Sylvia Cooper

City Ink columnist and correspondent for The Augusta Chronicle.

Richmond County Sheriff race could complicate primary

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Editor's note: An earlier version of this column did not have the correct title for Appeals Court Judge John Ellington.

Last week, Freddie Sanders came out with guns blazing, talking about being Richmond County’s next law and order sheriff.

But hold on now, Pardner!

“My intentions are to qualify and run, but I have not qualified, and things can change,” he said Friday. “I’m not committed. Qualifying isn’t until May. I’m talking to people and listening. I’m just not there. When I commit and qualify, I’m in it.”

So much for last week’s theories about Sanders being an alternative Republican candidate – a safety valve if you will – in case Richard Roundtree wins in the July Democratic primary.

SANDERS WON’T RUN: First of all, he’s a very popular white Augusta lawyer who would run in the Republican primary and draw votes from Republicans who otherwise would cross over and vote in the Democratic primary to vote in the sheriff race for one of the two white candidates – Scott Peebles or Robbie Silas. That would lessen their chances of winning or getting into a runoff with Roundtree or candidate Lt. John Ivey. And should there be a runoff in the Democratic primary, voters who voted in the Republican primary could not vote in the runoff.

Some Democrat voters would also cross over and vote for Sanders if he were to have opposition in the Republican primary, which could also lessen Peebles’ and Silas’ chances of winning or getting into a runoff while enhancing Roundtree’s. And those voters also could not vote in a Democratic primary runoff.

Sanders also realizes that in November with President Obama on the ticket, he has two chances to win – Slim and None, and Slim has left town.

THE END GAME: It’s probably best Sanders doesn’t run because if he did and won, it could mean the end of the sheriff’s office. When he was on the coliseum authority a few years ago, he said his buddies say once he gets involved in anything, it’s soon gone.

When he was with the Richmond County Sheriff’s Department in the 1970s, the county commission did away with that department and created the Richmond County Police Department and appointed him chief.

“Then they did away with the police department, and I came to the oldest law firm in the Southeast, Nixon, Yow, Waller & Capers, and we were representing the city of Augusta, and they did away with the city,” he said. “Then the law firm split into two firms. So once I got on the coliseum authority, they said they were going to do away with it. And they almost did. I don’t know how we dodged the bullet.”

IT ALL ADDS UP: You’re a Republican, so should you vote in the Republican primary so you can have a say in picking your congressman, or should you cross over and vote in the Democratic primary so you can have a say in picking your sheriff?

To find out, rate on a scale of 1 to 10 the significance of these events in your life with 10 being the most significant.

Then add up the numbers of each set of events. The set with the highest total will indicate your correct primary.

Reasons to vote for sheriff in the Democratic primary:

1. I got a ticket for driving 45 miles per hour in a 25 mile per hour zone. ____

2. Somebody snatched my man purse. ______

3. My neighbors are throwing beer cans on my lawn. _____

4. I’m leaving a party and see blue lights in my rear-view mirror. _____

5. My lawnmower is missing from the shed. _____

Total ______

Reasons to vote for congressman in the Republican primary:

1. I haven’t received my congressman’s quarterly newsletter. _____

2. I haven’t received a request for a campaign donation from my congressman._____

3. I want to talk to someone in Washington who can tell me when they’ll have the next farm subsidy hearings. _____

4. I want to know when my congressman’s next town hall meeting will be. _____

5. I want to know whether my congressman will be attending the Easter egg roll on the White House lawn. ____

Total ______

If your score from the first set of questions is higher than the score for the second set, it proves that a Democratic primary for sheriff trumps a Republican primary for congressman.

YOU’VE HEARD OF LONELY AT THE TOP: So you think you’ve got troubles. Think about Sheriff Ronnie Strength. His old south Augusta friends have snubbed his choice of a successor, Peebles, and are supporting his wife, Patti’s brother, Silas.

Former Commissioner Jimmy Smith and even Strength’s old boss, former Sheriff Charlie Webster, have defected to the Silas camp. But not to worry, everybody Webster supports loses, except for Strength. And Smith hasn’t done much better.

JUST A STONE’S THROW AWAY: State Sen. Jesse Stone, R-Waynesboro, will make a last-ditch effort to get a map of city commission and Richmond County Board of Education districts passed at a Monday meeting of the Senate Reapportionment and Redistricting committee.

Stone and Sen. Hardie Davis, D-Augusta, withdrew separate map proposals they couldn’t agree on from Senate consideration last week.

But Stone said he heard from constituents who didn’t like the prospect of having a federal judge draw the maps because of the expense, delay and uncertainty. And a judge, unlike the ad hoc committee of Augusta elected officials, wouldn’t care about protecting incumbents, and local lawmakers could end up running against one another.

The Augusta legislative delegation doesn’t have to approve the compromise map. With the reapportionment committee approval, it would go before the full Senate for a vote.

State Rep. Barbara Sims, R-Augusta, mustered enough support in the House last week to defeat Democratic Rep. Quincy Murphy’s Transparency in Government Act, 93 to 54, and saved Augusta taxpayers a bucketful of money.

That bill would have mandated every department, agency and authority of the Augusta government with a budget of $500,000 or more and certain private contractors to undergo a forensic audit every four years.

Sims’ bill that will put nonpartisan Augusta Commission elections on the July primary ballot is out of committee and should pass out of the Senate this week.

WILL AZZIZ PLAY BALL? Georgia Health Sciences University President Dr. Ricardo Azziz, city leaders, Ripken Baseball and Jacoby Development met Friday to talk about the future of the 16.09 acres the Board of Regents has asked the state to transfer to the university.

Ripken Baseball wants a large stadium, Azziz mentioned a performing arts center dovetailing with a music school and/or an innovation center dovetailing with the sciences and some higher-level student housing.

They’ve also talked about a biotech park, retail space with restaurants and other developments.

Azziz came out of the meeting saying, “Nothing is off the table.”

So how many things can they put on the table before they start bumping elbows?

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Former Congressman Doug Barnard turned 90 years old Tuesday and was honored with a luncheon at the Pinnacle Club, organized by attorney David Bell.

Many of Barnard’s longtime close friends attended, including Hugh Connolly, Barnard’s first election campaign chairman in 1976; Augusta Judicial Circuit Chief Judge Carlisle Overstreet, his first campaign manager; DOT board member Don Grantham, his first campaign treasurer; Pat Blanchard, a campaign committee member; and attorney Travis Paine, Barnard’s campaign chairman after Connolly retired.

Also present were Georgia Appeals Court Chief Judge John Ellington, former congressman Buddy Darden, Realtor Nick Greene, Sheriff Ronnie Strength and former Sheriff Charlie Webster.

“They thought it was quite an event that I had reached 90 years of age,” Barnard said.

Barnard, who served from 1977 until 1993, went through eight elections and had opposition in each except one.

When elected in 1976, he was the first congressman from Augusta in 72 years.

An early test came when President Jimmy Carter cut back on water projects, a move that upset members of Congress.

One of his crowning achievements was helping to save water projects Carter had cut, including the Richard B. Russell Dam and Lake project.

Comments (70) Add comment
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double_standard
166
Points
double_standard 03/24/12 - 06:52 pm
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4
Slyvia why didn't you give us

Slyvia why didn't you give us more dirt on the candidates like you did last week. Couldn't find anything on LT Ivey and all the other candidates are white so I guess we will have to wait on the Roundtree and Saunders bashing next week.

Little Lamb
49096
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Little Lamb 03/24/12 - 07:33 pm
0
0
You are losing it, Sylvia.

You are losing it, Sylvia. It is incumbent on the Richmond County Republican Party to put one person on the primary ballot for sheriff, even if it is a token candidate. Lighten up and let Freddie run.

Little Lamb
49096
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Little Lamb 03/24/12 - 07:36 pm
1
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If they had not built the

If they had not built the Russell re-regulation dam, Clarks Hill Lake would be closer to full pool more often than it is now. Who knew that Jimmuh Cahtah was so smart?

Insider Information
4009
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Insider Information 03/24/12 - 08:56 pm
3
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One thing off the table for

One thing off the table for Dr. Cool and the property...

Public input.

Little Lamb
49096
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Little Lamb 03/24/12 - 09:01 pm
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After an exhausting day

After an exhausting day outside doing yard work, I had a couple of glasses of wine and then took a relaxing bubble bath. That is where I formulated this post:

We have four (count-’em) Democratic candidates for sheriff, and they all said the same thing at their inaugural press conference: “I am going to change the culture of the department by instituting community policing!” But Freddie Sanders said something different in an exclusive interview with Susan McCord — he says he will be tough on crime, he says he will have his officers interrogate, investigate, arrest, and gather evidence until the cows come home. He will set up more and more sting operations. He will crack a few heads (oooops, I mean eggs). Here are quotes from McCord's article from March 19:

Sanders, who completed college and law school while working for the sheriff’s office, said his platform is simple: law and order. “I’m going to arrest and prosecute these burglars and thieves,” he said. . . . Sanders, who expects others to join him on the Republican ticket for sheriff, said he’ll campaign on arresting criminals and holding them accountable. . . . “I am a law-and-order man,” he said. “If you don’t want the burglars and the robbers locked up, you don’t want to vote for me.”

I remember the campaign of George H.W. Bush back in 1988. He came out as a kind of community activist candidate. He ran on a platform of a thousand points of light. He was a kindler, gentler sort of presidential candidate and president. Then, twelve years later here came his son, George W. Bush, running for president. He said he was going to be a compassionate conservative. He wanted to be your buddy.

Well, these four Democrat candidates for sheriff remind me of daddy and son George Bush, compassionate and pandering. Daddy's “thousand points of light” translates into a thousand pairs of gumshoes walking beats in the downtown and the projects and in Harrisburg. Son's “compassionate conservatism” translates into a compassionate constabulary.

So far, only the Republican candidate says he is going to take a bite out of crime.

Let the games begin.

csraguy
2395
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csraguy 03/24/12 - 10:05 pm
3
0
LL, community policing is far

LL, community policing is far from being soft on crime. You can easily look up the broken windows theory or community policing strategies that the RCSO is already using such as the Burglary Task Force - burglaries have greatly decreased. Not to mention the various sting operations set forth by Captain Peebles resulting in the arrest of hundreds of criminals from our streets and almost 1,000 weapons. In each case, they worked with outside agencies such as the ATF in order to get federal charges and over 50% of those convicted have been in federal courts where you will serve 85% of your time behind bars before even being eligible for parole. Violent crimes have been reduced in our area over the past 7 years even with the major cuts the Sheriff's Office has taken such as the loss of over 40 sworn positions, furlough days and 1.5 million from the jail and jail personnel.

Sanders policing ability is from 30 years ago – he would probably make a better judge than Sheriff because Lord knows we need some tough judges in our area. Captain Peebles is still by far the best candidate. I do believe however as Sanders said; none of them qualify until May and just as it has happened before, others may choose to simply not qualify - let’s hope those that aren't qualified to be Sheriff don't qualify to run for the office.

csraguy
2395
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csraguy 03/24/12 - 10:12 pm
3
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The Sheriff's race should be

The Sheriff's race should be non-partisan - this should be changed across the state but very doubtful.

Little Lamb
49096
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Little Lamb 03/24/12 - 10:31 pm
1
1
Thank you for replying,

Thank you for replying, csraguy. My comments were in resonse to Ms. Cooper's assertion that:

SANDERS WON’T RUN: Should there be a runoff in the Democratic primary, voters who voted in the Republican primary could not vote in the runoff. Sanders also realizes that in November with President Obama on the ticket, he has two chances to win – Slim and None, and Slim has left town.

Ms. Cooper is cynical, sour, and bitter in her analysis. Sanders is a positive, optimistic individual.

Run, Freddie, run!

Little Lamb
49096
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Little Lamb 03/24/12 - 10:35 pm
1
2
I wonder whether Sylvia

I wonder whether Sylvia Cooper is expressing her own opinion about the sheriff's race, or the opinions of the publisher of the paper?

seenitB4
97601
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seenitB4 03/25/12 - 12:42 am
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Llamb said Ms. Cooper is

Llamb said

Ms. Cooper is cynical, sour, and bitter in her analysis. Sanders is a positive, optimistic individual.

Run, Freddie, run!

Perfect LL.......when I think of candidates in todays world local-state-& national....I see Freddie as a birthday gift with ribbon tied on it..

Riverman1
93785
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Riverman1 03/25/12 - 02:28 am
0
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From what's been said about

From what's been said about the top Democratic candidates and their extracurricular activities, an outsider with impeccable credentials such as Freddie Sanders is needed.

Also, needed is a regulation that prevents RCSO married employees from playing with other employees. I find it hard to believe there is no such regulation already in place, but it was explained there is none as a way of justifying the behavior of some candidates. It's time to clean house and set the morals compass course back in the right direction. Freddie is ready.

Riverman1
93785
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Riverman1 03/25/12 - 02:38 am
0
0
"SANDERS WON’T RUN: First of

"SANDERS WON’T RUN: First of all, he’s a very popular white Augusta lawyer who would run in the Republican primary and draw votes from Republicans who otherwise would cross over and vote in the Democratic primary to vote in the sheriff race for one of the two white candidates – Scott Peebles or Robbie Silas. That would lessen their chances of winning or getting into a runoff with Roundtree or candidate Lt. John Ivey."

I am somewhat surprised at Sylvia's frankness here recognizing the racial divisions and politics. People are going to vote for whites because they are white and blacks because they are black. Don't be blaming the blacks when it's obvious as Sylvia points out, the whites are doing the same thing. When the white population of the county, according to the 2010 census, is only 39% don't be surprised who wins that fight.

seenitB4
97601
Points
seenitB4 03/25/12 - 02:46 am
1
0
RM said When the white

RM said

When the white population of the county, according to the 2010 census, is only 39% don't be surprised who wins that fight.

Yep that is true....but with enough crime-breakins....some will look beyond color & vote the BEST guy in office....about time too.

Riverman1
93785
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Riverman1 03/25/12 - 02:57 am
0
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SeenIt, Sylvia doesn't think

SeenIt, Sylvia doesn't think it can happen, but let's hope it does. It's obvious Freddie is sorely needed.

Riverman1
93785
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Riverman1 03/25/12 - 03:02 am
0
0
It's also interesting that

It's also interesting that Silas appears to be picking up more support. He is definitely not just a curiosity any more with Webster and the South Augusta crowd working hard for him.

Austin Rhodes
2989
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Austin Rhodes 03/25/12 - 07:13 am
2
0
Two elections with Deke

Two elections with Deke getting 66% of the total vote seems to contradict that race exclusive theory. Wait till you see the polling info that has been done...it will knock your socks off.

iLove
626
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iLove 03/25/12 - 07:52 am
0
0
"Don't be blaming the blacks
Unpublished

"Don't be blaming the blacks when it's obvious as Sylvia points out, the whites are doing the same thing. When the white population of the county, according to the 2010 census, is only 39% don't be surprised who wins that fight."

iLove
626
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iLove 03/25/12 - 07:52 am
0
1
With Obama on the ticket. . .
Unpublished

With Obama on the ticket. . . its a Roundtree Wrap.

EyeMaeNo
20
Points
EyeMaeNo 03/25/12 - 08:20 am
1
0
Did Asitisinaugusta change
Unpublished

Did Asitisinaugusta change their name or am I imagining things? My people sure do come & go & change their user names around here a lot.

wondersnevercease
9218
Points
wondersnevercease 03/25/12 - 08:22 am
0
0
" One can only hope that the
Unpublished

" One can only hope that the vote is made for the right reason and not based on race or self reward."...LOL yes one Can hope...but don't hold your breath!

EyeMaeNo
20
Points
EyeMaeNo 03/25/12 - 08:34 am
0
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CSRAguy HOW do you know so
Unpublished

CSRAguy HOW do you know so much about Scott Peebles, what is in his personnel file (accommendations, awards), statistics from operations, that his new AND exwife were both at his announcement, etc? I'm just curious?

Riverman1
93785
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Riverman1 03/25/12 - 09:18 am
1
0
It could very well be that

It could very well be that August can buck the racial voting that Sylvia and I both recognize. I can tell you that with the last census Augusta has the exact same racial make-up as Atlanta. When's the last time a white has been elected to anything there? How about a CONSERVATIVE WHITE?

Deke did win handily here the last time and maybe they've figured out a way to break the pattern here. Aitken also proved they are able to overcome the black majority.

Riverman1
93785
Points
Riverman1 03/25/12 - 09:21 am
3
0
Austin, polls? It's too early

Austin, polls? It's too early for those. We are not even sure of the candidates yet. No one has campaigned. But I suspect the black ministers are just gearing up as are the folks at the white churches.

AGA2424
12
Points
AGA2424 03/25/12 - 09:26 am
2
0
REALLY< Augusta we are on the

REALLY< Augusta we are on the racist once again, can we get past this issue of race of black and white, we are here to vote for the right person that will help and protect us. I wouldn't care if that person was purple, if he did the job right who cares what color they are it is 2012, Augusta is so far behind,lets catch up with the times

broad street narrow mind
348
Points
broad street narrow mind 03/25/12 - 09:27 am
1
2
riverman, having the one
Unpublished

riverman, having the one daily be a white conservative paper is one thing different in augusta.
has augusta figured out how to get a black civil liberties commissioner elected in a white district yet?
or has augusta only figured out how to get white corporate welfare pushers into majority black spots?

Riverman1
93785
Points
Riverman1 03/25/12 - 09:28 am
0
0
AGA, the reality is people do

AGA, the reality is people do vote along racial lines all across America. The anomaly is Augusta has elected whites even though they are the minority. So maybe you can say we are AHEAD OF THE TIMES.

Riverman1
93785
Points
Riverman1 03/25/12 - 09:36 am
0
0
BroadStNM, something David

BroadStNM, something David Justice said once about salary negotiations reminds me of this situation. He said when he had a good year they told him it was a game and not a business. When he had a bad year they told him it was a business. When things are beneficial to management no changes are needed, but when it's the other way, how dare you make like it's a business.

allhans
24886
Points
allhans 03/25/12 - 10:15 am
0
0
Why would a successful lawyer

Why would a successful lawyer want the 24 hr a day job as sheriff. Oh, that's right. It appears he doesn't. At least he is not yet a candidate.
I don't mind at all voting on the Dem ticket for sheriff , I certainly would want to have a vote if there is a tie and a run-off. We don't necessarily need a Republican candidate although I would love to see them all run as Republicans, that would make it easier for me.

csraguy
2395
Points
csraguy 03/25/12 - 10:18 am
1
0
EyeMae, your questions are

EyeMae, your questions are pointed but don't make a point so please don't say you are just curious. Either way, as a law enforcement officer and member of this community I am very vested in the best interests of Richmond County.

You can simply follow the Augusta Chronicle or any news outlet which has posted the entirety of the candidates personnel files online to view and inspect and you will see that Peebles file is full of awards and achievements competed to Roundtree's which is full of disciplinary records. As for Ivey's, I have not seen it posted yet and there doesn't appear to be anything negative in Silas' file. Additionally, according to recent articles published in the AC, burglaries have continued to decline since the implementation of the burglary task force (which I believe those guys do a great job) and the statistics, etc. from the past 3 operations which Peebles led have also been in the paper, including the excellent conviction rates on federal charges which removed criminals from our streets and is using federal funds vs. local funds to do so.

Peebles, prepared, educated, good leader and would be a good Sheriff.

Ivey, plenty of experience with the RCSO, ready for retirement.

Roundtree, way too many negatives to even consider.

Silas, good person, not prepared to run due to lack of experience in leadership roles, education, and preparedness for the office - maybe in the future.

Sanders, good person, very knowledgeable of the law, seems like he would be a no nonsense guy. His only drawback in my opinion which would make him second choice for me is the fact that his policing days were over 30 years ago and too much has changed, time for new and innovative leadership.

csraguy
2395
Points
csraguy 03/25/12 - 10:19 am
0
0
LL, good points, thanks for

LL, good points, thanks for the input.

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