Sylvia Cooper

City Ink columnist and correspondent for The Augusta Chronicle.

Unity preached by mayoral candidates

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Everybody who’s ever run for mayor in Au­gusta has promised to unite the city, and this year’s candidates are no exception.

Mayoral candidate Helen Blocker Adams’ campaign slogan is “Uniting Augusta Together.”

At a political forum in east Augusta last week, state Sen. Hardie Davis said he’s running for mayor because senior citizens all across Augusta have told him, “Sen. Davis, we need someone who will come and represent all of us and lead our city, one Augusta, not a divided Augusta, not a white versus a black Au­gus­ta, not an east versus a west Augusta or a south Augusta.’”

Candidate Charles Cum­mings said, “At the end of the day, we’ve got to work as one big team.”

Candidate Lori Myles performed a dramatic monologue on the subject.

“It’s time for Augusta to stop singling itself off into its own cohort of who we want and what we don’t want,” she said. “It’s time for blacks to stop. It’s time for whites to quit. We have to all realize that we have been brought together for one purpose, one reason and one season.”

She asked everyone to look at her as the next mayor, as infrastructure, as sales tax packages done right and last but not least, as dilapidated houses built up.

“As a matter of fact, the next time you see me, look at me and see commissioners brought together and one city brought together to do one vision,” she said.

THEY TALK THE TALK, BUT DO THEY WALK THE WALK? Blocker Adams asked the predominantly black audience to raise their hands if they lived in east Augusta and held up a photo of flooding in the area from 1990.

Twenty-four years ago, and it still floods here, she said. “Who has your back? We’ve had elected officials all that time.”

“There’s a ZIP code, 30901 is in the top 10 of the highest incarcerated men in the state of Georgia,” she said. “I have a problem with that. And that’s why I work with organizations like Full Cir­cle Rescue for young people to deal with those types of issues. The top 10 ZIP codes in Georgia. You know, there’s 139 counties in Georgia. That’s a whole lot of counties, folks. Top 10 in incarceration.”

Oops!

“159 counties,” she corrected herself. “That’s even more ZIP codes.”

“This area for years has been called the Bottom,” she continued. “I don’t like that term. As mayor, I would never call this area the bottom. Who wants to be on the bottom? … This is not the bottom. This area matters. Somebody has not been taking care of you all. Who’s got your back?”

Then it was candidate Alvin Mason’s turn to demagogue.

Not since Mayor Ed Mc­Intyre’s time in office have people had an opportunity to hire a mayor with commission experience, he said.

“And now you have an opportunity some 34 years later to do the same thing again because for the last 34 years there’s been a disconnect between the mayor’s office and the commission. And what we need to do with all the dysfunction that people talk about. There’s reason for that. There’s lack of transparency. You’ve felt it down here in east Au­gus­ta. You haven’t been taken care of. Other areas have. We’re going to fix that. We’re still going to be fair to everybody, but those that have been waiting for a long time have been hurting for a long time, it’s now time for you to get yours. It’s past due.”

To his credit, Mason was the only candidate to even hint at what everybody knows causes crime and poverty in ZIP code 30901 and others.

“At some point, we’re going to have to address the real issue in our community,” he said. “It does take a village to raise children today, but it’s our responsibility. A baby can’t raise himself.”

THOSE WHO WOULD BE SENATORS: Other traditions for candidates are to talk about how bad things are under the current administration, while those seeking re-election boast about all the good they’ve done.

Augusta Mayor Pro Tem and state Senate District 22 candidate Corey Johnson took credit for getting Hyde Park residents relocated.

“I championed the cause in Hyde Park, and as a result we found a solution and reason to move people out of Hyde Park,” he said. “And, as we speak, they are being relocated. In fact, some of them spent their Christmas in their new home. That’s right, 2013 they spent their Christmas in their new home because I was persistent in making sure we found a solution. We did it without federal dollars. And that’s never been heard of.”

Actually, relocations are being paid for with federal money through the city’s Housing and Community Devel­opment Department.

Johnson also said he fought “tooth and nail” to get the new judicial center courthouse named in honor of Judge John H. Ruffin Jr., the first black chief justice of the Georgia Court of Appeals.

State Senate District 22 candidate Harold Jones spoke of his courage when he was Richmond County State Court Solicitor.

“When I was solicitor general, I made sure that office was diverse,” he said. “When I was first hired, I was the first African-American there. When I was elected, I was still the only one there. When I left, there were seven African-American attorneys. I boast about that openly.”

But now, Augusta and the state are in “a truly crisis situation” which, he said, is why he’s running for Senate.

“Georgia’s poverty rate is one of the highest in the nation,” he said. “Augusta’s poverty rate is higher than the state of Georgia’s. So that means Augusta’s poverty rate is one of the highest in the nation.”

Georgia also has the fourth largest incarceration rate in the nation, and Au­gus­ta has one of the highest incarceration rates, especially in ZIP codes 30901 and 30906, Jones said.

“That means that right here two of our ZIP codes lead the nation in incarceration rates. Education has been cut continually, over a billion dollars in several years. And Augusta’s educational system lags behind Georgia’s, which is 49th in the nation. So we are no doubt in a crisis situation. And we need leadership ready to handle that.”

What about what Alvin said?

“We have to stop recycling the same old ideas. The same old concepts,” said Senate District 22 candidate Elmyra Chivers.

TALKING TURKEY: Cum­mings provides comic relief to the painful proceedings, the pandering, the puffery.

Speaking of residents’ consolidated property-tax and garbage bills, he said, “You’re all familiar with the garbage bill. … It’s connected to your property taxes. At the end of the year, they got it hooked up, and now you got this big bill.

“You get one-day service. You’re paying two-day prices. Let’s split it in half and move it up to March. Start paying it down. And in July, take that property-tax bill and start paying on it then. And then in November, you won’t have such a big ol’ bill. You have extra turkey, put it under the tree, put it in the oven and have a little extra money to spend.”

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TrulyWorried
12329
Points
TrulyWorried 04/19/14 - 06:51 pm
8
0
Election for Mayor of Augusta

"McIntyre" and "transparency" are two words I'd rather not hear during this election time.

Pops
7041
Points
Pops 04/19/14 - 08:38 pm
10
0
Looks like Augusta is trying to lead in something

"Georgia also has the fourth largest incarceration rate in the nation, and Au­gus­ta has one of the highest incarceration rates, especially in ZIP codes 30901 and 30906, Jones said."

Now if we could get the graduation rate over 58% we might be on to something...

Riverman1
79774
Points
Riverman1 04/19/14 - 08:37 pm
9
1
Good Luck Richmond County

I wonder about invoking the name of Ed McIntyre, also. But talk about negative candidates, they were something. It would be nice if just one of them could find something positive to say. Good luck, Richmond County.

Butterman
3459
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Butterman 04/19/14 - 09:04 pm
8
0
Lawd have mercy!

And to think Lori Myles is a high school "language arts" teacher.

Butterman
3459
Points
Butterman 04/19/14 - 09:10 pm
3
0
Who's Got Your Baby Back Ribs?

So is that Helen's new slogan now? "Who's got your back?" Maybe she ought to consider the Chili's Jingle as her campaign theme song.

jwilliams
750
Points
jwilliams 04/19/14 - 09:35 pm
10
0
Statements by Corey “Because

Statements by Corey “Because I’m Great” Johnson taken from this article, “I championed the cause in Hyde Park, and as a result we found a solution and reason to move people out of Hyde Park,” he said. “And, as we speak, they are being relocated. In fact, some of them spent their Christmas in their new home. That’s right, 2013 they spent their Christmas in their new home because I was persistent in making sure we found a solution. We did it without federal dollars. And that’s never been heard of.”
And then the truth of the matter taken from this article; Actually, relocations are being paid for with federal money through the city’s Housing and Community Devel¬opment Department.
Wow! The great one does not even know how this project is being funded. Maybe he should have been as persistent (his words not mine) in finding out how this project was being funded before he stood in front of a room full of ARC voters and told a LIE that no federal funds were used. The only thing that Corey “Because I’m Great “Johnson is great at is telling “GREAT” lies. The good citizens of District 22 deserve better than the debacle named Corey Johnson.

Gage Creed
15819
Points
Gage Creed 04/19/14 - 09:53 pm
3
1
30901 has the most

30901 has the most incarcerations?... that can't be.... Isn't the CBD in 30901?

Surely it must be a mistake... (no, I didn't tell Shirley it was a mistake)

Little Lamb
44030
Points
Little Lamb 04/19/14 - 10:36 pm
4
0
Uniting Together?

The second paragraph says H. B. Adams’ slogan is “Uniting Augusta Together.” The last word is redundant. You don’t unite people apart. A good grammarian would edit the phrase to, “Uniting Augusta.”

It would have been cute if Helen had used the slogan, “Knitting Augusta Together.”

Graymare
2653
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Graymare 04/19/14 - 11:35 pm
3
0
Didn't watch the show but,

Didn't watch the show but, I'm all for paying the tax bill in increments.

ralphinga
1079
Points
ralphinga 04/19/14 - 11:45 pm
4
0
Let us pray...

That the next mayor actually is color blind and motivated to encourage positive actions.

geecheeriverman
1690
Points
geecheeriverman 04/20/14 - 04:51 am
8
1
Dizzying

May the GOOD LORD help all of you Augusta residents. You are certainly going to need help.

corgimom
28515
Points
corgimom 04/20/14 - 07:27 am
3
1
Geechee, I agree, when you

Geechee, I agree, when you read that junk it's going to be SS,DD.

corgimom
28515
Points
corgimom 04/20/14 - 07:31 am
8
1
When you read stupid comments

When you read stupid comments like objecting to a name of a section of the city that was built on a RIVER BOTTOM, you know there's a problem.

And if residents of 30901 and 30906 would stop committing crimes, they wouldn't be incarcerated, ya think?

seenitB4
81891
Points
seenitB4 04/20/14 - 07:50 am
7
0
River Bottom

What about Frog Hollow & so many other strange but cute names..:)

seenitB4
81891
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seenitB4 04/20/14 - 07:57 am
4
0
Bill Kirby got it right!! :)

It was fun to do because before our town had subdivisions with nice names, it had neighborhoods with nicknames. And like most nicknames, they weren’t always sweet.

We had a Pinch Gut, a Shake Rag, a Cow Town.

You almost never hear these names much anymore, but 100 years ago if you talked to someone in Augusta about going to Dublin or Lick Skillet, they knew what you meant.

In the 1940s Mary Carter Winter, one of The Chronicle’s foremost reporters of that era, set out to detail the city’s former neighborhoods.

Some of the names she reported offered no geographic boundaries. That’s why I’m still trying to find the locations for Foxes Bottom, Splinterville, Goat Hollow, The Island, Gold Dust and Thank God Alley.

Other places – Harrisburg, for example, or the Hill – remain in common use today. And then there’s Pinch Gut.

seenitB4
81891
Points
seenitB4 04/20/14 - 08:08 am
3
0
Cummings

I bet it is fun to watch Cmmings in a meeting...gotta luv it!!

"Let’s split it in half and move it up to March. Start paying it down. And in July, take that property-tax bill and start paying on it then. And then in November, you won’t have such a big ol’ bill"

Hah -- Those big ole bills can be a problem..:)

CobaltGeorge
150918
Points
CobaltGeorge 04/20/14 - 08:10 am
4
1
Richmond County

Hearing all the issues in RC and reading all the pro's and con's from the AC commentators, makes me think of only one thing.

I'm watching a continuous never ending episode of a Soap Opera - "AS Richmond County Turns"

Sad, that so many living there could change it and have a happy ending, but no, lets just keep the reruns going........

dichotomy
30809
Points
dichotomy 04/20/14 - 09:04 am
4
0
Gee, imagine that. All of the

Gee, imagine that. All of the mayoral candidates pandering to east Augusta. Do you reckon we will hear Skybox out here in District 8 telling us "it's now your time to get yours"? Do you reckon we will see a mayoral forum for the voters in District 8 or zip 30815 at all?

GuyGene
1218
Points
GuyGene 04/20/14 - 09:13 am
3
0
Who's got your back?

Yep, just what they need more of - the gubmint watching their back. How about taking care of ye own backs for a change? I've taken care of my own back for a long time. I want the gubmint OFF my back.

Butterman
3459
Points
Butterman 04/20/14 - 10:00 am
6
0
Pandering

Funny how Helen's slogan is "Uniting Augusta Together" when here she is pandering to the same old geographic divides of the city. "Who's got your back"

dsterling9
655
Points
dsterling9 04/20/14 - 10:00 am
5
0
WISH FOR A NEWCOMER

All these 'same old thing' players leave most of us with no one to champion. It is sad when one of the candidates has a criminal past, one is a teacher with little skill in speaking, one claim to have commission experience but little to show for it, one back-stepping from state to local level, and another I just can't figure out. I truly wish someone new without a criminal past, who did not wish for return to old, not a minister/pastor, and someone with REAL successful business background would step up and run for mayor. Guess this vote will be another 'lesser of evils' vote. God help us all!

Riverman1
79774
Points
Riverman1 04/20/14 - 10:49 am
4
0
Lick Skillet

Seenit said, "You almost never hear these names much anymore, but 100 years ago if you talked to someone in Augusta about going to Dublin or Lick Skillet, they knew what you meant."

I think I know Lick Skillet. It's near my farm in Aiken. It's mostly been known as only Skillet during my life, but I was told it used to be Lick Skillet. The dogs licked the skillets is where the name came from. It's near Kitchens Mill.

Brad Owens
4119
Points
Brad Owens 04/20/14 - 11:17 am
4
0
Wait a minute..

Race is an issue in Augusta?

akmoose
117
Points
akmoose 04/20/14 - 11:24 am
6
0
My question is...

One of them is wanting to unite all races yet belongs to and is an office holder in an already racially exclusive group - 100 Black Women of Augusta.....hmmmmmm. Is that not hypocritical or am I missing something?

Butterman
3459
Points
Butterman 04/20/14 - 11:52 am
3
0
entrepreneur

In one article Helen is described as an entrepreneur. In another she is referred to as a businesswoman. Then in another she is called a motivational speaker. All these terms seem to be used loosely and interchangeably. Does anyone know exactly what kind of business she does? So are we to assume she gets paid to make speeches? I would hope her material is better than that God-awful campaign slogan "Uniting Augusta Together"

itsanotherday1
40529
Points
itsanotherday1 04/20/14 - 11:56 am
5
0
Want to reduce incarceration rates?

Quit having fatherless babies you can't afford.

Riverman1
79774
Points
Riverman1 04/20/14 - 12:07 pm
4
1
Pay Mailman More For Those Zip Codes

"Georgia also has the fourth largest incarceration rate in the nation, and Au­gus­ta has one of the highest incarceration rates, especially in ZIP codes 30901 and 30906," Jones said.

Is the mailman paid extra to deliver mail in those zip codes?

Gage Creed
15819
Points
Gage Creed 04/20/14 - 12:35 pm
3
0
Coincidence? Sentinel

Coincidence?

Sentinel Offender Services
398 Walton Way
Augusta, GA

Wait for it..... 30901

itsanotherday1
40529
Points
itsanotherday1 04/20/14 - 12:37 pm
3
0
Well, I'm a single mom and

blah, blah, blah. Just to pre-empt that blather, here is some data for you to chew on.

*63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes (US Dept. Of Health/Census) – 5 times the average.

*90% of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes – 32 times the average.

*85% of all children who show behavior disorders come from fatherless homes – 20 times the average. (Center for Disease Control)

*80% of rapists with anger problems come from fatherless homes –14 times the average. (Justice & Behavior, Vol 14, p. 403-26)

*71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes – 9 times the average. (National Principals Association Report)

*85% of youths in prisons grew up in a fatherless home. [Fulton County Georgia jail populations, Texas Department of Corrections, 1992]

http://thefatherlessgeneration.wordpress.com/statistics/

countyman
19174
Points
countyman 04/20/14 - 12:53 pm
2
3
Augusta

Riverman.. The candidates wouldn't be running for mayor if they didn't have anything nice to say about the city. The editorials from Sylvia always tend to focus on the negatives related to Augusta. The incarceration rates, education, and the poverty rates are very important but their not the only major issues facing Augusta.

Richmond County was the second largest county in the state outside metro Atlanta in the 2010 census behind Chatham(Savannah) and ranked third in the 2013 estimates. The zipcodes 30901 and 30906 having some of the highest incarceration rates in Georgia aren't surprising..

The city of Augusta can easily build two job training facilities in South Augusta near the Regency Mall and the other in East Augusta. They can partner with non profits or the business community. The next goal must revolve around bringing new jobs into both areas...

I'm shocked to hear the Cyber Command is coming to Augusta and none of the debates are focusing on dealing with growth.. Bike lanes, sidewalks, entertainment, public transportation, arts, road widening, etc??

The media completely let the candidates off the hook, because every mayoral candidate wants to fix the crime or poverty rate..

The candidates running for mayor should be focusing on five important issues..
1. South Augusta(new amenities)How can the city take advantage of the new growth on Peach Orchard?
2. South Augusta(new industrial) How can we attract large businesses to the airport? What types of businesses would prefer to locate around the new Starbucks, Rockwood, Augusta Renewable Energy, etc?
3. Southwest Augusta(cyber command) How much land must be acquired in order to recruit defense companies to either Jimmie Dyess or Gordon Hwy near Fort Gordon?
4. West Augusta & North Richmond(growing areas) What's needed to make sure those areas can attract office jobs to go alongside of the new retail?
5. CBD/Medical District/urban core(revitalization and gentrification) How do you plan to attract the middle and upper middle class back into the core? People are beginning to move back into the urban core across the US..

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