14 candidates qualify for Augusta Commission election

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Fourteen candidates set their sights on five Augusta Com­mission seats during last week’s qualifying for May 20 elections.

Only District 8 Com­mis­sioner Wayne Guil­foyle escaped opposition. The elections in districts 2 and 10 garnered two candidates each, while the District 4 race drew four candidates.

The District 6 race to replace two-term Commis­sion­er Joe Jackson, who is term-limited, attracted five candidates, including a former Republican Party official from the Alleluia Community, Bob Finnegan, and newspaper publisher and activist Ben Hasan.

Also signing up to run in the “swing” district, where blacks and whites are almost evenly distributed, were pastor and radio personality Angela Harden and longtime county government employee Roger Garvin.

If no candidate in a race garners more than 50 percent of votes May 20, a runoff will be held July 22.

One-term Super District 10 Commis­sioner Grady Smith will defend against a single challenger, attorney Bran­don Dial.

In District 2, longtime former NAACP branch Presi­dent Dennis Williams faces Cleveland Garrison, a businessman and one of five pastors seeking local elected office May 20.

Longtime neighborhood activist Sammie Sias is running again for the District 4 seat held by Al­vin Mason, who is running for mayor.

Sias faces the Rev. Melvin Ivey, a member of the activist group the Baptist Minis­ters Con­ference of Augusta; former Wrens Councilwoman Tomasenia Jackson; and Gwen Watts, a college instructor and small businesswoman.

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nocnoc
46914
Points
nocnoc 03/09/14 - 09:17 pm
1
0
Wanye did not "Escape opposition"

There never was a viable opponent with a bats chance.

Wayne is too respected out here in our District.

Any challenger would need the proverbial Duck Photo as Jay Mann use to say during elections.

Butterman
3696
Points
Butterman 03/10/14 - 06:10 am
2
0
Dist 8
Unpublished

Deserves what they get.. another puppet of the downtown cabal

jwilliams
1019
Points
jwilliams 03/10/14 - 06:34 am
3
0
If all of the Pastors running

If all of the Pastors running for local office win, they can join Rev. Marion Williams down at the commission chambers and alternate presenting sermons.

dichotomy
36059
Points
dichotomy 03/10/14 - 12:06 pm
1
0
I sure hope ALL of them

I sure hope ALL of them pastors ain't got churches they want to sell the city for 10 times what they are worth. Maybe that is why we've got some many pastors running. They saw what Marion pulled and got away with.

Butterman
3696
Points
Butterman 03/10/14 - 12:45 pm
0
0
Wayne
Unpublished

Voted for SPLOST 7 including all the pork to outside groups.
Voted for TEE Center
Voted for Rain Tax
Is a big fan of Matt Kwatinetz and all his pie in the sky projects downtown like The Mills and Jazz Club.

edcushman
7930
Points
edcushman 03/10/14 - 03:02 pm
1
0
must be a lot of $$ in being
Unpublished

must be a lot of $$ in being a commissioner?

Butterman
3696
Points
Butterman 03/10/14 - 03:37 pm
0
0
edcushman
Unpublished

Makes you wonder, eh. The pay for being a commissioner is pretty low, but I imagine they get compensated in other ways.

mdial
6
Points
mdial 03/11/14 - 02:08 pm
0
0
Brandon Dial for Commissioner, District 10

Why I am voting against SPLOST VII

On May 20th, the voters of Augusta-Richmond County will be asked to vote up or down on a $194,314,000.00 Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) package. I am voting against SPLOST VII. Here's why:

First, I believe the tax package is too unwieldy; unnecessarily transfers public dollars to private entities; and lacks sufficient funding for infrastructure. The original purpose of the SPLOST law, as enacted by the Georgia General Assembly in 1985, was to provide a sales tax mechanism for counties to finance capital expenditures. With each new SPLOST package, we (the voters) are asked to redefine capital expenditures to include fewer and fewer dollars for infrastructure and larger and larger sums for private groups.

I am not opposed to the theory behind the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax or many of the allocations contained in SPLOST VII, but I cannot in good conscience vote for a tax plan that includes $21,775,000.00 for outside agencies.

For example, it defies logic, for taxpayers to be asked to invest more money in the Mills District proposal. This time, the Augusta Regional Collaborative Project is asking for another $5,250,000.00 for a project that Augusta State and the Medical College of Georgia (now GRU) have shown zero interest in so far.

Why not reallocate that $5,250,000.00 back to investments in roads and bridges in South Richmond County and drainage improvements in West Augusta?

I am not opposed to the arts and our great theaters and museums, but I am opposed to transferring public dollars to these private entities, especially when the private entities have expressed little to no interest in the money.

Had the Commission removed the nearly $22 million requested by outside agencies, I am sure there would be little to no opposition to the package. As your Super District 10 Commissioner, I will support future SPLOST packages that are clean. That is, packages that include revenue for infrastructure without allocations to outside agencies.

Next, the SPLOST package was pieced together in a little over a month to meet the swift deadlines required to place the matter on the May 20th ballot. That month included a snowstorm, an ice storm, and even two earthquakes! The quick cobbling together of the package followed Commission work sessions that were sparsely attended not only by the public, but also by members of the Commission. As a result, the voters are left with a $194,314,000.00 package in which they had minimal direct and indirect input. Unfortunately, voters were not given an adequate opportunity to attend meetings, discuss potential allocations, and lobby their Commissioners on the size and scope of the package.

Lastly, there was an unnecessary rush to put SPLOST VII on the May 20th ballot. The current SPLOST, version VI, will not expire until early 2016. As a result, the new Commission and the new Mayor will have an ample opportunity to craft a new proposal after entering into a meaningful dialogue with county voters on the size and individual items to be included in the package.

While I personally will be voting against SPLOST VII, I urge all residents of Augusta-Richmond County to review the package, follow the news, communicate with your elected officials, and make an informed decision on your own.

As the campaign progresses, I hope to hear from you. Please feel free to contact me at dialdistrict10@gmail.com or by calling 706-833-7490.

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