What's new is old again

New Augusta Commission includes throwback to bad old days

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Tuesday’s election looks like a net win for the Augusta Commission – so far – despite an odd step backward in one race.

New commissioners Mary Davis in District 3 and Donnie Smith in District 7 will add voices of calm, reason and camaraderie to a post-consolidation commission that has never seen an excess of any of those qualities.

But in Super District 9, voters inexplicably returned Marion Williams, after his inglorious past service in District 2 from 2000-07, when, as one local media outlet put it, Williams became the living symbol of commission bickering, infighting, and gridlock.”

Williams may have returned through name recognition alone; a Chronicle story recently called him “probably one of Augusta’s most recognizable politicians.” His opponent, Harold Jones, is not nearly as well known, though he was formerly the county’s solicitor-general.

Williams promised he hasn’t mellowed – a clear signal he will attempt to drag the commission and the city into unproductive contretemps once again. In fact, he seems to view his election as a mandate to do exactly that.

“The people elected me last night; they asked me to run again,” he said Wednesday. “They know what Marion Williams is all about and they chose to do that.

“I’ve been like this all of my life.”

“They’re going to argue over useless stuff, more than they do now,” term-limited and outgoing District 7 Commissioner Jerry Brigham said after Williams’ ascension. “I think Augusta is heading toward a rough spot politically.”

That’s like saying Sisyphus has a rock to push. Been there, done that.

Still, one observer told us Williams may be less likely to create turmoil on this edition of the commission. And, indeed, Commissioner-elect Smith has already reached out to Williams to find common ground.

“I think he comes back to a completely different commission,” the observer said of Williams.

We hope so, anyway.

Pray the good feelings among the other commissioners cancel out any attempt to go back to the bad old days.

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Riverman1
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Riverman1 11/09/12 - 08:27 am
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There is a role for Marion

There is a role for Marion Williams. Too bad he wasn't here when the TEE fiasco started.

jpbrig
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jpbrig 11/09/12 - 09:56 am
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Riverman he was

Riverman Marion Williams was that when the fiasco stated.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 11/09/12 - 09:59 am
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Ha...JPBrig, you're right.

Ha...JPBrig, you're right.

Fiat_Lux
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Fiat_Lux 11/09/12 - 01:56 pm
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We already knew what kind of boulder Williams was and will be

What we didn't realize was the depths of the quarry from which his super-district backers must have crawled simply to reach the polling place. One has to wonder if they brought scraps of paper with "M-A-R-I-O-N W-I-L-L-I-A-M-S" scrawled on it and instructions to "press on the box with those letters in it".

harley_52
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harley_52 11/09/12 - 03:58 pm
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It Might Be Worthwhile...

....for citizens of Augusta to spend a little time looking into the history of East St. Louis, Illinois. I grew up a few miles from there and there are (or should be, anyway) some lessons to be learned.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 11/09/12 - 05:21 pm
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Harley

East St. Louis looks like it's fallen apart like no other city I've heard of. There are similarities, no doubt, with Augusta. The problem here is the rest of the county is joined with the city. Things would appear much worse statistically if the 150,000 population in the suburbs wasn't included as part of the city. For the sakes of our South and West Augusta friends, there should be a mechanism to reverse consolidation. Anyone doubt how that vote would go?

harley_52
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harley_52 11/09/12 - 05:35 pm
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"For the sakes of our South and West Augusta friends....

....there should be a mechanism to reverse consolidation."

I doubt there is one, at least not a practical one. I think hindsight allows many of us to see where mistakes were made, but as the saying goes "it is what it is," or, alternatively, "it be what it is" depending on your style.

Given the situation, and particularly after the last election, I don't think times are going to get any easier for Augusta. Maybe Azziz and the Regents really are visionaries. I have to say, given all of Countyman's reports of planned investments/developments, things must not look too grim to businesses and developers and as long as they're willing to bet their money on Augusta growth, we should encourage it with open arms and cooperative mindsets.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 11/09/12 - 06:09 pm
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Harley, I believe the CSRA

Harley, I believe the CSRA will be compartmentalized more as time passes. As a whole we are strong and each cog in the wheel is important. The per capita income and demographics of Richmond Cty don't match the other areas, but they have the major employers and industries paying taxes. There's lots of money there.

Somehow maybe all this will work out. By the way, I suggested many years ago the arts community should be given empty buildings to expand as a catalyst downtown and that was implemented and I believe helped immensely. Downtowns are becoming entertainment, restaurants and arts communities in cities all over the country. Geez, ME, an old Army guy, talking about art. Heh.

Brad Owens
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Brad Owens 11/09/12 - 10:09 pm
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Looks like they are pandering...

Kissing Mary's butt (they did not endorse her) and acting like Donnie Smith will close the gap with Williams based on "good intentions." HAHAHAHAHAHA!

Can't wait to talk to Donnie after about six months...bet his sunshine and lollipops routine will be tempered with some political reality of being on the commission. Best learn to count to six Donnie, good luck.

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