City Ink: Election is a three-ring circus

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Tuesday’s primary election in Richmond County has turned into a three-ring circus.

In the center ring is the sheriff’s race, which has turned scandalous on the Democratic side, with some fire-breathing supporters of Lt. Robbie Silas attacking Capt. Scott Peebles via newspaper and social media Web sites.

An investigator’s wife obtained the personnel files of other officers and started smearing them, too.

You can just imagine how that went over in the sheriff’s office. Officers aren’t speaking to one another, and the investigator was given a few days off for his own good.

WHERE IS THE RING­MASTER? Lots of folks say it all could have been avoided if Sheriff Ronnie Strength had endorsed Peebles early on as he had said he’d do before brother-in-law Silas got into the race.

“If Ronnie had announced he was endorsing Peebles back last October, you could have put all this to bed,” Augusta Commission member Grady Smith said. “I think some of what’s going on is not good for the county. Some of the cuts run deep. Neighbors and friends won’t be speaking after this is over. I just see it’s sad for what’s going on.”

Republicans are crossing party lines to vote for Peebles like lemmings headed to the sea.

The negative campaign has turned Commissioner Joe Bowles into a Democrat – temporarily.

“Thanks to the criticism of Scott Peebles by Robbie Silas supporters, I have decided not to vote for my friend Wright McLeod and vote in the Democratic primary,” he said.

Commissioner Joe Jackson said he, too, is crossing party lines to vote for Peebles.

“He asked me for my support,” he said. “No other candidate asked me to support him. I believe in my heart of hearts Scott can pull this off without a runoff. Who is most qualified to handle a $55 million budget and a 790-man sheriff’s office? I’m going to vote for Elaine Johnson, Carlisle Overstreet and TSPLOST.”

THE JUDGE OF JUVENILE DELINQUENTS IS DELINQUENT: In another ring, where Juvenile Court Judge Willie Saunders is challenging incumbent Carlisle Overstreet, the chief judge of the Augusta Judicial Circuit, lawyer Jack Long will seek another venue to pursue his challenge to Saun­ders’ eligibility because of delinquent federal taxes.

Secretary of State Brian Kemp ruled in Long v. Saunders that although Saunders owes more than $159,000 in federal taxes, his bankruptcy repayment plan meets the state law standard and he’s qualified to run for office.

Next week, Long and his attorney, former Gov. Roy Barnes, will appeal Kemp’s ruling in Fulton County Superior Court.

“It now leaves the executive branch of government, where it’s been, and goes to the judicial branch,” Long said. “It’s not a moot issue even after the election, because we’re dealing with something that could reoccur.

“And I think for the state of Georgia we need to have a definitive ruling of the plain meaning of the constitution.”

Saunders has not paid federal taxes for self-employment income from his law practice in eight years, nor has he paid his 2011 taxes. He filed for an extension to file his return but not for an extension to pay.

Of the $159,000 delinquency, Saunders will pay only $87,000 as part of his bankruptcy plan, Long said.

IGNORANCE OF THE LAW IS NO EXCUSE TO RUN: In the third ring of the primary circus is an improper flier that showed up in mailboxes and on Web sites that states “Official Democratic Ticket” at the top and “Vote & Elect” above photos of President Obama, sheriff candidate Richard Roundtree and clerk of court candidate Hattie Holmes-Sullivan. At the bottom it states, “One Team One Dream 2012.”

When Richmond County Dem­ocratic Party Chairman Lowell Greenbaum heard about the flier, he issued a media release stating the party is endorsing no candidate in the primary.

“Any mailing, Web site or Facebook that carries such an endorsement is false,” he stated.

Greenbaum said he’d made it clear to everyone that the party did not endorse in the primary.

YOU OUGHT TO BE ON TV: Former Mayor Bob Young was such a good moderator during Friday’s televised roundtable discussion with the four candidates for Georgia’s 12th Congressional District, he should consider a career in television.

Oh, wait! He already had one. Thirteen years as assistant news director and anchorman at WJBF, the
station that held the debate.

He looked very good for someone who spends most of his time in the swamp. He’s the president of Southeastern Natural Sciences Academy. He’d done his homework and kept the discussion lively.

Questions ranged from the new penny tax for transportation to the federal budget and farm subsidies, about which Young presented some interesting statistics.

Candidates Maria Sheffield and Rick Allen said they were opposed to the transportation tax. McLeod called it “just another tax increase, another layer of bureaucracy.” Lee Anderson said he sees it as an investment in the community.

JOHN DEERE GREEN: Dur­ing a discussion of farm subsidies, Young said, “Now we know ZIP code 30904 is the home of many family farms, the Hill section in Augusta. And over the past 20 years in 30904, 88 residents have collected subsidies of $684,000.

“How about ZIP code 30901, downtown Augusta? Well, they’ve got the Satur­day market down there. They’ve got the farmers market. They’ve also got 67 family farms receiving $564,747 in the same period. Move on out to Columbia County. There’s a lot of family farming out there, right? Two hundred twenty-two people received $1.5 million in subsidies in 30907.

“And Lee, you received $110,000 in farm subsidies, didn’t you?”

“How many years?” Anderson asked.

“Since 1995,” Young replied. “The point is, do you need those to run your farm? Do the people living in urban centers need subsidies?”

“When a true farmer has a severe drought, they need help,” Anderson replied.

Allen said that’s why he wanted to audit every agency and department of federal government.

“This is nonsense,” he said. “This waste has got to stop.”

Sheffield said it was not only waste but fraud in some cases.

McLeod, however, said the subsidies passed the tax code and were in the rules and regulations of the agriculture department.

“Come get your check,” he said. “It’s not illegal. And some people will say it’s not even unethical.”

YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE ELECTED TO SERVE: Toward the end, Young asked the candidates whether they had anything they wanted to say to one another. McLeod took exception to Anderson’s mailer that compared Anderson to the other candidates.

In the category of public service, Anderson listed being a state representative and Columbia County commissioner. By McLeod’s name, he stated “None.”

“I served in the military 20 years,” McLeod said.

“As an elected official,” Anderson said.

“What is that, Lee?” McLeod asked.

“I respect your service tremendously,” Anderson said.

“Well, then send out a retraction,” McLeod said.

Anderson apologized but didn’t mention a retraction mailing.

Comments (92) Add comment
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TCB22
632
Points
TCB22 07/29/12 - 10:56 am
3
2
Riverman...

Freddie Sanders is the only person that should be considered to run the department. They NEED adult leadership. Isn't that painfully obvious by now? Look at what this election has turned into! Peebles is a nice guy and we all know his face because he's been a spokesperson -but folks, that does not mean he can run such a large organization - much less straightened up this tangled mess after the election. Vote for Freddie Sanders and you will see this thing smooth out. Otherwise, you get what you ask for.

seenitB4
87116
Points
seenitB4 07/29/12 - 11:06 am
3
2
TCB22

You are a breath of fresh air,,,I agree with this...

Vote for Freddie Sanders and you will see this thing smooth out. Otherwise, you get what you ask for.

KSL
129357
Points
KSL 07/29/12 - 11:20 am
5
0
As the guy in the back seat

As the guy in the back seat of the car in Pulp Fiction said in answer to a question, "I don't have an opinion," the next thing he knew, he was getting his brains blown out.

HenryWalker3rd
2393
Points
HenryWalker3rd 07/29/12 - 11:22 am
3
0
Conservative by nature.
Unpublished

With all of the mess the "democrats" have made.....including Peebles, who is not a real dem, I think that I will play it safe and vote Republican.

Da.n Augusta, do you hear that???...laugh, laugh, laugh. Ha, ha, ha, smh, smh, smh.

rebellious
20780
Points
rebellious 07/29/12 - 12:35 pm
5
0
KSL

"I hope whoever is elected will get the support of the good folks in the community. He's going to need it."

I hope the good folks in the community will get the support of whoever is elected!

Riverman1
83813
Points
Riverman1 07/29/12 - 01:16 pm
3
2
Peebles has said he is an

Peebles has said he is an Obama supporter. Of course he could be lying about that, too. I don't know. I tend to take people at what they say.

KSL
129357
Points
KSL 07/29/12 - 02:19 pm
4
0
I do too, Reb.

I do too, Reb.

KSL
129357
Points
KSL 07/29/12 - 02:20 pm
4
0
And if they don't, they need

And if they don't, they need to make a lot of noise about it.

Thigpen
28
Points
Thigpen 07/29/12 - 02:46 pm
5
0
$159,000 in federal taxes? I

$159,000 in federal taxes? I can only wonder what the number totals to when you add state taxes too?

KSL
129357
Points
KSL 07/29/12 - 05:11 pm
1
0
I don't live in GA and I

I don't live in GA and I don't have a clue as to who Saunders is. But I don't like people who don't pay their taxes. There have been years we borrowed to pay ours. We are both self employed and the Obama years have not been kind. Nor were Carter's policies favorable. We are stupid. We did what we had to do.

allhans
23641
Points
allhans 07/29/12 - 07:26 pm
0
1
Since the Democrat primary is

Since the Democrat primary is ending...is Freddie ready for what will for sure be coming his way shortly?

HighSociety
1840
Points
HighSociety 07/29/12 - 08:00 pm
1
3
Got to love it when the

Got to love it when the support of a few nuts has a certain candidate separating himself from them when speaking to others. Sometimes going over the top can cause more harm than good. TUESDAY can't get here fast enough! Everyone make sure to get out and vote.

lsmith
105
Points
lsmith 07/29/12 - 08:10 pm
0
0
How can a guy who files
Unpublished

How can a guy who files bankruptcy and owes huge taxes be considered for a "judge"? I'm no fan of carlisle overstreet but geez, what a choice...

Farm subsidiies....abolish altogether....give'em a low interest loan (to repay) just like most other businesses. The program is a runaway scam for taxpayers. Thousands who receive these subsidies don't farm anymore or "farm less" because it's more profitable to do do. Can you believe that land is actually sold with a farm subsidy almost permanently attached to it?

Freddie Sanders is the best man in the sheriff's race and at least had the courage to run on the ticket he believes in.

Riverman1
83813
Points
Riverman1 07/29/12 - 08:42 pm
4
1
Any candidate that has nuts attacking Sheriff Strength

Any candidate that has nuts attacking Sheriff Strength and his wife, Patti, on his behalf and doesn't distance himself from them is as bad as they are.

Riverman1
83813
Points
Riverman1 07/29/12 - 10:08 pm
2
1
Strong Wives

It appears Shane McDaniel and Ronnie Strength, both, deserve an apology from those who said they were doing things because of their wives. Sheriff Strength has made it plain he’s making his own decisions. The situation of Shane McDaniel borders on slander when he’s accused of giving his wife info from files at the RCSO.

Come to find out his Mrs. McDaniel took it upon herself to do a freedom of information act to obtain the info she wanted. Mrs. Strength and Mrs. McDaniel are both strong campaigners for their candidate.

A strong, independent and politically involved wife is apparently the opposite of what some envision a wife should be. These two women and their husbands have been dragged through the mud enough.

Willow Bailey
20580
Points
Willow Bailey 07/29/12 - 10:24 pm
1
2
Just curious. All deputies do

Just curious. All deputies do still serve at the pleasure of the Sheriff, correct?

Riverman1
83813
Points
Riverman1 07/30/12 - 07:07 am
0
0
Willow, define "at the

Willow, define "at the pleasure." Departmental rules and legalities are monitored by a sheriff, no doubt. But that doesn't mean he can capriciously fire someone without cause or for that matter treat an employee unfairly. Ronnie Strength certainly has never done any such thing that I've heard of.

HighSociety
1840
Points
HighSociety 07/30/12 - 09:12 am
0
0
RM, you are correct, but the

RM, you are correct, but the new Sheriff doesn't have to swear them in if he chooses not to.

fishman960
1446
Points
fishman960 07/30/12 - 10:22 am
0
0
Rabble Rousing

A lot of speculation on all sides as to who would be the best Sheriff. A lot of things have been said that shouldn't have.

The way I see it is we have 2 fine candidates and others trying.
Why is it that until Silas entered the race it appeared that Ronnie wanted Peebles to succeed him?

I think Silas or Peebles can lead us forward.
Greed, money and power are always going to be a factor

I'm voting for Peebles.

fishman960
1446
Points
fishman960 07/30/12 - 10:25 am
0
0
Strength

I admire what Ronnie has done for our community, I think he has been one of the best we have had.

However, we all have our vices and who knows what Ronnie's actually are.

Riverman1
83813
Points
Riverman1 07/30/12 - 11:26 am
0
0
Peebles is certainly NOT the

Peebles is certainly NOT the only candidate who can fill the shoes of Ronnie Strength. Robbie Silas would do a superb job. Freddie Sanders has already proven he can lead a department. Plus, Sanders could be the one to unite this divided department. Vote Sanders over Godowns.

Riverman1
83813
Points
Riverman1 07/30/12 - 11:25 am
0
0
About Attacks

High Society, you say I've made attacks on Peebles. That's not true. I have presented facts. Early on, I was privy to some personal facts that I brought up, but I was asked by someone important to y'all, hopefully, to please not go there and I honored the request meticulously. You know we all have personal pasts.

On the other hand, I've seen harsh personal attacks on Patti and Ronnie Strength and Karen and Shane McDaniel, in addition to Robbie Silas.

The attacks by y'all were done by people who should know better.

fishman960
1446
Points
fishman960 07/30/12 - 11:39 am
0
0
Riverman

I have heard dirt about most of the candidates (who can forget the Roundtree departure debacle). There are a lot of opinions about why a certain candidate would be best.
I say leave the mud slinging to the ones that are in the sty. I prefer to stay clean and focus on the accomplishments of all running. I agree Sanders has proven himself before, however these are more difficult times for our county.
To me the election boils down to the two (Scott and Robbie) and I would feel confident to either.
I prefer Scott's accomplishments.

Riverman1
83813
Points
Riverman1 07/30/12 - 11:50 am
0
0
Fishman, Nice to See You Back

Nothing wrong with any of that, Fish. We all have our views. I will say this about the mudslinging. The one I least want to see win, Roundtree, was the target of much of it early, lots of it from Sylvia.

When I pointed out something about a candidate and was privately asked to stop because it was personally embarrassing, I did. This whole race didn't have to deteriorate like it did simply because others got in the race. It was like "How dare somebody else run?"

Riverman1
83813
Points
Riverman1 07/30/12 - 12:03 pm
0
0
Here's another observation.

Here's another observation. There is something about some people who want to ingratiate themselves to authority figures. Of course there's nothing more authoritarian than a sheriff. That desire to be part of his inner circle causes some to instigate needless battles to show their public loyalty. Always look for ulterior motives is my advice to the public....and to the candidates, too.

fishman960
1446
Points
fishman960 07/30/12 - 12:22 pm
0
0
Round tree

River, we do agree about Roundtree. You made a good observation. Lets hope whoever gets elected has the integrity to stand up to the power brokers such as Ronnie has.

HighSociety
1840
Points
HighSociety 07/30/12 - 01:03 pm
1
1
RM, Alot of what you've

RM, Alot of what you've brought up wasn't facts it was gossip amongst a few disgruntle deputies. You along with KSL aka ( numerous screen names) have slammed Peebles from the beginning. You have been the captain driving this drama train with KSM being your little co-pilot. Several things that could've been brought out on other candidates were not because the Peebles camp has continued to take the high road. KSM a victim? Are you serious? She got the 5 minutes of fame she was seeking, but Im sure it's not exactly the attention she was hoping for. The candidates themselves have all acted professional through this mess it's the supporters that have started the mud slinging.

Riverman1
83813
Points
Riverman1 07/30/12 - 03:50 pm
0
0
High Society

I find your remarks objectionable. You talk about others using multiple names to attack your side, but I can assure you I never did such a thing, plus I saw more new names pop up here making outrageous comments on this race attacking those opposed to Peebles than I've ever seen. They disappeared quickly. I, on the other hand, have been around here for years and people know my veracity.

If you want to discuss anything I've said, bring it on. KSM doesn't need me to tell her what to do. She has emerged as the most honest and fearless person in this election. Her husband certainly didn't tell her what to do nor did Ronnie Strength tell Patti what to do...much as y'all don't believe it even though it was wrongly stated otherwise in the media.

Frankly, my biggest problem has been with Peebles' supporters who initiated the dumbest and most misguided tactics I've ever seen. He would be foolish to hire one in particular if he does win the election. Some of the foolish moves by his devotees were visible right here in the comments.

fishman960
1446
Points
fishman960 07/30/12 - 04:08 pm
0
0
Views

Everyone is entitled to their opinion. I do not know River or KSL personally, however I know them to be very outspoken on their beliefs. To imply that they are allied is laughable to me. Personal insults are not productive, regardless who they are directed at.
I do know that River and KSL have been on here for a while and if they crossed the line they would have been gone like all the other flamers. I don't always agree with them but I do find them enlightening. JMO

At this point I see this thread as done.

HighSociety
1840
Points
HighSociety 07/30/12 - 04:18 pm
0
0
My bad! Obviously this

My bad! Obviously this election is getting to me also. That was KSM NOT KSL. Sorry KSL.

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