Augusta Commission candidates appear at May Park forum

Thursday, Oct. 18, 2012 10:04 PM
Last updated Friday, Oct. 19, 2012 2:11 AM
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Familiar refrains of transit, privatization and better representation marked a candidate forum Thursday.

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Candidates for the Augusta Commission in Districts 1 and 9 and a Richmond County board of education candidate participate in a forum sponsored by the Laney-Walker Neighborhood Association at May Park.  MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF
MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF
Candidates for the Augusta Commission in Districts 1 and 9 and a Richmond County board of education candidate participate in a forum sponsored by the Laney-Walker Neighborhood Association at May Park.

Candidates for the District 1 Augusta Commission seat – Bill Fennoy, Denice Traina and Stanley Hawes – attended, but incumbent Matt Aitken, who said he had to work, did not.

Also present was former District 2 Commissioner Marion Williams, who is seeking the Super District 9 commission post, and District 1 school board incumbent Marion Barnes.

Fennoy, the president of the Laney-Walker Neighborhood Association, which sponsored the forum at May Park Community Center, led off with concerns about the privatization of city services such as transit and the municipal golf course known as The Patch. Aitken had voted for both.

“So far, privatization has not worked for Augusta-Richmond County,” Fennoy said. “The transit system has been described as a disaster … (it’s uncertain) whether the Cabbage Patch will get back to the level it once was.”

Traina said any savings from the city’s decision to outsource management of the bus service to the private company Mobility Transit ought to go to improving the service, including restoring a bus route to Fort Gordon.

She added that the “discretionary” funds associated with the new transportation sales tax set to begin in January ought to be invested in transportation needs.

Hawes, a former president of the Laney-Walker Neighborhood Association, said he was raised in the area and still lives there.

“I’m proud to say I’m one of the ones that did not leave District 1 when the migration took place years ago,” he said.

Only a handful of mostly decided voters attended the forum; a Democratic rally with the Rev. Joseph Lowery also was taking place. A man identifying himself only as “Brother Garcia” asked Hawes why he had yet to file campaign financial disclosures and owed some $500 in late fees. Hawes insisted he would rectify the situation soon.

Williams said it takes six votes for the commission to accomplish anything, which is unlikely to change.

“You haven’t heard anything about giving the mayor a vote or giving the administrator any more power,” Williams said of issues last raised by the commission in 2011. “The buck stops with us. We’re the ones that answer to you.”

The candidates differed on how best to know the needs of the district. Fennoy said he would hold quarterly meetings and change the location each time. Traina said she would hold meetings at gathering spots such as the Augusta Market or public library, or would plan breakfasts with the heads of neighborhood associations.

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jwilliams
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jwilliams 10/18/12 - 11:22 pm
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This information was obtained

This information was obtained from the October 7th 2012 Sunday Edition of the Augusta Chronicle from an article written by Susan McCord, titled ,”Mary Davis, Donnie Smith lead commission candidates in fundraising.” I am putting an emphasis on the statement pertaining to district 1 commissioner candidate, Stanley Hawes.
From the Chronicle:
Davis has withdrawn from the race and put her support behind Stanley Hawes. Hawes had filed no reports with the finance commission and owes $375 in late fees. Hawes said Friday that he was prepared to pay the fines and estimated he had raised $8,500, mostly through small, individual donations.
“When you’re running on a shoestring and you don’t have many people working with you, you learn from your mistakes,” Hawes said.
On October 18th, 2012, at a political forum held at the May Park community center, Mr. Hawes was asked why he still had not filed his financial disclosure to the proper authorities,( ten days later I may add), and now owed $500 in non filing and late fees. Hawes insisted he would rectify the situation soon. It is my opinion that Mr. Haws is stalling for some reason, and we as a district/county cannot afford to have this type of person in leadership. We as a district/county have already had to learn from the mistakes of privatization, the parking deck, the TEE center and the personnel manual, from our current commissions, we do not need to add someone else to that body that is mistake pron. We need commissioners that will not only preach transparency, but also practice it without making excuses. In district 1 we need “True Leadership We Can Trust,” not an excuse maker; we already have one of those.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 10/19/12 - 03:48 am
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"Hawes, a former president of

"Hawes, a former president of the Laney-Walker Neighborhood Association, said he was raised in the area and still lives there.

“I’m proud to say I’m one of the ones that did not leave District 1 when the migration took place years ago,” he said.

What was the migration he's talking about?

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 10/19/12 - 07:45 am
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Dilapidation

He must be talking about the ones who migrated away and left all those vacant, dilapidated houses down there.

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 10/19/12 - 07:49 am
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Welcome

Welcome to the forum, jwilliams. You make some valid points, there. Wright McLeod was guilty of some of the same things as Stanley Hawes. At first McLeod just pooh poohed the FEC requirements. But when the FEC hit him with a $20,000 fine, it got his attention. He told a reporter of a competing newspaper, “That stings,” when discussing the fines.

I'll bet that's what his clients say when they get his legal bills. I wonder how much he made off the Millshaven pink playhouse case?

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 10/19/12 - 12:12 pm
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Incompetence

Ms. McCord points out that attendance was sparse because this forum (organized by candidate Bill Fennoy) was going on at the same time as Lowell Greenbaum's forum featuring John Barrow, Joseph Lowery, and Richard Roundtree. But that points out the incompetence of Fennoy. Why would district one citizens want a commissioner who cannot organize himself out of a paper bag?

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