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Realtor lashes out at Smartway building talk

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This week, City Ink is going to set the record straight about the illegal cow in Blythe, the real time it took for a sheriff's deputy to respond to a wreck in the Red Lobster parking lot and the real "major donors" responsible for bringing the consultant to Augusta to advise city officials on drawing up a chronic nuisance property ordinance.

And we will talk about various and sundry other ironies and inside baseball, such as Realtor E.G. Meybohm's letter to City Administrator Fred Russell complaining he'd been shafted by Commissioners Joe Bowles and Jerry Brigham during the meeting in which commissioners voted to build a new sheriff's administration building downtown instead of renovating the Smartway furniture store at Southgate Plaza.

"The remarks by Commissioners Brigham and Bowles were erroneous, and I cannot help but be offended by implications that I was seeking to profit from the matter," Meybohm wrote the day after the meeting. "Nothing could be farther from the truth, and I was only involved because of my interest in helping the city."

During that meeting, Bowles said the Smartway property sold May 5, 2008, for $772,000, and he questioned why the city would even consider paying $1.8 million for it.

Brigham objected to allowing Meybohm to rebut some of the figures discussed at that meeting, saying if they were going to start arguing about construction costs they should open it up to other contractors.

Meybohm said he'd been in the real estate business for more than 40 years and had been financially and personally involved in the betterment of the community.

"When I think about all the time, effort and money I have expended to improve our community, I feel my contributions should merit more consideration than I was given at yesterday's meeting," he said.

Well, Mr. Meybohm, I can tell you from having been to hundreds of commission meetings, commissioners are like newspaper editors. They only want to know, "What have you done for me lately?"

A GROWING PROBLEM: Augusta Tree Commission Chairman Leroy Simkins spoke to commissioners about city employees committing crape murder and butchery on Riverwalk Augusta, chain-saw massacres on ancient oaks, camellia carnage in Summerville and other arboricultural atrocities. He said every great city in the country has "a serious tree program, a serious tree commission and at least one department that is primarily concerned with what the city looks like."

"I've had the good fortune of visiting a number of countries, even Third World countries," he said. "And I can tell you gentlemen, the tree program in Windhoek, Namibia, is better than the one in Augusta, Ga."

That was Monday. On Thursday, the mayor's office issued a news release saying Augusta has been recognized by the nonprofit Arbor Day Foundation as a Tree City USA community for the 22nd year.

Maybe the Arbor Day Foundation folks are like those at Forbes magazine who ranked Augusta, with its 9.2 percent unemployment rate, as the 23rd-strongest metro area in the nation. They make you wonder whether they've ever been here, or been here lately anyway.

THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL: In an item slugged "Maybe It Was 45 Minutes for a Takeout" last week, City Ink related a vignette from the commission meeting attended by Sheriff Ronnie Strength in which Commissioner J.R. Hatney said he didn't want the sheriff to think he was "being funny" but that he remembered a wreck in the Red Lobster "yard" about a year and a half ago that "took 45 minutes to get police."

I thought that sounded a little fishy, so I asked the sheriff for a list of wrecks on the Red Lobster lot and at the adjacent intersection of Walton Way and Gordon Highway the past two years.

As it turns out, there were 62 wrecks at those locations, and the maximum time it took for a patrol car to arrive was 20 minutes.

NO LIMIT TO WHAT YOU CAN ACCOMPLISH IF YOU DON'T CARE WHO GETS THE CREDIT: A ranter called The Chronicle to complain that I hadn't done my research when I wrote in last week's column that Clay Boardman, Pete Caye and Barry Storey were major donors who helped pay the $7,500 cost of bringing John Campbell of Campbell DeLong Resources Inc. to Augusta to talk about creating a chronic nuisance property ordinance. He said three "concerned citizens" had donated individually more than those three combined.

"There is no doubt these men are interested in helping, but to say they were major donors is to belittle the efforts of so many 'average people' who want things to change," the ranter ranted.

Belittle the efforts of so many average people? Please.

What happened is that during one of Campbell's sessions, Butch Palmer, an active member of the Harrisburg Neighborhood Association, said the three men were "major donors." I concluded that must be the case when Campbell met privately with Boardman, Caye and Storey in the final session of the two-day event. I mean, Butch ought to know.

Then after Friday's meeting of the city's committee formed to work on a chronic nuisance property ordinance, I told Harrisburg Neighborhood Association member Lori Davis about the complaint, and she said her husband was the one who made it. She said they were very angry because they and Palmer were chief donors, not Boardman, Caye and Storey.

I said Butch told me they were, and she said she knew that, but that I shouldn't listen to him. Bowles, the chairman of the ordinance committee, agreed.

"Only listen to Butch about your makeup and hairdos," he said.

"That's right," said Butch, who calls himself a "recovering hairdresser."

A COW AND BULL STORY: Last week, I told you I'd be milking a story about the city of Blythe's efforts to get a cow out of town. As it turns out, the cow is actually something quite different, though certified letters from the city to owner Betty Saxon of Piney Grove Road stated she was in violation of the city's zoning ordinance because she had not removed a cow and goat from her property in a residential district.

The city and planning commission have been trying since August to get Saxon to remove the cow -- and the goat, too, until it died -- but she keeps missing deadlines. The cow supposedly is being used for therapy for Saxon's son, Lemuel James Chester.

Mayor Pat Cole asked city attorney Chris Dube to check to see whether any type of variance could be applied for if, in essence, the doctor wrote Chester a prescription for a therapy cow, but he couldn't find one. So at least one of Saxon's neighbors will ask the planning commission to change the zoning ordinance during Tuesday's planning commission meeting at Blythe City Hall.

When I heard the cow wasn't what it was purported to be, I called City Clerk Loriann Chancey, who had previously said it was a cow, to ask her what was up, and she said as far as she knew it was a "bull-cow."

"A bull-cow?" I said with a laugh. "I didn't know there was such a thing."

"I haven't inspected him, so I don't know, but I believe it is a bull-cow," she said.

Well, there goes the warm-milk-makes-you-feel-better defense they could have used at an ADA hearing.

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jb1234
0
Points
jb1234 02/28/10 - 12:06 am
0
0
Oh Sylvia, you gave me a good

Oh Sylvia, you gave me a good couple of laughs out of this weeks column, thanks :)

Bagh LaDee
0
Points
Bagh LaDee 02/28/10 - 02:59 am
0
0
I know EB, I will calm him

I know EB, I will calm him down. As for Butch, Emerydan will not be happy about this:

"Only listen to Butch about your makeup and hairdos," he said.

charliemanson
1
Points
charliemanson 02/28/10 - 04:47 am
0
0
Take it easy on Betty Saxon.

Take it easy on Betty Saxon. She does alot for the disabled in the CSRA.

Brad Owens
4906
Points
Brad Owens 02/28/10 - 04:33 am
0
0
Good column, I noticed that

Good column,

I noticed that Meybohm did not address the massive increase of sale price that happened in one year. For the value to have risen 115% in one year, there MUST have been massive renovations done right? Well, just go and see what 'permits' were pulled for the building in that time and see what work was done. I bet it wasn't $800,000.00 or so which is how much you would have to do at a minimum to advance the price so far so fast.

Thanks for correcting the mistake about who paid for the ticket. The Boardman's get enough positive press for the things they REALLY do without assigning credit that isn't owed.

I like that Lori Davis, she should run for something. And kudos to Palmer for assigning credit somewhere else, but Mrs. Davis is pretty funny in her comments I must say.

Brad

P.S. I'm not trying to be funny, but that useless waste of space on the commission, Hatney owes the Sheriff a public apology for repeating an untrue rumor. Either that, or he needs to be taught how to tell time.

charliemanson
1
Points
charliemanson 02/28/10 - 04:42 am
0
0
Concerning Forbes magazine,

Concerning Forbes magazine, this was the same magazine that was recommending Charter Communications - a company that had never made a profit in its 10 years of existence - as a great stock buy in 2008. And yes, Charter Communications did go bankrupt in 2009.

deekster
24
Points
deekster 02/28/10 - 07:12 am
0
0
Paid advertisement. Look at

Paid advertisement. Look at the magazines that rate automobiles "car of the year". The mag is either paid or the mag is owned by the respective car manufacturer. The "National Inquirer" is more objective.

justus4
113
Points
justus4 02/28/10 - 07:16 am
0
0
The writer stated "I thought
Unpublished

The writer stated "I thought that sounded a little fishy" concering a statement a minority commissioner made about a response time to a location. Why did the writer think it sounded fishy? That further demonstrates my impeccable observations that anything uttered, whispered, said, or even thought about coming from a person of color will become fodder for the AWM. And the realtor's statement about being "only interest in the city" in my view, sounds "fishy" because why would the honest commissioners misrepresent his agency? Now there is a story, but it will not be discussed further because of the sheild. In fact the whole moving thing is a fraud on the local taxpayers because WHO failed to inspect bld# 401, and who failed to hold anyone accountable? Where is the press with answers? Again, examples of obvious slants in info and failures to hold certain individuals accountable.

DuhJudge
206
Points
DuhJudge 02/28/10 - 07:27 am
0
0
This article sounds like an

This article sounds like an apologetic "I heard it, so I wrote it" story. You cleaned up four points of mis-information from last week. Pay attention and ask questions before you pass it on. And as for trees in Augusta. The only species that thrives in downtown are the sugar berry trees that are nothing but trash trees eaten up with mistletoe. Only place they belong is along the river on the levee at Riverwalk, along with the mulberry trees. Those roots are murder on the streets and sidewalks.

disssman
6
Points
disssman 02/28/10 - 08:13 am
0
0
Man. And all this time I

Man. And all this time I thought the real estate people were in it for money. I had no idea money was not their focus, rather, patriotism and saving our community are the only thing they think about. From his comments it sounds almost like someone was assured of a sweetheart deal for unspecified reasons by two of our princes. Given the gravity of the statements, I wonder if a Grand Jury investigation isn't warranted to investigate the "shafting"?

Brad Owens
4906
Points
Brad Owens 02/28/10 - 08:15 am
0
0
justus, it sounded 'fishey'

justus, it sounded 'fishey' because it didn't sound like it was true. 45 minutes to respond across the street from the Law Enforcement Center? That sounds like a load of bovine feces to me too. Now, why aren't you all up in arms about the fact that Hatney was WRONG. Flat out 100% WRONG. Either he outright lied or was lied to and repeated without checking the FACTS. Either way, he was 100% WRONG. So whatever gave Sylvia the 'fishey' feeling was 100% correct.

Now don't ignore this post, dig deep and say, "You are right Brad, and so was Sylvia even if she is white and Hatney was 100% wrong even if he is African-American."

I mean that is your point right? That Sylvia looked into his outraegous assertions because he is black and she is white right? I noticed she also looked into the purchase price of the Smartway Furniture store as well. Joe Bowles is white is case you didn't know.

So say you are sorry and go forth and sin a little less please,

Brad

deekster
24
Points
deekster 02/28/10 - 08:32 am
0
0
All Augusta needs is for "its

All Augusta needs is for "its people to come together". Exactly what does that mean? Most of the AfAm community comes together at least three times a week in church. One the job, they come together at least three times in a shift (more if they smoke). My experience and formal Diversity Training tells me that AfAm's are the most "social of all peoples".White people don't come together as much. Anglo's tend to be more independent and it is hard to get "two of them to agree on anything". Particularly Irish. They both "know everything and are correct about everything". LOL

my.voice
5167
Points
my.voice 02/28/10 - 08:33 am
0
0
EG Meybohm is offended? As a

EG Meybohm is offended? As a taxpayer, I am offended he would take such liberties. You had a chance to fill a vacant space, make a little profit, but you decided that the profit needed to be extravagant, and you got caught doing so. Im sorry he is offended, but a billboard should be erected showing what he has tried to do here.

johnston.cliff
2
Points
johnston.cliff 02/28/10 - 08:36 am
0
0
LOL, justus. The writer is a

LOL, justus. The writer is a new girl in town. You could pick up some pointers from her style. "It sounded fishy" because it was an event at the Red Lobster.

deekster
24
Points
deekster 02/28/10 - 08:35 am
0
0
Great work Sylvia!!!!!!

Great work Sylvia!!!!!! Stay on these guys and try to keep them honest. I tried to go to the "commission meetings", but the 2pm time slot left me with the real possibility of losing my lunch. Please do an article on how many "concrete trucks" are on the road at any one time in Richmond Co. Claussen should have the data

deekster
24
Points
deekster 02/28/10 - 08:39 am
0
0
Where does Fred Russell

Where does Fred Russell ramble to "off camera" at the county commission meetings? Its distracting on TV. I know it would be "en vivo".
And Smith and Grantham always "whispering". And Jerry trying to reposition himself in his chair. If this were a "church pulpit", I think Deke would have to call these guys down. "Sunami's Eleven".

americafirst
1001
Points
americafirst 02/28/10 - 08:50 am
0
0
Brad re your 4:33 post. We

Brad re your 4:33 post. We don't know whether or not Meybohm addressed the sale price issue in his letter. He tried to address it in front of the Commission but was not allowed to do so. Therefor, I can only assume he did adress it in nhis letter or it doesn't make sense to write the letter. All we know from the above is that Slyvia Cooper did not adress it in her article. She gives very little info as to what Meybohm's letter said.

gogbd
0
Points
gogbd 02/28/10 - 09:01 am
0
0
Poor old Mr. Meybohm. He

Poor old Mr. Meybohm. He might want to think about new marketing strategies when trying to help screw the city.

humbleopinion
1
Points
humbleopinion 02/28/10 - 09:08 am
0
0
The ONLY thing Justus4 has

The ONLY thing Justus4 has ever done that was "impeccable" was being wrong 100% of the time.

harrisburgwillrise
0
Points
harrisburgwillrise 02/28/10 - 09:29 am
0
0
Thanks Sylvia for clearing up

Thanks Sylvia for clearing up the matter of who REALLY brought John Campbell to Augusta. Just goes to show you that Harrisburg is emerging from, "Always been this way, and will never change." Thanks to everyone in our community who had a hand in bringing Campbell to town and providing two days of Community leadership training for a Chronic Nuisance Property Ordinance for Richmond County.

nofrills
0
Points
nofrills 02/28/10 - 09:40 am
0
0
Great article!

Great article!

oldenoughtoknowbetter
15
Points
oldenoughtoknowbetter 02/28/10 - 09:41 am
0
0
I tire very quickly of the
Unpublished

I tire very quickly of the arrogance of Mr. Meyboym. The only thing he he has improved over the last 40 years is his bank account. His attitude exemplifies narcicism in the truest form. If he has the best interest of the community in mind, he should donate some cash to remodel the Sheriff's office at it's present location rather than trying to unload some unwanted property at the county's expense. Shame on you Mr. Meybohm!

whatmistake
100
Points
whatmistake 02/28/10 - 09:43 am
0
0
Poor E.G. My heart bleeds

Poor E.G. My heart bleeds for him.

oldenoughtoknowbetter
15
Points
oldenoughtoknowbetter 02/28/10 - 09:55 am
0
0
Incident in the parking lot
Unpublished

Incident in the parking lot of Red Loster? Maybe they was waiting in line to get some shrimps. Seriously, the last time I checked the road cops work wrecks, domestic disputes, etc. Just because the location of the crime was a block away does not mean that the road cops are sitting around the station waiting on something to happen. They are out patroling and policing the area and doing their job. With the budget cuts, I think the RCSD does a commendable job of keeping the peace.

Riverman1
93617
Points
Riverman1 02/28/10 - 10:30 am
0
0
I thought the RCSO explained

I thought the RCSO explained the "delay" last week was because they only had one officer for a widespread area around that location?

Brad Owens
4906
Points
Brad Owens 02/28/10 - 10:32 am
0
0
oldenuff, it stems from

oldenuff, it stems from Hatney telling the the Sheriff that he knew it took 45minutes to get a traffic unit to respond to a accident at the Red LObster across the street from the LEC. Turns out that was not the case.

Brad Owens
4906
Points
Brad Owens 02/28/10 - 10:34 am
0
0
RM1, the Sheriff offered that

RM1, the Sheriff offered that as a possible reason if it did take that long. We see now that the Very Reverend Hatney was wrong.

Riverman1
93617
Points
Riverman1 02/28/10 - 10:45 am
0
0
Brad, oh :). "As it turns

Brad, oh :).

"As it turns out, there were 62 wrecks at those locations, and the maximum time it took for a patrol car to arrive was 20 minutes."

So if the Sheriff was telling the truth LAST WEEK about one patrol car handing that wide area, that officer deserves kudos for responding to 62 wrecks and it never took him over 20 minutes to get there.

corgimom
38384
Points
corgimom 02/28/10 - 10:51 am
0
0
Sylvia, your comment about

Sylvia, your comment about the Forbes ranking was hilarious and oh-so-true!

Riverman1
93617
Points
Riverman1 02/28/10 - 10:55 am
0
0
What Strength said last week

What Strength said last week was this: "There is only one car on each beat, and the beat car for that area could have been on another call and might have had to come from Windsor Spring Road."

This week he said this: "As it turns out, there were 62 wrecks at those locations, and the maximum time it took for a patrol car to arrive was 20 minutes."

Thus, I surmise out of the 62 wrecks, the sole car answering calls in that district was never out there on Windsor Springs Rd. working another call. Strength also said officers at 501 would not answer such calls.

CorporalGripweed
0
Points
CorporalGripweed 02/28/10 - 11:00 am
0
0
Concerning the "flap" about

Concerning the "flap" about Harrisburg. I think most citizens who were involved in bringing Mr. Campbell to town had been burned in the past. Specifically when Margaret Woodard (of DDA and parking meters fame) swept in to take credit for opening a substation in Harrisburg ( which now sits mostly idle) when it was Butch, Lori et al who pushed and prodded for it to be opened in the first place. But Ms. Coopers' point is well taken. Regardless of who gets credit, it's more important that it get done.

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