Voters reject downtown stadium

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Richmond County voters answered "yes" to holding a public referendum if public money goes into the former golf hall of fame property, and "no" to building a new stadium for the Augusta GreenJackets.

Turnout in Richmond County was lower than officials expected.   Jackie Ricciardi/Staff
Jackie Ricciardi/Staff
Turnout in Richmond County was lower than officials expected.

The questions, which appeared only on the Democratic general primary ballot, are not binding, and Mayor Deke Copenhaver said he'd likely ignore the results.

"I don't put a whole lot of weight in that. They're only polling one party, and it's in a primary where turnout is supposed to be really low," Copenhaver said.

Turnout in Richmond County was lower than Elections Director Lynn Bailey had expected.

Only 14,848, or 14.59 percent of the county's 101,770 registered voters cast ballots, Bailey said.

Of the 7,918 registered voters who cast a Democratic primary ballot, about 65.91 percent, or 4,949, agreed that a public referendum should be held "if public monies are used to enhance private investment in the Golf & Garden properties."

More than 77 percent, or 5,845 primary voters said no, they did not "favor spending public monies to build a new stadium replacing the Lake Olmstead baseball stadium."

Copenhaver proposed earlier this year for Augusta to issue bonds to help a private developer build a new multiuse baseball stadium complex at the site of the former golf hall.

Once intended to house a tourist attraction, the 16-acre riverfront tract owned by the state of Georgia is destined for public auction after the passage of Senate Bill 449.

Katy Pando, spokeswoman for the State Properties Commission, said the state continues its due diligence "to put the package together so we can put it out for competitive bid."

When survey work and appraisals are completed, the commission will post the package on its website and advertise it in Augusta's legal organ - probably a month or two from now - for interested parties to submit bids, Pando said.

The minimum bid price will include the $2.8 million in outstanding bond debt the state still owes on the property, she said.

Lowell Greenbaum, chairman of the Richmond County Democratic Party said he was "delighted" with the response to the poll questions.

"I think it shows that, when 77 percent of the people don't want a baseball stadium, that it was very clear," Greenbaum said.

Voters weren’t against everything in the poll, and 4,073, or 53.5 percent, said they favored "using public monies to build a new performing arts center."

Augustans have long expressed a need for a new performing arts center that seats 2,000 "to bring in the big bands, the big singers," Greenbaum said.

Also impressive were voters' response to a fourth ballot question reducing trash pickup in Augusta from twice-weekly to once a week, he said.

Some 61 percent of Democratic primary voters nixed the idea, which is among the options Augusta Commissioners will consider when negotiating a new contract with the city's waste haulers.

"I think the questions were extremely successful and I think people liked answering them," he said.
Greenbaum said he did not think the questions were slanted against the stadium, which GreenJackets owner Cal Ripken Jr. has said the minor league team would like to have very much.

"If the Republicans had the same questions they'd get the same responses," Greenbaum said.

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Emerydan
10
Points
Emerydan 07/21/10 - 01:00 am
0
0
Deke is simply disconnected

Deke is simply disconnected from reality.

Brenda_G
1
Points
Brenda_G 07/21/10 - 01:49 am
0
0
re: new stadium, "The

re: new stadium, "The questions, which appeared only on the Democratic general primary ballot, are not binding, and Mayor Deke Copenhaver said he'd likely ignore the results."
Typical governing, you don't like the general consensus, ignore it.

countyman
20129
Points
countyman 07/21/10 - 02:17 am
0
0
Only 15% of the people in RC

Only 15% of the people in RC voted.. And it was only in the democratic primary...

The article is very misleading to say the least....

sjgraci
2
Points
sjgraci 07/21/10 - 02:26 am
0
0
Build It Downtown!!!

Build It Downtown!!!

countyman
20129
Points
countyman 07/21/10 - 02:49 am
0
0
The chronicle really wants a

The chronicle really wants a Morris Museum of Art on that property..

veggie-d
0
Points
veggie-d 07/21/10 - 02:54 am
0
0
deke, deke, deke...what the

deke, deke, deke...what the hell are you thinkin'?...can't spend the publics money like you have your daddys money!...ignore the voters...ignore re-election...

Charles Wilburn
0
Points
Charles Wilburn 07/21/10 - 03:26 am
0
0
It's past time for a change

It's past time for a change in mayors. Deke is talking out of the arrogant, elitist side of his mouth and he is acting very incumbent-like, already, by ignoring his constituents. Remember: Don't listen to what he says, just remember what he did and did not do, watch what he does, and vote him out on November 2, 2010!

RAINBOW
11
Points
RAINBOW 07/21/10 - 03:45 am
0
0
yes I am for voting him out

yes I am for voting him out if the votes didnt mean anymore to him than that, wonder if him getting voted out will mean anythig to him?

corgimom
32533
Points
corgimom 07/21/10 - 03:49 am
0
0
"Mayor Deke Copenhaver said

"Mayor Deke Copenhaver said he'd likely ignore the results."

Well, at least he's honest about it.

Deke, when Democrats don't want to spend public money, then nobody wants it.

How obscene to want to spend millions and millions on a ballpark, when it was just announced that so many schools in RC didn't make AYP.

Did you notice he didn't say one word about that?

gijoe7898
0
Points
gijoe7898 07/21/10 - 04:13 am
0
0
Figures. Another politician

Figures. Another politician who, in the face of polls or voting, still knows what is in the best interest of the people. Deke, it's politicians like you, Reid, Pelosi and Obama who just don't get it. You see the numbers of citizens opposing your intentions, but you forge ahead. You know soooo much better than us, the governed, the cowering sheep of your fiefdom. Majority against govt mandated health care. Majority against illegal aliens, majority against cap and trade, majority against ban on oil drilling, majority against card check, majority against ballooning deficits, majority against govt take overs, majority against Socialism.

But you, Deke, believe that what the citizens don't want acutally means they do want. What a genius. Maybe Obama has a position for you. You certainly seem to think along his wavelength. What, Deke, in representative government , did you forget? The people are speaking. Not just in the Dem primary, but all over the town and county! Are you deaf? Or are you dumb? Or are you getting ready to line your pockets in the future? The people, Deke, the people you represent are saying NO. Understand and respect that. Do what is morally right. Say no.

dickworth1
954
Points
dickworth1 07/21/10 - 04:27 am
0
0
If it had been on the
Unpublished

If it had been on the republican ballot, I would have voted NO also.

Riverman1
84078
Points
Riverman1 07/21/10 - 05:11 am
0
0
Deke, he's a nice guy™ just

Deke, he's a nice guy™ just alienated the Democratic voters of Richmond County. Actually, I think the Democrats were more likely to support the stadium than the Republicans would be.

Brad Owens
4446
Points
Brad Owens 07/21/10 - 05:23 am
0
0
WOW! Why should Democratic

WOW!

Why should Democratic voters, mostly made up of African-Americans in Augusta, be surprised that they are being ignored by a guy like Deke Copenhaver?

He is a rich white guy, who is part of the most well known rich withe families in Augusta, and he has direct connections to the Reichpublican 'Big-Money' families here in town. Just look at his donor list and cross reference it with people who gave money to Charlie Norwood, Coverdell, Isakson, and that near-idiot Chambliss.

The fact is, this is business as usual for conservative, rich, white politicians in our town.

I think that it is funny how telling this line is, "Mayor Deke Copenhaver said he'd likely ignore the results."

That is no surprise either, he has ignored every other message sent to him on this issue for the past two years.

I will be voting, via absentee, for Lori this year. Deke doesn't deserve another four years after the six he has given us already.

Ignoring voters? Ignoring mostly African-American voters in a town where they make up a majority of population and voters in an election year? Doing it is one thing, saying it to the newspapaer is not only stupid, it is just bad politics.

Where are those high paid consultants?

Brad

justus4
101
Points
justus4 07/21/10 - 05:53 am
0
0
The good mayor may have
Unpublished

The good mayor may have slipped up on this one. He forgot a basic rule of professional politicians which is to alway avoid being truthful, especially with results that are unfavorable to ones agenda. Obviously he doesn't care and effectively demonstrates the disenfranchisement of minority citizens in the "solid south." However, his confession may present an opportunity that, until he opened his mouth, was not present.

HistoryBuff
0
Points
HistoryBuff 07/21/10 - 06:29 am
0
0
Typical politics as usual,

Typical politics as usual, ignore the will of the people. If Prince Deke thinks that the Republicans will favor another frivolous spending spree then he's really and truly clueless. Vote him out!

OnlyinAgs1
0
Points
OnlyinAgs1 07/21/10 - 06:55 am
0
0
Deke is trying to make a name

Deke is trying to make a name for himself.

Unbelievable
84
Points
Unbelievable 07/21/10 - 07:37 am
0
0
I dont think it's considered

I dont think it's considered a majority when 65% of the 14.5% of registered voters voted. He was simply saying that turnout was very low and the numbers are not a good representation of the total voters in the area. This article is poorly written and the numbers are skewed. 14,848 people actually voted, of those 7,918 voted on the democratic primary, and only 65% of those voted against the stadium. 4949 is actually 62.5% of 7918, not the 65% they are reporting, or the 65.9. So of the 101,770 registered voters in RC, less than 5% voted against the stadium.

It's just math, no bias.

I dont care about the stadium one way or another. I'd rather have a mayor that is looking to change things in the area than do nothing. AYP is not the Mayors job. Why dont you ask your BOE representative? And who puts furlough days in the middle of the week? At least have the sense to put them at the beginning or end of the week so parents can do something with their kids on days other than Wednesday and Thursday. Geez.

augustahistorybuff
49
Points
augustahistorybuff 07/21/10 - 07:56 am
0
0
The GreenJackets are owned by

The GreenJackets are owned by one of the best owners around. This being Cal Ripken. Attendance this year is expected to be break the numbers of last year. Augusta has always had baseball and the fans love the game. But for our team to stay in Augusta, a new stadium has to be built. The venue will pay for itself in the long run with added tourism and vistors to the downtown area.

jasall18
1
Points
jasall18 07/21/10 - 07:56 am
0
0
I think you folks are taking

I think you folks are taking this waaaay out of proportion. He is right to ignore the results cause it was only voted on by one set of voters who were part of the very low turnout. If they were to put these same questions on the general election ballot, where all voters get to sound off, they will probably wind up with the same results. I support upgradeing and keeping the existing location, it is downtown already.

TonydeMedici
0
Points
TonydeMedici 07/21/10 - 07:58 am
0
0
Deke is a really nice guy.

Deke is a really nice guy. I've had the pleasure of interviewing him several times and I personally like him. Unfortunately, this kind of arrogance is very troubling. He seems to have "tunnel-vision" when it comes to his "pet projects." If the democrats roundly voted against this, how does Deke think the more conservative and fiscally responsible repulicans will vote? Ignoring the will of the people is no longer acceptable. Does he not realize the mood in the country and especially here in Augusta is definately anti-imcumbant? When voters see the mayor actually admitting that he is willing to ignore the people for something he thinks is "best for us" then it's time for a change.

Lori Davis is running for mayor and championing the "nuisance housing ordinace." Maybe she needs to change that to a "nuisance mayor ordinace." During the "year of the woman" we might just need an intelligent woman in the mayor's office. Women are showing their "common sense" solutions to problems and winning all over the country because people are tired of the "good ole' boys and their reckless spending and "good buddy" projects that line the pockets of developers while doing little or nothing for the people. Women like Lori understand balancing family budgets and appear to be more fically conservative and less likely to spend what we don't have. Lori obviously is a "citizen servant" and I doubt she would ignore "We the People."

snoopdawg99
0
Points
snoopdawg99 07/21/10 - 08:10 am
0
0
Just sayin there was nothing

Just sayin
there was nothing like that on my ballot. GOP got gypped again...
i guess only dimocraps can make such big decisions eh? But i guess no matter he is not going to listen to the peeps out here anyhow typical politician take a poll then ignore it ..... who cares what the peeps think, we gonna do it my way or no no way...

justthefacts
21931
Points
justthefacts 07/21/10 - 08:11 am
0
0
Tony said, "Women like Lori

Tony said, "Women like Lori understand balancing family budgets and appear to be more fiscally conservative and less likely to spend what we don't have." Man, have you ever BEEN to a mall? ha.

usafvet
3
Points
usafvet 07/21/10 - 08:36 am
0
0
Here we go again, a bunch of

Here we go again, a bunch of dumbobama supporters that think their votes are the only ones that matter. If you don't cave in to us whiners, you are the party of NO. Yes I am the party of NO. NO more taxes, NO more handouts to people too darn sorry to work, NO illegal immigrants, and now NO more democrats (socialists). Let us get back to "get what you work for, and WORK for what you GET". GOD BLESS AMERICA, OUR TROOPS AND OUR VETERANS.

jleyes
24
Points
jleyes 07/21/10 - 08:45 am
0
0
Interesting that the other

Interesting that the other results from the "questions" on the ballot are not mentioned anywhere else in the paper (at least easily, or that I can find). Are we to assume the Performing Arts Center was easily supported but the stadium wasn't? One could walk away with a feeling the Augusta Chronicle clearly has an agenda against this project.

Hmmm, isn't Mr. Greenbaum the head of the Augusta Democatic Party? Judging by this "Letter to the Editor" obviously the questions were written to elicit a negative response and I suspect Mr. Greenbaum knew full well that a primary would draw limited voters who are generally politically charged and omit the spirit of the Mixed Used Entertainment District by labeling it as just a stadium.

http://chronicle.augusta.com/opinion/letters/2010-05-07/arts-center-woul...

veggie-d
0
Points
veggie-d 07/21/10 - 09:33 am
0
0
you feel that??? that

you feel that??? that pressure pushing down on you? that's dekes feet on your back...as he uses you as a stepping stone...to keep his feet dry while he crosses over to bigger political goals/aspirations...and once he makes it across, you can bet he's not gonna come back...hell he won't even LOOK back!

he will wipe his hands clean of this town to move on up the political ladder...

deke is george bush...and augustans are bill clintons shirt tail!

i know him all too well...and i don't like the 21st century deke the politician at all...

his dad single handedly bailed out the "golf hall of fame" when it ran outta money...ponied up some MANY THOUSANDS of dollars...like $500,000.00...so deke just figures he should be able to decide what happens to the property...apparently, he thinks he OWNS it.

just a comment or two
0
Points
just a comment or two 07/21/10 - 09:41 am
0
0
BETTER HEADLINE: "Democrats

BETTER HEADLINE:
"Democrats favor referendum, reject economic progress"

veggie-d
0
Points
veggie-d 07/21/10 - 09:59 am
0
0
"BEST" HEADLINE: "Voters

"BEST" HEADLINE:

"Voters favor change, reject Copenhaver."

just a comment or two
0
Points
just a comment or two 07/21/10 - 10:11 am
0
0
"Veggie-D for Mayor" That's

"Veggie-D for Mayor"

That's the best headline.

Big_vike
1
Points
Big_vike 07/21/10 - 10:24 am
0
0
Way to go Brad, make it a

Way to go Brad, make it a black vs. white issue. Downtown will continue to degenerate unless something is done, at least he has an idea on something that might work, what do the rest of you have? Put all your gripes in a basket and see where that gets us. All full of opinions and no attention to detail. This was a democratic primary, 15% of voters turned out. I'm not a math major but I can figure out that 15% of a general primary isn't near a majority in anything, why should he be concerned? This vote was as significant as getting together at lunch and deciding to have Ham instead of Turkey on your sandwich, big deal. All this does is start to clear up the picture of what we will be voting for on election day. Haven't any of you taken civics? suckers, getting drawn in by a "catchy" headline and spinning up to warp speed to storm the marble gates. Stop and think, read the article, attend a commission meeting, be part of the solution. Its standing room only in the peanut gallery, but there is plenty of room down on the field where the work is being done, how about being part of the solution and less of the PROBLEM.

augustahistorybuff
49
Points
augustahistorybuff 07/21/10 - 10:21 am
0
0
I sat near Davis at a showing

I sat near Davis at a showing at Fort Discovery. After listening to her conversation with others, God help the city if she becomes mayor.

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