District 1 candidates offer ideas

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Everything you ever wanted to know about what candidates for the District 1 seat on the Augusta Commission thought about crime, blight, race relations and the TEE Center you could have heard at a political forum Thursday.

Candidates Matt Aitken, JoRae Jenkins, Butch Palmer and William Fennoy answered questions on those and many other topics for almost two hours during the Harrisburg-West End Neighborhood Association meeting at the Kroc Center.

Mr. Aitken, Ms. Jenkins and Mr. Fennoy emphasized the importance of bringing the district together and economic development, while Mr. Palmer addressed the need for a chronic nuisance property ordinance that would clean up Harrisburg and the rest of the city.

"I'd like to grow old in Augusta and walk the streets without getting my throat cut," Mr. Palmer said. "But the way things are going, I'm not sure I'll be able to."

Ms. Jenkins' plan for dealing with crime throughout the city includes more training for police officers, more neighborhood watches and more neighborhood meetings. Mr. Palmer, however, said when crime gets as bad as it is in Harrisburg, the drug dealers and prostitutes "are" the neighborhood watch.

Mr. Fennoy said his approach to crime prevention is education, starting early. "We've got to educate and instill in them morals and values," he said. More police visibility is also important, he said.

Mr. Aitken said he has been involved in prison ministry since he himself came out of prison 20 years ago and knows a great deal about the problem. "Somewhere, as a city we've got to unite," he said. "We're not united now."

All agreed abandoned and dilapidated houses are a major problem, but each had a different solution.

Mr. Palmer said property owners should be given incentives for fixing up their homes.

Enforcing city ordinances already on the books is the key, said Mr. Fennoy, while Mr. Aitken said building revenues with economic development is the answer.

Ms. Jenkins said working with nonprofit organizations and a big effort to clean up Augusta would help.

As for improving race relations, Mr. Palmer said race relations would have to be improved by the people involved.

Mr. Fennoy said he doesn't think Augusta has a race relations problem, except when the five black commissioners don't vote the way some people want them to.

Mr. Aitken said when government leaders start leading and when pastors come together, people will come together.

And Ms. Jenkins said there needs to be more literature on diversity, more ethnic festivals and more diversity training in the schools and city government.

Asked whether they would be willing to allow the public to vote again on the TEE Center because costs have risen so much since it was approved, Mr. Fennoy said the voters have already voted and that it was up to commissioners to decide when and where it should be built.

Mr. Aitken said "absolutely not."

Mr. Palmer said it absolutely should be put on a referendum before the special interests shove it on through.

Ms. Jenkins said no on a second vote and suggested a town hall meeting to let the people see how the project has changed over time.

CANDIDATE PROFILES

James "Butch" Palmer

Bill Fennoy

JoRae Jenkins

Matt Aitken

Comments (32) Add comment
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justus4
124
Points
justus4 10/09/09 - 03:22 am
0
0
What is up with the complete
Unpublished

What is up with the complete lack of education credentials throughout these so-called campaigns in the CSRA. These people are not impressive, don't produce an original thought, and will not be effective in changing anything-if elected. What are their political ideology and their opinion of the Dred Scott case? Is education important to the citizentry? Why don't these candidates have college degrees? If U don't know intelligence, how can U govern it? Ya gotta get more sophisticated individuals into office who comprehends policy and understands history.

Brad Owens
5224
Points
Brad Owens 10/09/09 - 04:49 am
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0
I see lots of political talk

I see lots of political talk but Butch has the ideas. There are only a few simple things a person can do on the Commission and "bringing people together" is not one of them. Also, I am sick of hearing how "economic development" will solve all our ills without hearing at least ONE idea that will CAUSE said 'development'. Augusta is a sinking ship it looks like. Lower revenues, shrinking tax base, shrinking population, shrinking business and most of these guys want to rearrange the deck chairs instead of bailing. The rest haven't a clue about what needs to be doen except Fennoy and he will be just another race partisan on the commission given his race non-sense quoted here. Aitken sounds like a REALLY nice guy but I don't think that the Lord will bring the commission or the 1st District together. JoRae sounds idealistic and not really in tune with what she is asking for. If I were home I would vote for BUTCH. He is the only one who is putting forward ideas and he is for a TEE revote. The friggin TEE Center is the largest, most expensive, and idiotic thing I have heard of since the Trolley idea. I mean really, we can't repair the sidewalks yet we can spent 100million on a TEE Center?

Brad Owens
5224
Points
Brad Owens 10/09/09 - 04:56 am
0
0
P.S. justus, Harry Truman did

P.S. justus, Harry Truman did not have a college degree. You are REALLY not making any sense at all. There should be no need for a County Commissioner to have a piece of paper on the wall to be 'qualified'. I have known uber capable people who were smart, successful business people, and had experience in the REAL world but no degree. I guess if we had a 21 year old college grad running that they would be the correct choice due to the degree? What if the degree was in PE? You need to find a better way to sell Fennoy than that. Having a degree doesn't indicate ability anymore than color of skin. Now think about that Mr. All-Black-Media

concernednative
28
Points
concernednative 10/09/09 - 05:53 am
0
0
I think their needs to be a

I think their needs to be a balance between education and experience just like when you apply for a job. I mean I would be more likely to support a less experienced candidate like Jenkins if you she an education in business/economic development or something. Because that could lead to fresh ideas and an outside perspective because in college you typically study a lot of successful businesses and things of that nature. But, if you have a successful business person without a degree who has demonstrated economic development and business savvy that would be fine also. But, these people have neither so that is the problem.

concernednative
28
Points
concernednative 10/09/09 - 05:55 am
0
0
persuing, I know you hate

persuing, I know you hate Obama but you think a guy who was an excellent student with a degree from Harvard Law (president of the law review) and a law professor doesn't know anything about one of the biggest supreme court cases ever. I think you are getting him confused with S Palin.

bettyboop
8
Points
bettyboop 10/09/09 - 06:15 am
0
0
cn....How did he get that

cn....How did he get that degree...has anyone ever seen his grades?(did you have to look it up before you made your comment?)

Emerydan
10
Points
Emerydan 10/09/09 - 06:27 am
0
0
On every issue.. Butch Palmer

On every issue.. Butch Palmer has the right ideas. He seems to be on the side of the people. I mean how can you be against allowing the voters decide whether they want $110 million of their tax dollars spent on the TEE center and laney walker-Bethlehem project et al? Aitken just showed right there that he is in the pocket of the special interests. You want your tax money wasted.. vote for Aitken. You want a voice for a change.. vote for Butch!

concernednative
28
Points
concernednative 10/09/09 - 06:30 am
0
0
perusing, yeah 20 years ago

perusing, yeah 20 years ago Harvard gave Obama his law degree and his peers voted him president of the Harvard Law review all because they knew on day he was going to be President. Do you all think one minute for you believe these wacked out conspiracy theories.

ispy4u
0
Points
ispy4u 10/09/09 - 06:31 am
0
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PERUSING, has any one seen

PERUSING, has any one seen your grades?

Emerydan
10
Points
Emerydan 10/09/09 - 06:58 am
0
0
This Anthony Esposito guy was

This Anthony Esposito guy was a fantastic moderator. This had to be one of the most informative candidate forums thus far in Augusta.

lifelongresidient
1
Points
lifelongresidient 10/09/09 - 07:55 am
0
0
dear perusing, what is it you

dear perusing, what is it you want to know about the dred scott decision????. if you must know it was about a slave dred scott who was taken fron a slave state to live in a non-slave state (with his master, of course), and upon the decison by his master to move back to a slave state he refused and sued and lost-his basis was that non-slave state don't recognize slavery so he must designated a free man, it was appealled and decision reversed, it was then appealled to the supreme court and the court ruled in the favor of his master-the supremem courts decision was not about mr. scott freedom but based on the premise that blacks were not and will not ever be protected under the constitution and thusly can't become citizens. so persuing anytime you would like to discuss history, economics, sociology, politics, civics, music or any other subject i am your man and would love for you to show me how much you know about the above mentioned subjects........

CorporalGripweed
0
Points
CorporalGripweed 10/09/09 - 08:42 am
0
0
If Fennoy thinks that

If Fennoy thinks that instilling morals and values in our children at a young age, is the way to fight crime,he is way behind the power curve. This will take a couple of generations at this rate. We don't have that kind of time.

faithson
6661
Points
faithson 10/09/09 - 09:00 am
0
0
Our choices in the 1st

Our choices in the 1st district leave alot to be desired... Not one of these characters has the background in 'governing' that the position demands... its a crap shoot.. Augusta/Richmond county government will only be as good as those men/women we elect to 'serve US'.. and the future doesn't look bright..

harrisburgwillrise
0
Points
harrisburgwillrise 10/09/09 - 09:06 am
0
0
I know that the Chronic

I know that the Chronic Nuisance Property Ordinance is on the minds of people in Harrisburg, but I could not believe that when the candidates were asked if they would support it, no one but Mr. Palmer knew anything substantial about it. These candidates are running for District one, and District one has been all over the Chronicle, on T.V, and have been to the Commission twice with this fight for better neighborhoods. This has been going on for three months now. The candidates had only heard the idea in passing, and had done nothing to find out what it was all about, thus, no ideas to offer. I would have never come to a Harrisburg Association meeting, not being briefed on the issues of the people of Harrisburg. This is a shame that they have not paid attention to their, "Constituents to be.'"

concernednative
28
Points
concernednative 10/09/09 - 09:25 am
0
0
Yeah, like I said someone

Yeah, like I said someone with a background in successful law enforcement or economic development is what District 1 needs. But, they didn't step up or don't live in the district so you are left with poor choices but that's the way it is.

augustaguy45
0
Points
augustaguy45 10/09/09 - 09:45 am
0
0
Brad posts, " If I were home

Brad posts, " If I were home I would vote for BUTCH. " Well, guess what Brad.....you're not here and to be honest with you, I don't give a rat's a** what you think. I would not vote for a gun-toting aberration who looks like he belongs in a mortuary with his make-up and shaved eyebrows.

FallingLeaves
31
Points
FallingLeaves 10/09/09 - 10:27 am
0
0
justus4, you sound like you

justus4, you sound like you feel threatened by these people that are struggling to fight crime in Harrisburg and therefore, Augusta. Why?

FallingLeaves
31
Points
FallingLeaves 10/09/09 - 10:29 am
0
0
If Anthony Esposito would

If Anthony Esposito would run, I'd vote for HIM.

FallingLeaves
31
Points
FallingLeaves 10/09/09 - 10:30 am
0
0
The Nuisance Ordinance sounds

The Nuisance Ordinance sounds like a good idea, but I would also like to see good landlords be empowered to get rid of bad tenants easier. Their hands seem to be tied by things like only allowing them to offer the courts one reason to evict the tenant, when there might be several.

WhiteboyforJenkins
0
Points
WhiteboyforJenkins 10/09/09 - 10:43 am
0
0
Butch Palmer wants to offer

Butch Palmer wants to offer "incentives" to property owners. Incentives=Money. How many of you Palmer supporters are going to call for higher taxes so the government can offer these incentives? MONEY is the key issue in Augusta. We are demanding more police, better schools, better enforcement, cleaner streets and lower taxes. Guess what Augusta, it doesn't work that way. This city needs to grow up and act like adults. WE pay the government, and right now the wages we offer are lower then Wal-Mart. Money may be the root of all evil, but when it comes to government it is what is necessary to accomplish the will of the people. Raise my taxes and cut the damn grass I say!

Brad Owens
5224
Points
Brad Owens 10/09/09 - 10:43 am
0
0
augustaguy45, you are VERY

augustaguy45, you are VERY emotional, aren't cha?

FallingLeaves
31
Points
FallingLeaves 10/09/09 - 10:46 am
0
0
justus4, if you have the

justus4, if you have the educational credentials you are demanding of others, why don't you demonstrate it in your posts. You would have a little credibility then.

Harrisburg Homeowner
0
Points
Harrisburg Homeowner 10/09/09 - 10:52 am
0
0
Baroness, are you a landlord?

Baroness, are you a landlord? If not, you do not know the truth about this. The landlords have plenty of ways to get rid bad tenants, they just choose the easy inexpensive road. They have no incentive to do otherwise. The Chronic Nuisance Property Ordinance would give them a great incentive to do the right thing.

FallingLeaves
31
Points
FallingLeaves 10/09/09 - 11:08 am
0
0
No, I am not a landlord, but

No, I am not a landlord, but I have friends that are.

eachoneteachone
0
Points
eachoneteachone 10/09/09 - 11:29 am
0
0
Here is the HUD funded study

Here is the HUD funded study of Chronic Nuisance Property ordinances. THis is powerful stuff. We need this: http://www.practitionerresources.org/cache/documents/19720.pdf

harrisburgwillrise
0
Points
harrisburgwillrise 10/09/09 - 11:31 am
0
0
baroness, google, "solving

baroness, google, "solving chronic nuisance properties," and read this informative study. The Chronic Nuisance Property Ordinance will give many reasons to evict tenants, not just one. I also have several copies of this study if you would like a hard copy. Just let me know. I would be happy to share it with any landlord who feels powerless to evict tenants. Also, many landlords have become afraid of their tenants.

harrisburgresident
0
Points
harrisburgresident 10/09/09 - 12:06 pm
0
0
Am I the only one who is just

Am I the only one who is just utterly creeped out by Butch Palmer himself? Aside from unconfirmed (but not dismissible) rumors of him being a bit too comfortable with the neighborhood prostitutes, I can't imagine I would sincerely want this man to represent the area I live. Honestly, I don't think solving the chronic nuisance properties is a legitimate reason to elect anyone in office, it's a bit too narrow minded of an agenda.

GSneed
0
Points
GSneed 10/09/09 - 12:15 pm
0
0
LOL @ perusing..."How did he

LOL @ perusing..."How did he get that degree...has anyone ever seen his grades?(did you have to look it up before you made your comment?)" You have got to kidding me! Your comments stem only from hatred of this man (your President), for some reason or another. So sad.

Emerydan
10
Points
Emerydan 10/09/09 - 01:51 pm
0
0
Why does the Chronicle Allow

Why does the Chronicle Allow slanderous anonymous comments to remain up on this site? It's nice to have a comment section for readers to respond to stories with their thoughts, but the editors of this site should use good judgement and not allow slanderous comments to be posted. Harrisburgresident's 12:06 is beyond the pale of decency and is slanderous. I urge the moderators to remove it. I am sure this anonymous poster would not make such a slanderous statement under their own name.

Emerydan
10
Points
Emerydan 10/09/09 - 02:05 pm
0
0
anotherway...actually what

anotherway...actually what Butch Palmer said by incentives is to reduce the tax burden on those that make improvements to their property. Currently, the way the property tax code is written, the absentee property owners who let their homes and yards go to pot are rewarded with lower tax rates. So Mr. Absentee Property Owner (usually from out of state) has an eyesore on my street and gets a lower tax rate.. yet his eyesore reduces my property's marketability, yet my assessment goes up. Please explain to me how that is fair? The Homebuilders association understands this and that is why they are supporting Palmer.

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