Sylvia Cooper

City Ink columnist and correspondent for The Augusta Chronicle.

Sanders says friends have disappeared

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After Tuesday’s election in which Richmond County Democrat sheriff candidate Richard Roundtree trounced his Republican rival, Freddie Sanders, Sanders said his phone stopped ringing and every call he made to friends went to voicemail.

“And these are my friends,” he said with a laugh. “One of them went home and tore my signs off his fence and went inside and turned his dog loose in the yard, so if I came by I wouldn’t come in.”

“Even that no-good Ronnie Strength left a message,” he said.

Sanders said before he even he heard Strength’s message, he thought, “This ain’t good.”

“Ronnie said, ‘Congratulations, Richard. I knew we could beat that no-good… Uh oh,’ before he hung up.”

Strength said he’s called Sanders every day since the election to “give him hell” because he told him not to run, that he couldn’t win, even if he got every white vote in the county.

But Sanders has no regrets.

“I’m in business,” he said. “I have a job. And my claim to fame is that I’m still a part of that historic moment.”

“I’m the first white sheriff’s candidate that got beat by the first black sheriff in Richmond County,” he said.

Sanders said that with Roundtree in office and Marion Williams back on the Augusta Commission, my job writing this column will be like “hunting over a baited field.”

2 MINUTES X 19,000 = 633 HOURS AND 20 MINUTES: Williams was always making news during his previous two terms on the commission and promises to do the same in the future, first by challenging Mayor Deke Copenhaver’s right to limit the time commissioners may speak on a subject to two, two-minute speeches.

“You can’t limit an elected official from speaking because they’re the voice of the people,” Williams said. “I was elected by 19,000 people. How can you speak for 19,000 people in two minutes? People want a voice to speak for them. Too many mistakes have been made, and nobody has addressed them.”

But that doesn’t mean he gets two minutes for each of the 19,000 people. If he did, the Boy King’s timer would have cobwebs on it before Williams finished talking.

I’m sure the mayor is looking forward to Williams’ return. It’s definitely going to be interesting to see how it all turns out since Williams prevailed in other situations, such as when citizen activist and CSRA Help founder Woody Merry sued in 2006, challenging the legality of the commissioners’ use of abstentions to prevent majority votes on controversial issues. A judge said the mayor could cast votes in such situations, but the Georgia Supreme Court reversed that ruling.

ONE BRADFORD CHOPS ANOTHER: Merry, whose middle name is “Bradford,” has since turned his attention to running criminals out of town and just last week chopped down a Bradford pear tree in Harrisburg to send a message to drug dealers who used it as a meeting spot.

He also spray painted “GOT COPS,” the citizen crime fighters’ catchy acronym, which stands for Get Out of Town; Citizens on Patrol, in black over graffiti on a nearby wall.

I’ve heard of painting the town red….

IT AIN’T OVER ’TIL IT’S OVER, EXCEPT FOR ELECTIONS: Republican Dave Barbee, who manned the party’s campaign headquarters in Augusta, summed up Tuesday’s election this way: “We got smoked. Friday, before the election with absentee and early voting, the election in Richmond County was over. O.V.E.R. We were so far down, if we’d had a train running to the polls we still would have lost.”

For example, at the end of the day Friday, Mitt Romney had a little more than 10,000 votes in the county to 26,000 for President Obama. Twelfth Congressional Republican candidate Lee Anderson had 8,963 votes in Richmond County to Democrat John Barrow’s 27,048.

Roundtree had 24,994 votes by Friday – more than he got on Election Day – to Sanders’ 11,563.

The Democrat candidate for district attorney, Evita Paschall, had 23,278 in Richmond County to Republican incumbent Ashley Wright’s 12,308. The big turnout for Wright in Columbia County saved her job. And so it went.

In the District 23 state Senate race, perennial Democrat candidate Robert Ingham spent zero dollars and energy campaigning and ended up with 40 percent of the vote in losing to incumbent Republican Jesse Stone.

SENATOR BARROW?: Barrow’s big win Tuesday has some folks speculating he’ll run for the U.S. Senate against Republican incumbent Saxby Chambliss in 2014.

Chambliss is perceived to be weak because of his stance on immigration and meetings with Senate Democrats last year on deficit-reduction plans that critics said meant tax increases. He was booed at the state Republican convention five years ago because of his position on immigration, which many thought wasn’t conservative enough.

And Barrow has proved he can beat Republicans. He’s done it five times, although he had to move twice after the Republicans drew him out of the district. He lived in Athens in 2004 when he beat Republican incumbent Max Burns. In 2006, after redistricting, he moved to Savannah and beat Burns again. In 2008, he beat Republican John Stone. In 2010, he beat Republican Ray McKinney. When the Republicans drew him out of the district again this year, he moved to Augusta and beat Anderson.

“We’ve moved him out of the district two times.” Barbee said. “He’s moved two times. We’ve done everything but shoot the son of a gun.”

If Barrow ran for the Senate and won, he wouldn’t have to run again for six years, and he’d have a say in the appointment of federal judges in Georgia.

REST IN PEACE, SHERIFF: The death of former Sheriff Charles B. Webster Saturday marked the end of an era. He was the last of the once-powerful, old-line south Augusta politicians. Before he retired at the end of 2000, after 17 years in office, I interviewed him. He drove around south Richmond County, visiting places and telling stories about what happened at each one and how things used to be. He said that he never wanted the spotlight and never planned to run for sheriff until the Southside Mafia talked him into it and that he was tired of law enforcement.

“It’s not my cup of tea,” he said.

Helping others get elected was.

“I’ve done fairly well for myself,” he said. “I can recall when I was 10 years old, and a man offered me $2 a day to plow, and I plowed a mule. He says, `Charles, you’re good for your age.’ He said, `I’ll pay you top wages.’ And I plowed two days and made that $4.

“I got more money in my pocket right now than we made on that farm that whole year. And we had plenty to eat. Don’t get me wrong. We were just like everybody else. And it wasn’t that bad.”

Being born in hard times makes a fellow appreciate more, he said.

“You appreciate your friends and your fellow man a little bit more,” he said. “You have a little bit more compassion. I think sometimes when people are born with a silver spoon, you don’t see that.”

He’d grown a little sad after so much reminiscing.

“Richmond County has been good to Charlie Webster, and I thank them,” he said, tearing up. “I do. I’ve been a lucky man.”

TODAY IS VETERANS DAY: Kiss a veteran and thank them for the sacrifices they made to keep us free and our country safe. I already kissed mine.

Comments (51) Add comment
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rebellious
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rebellious 11/10/12 - 08:54 pm
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Oh Barbee, Oh Barbaa, Life goes on......

I have it on good report that Barbee helped with Chuck Evans campaign. They sent out a mailer. It not only called his opponent by name, but showed a picture of her. Campaigning 101: Never mention your Opponent by name, so as to give them name recognition. And I don't think anybody ever even thought to put the rule that putting the opponents picture on a mailer was a No-No. You never, ever should do that, right? I mean unless it is Dukakis in a tank wearing a helmet. Well I have been told they did just that.

Mr. Barbee, I understand the demographics of the region, but...newsflash...If you keep doin what you've been doin, you will keep getting what you've been getting! Time for unusual thinking, cause these are unusual times.

rebellious
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rebellious 11/10/12 - 09:02 pm
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Sheriff Webster

Was the true epitome of humility. I am in his debt for what he taught me about politics.

rebellious
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rebellious 11/10/12 - 09:05 pm
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Freddie,

you haven't called me! Guess I know where I fit in the food chain. Finding Nemo! Chopped liver!

rebellious
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rebellious 11/10/12 - 09:45 pm
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Woodrow

Is that a gun in your pocket, or you just happy to see me?

Gage Creed
17232
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Gage Creed 11/10/12 - 09:50 pm
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A ballpark and a drag

A ballpark and a drag strip!.....Shazzammm!

Conservative Man
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Conservative Man 11/10/12 - 09:55 pm
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Wow!...

...interesting comments from Freddie concerning Ronnie....if true, then this county ...on SO MANY fronts ....is doomed....

Someone turn out the lights on their way out....

452
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Lakeside95 11/10/12 - 10:13 pm
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Yeah. Got that flier for

Yeah. Got that flier for Chuck Evans...or maybe it was for McIntyre. All I know is that if it was supposed to be for Evans and he paid for it...he got screwed.
Also...if Strength actually has acted like this: A- no surprise. B- Strength needs to go quietly into the night and never speak again. Mr. Sanders would never act in this way. He ran a good campaign and does not deserve this treatment.
As far as Anderson's campaign....if you keep doing the same thing and expect a different result...you are going to be disappointed. The district was gerrymandered for a Republican (so says Barbee). So how did Barrow win? Because you can't run a candidate that cannot articulate his ideas, much less debate.
In the Commission 7 race....the voters got inexperience and connections. Now Richmond County has what Columbia County has a Commissioner with very close ties with another office...the Tax Commissioner in Columbia County and the DAs office in Richmond County. Enjoy.
So Augusta...have fun. The GaGOP and local consultants have given you exactly what they wanted...hope you enjoy it.

rebellious
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rebellious 11/10/12 - 11:02 pm
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Rumor has it

how much did Barbee and camp contribute to Sanders campaign? Zilch, Zip, Nada.

Are you serious? Oh yeah, they needed money to print a mailer for Kelly Kenner McIntyre. That's right.

Stupid is as Stupid does. That sucking sound....all the conservatives leaving Augusta/Richmond County. Former home of the 47 percenters, future home of the 95 percenters.

Gotta go, that's my real estate agent calling.

Little Lamb
46022
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Little Lamb 11/10/12 - 11:09 pm
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Queues

The lines in early voting were two to four hours long.

The lines on election day were five to twenty minutes long.

The Democrats are accustomed and comfortable waiting in lines to apply for and receive their government benefits.

No wonder the Democrats dominate the early voting. They can vote early, and often.

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 11/11/12 - 12:48 am
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Senate

Sylvia Cooper wrote:

Barrow’s big win Tuesday has some folks speculating he’ll run for the U.S. Senate against Republican incumbent Saxby Chambliss in 2014.

I say again, a RINO is worse than a DINO.

Tullie
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Tullie 11/11/12 - 06:08 am
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Strength said:

Strength said he’s called Sanders every day since the election to “give him hell” because he told him not to run, that he couldn’t win, even if he got every white vote in the county.

Interesting. It seems a republican white man can't get elected this day and time. I have seen this type of comment in articles and they have been discussing it on the TV.

So, I am wondering now what the Republican party is going to do. Will they back anyone but a white person in the next elections? Will they change their views to please the masses?

I guess we shall see.

OpenCurtain
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OpenCurtain 11/11/12 - 07:44 am
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A few things

Many South Side residents wish Freddie well.

Many of us knowing better were still ticked off and surprised, that a professional and ethical man was defeated by a person with none of the above, and purely on racial grounds. While one side has moved on from the 50's 60's, too many of the other side are stuck in a Get Even Mode.

But, Mr. Sanders defeat has as much to do with the other side playing the Historic Change race for votes angel, as the failure of Mr. Sanders campaign team to address the issues and make use of the data repeatedly presented to them. This internal power struggle and turmoil inside his campaign group cost him dearly.

Politics is the meanest Hindsight sport on the earth. It should come as no surprise, in politics everybody is a friend to your face, but few are there to watch your back.

This election was the final changing of the very old guard. Augusta long ago, became a magnet with its attracting and its repelling poles. As downtown pandered to select groups and special PC causes, those that opposed what Downtown came to openly support and represent, voted with their Heels and moved out.

Yep, Consolidation paved the path and guaranteed this election was coming.

OpenCurtain
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OpenCurtain 11/11/12 - 07:33 am
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Petitioning for annexation - Is it time?

Note:
The South Side areas bordering Hephzibah, McBean, and Blythe would be wise to serious look into petitioning for annexation quickly. With the downtown avg. mean home value <$40k, the tax money that props up Augusta is South of Gordon Hwy. So, given Augusta with its fool hardy politics and spending habits, it is a shoe in that they are going to come looking for more $$$ and the only place it exists, besides the shrinking hill section is the -->South Side.

Remember Downtown is already charging the South Side a higher tax rate now to fund the many $10,000,000.00+ special projects, that the South Side gets absolutely ZERO benefit from.

OpenCurtain
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OpenCurtain 11/11/12 - 07:40 am
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RIP - Sheriff Charles B.

RIP - Sheriff Charles B. Webster

Take pride knowing Yourself and Sheriff Strength will be the measuring sticks all future A-RC sheriffs will be judged by, in the years to come.

seenitB4
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seenitB4 11/11/12 - 08:18 am
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Oh what a wise man he was.....RIP

Being born in hard times makes a fellow appreciate more, he said.

“You appreciate your friends and your fellow man a little bit more,” he said. “You have a little bit more compassion. I think sometimes when people are born with a silver spoon, you don’t see that.”

seenitB4
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seenitB4 11/11/12 - 08:22 am
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Not just Richmond county politics

Hello hello.....don't know if yall notice this but what happens in Richmond doesn't stay in Richmond....you see the same politics playing out all over the nation....if the bloc wants to support a certain candidate for Pres. again...ck the AJC for the pic of the voting Dem .....easy to figure my friends.....
Welcome to the new world!!

seenitB4
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seenitB4 11/11/12 - 08:24 am
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Freddie

Run for Mayor now.....:)

justthefacts
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justthefacts 11/11/12 - 08:35 am
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Open Curtain

Wouldn't it be wiser to form your own city with the surrounding areas instead of annexing it.

seenitB4
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seenitB4 11/11/12 - 09:18 am
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JTF

You are right...we know if North Atlanta can do this......it might not be easy but hey...what is anymore...
Call the folks in Johns Creek...Milton...Sandy Springs....

seenitB4
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seenitB4 11/11/12 - 09:21 am
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New name

Goshen Land Lakes...or McBean by the River Estates...Little Waynesboro...

seenitB4
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seenitB4 11/11/12 - 09:23 am
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1
Can a Rep get voted in again is the question...

YES....

If you run Herman Cain & Condi Rice as Pres & VPres.....you will have a winner...imho..

Riverman1
84010
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Riverman1 11/11/12 - 09:26 am
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Satire

Geez, does no one get it's satire? Freddie shows his wisdom once again with his humor.

justthefacts
21891
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justthefacts 11/11/12 - 09:27 am
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Yeah

But it doesn't change the concept of forming a separate city that can use their tax dollars for the good of their own community.

seenitB4
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seenitB4 11/11/12 - 09:34 am
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I got it RM

Freddie is a funny guy......have you ever noticed the wise men are usually funny too.....I have..☺

OpenCurtain
10049
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OpenCurtain 11/11/12 - 09:42 am
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The quickest way to tame Down Town

is to dry up the South Side Money well for them.

The quickest way I see to do that is to go with annexation into existing Cities and townships in A-RC.

With annexation into a existing towns it takes maximum 2 years (local election cycle). There is NO need to apply for and wait years of political debates, the back door politics likely to be applied by Downtown against the logical move, just to be granted a vote on a city charter by Atlanta Gold Dome.

Example: Sandy Springs took about 8+ years to get its charter.
Downtown Atlanta was milking Sandy Springs dry to support project failure after failure.

North Fulton had to take Atlanta to court and won by showing Atlanta was sucking the Tax $$$ out of North Fulton and doing nothing but spreading the money around on the Atlanta West side, Southside and Downtown.

Sounds like the model A-RC is using doesn't it?.

seenitB4
87304
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seenitB4 11/11/12 - 09:46 am
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open

All the more reason Freddie should run for Mayor.....

countyman
20129
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countyman 11/11/12 - 10:12 am
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Sandy Springs, Milton, Johns

Sandy Springs, Milton, Johns Creek,(North Fulton) etc would be similar to West Augusta breaking apart from Richmond County. The creation of those cities had nothing to do with downtown, but the demographics of South Fulton.

There's not enough money in South Augusta to spread around the county. North Fulton is right behind Buckhead in terms of the money in Fulton County. South Augusta is not right behind Summerville in terms of money in Richmond County.

Hephzibah and Blythe already have their own city limits, governments, etc away from Augusta.

The avg home price is not less than 40k downtown either. That must be the home price in East Augusta, Bethlehem or Turpin Hill. According to Trulia the avg listing in the Central Business District is $204,500.

West Augusta, Summerville, Forest Hills, etc = much higher property taxes compared to South Augusta.. Since everything is now called 'downtown'. Then I don't see how you can forget about the revenue generated from the Medical District.

seenitB4
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seenitB4 11/11/12 - 10:10 am
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he said...

The creation of those cities had nothing to do with downtown, but the demographics of South Fulton.

Now you are telling us YOU know more than the folks who actually live in N Atlanta area....
Some don't know "jack" ....geeez...

seenitB4
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seenitB4 11/11/12 - 10:12 am
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The ball is rolling ....like a steamroller

There is nothing "some" can do about it either.....

countyman
20129
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countyman 11/11/12 - 10:21 am
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I have family in the Atlanta

I have family in the Atlanta area, and that's usually your response in terms of Augusta.

All of the complaints I've heard from North Fulton residents are related to South Fulton.

South Fulton is majority black, middle/working class. democratic, less developed, etc.

North Fulton is majority white, rich/upper middle class, conservative, more developed, etc.

Those are some the main reason behind the creation cities, and even Milton County.

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