Redistricting incompatible

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I am troubled by the specifics of Augusta’s current 3R redistricting plan – specifically the moving of Augusta National Golf Club and all the homes and businesses east of Eisenhower Drive (Precinct 702) from District 7 into District 1.

I own a primary residence and an investment property in Precinct 702. I also own an investment property and a business in District 1. As an engineer and the former chairman of the Historic Preservation Commission, I also am very familiar with the revitalization efforts of District 1’s neighborhoods. For this reason I am well-invested in both districts, and find myself in a unique position to view a broad spectrum of people, attitudes and environments throughout the city and these districts.

District 1 is primarily urban ,and is composed of neighborhoods with all of the character and charm of an urban setting. This also brings with it all of the unique issues (good and bad) that need to be addressed and focused on for those who choose to live in this environment.

District 1 issues I have dealt with include: Where can I buy my groceries? Where can I park my car? What do I do when a homeless person breaks into my house? Is it save to walk here after dark? Who is responsible for cleaning the alley behind my house? Do I need to fear the prostitute who works my corner? Who will repair my sidewalk? Is there Section 8 in my neighborhood? Is that a drug house on the corner?

District 7 is primarily suburban, filled with larger-lotted, single-family homes on its rolling hills, and has the modern comforts and conveniences important to the average everyday working Augustan.

District 7 issues I have dealt with include: Do we need a stop sign on this corner? Will the cell tower be visible from my house? People drive too quickly down my street. Who will pay for the new subdivision signs? Whom do I call when the elderly Alzheimer’s neighbor wanders the street? Should my neighbor have a fence around his pool? Whom do I talk to when I catch the neighbor kid with a beer?

District 7 also is unique in that it is the spotlight of national attention each year as the media marches cameras up and down Washington Road and judges Augusta by the type and appearance of the Washington Road businesses. While all areas of the city benefit from the event, none are so uniquely affected by it as those neighborhoods actually in its shadow.

This bonds Precinct 702 directly to the adjoining precincts up to and beyond Interstate 20. Consider the attitude and importance of the Masters to the homeowners west of Lake Olmstead. Do the tenants east of Lake Olmstead even realize the event is happening? Nowhere is the distinction between districts 7 and 1 more evident than the current west/east Lake Olmstead divide.

Lopping Precinct 702 off District 7 forms an unnatural divide in a currently contiguous and harmonious neighborhood. I have little confidence that the concerns and issues important to and currently addressed in this neighborhood would be adequately viewed by a commissioner who is understandably and necessarily focused on issues unique to District 1.

As evidence to this fact, I note that District 1 currently fingers its way up into the Hill. I was in attendance at an Augusta Commission meeting where a previous (not current) District 1 commissioner’s rant about the “evil affluent Hill folks” had to be interrupted to remind him that his district included a portion of that neighborhood.

I do not want to be represented by a commissioner who has to be reminded that I am in his district; that he represents me; or who views the people in – and issues important to – my neighborhood with disregard.

For this reason, I urge the commission to consider one of the other plans that will not divide contiguous and unique neighborhoods as well as the attention of their elected representatives.

Mark Lorah

Augusta

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copperhead
1035
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copperhead 12/07/11 - 04:31 am
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Looks like the writer has too

Looks like the writer has too much property. The property needs to be redistributed amoung the people. I could use my share of the redistributed assets to pay off my student loans and if there is any left,a big screen tv. hussein needs to get on with redistribution of wealth.

Brad Owens
4859
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Brad Owens 12/07/11 - 06:13 am
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Mark, I just love your

Mark,

I just love your letter but it sure took you a long time to get to the point. You don't think your interests will be looked after by the Dist. 1 Commissioner right?

Well, it seems you would be wrong. Just look at the current rep, Matt Aitken and tell me he would not look after your West Augusta interests well.

Also, just think of the thrill you will have at being part of a dynamic district with so much potential for upward movement.

Someone of means and with a preservation background like yourself will be in a position to help District 1 thrive again.

Don't worry about the Augusta National Golf Course, they will be fine no matter what voting district they fall into.

Again, please consider the positives this will have for you and property values, don't worry about the fact that you will be lumped in with Harrisburg, East End and Downtown.

Brad

dichotomy
36355
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dichotomy 12/07/11 - 06:50 am
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Oh Mr. Lorah. We absolutely

Oh Mr. Lorah. We absolutely cannot tolerate the common sense and logic of keeping contiguous neighborhoods with common interests and issues in the same district. It's much more important that we meet some arbitrary quota where pieces of neighborhoods get tacked on to another District where they are about as welcome as a wart on the commissioner's nose. But hey, as long as we pound those square pegs into those round holes and the color spectrum comes out within the quota, who cares about neighborhoods.

harley_52
25117
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harley_52 12/07/11 - 09:31 am
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Thanks for sharing your

Thanks for sharing your resume` and your investment portfolio with me and the rest of the Augusta Chronicle's readership, Mark. I want you to know how impressed I am and how sure I am that you deserve every possible consideration you can get.

I'm sure others join me in hoping things continue to work out well for you.

Little Lamb
48049
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Little Lamb 12/07/11 - 09:57 am
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Letter writer Mark Lorah

Letter writer Mark Lorah asked, “What do I do when a homeless person breaks into my house?”

You do the same thing as when a person who has a home breaks into your house!

Lori Davis
968
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Lori Davis 12/07/11 - 10:13 am
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I believe this is the same

I believe this is the same Mr. Lorah who tried to rent rooms out of a single family dwelling he owns in Harrisburg and neighborhood activists put a stop to it. I agree with Brad Ownen. With the leadership in Harrisburg right now, Mr. Lorah could be a help to the situation if he chooses. He obviously saw Harrisburg as what it is and decided to capitalize financially which so many property owners try to do. Mr. Lorah, I would love to meet with you and show you our vision for Harrisburg. As a matter of fact, the Harrisburg association Christmas party is tomorrow night with over 90 people having RSVP'd. You could be a part of something great if you choose. Feel free to contact me at davislori@hotmail.com.

BevBoudreaux
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BevBoudreaux 12/07/11 - 11:15 am
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Lori.. God bless you and

Lori.. God bless you and Butch for all you are doing for Harrisburg. I hope your Christmas Party is a smashing success.

Carleton Duvall
6305
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Carleton Duvall 12/07/11 - 02:59 pm
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₢₢₢₢₢

₢₢₢₢₢

Lori Davis
968
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Lori Davis 12/07/11 - 12:12 pm
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Thanks Bev. We hope to

Thanks Bev. We hope to realize our vision oneday even though the push back from the outside forces is tremendous.

cityman
-6
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cityman 12/11/11 - 05:51 pm
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Mark Lorah is interested in
Unpublished

Mark Lorah is interested in making a quick buck and he has NO business being affiliated with an historic presrevation! He asks, "Where would I buy groceries?" ... Kroger, or Public are the most popular places. Lorah is sleazy.

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