E-mail prompts call to quit

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A private e-mail from Augusta Housing Authority member Dave Barbee to two Augusta developers about the political ramifications of closing the Gilbert Manor housing project has Mayor Deke Copenhaver calling for Mr. Barbee's resignation.

Mr. Barbee's e-mail to brothers Clay and Braye Boardman has made the rounds and has some black area legislators up in arms over comments that they consider racially offensive.

"I'm terribly sorry a poorly worded, private e-mail concerning issues that have been brought forth before was disseminated through the public as an official statement when it's not," said Mr. Barbee, the Republican Party official for the 10th Congressional District.

Mr. Barbee e-mailed the Boardmans on Aug. 27, saying he wanted to keep them in the loop concerning the Augusta Housing Authority, the Gilbert Manor project and the Medical College of Georgia. The authority is trying to close Gilbert Manor so MCG can expand in Augusta. Mr. Barbee also forwarded an e-mail he had received from state Rep. Wayne Howard expressing concerns about the housing authority.

"Gentlemen I am begging you both not to give in on the revitalization of downtown Augusta!!!" Mr. Barbee wrote. "The problem with the politicians is the White/Black ratio in downtown Augusta. The development of the property beside St. Paul's Church is high income folks who will tend to be White and now we are closing GM (Gilbert Manor) and moving Black folks out. We will be making the downtown Whiter with moving 200 whites in and moving 500 blacks out! The numbers will affect political boundaries, school board lines, commission district lines, State Representative district lines, and Senate district lines."

Changing downtown Augusta, Mr. Barbee said, will require condos costing $200,000 and up.

"When this happens, you will see more whites moving in the city and blacks moving into West Augusta and Columbia County. However we cannot build anything on top of buildings we have to tear down first!!"

Mr. Barbee also said the area around MCG needs to be worked on.

"The State of Georgia Medical School is built in the slums of Augusta not a good idea," he wrote.

That same day, Clay Boardman forwarded Mr. Barbee's e-mail, along with this message: "I just thought you should see this stream of consciousness..........."

A phone message left with Clay Boardman on Monday seeking comment was not returned.

It is not clear who received the forwarded message, but state Sen. Ed Tarver, a black Democrat, ended up with a copy and sent it to the other delegation members, stating that he had "grave concerns regarding its contents."

"I provided the Mayor with a copy of the email and raised the issue of Barbee's removal from the AHA Board," Mr. Tarver wrote, adding that he would ask the chairman of the delegation whether they should meet to discuss the matter.

State Rep. Quincy Murphy, also a black Democrat and the delegation's chairman, e-mailed the delegation and about two-dozen other people.

"It is apparent that there is an alternative motive that some members in our community are promoting," he said. "We cannot allow persons with this type of mentality to destroy our city.

"Dave Barbee and any other Augusta Housing Authority Board member with this type of mind set must be removed. I ask that you review his email and share it with all of our citizens of goodwill."

Mr. Murphy also stated that the local delegation will meet "immediately to deal with this unfortunate revelation."

Mr. Barbee, who is white, said Monday that the politics of relocating Gilbert Manor residents was raised in July by Augusta Neighborhood Improvement Corp. executive director Robert Cooks at a meeting at Augusta Technical College.

Mr. Cooks noted that amid all the talk that day concerning Gilbert Manor and MCG, nobody had broached the subject of the politics of the matter, although that was a major concern. Then Richmond County Board of Elections Executive Director Lynn Bailey was called on to provide the number of registered voters in the district and in Gilbert Manor.

Mr. Barbee said the subject has been discussed by the legislators themselves many times. He said his mistake was not using phrases such as "mixed-use" and "multipurpose" developments.

"We can no longer warehouse the poor," he said Monday in a telephone interview. "We have to be more like the cities around us - Columbia, Charleston, Savannah."

"No one knows my heart and the intent of what I was trying to say," he said Monday.

He said he is hurt that what he has been trying to do since he's been on the Richmond County Human Relations Commission and the Housing Authority has been misconstrued.

"It breaks my heart," he said. "It literally breaks my heart to see the elderly and the poor warehoused and half the homes in downtown neighborhoods boarded up or burned out."

He said he would resign from the housing authority, as he said Mr. Copenhaver requested in an e-mail Friday. An e-mail Monday to Mr. Copenhaver was not answered.

"I do not want to be an impediment," Mr. Barbee said.

Reach Sylvia Cooper at (706) 823-3228 or sylvia.cooper@augustachronicle.com.

WHAT'S NEXT:

The Richmond County legislative delegation met Monday at delegation Chairman Rep. Quincy Murphy's office to discuss Mr. Barbee's e-mail and agreed to seek a meeting with Mayor Deke Copenhaver this week.

Comments (124) Add comment
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karmakills123
8
Points
karmakills123 09/04/07 - 05:35 am
0
0
Damn Barbee....wasa matta wit

Damn Barbee....wasa matta wit you?????( And the sad thing is everything he said was true !!) ...................................... "mixed-use" and "multipurpose" ..............would have been the way to go....................using the "demon" words black / white was a stupid move..................LOL

patriciathomas
42
Points
patriciathomas 09/04/07 - 06:02 am
0
0
Code words are still the

Code words are still the normal way to communicate all politically charged ideas. If you use straight forward, easy to understand communication you're obviously a racist. Politics is a tough game.

wsm141
115
Points
wsm141 09/04/07 - 06:04 am
0
0
"Demon" words? Using

"Demon" words? Using multipurpose and mixed-use are the demon words! Its mere politcal BS!!!! Truth hurts!!!!! If the people of Augusta don't like the truth THEN CHANGE THE WAY THEY DO THINGS!!! STOP POINTING FINGERS AND LOOK IN THE MIRROR. Everyone is guilty! The city is a dump! Especially that area! They keep electing people like "Charles Walker" who got
filthy rich off of them. STOP LOOKING FOR GOVERNMENT HANDOUTS AND STAND UP ON YOUR OWN TWO FEET AND DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!!!

karmakills123
8
Points
karmakills123 09/04/07 - 06:14 am
0
0
LOL @

LOL @ wsm141..............(look up sarcasm) ..............it's way too early to explain things..need more coffee.

Reality
3
Points
Reality 09/04/07 - 06:22 am
0
0
Truth hurts, bad wording

Truth hurts, bad wording though...The demographics of the city are no secret.

JimCox
7
Points
JimCox 09/04/07 - 06:29 am
0
0
Augusta's racial double

Augusta's racial double standard is hard at work. With the likes of Murphy and Tarver at the helm, expect the political freeze-out from Atlanta to continue.

peonynut
2
Points
peonynut 09/04/07 - 06:41 am
0
0
Reverse discrimination is

Reverse discrimination is alive and well. Although everyone knows, especially the black politicians, when a white person tells the truth then he must be fired, resign or hung out to dry. We sure have come a long way haven't we? We lean so far the other way that we can't see the truth for what it is.

TENTBOYZ
0
Points
TENTBOYZ 09/04/07 - 06:44 am
0
0
This is a serios problem in

This is a serios problem in our town and needs to stop. When is this going to stop? This needs to be corrected from the topped on down. Fire them all because this isn't just him, it's all of them.

pantherluvcik
628
Points
pantherluvcik 09/04/07 - 06:51 am
0
0
Glad to see the racists found

Glad to see the racists found a cross to burn early this morning, with the Grandmaster Patricia Thomas leading the way. Not a big surprise though, I know you closet racists thrive on stories like this.

shivas
2
Points
shivas 09/04/07 - 06:52 am
0
0
At least Clay Boardman had

At least Clay Boardman had enough class to forward this far-right rant from Mr. Barbee on to someone who could do something about it. People, if you think what he said is acceptable, then perhaps the sand from where your head has been stuck the last 40 years has inched it's way to your brain. Barbee is right concerning the negative impact of "warehousing," but the goal of his strategy is to move Blacks out of downtown Augusta so there can be some political gain. I guess in the far-right world that is OK. Maybe you can focus on the Jews next.

LadyCisback
4
Points
LadyCisback 09/04/07 - 07:18 am
0
0
I will reserve my opinion on

I will reserve my opinion on this one, however the truth hurts when it's told.

karmakills123
8
Points
karmakills123 09/04/07 - 07:34 am
0
0
Clay Boardman was covering

Clay Boardman was covering his own a@@

aunox
0
Points
aunox 09/04/07 - 07:36 am
0
0
Isn't he advocating more

Isn't he advocating more racial integration? Isn't that what the Federal Government attempted to do with "Bussing" several years ago at the behest of black leaders and others who wished to bring an end to discrimination? He is relaying the thoughts of the politicians already in office, both black and white. If you don't think that Sen. Tarver and Rep. Murphy are concerned with changing demographics in their districts then you are not living in the real world. They are worried about losing their support base, just as most politicians would be. Don't blame Mr. Barbee for relaying the truth. If anything, he is only guilty of trusting that a personal e-mail would be kept confidential.

karmakills123
8
Points
karmakills123 09/04/07 - 07:53 am
0
0
Shivas and do you really

Shivas and do you really believe that black politicitions do not want to keep blacks in downtown for the same reason??? The problem is a white man used the words black and white....if it had been the other way around it would not be an issue. I can almost guarantee that if tarver had said we need to keep black folk downtown NOTHING would have been said.

fd1962
26
Points
fd1962 09/04/07 - 08:21 am
0
0
This is too funny. Augusta a
Unpublished

This is too funny. Augusta a microcosm of New Orleans, without the convenience of a flood to ease the poor along.

PFLY775
2
Points
PFLY775 09/04/07 - 08:21 am
0
0
Is he saying that there are

Is he saying that there are no blacks with money?

shivas
2
Points
shivas 09/04/07 - 08:24 am
0
0
I feel like I've gone back in

I feel like I've gone back in time 40 years. Everyone should be integrated into society and not warehoused in public projects. But, when your political motivation is to remove a race from a certain location, such as downtown, then that's a problem. And, if that's his mindset as a Board member for theHousing Authority, then he should certainly resign. Aunox, politicians have always changed demographics by re-drwing voting districts, not by establishing a plan to re-locate a race of people somewhere else. There is no defense of this!

mutt
2
Points
mutt 09/04/07 - 08:24 am
0
0
As someone who supported Deke

As someone who supported Deke Copenhaver, I must say that I'm getting a
little disgusted with his constant knee jerk reactions to black folks
getting upset with whites when they speak the truth. Austin Rhodes
calls a Ho a Ho and Deke crys fowl. BS! Now this! If Dave Barbee was a
Black Democrate talking about supporting development that would
increase the Black vote in a district where they are under represented,
and remove some White Republicans, no one would give it a second
thought. It would be bussiness as usual and politics as usual. People
would view it as him doing what he was elected or appointed to do. But
Dave Barbee is not Black and he's not Liberal so it's racist and he's
"Gotta Go". First of all, I think this conversation is out of context
and being misconstrued. Secondly, so what if it isn't? White
Conservatives are under represented in the downtown area. Why is that
OK? Why is it ok to inject low income Blacks into an area where they
are under represented, and not ok to inject high income Whites where
they are under represented? If it's ok for Liberal Blacks to talk this
way, then it's ok for Conservative Whites! Stop pandering Deke!

WorriedAboutOurFuture
16
Points
WorriedAboutOurFuture 09/04/07 - 08:28 am
0
0
I just wonder how those who

I just wonder how those who are so concerned about the racial "implications" of this email think they are going keep Augusta and Richmond County afloat if they don't do something to move the more affluent back into the heart of our community. Like it or not, Gilbert Manor doesn't even fall into the break-even category when it comes to contributing to the county's coffers. Something must be done to increase the tax base in order to take care of all the indigents and their growing numbers who live in places like Gilbert Manor. It's only racism because so many of the poor are black. Realism is not racism.

marie21
5
Points
marie21 09/04/07 - 08:31 am
0
0
Dave Barbee is an honorable

Dave Barbee is an honorable man. He cares about everybody in Augusta, black or white. What was Clay Boardman's motivation by forwarding this email on to other people?

halffull
0
Points
halffull 09/04/07 - 08:42 am
0
0
It is sad that bloogers can

It is sad that bloogers can only focus on symantics when there are deeper issues being conveyed in Barbee's characterzations. This is not about using the right words it his and obviously others method of carrying out hidden agendas. It is about how they view other races.
Come on y'all! Call a spade a spade.

mutt
2
Points
mutt 09/04/07 - 08:47 am
0
0
pacoalminer.... Did he say

pacoalminer.... Did he say there were no Blacks with money? There are
no Blacks or Whites for that matter with money in Gilbert Manor! It's
public housing! Facts are facts. Low and middle income blacks tend to
vote Democrate, as do a large number of lower income White's. High
income Blacks vote Republican more often than their lower income
counterparts and the majority of high and middle income Whites vote
Republican. That's just how it is. Did he not say that this development
would help with the political and the Black/White ratio
downtown? I really don't see the problem here! Black or White, let's
move some high income Conservative voters into the Downtown area. It'll
balance things out a bit in that gerrymandered voting district. And that's the real issue here. Black Democrate politicians cry foul anytime a wind of change blows that might knock down the house of cards that's has been built in that district for them. They don't care if the district crumbles, as long as who ever is left votes Black Democrate!

debi4501
0
Points
debi4501 09/04/07 - 08:51 am
0
0
I think it is about time for

I think it is about time for Augusta to grow up and stop focusing on black and white and just remember that we are all humans. So let's get with it.

TrulyBlessed
0
Points
TrulyBlessed 09/04/07 - 08:51 am
0
0
Yes, pacoalminer, that's

Yes, pacoalminer, that's exactly what he was saying. The purpose of the email was to pursuade the Boardmans not to include housing in the $100,000 range in the mill redevelopment - to build all of the units at $200,000 and up because presumptively only whites can afford those units, therefore displacing black voters with white and changing the balance of power in Richmond County politics. The Boardmans have the right idea - we will all get along much better if we are literally neighbors. Thanks to the Boardmans for all you do to make our city a better place for all of us!

fd1962
26
Points
fd1962 09/04/07 - 08:53 am
0
0
Baroness, hopefully your
Unpublished

Baroness, hopefully your interpretation proves correct, but it's more likely that reading between the lines indicates a message to other influential powers that Barbee is struggling with the hatchet job he was appointed to do on the Authority, and needs a leg up in 'improving' their lives: these annoying blacks have proved to be not quite as dumb as they are poor. Why not find them a nice spot out there in beautiful Columbia County, Dave?

bigalsc
4
Points
bigalsc 09/04/07 - 09:02 am
0
0
Perhaps Mr Barbee is more

Perhaps Mr Barbee is more concerned with the relocation of residents to the newly renovated Olmstead Homes that will throw more black voters into the district representing the Evans and Martinez folks. Good God, black folk in Evans! They might vote!Gilbert Manor is horrible, it needs to go. MCG needs the room to expand.As downtown grows, sure more affluent whites will move in. The new business therewill provide jobs for people living in Laney Walker and that area willl improve, over time seeing an influx of both white and black residents in areas adjacent to the Central Business District. I'm not exactly sure what Mr. Barbee was trying to say.

Native Augustan
12
Points
Native Augustan 09/04/07 - 09:08 am
0
0
I really wonder just how many

I really wonder just how many folks that live in GM actually vote -- not how many are registered to vote - but how many actually vote. If there are 200 folks living there - most would probably be children under the voting age -- so just how many votes would the worried Legislators lose? I think it is the Democratic local Legislators (who have no power in ATL) that are worried bout District 1 with the possible infusion of voters in the new condos to be built on Reynolds Street might change the balance of power in that district. There same Legislators are the ones that will not review the local Govermental Charter. They like things the way they are and are determined to keep it that way no matter what they have to try to stir up.

marie21
5
Points
marie21 09/04/07 - 09:10 am
0
0
Gilbert Manor does need to

Gilbert Manor does need to go. There is something far more important here than black and white issues. If we don't expand MCG onto the Gilbert Manor property we might lose it. If MCG goes away think of all the jobs that will be lost. MCG employs blacks and whites and people of other heritages. This is the heart of the matter. If MCG goes then all races lose out here. It will be an equal opportunity loss!!

fd1962
26
Points
fd1962 09/04/07 - 09:14 am
0
0
"An e-mail Monday to Mr.
Unpublished

"An e-mail Monday to Mr. Copenhaver was not answered." Oh, sure, Sylvia Cooper... A pox on Mayor Deke for not instantly returning an email from Your Highness. I've been awaiting a reply from YOU for more than two weeks from one of mine. What was that H word?

KingJames
10
Points
KingJames 09/04/07 - 09:15 am
0
0
I understand the need to try

I understand the need to try to bring people with money back to downtown. The problem that I have is that folks have gotten caught up on race. Should Gilbert Manor residents have to move, then there should be housing somewhere else for them to go. Sadly enough, most Augustans think that housing projects have to always be downtown. The reason there are only projects and shotgun houses downtown is because downtown is where low income people have been forced to live. The demographics of certain districts will never change unless they are forced to change by construction of new dwellings that may be somewhat pricey for current residents. However, intentionally designing housing that way with the expectation that the majority of one race will be able to afford new homes in the area, and notifying developers of the plan was sort of crazy. Even if Barbee felt like he wanted the demographics to change, he should not have shared that with the Boardmans. All the developers needed to know was what he wanted built and where. Now Barbee has to deal with putting out too much information.

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