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Augusta Commission candidates favor halt on convention center action

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Six Augusta Commission candidates said Monday that they would like to see government action on the Augusta Convention Center put on hold until after new commissioners are elected and begin their terms in 2013.

That matter was posed at a forum held Monday night by the Augusta branch of the NAACP.

While supporting the idea, District 3 hopeful Ed Enoch said it could be disastrous if existing business booked for the center had to be canceled.

“We’d be looking at an empty building,” he said.

District 1 candidate Denice Traina said it was a good idea to put the project off until new blood infuses the commission. She said it would be preferable to get bids from competing firms to run the center.

Stanley Hawes, also vying for District 1, said it would be the best path because he believes Augustans have little faith in the commission because the deal has been so controversial. By letting a new group look at the deal, he said, more of the public would be able to get on board.

A third District 1 candidate, William Fennoy, said the answer was simply to “follow the money.”

“All the money is going to one place,” he said. “That isn’t right.”

The two District 9 candidates at the forum, Harold Jones and Marion Williams, agreed that they would like to see the process stopped until a new commission was voted in.

The forum at New Zion Missionary Baptist Church on Deans Bridge Road was a chance for Dr. Charles Smith Sr., the Augusta NAACP’s president, to advocate for a resolution opposing a proposed constitutional amendment that would allow the state to establish charter schools without the approval of local school boards.

The resolution was passed unanimously Saturday by the Georgia State Conference of the NAACP, he said. He read it aloud before a few advocates spoke about why they believed the amendment should be voted down.

School board member Barbara Pulliam said the amendment would allow the state to build a school with public money and pick the best and richest students to attend. She said public schools
should be for every student.

“We have a problem with state-controlled charter schools,” she said. “The children who will suffer the most is low-income children, black children and handicapped children.”

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Little Lamb
46895
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Little Lamb 10/16/12 - 07:54 am
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0
Good Idea

Denice Traina is correct. They need to put the management contract(s) out for bid. It is grossly unfair to give the business to Riverfront LLC with no competition.

Little Lamb
46895
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Little Lamb 10/16/12 - 07:58 am
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Bad Idea

Barbara Pulliam is incorrect. She is a demogogue. She completely misrepresented what the charter school amendment is all about. Charter schools offer one way out where a parent's address dooms her children to a failed school.

Riverman1
86846
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Riverman1 10/16/12 - 08:29 am
2
1
William Fennoy is starting to

William Fennoy is starting to make so much sense, I'm surprised Woody Merry doesn't come out and support him. Wouldn't THAT be something?

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 10/16/12 - 08:47 am
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Good Point

Good point, RM. From reading his statement up above, one would presume that Fennoy would vote against the Riverfront LLC contract. And, of course, Aitken would vote for the contract. I think our commission should table Riverfront's contract deal and let the new commission have the vote in January or February. Riverfront's contract is set to run 50 years! That's unheard of, and plain wrong.

Riverman1
86846
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Riverman1 10/16/12 - 09:05 am
3
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Think of how much the 50 year

Think of how much the 50 year contract increases the value of the Marriott. That's what this whole thing has been about... increasing the value of THAT hotel.

F4therTime
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F4therTime 10/16/12 - 09:31 am
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I have said all along...
Unpublished

This isn't a TEE center. It's a Mariott center with certain elitists in Augusta making money off the taxpayers backs.

dichotomy
34343
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dichotomy 10/16/12 - 09:33 am
5
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Hotel money.

You mean the hotel that WE gave Paul Simon & associates $7 million to build in the first place? Well, it started out as a loan and then Simon came back and conned our questionably motivated commissioners into making it a gift.

Maybe if our current crop of questionably motivated commissioners worked this deal right they could get THAT money finally paid back to us.

dichotomy
34343
Points
dichotomy 10/16/12 - 10:08 am
4
0
It is odd that so much of OUR

It is odd that so much of OUR money goes downtown to the SAME GROUP all of the time. The SAME GROUP that already owns most of the downtown property. And along with getting OUR money to build projects that benefit mainly THEM, they also get no-bid contracts where we PAY THEM to operate those projects. What a deal!

They keep telling us that this is a good deal because the visitors will spend money on hotels, resaurants, etc. and that will generate tax revenue. However, much of that tax revenue is dedicated to go to certain places....like redevlopment projects in specific areas......not MY area....and probably not YOUR area. If the project is losing money from the general revenue fund, and it will.....always...., it is NOT a benefit to the Richmond County property taxPAYER. I don't care how much revenue they CLAIM this thing will generate.....if they have to raise my property taxes or cut my services to pay for it's operation and maintenance then it is NOT a benefit to me. This thing is only a benefit to the folks who own the Marriott and the surrounding DOWNTOWN properties . Anything else they tell you is a very expensive smoke screen and it is being blown up your.....oh well, you get the idea.

A few of our commissioners will grand stand a lttle bit to make a show for the taxpayers and then they will approve the deal as it stands. Paul Simon & associates will grin (again) and take total control of nearly $40 million (current) of your tax dollars plus whatever they can grab for the next 15 years.

That noise you hear coming from downtown is Paul and Billy and the boys dancing on the keys of the cash registers at the Marriott. CHA CHING, CHA CHING.

Willow Bailey
20603
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Willow Bailey 10/16/12 - 10:11 am
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A fifty year contract?

A fifty year contract? Seriously, why not a lifetime?

HenryWalker3rd
2393
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HenryWalker3rd 10/16/12 - 10:57 am
0
4
Misrepresented? Honw???
Unpublished

“We have a problem with state-controlled charter schools,” she said. “The children who will suffer the most is low-income children, black children and handicapped children.”

Insider Information
4009
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Insider Information 10/16/12 - 03:12 pm
0
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School board attorney Pete

School board attorney Pete Fletcher advised the board that it would be illegal for board members to campaign against the charter school amendment.

School board member Barbara Pulliam campaigned against the amendment.

Was that legal?

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