Sylvia Cooper

City Ink columnist and correspondent for The Augusta Chronicle.

City Ink: Candidates play the part

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Political forums are good political theater, and the actors get better with every rehearsal.

It’s just a shame they play mostly to an audience that already knows who it will nominate for an Academy Award on Election Day.

Such was the case at two forums last week – the Republican 12th Congressional District forum Saturday, sponsored by the Greater Columbia County Republican Women, and the 100 Black Women of Augusta’s forum for Richmond County sheriff’s candidates Thursday.

At Saturday’s forum in Evans, author and political consultant Phil Kent, the moderator, told the candidates they’d be given two minutes to introduce themselves, after which he would ask them a few questions, followed by questions from a panel and the audience. He posed his first question to state Rep. Lee Anderson. It was about an answer An­derson gave at a forum in Statesboro about the Federal Reserve which sounded like he didn’t know the difference between reserve funds and the Federal Reserve.

“I’m glad to answer the question, but I thought we were supposed to have a two-minute introduction,” Anderson drawled.

“You’re absolutely right,” Kent said. “We’ll start with you.”

“I’m fed up just like you’re fed up,” Anderson began. “I’m fed up with Obama and John Barrow spending all our money. A president and a congressman who want to force the highest tax increase in American history down our throat, called health care reform. It’s time to send a businessman and a farmer to Congress to straighten out the mess. … It’s nothing fancy about me. I’m not a show horse. I’m a workhorse. But I get the job done.”

Wright McLeod, a former Navy pilot, said he believed in the Constitution and that when he was young all he ever wanted to do was join the military.

Rick Allen said he didn’t believe in centralized government and that the November election is the most important in the history of the nation.

Maria Sheffield said she believed every department of government should be audited annually, so everyone would know exactly what they’re doing.

All four, who hope to win the July 31 primary and go on to defeat Barrow in November, said they’d work to repeal “Obamacare.”

“Pretty soon, we’re going to have a tax if we don’t have an electric car,” Allen said. “This law must be stopped. Send John Barrow back to where he’s from and Obama back from wherever he’s from.”

TOUCHE: To a question about what they’d do to reign in unnecessary entitlement spending, waste, fraud and abuse, McLeod said, “I know. You know. We all know that the biggest threat to our nation is spending. One of my opponents talks like he’s willing to cut spending, but at the same time, he’s the recipient of stimulus money. That is wrong.”

“Which opponent is that?” Kent asked.

“Let me be very, very clear,” McLeod responded. “There’s nothing illegal about it. He just won those contracts. He won them fairly. He was probably the low bidder or best provider or whatever the criteria was. But that’s stimulus money. That’s my money. That’s your money. That’s wrong.”

After the applause from McCleod’s supporters waned, Allen said, “Let me just say that as I understand right now, Wright’s in the real-estate business, and you’re closing mortgages every day. That’s how you put food on the table. Well, guess who’s buying all those mortgages in the country? Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. So I rest my case.”

IT TAKES RESPONSIBLE PARENTS, NOT A VILLAGE: At Thursday’s sheriff candidates’ forum at Diamond Lakes Community center, three of the candidates were asked, “What is your plan to stop the high number of murders in Richmond County?”

Lt. Robbie Silas said targeting youths and educating them on the consequences of those “significant crimes.”

Lt. Richard Roundtree said there’s a direct correlation between a lack of education and violent crime.

Capt. Scott Peebles said he’d use a two-pronged process: get involved with at-risk youth and get guns off the street through undercover operations such as Operation Smoke Screen and Fox Hunt, which resulted in a 40 percent drop in aggravated assaults.

The best answer to the question wasn’t given at that forum but at Saturday’s forum by Allen in response to a question about education.

“The first thing we’ve got to do is reinvent the family,” he said. “The family is in trouble in this country. That’s why the kids are in trouble. The family is the greatest economic engine ever created in this country, and this government is devastating the family.”

THE BELL TOLLED THE END OF AN ERA: The Augusta State University community gathered on the center campus Friday to say goodbye to President William A. Bloodworth Jr. as the school’s bell tolled the end of his 19-year tenure leading the school.

“It was very touching,” he said. “Then I said goodbye to my staff. It was a little sad.”

The night before, hundreds crowded Sacred Heart Cultural Center to celebrate his retirement with gifts, tributes, song and a $115,395 check for a scholarship in his name.

It’s been a distinguished career, one he never planned for or imagined.

“I had a single mother who had an eighth-grade education,” he said. “We lived in San Antonio and moved around a lot. I never saw this. I don’t think that’s the way anything happens. You end up in places you never thought you’d be.”

When he decided it was time to step down last year after 18 years and become a professor again, he thought he’d be leaving the office in the hands of another permanent president.

“But it didn’t work out that way,” he said.

Instead, as everyone knows, the Georgia Board of Regents decided to consolidate ASU and Georgia Health Sciences University, a union that won’t go into effect until January.

“I have mixed emotions,” he said. “I’m going to make the transition from president to professor. It’s a little isolating. But teaching is exciting. I feel blessed to have a career for a few more years.

“I really do not think I will work less, but I will be more focused,” he said. “Being a college president is multitasking on steroids. You don’t know what you’re going to be dealing with.”

During the Jennifer Keeton controversy, he received 40,000 e-mails in one day from her supporters across the country. The graduate student sued the school in 2010, alleging that a requirement to read material about homosexuals and increase her exposure to them after saying she’d tell gay clients their behavior is morally wrong violated her First Amendment rights.

When Bloodworth came to Augusta in 1993, the ASU campus was a horrible-looking place, with arsenal buildings built in 1941. Then in June 1997, the Board of Regents agreed to replace six old buildings, known as “the six-pack,” with two modern ones. The school also got federal money for the History Walk. The University Village Apart­ments were developed for student housing. And ASU finally got a decent student center, the Jaguar Student Activities Center.

“We added academic programs, grew enrollment and had success in basketball and golf and created a women’s intercollegiate golf team,” Bloodworth said.

Leaders have a strong desire to lead and get things done, and it is difficult to stop and listen to others, he said.

“I hope along the way I’ve learned to listen to faculty and staff, and make decisions based on the advice of others.”

Comments (53) Add comment
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Khan'tB4Real
948
Points
Khan'tB4Real 06/30/12 - 08:14 pm
7
8
Operations
Unpublished

The one question I have regarding the Operations is this? What were the burglary statistics prior to the implementation of such operations like Operation Smoke Screen? And why I am asking is this: if you set up a pawn type storefront, put the word out on the street that they are looking to buy weapons, and the word spreads to the criminal element, doesn't that in itself "persuade" that element to break into homes looking for guns and other valuables to pawn? Essentially targeting that element AND increasing the number of burglaries.

AutumnLeaves
7025
Points
AutumnLeaves 06/30/12 - 08:48 pm
12
0
I agree with Sylvia and Rick Allen...

I agree with Sylvia in this matter where Sylvia writes and then quotes Rick Allen. Sylvia: "The best answer to the question wasn’t given at that forum but at Saturday’s forum by Allen in response to a question about education." Allen: “The first thing we’ve got to do is reinvent the family,” he said. “The family is in trouble in this country. That’s why the kids are in trouble. The family is the greatest economic engine ever created in this country, and this government is devastating the family.” I agree. Good way to annoy your new neighbor thanks to HUD: When you meet her and her children and she says, "it takes a village..." I responded, "a village can help, but the primary responsibility is with the parents." The look I got told me everything I needed to know. They were eventually evicted. I wish a had a penny for every problem they caused in our neighborhood.

Insider Information
4009
Points
Insider Information 06/30/12 - 09:21 pm
9
1
Glass houses

It would be interesting to know how many mortgages Wright closed on that are now foreclosed. And what percentage of his business involves sub-prime mortgages?

I apologize in advance to his supporters for asking questions. I'm sure I'll get a thumbs down for doing that.

Riverman1
82254
Points
Riverman1 06/30/12 - 09:46 pm
7
7
As Khan said, didn't those

As Khan said, didn't those sting operations result in so much crime they had to be called off? That result was observed and discussed often.

Riverman1
82254
Points
Riverman1 06/30/12 - 09:49 pm
6
2
About the Congressional Election

I'd hardly equate closing on houses with using the stimulus money.

But, before there's yet another false accusation about McLeod, he has explained often he wasn't a jet pilot, he was the navigator although they are also given limited training as pilots.

rational thought trumps emotion
2549
Points
rational thought trumps emotion 06/30/12 - 10:02 pm
11
3
Operations

Since operations remove hundreds of guns from criminal’s hands and remove many criminals from our streets for at least 4 years or more, they certainly do work. It is not possible to argue with relevant felony statistics that cannot be altered showing that all violent crimes in Augusta have been reduced by over 40 percent the past 6 years during the implementation of these operations. Since the RCSO has received numerous awards from state and national organizations and received first in the world from the National Police Chief's Association, those who are professional and knowledgeable in police operations certainly respect what the Richmond County Sheriff's Office under the direction of Sheriff Strength and leadership of Captain Peebles have accomplished. These were going on long before an election came up in order to protect us and make the CSRA safer and the many men and women of the RCSO who participated and placed their lives on the line did a great job.

Khan'tB4Real
948
Points
Khan'tB4Real 06/30/12 - 10:36 pm
7
11
Yes 100s of weapons that
Unpublished

Yes 100s of weapons that would not have been in their hands if the word did not get out that these operations were paying good money for them. It's very easy to have those type of percentages when you are basically asking criminals to break into peoples homes to steal them for money. I would bet HALF of those weapons or more would not have even been stolen if word on the street was not put out there that money was to be made off of them. There is a big difference between targeting drug dealers and targeting minorities for money for weapons. What were the statistics of whites, blacks, or other races who were arrested in the last operation? Yes. Exactly.

Khan'tB4Real
948
Points
Khan'tB4Real 06/30/12 - 10:39 pm
4
8
And violent crimes are down
Unpublished

And violent crimes are down throughout the entire United States. Should we credit Peebles with that also?

Khan'tB4Real
948
Points
Khan'tB4Real 06/30/12 - 10:43 pm
6
7
Being a "numbers" person I
Unpublished

Being a "numbers" person I can also guarantee that ALL statistics can be manipulated and you would be extremely mistaken to believe otherwise.

Insider Information
4009
Points
Insider Information 06/30/12 - 10:44 pm
11
3
I'm not sure where to even

I'm not sure where to even begin... A a silly theory that the police operations credited with reducing crime actually inspired crime?

So, it was the cops' fault, not the criminals' fault that crimes were committed?

That's analogous to saying the victim of rape caused the rape by dressing in a way that enticed the criminal.

Insider Information
4009
Points
Insider Information 06/30/12 - 10:44 pm
10
3
I'm not sure where to even

I'm not sure where to even begin... A a silly theory that the police operations credited with reducing crime actually inspired crime?

So, it was the cops' fault, not the criminals' fault that crimes were committed?

That's analogous to saying the victim of rape caused the rape by dressing in a way that enticed the criminal.

Khan'tB4Real
948
Points
Khan'tB4Real 06/30/12 - 10:58 pm
2
8
No one. NO ONE is blaming law
Unpublished

No one. NO ONE is blaming law enforcement. Just bringing out another side to this story.

When you have any individual who only knows how to make a dollar illegally and you put the word out that you will pay for weapons how do you think they are going to get those weapons? And if they get paid this amount for one weapon it is more lucrative to steal more for even more money.

It equates to me putting a notice in the newspaper telling everyone I am going out of town and leaving my door unlocked. ... come and get all you want.

pointstoponder
161
Points
pointstoponder 06/30/12 - 11:22 pm
5
3
Stimulus projects

Just to be clear, the SPLOST projects R W Allen is working on are funded through local dollars, not stimulus. Y'all can debate the necessity of the projects all you want, but they are not stimulus funded. They were in the works prior to the Bush-Obama tag team assault on our economy.

AutumnLeaves
7025
Points
AutumnLeaves 06/30/12 - 11:26 pm
4
0
that reminds me of something....

A certain local authority a few years back pooh-poohed our crime problem during a neighborhood association meeting in the neighborhood we both lived in. He said he never had to lock his doors in all the years he lived there. As far as I know since then, despite the very public announcement of keeping his home unsecured, he has never had a theft problem. But one block over in every direction is another story. I suppose he's just lucky? Must be nice to have that immunity.

KSL
126401
Points
KSL 06/30/12 - 11:39 pm
5
0
Can someone explain to be

Can someone explain to be after numerous comments on other threads, this suddenly appears at the top of the most discussed with the 14 comments?

glfr8
120
Points
glfr8 06/30/12 - 11:54 pm
4
2
Stimulus

Congressman Paul's district has more stimulus/pork money than most others. You know why, because the money is already set aside in the bill, so someone has to fight for it. Why not try to get the money to your district? If not someone else will get it. So if you're going to blame someone don't blame RW Allen, blame congress. Construction companies have no say in where money is allocated.Don't try to say Mr. Allen has made it in business so long surviving off of government buildings. There is no way his business could.

Riverman1
82254
Points
Riverman1 07/01/12 - 04:58 am
7
2
Peebles and Diversity

How can anyone who says he's conservative on the one hand brag about supporting Obama? What a crock.

Riverman1
82254
Points
Riverman1 07/01/12 - 05:03 am
8
3
If You Remember the Operations Were Stopped

Khan is absolutely right. This was discussed in the forums a lot with at least one Morris Co newspaper editor joining the discussion in complete agreement about criminals being encouraged with the sting operations. There were also comments from those running the operation saying similar things in newspaper articles without admitting they had encouraged crime...They said tthey were stopping because they didn't want to encourage more criminal activity. In other words, they knew that's exactly what was beginning to happen.

HighSociety
1840
Points
HighSociety 07/01/12 - 05:57 am
7
1
II, yes it's silly to blame

II, yes it's silly to blame the police for the crimes. These operations cleared several other violent crimes that were not connected to the operation itself. Folks will try to spin things to get a political jab in whenever possible. The Sheriffs Department done an outstanding job with the operations.

beerandpizza
143
Points
beerandpizza 07/01/12 - 06:26 am
2
4
CNN
Unpublished

House holds Holder in contempt (Ohhh, Thank you Peebles). 31 victims identified in widening Air Force sex scandle (Ohhh, Thank you Peebles). Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes divorcing (Thanks for being there Peebles, you are truly all over the place). Guthrie replaces Ann Curry on 'Today' (once again, thanks to peebles)......... See what I did there? (insert saracsm here). Truly a God send he is.

Riverman1
82254
Points
Riverman1 07/01/12 - 06:32 am
8
2
Different Kinds of Stings

Understand a sting operation that catches criminals in the act such as the TV show Bait Car displays is a great idea. It apprehends people breaking the law. On the other hand if you were paying bad guys to bring in car parts from stripped down stolen cars and it was an ongoing process that took months before arrests were made, you would actually be encouraging car thefts. See the difference?

seenitB4
85392
Points
seenitB4 07/01/12 - 06:33 am
4
3
Let me see now

ok...suppose I'm a crook----the word on the street is that I can get $$$ for a gun----I don't have a gun & I still want $$$----duh duh---yep I will have to get a gun from somewhere to get some bucks.....well well we all know some of that happened.......don't put the word on the street if you don't want this...
Well.......we can only hope they don't start giving $$$ for babies now can't we....

seenitB4
85392
Points
seenitB4 07/01/12 - 06:35 am
3
3
Stings & strings

yep...different kind---I get that....

Riverman1
82254
Points
Riverman1 07/01/12 - 06:44 pm
5
1
Peebles Wearing SWAT Team Vest

BeerandPizza, I like it when CAPTAIN P,THE OBAMA SUPPORTER, wears the SWAT team vest at press conferences. It's kind of cute, don't ya think?

beerandpizza
143
Points
beerandpizza 07/01/12 - 06:36 am
2
1
It's almost like entrapment
Unpublished

It's almost like entrapment river...... but some folks refuse to see that. Regardless, the character and ethical practices of one will ALWAYS remain in question. Even if one REFUSES to own up to his recent questionable decisions......

seenitB4
85392
Points
seenitB4 07/01/12 - 06:37 am
2
1
Nahhh

That vest is a turnoff to me...

seenitB4
85392
Points
seenitB4 07/01/12 - 06:41 am
2
2
Dang

Dang that pizza looks good....makes me want some pizza at 630am

beerandpizza
143
Points
beerandpizza 07/01/12 - 06:45 am
3
0
Thank you seenit.... and it
Unpublished

Thank you seenit.... and it was paid for with CASH!!!! My cash. LOL

beerandpizza
143
Points
beerandpizza 07/01/12 - 06:53 am
3
2
However River...... I am
Unpublished

However River...... I am still laughing my [filtered word] off after your new nickname given.....all he needs now is make up.....(wait a minute.....ummmm) ;-)

seenitB4
85392
Points
seenitB4 07/01/12 - 07:01 am
2
1
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