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District 7 Augusta Commission member starts Web page

Wednesday, Aug 21, 2013 8:29 PM
Last updated Thursday, Aug 22, 2013 10:18 AM
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Don’t call it a “blog.”

Donnie Smith:  SARA CALDWELL/FILE
SARA CALDWELL/FILE
Donnie Smith:

Donnie Smith, the Augusta Commission member for District 7, said that word reminds him of gossip and negativity, which won’t be the focus of Smith’s new Web page, “Donnie’s Corner.”

The commissioner, who is a lieutenant in the Georgia State Patrol, said he wants to give constituents who prefer to communicate online a way to find out what he’s up to and to respond with their comments.

“We are a technology-driven environment now, so people should be able to access their elected officials and our government employees and give them feedback on the way I’m providing them representation,” said Smith, who sought help creating “Donnie’s Corner” from the city information technology department.

His first post, which went live Wednesday, urges civility of discourse, provides his contact information and details his positions on District 7 flooding and the Augusta Municipal Golf Course.

The idea has caught on, and several other commissioners have requested similar pages of their own, according to interim city Web project leader Jeff Lewis.

Smith said the page, found under his name on augustaga.gov, would draw attention to a city department that succeeds.

“We get beat up in the city all the time about our departments that don’t function, but IT is one of the ones that does,” he said.

Increasing engagement between residents and the government is one of the “watchwords” in government IT, and Augusta IT is ready to facilitate the process, according to Michael Blanchard, the assistant director for IT.

“This is a much more open communications method,” Blanchard said. “They can take five minutes while they’re at their job, at the grocery store, type something on their phone.”

Smith is hardly the first Augusta politician to use social media. Long a heavy Facebook user, Mayor Deke Copenhaver switched to Twitter a few months ago and has tweeted more than 2,800 times. His new assistant, Al Dallas, runs two Twitter accounts, and Lewis has served as the mayor’s videographer for his weekly YouTube video.

A few hours after it was posted, Smith’s blog had one comment.

The site is accessible on mobile devices but soon will be more so as the city completes an overhaul of its site, including a new color scheme and more “modules” in which residents can find out what, and how, their local government is doing.

“Citizen engagement is a big part of that,” Blanchard said.

Smith said he hoped his district’s 22 neighborhood associations will use a link to or feed from his page to get news out about District 7.

He said he might not respond to comments immediately but hopes to within a day or so at the most. Negative comments won’t be deleted, but the site requires users to log in to prevent spammers, Blanchard said.

Comments (15) Add comment
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Frank I
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Frank I 08/21/13 - 11:24 pm
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evolution..

It's nice to see someone reaching out. The term "blog" however is no longer just gossip and negativity. It's become a descriptor for legitimate alternative news sources in today's fast paced media world. It is simply an abbreviation of the term we"b log"..

Riverman1
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Riverman1 08/22/13 - 03:33 am
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Welcome to the 21st century

If your point is strong, your vision clear and you have the ability to engage in civil written debates, why not comment right here on the Chronicle stories to get your point across? I kind of take personal the swipe at blogs. Welcome to the 21st century.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 08/22/13 - 03:36 am
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"Hard Drive" Marion Williams' Blog

I want to see Commissioner "Hard Drive" Marion Williams' blog. That would be a hoot.

Austin Rhodes
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Austin Rhodes 08/22/13 - 09:48 am
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A public official would be insane...

...to allow anonymous posters to participate in a city run bulletin board, or comments section.

Blogging is merely one party posting updates and commentary...which is what Donnie Smith would be doing.

Citizens could email him questions if need be...there is zero value in allowing the kind of posts we see here. Zero value for HIM, and his constituents, anyway.

nocnoc
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nocnoc 08/22/13 - 09:48 am
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Given the rules of the Internet

I hope EVERYONE'S page code is tight and encrypted against at least the common the script kiddies.

Hacktivists / Political rivals - Tend to hammer Conservative pages, not Liberal or Democrat pages, as a rule of thumb.

But just the same, I hope all sites are tested for buffer overflow issues.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 08/22/13 - 10:14 am
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Comments On the Chronicle or His Site

The article says he will allow comments. He even says, "Negative comments won’t be deleted..."

A couple of commissioners have engaged very well on the Chronicle message boards. So what is the difference here or there if he is going to leave up negative comments? Here they are monitored for civility.

But my favorite example is Regina Buccafusco telling everyone how much internet comments gave her a bad taste. She said that online. Heh.

Austin Rhodes
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Austin Rhodes 08/22/13 - 10:29 am
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LOL...what is HIS definition...

...of a negative comment?

"GEE Mr. Smith...I don't agree with your stand on the tax issue"...or..."Hey Donnie...was that a French dwarf woman you were kissing on Riverwalk last night?"

RM...you spend more time on these comment boards than anyone I know, and you break the civility rules all the time. MEANING...if you ignore the rules as often as you do, just to be a contrarian...what are real political opponents going to do?

Riverman1
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Riverman1 08/22/13 - 10:30 am
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Austin said, "RM...you spend

Austin said, "RM...you spend more time on these comment boards than anyone I know, and you break the civility rules all the time."

Ha...this coming from you? You get so many comments removed you shouldn't be allowed a regular keyboard with all the letters.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 08/22/13 - 10:33 am
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Austin, so you are saying

Austin, so you are saying Smith will actually edit out uncomfortable comments? That's not what he's saying.

Austin Rhodes
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Austin Rhodes 08/22/13 - 10:37 am
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If that is not his intention now...

...it will be after about 24 hours of what he sees will happen.

Sweet son
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Sweet son 08/22/13 - 12:12 pm
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Love it!

Austin must have gotten a ticket from Smith and had words with Riverman in the past!!

Austin has the most fowl and uncivil mouth around and Beasley Broadcasting should cancel his show.

He loves his show because if you don't agree with him he just cuts you off!

Austin Rhodes
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Austin Rhodes 08/22/13 - 12:56 pm
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Had plenty of words with RM...

...and I consider Donnie a friend. Sweet Son...unless someone gets profane or repetitive, they always get their time. You want to try me? Call in...

Riverman1
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Riverman1 08/22/13 - 05:08 pm
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Had Plenty of Words With Austin

Just to make this clear. I never go after anyone acting civil towards me or others. I have a proven track record with friend and foe. I have found Austin often attacks in ways that call for hard counterpunches. I know the legitimate weak spots and use them as he knows. What really ticks Austin off is the fact Chronicle readers and online commenters are 100 times more influential than those who comment in other places.

burninater
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burninater 08/22/13 - 07:23 pm
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Austin who?

Austin who?

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 08/22/13 - 07:25 pm
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Rhodes’ Show

I’ve called the show several times; usually about Augusta Commission antics. Sometimes we agree and sometimes not. But he always lets me get my point across. If you are civil and clear in what you say, you can even get a debate going, which is much better than just "point taken."

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