Resolutions to cooperate set tone for board

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Five Augusta commissioners were sworn in to three-year terms Wednesday, promising a new era of unity and progress.

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Newly sworn in Augusta Commissioner Corey Johnson is congratulated by his wife, Kiki.  Jackie Ricciardi/Staff
Jackie Ricciardi/Staff
Newly sworn in Augusta Commissioner Corey Johnson is congratulated by his wife, Kiki.

District 2 Commissioner Corey Johnson and District 4 Commissioner Alvin Mason, both newcomers to the board, received the oath of office from State Court Judge David Watkins. District 6 Commissioner Joe Jackson, also a newcomer, was sworn in by State Court Judge Richard Slaby.

District 8 Commissioner Jimmy Smith and Super District 10 Commissioner Don Grantham were sworn in for second terms by Chief Superior Court Judge Carlisle Overstreet.

In remarks afterward, each commissioner thanked God, their families and supporters before vowing to do everything possible to help move the city forward.

Mr. Johnson said he looked forward to "working with everybody and just seeing a shining city come about."

"Augusta's been known as a diamond in the rough," he said. "We're going to make it shine."

Mr. Mason said he was prepared to do whatever is necessary to move Augusta forward with "unity and teamwork."

Mr. Smith vowed to continue working "to help develop south Augusta as well as all of the city." Mr. Jackson asked for the public's prayers to help commissioners move the city forward. Mr. Grantham thanked God for the opportunity to serve Augusta once again.

"It's so important we all work together, and I have found that to be so true, particularly in the last couple of years that we have seen the progress made," he said. "I'm proud to be a part of this."

The new board's first order of business was the unanimous election of Mayor Pro Tem Betty Beard to a second one-year term.

Commissioners then appointed staff General Counsel Chiquita Johnson and Todd Boudreaux of Shepard Plunkett Hamilton & Boudreaux as legal counsel through January to work out a plan to transition legal work to the in-house legal department beginning in February. Commissioner Jerry Brigham voted against the motion, and Mr. Grantham asked for a point of personal privilege to praise attorney Stephen Shepard and members of his firm for the support they have given the commission when it was needed.

In their first controversial issue of the year, the board refused to deny business and liquor licenses for Club Dreams, at 3023 Washington Road, where two men were shot in the parking lot on Christmas. A security guard was also shot outside the club in February.

Commissioners put the club on probation in November because of noise complaints from residents in a neighboring subdivision. The sheriff's office recommended the licenses be denied, as did the license department and Mr. Brigham, in whose district the club is located.

"My opinion is this is going to be nothing but a nuisance no matter where it's located," Mr. Brigham said. "I think this commission is being lackadaisical. This is ridiculous. This is not the image we want for Augusta."

After three votes that split along racial lines, the final vote to deny failed, with Mr. Johnson and Mr. Mason voting no and Mrs. Beard and commissioners J.R. Hatney and Calvin Holland abstaining. That outcome would have allowed the owners to buy licenses and open as early as Tuesday night, but Attorney Leon Larke said club owner Marion Rosier does not plan to re-open at the Washington Road location, but plans to move to Damascus Road.

Nevertheless, after the meeting, Mr. Johnson, Mr. Mason, Mr. Brigham, Mr. Grantham, Mr. Jackson and Mr. Smith agreed to direct the Licensing Department not to issue a license for the Washington Road location until Jan. 15, when commissioners will again take up the matter.

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

CONTACT YOUR AUGUSTA CITY OFFICIALS

- Mayor Deke Copenhaver, (706) 821-1831

- District 1 Mayor Pro Tem Betty Beard, (706) 724-0916

- District 2 Commissioner Corey Johnson, (706) 736-4435

- District 3 Commissioner Joe Bowles, (706) 825-6894

- District 4 Commissioner Alvin Mason, (706) 793-1991

- District 5 Commissioner Calvin Holland Sr., (706) 798-5294

- District 6 Commissioner Joe Jackson, (706) 533-7839

- District 7 Commissioner Jerry Brigham, (706) 650-1700

- District 8 Commissioner Jimmy Smith, (706) 798-3890

- District 9 Commissioner J.R. Hatney, (706) 722-5035

- District 10 Commissioner Don Grantham, (706) 738-7786

- City Administrator Fred Russell, (706) 821-2400

- Clerk of Commission Lena J. Bonner, (706) 821-1823

- Attorney Stephen Shepard, (706) 724-6597

Comments (20) Add comment
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WhiskyDick
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WhiskyDick 01/03/08 - 07:41 am
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Abstaining from a vote is

Abstaining from a vote is nothing more than public cowardice.

WarEagle
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WarEagle 01/03/08 - 08:27 am
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I am waiting to see just how

I am waiting to see just how long this "unity" lasts or are these new commissioners just drones of the last ones who just left office.

patriciathomas
42
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patriciathomas 01/03/08 - 08:29 am
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Three abstaining and the rest

Three abstaining and the rest splitting along racial lines doesn't bode well if it's going to be a continuation of a trend.

FedupwithAUG
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FedupwithAUG 01/03/08 - 08:56 am
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The problem is not the club

The problem is not the club but the thugs that roam the streets of Augusta. Sure they can close down one club but they will just move on to another one and the same crap will happen. So lets concentrate on the Thugs and the the business owner trying to make a living. He should however take care of the noise issue. Does anyone know if it was complaints about the music or the Thugs in the parking lot?

Little Lamb
45989
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Little Lamb 01/03/08 - 09:15 am
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I agree with Patricia. The

I agree with Patricia. The headline and the story don't match. I wonder what else when on at the meeting. Sloppy reporting at best.

karmakills123
8
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karmakills123 01/03/08 - 09:30 am
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SOS ...different day.. :(

SOS ...different day.. :(

Interested Citizen
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Interested Citizen 01/03/08 - 09:38 am
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Sounds like the SAME OLD

Sounds like the SAME OLD STUFF to me. Three (3) Commissioners abstaining....I agree that abstaining is nothing more than public cowardice!!

BobbieGeeWhiz
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BobbieGeeWhiz 01/03/08 - 10:01 am
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Read the whole story

Read the whole story folks...the club WILL NOT OPEN...6 commissioners, including Corey Johnson and Alvin Mason, signed a letter blocking the license until they have further time to study the problem. I bet dollars to doughnuts they will hold firm and Club Dreams will NEVER reopen in any form. In other words...the system is working.

BobbieGeeWhiz
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BobbieGeeWhiz 01/03/08 - 10:02 am
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...and as far as THUGS

...and as far as THUGS showing up at clubs...that is what happens when you put out THUG BAIT. Funny...gunfire never erupts at clubs that play beach music.

pablanco
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pablanco 01/03/08 - 11:24 am
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so how many black ones and

so how many black ones and how many white ones?

Riverman1
83887
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Riverman1 01/03/08 - 11:50 am
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Good luck to Augusta.

Good luck to Augusta.

Dame Jacqueline
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Dame Jacqueline 01/03/08 - 11:55 am
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Dear Sylvia Cooper, It seems

Dear Sylvia Cooper,

It seems to me that when you report news concerning the Augusta Commission, you always write that the Commission voted on racial lines. I KNOW THAT IS NOT TRUE! Seems to me you are the one who gives the Commission a bad image, telling the public that its always racial. Not every issue is divided and voted on RACIAL LINES. Stop it, Sylvia Cooper!

pja5529
1798
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pja5529 01/03/08 - 02:12 pm
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I agree Dame Jacqueline, if

I agree Dame Jacqueline, if you go back and look at last year's meetings' minutes, you will find that the majority of the votes were not split along racial lines. Those votes are rarely reported however.

rufus
2
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rufus 01/03/08 - 02:18 pm
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Pull your pants up boy

Pull your pants up boy

jshep67
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jshep67 01/03/08 - 03:42 pm
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I tend to agree with "FED up

I tend to agree with "FED up w/ Augusta".., we need to focus our attention on the unruly PATRONS of any establishment. But on the other hand.., club-owners, more times than not, KNOW who the trouble-makers are & need to keep them OUT of their club. The ablsolute DANGER on Washington Rd in front of Club Dreams when the club is closing is a SIGHT TO BEHOLD, let me reassure you.

dani
12
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dani 01/03/08 - 04:47 pm
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0
Where is this Club/ I hear

Where is this Club/ I hear Wash Rd. but Wash Rd is a loong road. Is it at National Hills shopping Center?

aintryt
189
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aintryt 01/03/08 - 06:09 pm
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Somebody should be assigned

Somebody should be assigned to stand behind the commissioners to whack those who abstain with a rubber chicken.

MartinezWest Augusta
2
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MartinezWest Augusta 01/03/08 - 07:07 pm
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The R. Kelly concert tonight

The R. Kelly concert tonight at james brown areana. Is already sold out. Great news for augusta. I suspect alot of 16 yr old to 34 yr old black and white people to be there. First big concert for 2008 sold out! With more concerts selling out. Augusta can continue to get bigger and bigger acts. Also brad means the anchor from wjbf. Has moved back to richmond county.

MartinezWest Augusta
2
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MartinezWest Augusta 01/03/08 - 07:10 pm
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The R. Kelly concert tonight

The R. Kelly concert tonight at james brown arena. Is already sold out. Great news for augusta. I suspect alot of 16 yr old to 34 yr old black and white people to be there. First big concert for 2008 sold out! With more concerts selling out. Augusta can continue to get bigger and bigger acts. Also brad means the anchor from wjbf. Has moved back to richmond county.

joesimpson
0
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joesimpson 01/04/08 - 05:15 am
0
0
The club is right by I-20 at

The club is right by I-20 at the old shoney's inn

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