Mason calls for District 1 candidates to come together

Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2009 11:58 AM
Last updated Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2010 11:38 PM
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The tone of the District 1 Augusta Commission race has turned overtly negative, Mayor Pro Tem Alvin Mason said in a news conference today, and it's time for both candidates to come together - publicly, at a forum or debate - and show voters they're willing to work for all of them, black, white, Asian, Hispanic and all.

The city “can’t afford to have this government turned back into a circus,” he said.

"As the mayor pro tem of Augusta-Richmond County, I appeal to candidates Matt Aitken and William Fennoy," Mr. Mason said, reading from a prepared statement. "One of you will be commissioner elect for all the people that reside in District 1 on the night of Dec. 1, 2009 ... This district and this city deserve to know that you will represent and take into account the interests of al the residents, regardless of skin color."

Mr. Mason called on the candidates to come together in a mutually agreed-upon format the day before the Dec. 1 runoff. Thus far, Mr. Aitken has declined invitations to attend events with Mr. Fennoy present, saying the issues were hashed out exhaustively in forums before the Nov. 3, general election, and that such events won't be productive because of the racial tone of the campaign.

"I would suggest," Mr. Mason said today, "that both candidates have a meeting of the minds and come together and allow the constituents of this district the opportunity to see you side by side at a mutually agreed upon location on Monday, Nov. 30, 2009. Since the regular election there have been endorsements by former candidates who had different views. District 1 needs to hear and question where you both stand today before a vote is cast next Tuesday."

Mr. Aitken said he wishes Mr. Mason would have talked to him before making his public statement. He said he is not changing his mind about joint appearances.

“We’ll just let the voters decide who’s going to step into this seat,” he said. “We’re running our campaign. We’ll run it the best way we know how, and we’ll continue doing that.”

Mr. Fennoy said today that he’s willing to have a representative of his campaign meet with a representative of Mr. Aitken’s campaign and come to an agreement on the time, location, format and moderator for a public debate.

“I have never had a problem meeting anyone anytime,” Mr. Fennoy said. “I have always shown up at any event when I’ve been invited, and that hasn’t changed.”

Last week, Mr. Fennoy appeared at forums at Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church and Lucy Craft Laney Museum; Mr. Aitken was invited to both but declined. Mr. Fennoy also attended a Summerville Neighborhood Association meeting at the Partridge Inn, which Mr. Aitken backed out of after learning Mr. Fennoy would be present.

Mr. Mason, however, said he didn’t call the news conference to criticize one candidate or another. He also referenced Monday's press conference by a group calling itself a "collective body representing every aspect of the black community," which blasted Mr. Aitken for skipping debates hosted by black organizations and said the commission's 5-5 racial balance needs to be preserved, and therefore black voters must come out en masse to defeat Mr. Aitken.

"At a press conference yesterday, it was mentioned that this may be the most important election since consolidation," Mr. Mason said. "I'm inclined to agree with that statement. What I don't agree with, though, is that there is any collective body that represents all black people or any collective body that represents all white people.

"As to the 5-5 racial balance of the commission, the charter does not mandate a racial outcome, but the lines were drawn so that if people came out in great enough numbers and voted, then there could be a balance on this commission.

“So to me, the message should be to encourage everyone to exercise their right to vote, and each candidate get proactive in energizing the voters to come out and decide how you want your commission to act, look and think on your behalf.”

Mr. Fennoy said he has never advocated rhetoric saying he should be elected solely because he is black. However, he said he’s opposed to the commission tipping 6-4 in favor of either whites or blacks. He said he was “knocking on doors” during Monday’s news conference at the base of the Lady Justice statue behind the Municipal Building and was not responsible for what was said.

Mr. Mason said after the news conference that while he does have a personal preference between the two candidates, he is not making a public endorsement. By making a public statement today, he said, he's trying to initiate a healing process, given the way the District 1 race has gone so far.

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hr69
13
Points
hr69 11/24/09 - 01:21 pm
0
0
Mr. Aitken may be worried

Mr. Aitken may be worried that Fennoy will pull a Woody Merry on him.

JackBootedThug
0
Points
JackBootedThug 11/24/09 - 01:28 pm
0
0
Mr Aitken is in a "no win"

Mr Aitken is in a "no win" situation. If he doesn't show up for head to head debates, he looks bad. If he does show up, he will be race baited because race cards are free and plentiful for the black community. There are no repercussions for them to use race, while Mr Aitken would be branded a racist for doing the same. The news conference yesterday was nothing more than a ploy to get the black community out to vote on December 1. If they don't, then Mr Aitken will most certainly win the election.

KingJames
10
Points
KingJames 11/24/09 - 01:59 pm
0
0
Finally, somebody with some

Finally, somebody with some sense. I'm glad Mr. Mason spoke out. It looks like he's going against the ministers. I wish him well when he is up for re-election. Folks in Augusta have long memories.

JerryAtrick
0
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JerryAtrick 11/24/09 - 02:10 pm
0
0
Why doesn't Mr Obama invite

Why doesn't Mr Obama invite them to his temporary residence for a beer? The cameras would be running..... He is missing out on a chance here!

Big_vike
1
Points
Big_vike 11/24/09 - 02:20 pm
0
0
What does he mean the city

What does he mean the city “can’t afford to have this government turned back into a circus,” The circus never left, the acts might have changed, there is a new "Ringmaster" but our city government never has been at a loss for Clowns.

Notreally
4
Points
Notreally 11/24/09 - 02:26 pm
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0
omg lol...

omg lol...

justthefacts
21089
Points
justthefacts 11/24/09 - 02:35 pm
0
0
You guys should just divide

You guys should just divide it up. East/West. Be done with it.

Mr. Thackeray
865
Points
Mr. Thackeray 11/24/09 - 03:00 pm
0
0
Mason, needs to stay out of

Mason, needs to stay out of business such as this. What is his agenda, I wonder?

baronvonreich
0
Points
baronvonreich 11/24/09 - 03:22 pm
0
0
The city “can’t afford to

The city “can’t afford to have this government turned back into a circus - LOL!!!! It never stopped being a circus.

RichmondCountyResident1
29
Points
RichmondCountyResident1 11/24/09 - 03:23 pm
0
0
Augusta is not a progressive

Augusta is not a progressive town because it is loaded with smallminded subversive people. Their goal is to blame the other race and not look at their own faults in this confusion. They want to get ahead and hold you back at the same time.Saying that blacks are the racist because they speak out about their desires, is bull. The whites talk, but I say look at their actions. They have never come close to electing a black commissioner. As the old adage goes, forget what they say, and watch what they do.

ColdBeerBoiledPeanuts
7310
Points
ColdBeerBoiledPeanuts 11/24/09 - 03:27 pm
0
0
Ya'll listen to justus 4's

Ya'll listen to justus 4's daddy now, ya hear!

RichmondCountyResident1
29
Points
RichmondCountyResident1 11/24/09 - 03:34 pm
0
0
Coldbeer, Justus is a far

Coldbeer, Justus is a far more imformed poster than smallminded reactionaries like you.Because a lot losers can sit on a keyboard and throw out bull don't make it right. The truth is the truth.

myusername
15
Points
myusername 11/24/09 - 03:38 pm
0
0
It's disheartening to see

It's disheartening to see that racism is alive and well in the black community in Augusta. I thought having an African-American president was supposed to fix all of our racial problems...

1of the frontrowgang
0
Points
1of the frontrowgang 11/24/09 - 03:54 pm
0
0
Look who was at the meeting.

Look who was at the meeting. Almost all losers. Why wouldn't they answer the question about the two blacks running against Joe Bowles. I guess that was O.K. because if a black had won it would have made it 6-4 blacks. I also thought that clergy was supposed to be people of GOD, but it appears they are only for blacks.

gargoyle
15566
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gargoyle 11/24/09 - 04:17 pm
0
0
I commend Mr. Mason for his

I commend Mr. Mason for his public statement . With The current state of politics his comments were heroic and put him above the commando scare tactics going on in District 1
"The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails."
-William Arthur Ward

Riverman1
81416
Points
Riverman1 11/24/09 - 04:38 pm
0
0
As I said before, Mason is a

As I said before, Mason is a fair person. He was educated by the military for 20 years, and I mean that in a positive way. Let's hope he ends up in a position of leadership, It's interesting to see the goings on with Richmond Cty. politics and the power brokers black and white. Listen to Alvin Mason and we will all do well.

alfrrst4
18
Points
alfrrst4 11/24/09 - 04:38 pm
0
0
It's either meet and discuss

It's either meet and discuss the issues with the people in that district and let the people see what he is hiding and why, and vote Fennoy in and move on, plan and simple. To beg this man to meet face to face with the voters and his appoinent is not the right thing to do. Move on without him is the best thing to do, because he's showing his intention already.

Pistol
0
Points
Pistol 11/24/09 - 04:41 pm
0
0
Myusername are you kidding?

Myusername are you kidding? Obama is a carbon copy of Augusta; half white, half black. God the internal battles the man must have!

8675309
0
Points
8675309 11/24/09 - 05:26 pm
0
0
Aitken is being attacked by

Aitken is being attacked by ignorant people for being white. What can he accomplish by meeting with these people? A politician who is leading, or perceives himself to be leading a race, does not give his opponent the opportunity to cut into the lead by scheduling a last minute debate.

jonathanswifftt
0
Points
jonathanswifftt 11/24/09 - 06:42 pm
0
0
Blackboot is correct, an no

Blackboot is correct, an no win for Aitken---can't fight all those race cards at once! Let them continue to "holler" and show the world, in the words of blackjackcool, just how big buffoons they are!

FallingLeaves
27
Points
FallingLeaves 11/24/09 - 06:45 pm
0
0
Quote from the article: "Mr.

Quote from the article: "Mr. Fennoy said he has never advocated rhetoric saying he should be elected solely because he is black. However, he said he’s opposed to the commission tipping 6-4 in favor of either whites or blacks." Talk about talking out of both sides of his mouth. Mr. Fennoy you just contradicted yourself and most of us heard what you said right after the election, it was on TV. Kind of hard to undo it now, but you could at least give it a better try than that. Otherwise, your insincerity is underwhelming.

FallingLeaves
27
Points
FallingLeaves 11/24/09 - 06:48 pm
0
0
There will never be a balance

There will never be a balance on the commission until race is absolutely not a factor in the voting process. It should only be based on ability to do the job, period. That way everyone in the community with the proper skills has a chance to contribute to our community in this way if he or she is voted in. The old way, Latinos, Asians, Indians, Native-Americans, and mixed race individuals are not even considered. This gives the correct impression that are system is ignorant and backward.

jonathanswifftt
0
Points
jonathanswifftt 11/24/09 - 06:54 pm
0
0
it is falling leaves, it's

it is falling leaves, it's called reapportionment!

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