City Ink: Lee Anderson, Richard Roundtree aren't up for debates

What do Richard Roundtree and Lee Anderson have in common?

Neither wants to debate his opponent.

The Oct. 30 Statesboro Herald debate between 12th Congressional District incumbent Democrat John Barrow and his Republican challenger Anderson, expected to be one of the biggest in the race, has been cancelled because Anderson refused to attend, a Barrow spokesman said.

Richard Carbo said a Herald editor told him earlier this week to take the Oct. 30 debate off his calendar. Anderson also refused to participate in the Atlanta Press Club debate Oct. 21, but Barrow will be there next to Anderson’s empty chair. The press club debate will be televised throughout the entire district on Georgia Public Broadcasting.

Anderson initially said he wouldn’t debate Barrow because Barrow wouldn’t say which presidential candidate he plans to vote for. The Augusta Chronicle, The Savannah Morning News and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported in August that Barrow said he’d vote to re-elect President Obama. Then Anderson said he’d consider debating Barrow if Barrow would discuss his endorsement on TV and say who he supports for Speaker of the House.

“Lee Anderson’s silly claims aren’t doing him any good, and at some point Lee Anderson is going to have to talk about the real issues,” Barrow said. “He talks about the president so much, maybe that’s the job he should run for. He isn’t talking about a single issue that impacts folks in the 12th District, much less his plan to turn Medicare over to the insurance industry, or his plan to give the federal government a new sales tax to play with.

Barrow said he’s talking about what’s important for the folks he represents – the deepening of the Savannah Port, expansions at Plant Vogtle, the VA Clinic he’s fought hard to get in Statesboro.

“How can anyone expect Lee to speak up for issues like these when he won’t even stand up and defend his own record?” he asked. “I’m still open to meeting Lee Anderson in a debate, and I hope he reconsiders for the WJBF TV debate Oct. 26.”

Anderson also turned down The Chronicle’s request for a “Newsmaker” interview, an opportunity given candidates in all major races to express their views and answer questions. Anderson campaign spokesman Ryan Mahoney said in an e-mail that he would schedule an interview with a member of the editorial staff.

Meanwhile, Anderson keeps sending out the most vicious, name-calling media releases about Barrow I’ve ever seen since I started covering local and state politics back when Hector was a pup.

 

JUMPING THE REPUBLICAN SHIP: Hearing Anderson debate anywhere, especially in Washington is something Augusta’s former first lady Gwen Young wants to avoid so much she’s going to support Barrow and host a meet and greet for him at her home.

“I’m inviting some of my Republican friends so they can meet him,” she said.

She hasn’t voted for a Democrat since she was “a young naive girl,” but “sending Anderson to Washington would be like sending Honey Boo Boo up there,” she said. “To send him up there would make it look like we’re all like that in Georgia.”

 

BLAZING SADDLES REDUX: Roundtree, Democratic candidate for Richmond County sheriff, won’t debate his Republican rival Freddie Sanders, either. Roundtree says there’s nothing to debate, but Sanders disagrees.

“To say, ‘I’m running for the office of chief law enforcement officer of Richmond County, but I want the people to know we’re not law enforcement officers, we’re peacekeepers,’ borders on the ridiculous,” Sanders said. “How in the world could anybody vote for somebody who’s running for chief law enforcement officer of the county say he’s not a law enforcement officer?

Sanders said when Roundtree says he’s not going to incarcerate, he’s going to educate, he wants Roundtree to tell him how he’s going to do it.

“He says he’s going to put them in school,” he said. “You can’t have a sheriff deciding not to enforce the law.”

 

WILL ROUNDTREE HOLD HIMSELF HOSTAGE TO FORCE THUGS TO BEHAVE? “I want to get him in front of a camera to explain how he’s going to give people two chances. Do we keep a record – a central depository of records on how many chances you have been given by the sheriff before you are arrested?

“If an officer caught someone burglarizing a house, he would get on the radio and say, ‘Car to headquarters, check on Richard Roundtree and see how many chances he’s had. And they call back and say, ‘He’s only had one.’ So then the sheriff has to say, ‘OK, you can go this time, but the next time you burglarize somebody, we’re going to have to make a case against you. I know we can’t lock you up, but could you tell us what you did with the property you stole?’ And as he’s walking off to his second chance, say, ‘By the way, pull your britches up.’

“That’s why I want to get him in front of a camera to explain his program. I want to hear specifics of how a sheriff decides not to arrest you and gives you two chances for crimes.”

 

WHAT AN IRON MAN: Congratulations to Mayor Pro Tem Joe Bowles for his record-breaking performance in the Iron Man Triathalon last week. He finished in 6 hours, 3 minutes and 12 seconds, beating his old record by seven minutes.

 

NOBODY’S HAPPY: The Save the A campaign is in high gear with more than 10,000 people signing on, yard signs and billboards going up and bumper stickers becoming the vogue.

“We want it to be high level,” said campaign chairman Nick Evans. “We do not want taxpayer money spent on fighting a lawsuit. And we’re saddened to know the chairman of the Georgia Board of Regents, (Benjamin Tarbutton III) is not happy with the campaign. He’s not happy with the phone calls. That’s unfortunate, but we’re unhappy that they’re not using a good opportunity of the lawsuit to take another look at a name that includes Augusta.”

If the regents would drop Georgia Regents University, the name they chose for the merged Georgia Health Sciences and Augusta State universities, and choose a name with “Augusta” in it, the trademark infringement lawsuit against them by Regent University in Virginia would go away.

It appears, however, they want to fight the lawsuit, throwing away good money after $45,500 was spent on a bogus naming campaign. That’s because when you’re a regent and wear a crown, money is as immaterial as the wishes of 10,000 Augustans.

 

YOU JUST NEVER KNOW: A few months ago, when Ernie and I walked into Sam’s there was a sales team pitching bracelets with metallic discs that supposedly emitted some magical waves that would cure whatever ailed you. There was some mention the substance had been used by NASA. There was one disc to help you lose weight. One to improve circulation. One to improve focus, concentration and memory. One for strength and balance. They were regularly $40, but had been reduced to $25 each during the special promotion. And they had a 90-day money-back guarantee. It seemed like a modern day version of snake oil to me, so I backed off and watched people buying them hand over fist. Ernie, however, was fascinated with the concept and bought two, one for circulation and one for weight loss. He said he couldn’t see how it could hurt anything and might help. So he’s been wearing one on each wrist since then. Yesterday I asked him whether he thought they’d helped him, and he said he couldn’t tell because if he hadn’t had them on, he might be dead.

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