Fennoy defeats Aitken in District 1 runoff

Commission's racial split restored

Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2012 8:34 PM
Last updated Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012 12:40 AM
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Bill Fennoy defeated incumbent Matt Aitken to represent majority-black Augusta Commission District 1, restoring a 5-5 racial balance on the 10-member commission.

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Bill Fennoy (left) is hugged by friend Rufus Sanders at his Augusta Commission District 1 runoff party.  SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
Bill Fennoy (left) is hugged by friend Rufus Sanders at his Augusta Commission District 1 runoff party.

Fennoy, who is black, won 63 percent
of the votes in Tuesday’s runoff and carried nine of the district’s 15 precincts. He beat Aitken, who is white, by 695 votes.
The commissioner-elect and supporters cheered and sang at Club 209 downtown when vote totals came in around 8:15 p.m.

“I’m glad, I’m glad I won,” he said. “But I am really disappointed with the turnout for this election, and one of the first things that I want to do is meet with the different people in the different precincts. I want them to know what their commissioner does; I want them to get involved in the process.”

Fennoy’s only white supporter to attend the watch party, Harrisburg activist and former mayoral candidate Lori Davis, said it was Aitken’s lack of involvement in Harrisburg after his election that caused her to join Fennoy’s campaign. She said she had nothing to gain Tuesday “except Harrisburg getting better.”

Former District 1 Commissioner Betty Beard, who backed the retired health educator early on, said restoring the 5-5 balance will cause “a total change” in the way the commission operates.

“We have to think of all the citizens and the entire city,” she said, citing the soon-to-open Augusta Convention Center as a project that doesn’t benefit all. “Right now, if (the commission) did anything, it’s only going to benefit a few.”

Former District 2 Com­mis­sioner Marion Williams, who won the Super District 9 commission post Nov. 6, said restoring the white/black balance that existed from consolidation in 1996 until Aitken won the seat in 2009 was important. Many believe a 5-5 split was built into the con­solidated government’s charter to reflect a community that’s about 56 percent black and 60 percent minority.
“We need that five and five so we have to work together,” Williams said. Without the balance, “even if it’s right, people are going to think it doesn’t look right.”

Fennoy campaign worker Rufus Sanders said he has known Fennoy since he moved to Augusta in 1966 to attend Paine College. Sanders led the crowd in a campaign song that began, “Christmas just ain’t Christmas, without Bill Fennoy.” He said he and other volunteers were out urging voters to get to the polls until minutes before they closed.

“We had to flush a lot of people out, because a lot of people didn’t know about the runoff election,” Sanders said.

Turnout was low Tuesday, even lower than it was three years ago when Aitken surprised many by beating Fennoy in a similar runoff with 54 percent of the votes. Only 2,714 voters, or about 19 percent, cast ballots in Tuesday’s runoff.

Mayor Deke Copenhaver issued a statement congratulating Fennoy.

“I truly believe he has a heart for serving all the constituents of his district,” Copenhaver said. “I look forward to working with Bill to continue to build on Augusta’s momentum to fulfill our great city’s vast potential.”

Copenhaver also thanked Aitken for his service.

Aitken, surrounded by a somber crowd at his watch party, said he remained proud of his accomplishments, his supporters and his family.

“It’s not the end of the world,” he said. “It’s a great city, and I hope to be a part of it in some kind of way in what I do. I’ve built a lot of inroads in places people said I wouldn’t and I’m proud of that.”

HOW THEY VOTED

PRECINCT AITKEN FENNOY

101 Asbury United Methodist Church 106 17

102 Crawford Avenue Baptist Church 78 64

103 Dyess Park 15 253

104 Eastview Recreation Center 80 524

105 Mount Calvary Baptist Church 2 60

106 Julian Smith Casino 46 55

107 Julian Smith Casino 330 145

108 Covenant Presbyterian Church 13 77

109 May Park 102 124

110 Peabody Apartments 12 49

111 Gilbert Lambuth Chapel-Paine College 52 30

112 St. John Towers 127 40

113 W.T. Johnson Recreation Center 14 162

114 Bernie Ward Community Center 12 88

115 Southside Baptist Church 15 11

Source: Richmond County Board of Elections

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SON of Scoob
434
Points
SON of Scoob 12/04/12 - 09:51 pm
4
4
they are winning

Sports - Entertainment - Politics - they are winning.

IAmISaid
206
Points
IAmISaid 12/04/12 - 09:55 pm
6
3
Woohoo!
Unpublished

The pet monkey of certain of Augusta's looters has to find himself a new organ grinder. As bad as Fennoy might be, at least he's not looting on behalf of someone else!

ColCo
798
Points
ColCo 12/04/12 - 10:10 pm
5
5
Thanks Richmond County Voters!

The property owners of Columbia County thank you for continuing to increase our property values.

OpenCurtain
10049
Points
OpenCurtain 12/04/12 - 10:19 pm
10
0
Congratulations

As one of many South Side residents that supported you, I only ask that you be: frugal with the taxpayer $$$, be fair how it is applied and spent. An Please question and look into Any Thing Fred Russell asks you to vote on.

So Give'em Hell that is why I supported you.

itsanotherday1
43729
Points
itsanotherday1 12/04/12 - 10:19 pm
7
5
Gridlock is restored...

Gridlock is restored...

Lori Davis
944
Points
Lori Davis 12/04/12 - 10:43 pm
6
4
Am so happy to have been a

Am so happy to have been a part of this victory. New life for Harrisburg and All of Richmond County.

Conservative Man
5577
Points
Conservative Man 12/04/12 - 10:50 pm
9
1
Gridlock.....

....is not always a BAD thing....Remember, Mr. Aitken voted repeatedly to allow the taxpayers of RC to have their pockets picked by his "puppet masters" to the point that the voters said ENOUGH!...
Just because the Commission gets something done, does not mean it's necessarily something good....
I for one look forward to gridlock...of a GOOD kind...

The kind that will question decisions without "rubber stamping" the edicts handed down to them from above...
Hopefully Bill will be that kind of man.....we'll see won't we?

ColCo
798
Points
ColCo 12/04/12 - 11:03 pm
8
2
Fight's On!

It will be interesting to see if Mr. Fennoy has matured any from his days on the Coliseum Authority.

OpenCurtain
10049
Points
OpenCurtain 12/04/12 - 11:53 pm
8
1
what we had

wasn't working in the interests of the taxpayers.

A change and a wake up has been sent downtown.

Are y'all listening?

scoopdedoop64
2395
Points
scoopdedoop64 12/05/12 - 12:40 am
7
7
Racism

The racism in this city is so terrible. Who should care if one is black or white as long as they do the job they are asked to do. Lori Davis, I was surprised at you joining with Fennoy...you really think he is going to give you or Harrisburg the time of day. You may end up regretting your decision.

Riverman1
84908
Points
Riverman1 12/05/12 - 05:28 am
9
3
Landslide Victory

More than anything it represents all the people who are upset with the cabal, TEE Center and administration. By the way, the prediction of a narrow victory for Aitken was as wrong as going the wrong way on I-20.

PitchFork007
473
Points
PitchFork007 12/05/12 - 06:14 am
10
0
The Augusta Chronicle Endorsements

The Augusta Chronicle has been having much better success in endorsing onerous, burdensome tax hike bills than in endorsing
political candidates.

F4therTime
4656
Points
F4therTime 12/05/12 - 08:29 am
7
1
Listening to Betty Beard...
Unpublished

Is sickening..“We have to think of all the citizens and the entire city,” she said, citing the soon-to-open Augusta Convention Center as a project that doesn’t benefit all. “Right now, if (the commission) did anything, it’s only going to benefit a few.”

Really? Mrs. sell your vote to get the TEE center...pathetic...now we will be back to more abstaining..leaving the room and not showing up at all...like Mason...this city is a joke. If it wasn't for the fact that my tax bill has tripled...I might be laughing...

saywhatagain
413
Points
saywhatagain 12/05/12 - 09:02 am
6
3
"I have a dream"

MLK's "dream" is dead...killed by the very folks he sought to protect. It's both sad and ironic.

dichotomy
33505
Points
dichotomy 12/05/12 - 09:12 am
7
2
"Gridlock is restored..." I

"Gridlock is restored..."

I wish.....They will spit, claw, and cuss each other but they always seem to kiss and make up when it's time to raise taxes and fees. And this guarantees that we will never get any reform in nepotism, cronyism related hiring and job protection and incompetence and corruption in the Procurement office, not that we were going to get much anyway. And Lori, I think you will be greatly disappointed. But, I will admit that I am glad to see the big boy's "rubber stamp" gone. Too bad District 1 couldn't find a qualified candidate to replace Aitken. Of course "qualified" has never been much of a concern an election in the "City of Augusta".

You are welcome ColCo.......our majority wasn't quite sure Marion Williams and Roundtree would give you enough of a boost so they threw Fennoy in as a kicker.

OpenCurtain
10049
Points
OpenCurtain 12/05/12 - 09:40 am
6
2
This is a good thing maybe

A reader wrote "... now we will be back to more abstaining..leaving the room and not showing up at all"

I guess if we are lucky, given the absents, they won't have a Quorum and NO VOTE can be held.

If the South Side is really lucky, maybe it will come down to a De-Consolidation Vote to get things done.

Either way, based on the pillaging of the Tax collections, and the under the table, snuck-in at the last minute, deals.

I'll support Mr. Fennoy in any above board, legal move he makes to slow the downtown spending steam roller process down.

Less any one forget here are a few of the massive DOWNTOWN spending proposals that we have seen in the last 2 years.

*TEE Center Related catering deals,

*The TEE Center Floating Parking Deck deal,

*A Major Media and Political push for a NEW $14 to 29 Million Dollar Baseball Stadium DOWNTOWN,

*50% increase in Garage fees, or if you like a 50% reduction in pickup.

*A Proposed RAIN TAX to fund Downtown focused Storm Drain repairs and upgrade projects,

*$14 million clean up Haz-Mat incidents in communities,

*Added Fee/tax on Beverage Store for being open 1 more day,

and many more that I should quickly remember, but I don't before a 2nd cup of coffee.

However,
My support does come with strings attached.

If I see the Downtown Power Brokers get to him,
then I'll turn on him with my data research skills,
like a Pit Bull at a kitten sale.

Lori Davis
944
Points
Lori Davis 12/05/12 - 09:53 am
5
0
Scoopdedoop, if more churches

Scoopdedoop, if more churches got involved in helping Harrisburg like St.Luke's Methodist, it would be a much better place. Might want to consider that.

Little Lamb
46397
Points
Little Lamb 12/05/12 - 09:57 am
6
2
Inarticulate

I saw him on the Channel 6 News last night at 11:00. He is inarticulate, but that doesn't mean he is unintelligent. Let's just hope he doesn't make any commission speeches or ask too many rhetorical questions. "Shut up and vote" should be the motto.

By the way, abstaining is not necessarily a bad thing. And voting NO! is often the best thing, especially when Fred (What, me worry?) Russell is behind the motion.

Mr. Thackeray
942
Points
Mr. Thackeray 12/05/12 - 10:08 am
5
0
"majority-black Augusta

"majority-black Augusta Commission District 1, restoring a 5-5 racial balance on the 10-member commission."

Augusta will continue to be a backwards mid-20th century community until this no longer matters!

Lori Davis
944
Points
Lori Davis 12/05/12 - 10:23 am
5
0
I wouldn't call it restoring

I wouldn't call it restoring a racial balance, it actually restored a balance between the good ole boys and the regular citizen. Look at it that way. This is what this was all about. Now those of us who have been at the bottom of the totem pole will at least have our issues heard rather than voted against in backroom deal making. I will say once again. Come regularly to Commission meetings and you will see decisions being made that only six Commissioners knew about beforehand. At least now, issues will have to be thoroughly discussed. All Commissioners have a bit of power and not just the gang of six.

HenryWalker3rd
2393
Points
HenryWalker3rd 12/05/12 - 10:32 am
4
1
Wayne G on the commission is
Unpublished

Wayne G on the commission is NOT BLACK.

How can the "racial split be restored"...as the Cronicle says?

I guess they mean white vs non white.

OpenCurtain
10049
Points
OpenCurtain 12/05/12 - 10:46 am
4
0
Is Commissioner Wayne G. in the Cat-Bird Seat?

So the division is 5 Black, 4 White, and I love this PC description,
1 Other.

If it were to be a Racial Color voting process only, WHICH IT IS NOT.

I guess Mr. Wayne, our Dist. 8 Commissioner, now holds the power.

Whatever the Case.
Given Mr. Wayne's normally careful review of budget and contracts this should worry many a person downtown that has snuck up behind him politically over the last 2 years.

Brad Owens
4583
Points
Brad Owens 12/05/12 - 10:45 am
7
0
Fennoy's "black seat" comments put me off 100%

Given his arguments about the 1st Districts seat being a "black" seat that must have an "Obama voter in it" I was just wondering if he would not support it if a majority white district elects a African-American. I mean would he object to that being the case as he did in the 1st?

Also, with comments like that on the record, I wonder if his "white" non-Obama voting constituents can count on their voices being heard by him. I will be watching to see if he really is "that way" or if he was just pandering to a "black" audience he happened to be in front of.

My $0.02 worth (I live in the 2nd District)

scgator
1042
Points
scgator 12/05/12 - 11:27 am
5
2
Fennoy wins = Augusta

Fennoy wins = Augusta loses
Aitken wins = Augusta loses
Marion Williams coming back = Augusta REALLY loses
Fred Russell stays = Kiss Augusta goodbye
Aitken did for his district what Marion Williams does for the word "integrity".

scoopdedoop64
2395
Points
scoopdedoop64 12/05/12 - 11:59 am
3
0
Lori, I wasn't referring to

Lori, I wasn't referring to the churches when I said that I was surprised that you backed Fennoy. However, since you brought it up, I agree that St. Luke's Methodist does a lot for this community. Crawford Avenue Baptist Church does a lot as well. We mainly focus on the children and teenagers in helping to build a better generation. We also focus on charitable giving of food and counseling to many in need. As needed we will do what we can but you can't legislate morality and if your only hope is in those commissioners then I think you will continue to be frustrated. I would like to say that we appreciate your voice in this community and doing all you can to make it a better place.

catawba7
319
Points
catawba7 12/05/12 - 12:10 pm
3
2
If the South Side is really lucky

If the South Side is really lucky, maybe it will come down to a De-Consolidation Vote to get things done.

Because South Augusta has been treated so disgustingly awful, I would support De-Consolidation. They took our money, spent it and spat in our faces...shame! I like Mr. Aitken, he is a DECENT man, District 1 you just made a big mistake...you created more "GRIDLOCK". We have to many know nothings and do nothings on the commission.

We have to many commissioners who sneak around to their friends in their districts, and do nothing for your district as a whole, you don't even listen. I know you cannot do for all, but do you have to do for the few in your "CLICK" all the time? De-Consolidation for South Augusta, sounds GREAT to me.

For those who voted for consolidation, thanks for the MESS, not!

catawba7
319
Points
catawba7 12/05/12 - 12:18 pm
5
1
If you think D-1 is BAD

A reader wrote "... now we will be back to more abstaining..leaving the room and not showing up at all"

I guess if we are lucky, given the absents, they won't have a Quorum and NO VOTE can be held.

If the South Side is really lucky, maybe it will come down to a De-Consolidation Vote to get things done.

Either way, based on the pillaging of the Tax collections, and the under the table, snuck-in at the last minute, deals.

I'll support Mr. Fennoy in any above board, legal move he makes to slow the downtown spending steam roller process down.

Less any one forget here are a few of the massive DOWNTOWN spending proposals that we have seen in the last 2 years.

*TEE Center Related catering deals,

*The TEE Center Floating Parking Deck deal,

*A Major Media and Political push for a NEW $14 to 29 Million Dollar Baseball Stadium DOWNTOWN,

*50% increase in Garage fees, or if you like a 50% reduction in pickup.

*A Proposed RAIN TAX to fund Downtown focused Storm Drain repairs and upgrade projects,

*$14 million clean up Haz-Mat incidents in communities,

*Added Fee/tax on Beverage Store for being open 1 more day,

and many more that I should quickly remember, but I don't before a 2nd cup of coffee.

However,
My support does come with strings attached.

If I see the Downtown Power Brokers get to him,
then I'll turn on him with my data research skills,
like a Pit Bull at a kitten sale.

YOU THINK D-1 IS BAD, RESEARCH JOHNSON'S DISTRICT...CAN'T WAIT FOR 2014.

OpenCurtain
10049
Points
OpenCurtain 12/05/12 - 12:56 pm
0
0
catawba7 - Great comment

I'd almost think .... wink, wink.. that I must say, I do agree with it.

countyman
20236
Points
countyman 12/05/12 - 02:25 pm
3
7
The 'downtown conspiracy'

The 'downtown conspiracy' doesn't make sense, because the majority of commissioners live south of Gordon Hwy... Then again, the same people mention the TEE Center even though the taxpayers of the county approved the building.

The study clearly said the best place for the TEE was next to the Riverwalk, Marriotts, etc... It would be really stupid to built the TEE Center in South Augusta when the Holiday Inn or Fairfield Inn are probably the nicest hotels. They're located on Gordon Hwy near I-520 with no restaurants, entertainment, etc in walking distance.

It's amazing how people act like the $20 million Vocational high school, $1 million Marshalls office, $15- $20 million Diamond Lakes, millions in order to widen Morgan rd, $1 million plus Augusta Mini theater, $1 million Mcbean community center, $2 million Dover/Lyman improvements, $4 million on Marvin Griffin rd expansion, $1.5 million Gordon Hwy lighting, $3.5 million Rocky Creek drainage, millions to relocate Hyde Park residents, $2 million Barton Chapel rd improvements, etc don't exist in South Augusta.

Little Lamb
46397
Points
Little Lamb 12/05/12 - 05:55 pm
3
1
Residence

I wonder how many of Fennoy's votes came from people registered at those vacant lots we read about last week?

Vacant lot voters

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