Looking down the list of candidates who qualified for mayor and Augusta Commission, I see there are four pastors. If all were elected, the mayor’s office and four commission seats, counting sitting District 9 Commissioner Marion Williams, would be filled by preachers.
God knows the city needs some divine intervention, but the meetings would never end.
The candidates include state Sen. Hardie Davis, who is a pastor, and four other interesting characters. Among them is District 4 Commissioner Alvin Mason, who I have told you before is oratorically gifted but should guard against falling further in love with the sound of his own voice. He should also refrain from bullying city staffers in public if he hopes to reach the rarefied heights of governing.
Mason and Davis are considered by many to be front-runners. Davis is also oratorically gifted, as he should be, being a preacher and all. Some fault him for a lackluster tenure in the Legislature, but there’s not too much a Democrat can do when the Republicans are in charge, is there?
Candidate Helen Blocker-Adams is the only veteran of a mayoral contest, having come in third behind Willie Mays and Deke Copenhaver in 2005. The next year, she challenged state Rep. Quincy Murphy for his House seat and lost. Maybe she’ll do better this time since Herman Cain is coming to campaign for her. Maybe not.
Then there’s Charles Cummings, who along with his wife, Teresa, won the Turkey Joint award in City Ink’s 2010 Annual Turkey of the Year Contest.
Teresa told commissioners that Charles would not be involved in Mamie Lee’s Southern Cooking on Tobacco Road in order to get a beer and wine license in 2009. Charles had been barred from applying for a license for 10 years after a teen was shot to death on a dance floor at the location, then known as Super C’s, in 2007.
As it turned out, Charles Cummings was involved in Mamie Lee’s, and they kept running a dance hall without a license. The sheriff’s investigator who witnessed the dance hall operation said he asked employees for the license holder, Teresa Cummings, and they looked “dumbfounded and didn’t know her.”
While candidate Lori Myles is not a pastor, she is a pastor’s wife, which is close. She’s also a teacher at T.W. Josey High School, where she made news last year when Richmond County school Superintendent Frank Roberson reprimanded her in writing for trying to teach her students a lesson using a racial slur.
Two handouts containing a slur commonly known as the N-word were apparently intended to “shame these students by indicating their behavior was an affront to the memories and brave examples of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks,” Roberson’s letter stated.
Myles also made the news in 2006 when she filed a federal lawsuit alleging sexual harassment and retaliation for rejecting then-Superintendent Charles Larke’s advances and complaining about the school system’s hiring process.
RUNNING TO HAVE A SEAT ON THE COMMISSION: Qualifying for the District 2 seat were pastor Cleveland Garrison and Dennis Williams, the president of the Augusta NAACP from 1988 to 1994.
District 4 candidates include Pastor Melvin Ivey, a close ally of Commissioner Marion Williams. If you like Williams’ brand of politics, you’ll probably like Ivey’s.
Also seeking the seat are retired soldier Sammy Sias, who ran four years ago; Gwendolyn Watts, a college instructor; and Tomesenia Jackson.
In the District 6 race, candidates hoping to replace term-limited Commissioner Joe Jackson are Bob Finnegan, the chairman of the Richmond County Republican Party; Roger Garvin, a former city public works employee who says he’s a “visionary”; and Tony Lewis, who ran for the seat in 2007.
Urban Pro Weekly publisher Ben Hasan also qualified for the District 6 seat. His opponents should remember the old adage, “Never get into an argument with anybody who buys ink by the barrel.” However, Hasan’s newspaper is small, so he only buys ink by the quart.
Pastor Angela C. Harden also qualified.
Augusta attorney Brandon K. Dial is challenging District 10 Commissioner Grady Smith, a plumbing company owner.
The nature of politics being what it is, the question for District 10 residents becomes, “Do you want a lawyer or a plumber representing you?” We all know both of those professions deal with a lot of stinking things.
AND I WILL NOT ACCEPT … Former President Lyndon Johnson and former District 1 Commissioner Matt Aitken have a lot in common: big ears, big egos and both held news conferences to announce they weren’t going to seek election. In Johnson’s case, people actually cared.
HE’LL BE THE JUDGE: State Sen. Jesse Stone qualified to seek re-election to his 23rd District seat last week. Friday, he wrote on his Facebook page that after prayerful consideration and consulting with his family and supporters, he had decided to apply for the State Court judgeship of Burke County. The seat was vacated by the death of Judge Jerry Daniel.
Stone said rumors had circulated that he’d already applied for and had been offered the judgeship:
“Earlier this week, rumors had circulated that I had already applied for and had been offered this judgeship. Although I had been asked to run and had in fact been nominated and encouraged by others, the rumors were untrue and premature, and so I issued a press release confirming that I had qualified to run for re-election to the State Senate. I am still in the Senate race and do not intend to resign unless I am appointed interim State Court Judge.”
HEY YU: Eugene Yu, who switched from running for the U.S. Senate to running for the 12th Congressional District seat, might just be a good fit for Washington. Yu filed for bankruptcy in 2004, and the vehicles and parts at his business, Commercial & Military Systems Inc. on Mike Padgett Highway, were auctioned in 2007 as part of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidation.
The proceeds were to pay debts to 70 creditors. Four of those creditors, Regions Bank, Sudimat CA, Southeastern Equipment Co. and the federal Small Business Administration, secured liens against CMS for $3.3 million.
In 2007, bankruptcy court trustee Edward Coleman III filed a federal lawsuit against Yu and his wife, Jonie, to recover $300,000 in property and money. Coleman alleged that the Yus took money out of the business just before the Chapter 11 bankruptcy case was converted to Chapter 7.
Yu said Saturday that his company was contracted with the Venezuelan government and after a dispute with U.S. government, the Venezuelan government canceled the contract.
“At the time, we had a Venezuelan agent who forced me to pay his commission when the contract was cancelled,” Yu said. “He came to Richmond County and sued me for millions of dollars and drove me into bankruptcy.
“I was clearly a victim of circumstances. It’s all in the public record. Anybody who wants to can go take a look at it.”