Fight or move forward

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Unless one of the four disgruntled commissioners spots lightning shooting out of Augusta administrator Fred Russell’s fingertips sometime soon, maybe it’s time we all tried to get along and work with each other.

For most of this year, four Augusta commissioners have waged a kooky jihad against
the streamlining of Augusta’s government, being dragged kicking and screaming toward a more efficient and sensible operation. Meanwhile, a consortium of Baptist ministers and activists went to court to block the commission’s decision to give the city administrator more power to hire and fire, which has been needed since city-county consolidation in the mid-1990s.

Mercifully, the lawsuit was tossed out Thursday by Superior Court Judge David Roper, who rightly found that the commission majority’s understanding of the consolidation charter’s award of powers was correct – and that the commission was perfectly within its rights to add to Russell’s authority.

Now the plaintiffs, as well as the four commissioners, have a choice: Keep waging battle in the courts and commission chambers, or move forward and work together with their colleagues to make Augusta all it can be.

In a classic tug of war, the only thing that gets done is that one team is pulled into the mud. When you’re a hammer, you see every problem as a nail.

There are other tools one must pick up if one is to build anything. Like a community.

Some folks do seem to seek a fount of power from fighting “the man” or the establishment. Problem is, when they’re elected, guess what: They are the man. It’s kind of silly, and very counterproductive, to carry on like a protester or agitator at that point. It’s time to govern. That means working together, even when you disagree – or especially when you disagree.

And if you don’t get your way, you don’t just stomp out or run to a judge to make it right.

Not only has the goofy bickering made the city look awful, but it’s also likely slowed progress.

“In economic development,” says Mayor Deke Copenhaver, “with all things being equal (incentives, cost of living, quality of life, etc.) when Augusta is competing directly with other cities to recruit a business, a stable local governmental situation can be the deciding factor. Thus all of the infighting and grandstanding is ultimately taking food off of people’s tables and money out of their pockets. We are doing well with our economic development efforts, but I believe we could be doing better if our local elected officials would realize that we don’t operate in a vacuum, as I have been asked directly about their actions by businesses looking to locate here.”

In a world in which political liberties vary drastically, we are all equal in our ultimate freedom to choose our own attitude no matter what the circumstances.

It will be fascinating, and telling, to see what choices are made from here.

Comments (55) Add comment
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BevBoudreaux
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BevBoudreaux 11/19/11 - 11:37 pm
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Sounds like Deke would be

Sounds like Deke would be more at home heading a politburo in The People's republic of China.. no dissent.. sweep corruption and graft under the rug.. and admonish the whistle blowers. Sorry, but I prefer to live in America, where we still have the freedom to dissent and question the actions of our government.. And ACES..to be consistent, I guess you should quit all your criticizing of President Obama and the democrats.. I mean all this negative rhetoric can't be good for "economic development"... right?

Taylor B
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Taylor B 11/19/11 - 11:38 pm
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Thank you for NOT endorsing

Thank you for NOT endorsing me, ACES. I wear that as a medal on my chest.

Lori Davis
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Lori Davis 11/20/11 - 12:05 am
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I would encourage everyone

I would encourage everyone who reads this article, to go to a Commission meeting. Then you will be able to weigh in on this article. do not believe everything the Chronicle espouses.

broad street narrow mind
348
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broad street narrow mind 11/20/11 - 12:06 am
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hard to believe this is the
Unpublished

hard to believe this is the same paper that used to advertise slave auctions.

broad street narrow mind
348
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broad street narrow mind 11/20/11 - 12:17 am
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aces is funny. i don't
Unpublished

aces is funny. i don't recall any razzing of chronicle favorite jerry brigham for skipping votes, or razzing of matt aitken for voting yes on a budget he didn't read or understand, or razzing of joe bowles for flip flopping. joe jackson is in the core four as well, but what can one really say about joe jackson?
lori davis is right- go to a meeting. better yet check out the one aces talks about here. you can find the video of it on the augusta official website.

Lori Davis
1014
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Lori Davis 11/20/11 - 12:32 am
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Just wondering who wrote

Just wondering who wrote this article for the Chronicle. Then we would know who to weigh in on.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 11/20/11 - 07:35 am
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It's apparent those four

It's apparent those four black Commissioners are also speaking for many whites who are fed up with the cabal, which includes the Chronicle owner, diverting hundreds of millions of dollars for their purposes.

Instead of the criticizing the dissenters why don't you for once address the actions that created such a divide. When you start being honest with yourselves then you can tell a jihad from Sunday Schoolers with rightful objections to local government.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 11/20/11 - 07:51 am
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Lori, from the jihad verbiage

Lori, from the jihad verbiage it was obviously written by Mike Ryan.

broad street narrow mind
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broad street narrow mind 11/20/11 - 08:13 am
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this is the most outrageous
Unpublished

this is the most outrageous spin from aces since the one the day after the rcso deputy wrongly shot a golden retriever in its yard and aces came out to throw sand with a tongue clicking at the owner about leash laws. the dog and owner had done nothing wrong but why not confuse readers with lease law talk?
Or the one about the surrey center fountain penny caper which landed two young guys in jail for the night on ridiculous charges (does aces realize all the non penny coins had likely been picked up by fancy surrey center patrons before the unlucky two picked out the under five dollars' worth of pennies?). remember aces smearing the father and former cop of a penny thief as a bad father? incredible.
Now we have a substanceless rant against the four who voted against the budget that even the presenter of the budget didn't want to see passed. (only three walked out, so what's the beef against the guy who didn't walk out but voted as he did?)
i don't see any mention of the fact that matt aitken voted in favor of the budget without knowing what's in it. i see words for the black commissioners such as: disgruntled, kooky, jihad, fighting "the man," silly, agitator, goofy, and bickering. for the dopes who puppeted their vote in for it we hear: streamlining, efficient, and sensible. really? is that how aces sees the ones who rubberstamp without reading? we have a tee center costing five times what it shoud (efficient), a parking deck without the promised land to go with it that no one can explain and the summerville cpa accountant commissioner gives varying and conflicting cost savings quotes about (sensible), and likely a second stadium from taxes and likely running on more taxes for an out of town owner (streamlining).
To use deke as proof at the end is precious.

Austin Rhodes
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Austin Rhodes 11/20/11 - 08:47 am
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Advertising SLAVE AUCTIONS?

Advertising SLAVE AUCTIONS?

Interesting dynamic, this comment section area.

Where else do you find a company that pays for and maintains a section for anonymous axe-grinders to show up every morning, not just to voice disagreement, but to invoke the most evil and disturbing images imaginable against them in the process...

Interesting dynamic to say the least...

broad street narrow mind
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broad street narrow mind 11/20/11 - 09:00 am
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my last comment hasn't shown
Unpublished

my last comment hasn't shown up yet.
Was it because i referenced some other smeary hits from aces, such as the dog shot by a rsco deputy in the yard of its owner who'd done nothing wrong covered by aces as a psa to follow leash laws (?!) and the surrey center penny caper landing to young guys in jail covered by aces as the former cop father being a bad parent?
Was it because i listed the words used for the four voting against (of which only three walked out, aces- one just voted no): disgruntles, kooky, jihad, fighting "the man," silly, agitator, goofy, and bickering?
Or was it because i mocked the words used for the ones who voted yes on a budget even the presenter of the budget didn't think should be passed? are the "efficient" and "sensible" guys really "streamlining" government when they don't read what they're voting on, give conflicting flip flop versions and explanations for the parking deck fiasco, and score us stuff like the tee center at five times its cost?
Let's see if this one makes it.

wondersnevercease
9218
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wondersnevercease 11/20/11 - 09:09 am
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LOL.well Austin that comment
Unpublished

LOL.well Austin that comment was definitely a thread killer.....or maybe not

Riverman1
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Riverman1 11/20/11 - 09:15 am
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Austin, you can bet your

Austin, you can bet your bottom dollar the Chronicle benefits from the comments being made here or they wouldn't be allowed. How many people say their favorite thing in the "paper" is the comments part?

seenitB4
98741
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seenitB4 11/20/11 - 09:22 am
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Maybe they don't pay Austin

Maybe they don't pay Austin like they pay us river....just to post on here....hehehh....I think we need to charge more for our posts.:)

seenitB4
98741
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seenitB4 11/20/11 - 09:36 am
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Well you have been known to

Well you have been known to push the envelope river....I for one don't want riverman to disappear.....what would I do for laughs in the am...you don't have your very own blog---ya know......so try to keep it in the lane ..(if you can)
What other paper would you fly away to anyway----??

Austin Rhodes
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Austin Rhodes 11/20/11 - 09:40 am
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From what I have been told by

From what I have been told by folks in the industry...large advertising entities like the AC sell "page hits"...the average poster can deliver, by himself, as many as 300 hits a day...just by posting a dozen or so times, and constantly reviewing responses to what they wrote.

Cha-CHING! Bless their hearts...making money off the very people who hate their guts. Gotta love this country...

Riverman1
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Riverman1 11/20/11 - 09:42 am
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I'm looking to see if another

I'm looking to see if another paper would draft me to use my sports oriented terminology for their comments section. I figure the NY Times, Wash. Post and LA Times will have a bidding war over me.

Riverman1
94401
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Riverman1 11/20/11 - 09:44 am
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Austin, you are right there.

Austin, you are right there. But there are also thousands of others who read the comments throughout the day who never post.

seenitB4
98741
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seenitB4 11/20/11 - 09:45 am
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Austin....I don't hate

Austin....I don't hate them...I enjoy reading/commenting & giving "hits"to their moneybags.......if they would put the discussion/page back like they had it I would give more hits.....hint-hint.

seenitB4
98741
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seenitB4 11/20/11 - 09:47 am
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Yes river....many don't have

Yes river....many don't have the guts like we do....we don't mind making a fool of ourselves ...it comes so easy to us we are used to it!!:)

Austin Rhodes
3002
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Austin Rhodes 11/20/11 - 09:59 am
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In England, they get page

In England, they get page hits from Page Three girls. They have such strict slander laws over there that half of what makes the grade on these pages would constitute an "actionable offense".

No rabble rousers allowed...so they go with T and A.

Whatever works.

BevBoudreaux
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BevBoudreaux 11/20/11 - 10:03 am
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comments sections are

comments sections are lucrative for online papers.. they drive more hits for the paper. People will revisit the site just to see if there are more comments to the story.. that drives up page hits significantly.. thus more hits for advertisers. River is rights, if the chronicle did not benefit from online comments, they would not have them. There is a reason why just about every online news paper or news site has online comments. My advice for those like Austin who do not like them is to simply not scroll down to read them or better yet, don't even bother commenting.

broad street narrow mind
348
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broad street narrow mind 11/20/11 - 10:13 am
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did austin rhodes take the
Unpublished

did austin rhodes take the conversation away from the ridiculousness of this editorial and into discussion of how legitimate our comments are? when he can't argue the facts, he still wants to fight. more and more often he wonders if people should get to speak.

broad street narrow mind
348
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broad street narrow mind 11/20/11 - 11:17 am
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how about aitken not reading
Unpublished

how about aitken not reading or even knowing from presentations what's in the budget he approved?
How about joe bowles differing attitudes toward and differing numbers on savings with the land promised to the city for the deck that was not given?
Any problems with that stuff? or should we just continue to baselessly ridicule the four kooky silly goofy bickering jihadists fighting the man?

joebowles
104
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joebowles 11/20/11 - 11:47 am
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Narrow minded state your

Narrow minded state your issues with me and I will answer them point by point. There is no flip flopping on this issue.

allhans
24988
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allhans 11/20/11 - 12:41 pm
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How about why there are so

How about why there are so many unhappy people commenting this morning.
bsnm..Tell me something good.

Patty-P
3520
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Patty-P 11/20/11 - 12:56 pm
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I'm not as much into the

I'm not as much into the politics of the city as everyone else, but with a city administrator that has made so many bad decisions, why would anyone want to give him more power to do ANYTHING? And why does he still have a job?

harley_52
26117
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harley_52 11/20/11 - 12:57 pm
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Austin Rhodes said "I am

Austin Rhodes said "I am fundamentally not in favor of pointed and often accusation laden criticism made by people or persons who have nothing to lose by making outrageous and often false claims about issues or other people."

Me too. I share that concern, Austin. That's why I was more than a little surprised to see your assault on Judge Annis on the Karen Ware case.

harley_52
26117
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harley_52 11/20/11 - 01:03 pm
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Patty-P said "I'm not as much

Patty-P said "I'm not as much into the politics of the city as everyone else, but with a city administrator that has made so many bad decisions....."

I'm not into the politics of the city either, but I'm not convinced Fred Russell is the problem here. I don't know how a person who reports directly to ten or eleven direct supervisors (who don't agree amongst themselves) can be expected to accomplish anything at all.

Little Lamb
49260
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Little Lamb 11/20/11 - 01:25 pm
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Now that the baseless lawsuit

Now that the baseless lawsuit against the city has been shot down, and now that the severance package has been made more reasonable; how long will it take for six commissioners to step up and fire Russell?

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