Project ramrodded through

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Welcome to the People’s Republic of North Augusta and Aiken County! That’s the sign we need to hang at the Interstate 20 welcome center after you cross the Savannah River from Georgia.

The city of North Augusta, against the wishes of its citizens, has decided to tell us what our entertainment will be – baseball! The leaders of the Aiken County Council decided they know better than the citizenry and denied them a vote on the most destructive project to come down the ’pike since Sherman’s March to the Sea.

For all the commenters, relax – it’s hyperbole.

We’ve been told this will “create or sustain” (yes, Obama/Biden newspeak hits North Augusta) 1,000 jobs – using a statistical model that has never been tested, by an author who is not a recognized authority and with no degree in economics. All the research shows Class A minor-league baseball teams and stadiums are a zero or negative impact on the local economy. The proponents didn’t read their own article (which specifically excludes entities that are just moving across town), nor did they talk to the author – they just plugged in numbers.

This is the new alchemy; like the charlatans of the Dark Ages who had a formula to turn lead into gold, they now peddle baseball parks as gold mines.

Our dear leaders haven’t made attendance at the games mandatory yet, but under the U.S. Supreme Court’s theory on Obamacare, our dear leaders could dictate mandatory attendance at baseball games or you pay a penalty. According to Chief Justice John Roberts, that would just be a tax.

Project Jackson is peddled as “economic development,” but not one measurement of job creation or claw-back of tax deferment is included in any intergovernmental agreements with the city for this nonsense. And after all the hoopla, the word “job” isn’t mentioned.

Any wonder why people are so cynical about the government?

Steve Donohue

North Augusta, S.C.

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etlinks
20342
Points
etlinks 09/19/13 - 07:27 am
12
0
Why?

Why were they so afraid to let the citizens of Aiken Co vote on this stadium deal? I think most of the people in Aiken Co know the reason.

Andy Lowe
35
Points
Andy Lowe 09/19/13 - 07:50 am
5
0
Project Jackson

"Follow cigar smoke, find Fat Man!" General John Buford....

mike1sc
217
Points
mike1sc 09/19/13 - 08:52 am
2
11
Steve Steve Steve

Why do you use all the reasons you state when the ONLY reason you officially come out against Project Jackson is because you think your neighborhood will be disrupted.

And Steve, you make it sound as if the small group of leaders approved this against the will of all the people of Aiken County. In the meeting Tuesday night there were a large number of Project Jackson with a thumbs up tag displayed on many people, and during a fifteen minute drive in North Augusta, I counted 42 "Project Jackson Thumbs Up" signs displayed in various residential yards, greatly outnumbering "Thumbs Down" signs.

So I have to disagree with you. I think the voice of the people has been heard. I have lived and paid taxes in North Augusta since 1997. During that time I have watched my tax dollars do many things, almost all of which were positive things continuing to make North Augusta a desired place to live. It is my opinion Project Jackson will be such a positive for our community.

jimmymac
37210
Points
jimmymac 09/19/13 - 10:34 am
1
0
Mr. Donohue
Unpublished

Your comments are 100% accurate. I lived in Akron Ohio and they've got a class AA team. They paid a higher bounty than a neighboring city to lure them to town. (sound familiar) They build a brand new sparkling stadium in the middle of town. They promised all the wonderful things currently being promised in N. Augusta and guess what? The town hasn't gotten any of the promised windfall and the people are stuck with an albatross. Soon the owner of the team will start looking for a new city to make the same mistake. First it was Canton building a stadium, then Akron (20miles away) and I bet soon another city will do the same dumb thing. The county council should all be thrown out the next election for not giving the people a chance to vote and have their voices heard.

dichotomy
32146
Points
dichotomy 09/19/13 - 10:36 am
12
1
"It is my opinion Project

"It is my opinion Project Jackson will be such a positive"

Full disclosure...I do not live or pay taxes in Aiken County.

BUT, I do think it is a valid question as to why the citizens were not afforded the RIGHT to vote on this project. It is readily apparent that there was considerable opposition to Project Jackson. Only a VOTE would have told the story on what the majority wanted. What happened appears to be arrogant politicians making decisions about large amounts of taxpayer money that HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH BASIC SERVICES AND NORMAL CITY/COUNTY FUNCTIONS. I personally think that ANY large project that is out of the normal basic governmental function and involves large amounts of money should have to have a referendum. Even Richmond County let us vote on the SPLOST for the TEE center.......EVEN IF THEY DID END UP SPENDING 4 or 5 times when we approved before it was all over. And the fat man still wanted more for his personal elevated crosswalk.

Question.....have ALL of the details about operation and maintenance of this facility already been put in writing or are the Aiken county taxpayers going to get screwed there too like we did with the "cigar smoking fat men associates" on the TEE center and Parking Deck?

And YES, there is ALWAYS cigar smoke to follow and find the fat man when it comes to these taxpayer funded "public/private" projects.

mike1sc
217
Points
mike1sc 09/19/13 - 11:45 am
0
11
Say What You Want

I am a North Augusta resident who pays my taxes, am retired, with no financial interest in "Project Jackson", and I support it, just as my neighbors do on both sides of my home, and the two homes behind me.

harley_52
23005
Points
harley_52 09/19/13 - 12:12 pm
9
1
Excellent Letter, Mr. Donohue....

I don't live in South Carolina so, like Dichotomy, I really don't have a dog in this fight. As a general principle, the voters who live and pay taxes are the ones who ought to be making the decisions and I'm pretty sure they're fully capable of doing it without my advice.

Having said that, I'm curious how such an undertaking can be initiated and carried out without input from the voters. Even if mike1sc and all of his neighbors support the project, surely he'd agree others might not and their views (as taxpayers) are just as worthy as his.

Why no vote?

t3bledsoe
14250
Points
t3bledsoe 09/19/13 - 12:26 pm
9
0
Quote from LTE

"Any wonder why people are so cynical about the government?"

The city of North Augusta doesn't want a referendum on Project Jackson for two reasons!!!!

1. they know it would fail misserably

2. The even BIGGER one is they would MISS THEIR POCKETS BEING LINDED A PADDED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

County Coucilman, Phil Napier, told News-12 that a referendum would fail BUT ARE WE GOING to vote on; OF ALL THE TAXES; on how our school taxes and county taxes are going to be spent????!!!! The 64,000 dollar answer is a resounding NO!!!! I HOPE THE RESIDENTS that live in Hammond's Fery WILL LOOK AT LEGAL REASONS TO STOP THIS CRAPPY PROJECT!!!!!!!!!!!!!

t3bledsoe
14250
Points
t3bledsoe 09/19/13 - 12:29 pm
6
0
HARLEY_52 @ 12:12

"Having said that, I'm curious how such an undertaking can be initiated and carried out without input from the voters. Even if mike1sc and all of his neighbors support the project, surely he'd agree others might not and their views (as taxpayers) are just as worthy as his.

Why no vote?

YOU TELL THEM harley_52!!!!

Little Lamb
45377
Points
Little Lamb 09/19/13 - 03:41 pm
9
0
TIF or No TIF

If a city or county is going to float bonds to make a capital improvement, the matter needs to go to referendum for the people to vote yea or nay. That was the old fashioned way. The new way is to bypass a citizen vote.

harley_52
23005
Points
harley_52 09/19/13 - 04:07 pm
1
0
"The new way is to bypass a citizen vote."

Which way does the law support?

Little Lamb
45377
Points
Little Lamb 09/19/13 - 04:27 pm
5
0
No Expert

The way it appears to me, Harley, is that if a city is going to issue what are called "general obligation" bonds, they still have to have a referendum. But if they use these creative bonds (like the urban redevelopment bonds in the case of the Augusta Slum or the TIF in the case of the North Augusta ballpark or the BID in the case of the Augusta Costco) then the politicians can do whatever they want with no referendum.

harley_52
23005
Points
harley_52 09/19/13 - 06:54 pm
2
0
I'm No Expert Either...

.... so I'd love to hear somebody who IS take a minute or two to explain it.

Gage Creed
16785
Points
Gage Creed 09/19/13 - 07:41 pm
6
0
I just hope there is no

I just hope there is no splash pad in the planned construction... they'll never get a permit...

augusta citizen
9137
Points
augusta citizen 09/19/13 - 07:54 pm
6
0
Sad, but true...

It is sad, I know some of the elected officials who pushed this through, and I think that they really, truly believe they are conservatives who represent their constituents. I can't comprehend how they don't see that they are as guilty as the ones in Washington of having the attitude of "move along, nothing to see here, we know what is best". I guess power can be poison and politics breeds arrogance. :( A person who truly wants to represent the people who voted him/her into office would want, would champion a referendum for the people to be heard......

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