Sylvia Cooper

City Ink columnist and correspondent for The Augusta Chronicle.

Augusta politics becoming something of a snoozefest

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It's a sad day when we have to look at statewide political races to see any campaign spark. The ones in Augusta have been so dull, so politically correct, so lacking in zeal as to be a big snore. So, it was actually refreshing to read about Roy Barnes and Nathan Deal accusing each other of being tax cheats and worse in front of a cheering crowd down in Perry the other day.

As for the Augusta mayoral campaign, if it weren't for Lori Davis and her campaign against crime and blight in Harrisburg and elsewhere, you wouldn't even know we were having an election. Some people call her a one-issue candidate, but at least she has an issue and is not afraid to speak out against what she thinks is wrong. She said she ran a prostitute from in front of her house the other day.

"I said, 'You get away from my house,' " Davis said. "She said, 'You can't tell me what to do.' I said, 'Oh, yes I can. You just wait and see.' "

As for Gil Gilyard III , you have to admire him too, for having the spunk to try again after getting shellacked when he ran three years ago. He's got a 25-point plan for Augusta, which is about the number of votes he'll get, I expect.

The incumbent Boy King is just one or two endorsements away from being canonized, and he's so confident of walking away with four more years, he's not even accepting campaign contributions. Mayor Deke Copenhaver is becoming a purist, decrying the evils of so much filthy lucre being spent on campaigns.

He even called a news conference at the Golden Harvest Food Bank to announce he was asking for those who wanted to contribute to his campaign to donate instead to a nonprofit charity.

I can't tell you how used we in the media felt, having to drive seven miles out Gordon Highway to Commerce Drive to hear that. He could have sent it out by fax or e-mail, but then there wouldn't have been a photo op -- not that he needs more photos holding a big pair of scissors.

Nevertheless, it would be nice if others running followed his example about campaign contributions, especially when it comes to accepting money from companies the city does business with, such as ESG Contractors, ZEL Engineers, Heery Consultants, Khafra, S.L. King Technologies, Advance Disposal Service and contractors such as R.W. Allen. What good can come from such "contributions," except to the commissioners and companies? Ah well, it's the American way.

In the District 2 commission race, you would hardly know incumbent Corey Johnson was running, except for a little more grandstanding than usual. As chairman of the engineering services committee, he consents almost every item, so there's no discussion although they're approving millions of dollars worth of projects right and left. So, you can't tell whether he's doing a good job or not. I guess we'll find that out at a later date. If you can imagine such a thing, his challenger Marion Williams has been quiet for the most part, although I did hear he's still talking about a racetrack in south Augusta. His son-in-law must have bought some more property on Highway 56.

In the District 4 race, former commissioner Bernard Harper has reappeared as a political figure. Could it be because gasoline prices are going back up? Sammie Sias is also challenging Mayor Pro Tem Alvin Mason .

Sias seems to be sincere and has come before the commission several times, but they just sit there and look at him.

Mason is oratorically gifted, but should guard against falling in love with the sound of his own voice.

Incumbents really do have a tremendous advantage over their opponents. I've been watching Johnson and Mason with interest this year and don't know which one plays to the crowd more, although it's probably Mason.

The District 8 race has four candidates. Doug Lively won the endorsement from the Richmond County Citizens for Good Government, but Wayne Guilfoyle has received the most in campaign donations. Current District 8 Commissioner Jimmy Smith has endorsed Lively, so Commissioners Joe Jackson and Joe Bowles are working for Guilfoyle -- for spite, I suspect.

Former Blythe Mayor Tom Cobb seems well qualified, but I don't know who's supporting him because he hasn't received a dime in campaign contributions from others, and he didn't even call a news conference.

Then there's Alan Tanner , who went on such a rant accusing the Richmond County Board of Education of bid-rigging during his three minutes at the good government meeting, you'd have thought he was running for the school board.

As far as the District 8 race goes, they say the nice guy finishes last. If that's true, Tanner will win.

Then we have three candidates in the Super District 10 race: baby faced Sean Frantom who apparently doesn't own property in Richmond County, businessman Grady Smith who does and Robert Ingham who was running for governor until it came time for qualifying, and he didn't have the money, so he opted for a seat with a less costly qualifying fee. I finally got one of the business cards he had printed saying he was running for governor with "governor" scratched out and "District 10" written in.

Everybody says Frantom is youthful and enthusiastic. He might be a baseball fan, too.

That wraps up my analysis of the local races for this week.

I'LL HAVE MINE A LA MODE: Well, nobody else will say it publicly, so I guess it's up to me: The $500,000 development plan for south Augusta is an expensive sop to the Democrat commissioners from south of Gordon Highway. They had to wad up a half a million dollars of your money and throw it away just because downtown has a plan you paid $95,000 for, called Westobou. (I don't care if that is a Native American word, it's still ugly.)

Oh, the Augusta Sustainable Development Agenda -- ASDA for short -- is a beautiful plan for a $1.1 billion development if you like pretty pictures of trees and flowering shrubs and lots of pie in the sky.

It was of more than passing interest that the ones trumpeting the wonders of the plan are politicians and developer types. Oh, I know we have to look excitedly to the future! But aren't rose-colored granny glasses out of style?

OF THESE FIVE, HOW MANY WILL BE FAVORED FELONS? Near the end of design company president John Shields ' ASDA slide-show presentation at Augusta Tech, he stressed the need to establish a "fully staffed" ASDA Implementation Office. Just think what that would cost and who would pay for it. Let's see, to be fully staffed there would have to be a Director of Implementation making between $150,000 and $175,000 a year. His job would be to oversee the Assistant Director of Implementation making $90,000 a year whose job would be to oversee the Deputy Assistant Director of Implementation whose annual pay would be $75,000. The Deputy Assistant would oversee the Implementation Grant Writer who would be paid a paltry $60,000 per annum. And then there would be the field Implementation Implementer who would make all the contacts and do most of the work. She would make $50,000.

Of course, this would be sold as being 95 percent federally funded which means of the $1.1 billion, $6 million will be stolen or siphoned off to the Director of Implementation's buddies from Macon, Birmingham, Atlanta and Miami. Isn't that the way those federally funded programs that don't cost the local taxpayers anything -- wink, wink -- go?

THE FACTS OF LIFE: UH, WASN'T THAT A TV SHOW? It's good to see that Richmond County Board of Education Superintendent Dr. Frank Roberson quelled the uproar over the possibility of non-abstinence based sex education in the Richmond County school system last week.

It would be too terrible to tell those little girls walking around in maternity smocks and stretch pants in middle and high schools the facts of life, now wouldn't it?

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Riverman1
83506
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Riverman1 10/16/10 - 10:44 pm
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About that ASDA

About that ASDA Implementation Office, the way I said it was that the director would get a call every few months asking when something was going to be built. He would tell them he didn't know and go back to waiting for the phone to ring again a few months later.

About Deke refusing to accept contributions, didn't he spend a couple of hundred thousand on his last election? Isn't he also giving a few thousand to other candidates? Why doesn't he give some of the hundreds of thousands he will spend on THIS campaign to charity?

Do you think he's trying to get all contributions to slow because he knows Lori Davis depends on them? Remember Deke reminding those who wanted to run how expensive it was?

mary dits
2
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mary dits 10/16/10 - 11:08 pm
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0
riverman, stop with the

riverman, stop with the negative campaigning. i think that's the ordinance deke's enforcing this season.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K7MpaxNbT_4

mary dits
2
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mary dits 10/16/10 - 11:17 pm
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what did deke do with that

what did deke do with that $10,568.66 that he had left over from his $229,079.88 he collected for his last campaign? maybe he bought some of the new signs with it. but wouldn't he still have to disclose that? he has no expenditures listed yet this year. and did he get a contribution from the builders association or not? who's keeping his books? i wish he'd let me help him, but all he cares about is helping others (understand that they totally want a new baseball stadium).
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5LtL-zq65do

mary dits
2
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mary dits 10/16/10 - 11:57 pm
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i think i'm gonna ask

i think i'm gonna ask wardrobe for some pink glasses.

mary dits
2
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mary dits 10/16/10 - 11:58 pm
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i mean research and

i mean research and fact-checking.

Taylor B
5
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Taylor B 10/17/10 - 12:09 am
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Politics in it's purist form

Politics in it's purist form is like watching grass grow. In all honesty, the hottest race right now locally is District 9 BOE. I'd like to get things stirred up with my opponent, Jack Padgett, but he won't show up to forums. No matter, its probably in his best interest not to get in anything close to a debate with me.

Many Arrows
-1
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Many Arrows 10/17/10 - 10:39 am
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0
Sylvia, you are too

Sylvia, you are too polite.

The people of Georgia regard the 2 major party's candidates for Governor with the same fondness as their personal leavings in a toilet, only there is no way to flush Barnes and Deal.

Lori Davis
918
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Lori Davis 10/17/10 - 11:35 am
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I would like to encourage all

I would like to encourage all who think that I am a one issue candidate, to go to loridavisformayor.org and read my comprehensive platform. I cover many more issues involving this city and what I am willing to do to make Augusta a better place to live. Crime happens to be a huge issue right now which is being overlooked by the other two candidates. Crime happens to be on the minds of those living on the Hill, in Forest Hills, in National Hills, Country Club Hills, Summerville, Old Towne as well as Harrisburg and the neighborhoods of South Augusta. How do I know this? There is only one way, and this is by knocking on doors in ALL of these neighborhoods. I am meeting the people as any good candidate would do especially if that candidate truly wanted to serve the people and not their own interests.

Emerydan
10
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Emerydan 10/17/10 - 12:20 pm
0
0
Well Lori, I know you are FAR

Well Lori, I know you are FAR from a one issue candidate,, BUt even if your only issue was addressing crime and blight.. I would rather have that than a ONE Issue Mayor who continues to push his ballpark and ignores everything else.

irishfarmer
24
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irishfarmer 10/17/10 - 01:05 pm
0
0
GO LORI GO! I hope you win.

GO LORI GO! I hope you win. It is time that the boy king be removed. The boardman family control over Augusta gone and that real leadership come to Augusta since we have not had any since Bob Young was Mayor. Augusta wake up voting for Lori Davis, Sean Frantom, Wayne Guillfoyle Taylor Bryant and Willie Law will help too stop those and maybe end these entitled as they think they are most of the time of being in our government and calling the shots. Augusta instead of griping do your job as citiziens and vote for these candidates I have named get the ball rolling on improving Augusta now. It is time to give Joe Bowles, Joe Jackson and Matt Aitken some help on Greene St. It is time to have leaders on our School board who will work and serve with the best interest of the children. Enough Said!

Emerydan
10
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Emerydan 10/17/10 - 01:12 pm
0
0
great post irish.. I agree

great post irish.. I agree with almost all of your endorsements. We most definitely need Lori as mayor. I bet you starting on day one.. after being sworn in, Lori would assemble these dept heads, the county administrator, etc and start laying down the law and demanding more accountability and better performance.
And folks, we definitely need someone like Taylor Bryant on the school board. This man is very smart, and he has lots of great ideas for improving our schools ( ideas that do not involve just throwing money at the schools on more failed policies and programs). Remember that the school system accounts for around 60% of our property taxes.. It is vitally important to have the right people on the school board. his slogan says it all "Kids over Politics, Period!" Check him out. he is very impressive.
http://www.bryantforaugusta.com

irishfarmer
24
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irishfarmer 10/17/10 - 01:51 pm
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0
Emerydan, If you like my

Emerydan,

If you like my views or endorsements then just you wait until 2012. When we as Augustans who live in State Senate District 22 which I dont but wish i did, have a true voice and real leader running against the joke that we have now in office and who will still be there after this election because he has no one running against him the joke of a senator Hardie Davis. The person I am talking about is B.B. Langham a true republican from a very humble up bringing who will got to work for all of those that live in the district. For the first time in a while he will be aleader you know you can trust and depend on all of the time. For all of those who reside in District 23 Vote for Jesse Stone. It is time too send leaders who will lead not jokes who want. Like i said before we get too begin this year lets get the ball rolling folks. Its about Augusta now and it will be about Augusta in 2012. Lets take a stand and lets get started on a move forward for all of us in Augusta/Richmond County. Togehter we will stand but divided and fooled we will fall. It is just that simple.

Emerydan
10
Points
Emerydan 10/17/10 - 01:55 pm
0
0
I will definitely look out

I will definitely look out for Mr Langham, irish. It will be tough for a republican in that district, but certainly not impossible.. as long as you have a strong candidate with the right ideas. Let's hope we can get the right ppl in office on Nov 2nd

irishfarmer
24
Points
irishfarmer 10/17/10 - 01:59 pm
0
0
Emerydan, I agree lets

Emerydan,
I agree lets make a statement Nov. 2nd. If you want contact info for him (B.B. Langham) let me know and I will try to get it too you. Also hope your weekend is a great one.

Brad Owens
4411
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Brad Owens 10/17/10 - 02:52 pm
0
0
Way to go Lori. Do you

Way to go Lori. Do you understand that you just did more about the crime wave than Deke "The Meek" Copenhaver has done?

At least you are willing to TALK about it and that is 100% better than what we have now.

I only wish I was home to knock on doors and help you win this.

VOTE OUT ALL INCUMBENTS!!!

Brad

corgimom
32170
Points
corgimom 10/17/10 - 03:18 pm
0
0
Me too! Lori, I wish you the

Me too! Lori, I wish you the best of luck!

Go, Lori, GO!

Emerydan
10
Points
Emerydan 10/17/10 - 03:43 pm
0
0
If you are not in Augusta..

If you are not in Augusta.. you can still help:
http://www.loridavisformayor.com

Insider Information
4009
Points
Insider Information 10/17/10 - 04:53 pm
0
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Why won't Deke debate Lori?

Why won't Deke debate Lori?

Emerydan
10
Points
Emerydan 10/17/10 - 05:02 pm
0
0
Good question Insider... I

Good question Insider... I understand that Gil Gilyard accepted the debate challenge, but still no word from Deke.

CorporalGripweed
0
Points
CorporalGripweed 10/17/10 - 05:19 pm
0
0
We all know from a political

We all know from a political standpoint he has nothing to gain by debating, but if he isn't careful he'll lose in the court of public opinion by appearing distant and disconnected. As if he doesn't appear that way already! Worse yet he may begin to look arrogant. What the Lori camp can do is continue to press for a public debate, (not radio, TV or blogs) and put increased pressure on local media types to ask this question as well.

wbrinson1
0
Points
wbrinson1 10/17/10 - 06:07 pm
0
0
With all the grand plans for

With all the grand plans for South Augusta, what will happen to all the crack heads and their families, when all the new wealth pours into the New and Improved South Augusta? Putting perfume on a pig won't solve the problem.

Pennywise
0
Points
Pennywise 10/17/10 - 11:40 pm
0
0
There is ANOTHER OPTION FOR

There is ANOTHER OPTION FOR GOVERNOR! VOTE JOHN MONDS PEOPLE!

Embrace independent candidates and get out of your Democrat/Republican mindsets! Dems nor Repubs are out to help the little man. That should be obvious! Vote Libertarian on November 2!

sdrwtcn
0
Points
sdrwtcn 10/18/10 - 05:45 am
0
0
hmmm, a drama free no

hmmm, a drama free no negative campaigning election. I know you guys just hate it!!!!!

Brad Owens
4411
Points
Brad Owens 10/18/10 - 06:22 am
0
0
sdrwtcn, That is just like

sdrwtcn,

That is just like incumbents like it because then they get a free ride.

Who are supporting in the mayors race?

Brad

Captain Awesome
0
Points
Captain Awesome 10/18/10 - 02:52 pm
0
0
Deke's made Augusta a lot

Deke's made Augusta a lot more attractive for private businesses and has worked on streamlining and expediting the license process. We need more private businesses in Augusta.

We can't just hope that SRS will keep hiring or that MCG won't opt to move more operations to Athens or that Fort Gordon keeps operating at War Time capacity. Neither the TEE center nor the ball park are really going to help us there but if I were a CEO looking to move head quarters or operations here, Deke is the guy I'd rather be talking to.

Brad Owens
4411
Points
Brad Owens 10/18/10 - 02:53 pm
0
0
Capt. Awesome, Please answer

Capt. Awesome,

Please answer these questions;

(a) What has Deke done to make "Augusta a lot more attractive for private businesses"

(b) What has Deke "worked on streamlining and expediting the license process." What changes have been done inside that department that Deke has made happen?

If you wantr to make claims, please be willing to back them up.

Thanks,

Brad Owens
Former Wannbe, Has Been-Never Was Esq.

P.S. In the interests of full disclosure, I am supporting Lori Davis and can give you a list of things she has worked on and tell you many positions she has taken on issues that really matter to business development.

B.O.

Emerydan
10
Points
Emerydan 10/18/10 - 03:04 pm
0
0
And just for the record.. of

And just for the record.. of the three candidates running for mayor, Deke has the least education.

Riverman1
83506
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Riverman1 10/18/10 - 06:04 pm
0
0
Deke won't debate. Deke won't

Deke won't debate. Deke won't call department heads to demand they do their jobs. Deke won't address confrontational crowds. Deke won't speak out when another medical school is created in Athens. Deke won't deal with Ripken Enterprises in a way that looks out for the city's interests. Deke won't demand slum lords adhere to ordinances.

Deke simply has problems getting involved unless it is behind the scenes, doing what the Boardman's desire.

Riverman1
83506
Points
Riverman1 10/18/10 - 06:10 pm
0
0
Deke said on channel 6

Deke said on channel 6 tonight that his biggest accomplishment was getting all that money approved for the Laney Walker initiative. Then he mentioned the TEE center.

Realize the Laney Walker give-away is about $50 million. That's enough to level it and rebuild everything there.

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