A post-racial pro-tem

Leadership post on Augusta Commission shouldn't signify step backward

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Most Augustans probably couldn't care less who the Augusta Commission names mayor pro-tem for the year on Tuesday.

It's like runner-up in the Miss America contest, in that the mayor pro-tem presides at meetings if the mayor is absent -- though it's also slightly more important because the mayor pro-tem makes appointments to standing committees, which we're pretty sure Miss Runner-up doesn't do.

But this year, the commission can send a message to constituents in its selection of a mayor pro-tem: that we're past the tired old counting-heads racial stuff.

Following city-county consolidation in the mid-1990s, the commission used to have a "gentleman's agreement" that if the mayor were white, the mayor pro-tem would be black, and vice versa. In 2005, though, commissioners mercifully left that behind when Willie Mays, who is black, became interim mayor and they kept Commissioner Marion Williams, who is black, as mayor pro-tem.

We heartily endorsed that move, even though we had major disagreements with Mr. Williams on most everything, because we thought it was an important step toward racial unity in a historically divided Augusta.

Now, though, Commissioner Corey Johnson wants to take us back to that unhappy place -- out of sheer personal ambition.

Johnson has made no bones about the fact that he wants to become mayor pro-tem Tuesday not because it's his turn, or because he's wowed his colleagues, but because he's black.

What an incredible disappointment, coming from Johnson -- whose youth and charm we hoped would help lead this city forward, not backward.

We certainly hope Johnson's race-based power play is also a big-time miscalculation -- and that his colleagues will hinge their decision on factors other than race. Such as, oh, merit.

In Johnson's case, that wouldn't be terribly good news. Despite all his promise, Johnson has shown poor judgment -- such as when he traveled to Denver for a conference recently on the public's dime, while the city is furloughing employees now and contemplating layoffs later.

There also have been questions about Johnson's penchant, or lack thereof, for paying his taxes.

To ask his colleagues, and the people they represent, to overlook these shortcomings and, further, to look at his skin color while determining who should have the honor of representing the city as deputy mayor -- well, that's a bit much.

We're not willing to give up on Corey Johnson; he has far too many admirable qualities. But he has undoubtedly undermined his political potential with his lapses in judgment -- most glaring of which is his attempt to gain power at the expense of the racial progress the city and its leadership have etched out in the past few years.

We believe him to be a good man with a leader's heart. So we call on him to acknowledge his missteps and withdraw his candidacy for mayor pro-tem -- this time around -- and re-dedicate himself to being a servant leader who watches out for taxpayers, not himself.

Comments (20) Add comment
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Brad Owens
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Brad Owens 01/03/11 - 06:00 am
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Let him have it, sounds like

Let him have it, sounds like he needs the money.

Brad

rmwhitley
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rmwhitley 01/03/11 - 07:09 am
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Bigotry is as old as time. We
Unpublished

Bigotry is as old as time. We are a bigotted, racist world. have been, will be. Until maturity is injected into our DNA, it will be the same old same old.

Taylor B
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Taylor B 01/03/11 - 07:42 am
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Joe Bowles is the man for the

Joe Bowles is the man for the job.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 01/03/11 - 09:35 am
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Joe Bowles by a 6-4

Joe Bowles by a 6-4 vote...not that it has anything to do with race.

Discussionstarter
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Discussionstarter 01/03/11 - 10:01 am
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Corey Johnson should have

Corey Johnson should have already resigned! The AC is wrong in saying he is a leader. A 'leader' would have known not to waste tax payer money on his jaunt to Vegas; instead he could have stayed home and paid his taxes. And now he flashes the race card! The AC needs to understand what true leadership is! Corey is not a 'leader'.

bettyboop
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bettyboop 01/03/11 - 11:31 am
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"We believe him to be a good

"We believe him to be a good man with a leader's heart. So we call on him to acknowledge his missteps and withdraw his candidacy for mayor pro-tem -- this time around -- and re-dedicate himself to being a servant leader who watches out for taxpayers, not himself."...........

Editors you owe me a new monitor!!!...I spewed coffee all over mine after I read that paragraph!....leader???

Brad Owens
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Brad Owens 01/03/11 - 12:55 pm
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Joe Bowles should get it. I

Joe Bowles should get it. I agree Taylor and you are right too I think RM1.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 01/03/11 - 01:21 pm
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The only question I have is

The only question I have is will Johnson get all 4 black votes? I'll bet yes....which actually shows we are still playing racial politics no matter what the editors believe.

Taylor B
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Taylor B 01/03/11 - 02:25 pm
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We may see a surprise as we

We may see a surprise as we did when mason was first elected.

JimCox
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JimCox 01/03/11 - 05:47 pm
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I'm going out on a limb and

I'm going out on a limb and predict that Joe wins 8-2.

Taylor B
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Taylor B 01/03/11 - 06:59 pm
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Jim, I smell an abstention in

Jim, I smell an abstention in the mix. Who knows.

Austin Rhodes
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Austin Rhodes 01/03/11 - 11:21 pm
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8-2...Bowles. Riverman...wann

8-2...Bowles.

Riverman...wanna bet?

Oh...and Jim...that is some limb you are out on! LOL...

Riverman1
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Riverman1 01/03/11 - 11:42 pm
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Nope...Well, Mason will vote

Nope...Well, Mason will vote for Bowles. Plus one of the others made a negative comment about the trip, so you are probably right. Your friend, Jerry, is kind of overlooked in all this. It would be funny if he went for Johnson out of spite.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 01/03/11 - 11:57 pm
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Hatney will be the other

Hatney will be the other Bowles vote. I may be slow, but...

jwilliams
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jwilliams 01/04/11 - 12:28 am
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Hello Discussionstarter. If

Hello Discussionstarter. If you are going to accuse Corey of doing something wrong; at least get the locaton right. It was Denver, not Vegas.

Austin Rhodes
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Austin Rhodes 01/04/11 - 03:03 am
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Nope RM...Hatney and Johnson

Nope RM...Hatney and Johnson will be the dissenters. The rest will go for Joe...

usapatriot
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usapatriot 01/04/11 - 03:18 am
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well who ever thought this

well who ever thought this position should be representative of demographics and not representative of ideas. Augusta, you'll get what you deserve. In this day and age, the best ideas cannot trump any mention of race.
ARC has a deficit, yet is $5 million in the hole on mass tansit. What guarantees the right to mass transit? $56 million for the sheriff dept. get angry ARC residents!

Ooops, forgot, those tracks that I saw in the earth in Idaho, the Oregon Trail, was really the Mizzou-Oregoner Line. Govt sponsored and supported.

Austin Rhodes
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Austin Rhodes 01/04/11 - 03:27 am
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...and RM...Jerry Brigham

...and RM...Jerry Brigham doesn't have one ounce of spite among his many billions of ounces. He is bigger than that.

Actually, he is bigger than everything.

But he is great public servant and I am proud to call him a friend!

usapatriot
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usapatriot 01/04/11 - 06:14 am
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thanks for your contributions

thanks for your contributions

iLove
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iLove 01/04/11 - 09:35 am
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I have come to the conclusion
Unpublished

I have come to the conclusion that the Augusta Chronicle is the brick wall that holds Augusta in the past.

Crime Reports and Rewards TV
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Crime Reports and Rewards TV 01/04/11 - 11:23 am
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Hope Joe gets it. We've

Hope Joe gets it. We've already saved a MILLION just because we had a REAL ACCOUNTANT there to tell us where all our money has gotten off to. If he were to be put on the $25,000. that went "missing" from Tax Collector Steven Kendrick’s office, we'd have a better idea how that got "disappeared" too.

Lori Davis
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Lori Davis 01/04/11 - 01:19 pm
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Joe Bowles was the only

Joe Bowles was the only Commissioner willing to go out on a limb and support the use of a Chronic Nuisance Property Ordinance for our city. After much fanfare, the idea was cleverly derailed by very clever people. Joe showed true leadership in taking a real concern of the people and trying to do something about it. I hope Joe gets the votes.

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