Sylvia CooperCity Ink columnist and correspondent for The Augusta Chronicle.

Bowles ambivalent about running for state Senate seat

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Let’s just say former Augusta Commission member Joe Bowles is ambivalent.

Last week he said he’d announce plans to run for the District 22 state Senate seat next year when sitting Sen. Hardie Davis officially announces he’ll run for mayor of Augusta.

This week, he said his wife, Sandy, has “pretty much” talked him out of it.

“It’s a possibility I’ll run, though,” he said. “Don’t put me down as ‘no.’ ”

Retired Navy F-14 flight officer Wright McLeod is not ambivalent about running a second time for the 12th District congressional seat – just torn between wanting to “fix things” in Washington and reality.

“I want to do it,” he said. “Absolutely. I want to win. My background lies in Washington … and I’m concerned about the way our country is going.”

But McLeod, who came in third in last year’s Repub­lican primary, is concerned about raising money and running against Democrat incumbent John Barrow, who’ll have plenty.

“In the Navy, they teach you to acknowledge your own capabilities. Know your opponent’s capabilities. And if his are greater than yours, don’t fight. Live to fight another day,” he said.

Republican John Stone, who ran against Barrow in 2008, has announced his candidacy. Augusta businessman Rick Allen, who placed second in last year’s Republican primary, said he’d announce his intention after last weekend’s state GOP convention. So far, he hasn’t.

State Sen. Tommie Williams, R-Lyons, who had said he might run, has decided against it.

EASY COME, EASY GO: The Georgia Supreme Court mandated that local governments employ conflict defenders for misdemeanor courts beginning May 6. The mandate is being carried out in Augusta with emergency funds until an attorney can be hired, a matter discussed at Tuesday’s commission meeting.

City Administrator Fred Russell estimated it will cost $120,000 a year and recommended that commissioners approve it.

Commissioner Donnie Smith, however, asked his colleagues to try to get some idea of how many cases there might be before writing a $120,000 check. He said the court’s attorney Jack Long had agreed to a 30-day case count, but Commissioner Alvin Mason said one month might not be representative of future months.

Russell said if any of the money wasn’t spent by the court, it would be returned.

The motion to approve $120,000 passed 8-1 with only Smith voting no. Com­mis­sioner Bill Lockett was absent.

Now I have two questions for you. One, how many times have you heard of a government agency returning unused money? Two, if Russell and the commissioners were paying for the defenders out of their own pockets, would they have waited for a 30-day case count?

IF IT AIN’T BROKE, DON’T FIX IT: Augusta commissioners were influenced to seek proposals for the city’s ambulance service contract by Fire Chief Chris James, who told them the current contract with Gold Cross Emergency Medical Service was too vague.

City officials then cobbled together a request for proposals that is as intrusive as the forms the IRS sent tea party groups seeking tax-exempt status.

Gold Cross has worked with University, Doctors and Trinity hospitals, and Augusta’s universities for years and has received high praise from their top officials.

Five city commissioners want to scrap the request for proposals and renegotiate the contract with Gold Cross. Five don’t. Are you surprised?

DISTINCTIVE WOMEN: Six Augusta women were honored last week for being a 2013 Woman of Distinction in various categories by the Girl Scouts of Historic Georgia.

They are:

Shirley Badke – Courage

Tonya Bonitatibus – Community Service

Virginia E. Bradshaw – Professions

Mary S. Byrd – Arts

Sherry A. Saxon – Business

Ashley Wright – Government

Can you match the names of these women with these references about them?

A. She still has her Girl Scout handbook and says she still refers to it often.

B. She never wanted to be in the spotlight.

C. She has a passion for gardening and helps residents at the Georgia War Vete­rans Nursing Home with flower arranging.

D. She studied fine arts at Hollins College in London and English and history at Randolph-Macon Woman’s College.

E. She’s a grandmother who’s picked up skiing at the age of 40.

F. She’s a sewage dog trainer with Southern K9 Solutions.


A: Virginia Bradshaw, Ph.D. In 2005, she was recognized by the Georgia Asso­ciation of School Psy­chologists’ Legislative Com­mittee for “her advocacy efforts on behalf of children, youth and the profession of school psychology.” Her advice for women and girls, in part, is, “Develop your own strength because there is no one else with your exact experiences and abilities.”

B: Shirley Badke. In 1995, an airplane crashed into her office. She was doused with aviation fuel and burned over 85 percent of her body. She survived amazing odds, and in recognition of her story, the Shirley Badke Retreat was established next to Doctors Hospital. The retreat includes the Jeffery Vaden Chavis House, where family members can stay near their loved ones as they recuperate from burn injuries.

C: Mary Byrd, who in 1987 established the Mary S. Byrd Fine Arts Scholarships for music and art at Augusta State University. Her advice to girls is to “look within and find your strengths. Acknowledge God, and he will direct you and guide you on your path of life.”

D: Ashley Wright, the first female district attorney in the Augusta Judicial Circuit. Her advice for girls is to leave the world a better place than you find it.

E: Sherry Saxon, the CEO of Augusta Metro Federal Cre­dit Union. She believes you can do anything in life if only you put your mind to it.

F: Tonya Bonitatibus, the Savannah Riverkeeper. Her advice to Girl Scouts: “Fight! Fight for what you know to be right, fight for those who can’t fight for themselves, and always remember who you are and where you came from.”

EVERYBODY WANTS TO MEET JESUS. JUST NOT TODAY: It was a privilege to be in the presence of more women of distinction last week while attending a meeting of St. John’s Methodist Church book club at Gwen Fulcher Young’s home.

Sandy Hobbs, a former nurse, led the discussion of Proof of Heaven, by Dr. Eben Alexander, a Boston neurosurgeon who was stricken with E. coli meningitis and lay in a coma for a week with almost no chance of survival. While in the coma, he had a near-death experience in which he went to heaven, met God, was filled with peace and woke up a changed man.

Hobbs spoke about times she witnessed people waking up from near-death experiences, most of which were pleasant. We also discussed those that were reported to be not so pleasant.

I’m sure if I had one, it would be the latter because you can’t go to heaven with a hatred like I have for people who abuse animals. I could repent before it’s too late, but I’m afraid I won’t.

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Darby 05/25/13 - 08:19 pm
I'm thinking Joe Bowles rethought his nutty

idea to run as an independent (or his wife did) and came to the same conclusion any level headed person would and saw the obvious futility.

If you're going to get elected, first win a primary in either party. Then, all else being equal, you have a chance on getting into office.

Riverman1 05/25/13 - 08:30 pm
I'd say Joe Bowles running

I'd say Joe Bowles running for the senate in District 22 would be a near death experience.

I'm Back Again
I'm Back Again 05/26/13 - 02:29 am
Depressing article Sylvia. I

Depressing article Sylvia. I guess thats the problem when you're great...people expect it every time.

seenitB4 05/26/13 - 07:24 am
To this

Bowles ambivalent about running for state Senate seat

Is he, or his his Mrs.....can't say I blame her.

seenitB4 05/26/13 - 07:25 am
Near death experience

Something I'm sure you have had MANY times....:)

Little Lamb
Little Lamb 05/27/13 - 03:39 pm

What the Bowles could do is get the Republican party to nominate Mrs. Bowles and then get Mr. Bowles to qualify as an independent. Then, Ms. Bowles could withdraw just before the deadline that you cannot get your name off the ballot. Then it would be a Democrat against an Independent with no Republican on the ballot. Then Mr. Bowles would have a chance.

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