Sylvia Cooper

City Ink columnist and correspondent for The Augusta Chronicle.

City Ink: Much ado about GRU

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Three months ago, Rich­mond County GOP bigwig Dave Barbee told me all the reasons Freddie Sanders couldn’t possibly be elected sheriff running as a Republican, chief among them being the number of registered Repub­li­cans versus Demo­crats. In fact, he’s the one who initially said, “Sanders’ chances are slim and none, and slim has left town.”

Well, I called Dave, who’s manning the local GOP headquarters, to hear his take on last week’s runoff,

“All these people so upset about the name of the university and the TEE Center, which they have no control over, sat on their butts and didn’t go to the polls and vote for a sheriff and congressman, which they do have some control over,” he blustered. “How can 667 people who voted in July sit on the couch and not vote in August? With the 667 votes, Peebles would have won by 227 votes!”

“But Dave,” I said, “they’re not necessarily one and the same people. Some who don’t like the name might have voted both times. And some who like the name might not have voted.”

He changed the subject to how he’s working to get Sanders elected in November.

“But you told me just three months ago it would be impossible,” I said. “You said his chances were slim and none, and slim had left town.”

Dave laughed and said he’d called Sheriff Ronnie Strength and asked him to issue a warrant for Slim.

“Ronnie told me he’d have Slim back in custody the first of next week, and we’re on to victory in November,” he said.

Needless to say, supporters of Democratic sheriff’s candidate Scott Peebles were stunned when he lost to Richard Roundtree in last week’s runoff. Peebles’ strategy of targeting voters by mail, playing nice, not smearing Roundtree over past indiscretions and hoping his voters would forget about the runoff didn’t work.

The last-minute endorsements by the sheriff and Mayor Deke Copenhaver didn’t help much either. But Roundtree’s efforts to get his voters to the polls did work. He received 1,987 more votes in the runoff than in the primary.

MUCH ADO ABOUT GRU: The week in Augusta began with a campus protest and ended with the resignation of an MCG Health Inc. board member over the name of Augusta’s soon-to-be merged university, Georgia Regents University.

Outrage over the name continued with obscene bumper stickers; letters to the editor from former Augusta State University employees and professors; Regent University in Vir­ginia threatening a trademark infringement lawsuit; and regent Thomas Hopkins, in town for a Georgia Health Sciences University board meeting, saying, “The decision has been made. It will not be taken up again.”

The subject was off-limits with GHSU President Ricardo Azziz, who said, “We’re moving on. We are moving on.”

TOO LITTLE TOO LATE: Augus­ta Com­mission members voted to send the Board of Re­gents a letter asking that the university “be named any name other than Geor­gia Re­gents University or GRU.” It was a feeble effort but more than any other elected body or official has done.

LET THERE BE LIGHT: “Fiat Lux,” a commenter on The Augusta Chronicle Web site, hit the bull’s-eye with this:

“It is not just infuriating but alarming that our own elected officials, who might have some influence, refuse to step up and support the people who trusted in their character and backbone sufficiently to put them in office.

“There is, as Mr. (Dan) Cook points out, a day of reckoning coming. And they brought it on themselves, whether out of self-interest or cowardice. Even speaking out in favor of the name choice because they believed it was the right decision would have been more palatable than hiding or mealy-mouth caving in. That behavior has been at least as damaging to us all as the stupid name would be.

“To have Augusta slapped down by people from outside and then not have our own leaders step up and defend our community is simply stunning, and disheartening beyond belief. I still can’t wrap my head around that.”

HELLO GOODBYE: Last, but certainly not least, Ed Turner, whose band Ed Tur­ner and Number 9 helped raise money for children’s charities with an annual concert, said he was cutting ties with the Columbia County Exchange Club because its president asked him to explain and apologize for spoofing Azziz onstage and calling out regent and Synovus Bank CEO Kessel Stelling Jr. for voting for the name.

HE’S MOVING ON, TOO: MCG Health board member Nick Evans resigned from the board over the GRU name. During a TV interview Friday, he indicated he had visited Azziz to discuss the name and got nowhere.

“We felt like school boys being scolded by the president,” he said.

WHAT’S IN A NAME NOBODY LIKES?

ACT II, SCENE I

(The Board of Regents in emergency session via telephone conference)

Chairman Tarbucket III: Re­gents, those people over in Au­gus­ta just won’t let it go. They’re bombarding us and the governor’s office with so many phone calls, the governor’s getting antsy. I think we’re going to have to do something.

Regent Boneman Jr.: Like what? We can’t back down now. We’d look like fools backing down now.

Regent Dink Jr.: We already look like fools to everybody but the gutless elected officials who think they might get an appointment to the Board of Regents or the university by playing ball. Who knows? They might even get a field to play ball on.

Regent Leebeam: If the governor’s getting antsy, I say we change it.

Chairman Tarbucket III: We can’t change it. Have you forgotten about the shirts and terrycloth bathrobes with the GRU emblem they’ve already ordered? Not to mention the golf umbrellas, coffee cups and glasses. Dr. ZZZZZ is going to China next week. Maybe he can meet with some Chinese manufacturers to see if they can make them cheaper. Wait, gentlemen! My secretary says the governor’s office is on the line with a very important message.

Uh huh. Uh huh. Uh huh. I see. OK. Goodbye. (Goes back to conference call) Gentle­men, a federal judge just ruled on Regent University’s lawsuit. He found us not guilty of trademark infringement but guilty of bad punctuation. He said since we named the university after ourselves we must show ownership in the name by using an apostrophe after the word “Regents” or change the name. And I quote, “You are, after all, naming an academic institution and shouldn’t have a glaring punctuation error in the name. Therefore, if you intend to use the name ‘Georgia Regents University,’ it has to be “Georgia Regents’ University.”

Regent Pottsdam Jr.: This may be a blessing in disguise. It gives us a way out without losing face. We can vote to rescind GRU and name it something else.

Regent Smelling Jr.: But what are they going to do with all those shirts and umbrellas they’ve ordered with GRU on them?

Chairman Tarbucket III: Put ’em on eBay. They’ll sell like hotcakes. I say this is a win-win for everybody. Meeting adjourned.

GET WELL, GRADY: Augusta Commissioner Grady Smith is recuperating from triple bypass surgery at University Hospital. His wife, Cathy, said he’s lucky that during treatment on his diabetic toes last week, doctors detected his heart condition. He cannot have visitors for at least a week, she said.

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fishman960
1420
Points
fishman960 08/25/12 - 07:32 pm
5
1

Question

Does anyone other than me see this as a well orchestrated play to get MCG moved out of Augusta?
The wheels are in motion, the handwriting is on the wall.

fishman960
1420
Points
fishman960 08/25/12 - 07:37 pm
6
1

Sanders

As far as Freddie Sanders goes, I was a Peebles supporter, now a Sanders supporter. I dare say that he CAN get elected IF everyone works together.
I wanted Scott to win because of his qualifications. I now want Freddie to win due to his integrity and Roundtree's lack of integrity.
Bring on the comments!

Tots
25530
Points
Tots 08/25/12 - 08:17 pm
4
0

I voted ,

for Sanders the first go round and i'll be voting Sanders the next round.. We shall see if Roundtree goes down this round...

Riverman1
70471
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Riverman1 08/25/12 - 08:42 pm
3
0

China Beach Blues

GRU, high rises on the Hill, GHSU Beijing Campus? I think he wants to go hang out at China Beach for awhile. A Beijing campus will really turn out a lot of physicians who will stay in Georgia. Or is his idea to send professors there now and then? Again, that's really going to help Georgia. So let me ask, does a student from China pay more than any out of state student? Nope. What's this infatuation with China? Azziz is completely lost in the broad brush strokes in one of his amateurish surrealistic paintings.

Riverman1
70471
Points
Riverman1 08/25/12 - 08:44 pm
2
4

Howard Cosell Would Have Said...

Down goes Peebles, down goes Peebles, down goes Peebles!!!

fishman960
1420
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fishman960 08/25/12 - 09:07 pm
3
0

Beating a dead horse.

River, please. You have made your point about Peebles, now lets focus on the issue at hand. Freddie Sanders for Sheriff!

Riverman1
70471
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Riverman1 08/25/12 - 09:17 pm
3
2

Another Cosell Quote

"What's right isn't always popular. What's popular isn't always right."

Riverman1
70471
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Riverman1 08/25/12 - 09:56 pm
2
0

I'm Going To Start Writing Reviews of Sylvia's Plays

The production of “What’s in a Name Nobody Likes” by the Georgia Regents was tremendously entertaining as well as an enjoyable surprise. The playwright, Sylvia Cooper, presented a smooth play that kept the audience enthralled and laughing. The play excelled due to the quality of the acting and the set being realistic as anything I’ve seen creating an intriguing mesh. The emotions of the characters could be seen and felt without obvious dialogue.

As with message boards and Lear, Sylvia’s telephone play captured all the horror where love can't be counted on and where comments are nasty, ruthless, and dreadfully short. But freedom must allow eccentricity even when it’s expressed with Dr. Azziz wearing socks with sandals and his shorts pulled up real, real, real high. Without the sympathy this play created, it would have resulted in pure pandemonium with the audience in the Doug Barnard Amphitheater protesting loudly.

seenitB4
72523
Points
seenitB4 08/26/12 - 08:11 am
3
1

Grade

I give Sylvia a c+......not that funny today......the girl can't listen to all the naysayers in Augusta.......borrow countymans glasses .....you know the tinted ones.....

maandpa
156
Points
maandpa 08/26/12 - 09:10 am
1
2

Keep Up The Production

Sylvia--Keep up the production ---I am now waiting on Act III...and laughing the entire time.

rcandrews
126
Points
rcandrews 08/26/12 - 09:19 am
3
0

All the more proof

The people have no representation not even locally.

Government is owned by corporations and has been for quite sometime.

King Azziz and company owns The Board of Commissioners and they will bow at his feet because that is what puppet slaves do best and he will completely deconstruct the medical college while taking ASU down with it.

Azziz makes almost a million dollars a year but like a pan handler begs for money from the very people he cared nothing about with his little donation tins are all over the city.

I wouldn't donate a cup of [filtered word] to his cause if he was dying of thirst and I wouldn't trust MCG to prescribe me baby aspirin with King Azziz ruling it and is why I moved to University Hospital the day he was anointed King.

A little background research into King Azzhat should have been all one needed to understand what a control freak hatchet man he really is.

And if this corrupted and crooked city doesn't get its act together it won't need any industry because every one will have left it to the rats who infected it with their vileness.

I know thousands of people who have purchased land far beyond the clutches of a city whose only claim to fame is the highest unemployment rate, illiteracy rate and one of the top ten most corrupt cities in our country.

But hey y'all we get to host The Master's ... for now.

Willow Bailey
20240
Points
Willow Bailey 08/26/12 - 09:57 am
3
1

Ouch!

Yes, Augusta has its problems, just as any other city. The current dysfunction, though, is primarily from those who are outsiders; Azziz and his merry band of Regents.

HenryWalker3rd
2393
Points
HenryWalker3rd 08/26/12 - 12:11 pm
1
6

Give thanks, then give CREDIT

Unpublished

With the constant talk about a wife, a brother in law, the best man for the city, because the chronicle said so, yada,yada, same o same here in Augusta, PEOPLE WERE FED UP.

you say people stayed home, I say people either changed from Silas and Ivey to Roundtree, or Roundtree beat Peebles FAIR and SQUARE, or a particular radio host and others made sure Silas supporters did not come back....you thought that those silas supporters would vote for the same but other guy.....well.....as I look at Scott now, with those big puppy dog eyes.....he is not the intimidating sherrif I would want running this city.

With his golden egg, the Operation Stings, which ONLY TARGETED a specific group of people, the voters were able to see through the veil. The pawn shop owner was not even charged.....smh.

Voters in Augusta WANT change.....no endorsement or amount of money can deter TRUTH.....truth is that Roundtree didn't need the money nor support of the movers and shakers.....all he needed was GOD on his side.....heck SCOTT SWITCHED PARTIES.......TALK ABOUT DECEPTION.

AC can we see a breakdown of the votes based on race as you did when Scott had the most votes the first time around?

DECEPTION IS NEVER BLESSED, BUT TRUTH ALWAYS IS.

drops mic, exits stage right.

Sweet son
8219
Points
Sweet son 08/26/12 - 01:12 pm
1
0

State Airplane Usage

Wonder how many of Dr. Cool's amigos have been flow into and out of Augusta/Daniel over the last few months. Mr. Hopkins is from the Griffin area and one of the State planes left Daniel late one afternoon this week headed to the Griffin airport. If we knew how much we could probably add some of the costs for these flights on as name change expenditures! Maybe completely wrong or may be worth some thought!

Brad Owens
3645
Points
Brad Owens 08/26/12 - 02:27 pm
2
3

Yawn...

Sanders cannot win, the numbers just are not there for a Republican in Richmond County. Plus has anyone looked at Sanders' platform? it is as outdated as Mr. Sanders' police resume. Say what you want about Roundtree's past, he is young, actually worked the job in the past 30 years and has a good platform. Looks to me like folks who supported Peebles and now are jumping to Saunders must have been supporting the man and not his ideas, because one look at Sanders' platform and Roundtree's and it is easy to see which one lines up with Peebles' platform, and it ain't 30 year old ideas and no new ideas.

Riverman1
70471
Points
Riverman1 08/26/12 - 03:55 pm
1
2

We had ALL this talk about

We had ALL this talk about Ronnie Strength not supporting Scott Peebles early enough. Well, WHO is Peebles going to support? HUH? When is HE going to announce his support? This should be fun.

Willow Bailey
20240
Points
Willow Bailey 08/26/12 - 09:30 pm
0
0

What a Legacy...

And where is Sheriff, Mrs. Sheriff, and brother Silas in all of this mess they helped to create? When are they stepping out for Freddie? What a legacy.

Riverman1
70471
Points
Riverman1 08/26/12 - 04:54 pm
1
1

I heard nobody complaining

I heard nobody complaining about the lack of endorsements, but Peebles' people. Are they going to support the nominee of his party? Or are they going to support Chief Freddie Sanders?

The shoe is on the other foot now and some are jockeying to protect their positions with the RCSO. Also, those who were deemed to be in trouble at the RCSO are suddenly looking pretty doggone good. Let's see who is in favor and who isn't at the RCSO after this next round.

Again, since Peebles was so concerned about Strength's endorsement, when will he make his endorsement? After his first TV interview he was so positive for Richard Roundtree the reporter thought he was endorsing him. Peebles later backtracked and said he wasn't. So let's hear what he IS going to do.

Riverman1
70471
Points
Riverman1 08/26/12 - 04:40 pm
2
1

I have no doubt Ronnie

I have no doubt Ronnie Strength will support Freddie because he contributed to all the campaigns but Roundtree and Ivey.

Riverman1
70471
Points
Riverman1 08/26/12 - 04:51 pm
1
2

Wonder What Blanchard Does Next?

Lewis Blanchard was big in Peebles campaign and was rumored to be in line for a high ranking position with the RCSO although he has little experience. He also was demolished by Clay Whittle in a previous race in Columbia County. I wonder what HE does next? Will he support one of the remaining candidates with the parties?

rational thought trumps emotion
2313
Points
rational thought trumps emotion 08/26/12 - 05:15 pm
1
0

Brad Owens, you are correct

Brad Owens, you are correct although I doubt many within the agency will support either man this go round. We came out in large numbers in support of Captain Peebles based on him, his ideas and his platform. I believe in that platform so you know where my vote will be going but no matter who endorses whom, most in uniform will be remaining on the sidelines this go round. Since Lt. Silas is in the many photos of Roundtree's victory party, we know which direction he is going as well.

rational thought trumps emotion
2313
Points
rational thought trumps emotion 08/26/12 - 05:21 pm
3
0

Captain Peebles is and

Captain Peebles is and continues to be a class act. His words, conversations and posts have been nothing but positive and in the best interest of the community. I, along with many other deputies were with him election night were he clearly said, we will now support the winner of the election, no matter who the next Sheriff is. As for Blanchard, whom I have also worked with, he has plenty of experience and more academies and certifications than half of those that ran for Sheriff. He went against a sitting Sheriff and still received a higher percentage of the votes than Ivey and Silas combined. He stands up for the agency and for what he believes in. He helps many agencies within the CRSA and has done so for quite some time is a good leader and excellent officer. I could care less who or if Scott endorses anyone but I along with most deputies I know certainly hope he stays with the RCSO. As for the negative comments towards the various operations conducted, they took hundreds of guns and violent criminals off of the streets and anyone who is against that is against law and order.

Riverman1
70471
Points
Riverman1 08/26/12 - 05:30 pm
2
2

Blanchard Ran In A Two-Man Race

I'm glad to know Blanchard got into double figures against Whittle even if it was only a two man race. But, oh my goodness, can we expect more from him?

Riverman1
70471
Points
Riverman1 08/26/12 - 05:38 pm
2
1

If I were the new sheriff

If I were the new sheriff before I swore anyone in I'd make sure everyone I swore in was loyal to me and would give their best efforts to making sure the department is the best. Statements were made by at least one candidate that he was not going to swear in at least one officer and was going to shuffle the ranking positions, possibly bringing in an outsider to one position. So it's fair to think whoever wins will do the same.

seenitB4
72523
Points
seenitB4 08/26/12 - 05:52 pm
2
2

Can't believe my eyes

The very ones who were shaming others for sitting on the sidelines are saying THEY will be sitting this one out...haha.....getting mad at the Sheriff & blaming him for anything & everything are now sitting back & not endorsing anyone.....wow......how this thing has flipped....what a difference it is when your guy doesn't come in first....

palmetto1008
9782
Points
palmetto1008 08/26/12 - 05:54 pm
3
2

Roundtree will be good for

Unpublished

Roundtree will be good for Augusta.

Riverman1
70471
Points
Riverman1 08/26/12 - 06:15 pm
1
1

Rational Thought Now Supports Roundtree?

Okay, so now you are supporting Roundtree I guess is what all that means. You were one of Peebles' biggest online supporters. Interesting after all the talk before the primary and run-off. Interesting for you too, Brad. I wonder if Roundtree will look past all that?

rational thought trumps emotion
2313
Points
rational thought trumps emotion 08/26/12 - 06:10 pm
1
0

Seenitb4

Most of your posts are rational in thought and positive in nature. You have made it clear you support Freddie Sanders and that is certainly your right. Rumor is Sheriff Strength will do so as well. Most who supported Captain Peebles were unable to do so until the Sheriff did, likewise those who support Lt. Roundtree will not be able to do so at this time. You must understand that you can't openly support in the opposite direction of a Sheriff whom you work for. Most don't blame the Sheriff for anything, the voters made the decision in July and August and will do so again in November.

seenitB4
72523
Points
seenitB4 08/26/12 - 06:14 pm
2
1

I blame the Sheriff for 0

I think Sheriff Strength did everything in his power to keep the peace..I 100% support the man...you won't find a post saying otherwise.......he was in a tough position....he did it right as far as I'm concerned.....I can wait til November....I'm for Freddie always have been...:)

seenitB4
72523
Points
seenitB4 08/26/12 - 06:17 pm
0
2

I'm just reading some posts

I'm just reading some posts on here...& shaking my head...

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