Fight over e-mail grows

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Richmond County legislators condemned Augusta Housing Authority Dave Barbee's e-mail to two developers about the political ramifications of closing the Gilbert Manor housing project Tuesday.

Delegation Chairman Quincy Murphy, D-Augusta, also said the delegation supports Mayor Deke Copenhaver's request for Mr. Barbee to resign because of comments in the e-mail they consider racially offensive.

"Barbee's advancement of a strategy that promotes race as a basis for public decision-making regarding housing needs violated his fiduciary duty to the citizens of Augusta, is inconsistent with his public role as an appointed commissioner for the Augusta Housing Authority and raises concerns about possible criminal activity," Mr. Murphy said during a news conference in Augusta Commission chambers.

Mr. Barbee e-mailed brothers Clay and Braye Boardman on Aug. 27, begging them "not to give in on the revitalization of downtown Augusta!!!" He contended that politicians do not want to relocate residents in Gilbert Manor because of the black-white ratio in downtown Augusta. He said that by moving black residents out, the area would be made whiter, which could affect political boundaries.

Mr. Murphy said intentionally relocating residents in order to change political boundaries could be a violation of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

"We're just getting bits and pieces of this," he said. "As you know, this e-mail was only received this past Friday, so there are a lot of questions that still need to be answered."

Mr. Murphy said now that legislators know there are people in Augusta who would use strategies to change the ratio of black and white residents for political purposes, they won't take anything for granted anymore.

"So we're in position now to plan and anticipate some of the strategies that could very well be used," he said. "Therefore, we won't be lulled to sleep. We'll know that there are some persons that might want to change the process we have in place for another purpose."

In response to a question about the delegation's stance on the expansion of MCG, Mr. Murphy said the legislators would move ahead with it.

"As a matter of fact, we're planning to meet with the Augusta Housing Authority and discuss the information that's out there," Mr. Murphy said. "We cannot allow this particular incident to stop the progress of our community."

Mr. Barbee, who was present, held his own news conference afterward and said he had not resigned from the authority and does not want to.

He apologized and tried to explain that the e-mail he sent to the Boardmans has been taken "totally out of context." He said he was just trying to encourage them to move forward with developing Sibley Mill as a mixed-income development that would accommodate some low-income residents, a concept Clay Boardman has recently backed away from.

Mr. Barbee said he does not know why Clay Boardman sent the e-mail to state Sen. Ed Tarver, D-Augusta, but that the Boardmans have since distanced themselves from him.

"The e-mails I've received back from them have been terse," he said. "But that wasn't the intent. It was never the intent. Why it gets blown out of proportion, I don't know."

Mr. Barbee contends that Augusta politicians have fought the relocation of residents from Gilbert Manor for years because they do not want to disturb their political base, to the detriment of the expansion of the Medical College of Georgia and the possible loss of the medical school.

Mr. Murphy said when the relocation effort was put on the fast track this year that Housing Authority Executive Director Jake Oglesby projected that it would take 12 to 18 months, but that has been rushed forward.

Mr. Barbee said he wants to stay on the housing authority to work to get poor residents dispersed throughout Augusta.

"I think it's unfair, and I think I need to stay in my position to fight for the people that live in these public housing projects," he said. "We've got to stop this. We've got to get the message out that this warehousing has got to end. It has ended in Atlanta. It has ended in Macon. It has ended in Columbia, S.C. Why hasn't it ended in Richmond County?"

Despite his apologies and attempts to explain, several people in the audience called Mr. Barbee a racist and said he should resign.

Metro Courier newspaper Publisher Barbara Gordon said what was sad about the whole affair is that so many white people of Mr. Barbee's generation feel exactly the same way.

"It's just a scary thing that you can say something that damaging and not understand the gravity of what you've said," Ms. Gordon said. "Moving 500 blacks out and putting 200 whites in - you can't justify that no kind of way other than racism. It's just a sad commentary for the whole city."

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

DAVE BARBEE:
"I'm the one that wrote the e-mail, and I'm sorry if it embarrassed anyone. It was a politically incorrect e-mail, and I'm terribly sorry that it offended any of the neighborhoods or anybody of Augusta. There is a stream of e-mails that nobody cares to be reading and looking at. I am going to go to the minority community and talk to them because this is about them."

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patriciathomas
42
Points
patriciathomas 09/05/07 - 03:33 am
0
0
I'm still having trouble

I'm still having trouble digesting this whole mess. Dave Barbee speaks out in favor of the black community (stop the warehousing) and says moving the residents out of GM while continuing to develop the condos @ 5th and Reynolds would change the black/white ratio of the downtown area. Where did he misspeak? Wasn't he supposed to articulate any specifics of this situation? Why is the minority leadership up in arms?

Fishboy
29
Points
Fishboy 09/05/07 - 03:52 am
0
0
It's as if people don't even

It's as if people don't even care about the facts of the story, they only care that he used the words black and white. I think people are trying to twist this whole thing for political gain by further polarizing the issue of race in Augusta and the Chronicle's shoddy reporting yesterday set the whole thing off. Everyone involved should be ashamed of themselves. Robert Cooks (of ANIC) brought up the same point as Barbee at a meeting at Augusta Tech and even had the County elections supervisor review the voting implications of moving the residents from Gilbert Manor.

BakersfieldCityLimits
1
Points
BakersfieldCityLimits 09/05/07 - 04:55 am
0
0
We are well aware of what

We are well aware of what lurks in the minds and hearts of many of the majority community. What seperates Mr. Barbee is that rather than use code words for his desires, he put it in the plain simple language. We will not stand by to be moved around to suit the whims of the majority.

pofwe
5
Points
pofwe 09/05/07 - 05:18 am
0
0
Pack your bag Ralph. The

Pack your bag Ralph. The public has finally had enough of your
"politickin'." You tipped your mitt once too many times & have earned your seat among Augustas' has beens. Thanks for the years of entertainment via your sound bytes & caterwauling. Hey, there are some commission seats coming open ... get a Williams/Holland endorsement & you're a shoo-in. Best of luck. I'm not gonna worry about your well-being, I know you got plenty of $$ to lounge around with.

JimCox
7
Points
JimCox 09/05/07 - 05:22 am
0
0
I have read the entire email

I have read the entire email chain and in a nutshell Wayne Howard is terrified of losing the votes in Gilbert Manor as it may ultimately lead to him losing his seat. Augusta is losing population and when the 2010 census is completed, lines will change because of this trend. There is a population formula that determines the boundaries for Congressional, State House and State Senate seats and it is a fact that Augusta may lose a representative or senator. Lines will be redrawn statewide to make state house districts have around 48,000 constituents, state senate districts around 130,000 and congressional around 760,000, in fact Georgia will pick up 2 or 3 Congressional seats due to polulation increases. There is nothing racist about it, there is no strategy to make Augusta whiter, it is simple math and all Barbee did was state the facts. Unfortunately we live in an area where perception is reality, spin rules the day and race baiting wins every time.

peonynut
2
Points
peonynut 09/05/07 - 05:38 am
0
0
Mayor Deke is a spineless

Mayor Deke is a spineless wimp giving into this. Mr. Barbee may be a Republican but that is not reason to take this entire email out of context. And what about the Boardmans who thought to make this whole thing public? There must be something in it for them or this would not have happened. Once again the few rule the many regardless of the truth.

ColdBeerBoiledPeanuts
10202
Points
ColdBeerBoiledPeanuts 09/05/07 - 05:53 am
0
0
It seems that a friend wasn't

It seems that a friend wasn't that much of a friend to forward that e mail on!

patriciathomas
42
Points
patriciathomas 09/05/07 - 06:08 am
0
0
Why would this e-mail be a

Why would this e-mail be a problem if it's passed on or not? The welfare vote would be moved out of downtown but another district would get it. At the state level, there would be no change. Since the GM residents don't contribute anything positive to the downtown area, why would their being moved to new housing be an issue? They'll still be getting their free ride, but with GM gone MCG would have the much needed room to expand. I think pofwe and D1216 are just making the typical racist whine while avoiding any contribution to the discussion.

getagrip
0
Points
getagrip 09/05/07 - 06:20 am
0
0
The politicians do not care

The politicians do not care that MCG's ability to expand would help more of their constituients than just the ones living in Gilbert Manor. The contribution MCG makes to the Augusta area is overwhelming and their expansion will benefit the greater good. What a shame.

concernednative
28
Points
concernednative 09/05/07 - 06:29 am
0
0
How did I know you would say

How did I know you would say that Patricia. You Limbaugh, Hannity, and the like just keep on saying racism doesn't exist even when he specifically states his views in his email. Sad Sad Sad!

WarEagle
0
Points
WarEagle 09/05/07 - 06:31 am
0
0
I really don't have too much

I really don't have too much sympathy for Mr. Barbee's stupid mistake by sending someone a very sensitive response through the email. I know we are in the internet age, but you would think by now people would learn a lesson that emails can surely get you into a heap of trouble when they get into the wrong hands of anyone who can get a hold of them. Dumb....dumb...dumb Mr. Barbee, and now it will probably cost you your government position. How stupid can someone be.

2tired2argueanymore
1
Points
2tired2argueanymore 09/05/07 - 06:35 am
0
0
Same old black and white

Same old black and white issue in Augusta. Problem is we blame it on the commissioners but the people are just as bad. Why can't we just do what's right for Augusta not one select group of people.

Fishboy
29
Points
Fishboy 09/05/07 - 06:36 am
0
0
Concernednative: Barbee WAS

Concernednative: Barbee WAS NOT stating his views, he was reiterating the concerns of black politicians! Has everyone missed that point? THAT is the real story here - that black politicians are more concerned with preserving their power than with doing what's best for Augusta!!! He was lobbying FOR mixed-income housing, and he may be the only one in this whole mess that was actually doing something GOOD for Augusta.

kasperr2
0
Points
kasperr2 09/05/07 - 06:39 am
0
0
Ladies and Gents....The only

Ladies and Gents....The only matter of Fact is the redrawing of district lines....If we all make political decisions based on the racial make up of a community then we as a Nation, State, City, and Community are in trouble. As a professional African American Man, I dont see anything wrong with Mr. Barbee's attempt ( If genuine ) to speak out against the 2nd and 3rd order effects of warehousing anyone for the gain of others no matter black, white, hispanic, old or poor.

highpriestess
0
Points
highpriestess 09/05/07 - 06:39 am
0
0
This is crazy. David Barbee

This is crazy. David Barbee was explaining why the Black leadership didn't want the residents moved from Gilbert Manor (dilution of their voting base) and now the same leadership is blameing him for trying to create a white voting base. The Chronicle definately did a very poor job of reporting the specifics of this story. Unfortunately, Barbara Gordon has put on blinders and is not paying attention to the facts of the original statement.

getalife
4
Points
getalife 09/05/07 - 06:41 am
0
0
I guess when you are trying

I guess when you are trying to speak the truth, you must be sure you leave out the words "black and white". Some people can make anything into a racial issue. I don't necessarily like Mr. Barbee, but this thing has been thrown out of proportion.

golfpro50
0
Points
golfpro50 09/05/07 - 06:43 am
0
0
In the e-mail, Barbee writes,

In the e-mail, Barbee writes, "We will be making downtown whiter, with moving 200 whites in, and moving 500 blacks out!". What part was taken out of context? It is what it is and you are what you are. Please resign and don't take a long time doing it.

idealistic
1
Points
idealistic 09/05/07 - 06:52 am
0
0
Well Dave, you have finally

Well Dave, you have finally done it. No one will want you to endorse them again. You have let down the area and the Republican Party by your ineptness as a political leader. You have all to often taken sides in Primary contests when you should have remained neutral as the Chairman of the Party. Now, you have committed to writing, thoughts that have embarassed the Mayor, Council and the Republican Party and your best fundraisors, the Boardmans. Like Vick, every dog has his day and yours has come. Resign all of your positions now and do everyone including you a service.

givitup
0
Points
givitup 09/05/07 - 07:00 am
0
0
It was no secret that MCG

It was no secret that MCG needs Gilbert Manor to expand. Barbee just emailed what smart black folk knew all the time. I can't understand why many are so angry? Are they angry because he was dumb enough to put it writing? IT WAS NO SECRET. MY PARENTS HAVE BEEN SAYING IT FOR YEARS.

Queen4842
3
Points
Queen4842 09/05/07 - 07:01 am
0
0
From all that I have read and

From all that I have read and heard on this the fact is THEY are attempting to make Augusta Whiter. It appears to me that Mr. Barbee is the messenger and once again we will kill the messenger first.

fish2
0
Points
fish2 09/05/07 - 07:04 am
0
0
Peonynut----you hit the nail

Peonynut----you hit the nail on the head----what will the Boardmans gain from this?

Bizarro
13
Points
Bizarro 09/05/07 - 07:11 am
0
0
Just think about the scum who

Just think about the scum who leaked the email, because it was an obvious political move to disparage the man. Strange. Many people are concerned of disclosing info by the Patriot Act, and yet here we have an individual disclosing private info. It should be a crime just as if it was his banking account. This is not a defense for Barbee, but just the legalities of having private conversations and information disclosed and open to the public without some warrant. Oh yeah, and MCG will expand to Athens and across the State. This is good for the State. Augustan's are selfish and greedy to think public health care is the domain of this crappy city rather than the greater issue of serving the State.

EdithPiaf
2
Points
EdithPiaf 09/05/07 - 07:12 am
0
0
This man specifically stated

This man specifically stated that the price needs to be high enough that it would be out of reach for the average black person to purchase, therefore making the ratio of whites higher. How could you not see that? It is a slick way to segregate, and it's been going on for YEARS. This is nothing new, and this is only ONE that has been exposed out of (probably) hundreds.

truth-now
0
Points
truth-now 09/05/07 - 07:12 am
0
0
If you read the entire email

If you read the entire email and grasp the context, you would understand that Barbee is describing what the local black legislators would advocate to preserve their black voting base. Barbee was not expressing his own views. The reporters that have reported on this "story" - Sylvia included - have completely missed this point and done a grave misservice to Dave Barbee. The Chronicle needs to publish the entire email and all the others that went with it. Let the people read them without being filtered or censored.

EdithPiaf
2
Points
EdithPiaf 09/05/07 - 07:15 am
0
0
truth-now... it can be read

truth-now... it can be read in it's entirety at www.nbcaugusta.com

J.W.
2
Points
J.W. 09/05/07 - 07:27 am
0
0
Mr. Barbee, from all

Mr. Barbee, from all indications you are an intelligent man. You sit on the Augusta Housing Authority and serve as the Chairman of the Richmond Cty. Republican Party. Obviously you are not stupid. Did you not read this note when you wrote it? I don't care how many different ways you try to explain what you meant, it's what you "wrote" that will live on. The note "sounds" racist--regardless of what you meant. The bullet has been fired and you can't put it back in the gun no matter how hard you try. Gracefully step down and fade away...Augusta is finally moving forward and you will be very much in the way .

fd1962
26
Points
fd1962 09/05/07 - 07:30 am
0
0
No one happier about this
Unpublished

No one happier about this mess than the Chronicle - 150% fair and balanced, as usual.

WW1949
19
Points
WW1949 09/05/07 - 07:31 am
0
0
Why worry what the Boardmans

Why worry what the Boardmans will gain. They are putting their money into Augusta. Look at Houghton school in the low income area and the mills. See who goes to the school. It certainly will not be the people from better areas of the city. The people living downtown should be grateful to the Boardmans. They could just walk away. As far as Gilbert Manor is concerned. MCG should have the property for expansion which would better the economy in the area and produce jobs that maybe some of the people being relocated could do. Instead of being takers they could be givers to the area. I don't see anything wrong with Mr. Barbees email. It is only the truth. Do what is best for the tax paying community and not the people on welfare or the politician that may loose a few votes from people who probably don't vote anyway.

Fishboy
29
Points
Fishboy 09/05/07 - 07:32 am
0
0
How is Augusta moving forward

How is Augusta moving forward if it's black politicians are fighting to keep it segregated in order to preserve their own political power. Sounds like a vehicle in reverse, to me.

mutt
2
Points
mutt 09/05/07 - 07:33 am
0
0
The plot thickens, and it

The plot thickens, and it seems that the racially over sensitive can't
see through it. The ultra rich Boardmans had a plan. Use money from
Boardman oil, invest it in Sibley Mill, and make upscale expensive
luxury apartments just like Enterprize Mill. But Dave Barbee and the
Augusta Housing Authority were trying to throw a wrench in the works.
Barbee planned to have the housing authority rent 30 to 40 % of the
development as section 8 and low income subsidized housing. Nothing
knocks the shine off "upscale luxury" like a recovering crack head and
her 6 illegitamate future inmates living in the apartment next door. It
kind of drives down property values. What to do, what to do? If the
Boardmans protest the plan, they are exposed as the rich, elitist snobs
they are, and maybe even branded racist. It looks like they turned the
tables on Barbee. They exchanged emails with the less than eloguent,
stammering man,waiting for him to write the wrong thing. Then throw him
to the racially over sensitive Black politicians. They can always be
depended on for a knee jerk over reaction, and our ready, white guilt
ridden, apologist Mayor even jumped in and helped cut off the snakes
head. SMOOTH!!

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