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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.”

Comments (9) Add comment
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Little Lamb
62909
Points
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
62909
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Little Lamb 10/16/12 - 07:58 am
4
0
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
163157
Points
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
62909
Points
Little Lamb 10/16/12 - 08:47 am
2
0
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
163157
Points
Riverman1 10/16/12 - 09:05 am
3
0
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
4656
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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.

Willow Bailey
20624
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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
Points
Insider Information 10/16/12 - 03:12 pm
0
0
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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