Augusta senator hopeful about district map

Redistricting plan could be in place by May

Thursday, Dec. 29, 2011 8:41 PM
Last updated Friday, Dec. 30, 2011 7:31 AM
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Despite the lack of a supporting resolution from the Augusta Commission, Sen. Hardie Davis, D-Augusta, thinks redistricting Plan 3R could be in place by the start of May qualifying for five posts each on the commission and Richmond County school board.

The plan, which creates six majority-black and four majority-white commission and school board districts, won 12-0 approval by the ad hoc committee that created it, but hit a nonbinding snag when the Augusta Commission twice failed to endorse it.

The ad hoc committee, chaired by Commissioner Alvin Mason, “broke through the 1,000-pound elephant in the room that we dumb down in Augusta called ‘race,’ ” Davis said.

Previewing the 2012 session of the Georgia General Assembly with reporters Thursday, Davis said the plan has the required support – both state senators and a majority of Augusta’s four state representatives – to glide easily through the Legislature and obtain the governor’s signature by March.

Sen. Jesse Stone, R-Waynesboro, and Rep. Earnest Smith, D-Augusta, have not indicated their opinions about the map, while the rest of the delegation served on the committee that unanimously approved it.

March approval will give the U.S. Department of Justice the 60 days it typically needs to preclear a voting district map, allowing the plan to be in place when qualifying for school board and commission elections begins in May, Davis said.

“We don’t have time to delay just to have a catfight,” he said.

Davis expressed several other points Thursday, including:

• A desire to sit down with the commission and community for a “formulative conversation” about revising consolidated Augusta-Richmond County’s charter

• His desire to pass a bill this year eliminating term limits for the Augusta-Richmond County Coliseum Authority

• That House Bill 158, which moved the date of school board, judicial and consolidated government elections from November to July, never applied to the Augusta-Richmond County commission

• His support for rescinding a sales tax on energy used for manufacturing, and replacing the $145 million the tax generates with something such as a flat excise tax on communications

• The appeal to him of merging Augusta State University and Georgia Health Sciences University, creating “a world class stopping point for students”

• His support for a new 1-cent regional transportation sales tax and keeping a referendum on the tax in July, although the Legislature may consider moving it to November

• His interest in building contractors’ concerns about the impact of immigration reform

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twentieth century man
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twentieth century man 12/30/11 - 11:59 am
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I wonder if the proposed

I wonder if the proposed merger of ASU and GHSU could cause problems because it is a merger of "unequals." GHSU currently has status as a health care campus and as a research university and by merging with ASU, the combined institution might lose both statuses. Thus, this proposed merger needs to be accompanied by iron-clad guarantees. Otherwise, this proposed merger might really be a "trojan horse" from Athens.

Dipshot
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Dipshot 12/30/11 - 03:28 pm
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The merger of ASU and GHSU

The merger of ASU and GHSU (MCG) makes no sense to me.. makes more sense to merge GHSU with UGA.. which is what I think is actually in the works

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 12/30/11 - 03:52 pm
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Twentieth Century Man

Twentieth Century Man posted:

This proposed merger needs to be accompanied by iron-clad guarantees.

When you are dealing with the Georgia Legislature, there is no such thing as a guarantee.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 12/30/11 - 07:09 pm
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"The appeal to him of merging

"The appeal to him of merging Augusta State University and Georgia Health Sciences University, creating “a world class stopping point for students.”

It would certainly enhance the prestige of ASU. A university with a world class medical school is strong. Dipshot, why don't you like the idea?

Dipshot
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Dipshot 12/30/11 - 11:30 pm
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Like it or not.. ASU is a

Like it or not.. ASU is a regional commuter school (a step above a community college).. it is just not in the same league as UGA, Tech, Georgia State, GHSU, or even Georgia Southern. So I don't see this as an effort to elevate the stature of ASU to that of a state-wide university on the level of Tech, UGA or GSU. Instead what this will do is diminish the stature of GHSU, in fact I imagine another name change is in the works if there is a merger.. probably Calling it Augusta Medical College at Augusta State University.. that way the state's flagship medical college can be moved to UGA. This is what they have in mind.

Dipshot
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Dipshot 12/30/11 - 11:32 pm
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GHSU a world class medical

GHSU a world class medical school? Have you checked the most recent medical school rankings? Don't get me wrong; it's fine institution.. but world class? Don't think so.. and this "merger" will only diminish GHSU's prestige even further.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 12/30/11 - 11:39 pm
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GHSU is ranked number 77 in

GHSU is ranked number 77 in the U.S.. Med schools in this country are the best in the world. Anyway, not to get distracted by the rankings, what would change if it merged with ASU? How would it hurt to change the name....once again? I see it as a definite win for ASU and as not harming GHSU. Combing some programs such as nursing could help both.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 12/30/11 - 11:42 pm
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No one has fought more

No one has fought more against establishing the second med school in Athens than I have. But the flagship med school won't move to Athens. Yes, the other school is going to cut into funding here more as time goes on, but the facilities and faculty here would take many decades to duplicate in Athens.

Dipshot
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Dipshot 12/31/11 - 12:31 am
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This merger will make The

This merger will make The medical school in Augusta the step child medical school.. while everything goes towards UGA.. this will become just a "regional" campus. GHSU will no longer be the flag ship medical school of the state. This is why they want the merger and why it makes sense now. And sorry, but ranked 77th on the list of American medical schools is nothing to brag about. Alabama at Birningham far exceeds GHSU when it comes to south eastern public med schools.. MUSC is several steps ahead of GHSU.. and well we are no where in the league of an Emory, Vanderbilt, Duke or even a UVA

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