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Stadium plan, no-confidence vote on agenda

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A new stadium home for the Augusta GreenJackets and rescinding the city administrator's "exclusive" authority to recommend candidates for top city jobs are up for debate during today's regular meeting of the Augusta Commission.

General counsel Andrew MacKenzie's job performance will be up for discussion, too, after Commissioner Bill Lockett, who has clashed with MacKenzie, placed giving the city's top lawyer a no-confidence vote on today's agenda.

Commissioner Joe Jackson's proposal -- for City Administrator Fred Russell to "develop a financial package relative to the proposed Ripken Multipurpose Stadium" -- returns for discussion today after Commissioner Matt Aitken's similar proposal failed to receive six votes two weeks ago.

Commissioner Al Mason's suggestion, which passed, was to place the stadium on the 2012 general election ballot, but nonbinding questions aren't legal on Georgia general election ballots.

Amending the city's new personnel manual to remove the word "exclusive" from a section delineating the administrator's authority was placed on today's agenda by Mayor Pro Tem Joe Bowles and Commissioner Wayne Guilfoyle.

Guilfoyle, however, said the suggestion is not new; he called Lockett two weeks ago to suggest the change, although Lockett never called him back.

"I'm still trying to reach out," Guilfoyle said. "You've got to have communication to have trust."

The word appeared to be a sticking point for the city's four black commissioners and plaintiffs in a civil suit, who have alleged that the increase in Russell's authority is an illegal adjustment to the city's form of government, prohibited by the city charter.

Commissioner Jerry Brigham, who originally proposed giving the administrator exclusive authority to recommend department heads as a compromise, disagreed with taking out "exclusive" and called deleting it "a concession to make some commissioners happy."

"I think it will take what little power we gave to Fred Russell away from him," Brigham said. "I don't think it will stop any lawsuit, either."

Lockett's agenda item caught most of his commission colleagues by surprise, including Guilfoyle, who has called for instituting evaluations of top city employees.

"I think we should put them all on notice," Guilfoyle said.

MacKenzie has led the city's in-house law department since Chiquita Johnson resigned at the start of 2010. Johnson was just the second in-house general counsel since the office was created in 2007. Previously, the general counsel wasn't a full-time city employee.

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Riverman1
93232
Points
Riverman1 06/20/11 - 09:03 pm
0
0
MacKenzie should study the

MacKenzie should study the style of Fred Russell (yeah, LL, who me worry) if he wants to survive in this job.

Iwannakno
1533
Points
Iwannakno 06/20/11 - 09:07 pm
0
0
What part of no stadium does
Unpublished

What part of no stadium does the commission not get? ARC residents are taxed to the max now...who needs to be building sports complexes in this economy or even discussing it...I would rather see 100 new police officers!!

countyman
21612
Points
countyman 06/20/11 - 09:35 pm
0
0
You don't come to Augusta

You don't come to Augusta anyway remember??

The people who live in RC(including me) know with extra the sales tax generated from the multi-use project... Baseball stadium, condos, retail shops, hotels, and restaurants..

The city can hire new teachers, police officers, and firefighters. They can repair/widen roads, broken bridges, and build new schools... There will be extra money floating around for the performing arts center on the savannah river... We could really draw the big acts if we had the the 20k seat and the smaller James Brown arena... The extra funds could also help the $5 million in splost funds going towards the Miller Theatre... Imagine the Miller theatre and the Imperial open at the same time on Broad street similar to the past..

Cal Ripken and Jim Jacoby don't come around too often... The Atlantic Station in Atlantic is a world class development.. Augusta needs a year round destination besides the Masters and the Riverwalk..

broad street narrow mind
348
Points
broad street narrow mind 06/20/11 - 09:34 pm
0
0
how did a vote on something
Unpublished

how did a vote on something that can't legally happen go through with the city attorney there?
And, countyman, people who vote in augusta don't want the stadium? what was it in the democratic primary vote? 77% against moving the stadium? if someone's looking at stats, we already have a nice, new stadium on the water- more actively used water, at lake olmstead.

broad street narrow mind
348
Points
broad street narrow mind 06/20/11 - 09:35 pm
0
0
i meant- and, countyman,
Unpublished

i meant- and, countyman, people who vote in augusta don't want the stadium. period not question mark.

AutumnLeaves
10224
Points
AutumnLeaves 06/20/11 - 09:40 pm
0
0
Exclamation point! We already

Exclamation point! We already have a stadium. It is just fine! Instead of pouring money into something we already have, how about fixing the roads and other infrastructure, so we don't have to pay for an alignment every time we go to a downtown function, for instance!

jtra1n
0
Points
jtra1n 06/20/11 - 09:42 pm
0
0
Time and Location from

Time and Location from augusta.gov

"Formal meetings of the Augusta Richmond County Commission are held on the first and third Tuesdays of each month at 5:00 p.m. in the Commission Chamber located on the eighth floor of the Municipal Building."

Those of us against the city using our GREEN to build another stadium when the GREENjackets is our team will be wearing GREEN in the audience. Join us!

broad street narrow mind
348
Points
broad street narrow mind 06/20/11 - 09:42 pm
0
0
countyman, give us the
Unpublished

countyman, give us the revenue expected and the cost to us to move the stadium. i'd like to join you rolling around in the money pile that's gonna get us new police, teachers and roads. can the increase in revenue to what the current stadium brings minus our investment really be greater than the investment alone? because i'd think we should skip the step of buying the magic beans and just use that money ripken baseball wants us to throw in and just buy the things we actually need. and if it's profitable, god bless ripken baseball in their new private endeavor- we still profit off the revenues.

countyman
21612
Points
countyman 06/20/11 - 09:47 pm
0
0
14% of democratic voters were

14% of democratic voters were the only people who got to vote.. This wasn't a clear representation of Richmond County..

65% of the 14% said they wanted a vote if public money was to be used to help fund the mix-use project downtown..

The vote took place in July of 2010 when alot of the information was wrong.. People were still under the impression it was a regular baseball stadium instead of a mix-use entertainment facility..
(condos, retail, restaurants, etc)...

broad street narrow mind
348
Points
broad street narrow mind 06/20/11 - 09:48 pm
0
0
new york didn't give in to
Unpublished

new york didn't give in to steinbrenner and the yankees are a pretty big deal there. if it's profitable and worth it, owners and investors know and pay for it themselves. if it's not, they need a captive sales audience like taxpayers who get tricked or railroaded.

Craig Spinks
818
Points
Craig Spinks 06/21/11 - 02:36 am
0
0
If this project were

If this project were financed, what would be the total bonded indebtedness of A-RC and every other governmental entity containing the terms "Richmond County" or "Augusta?"

Brad Owens
4906
Points
Brad Owens 06/21/11 - 03:47 am
0
0
BSNM, You make excellent

BSNM,

You make excellent points. Has anyone looked around the current stadium? I see a huge housing project and if you go towards downtown, you have a pretty rough hood.

Shouldn't we try to "revitalize" that part of Broad Street?

I mean if we planned with the cAnal Authority, and planned some mixed use facilities, would it work the same magic that they say it will for the river front place?

It can't be more than two miles apart so the plan could be done there, improvments to the one we have I mean, and then it could as good for that part of downtown as they claim this would be downtown right?

By the way, I supported the stadium 100% until TEE was shoved down our throats. Now I say we have spent enough on things for these bozos (and this nor TEE is for 'us' either).

If I were a commissioner I would vote this way;

Stadium? No, and I would say why.

IN House Attorney? No confidence in the OFFICE, and I would ask to consider a return to outside professional help. No offense to the current fella, I don't kbnow him and for all I know he is just doing his job and the commission is pulling the regular gig on him, but he doesn't support Freedom of Information (FOI) so I am against him.

Change to the Charter? No charter change, given the whole courtroom build out without approval I read about this weekend.

No Stadium

No In House Attoreny

No extra power to Fred

I would be the Commissioner NO (sounds like a Bond Villian)

Brad "Commissioner No" Owens

Riverman1
93232
Points
Riverman1 06/21/11 - 03:53 am
0
0
I'd encourage those in power

I'd encourage those in power who want a stadium built using taxpayer money to instead focus their energy on Lake Olmstead Stadium. It is not old, sits in a beautiful location on the lake and draws great crowds to games. It has been described in a national publication as one of America's best minor league stadiums. Let's appreciate it, work to get more concerts there and improve the parking and security. We have a gem sitting on the lake.

knighttime
1
Points
knighttime 06/21/11 - 06:31 am
0
0
The writing is on the wall.

The writing is on the wall. The new stadium is being shoved down our throats even though the majority of the people don't want it to happen. I am so sick of these arrogant politicians thinking that we are to stupid to know what is best for us. The go against the will of the people time and time again.

Brad Owens
4906
Points
Brad Owens 06/21/11 - 06:38 am
0
0
RM1, I did some research and

RM1,

I did some research and found not ONE single negative review of our stadium. Not one. Nada. Zip. Zero. Zelch. None.

Brad

justthefacts
24891
Points
justthefacts 06/21/11 - 06:55 am
0
0
broad street, your 10:48 is

broad street, your 10:48 is pretty much wrong. The taxpayers of NY definitely are on the hook for the new Yankee Stadium as well as the Mets new stadium.

broad street narrow mind
348
Points
broad street narrow mind 06/21/11 - 07:22 am
0
0
oh sorry. i didn't get that
Unpublished

oh sorry. i didn't get that from an official source. i got it from a new yorker so i figured he'd know. how do the new yorkers like being on the hook? has it revitalized ny's downtown? are they making a profit yet?

Little Lamb
48829
Points
Little Lamb 06/21/11 - 08:03 am
0
0
Commissioner Joe Jackson's

Commissioner Joe Jackson's proposal -- for City Administrator Fred Russell to "develop a financial package relative to the proposed Ripken Multipurpose Stadium" is wrong-headed on its face. What should happen is for the city to go about its business of providing courts, police protection, fire protection, road maintenance, recreational park operation, and other things that governments are supposed to do.

It should be Ripken Baseball's place to make the first offer, and then the commission can form a committee to study that offer. But for the city to make an offer of a financial gift to Ripken Baseball is absurd and obscene. The taxpayers deserve better than Commissioner Jackson's proposal.

Vote No!, Commissioners.

Little Lamb
48829
Points
Little Lamb 06/21/11 - 08:10 am
0
0
BSNM wrote: How did a vote on

BSNM wrote:

How did a vote on something that can't legally happen go through with the city attorney there?

The simple answer is that the city attorney did not know Georgia election law well enough to advise the commissioners. Commissioner Jerry Brigham knew, and he advised the commission before the vote that a non-binding referendum is not allowed under Georgia election law. But a majority of commissioners ignored Brigham.

Brad Owens
4906
Points
Brad Owens 06/21/11 - 08:25 am
0
0
L.L. is right, vote NO! I

L.L. is right, vote NO!

I have adopted the term as my middle name on this, Dr. Bradley "NO" Owens, Dr. No Owens for short.

NO NO NO NO NO NO!!!!

unbiased_propaganda
165
Points
unbiased_propaganda 06/21/11 - 10:51 am
0
0
Brad Owens - What in God's

Brad Owens -

What in God's name are you even talking about? I'm against a new baseball stadium, but your repetitive and overly drawn out posts aren't helping your point. I hope to God that you aren't a real doctor...if you are - go back to school.

Emerydan
10
Points
Emerydan 06/21/11 - 11:37 am
0
0
LL is right on the money with

LL is right on the money with her earlier comments. There is no reason at this time for commissioners to vote to have Fred Russell to develop a public financing plan for this proposed stadium. This has been going on for 4 years now, and it should be incumbent on the developers to come to the commission with their plan.. how much they intend to put into the project and how much they expect to be financed by the public (they have not done this).. then commissioners can vote on that proposal. Why should we be making the first move to offer public financing? (The signal that sends to the developers is that "these suckers" (the commissioners) are willing to pay for the whole thing so "we" don't need to cough up that much of our own). I will say it again, if these developers have a proposal (and they've had over 4 years to develop one), then they should present it to the commission. Before that happens, no action should take place on this stadium. And commissioner with any common sense and who has his finger on the pulse of the people in ARC would certainly vote NO to this stadium proposal today.

Willow Bailey
20605
Points
Willow Bailey 06/21/11 - 11:55 am
0
0
Brad, go back to the old

Brad, go back to the old picture...hard to argue with such a sweet face:)
Beautiful scenery too!

jleyes
24
Points
jleyes 06/21/11 - 12:01 pm
0
0
It costs nothing but time to

It costs nothing but time to see how this project could be funded. Ultimately any proposal would have to go back to the ARC for any vote of public funds. So if it ultimately is a heavy handed deal it would not pass muster. I see no harm in at least getting the facts and vetting what is possible. These are highly reputable men Ripken and Jacoby and see no harm in listening and trying to put together what may or may not be feasible. Everybody needs to take a deep breath and relax they are not voting on construction and funding they are voting to see if it is possible and what that would mean.

Emerydan
10
Points
Emerydan 06/21/11 - 12:04 pm
0
0
For people who want to make a

For people who want to make a difference and see commissioners do the right thing (see my above post) Make sure to call them today. Do not bother calling Matt Aitken and Joe Jackson. They are both 100% in the tank for this stadium and if they could have their way they probably wouldn't mind if the taxpayers footed 100% of the bill (and I'm sure that's what developers are banking on). Call the common sense commissioners. Grady Smith has stated before that he is opposed to using public money for a new stadium. Same with Wayne Guilfoyle. Now Jerry Brigham and Joe Bowles are a bit more hard to guage, but I think they generally side with common sense too. The argument is this: Vote no to this proposal. There is no reason for the commissioners to make the first move by "offering" a public financing plan. That sends the wrong message to these developers.. that we are willing to give more than they are willing to give. Instead these developers should come up with a proposal, of how much they expect this thing to cost (certainly they have those figures) and how much public financing the need... then they come to the commissioners with that proposal. Until that happens there should be no PRIVATE discussions between the developers and Fred Russel on public financing options. First show us your plan, first show us YOUR money (that you are putting a substantial amount of your MONEY INTO THE PROJECT ).. and then we can talk. I think all we need tis to get Grady Smith and Wayne Guilfoyle to vote against it to defeat it. They are the easiest NO votes to sway.. so I would concentrate efforts on them. Call Grady Smith and Wayne Guilfoyle TODAY and tell them to vote NO and the rationale behind why.

Emerydan
10
Points
Emerydan 06/21/11 - 12:16 pm
0
0
We were told last fall by a

We were told last fall by a certain on-air personality less than a month before the mayoral election that a BIG announcement on the stadium proposal was imminent.. sounding like Ripkin/Jacoby had a plan to present to the commission (supposedly where the developers assumed most of teh costs). What happened to that? Make no mistake this is a move to push the public's hand the matter. Nothing has kept Ripkin/Jacoby from coming forward and presenting a proposal spelling out what they are willing to put up and what they expect to public to pitch in. But this way, the public makes the first move by offering public financing.. In Poker, we would be showing our cards. Why do they needs private discussions with Fred Russel (an unelected figure) behind closed doors to discuss options? Why can't they they simply present their proposal out in the open to the commission?

jleyes
24
Points
jleyes 06/21/11 - 12:20 pm
0
0
Emerydan I don't get the

Emerydan I don't get the first move comment. The Ripken folks have made every move. You obviously have never worked in a public private partnership and want nothing great to happen for Augusta. This isn't a first move its dialogue and any good community should be working with their private sector to make the community better. Your a skeptic and I get that. But you have zero proof that Ripken wants a massively public financed project. Let's let them all work it out and see what they come up with then scream if it seems outlandish.

Emerydan
10
Points
Emerydan 06/21/11 - 12:21 pm
0
0
It doesn't cost anything for

It doesn't cost anything for Jacoby/Ripkin to place themselves on the commission agenda and present their proposal with dollar amounts and what they expect from the public side. What has been keeping them from doing that? Instead they have been using their surrogates on the commission (Matt Aitken and Joe Jackson) and the mayor to push this. Until they step up to the plate and show us a proposal, then there should be no further votes or discussions on this stadium. It's up to them.

Emerydan
10
Points
Emerydan 06/21/11 - 12:27 pm
0
0
Jlreyes, no they have not..

Jlreyes, no they have not.. they have dangled a few fancy power point slides in front of commissioners and talked of a "private-public" partnership. If they have all of these plans and specs, and so on, then certainly they have dollar figures and I am sure they know what they intend to put into the project and what how much they want the public to pitch in. So "Show us the money". There should be no discussion of "public financing options" behind closed doors, until they come forward with a concrete plan and tell us exactly how put they plan to put up. But they want these discussions to be behind closed doors. That's what this vote is all about today. Again, nothing has kept them from going before the commission and presenting their proposal. They have chosen not to do that.

Emerydan
10
Points
Emerydan 06/21/11 - 12:29 pm
0
0
Actually Brad O can fill us

Actually Brad O can fill us in on exactly how much they initially expected the public to foot on this project (It was initially to be 95% public and 5% private) Of course that got no where.

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