Augusta Commission candidates state their cases

Tuesday, April 10, 2012 2:16 PM
Last updated Wednesday, April 11, 2012 1:38 PM
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A native Augustan and an Augustan of two decades seeking the District 3 Augusta commission seat stressed the importance of economic development at a candidates forum Tuesday.

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District 3 Augusta Commission candidate, Mary Fair Davis speaks to a crowd at Julian Smith BBQ Pit in Augusta on Tuesday.  JACKIE RICCIARDI/STAFF
JACKIE RICCIARDI/STAFF
District 3 Augusta Commission candidate, Mary Fair Davis speaks to a crowd at Julian Smith BBQ Pit in Augusta on Tuesday.

With the city’s election season in full swing and elections possible July 31, dozens of current and former elected officials and candidates attended the forum, held by Augusta-Richmond County Committee for Good Government, at Julian Smith BBQ Pit.

Candidate Mary Fair Davis, the former campaign manager for Mayor Deke Copenhaver, touted her deep local ties and service with the Family Y of Augusta, Irish-American Heritage Center and East Central Regional Library Board of Trustees.

“I’m running because I care about Augusta’s future,” she said. “We have the resources to be the envy of all other cities.”

Davis said there are “so many positive things going on in Augusta right now,” such as the recent Starbucks plant announcement and merger of ASU and GHSU.

Candidate Ed Enoch traced a commitment to service back to his decision to enlist in the military after high school. He served on a nuclear submarine for 10 years before completing college and Washington and Lee University’s law school, he said.

After moving to Augusta two decades ago, Enoch, who has represented the Augusta-Richmond County Coliseum Authority for a decade, said he’s found “economic development is what drives the tide,” although the development “has to be locally grown economic development.”

He also stressed the need for “public-private partnerships,” such as the coliseum authority’s decision to relinquish management of James Brown Arena and Bell Auditorium to Global Spectrum, and the Richmond County drug court’s connection with the Society for Human Resources Management, which now helps graduates find better jobs.

Regardless of uncertainty about and a federal judge’s looming future decision about placement of Augusta commission and Richmond County school board district lines, there were very few District 3 residents or even potential residents who might vote for Davis or Enoch at the forum.

“They’re both good people,” commented David Fields, who lives in District 7. “If I could vote, I’d probably vote for Mary. We need somebody who could bring the commission together.”

Comments (15)

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Riverman1
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Riverman1 04/10/12 - 03:45 pm
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If Davis managed Mayor

If Davis managed Mayor Copenhaver-Boardman's campaigns and has Clay Boardman pouring lots of money into her campaign, I'll predict she wins. What does she look like? I'd like to see a photo so I can consider all the information a bit. How does she look compared to Jenny Sanford?

Bouganvillea
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Bouganvillea 04/10/12 - 08:21 pm
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I've always wondered who this

Unpublished

I've always wondered who this "Committee For Good Government" is and why all the candidates feel compelled to go kiss their rings. I was looking back over who they've endorsed over the last few years and it seems like they should change their name to "The Committee for BAD Government."

Bouganvillea
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Bouganvillea 04/10/12 - 11:45 pm
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If I hear the mantra "we need

Unpublished

If I hear the mantra "we need someone who can bring the commission together" one more time I think I am going to scream. What does that mean? And just how do they propose to "bring the commission together?".. do they possess some kind of magic fairy dust that no one else has? I thought Deke was supposed to be able to "bring the commission together? hasn't quite worked out so well has it?

Lori Davis
510
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Lori Davis 04/11/12 - 05:39 am
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I attended Committee for Good

I attended Committee for Good Government as well last night and have a couple of suggestions for the District Three candidates. Both candidates should consider attending Commission meetings starting this month. There is no way that one can become a Commissioner without knowing what goes on in these meetings. Secondly as the campaign progresses, constituents want to know specifics about how you plan to serve them. Be as specific as possible in your presentations and campaign literature. We are a county in need of new leadership and this year could make a huge difference in who we elect. It seems that the learning curve can be daunting once a Commissioner is elected. Start doing the job that you will be doing,TODAY. Good luck to both candidates.

Little Lamb
40309
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Little Lamb 04/11/12 - 08:14 am
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Bouganvillea wrote: If I hear

Bouganvillea wrote:

If I hear the mantra "we need someone who can bring the commission together" one more time I think I am going to scream.

Amen. I agree with you. What specifically makes David Fields belive Davis can bring the commission together more than Enoch can?

A county commission is a group of people who have different ideas. They are diverse. There is no expectation that they "come together" except to attend meetings. We expect their votes to be divided. Democracy does not envision consensus where everybody agrees with everybody and sings kum ba yah.

Politics is war, and no prisoners are to be taken.

slickrayder
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slickrayder 04/11/12 - 09:08 am
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Friends with the

Friends with the mayor,,,,,,,omg ,,well thats another vote swinger

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 04/11/12 - 09:33 am
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I did not go to the meeting.

I did not go to the meeting. Did they allow questions from the floor? Did anyone ask each candidate where he/she stands on a new taxpayer-funded minor league ballpark?

Riverman1
70966
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Riverman1 04/11/12 - 09:37 am
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I notice something in the

I notice something in the comments that's worth notice. Lori Davis is doing enormous work building bridges with the community and learning the intricacies of local government. She spends more time as a candidate than any sitting commissioner working to comprehend the problems of the city. She obviously desires to serve in a meaningful way. The city will be amiss if they don't use her enthusiasm and work ethic.

belle
277
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belle 04/11/12 - 10:58 am
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The only thing that is

Unpublished

The only thing that is keeping the commission in turmoil is the constant back-door tactics and back-room deals. A small committee meeting that gathers to put together a presentation of a proposal is one thing...creative manipulation of the situation behind the scenes is another. Let's have a three strikes your out rule...lie to the commission three times about anything and you are no longer a commissioner.

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 04/11/12 - 11:25 am
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For some reason, Belle's

For some reason, Belle's comments show up on the Discussion page and not on the Story page. Here is Belle's comment:

The only thing that is keeping the commission in turmoil is the constant back-door tactics and back-room deals. A small committee meeting that gathers to put together a presentation of a proposal is one thing...creative manipulation of the situation behind the scenes is another. Let's have a three strikes your out rule...lie to the commission three times about anything and you are no longer a commissioner.

Excellent points. I propose another rule, Belle. I call it the "no means no" rule:

If a quorum of commissioners fail to pass a motion (i.e., fail to obtain six or more votes in favor), then that motion or another one essentially like it cannot be brought before the commission within three years.

And that rule would require another. Let's call it the "sneaky snake" rule:

If a motion is brought before the commission and any commissioner protests that it is essentially like another motion that failed to pass within the previous three years, then the motion must be submitted to judicial review by the Augusta Judicial Circuit Superior Court before it can be voted on.

Bouganvillea
0
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Bouganvillea 04/11/12 - 11:22 am
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I just noticed that Mary Fair

Unpublished

I just noticed that Mary Fair Davis was Deke Copenhaver's campaign chairperson. Hmm you think she might be another vote for his ballpark?

Little Lamb
40309
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Little Lamb 04/11/12 - 11:31 am
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You got it,

You got it, Bouganvillea.

That is why both candidates need to go public with their position on public financing of a new ballpark for a privately-owned minor league team. I'm a little worried also by Enoch's statement up above that he favors "public-private partnerships." That could be a loophole big enough to drive a ballpark through.

Bouganvillea
0
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Bouganvillea 04/11/12 - 11:25 am
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Lamb.. I like your rule about

Unpublished

Lamb.. I like your rule about do-overs.. but 3 years might be a little too much. I'd say make it where it cant be brought up for another year.. just like with the state legislature.

Riverman1
70966
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Riverman1 04/11/12 - 11:28 am
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I'm going to have to add to

I'm going to have to add to my Mayor Copenhaver-Boardman list. I may have to include Commissioner Davis-Boardman.

Little Lamb
40309
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Little Lamb 04/11/12 - 11:28 am
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Well, one year would be

Well, one year would be better than nothing.

:-)

Bouganvillea
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Bouganvillea 04/11/12 - 11:31 am
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well Riverman.. that may be

Unpublished

well Riverman.. that may be confusing, because there may be two women on the commission with the last name Davis.. maybe you should say Commissioner Fair-Copenhaver-Boardman

Bouganvillea
0
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Bouganvillea 04/11/12 - 11:34 am
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Lamb... I get what you mean

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Lamb... I get what you mean though about the do-overs.. at the very least it should not be brought up at the same commission meeting. I have seen this happen repeatedly where a motion fails and then another commissioner will immediately reintroduce essentially the same thing by tweaking it a little. I say enough of that. It has to go back to committee before going back to commission

Bouganvillea
0
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Bouganvillea 04/11/12 - 11:36 am
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Btw, this is my district.

Unpublished

Btw, this is my district. Enoch needs to make his position clear on the ballpark soon. I'm guessing Mary Fair is all for it since she is good friends with The Deke.

Bouganvillea
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Bouganvillea 04/11/12 - 03:23 pm
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Just read somewhere that

Unpublished

Just read somewhere that State Rep. Barbara Sims gave $200 to Mary Fair Davis' campaign. Isn't she the one who moved the local elections up to July from November? That's interesting. It seems that moving the elections up would be a clear advantage to the candidate who has raised the most money in the first quarter.

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 04/11/12 - 03:44 pm
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Let me give you my version of

Let me give you my version of the July commission elections, Bouganvillea. In 2011, the General Assembly passed a law that all non-partisan elections of all consolidated governments in Georgia be conducted during the party primaries in July. I do not believe Barbara Sims was behind it, but she voted for it. I don't even know why the state government thought it was so important. But it was not aimed at stacking the deck against one race or another or well-heeled candidates or poorer ones.

The law applied to only three governments in Georgia — Athens, Augusta, and Columbus. Athens and Columbus had no problem and took steps to begin complying with the law. Since the law was passed in early 2011, they had plenty of time to prepare for July, 2012.

Augusta, on the other hand, scoffed at the law. They wanted to hold on to November. Sen. Hardie Davis rode in on his white horse and told a low-level attorney in the State Attorney General's office that Augusta's charter said the elections are in November and that the new state law did not apply to Augusta. Remarkably enough, that low-level attorney wrote an opinion that agreed with Davis.

That arrogance — scoffing and thumbing their noses at the General Assembly was the reason why Barbara Sims introduced the bill in 2012 to specifically state that the law does indeed apply to Augusta. (Remember that the original 2011 law did not actually name the governments. It was written generally so that if any other counties and cities wished to consolidate it would also apply to them.) When a city government picks a fight with state government, it usually loses.

Love Augusta
21
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Love Augusta 04/11/12 - 03:53 pm
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I don't think that there is

I don't think that there is anything wrong with a Commission Candidate having a successful businessman backing her! Maybe our Government needs more businessmen involved. Especially ones that have been as successful as Clay Boardman. I hope that he is advising her as well.

Bouganvillea
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Bouganvillea 04/11/12 - 03:55 pm
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I have to disagree on the

Unpublished

I have to disagree on the elections date lamb. the city charter under consolidation clearly states that city and school board elections are to be held on the November General Elections Ballot. Augusta is considered a municipality under Georgia law.. so it was exempt from that law. The state attorney general agreed that Augusta was exempt.. that should have settled it. Then Rep. Sims couldnt leave well enough alone and then introduced a new bill to force Augusta to move its elections. We have to consider what the real motivation was behind all of this and it should be obvious to anyone. Moving the elections to July decreases black turnout and makes it more likely that a white candidate can win in a swing district. Dont forget that Obama is on the general election ballot this year. In any case the Justice Dept is going to throw out the elections date change anyway. I think if anyone showed arrogance it was Rep Sims. The commission and school board was pretty much unanimously opposed to this change.. Joe Bowles was vocally against it. Rep. Sims is supposed to represent Augusta. At the very least, her bill could have been delayed till next year; which is what might happen.

Little Lamb
40309
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Little Lamb 04/11/12 - 04:02 pm
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The city charter could state

The city charter could state that the sun revolves around the earth, but that does not make it so. Augusta-Richmond is a consolidated government, as are Athens-Clarke and Columbus-Muscogee. The 2011 law said that consolidated governments must hold elections in July. If a state law conflicts with a city charter, the state law trumps. Just like if a federal law conflicts with a state law, the federal law trumps.

Bouganvillea
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Bouganvillea 04/11/12 - 04:22 pm
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LoveAugusta.. I have no

Unpublished

LoveAugusta.. I have no problem with Boardman being a successful businessman.. I also consider that a plus for any campaign to be backed for someone who has been successful in business. What concerns me is whether Boardman has his own agenda and that Mary Davis would be his puppet on the commission. It's worth considering that Boardman has been pushing the downtown ballpark along with his in-law Deke, the mayor. Boardman owns alot of property around the golf and gardens property and is asking the city move the fire station reynolds street. Boardman has also bought up a lot of property in Harrisburg near where that Wal-mart is supposed to go.. you know the one that the city supposedly approved in an illegal closed-door meeting. I have no problem with people being successful in business, but I do have a problem when they use special connections in government to get sweet heart deals and a "heads up" on future development projects. That's not free market capitalism but crony-capitalism. It is also woth nothing that many of Boardman's development projects have involved large government grant subsidies... that means you as a taxpayer helped pay for them.

Little Lamb
40309
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Little Lamb 04/11/12 - 04:34 pm
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Very good points,

Very good points, Bouganvillea.

Little Lamb
40309
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Little Lamb 04/12/12 - 09:23 am
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Susan McCord wrote: Candidate

Susan McCord wrote:

Candidate Mary Fair Davis, the former campaign manager for Mayor Deke Copenhaver, . . . [said,] “I’m running because I care about Augusta’s future. We have the resources to be the envy of all other cities.” Davis said there are “so many positive things going on in Augusta right now,” such as the recent Starbucks plant announcement and merger of ASU and GHSU.

That sounds like Mary Fair Davis is more than Mayor Copenhaver's campaign manager. She sounds like she must also be his speechwriter.

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