Sylvia Cooper

City Ink columnist and correspondent for The Augusta Chronicle.

City Ink: Richmond County sheriff race heats up

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All signs point to a knock-down, drag-out sheriff race.

Just last week, Scott Peebles’ campaign signs started going up in flames. Then two women got into a fight and one began hitting the other with one of Richard Roundtree’s signs which doesn’t mean anything except that I found it humorous.

Still, it could be a sign.

Also, during a sheriff candidates’ forum at Tabernacle Family Life Center, vehicles were blanketed with fliers critical of all the Democrat candidates, except Roundtree; the sheriff’s undercover operations, especially Operation Smoke Screen; police coverage in the black community; and everything else about the sheriff’s office – except the criminals.

Well, sure.

DIVISIVE? WHO’S DIVISIVE? “If Sheriff (Ronnie) Strength is right about the criminals coming if they set up the stings, why won’t Richmond County Sheriff’s Office set them up in white areas where marijuana, ecstacy, heroin and crystal meth are readily available?” began one flyer.

“Why haven’t east and south Augusta gotten more police coverage with the growing crime (burglaries and home invasions) in the area?

“Why did it take over 30 years and an EEOC charge for a black male sergeant to be promoted to the rank of lieutenant on the sheriff’s office road patrol?

“Why are blacks second-class employees at the sheriff’s office?

“Was the ‘Smoke Screen’ a ploy to steal black votes?”

THEY’LL NEED A BIGGER ROOM: The Richmond County Board of Elections is scheduled to meet at 6 p.m. Monday at the Municipal Building to consider a challenge to Roundtree’s candidacy.

Roundtree reportedly has worked out a payment plan with the IRS to pay federal tax liens.

The issue will be whether he can show he’d worked out a similar plan to pay state tax liens or had paid them off when he signed the affidavit to qualify May 23.

OTHER CAMPAIGN NEWS: Augusta Mayor Deke Copenhaver has endorsed Peebles.

“I have nothing against the other guys,” he said. “I just think Scott is the best candidate.”

In other election news, William Fennoy says he’ll announce a second try for the Augusta Commission District 1 seat in the next two weeks. He ran for the seat in 2009 and was defeated in a runoff with Matt Aitken.

Four other candidates have said they’ll also try to unseat incumbent Aitken, but one person who’d been rumored to run has decided against it.

Former District 1 Commissioner Betty Beard said many people had asked her to run again, and she’d considered it until a relative reminded her she’d been investigated by the FBI because she’d helped an obese city employee get a gastric bypass in 2007.

Beard steered $20,000 to Otasha Harden’s surgery out of a $25,000 donation given to the city by the developer who turned Maxwell House Apartments into Section 8 housing.

“I’m not bitter about anything,” Beard said. “Politics is the way it is. I’m doing very well. I’m enjoying life. I’m very active. I’m just happy it’s all behind me and I was able to walk away intact.”

JUST LOOKING: Developer Jim Hull flew Copenhaver; administrative assistant Karyn Nixon; City Administrator Fred Russell; Downtown Development Authority Executive Director Margaret Woodard; and four Georgia Health Sciences University officials, President Ricardo Azziz, vice president of government relations Michael Shaffer, director of facility management Jennifer Smith and senior vice president for advance and community relations Susan Darcus, to Columbus, Ga., to look at Columbus State University’s downtown performing arts center.

“Downtown Columbus in the past 10 years has had a tremendous amount of redevelopment, which has been helped a great deal by the expansion of Columbus State downtown,” the mayor said. “They moved the arts and music program downtown, and they have student housing downtown as well. We got some great ideas. As we’re looking to consolidate two universities and grow, a portion of that growth will be downtown.

“It’s similar to the situation to what we have here, with two campuses, one that has athletic facilities, student center, student housing which is about five miles from downtown, and then they have a downtown campus. They really are seeing a renaissance in their riverfront development.”

THE PALEST INK IS BETTER THAN THE STRONGEST MEMORY: Twelfth Congressional District Republican candidate Wright McLeod must have gotten a little bumfuzzled when questioned about voting in five Democratic primaries since 1998 and giving $7,100 to a statewide Democratic candidate.

McLeod said he voted in Democrat presidential primaries “because they win most general elections for local partisan posts. But presidential primaries include no local contests,” reporter Larry Peterson noted on savannahnow.com on Friday.

McLeod also said he voted for Bill Richardson in the 2008 presidential primary because he had objections to Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and John Edwards, but Richmond County Board of Elections Director Lynn Bailey said records indicate no votes were cast for Richardson in McLeod’s precinct in 2008. And records show he voted at his precinct.

McLeod said he thinks he voted absentee or early, and either the records or his memory is wrong, but he trusts his memory.

THANK JERRY AND DON: Augusta’s financial management consultant and CPA Dianne McNabb updated commissioners on the city’s bond and financing projects, credit ratings and long-term debt and said Augusta is in sound financial shape.

The 2007 water and sewer bond refunding saved $8.3 million and the termination of the $160 million utility bond swap came “just in time” to save the city between $10 million and $12 million, she said.

Commissioner Jerry Brigham and former Commissioner Don Grantham, were the only commissioners to vote against the $160 million utility bond swap, or derivative, that the rest of the board got suckered into approving in 2006.

They finally convinced their colleagues to rescind the swap and re-issue conventional bonds. If they hadn’t, the city would be upside down on the bonds by as much as $12 million. Not as much as Jefferson County, Ala., was on its derivative sewer bonds that forced the county to file the biggest U.S. municipal bankruptcy ever in November.

THE LONG AND SHORT OF IT: I sincerely apologize to Augusta author Naomi Williams’ long-haired Chihuahua, Prince Hamlet, for calling him a long-haired Dachshund in last week’s column.

A long-haired Chihuahua looks nothing like a long-haired Dachshund.

But they’re both hard to spell.

Williams will be signing her latest book, Sunny Acres, at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Columbia County Library.

Comments (38) Add comment
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happychimer
17553
Points
happychimer 06/10/12 - 06:01 pm
4
0
Khan I click on your link and

Khan I click on your link and it is not letting me see it.

csraguy
2274
Points
csraguy 06/10/12 - 06:07 pm
4
1
Politics

Campaign signs are going to get messed up, it isn't right, should not be condoned but seems to be part of it from over zealous supporters or haters of a specific candidate. Just goes with the territory.

Campaign signs are going to get messed up, it isn't right, should not be condoned but seems to be part of it from overzealous supporters or haters of a specific candidate. Whomever listed Roundtree’s name in the article or report about the sign being used during a fight was wrong to do so, intentionally or otherwise.

The flyers were so far over the top it was absurd. The comparison of Lt. Silas to officers killed in the line of duty as was done was despicable. He is a good peace officer and those statements were very much over the line. The comments towards Captain Peebles and Sheriff Strength are absolutely ridiculous. They, along with many fine men and women took hundreds of criminals, guns, drugs, etc. off of our streets and they did so in conjunction with many departments and agencies. I don't care where you live, if you don't like criminals, you should be happy with these results and the following results of less burglaries, violent crimes, etc. I did not personally see the comments towards Ivey but someone who has served well for over 30 years does not deserve such treatment either.

Mayor Copenhaver has endorsed Peebles just as many others are, simply because he is the best candidate for the job.

If the trip to Columbus will help inspire downtown revitalization efforts here in Augusta, then more power to them so long as it did not cost the tax payers a great deal of money. Continuing to cut from Public Safety salaries and positions while spending in other areas is not in the best interest of Richmond County or surrounding areas.

Politics can certainly bring out the worst in people at a local level so here is to wishing each and every person a great day. Three 12 hour shifts so yall have fun.

csraguy
2274
Points
csraguy 06/10/12 - 06:22 pm
4
1
B&P

Yes. No govt. official has the right to misuse county tax dollars but I do not deal in rumor, speculation or assumption, only facts that are verifiable.

Khan'tB4Real
948
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Khan'tB4Real 06/10/12 - 06:35 pm
3
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Sorry Happy
Unpublished

It is a link to Augustaga.gov GIS site. I guess it didn't post correctly. Sometimes it is better to type something out then cut and paste. lol

My reference is the repeated claims that Roundtree just moved on out of his apartment, left gear and files, etc. Truth is that the landlord involved was well aware of Roundtree being sent to VA to the FBI academy and also knew that he left belongings in said apartment and he was not the person who notified the department about such.

And if people think that investigators do not take case file out of the building, have them in their car, at their home then you are sadly mistaken. How do they take the case files to court if they do not ever leave the building? And if your court time was/is late afternoon do you leave a file in your car or take it in your home to protect it, work on it, study it for court the next day. This was not an isolated event and is common practice and knowledge. And come to think of it ANOTHER investigator received reprimand for having one of those case files left in that apartment prior to Roundtree being demoted for it. How does that sit with you? An innocent investigator reprimanded. What if that innocent investigator turned out to be the person who ended up dating the ex love interest of the married supervisor doling out the punishment? How would that sit with you as well?

I am not promoting Roundtree nor his indiscretions by the dozen in any way, shape or form. Nor do I think he should lead RCSO; however you still have to review all the information on all sides. Show all of the facts on all of the candidates and let it stand.

Khan'tB4Real
948
Points
Khan'tB4Real 06/10/12 - 06:45 pm
2
3
LOL Beer ...
Unpublished

No way. If you go back and pay out of your pocket to reimburse for those county credit card purchases then that makes them go away. It doesn't matter that there is a paper trail showing what you purchased and when. Do pizza places deliver beer too or does that have to be purchased separately?

Credit card receipts showing that a county employee purchased things outside of the realm of what is justifiable expenditures. Seems familiar to me ... like some other official was taken to task for having $3000+ lunches charged on his county credit card back in 2004.

Khan'tB4Real
948
Points
Khan'tB4Real 06/10/12 - 06:56 pm
2
3
What if CSRAguy
Unpublished

What if the taking of guns and other such off the streets by a county involved having investigators illegally place tracking devices on federal suspects vehicles unbeknownst to the federal agency involved CSRAguy? Would that be okay because you think law enforcement does not need to be held to the law they enforce? Is it okay to break federal laws to track suspects? Or do you think if a federal judge found out about this, and there were witnesses to back up the allegations that would be subpeonaed to testify, that those involved could possibly face federal time?

Khan'tB4Real
948
Points
Khan'tB4Real 06/10/12 - 07:33 pm
4
0
Shhhhhhh
Unpublished

Squirrels have SECRETS! Lots of secrets!!!

JohnBrownAug
1962
Points
JohnBrownAug 06/11/12 - 10:29 am
3
3
I wonder if there is

I wonder if there is dissension between Sheriff Clay Whittle and Scott Peebles since a player in his campaign and a big contributor ran a messy race against Whittle?

csraguy
2274
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csraguy 06/11/12 - 11:49 am
5
1
JBA

Both former 2004 candidates actually get along very well both professionally and personally, ask Sheriff Whittle directly if you have any doubt as he is very easy to contact. And, since you respect his opinion so much, just as I do, ask him who he believes is the best candidate.

Riverman1
83808
Points
Riverman1 06/11/12 - 06:20 pm
1
4
I'd let Sheriff Whittle speak

I'd let Sheriff Whittle speak for himself if he wants. The only candidate on the ballot in Richmond County that I'm pretty sure he supports is Lee Anderson for Congress.

The Columbia County Sheriff's race that year was a torrid affair with the other candidate, who now is labeled as one of Peebles' largest backers, making charges against Sheriff Whittle. I'm glad to know he made amends with Sheriff Whittle after he was soundly beaten in the election.

Khan'tB4Real
948
Points
Khan'tB4Real 06/11/12 - 06:53 pm
2
0
River!
Unpublished

Well lookie lookie who's off the NAUGHTY BOY list. Maybe if EyeMaeNo agrees to play nice they can come back in the sandbox too!

csraguy
2274
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csraguy 06/11/12 - 09:41 pm
4
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Welcome Back

Welcome Back River...

Riverman1
83808
Points
Riverman1 06/11/12 - 10:01 pm
3
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Thanks, CSRAGuy. It's a hard

Thanks, CSRAGuy. It's a hard fought game.

Retired Army
17512
Points
Retired Army 06/12/12 - 12:23 am
3
0
Jeez River, who made your

Jeez River, who made your bail?

That's a joke Sean!

Riverman1
83808
Points
Riverman1 06/12/12 - 04:39 am
1
0
Thanks, RA. Now if I can only

Thanks, RA. Now if I can only get you to vote Republican. :)

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