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Alvin Mason wants to discuss Augusta Commission's vote on new district map

Commissioner questions colleagues' change of mind

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The head of Augusta's ad hoc redistricting committee, Commissioner Alvin Mason, wants to revisit why two commissioners favored a new voting district map Nov. 29, then voted against it Dec. 6.

Alvin Mason wants to know why two rejected a plan they previously supported.  File/Staff
File/Staff
Alvin Mason wants to know why two rejected a plan they previously supported.

Mason, who did not return an e-mail or calls seeking comment Friday, has requested to address the commission at Tues­day’s meeting on the part of the agenda typically reserved for public comment.

He did not request another vote on the map, and Comm­is­sioner Jerry Brigham said he doubted the unanimous consent required would exist to add and reconsider the item Tuesday.

The map failed 5-5 on Dec. 6 in the absence of Mayor Deke Copenhaver's tiebreaking vote. Copenhaver said he will be present Tuesday and that he favors the map.

"If I was to vote on it, I would vote in favor of it, as it received unanimous approval by the redistricting committee," Copenhaver wrote in an e-mail.

Brigham, one of two commissioners on the committee who later voted against the map, said he took issue with its treatment of District 7, which he is representing for a second consecutive term.

"The map takes my district and causes it to go all over the place," Brigham said.

The district, currently a triangle that caps the northern tip of Rich­mond Coun­ty, loses territory east of Eisenhower Drive and Berck­mans Road and south of Au­mond Road and Ingleside Drive in the new map.

Commissioner Bill Lock­ett, who also served on the committee, said he was disappointed the commission didn't give the map an approving vote.

"With the dissension, now it's a good possibility the Jus­tice Department may look at it and send it back to us for additional work," he said.

The Richmond County Board of Elections has paid consultant Linda Meggers for hours of work and travel expenses over the past few months. The ad hoc committee met a half-dozen times, and Meggers created five computer-generated maps before it voted Nov. 29 to approve Plan 3R.

Any map adopted by the commission would then have to be approved by the state Legislature and the governor, then face mandatory review by the Department of Justice, which takes at least 60 days. Qualifying begins in May for 10 offices expected to represent the new districts.

Lockett questioned the issues others, including Dis­trict 6 Commissioner Joe Jack­son and school board member Jack Padgett, have with the map's plan for south Augusta's District 6, whose minority population would increase from 53 percent to 60.6 percent.

The map would bring Augusta's total of majority-minority districts to six in a county that's 55.8 percent minority.

"District 6 has for years been predominantly minority," Lockett said.

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Asitisinaug
3
Points
Asitisinaug 12/17/11 - 03:24 pm
0
0
Enough already. Stop seeing

Enough already. Stop seeing things by the color of ones skin. There are good and bad people of all races and skin colors. If you are on the commission, you are there to SERVE ALL CITIZENS and should be doing your best to leave behind the best legacy possible.

If the entire board approved it and even the mayor is for it then pass it and move forward. Work together for a common purpose of making our city better no matter what percentages of race/sex/etc. are included.

We need to focus on taking care of the productive law abiding members of our society from all races and move Augusta forward.

Riverman1
93789
Points
Riverman1 12/17/11 - 03:38 pm
0
0
Separate but equal. Right? Or

Separate but equal. Right? Or should we do the Colonial thing and just legislate white rule?

Really, y'all should realize Augusta is not what those of you who grew up reading the white and black Augusta Chronicle versions is today.

itsanotherday
0
Points
itsanotherday 12/17/11 - 03:41 pm
0
0
Sounds like Mason is the new
Unpublished

Sounds like Mason is the new Marion Williams.

Riverman1
93789
Points
Riverman1 12/17/11 - 03:45 pm
0
0
Itsanotherday, what black

Itsanotherday, what black commissioner do you think is fair and admire?

Insider Information
4009
Points
Insider Information 12/17/11 - 04:00 pm
0
0
When they say "minority"

When they say "minority" district, do they really mean "black" district?

Where are the majority hispanic districts?

What about the majority asian districts?

Maybe we should only allow people of certain skin pigments to live in areas of the county.

Maybe real estate agents should start asking people their race before showing them houses.

Welcome to Augusta, where race is our No. 1 priority!

Jilly Bean
0
Points
Jilly Bean 12/17/11 - 04:33 pm
0
0
Mason is all about two

Mason is all about two things, race and promoting himself.

Insider Information
4009
Points
Insider Information 12/17/11 - 04:42 pm
0
0
That sign on the county line

That sign on the county line now makes sense to me...

"Welcome to Augusta, where we're still fightin' the Civil War."

catfish20
294
Points
catfish20 12/17/11 - 06:00 pm
0
0
"District 6 has for years

"District 6 has for years been predominately minority, Lockett said." If a district is predominately minority then who is considered the minority and who is the majority. Better wording.. District 6 has for years been predominately black or Africian-American. The minority cannot be the majority.

tomcasey
-2
Points
tomcasey 12/17/11 - 07:21 pm
0
0
"...one day my children will

"...one day my children will live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character".

In this town, I believe it is time for all people to heed what Dr. King talked about and quit trying to play games.

Patty-P
3520
Points
Patty-P 12/17/11 - 07:21 pm
0
0
asitis is right, however we

asitis is right, however we all know that not every community is served the same. Call it race if you would like.

Insider Information
4009
Points
Insider Information 12/17/11 - 08:17 pm
0
0
Welcome to Augusta, where we

Welcome to Augusta, where we don't care who you are; we only care what you look like.

Dipshot
-5
Points
Dipshot 12/17/11 - 08:47 pm
0
0
It's unfortunate that there

It's unfortunate that there are still so much race-based politics here in Augusta. But who is really playing the race card? I don't believe it is Al Mason. Why is it that the ad-hoc committee for redistricting that included a diverse cross section of the county from the commission to the school board was able to come to a compromise and endorse a redistricting map unanimously and then a week later 3 of those members (2 commissioners and one school board member all white men) change their minds and vote against the same map they agreed to a week before? Now you have commissioners complaining that the map doesn't institutionalize a 5-5 racial split.. and who's saying that? People like Commissioners Joe Jackson and Wayne Guilfoyle.. who are white. Jerry Brigham now doesn't want any of dist 7 altered.. but some districts will have to be altered.. the law mandates that. Some districts have gained population and and some have lost.. and the lines must adapt to those changes. You have Joe jackson and Jack Padget complaining that Dist 6 will have too many black people in it.. now just who is playing racial politicis here? But no surprise, they're trying to turn the tables and claim its Al Mason who is playing the race card. It's all an act folks.. but they keep doing it because it works because enough of you gullible people buy into it.

Jilly Bean
0
Points
Jilly Bean 12/18/11 - 12:36 am
0
0
Haha turning the tables on

Haha turning the tables on Mason, yeah ok.

Justin4466
43
Points
Justin4466 12/18/11 - 06:58 am
0
0
Diddi to Dipshot Reality is

Diddi to Dipshot
Reality is difficult to accept in any arena but especially when it affects traditional institutions like politics. We revert back to the very arguments that we fought against. Remember a few years ago someone erroneously said district one "belonged to black folk" and these same folk lambasted the wrong thinking! Now we hear the same three arguing the same dumb 5-5
idea. Districts are represented by the person who the people in the district want to vote for or not vote for. In a year or two we will hear, "two wrongs don't make a right."

blues550
380
Points
blues550 12/18/11 - 07:05 am
0
0
Frankly I am amazed Mason was
Unpublished

Frankly I am amazed Mason was able to count to 2. I see some real possibilities here.

madgerman
236
Points
madgerman 12/18/11 - 08:27 am
0
0
I would like to see the data
Unpublished

I would like to see the data Ms. Meggers collected in her extensive work and travels throughout the county. What was she asking or looking at and was she alone in her assessment during her reimbursed travels? Did she hold any public meetings or get any input from anyone except the "stake holders"? And finally, why did the Mayor not vote? Was he not at the meeting? Do we really need a Mayor who refuses to vote or leaves before a vote is taken?

Riverman1
93789
Points
Riverman1 12/18/11 - 09:18 am
0
0
Dipshot and Madgerman,

Dipshot and Madgerman, exactly. We didn't like it before when the gerrymandering was done to give us 5-5 and we shouldn't like it now. It was wrong in both cases and the fact is the blacks have the most residents now. Let's get past race even when the numbers go against us whites.

sand gnat
678
Points
sand gnat 12/18/11 - 10:38 am
0
0
In Augusta, one of the ten

In Augusta, one of the ten best cities in the USA to live, it depends on what the definition of 'minority' is.

Dipshot
-5
Points
Dipshot 12/18/11 - 01:14 pm
0
0
To answer madgerman's

To answer madgerman's question about where the mayor was.. he was on vacation and not at that commission meeting so he was unable to break the tie. My question is, did commissioners know this before hand when the item was placed on the agenda? Couldn't they have simply scheduled the vote for this week when they mayor would be their to break a tie if necessary? Now the mayor is saying he would have voted for the map if he was there.. ok, lets hold him at his word and commissioners should do the right thing and place the item back on the agenda and let's see what happens now with the mayor being on record where he stands.

itsanotherday
0
Points
itsanotherday 12/18/11 - 01:51 pm
0
0
Riverman1Saturday, Dec. 17
Unpublished

Riverman1Saturday, Dec. 17 3:45 PM

Itsanotherday, what black commissioner do you think is fair and admire?

Moses Todd. He was honest, and called it like he saw it with little regard to race. With just about all the rest before and since then, it is a voting bloc based on race.

Dipshot
-5
Points
Dipshot 12/18/11 - 02:04 pm
0
0
itsanotherday.. and you don't

itsanotherday.. and you don't see the 6 "white" commissioners as a racial voting bloc? Don Grantham even admitted back in 2009 when he was commissioners he routinely held pre commission meetings with just the "white" commissioners.. where presumably they would strategize how they would vote. I am quite sure that practice still goes on.

itsanotherday
0
Points
itsanotherday 12/18/11 - 02:07 pm
0
0
Dipshot, how often have any
Unpublished

Dipshot, how often have any of them gotten up and walked out to prevent a measure from passing?

Riverman1
93789
Points
Riverman1 12/18/11 - 02:08 pm
0
0
Moses is no longer a

Moses is no longer a commissioner now, but he certainly is someone I admired. I corresponded with him and pointed out the travesty of University Hospital making hundreds of millions and diverting it to private physician groups. He followed up forcefully, if you remember.

Little Lamb
49097
Points
Little Lamb 12/18/11 - 02:40 pm
0
0
Susan McCord wrote: The map

Susan McCord wrote:

The map failed 5-5 on Dec. 6 in the absence of Mayor Deke Copenhaver's tiebreaking vote. Copenhaver said he will be present Tuesday and that he favors the map. "If I was to vote on it, I would vote in favor of it, as it received unanimous approval by the redistricting committee," Copenhaver wrote in an e-mail.

First we need to remind everyone of something — if Copenhaver had been at the Dec. 6 meeting, the district map would still have gone down in flames. Why? Because someone would have abstained in order to prevent a tie-breaking vote by the mayor.

Now let's think about something else. The commission does not have to approve this map or any other. The actual decision rests with the Georgia General Assembly with the concurrence of the U.S. Justice Department. It is not in the interests of Augusta citizens for our commission to spend any more time on tweaking the district commission maps or on ratifying the map that was rejected on Dec. 6. The Commission has spoken; now let the legislature do its thing. The Commission needs to be setting a plan in motion to discharge Fred Russell of his duties for cause, i.e., dereliction of duty.

Dipshot
-5
Points
Dipshot 12/18/11 - 02:40 pm
0
0
Let's see, Jerry Brigham has

Let's see, Jerry Brigham has abstained several times to prevent a tie. The vote on redisctricting was orchestrated to block it.. it tied 5-5 but the mayor was not there to break the tie. Now he says he would have voted in favor of it. OK I say it should be revoted on this Tuesday.. all it needs are six commissioners in agreement to revote it at Tuesdays meeting.. remember that;s how Joe Jackson got the budget voted on. It wasn't on the agenda, but he had 6 votes lined up to put it there. So why not do the same thing over the redistricting map? Deke has now said he is for it. Or weill certain commissioners try to "block" a vote?

Little Lamb
49097
Points
Little Lamb 12/18/11 - 02:46 pm
0
0
While I'm at it, allow me to

While I'm at it, allow me to correct the mayor's grammar — Mayor Copenhaver wrote in an e-mail:

If I was to vote on it . . .

Standard English would be:

If I were to . . .

That's what you use in a conditional setting.

Dipshot
-5
Points
Dipshot 12/18/11 - 02:44 pm
0
0
Thanks for making my point

Thanks for making my point Lamb.. so you are saying the votes were orchestrated on redistricting, and that if the mayor had been there, a commissioner would have simply abstained to block it.. wonder who that would have been? Maybe Matt Aitken? Jerry Brigham. BUt things certainly worked out in their favor.. they were able to vote against the map.. Matt Aitken was able to pretend like he was for it to build up street cred in dist 1.. knowing that it would fail anyway. The mayor, who wasn't even there can now say he was for it, but none of that really matters now.

Little Lamb
49097
Points
Little Lamb 12/18/11 - 02:54 pm
0
0
You are correct, Dipshot.

You are correct, Dipshot. None of what happened on Dec. 6 matters now. It is time for the Commission to move on to more important business. They should waste no more time on the re-districting map.

Little Lamb
49097
Points
Little Lamb 12/18/11 - 03:23 pm
0
0
I salute Susan McCord (and/or

I salute Susan McCord (and/or the webmaster guru) who put the links at the top of the article. You can click on one of those links to view the proposed maps. They are big .pdf files, so if you have a slow computer like mine, be patient.

I looked at the maps and here is what I see as the controversy:

1. They took some comfortably middle-class white neighborhoods from District 7 and moved them into District 1 in an attempt to give Matt Aitken a slim prayer to be re-elected.

2. In return, they took a less-comfortably middle-class white neighborhood from District 6 and moved it into District 7 to keep it reliably white.

3. The effect was then to make District 6 much higher percentage black.

Ergo, Aitken and Brigham get re-elected and Jackson gets dumped for a black candidate to be named later by kingmaker Alvin Mason. Make no mistake about it, folks, District 6 is the battleground.

Little Lamb
49097
Points
Little Lamb 12/18/11 - 03:42 pm
0
0
Catfish made a true and

Catfish made a true and salient observation above. It is time for Commissioner Bill Lockett to speak plainly. We need to get above this issue of "minority" versus "majority." The issues are black and white. Blacks are a minority in the U.S. as a whole, but (narrowly) blacks constitue a majority population in tiny Richmond County. Commissioner should use the word "black" or "white" when he speaks and not the code word "minority." Here is what he said:

Commissioner Bill Lockett questioned the issues others . . . have with the map's plan for south Augusta's District 6, whose minority population would increase from 53 percent to 60.6 percent. The map would bring Augusta's total of majority-minority districts to six in a county that's 55.8 percent minority. "District 6 has for years been predominantly minority," Lockett said.

Notice how Lockett has mesmerized reporter Susan McCord to begin using Lockett's backhanded and misleading terminology.

It just eats away at racially-focused leaders in the black community that District 6 elected Joe Jackson, a white business owner, to be commissioner when the district was a whole 53 percent black! I can hear them saying it now, “We was robbed! We was robbed!” So now they want to make District 6 61 percent black to hand him a re-election defeat. Okay, so what?

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