Small thinking won't improve Augusta

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I do not know what it is about Augusta when it comes to embracing new ideas.

There are so many native Augustans and transplants who are standing in line waiting to help transform this city from a 20th-century dinosaur into an oasis of opportunities, but are being kept at bay with a viciousness that would discourage anyone whose only motive is to give to the city and not take from it.

How many spirits have been broken by the power grip that is on this city?

There’s no telling. The attitude of “if you don’t like it here, Delta is ready when you are” prevails. Maybe that’s just what’s wrong with Augusta. We have an attitude problem – a bad attitude. Look no further than some of the social commentaries in the media. I only wish the positive expressions are as vocal and full of conviction as the negative ones.

I CANNOT believe that the majority of Augustans are satisfied with the progress, or lack thereof, in the second-largest city in the state, no matter their race or political persuasion. Even if the politicians cannot get together, we ought to do something on our own to send a message: We can’t wait.

Progress is not a race issue, as some will have us believe. Progress is an issue of the mind. Are the minds in Augusta big enough to rise above their petty differences, whether racial or otherwise, and come together for the good of the entire city? Or are they small enough to keep us looking like the Little Rascals, never growing up to the challenges that face us grown-ups?

Cases in point: Augusta blacks still feel that Georgia Health Sciences University President Ricardo Azziz is taking away some of our black history by proposing the closing-off of Laney-Walker Boulevard at R.A Dent Boulevard. In my opinion – and I offer no apologies – this is asinine. We have much bigger fish to fry in that area than to be worried about one block of a street being closed off.

If we are that much in love with Laney-Walker, we ought to invest in it and on it – not with government money, but our own. When that happens, then we will show people how much we love and honor Laney-Walker. So far, we have not shown that kind of love and honor, nor even come close to it.

ON THE OTHER hand, I think a lot of whites are still angry with Dr. Azziz, too. The fact that he came here and changed the medical school’s name from the Medical College of Georgia to Georgia Health Sciences University made some of the old alumni angry and the dead ones turn over in their graves.

Of all of the suggestions made, it was peculiar to me that none of them included the complete present name of the medical university. This is a small-minded way of sending a message to Dr. Azziz: You don’t change us, and you don’t tell us what to do.

If he does survive Augusta, it will either be a miracle or he will have changed like all the rest who are here still holding on to the status quo.

And that’s the way it is.

(The writer is a former Augusta City Council member and a retired labor relations manager from Bechtel Savannah River Inc.)

Comments (22) Add comment
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Insider Information
4009
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Insider Information 06/30/12 - 11:38 pm
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The letter writer

The letter writer conveniently left out a small detail about the name change, namely the exorbitant price tag.

That's not to mention that the price ran well into the six figures while there were major budget cuts throughout the school.

"Small thinking" focuses on names. "Big thinking" focuses on education and medical research.

Fundamental_Arminian
1871
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Fundamental_Arminian 07/01/12 - 12:41 am
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The New Name a Mistake

Insider Information, I concur with you about the name change. I feel for the new graduates who were expecting a diploma from the Medical College of Georgia, an institution with a reputation for excellence. It will take time for a new name to become as impressive as MCG has been.

specsta
7137
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specsta 07/01/12 - 12:59 am
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Time For Action

Grady Abrams wrote: "How many spirits have been broken by the power grip that is on this city?"

Amen, my friend, amen...

Mediocrity will rule Augusta as long as the small-minded are running the show.

Riverman1
93717
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Riverman1 07/01/12 - 04:17 am
3
2
Mr. Abrams is a great person

Mr. Abrams is a great person who loves Augusta. However, he is wrong to think calling the combined institutions GHSU is logical. A student gets a degree in education, business or art from GHSU? It's not logical.

eb97
835
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eb97 07/01/12 - 07:00 am
4
0
I believe it is time for our

I believe it is time for our leaders to put their big boy pants on and make decisions that will move Augusta forward and not keep it in the "good ole boy era "of the nineteen seventies. They need to start working for us the people and tax payers and not for the special interest groups,( and we all know who I mean by special interest gp.)
If our local government does not change the way they are currently doing business, they will soon be seeing a total revolt from the tax-payers and we will stop at nothing until the so called leaders are gone.

Craig Spinks
818
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Craig Spinks 07/01/12 - 08:14 am
2
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Augusta International University?

Augusta National University?

Augusta Regional University?

Augusta State University?

Augusta-Richmond County University?

Augusta-North Richmond County University?

Augusta Morris-Simon University?

(C)ountyman'll think that the fifth option has a nice ring.

The AC will favor the last.

Gage Creed
19399
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Gage Creed 07/01/12 - 08:13 am
1
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"If we are that much in love

"If we are that much in love with Laney-Walker, we ought to invest in it and on it – not with government money, but our own. When that happens, then we will show people how much we love and honor Laney-Walker. So far, we have not shown that kind of love and honor, nor even come close to it." I fully agree with Mr. Abrams statement, and think it applies to many of the "forward thinking, large minded" proponets of the tax and spend crowd.

Referencing the 0800 post... VIVA LA REVOLUCION!

Lori Davis
1006
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Lori Davis 07/01/12 - 09:04 am
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Great letter Mr. Abrams! It

Great letter Mr. Abrams! It has been my experience since trying to work with the Augusta power structure that any time a new idea comes around, it must be thoroughly vetted by the well connected to make sure it is not going to interfere with their long range plans to continue to make their own money. This is the problem with Augusta and until we have 10 Commissioners not willing to buy into that, Augusta will remain stagnant.

Conservative Man
5578
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Conservative Man 07/01/12 - 09:26 am
4
0
Great LTE

Agree with Mr. Abrams on many points. RE: the negative comments getting more attention than the good ones, I think the reason is that the positive rose-colored spin comes from certain "countypeople" who are part of the problem. Mainly, the ruling "elite' and their well-connected cronies who benefit from every scheme that can be paid for with OUR tax money. This includes black AND white members of the "fraternity". They have become morally bankrupt in the pursuit of money..
This infuriates many who are trying to change the community (such as Ms. Davis and others)so they will be the ones who yell the loudest.
Until the "good ole-boys" recognize that they are dinosaurs whose time has come, Augusta will continue to languish...
Mr. Abrams is correct. Until WE as citizens begin to step forward and make changes within our own community, with our own money, no amount of government "pay-offs" to the pseudo-leaders in Augusta will help.

countyman
21630
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countyman 07/01/12 - 10:24 am
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The writer makes so good

Conservativeman... What spin?? The facts are the $115 million Rockwood plant & $172 million Starbucks plants are both under construction.. Is the $1 billion NSA or the direct flights to DC starting July 11th an figment of imagination??

I want Augusta to expand public transportation, add sidewalks/bike lanes, purchase Regency Mall, etc but it doesn't mean were not moving forward...

The writer makes some good points, but local citizens/groups/churches have already invested into Laney Walker and Bethlehem... All you have to do is drive around, and you can tell Augusta is growing...

Augusta won't truly move forward until the local citizens acknowledge the progress... Even after opening an $100 million Kroc Center, $112 million dental school, or somebody purchasing the Fort Discovery building.. If you were to read the daily comments you wouldn't think they're building a $10 million plus Home2Suites by Hilton.. Another problem is the media needs to give Richmond County a fair chance... It's amazing how many positive articles there are during Masters, but not the rest of the year.

Conservative Man
5578
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Conservative Man 07/01/12 - 10:24 am
4
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Spin as defined as always

Spin as defined as always ALWAYS pointing out the "rosy"picture to the point of nausea, and always ALWAYS never attempting to address the negatives that need to be changed...
County I know your just doing your "job" but sometimes your assessments are as tiresome to some of us ,as I'm sure our "divisiveness"is to you....
Maybe with new officers being elected to the DAP someone will finally be able to wrench some of the power from those dinosaurs at the DDA and really get something accomplished downtown...besides installing parking meters and giving away clocks to the airport....

countyman
21630
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countyman 07/01/12 - 10:44 am
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3
This is the website for the

This is the website for the chronicle, and were not having an debate... What does bringing up the negative issues constantly on here accomplish?

I don't have the 'job' which you seem to think either lol... I find the comments from you and people like KSL very telling... He/she made a comment how they get tired of me pointing out the positives of inner city Augusta... He/she lives in Aiken, but can't take the positive stories on Richmond County... Do you think citizens of RC would have the same reaction if somebody wants to talk about the positive things happening around Aiken??

Why don't you have a issue with the posters who point out the negative at nausea?? I've never seen you comment when people are negative on anything dealing with Augusta..

Why do you care so much about the postive in one person's comments?? When you have multiple comments from the same group of people who are negative daily??

I don't understand why a city can't be doing postive things, and still have room for much improvement...

Riverman1
93717
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Riverman1 07/01/12 - 10:47 am
3
0
What happened to Chuck

What happened to Chuck Pardue's algae plant in South Augusta? Did they turn the lights out? They are now in Warrenville....right?

You guessed it...Frank Stallone
83
Points
You guessed it...Frank Stallone 07/01/12 - 11:17 am
3
0
"What spin?? The facts are

"What spin?? The facts are the $115 million Rockwood plant & $172 million Starbucks plants are both under construction.. Is the $1 billion NSA or the direct flights to DC starting July 11th an figment of imagination"

Rockwood and Starbucks? You talking about the mediocre paying jobs coming to Augusta? Every mid sized city in America has manufacturing on some level. Augusta is small change compared to the regional competition. Augusta needs a third industry aside from feds/meds to seriously compete with our more prosperous regional neighbors. The NSA? Made up of mostly transitional military that come and go about every two to three years. Plus, the new building was a long time coming as opposed to an explosion of NEW growth.

countyman
21630
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countyman 07/01/12 - 12:00 pm
0
2
I don't nowhere you getting

Why do you think they're 'mediocore' paying jobs?? How is Augusta small change compared to regional neighbors??

2007 GDP
Columbia 30,397
Charleston 26,202
Greenville 24,870
Augusta 17,678
Savannah 12,984
Columbus 10,943
Macon 7,434

2010

Columbia 31,967
Charleston 27,976
Greenville 26,101
Augusta 19,199
Savannah 12,933
Columbus 11,877
Macon 7,525

socks99
250
Points
socks99 07/01/12 - 01:07 pm
0
0
"ON THE OTHER hand, I think a

"ON THE OTHER hand, I think a lot of whites are still angry with Dr. Azziz, too. The fact that he came here and changed the medical school’s name from the Medical College of Georgia to Georgia Health Sciences University made some of the old alumni angry and the dead ones turn over in their graves."

In academic circles, it is well known that names are quite valuable; colleges and universities spend and gain quite a bit from "development" efforts that seek to use alumni relations to gain an advantage (financial; political; etc.) for the alma mater.

Even as U.GA., for instance, has made great strides in that respect, one ironic outcome of that effort was to severe the link between MCG and its alumni! Locals can still believe this was simply the result of a new broome sweeping clean! I'd bet, however, this policy came straight from a politicized Regents' interested in spreading Augusta's franchise to other burgs! AND, they GOT away with it!

Local squabbles are one thing, but when you see a regional issue where one community and its supporters attacks another -- using a politized Board of Regents to do its bidding -- then maybe the fight should be ON!?

Gage Creed
19399
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Gage Creed 07/01/12 - 01:28 pm
1
0
Let's review shall we? 2007

Let's review shall we?
2007 GDP: Augusta ranks 4th out of 7
2010 GDP: Augusta ranks 4th out of 7
Now that’s “the fastest rising city in the southeast”

countyman
21630
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countyman 07/01/12 - 05:01 pm
0
0
2008 Personal

2008 Personal Income(milllions)
1. Columbia 26,418
2. Greensboro 25,218
3. Knoxville 24,312
4. Charleston 23,352
5. Chattanooga 18,050
6. Augusta 17,960
7. Winston Salem 17,470
8. Hunstville 15,391
9. Savannah 13,220
10. Mobile 12,690

2009 Personal Income
1. Columbia 26,418
2. Greensboro 24,980
3. Knoxville 23,713
4. Charleston 23,297
5. Augusta 18,122
6. Chattanooga 17,701
7. Winston Salem 16,970
8. Huntsville 15,588
9. Savannah 13,157
10. Mobile 12,713

2010 Personal Income
1. Columbia 27,022
2. Greensboro 25,774
3. Knoxville 24,624
4. Charleston 24,193
5. Augusta 18,854
6. Chattanooga 18,464
7. Winston Salem 17,447
8. Huntsville 16,148
9. Savannah 13,564
10. Mobile 13,195

2009 Percent change
1. Huntsville 1.3%
2. Augusta .9%
3. Mobile .2%
4. Columbia 0%
5. Charleston -.2%
6. Savannah -.5%
7. Greensboro -.9%
8. Knoxville -1.7%
9. Chattanooga -1.9%
10. Winston Salem -2.9%

2010 Percent change
1. Chattanooga 4.3%
2. Augusta 4%
3. Knoxville 3.8%
3. Charleston 3.8%
3. Mobile 3.8%
6. Huntsville 3.6%
7. Greensboro 3.2%
8. Savannah 3.1%
9. Winston Salem 2.8%
10. Columbia 2.3%

KSL
143858
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KSL 07/01/12 - 05:46 pm
1
0
Countyman, I have no problem

Countyman, I have no problem handling positive information about Richmond Co. But you keep saying the same thing. You posted some of the very same information yesterday.

KSL
143858
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KSL 07/01/12 - 05:48 pm
2
0
Problems cannot be fixed

Problems cannot be fixed without first acknowledging them.

Conservative Man
5578
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Conservative Man 07/01/12 - 07:54 pm
1
0
KSL, you made my point more

KSL, you made my point more succinctly with that one sentence than I did with ALL my previous posts on this thread.....Kudos....

KSL
143858
Points
KSL 07/01/12 - 09:12 pm
1
1
Conservative Man

Thank you.

Iwannakno
1533
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Iwannakno 07/01/12 - 09:46 pm
1
0
EVERYDAY!!
Unpublished

He posts the same drivel everyday and will not respond to posters such as dichotomy about tax money collected off the backs of south augustans and used every where but there..don't give me the diamond lakes crap either...That's a drop in the bucket. I will say it again. COUNTYMAN YOU ARE A RENTER!! Put up or shutup!!

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