Sylvia Cooper

City Ink columnist and correspondent for The Augusta Chronicle.

City Ink: 'Georgia Regents University' takes heat off Augusta officials

  • Follow City Ink

The public outcry over the consolidated university’s new name – Georgia Regents University – must be hell for Georgia Health Sciences University President Ricardo Azziz, but heaven to two Augusta officials usually on the hot seat.

One is Richmond County Sher­iff Ronnie Strength, who’s had a tough summer, what with the shootings on Broad Street after First Friday and the Democratic primary for sheriff that became a family affair when his brother-in-law, Lt. Robbie Silas, qualified to run against his chosen successor, Capt. Scott Peebles.

The other is City Administrator Fred Russell, always the target of criticism, most recently over the stalled Reynolds Street parking deck management contract. Azziz and GRU took the focus off the parking deck and the heat off Russell, for now.

AZZIZ AND THE BOARD VS. EVERYBODY: Mayor Deke Copen­haver, Board of Regents Chairman Ben Tarbutton, a few state legislators and a minority of other folks who drank the GRU Kool-Aid and started speaking in tongues say the decision on the name is final and that anybody who doesn’t like it can just go pound sand, or something to that effect. They say it’s time to move on.

Why? Because we don’t want to make the governor mad. He’s sending Au­gusta hundreds of millions of dollars for a new medical commons building and a cancer center.

Well, why would expressing our outrage make the governor mad? He didn’t choose the name. But the board he appointed voted to name it GRU, so it’s a reflection on him.

Anyway, it’s not going to change.

Why? Is the board infallible? Governing bodies everywhere make decisions one week and rescind them the next all the time. What’s going on here?

THE MUSICAL M.D.

“WHAT’S IN A NAME NOBODY LIKES?”

ACT I, SCENE I:

(The emergency room at GHSU, soon to be GRU)

Nurse: Doctor, you’re not going to believe this, but the president is out here having a panic attack.

Doctor: The president?

Nurse: Yes. Dr. ZZZZZ.

Doctor: Ohhhhh. I’ll be right there.

(Entering examining room) Good night, Dr. ZZZZZ. I mean good evening. I heard you like to pop into different departments to see firsthand what’s going on. Welcome to the emergency department. As you can see, we’re understaffed, and I’ve been wanting to …

Dr. ZZZZZ: I’m not here to chat-chat about the ER, doctor. I’m here for treatment.

Doctor: What seems to be the trouble?

Dr. ZZZZZ: Can’t you see? I’m having a panic attack. They’re burning me in effigy again because of the name the Board of Regents chose for the university. I need help. Everybody’s blaming me because they didn’t pick a name this city’s known all over the world for. And now the newspaper’s got the records that show the survey we spent $45,500 for prove the name this city’s known all over the world for was the top pick in every poll. And tomorrow they’re holding a big protest against the name they think I chose and twisted the regents’ arms to vote for.

Doctor: I think the only thing that could possibly help you is a big shot of sodium pentothal.

Dr. ZZZZZ: My God. You mean truth serum?

Doctor: Yes. It’s all I can think of offhand.

Dr. ZZZZZ: (Getting up to leave) I could never take sodium pentothal.

Doctor: Have you ever had it before?

Dr. ZZZZZ: No, but I’m sure I’d be allergic to it.

Doctor: You can’t be sure until you’ve tried it. Here, this will feel like a mosquito bite.

(Sings as he gives Dr. ZZZZZ a shot of sodium pentothal)

“I’m sick and tired of hearing things

From uptight, short-sighted, narrow-minded hypocritics

All I want is the truth

Just gimme some truth

I’ve had enough of reading things

By neurotic, psychotic, pig-headed politicians

All I want is the truth

Just gimme some truth.”

Dr. ZZZZZ: (Jumps up, slaps his forehead and sings:)

“I saw the light I saw the light

No more darkness, no more night

Now I’m so happy, no sorrow in sight

Praise the Lord, I saw the light.

Just like a blind man I wandered along

Worries and fears I claimed for my own

Then like the blind man that God gave back his sight

Praise the Lord, I saw the light.”

AWOP-BOP-A-LOO-MOP: Augusta Pro­fes­sional Firefighters Associa­tion spokesman Charles Masters managed to offend quite a few folks when he said in a TV interview that fire stations shouldn’t be named for “rootie-pootie politicians.”

The interview was prompted by Augusta Commission member Jerry Brigham’s request that the Alexander Drive fire station be named in honor of former Rich­mond County Commissioner Herb Beckham, who was buried Saturday.

“What’s with the Augusta firemen?” one person wrote. “First one of their AFL-CIO members completely destroys a firse station because he can’t figure out how to fit an eight-foot wide fire truck through a 12-foot door. Maybe the drivers should be replaced with Team­sters. But to throw down on all county commissioners past and present is not a forward step for any hourly fire department employee.”

Masters said he’s opposed to naming any fire station for a politician.

“If they’re going to name things for politicians, let them name landfills and backhoes and tractors, and when they’re worn out, put them in a field somewhere,” he said.

IN THE SMALL WORLD CATEGORY: Businessman Rodger Giles held a fundraiser at his beautiful pink Mediterranean-style manse on Milledge Road for sheriff’s candidate Scott Peebles last week.

Guests included Becky and Dr. Randy Smith and their daughter Rebecca; Commissioner Grady Smith; state Rep. Earnie Smith; state Sen. Hardie Davis; Terri and Lynn Allgood; Dr. Chip and Nan Story; Brenda Williams; Bonnie Ruben and Jeff Gorelick; Cheryl and Whitney O’Keefe; Susan and Sam Nicholson; Franny and Jim Bennett; Robert Osborne; investment banker John Rhodes; Carolyn and Paul Simon; Cedric Johnson, State Court Solicitor Charles Evans; Trisha and Clint Bryant; Wondal and Ed Perry; Dan Blanton; Elaine and Tony Henderson; and others I didn’t get around to speaking to.

I didn’t open the attachment to the e-mail invitation until the day of and therefore didn’t RSVP. So I e-mailed Rodger that I was coming but wouldn’t eat anything.

The best part of being there was as I joined a group of women, I noticed the name tag on one of them said “Paula Dodson.” I said, “I went to high school with a girl named Paula who married a man named Dodson,” just as I realized she was one and the same. She was as surprised as I was. I had kept up with her through the years through my brother, who was a good friend of her late husband, but I had not seen her in a while.

Oh, by the way, they raised a lot of money.

City Ink thanks the late John Lennon and Hank Williams and Richard Penniman for their contributions to this week’s column.

Comments (17) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
useful
628
Points
useful 08/18/12 - 07:36 pm
5
0
All I would say to King Azziz

All I would say to King Azziz is lair lair,pants on fire.

Insider Information
4009
Points
Insider Information 08/18/12 - 08:14 pm
6
1
Deja vu all over again?

Tariq Azziz says the name is final, so move on and leave me be.

The name MCG was final until Tariq ascended to the throne, but that name changed to GHSU.

GHSU was was final...until GRU.

GRU is final...until the real Regents University sues.

Little Lamb
44904
Points
Little Lamb 08/18/12 - 08:59 pm
3
2
Nothing Political is Final

Insider is right, there is nothing final in a name. Look at the venerated football bowl games from the past – Liberty Bowl, Fiesta Bowl, Sun Bowl, and more. They've all been re-named.

There are plenty of ways to either prevent this renaming to the horrible "regents," but even if it can't be prevented in the short term; it can be undone sometime down the road.

Regents just doesn't do our hometown university justice.

In fact, Regents is even worse than the dreadful Noble University first proposed by the branding committee.

NrthAugustaSam
473
Points
NrthAugustaSam 08/18/12 - 09:08 pm
8
2
What is in a Name?

Why not rename the Augusta Sewage Treatment Plant after Azziz?

Riverman1
81427
Points
Riverman1 08/18/12 - 09:12 pm
6
1
Sylvia said

Sylvia said, "Mayor Deke Copen­haver, Board of Regents Chairman Ben Tarbutton, a few state legislators and a minority of other folks who drank the GRU Kool-Aid and started speaking in tongues say the decision on the name is final and that anybody who doesn’t like it can just go pound sand, or something to that effect."

Where do we register our displeasure with the name?

agrit
178
Points
agrit 08/18/12 - 09:24 pm
4
0
Register our displeasure

RM, would a good place to start be at the Augusta Commission meeting on Tuesday? Since it's on the agenda, I would think a great turnout might have some affect on those commissioners that haven't made up their mind on a resolution.

Gage Creed
16455
Points
Gage Creed 08/18/12 - 09:46 pm
2
1
Did somebody die and leave

Did somebody die and leave Masters in charge of the county facilities?

Little Lamb
44904
Points
Little Lamb 08/18/12 - 10:26 pm
3
0
Commission Meeting

Thanks, agrit, and good to hear from you again.

Having a strong showing at the commission meeting is a good strategy; but I'm going to call my two commissioners (Brigham and Smith) tomorrow afternoon and ask them to vote for Aitken's motion (johnny come lately as Aitken is).

They should not fret about whether the naming is a done deal. They should just register their feelings about what is right.

rebellious
20514
Points
rebellious 08/18/12 - 11:24 pm
3
1
Lair?

Useful, that is good! I think the lair is full of liars. And Sylvia, Bless Her Heart, is getting small to the task. Better to leave the stage a star, than linger as a flickering flame. When I read the Ink and get to a poem, or script, I skip straight to the bottom.

And Sylvia, you act surprised at that guestlist? Come on, you are looking at the rule makers and "Get out of jail free" card holders, minus Blanchard, for the next 4 years. Don't be sour grapes on that one.

itsanotherday1
41404
Points
itsanotherday1 08/19/12 - 07:11 am
5
0
I agree with Masters:

"“If they’re going to name things for politicians, let them name landfills and backhoes and tractors, and when they’re worn out, put them in a field somewhere,” he said."

seenitB4
84264
Points
seenitB4 08/19/12 - 08:22 am
1
0
Come on Rebel

Ole Hanks song is the best thing about the story......I love ole Hank....Praise the Lord I saw the Light....:):)

I just can't worship at the feet of SP all day/everyday like some can on here......my back gets tired of bending over (ya know whatta mean) I wish she would put Conway in there too.....ya know..... What Am I Living For.......if not to vote a CERTAIN way....hahaha
Lordy-lordy....I won't even bring up Freddie this time...just wait til November folks....let the Republican vote FLOW.....Flow like the springs of Augusta.....yall can't stop it!

seenitB4
84264
Points
seenitB4 08/19/12 - 08:23 am
1
0
Rebel

Bless her heart....now that was cute..:)

seenitB4
84264
Points
seenitB4 08/19/12 - 08:51 am
1
0
A few goodies for Sylvia....you are welcome...

5.Her Teeth Were Stained, But Her Heart Was Pure - ???
6. Here's A Quarter, Call Someone Who Cares - Travis Tritt
7. How Can I Miss You If You Won't Go Away? - Roy Clark / Dan Hicks I Changed Her Oil, She Changed My Life - ???
8.I Don't Know Whether To Kill Myself Or Go Bowling???
9.I Fell In A Pile Of You And Got Love All Over Me???
10. I Flushed You From The Toilets Of My Heart - J.D. Blackfoot
11.I Keep Forgettin' I Forgot About You???

seenitB4
84264
Points
seenitB4 08/19/12 - 09:04 am
1
0
A song yall can sing for Azziz

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U6VmAQlysYE

It would be nice if yall would sing this in the meeting....:)

Riverman1
81427
Points
Riverman1 08/19/12 - 10:59 am
2
0
Agrit, Good Idea

Yup, packing the Commission meeting would be a good start. But thinking about this name thing, they HAVE to call the old ASU portion something. Why wouldn't it stay the same or at the worst be Augusta College? Ditto with the Medical College of Georgia part. The whole thing could be GRU, but that name would rarely be seen anywhere. Make sense? Now if only Dr. Azziz would come out and say it we would all feel better.

Riverman1
81427
Points
Riverman1 08/19/12 - 12:53 pm
0
0
Should it be Georgia

Should it be Georgia GreenJackets?

Little Lamb
44904
Points
Little Lamb 08/19/12 - 01:58 pm
2
0
Masters is Correct

I agree with Firefighters Association spokesman Charles Masters that fire stations should not be named after persons, especially politicians. Let's just call them "Station 10" or "Station 8" instead of giving them clunky names, many of which have a middle initial and/or a Jr. in them to confuse the issue.

Back to Top

Top headlines

Ruben given last shot on downtown buildings

Richmond County Magistrate Judge H. Scott Allen approved an agreement reached this week to obtain a boarding permit in the next 30 days to "mothball" two buildings Bonnie Ruben owns in the 700 and ...
Search Augusta jobs