smile on a turd and tell us it smells like potpourri

Brad Owens
4097
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Brad Owens 03/29/11 - 02:41 pm
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Countryman works for Barry

Countryman works for Barry White at the CVB I think..

Emerydan
10
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Emerydan 03/29/11 - 03:33 pm
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that's a scary thought, Brad

that's a scary thought, Brad

Lori Davis
737
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Lori Davis 03/29/11 - 04:44 pm
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Brad, I am branded as a

Brad, I am branded as a troublemaker too and I agree,"They," don't like it. Hopefully we can get more people to feel like we do and get involved. Upsetting the status quo drives, "Them," bonkers. Keep telling what you know, and I will continue to work in a couple of areas to eventually expose a few things I have been talking about for three years.

happychimer
15312
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happychimer 03/29/11 - 05:19 pm
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Lori I hope you and Brad find

Lori I hope you and Brad find all the dirt. I hate fraud and dishonesty.

Brad Owens
4097
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Brad Owens 03/30/11 - 01:39 am
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It os theere, and there is

It os theere, and there is PILES of it..

Greed, deception, and abuse of power..

http://forums.augusta.com/index.php?sid=fb9362aa57db4667ec8244b4979a310f

Brad Owens
4097
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Brad Owens 03/30/11 - 05:57 am
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Here is story about how they

Here is story about how they revoted this without KIng taking part after I filed a complaint.

http://www.wrdw.com/home/headlines/2484206.html

King felt that despite his DIRECT finacial involvment in the entire process and project, that he did nothing wrong. Yeah, RIGHT!

Brad Owens
4097
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Brad Owens 03/30/11 - 06:04 am
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More

More rot...

http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/2006/03/11/bus_68852.shtml

This is the story about my complaint, that was NEVER heard by the commission I might add, also, if there was not a conflict, why did King end part of his contract with Hodges?

The building was sold to Hodges by King and as a bonus King arranged this $50K grant of tax monies for her sidewalk in front of the property.

Money DID change hands when the building was sold and he was being paid by her at the time to refurb the building, so to say no money was changing hands was a Bill Clintonism splitting of hairs.

This was right before I asked for a copy of the loan agreement for Boardman..shortly after I not King was removed.

Funny how that works in Augusta huh?

Brad

Brad Owens
4097
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Brad Owens 03/30/11 - 06:09 am
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Here is an idea I floated

Here is an idea I floated that would have been a correct type of project our (the DDA's) SPLOST should have been spent on..

It did not even get a hearing by the baord because it was my idea..

http://www.metrospirit.com/index.php?cat=121304064644348&z_Issue_ID=1100...

Seems that since no big name developer was going to make a bunch of money off of it that is was a bad idea.

Just go ask the Davenports about how the lower end of Broad is ignored..

Brad

Brad Owens
4097
Points
Brad Owens 03/30/11 - 06:13 am
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Defund the DDA and all

Defund the DDA and all non-producing boards. The DDA and many other boards have had the same people doing nothing on the same boards for many years.

That should change and they need to do away with many of these baords or defund them.

The DDA has been busy trying to take over parking downtiown to give it a reason to exisit beyond providing a few very overpaid underacheivers with a job.

Just look at how they ignore the NEEDS of our downtown (lower end for certain) while trying to expand towards MCG as fast as they can.

If the commission looked into all of the boards the way I did the DDA I am sure we would find much rot.

But they don't want the rot to be shown in the lightn of day, they don't want anyone to even notice.

Brad

Brad Owens
4097
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Brad Owens 03/30/11 - 06:15 am
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What ever became of this? Did

What ever became of this?

Did the full commission vote to approve this twice and make it so?

http://chronicle.augusta.com/news/government/2010-09-28/panel-oks-shift-...

Seems all has been quiet on the DDA parking front..but make no mistake, they are working hard to get this reveune source secure so they can do what they please without worries over the commission.

Brad

Brad Owens
4097
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Brad Owens 03/30/11 - 06:21 am
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Here is my comments about

Here is my comments about expanding the powers of the DDA board. I think that debates like this are exactly what must be done to see if boards, like the article is talking about, should be allowed to take on more duties when it is outside their charters and a duty of the commission or sheriff itself.

We need to be defunding and cutting these boards, not allowing them to expand and grow while hurting business they are supposed to be helping grow.

-------------

This is a mistake, for all parties including the DDA. And I don't care if the Sheriff likes it or not, the DDA is NOT the right way to do it.

The commission could create a parking authority and set them up with specific guidelins and rules. Don Grantham is on the right track with sending it to the Magistrate Court. He is also RIGHT about the construction too.

Being that there will be massive parking obstructions for the next year and a half there should be RELAXED parking enforcement.

I see now that the deal has been cut, this is going to happen. If Sheriff Strength has signed off on it he must look at this as a way to get this off his back.

The DDA should not be trusted with something as possibly damaging as this. The MAJORITY of EVERYONE downtown is against this. I suggest that the business owners show up at the Commission meeting and demand to be heard. This will not stop any other way. If they don't speak up no, and loudly, this will pass and you will never be able to go back.

I give up, just name Maggie Wooard the Queen of downtown, and make Paul King the 'Sheriff' and give it to them once and for all.

Brad

P.S. Maggie is making a BIG mistake as well. She has so far been a receiver of funds, now she will be a generator of funds. The commission really doesn't care what you do with the money they gove you but when you are supposed to be MAKING money and putting it in the pot you are setting yourself up for MUY scrutiny.

The DDA is opening a can of worms for themselves, it is called ACCOUNTABILITY and they have never had that before. However they have an ace in the hole, they DON'T answer to the Commission. Just ask their attorney and he will tell you that they were created by the State of Georgia and hence doesn't have to follow ANY ethical guidlines that the County has in place. THAT should be changed if they are given this authority. Joe, you listening?

Oh, and just wait till the Sheriff's, Commissioner's, and major political supporters, personal freinds and backers get tickets and see what happens. I guess they will just pay it huh?

B.O.

Brad Owens
4097
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Brad Owens 03/30/11 - 06:35 am
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Here is more reason to take

Here is more reason to take funds away from the DDA, I am sure "mission creep" has bloated the budgets of many of the boards in RC, a full audit and reduction should be doen by the commission...

---------------

naycan,

Not exactly. The DDA did not start Main Street and it did not have it as a part until it was combined in 1996 (if my memory is correct). County Admin Randy Oliver said that the county could not give Main Street its stipend because it was pretty much a private org.

So, the DDA, which did NOT have a budget at the time, was named as a way to continue helping Main Street (who had a Director named Allison Mays) by putting them together and creating a ED position.

The first ED was a young guy right out of UGA and stayed about a year I think and the budget was left in place with the DDA meant to be a pass through to Main Street (not in control of I might add).

Jerry Brigham got $800,000.00 in SPLOST reprogrammed for the DDA so that they could purchase property and get into the 'development' business but they sat on the money for years.

Jump forward ten years, the DDA was dominated by Paul 'Sidewalk' King and his cabal. They decided to defund First Friday so they could redirect the money to things THEY wanted. Main Street was disbanded with an illegal vote because it was NOT in accordance with its own bylaws. I was in that fight and nobody cared what they did to Main Street.

The DDA just wanted to keep the $40,000.00 out of the $200,000.00 it got per year from the county. It was because Paul King tried to get something through Main Street and Hal Hood and the board refused to do it.

Main Street was pretty much FORCED to hire Paul King's company to design and deliver a new 'logo' and web site for downtown. I think they paid $2700.00 for the website that was never delivered. This is all fact and in the public record.

When Hal Hood and I united to fight the DDA they forced Hall Hood out using Laura Plochea on the board to do it. Hal and I had proposed using the $3,000,000.00 in SPLOST Streetscape monies that we (Hal really) found which had never been spent. We asked that it be used to install additional security lighting on Broad and also for a plethora of needed upgrades and refurbishments on parks and sidewalks downtown.

Maggie Woodard went to the meeting with the full commission in which she said that this money was to spent on ADA sidewalk changes, but in fact it was spent on a study to see what in under the sidewalks. They claimed that they needed this money for the study because it was needed to unlock a gazillion dollars in fed grants...that never happened.

Our plan had refurbishments and upgrades on EVERY block from 5th to 15th yet Fred Russell backed Maggie. I was PROMISED by Freed that he would find the money for our Main Street projects.

They included a complete upgrade of lights on Broad, refurbishment of Centennial Park, all the sunken lights that shine up on the trees in the sunken parking decks refurbished, repairs on all the fountains and brick work on every corner, broken sidewalk repairs, brick boxes around the tree trunks along Broad that didn’t have benches (also in the plan), additional trash cans every 50 feet or so (we even coordinated with waste management to make additional pickups), repainting of parking places every six months for a year, and benches (half circle ones) on every other tree down Broad.

The commission supported us, we presented our ideas for the long forgotten monies in front of the full commission and it was only when Fred spoke up and said he had some of the money promised out that we were asked to meet and sort out the monies and divide it up. Fred was supposed to come back and we were supposed to get some of our needs on the list met.

But it never happened. Fred promised me that the trash cans and benches would be done if Hal and I signed off on allowing the money to be spent on all these ‘studies’ for ADA. He never kept his promise, it has never happened and still hasn’t to this day.

I never met with Fred after that again and I stopped being active in any way. I gave up on trying to help these bozos make progress after that and the being voted off the DDA for speaking up for what is right. They are glad I am gone and my only connection is posting here these days. Fred is a lot of things but I never figured he would lie to me, especially given how hard Hal and I worked to find thins money and find good NEEDS that met SPLOST funding requirements.

I guess one giverment employee to another, all things are equal.

But still downtown suffers and is underfunded.

Sorry for the long post, but the DDA has a budget because of Main Street, not the other way around.

Brad

Brad Owens
4097
Points
Brad Owens 03/30/11 - 07:15 am
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The Downtown Advisory Panel

The Downtown Advisory Panel (DAP) was all vol and had no budget, yet we got lots of things done. Where has it gone?

http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/2006/10/12/met_100167.shtml

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