New Augusta district map proposed

Wednesday, March 7, 2012 10:10 AM
Last updated 9:30 PM
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Proposed Augusta redistricting map 3R2  Walter Jones/Morris News Service
Walter Jones/Morris News Service
Proposed Augusta redistricting map 3R2

ATLANTA — During a hastily called meeting of the Augusta legislative delegation Wednesday morning, Sen. Jesse Stone unveiled a new version of districts for Augusta Commission and Richmond County school board.

It focuses on District 6. Stone said he wanted to ensure that it remained a swing district rather than being solidly tilted toward a black candidate. The new map would make its population 58.9 percent black and its voting-age population 53.95 percent black. Districts 1, 2, 4 and 5 would all have black-voting-age populations well over 60 percent, with District 5 at 73 percent.

Because blacks historically turn out for elections in lower percentages than whites, a 53.95 percent black voting-age share could be dominated by a white candidate with an aggressive get-out-the-vote campaign.

The latest version was drawn in consultation with Sen. Hardie Davis, D-Augusta, Commissioners Jerry Brigham and Grady Smith and Board of Education Member Jack Padgett Jr. It’s based on the 3R map drawn by a consultant for the ad hoc committee of commissioners, legislators and school board members that met over the summer.

Calling the latest draft 3R2, Stone presented it to the House members of the delegation and asked them to consider it.

“I don’t expect anyone to say yes, no or maybe right away. All of us have constituencies,” said Stone, R-Waynesboro.

He hasn’t shown it to the entire commission or school board.

Rep. Quincy Murphy, D-Augusta, asked why the recent revision was necessary.

“We had a unanimous decision to support the map 3R. We haven’t heard anything from any of the dissidents,” he said.

The school board did pass a resolution in favor of the committee’s map, but the commission didn’t. Some commissioners – who initially had voted in favor of the plan as part of the committee – expressed second thoughts and voted against it twice, when the resolution came before the commission. Stone said he learned of their misgivings in the newspaper.

The House passed the committee’s map last month, but it has stalled in the Senate because of Stone’s reluctance to support it.

“I had a real problem signing off on a map that has such a large dissension,” he said.

Davis noted after the meeting that the overall county population is majority black. He said he wanted to ensure that the district makes reflected that so that multiracial coalitions could elect the candidates of their choice. He also reserved a final judgment on the new map until hearing from the House members of the delegation who were seeing it for the first time right before the General Assembly convened for its longest and busiest day of the session so far.

“We’ve got a few days. Let’s sit down and talk about it,” he said. “If we can’t come to some sort of resolution, we’ll let the (U.S.) Department of Justice draw the maps.”

The U.S. Constitution requires districts to be revised every 10 years to reflect population changes reported in the U.S. Census. Georgia districts must be cleared by the Justice Department before they can be used for elections. In cases where the department rejects the maps, some governments have had to call on federal courts to appoint someone to draw them.

In other business, the House members of the Augusta delegation on Monday introduced House Bill 1203, which would allow members of the board overseeing the Augusta-Richmond County Coliseum Authority to serve more than one term. Current law prohibits them from being reappointed.

“They’re doing a good job, in fact a great job,” said Rep. Barbara Sims, R-Augusta.

Bringing entertainers like Elton John, who performed Tuesday in front of a packed house at James Brown Arena, is a plus, she said. She expressed disappointment that she could not attend because she had to be at the Capitol.

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dichotomy
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dichotomy 03/07/12 - 12:24 pm
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"the overall county

"the overall county population is majority black and that he wanted to ensure the commission reflected that"

Hmmm, certain amount of logic to that even if it is racist. Guess we should never have elected a black president based on Davis' racist logic.

Me, I don't care if the whole commission is black. The way things are all of my money either goes to "redevelop" black neighborhoods or to the Paul Cabal. South RC gets no benefit of it's tax money with a majority white commission so I don't see where we will be any worse off with a majority, or total, black commission. I mean, it ain't like you will ever see a "Redevelop South Richmond County SPLOST" or maybe some back room blackmail deals down at the Port Royal condos to allocate some of the hotel/motel tax to redevelop the south end. So what difference does it make to the taxPAYERS out my way who's in charge.

But the one thing I don't want is Hardie Davis representing me as a senator or mayor or anything else. His only motivation on any issue is racism.

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 03/07/12 - 01:22 pm
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Excellent post, Dichotomy.

Excellent post, Dichotomy. Your final conclusion is the only logical one, based on direct observation.

Fiat_Lux
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Fiat_Lux 03/07/12 - 01:22 pm
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I'd like the commission to

I'd like the commission to reflect the demographic of the people who pay the most in taxes. That's the group that should have the voice because they're the ones footing the bills, regardless of their address, race, ethnicity or whatever.

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 03/07/12 - 01:31 pm
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Rep. Quincy Murphy,

Rep. Quincy Murphy, D-Augusta, said, “We had a unanimous decision to support the map 3R. We haven’t heard anything from any of the dissidents.”

Once again, we have an advocate using vagueries to mislead those devoid of critical thinking. I ask Quincy Murphy in this forum, “Who precisely, sir, do you mean when you use this word we in the sentences up above?”

Walter Jones and Jesse Stone inform us that there does indeed exist dissention. You, Rep. Murphy, should not try to fool others that it does not exist.

csraguy
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csraguy 03/08/12 - 02:04 am
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The voters should be

The voters should be taxpaying, law abiding productive members of society no matter what their race. Those living off of the system should not be able to vote raises for theirselves because we have seen how bad that works for our congress.

As for Augusta, we need to do something to reduce race from being the number 1 issue as well as a waste of time and money from both sides. Unfortunatley, I don't know the solution but I do know we have some major problems that need to be dealt with.

impossible
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impossible 03/08/12 - 01:33 pm
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csraguy. You've stated a
Unpublished

csraguy. You've stated a strong argument against conflict-of-interest - given our society, and I hate to mention this because it might become another edict, execusive order or law or ninth circus decision - - back to my point, why on earth should voting in corporations be limited to stockholders???? For shame that all can't vote.

Hey fiatlux, good to see you. I have in the past given up on attempting to cast pearls (is that an immoderate utterance) but am back, pending eviction. I even believe in objective truth - how naive of me, huh? Talk about swimming with the sharks.

Do you ever tire of the ever encroaching overreaching attack on God and religion of the federal big-government's totalitariansim secular religion? Now there's an establishment contrary to the First Amendment.

impossible
124
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impossible 03/08/12 - 01:45 pm
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An important aside. When you
Unpublished

An important aside. When you criticize Obama be sure that in your heart, if you don't otherwise make it clear, that you are commenting about his White half.

csraguy
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csraguy 03/08/12 - 09:49 pm
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Impossible, people have been

Impossible, people have been criticizing the Presidents for years and NEVER where they called racists until now. Unfortunately now, if you are a conservative, it is because you are racist, disagree with Obama, you must be a racist, etc. etc. --

Many believe in fiscal responsibility and accountability and it has nothing to do with race because their a lazy and law breaking citizens in all races. Democrats don't like the policies of Republicans and visa versa, it has NOTHING to do with race - it is philosophy.

Why on earth some democrats & liberals feel the need to call others racist because they disagree with the policies of this administration is beyond me. It is petty, childish, divisive and does nothing positive for our country.

Little Lamb
47847
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Little Lamb 03/08/12 - 11:03 pm
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I understand your pain,

I understand your pain, csraguy.

itsanotherday1
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itsanotherday1 03/09/12 - 12:35 am
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Dittos here. They play the

Dittos here. They play the race card because it is convenient and historically has been a verbal bludgeon to shut someone up. Hopefully, those days are over. People who play the card are coming to be seen as dishonest.

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