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Why can’t minority firms take the lead in selling city bonds?

rban Pro NEWS • COMMENTARY

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ENTERTAINMENT

The CSRA’s FREE WEEKLY NEWSPAPER VOL.3 NO.39

JUNE 19 - 25, 2014

Photo by Vincent Hobbs

Reflections on District 6

Eddie Bussey 706-772-9800

Ben Hasan waits to speak to a crowd of supporters gathered for a fund-raising fish fry at Jamestown Community Center. Hasan is in a run-off election for District 6 Commissioner.


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By Frederick Benjamin Sr. UrbanProWeekly Staff Writer AUGUSTA On Tuesday, a minority-owned investment brokerage firm, IFS Securities, asked Augusta commissioners to consider doing business with them on an upcoming bond issue. The firm thought it worth broaching the subject given the factthat African Americans are so well represented in all other phases of local politics and the procurement process. Angela Avery, a relationship manager with IFS and Craig Walker, a company vice-president, headed a team which traveled to Augusta to make the presentation. According to Avery, the firm is the largest minority broker-dealer in the Southeast and they wanted to demonstate why Augusta should consider transitioning to a “negotiated process” in choosing its underwriter which would lead to a lower overall cost. Also, the negotiated process could lead to an inclusive approach to take account of Minority (MBE), Women (WMBE) and Disadvantaged (DBE) contractors. Such companies were excluded from consideration in the competitive bid process because of the large capital requirements that the law requires in that process. The company was asked to return and make a full presentation before the city’s Finance Committee in early July, but just by their visit, they were successful in getting commissioners to ask, “Why had the city never con-

sidered working with a minority firm to sell its bonds?” Some commissioners were clearly prepared to hear more of what the firm had to say. “If underwriting goes through competitive bids, minority firms are excluded,” Angela Avery told the commissioners. If a municipality was inclined to work with a minority firm, the only way in which that could be guaranteed is by going the “negotiated” route. “To have a majority firm do $150 million [with no minority participation] doesn’t seem fair,” Craig Walker, vice president of IFS Securities said. Doing business with minorities just because they are minorities is a prescription for much political wrangling as the struggle over decades of disparity studies in Augusta so amply demonstrates. But doing business with this minority firm could have added benefits — it could save the city hundreds of thousands, if not millions, on a large bond issue. Besides the cost savings that IFS Securities is prepared to share with the city and its financial team, Walker suggested that going the negotiated route would give Augustans an opportunity to purchase the bonds at the original issue price rather than later on down the road in the inflated secondary market at a higher price. “If you live in Augusta, you have to wait to be able to purchase Augusta’s own bonds and you will have to pay more,” Walker said. “In a negotiated

sale, Augusta residents will get preferential treatment and can purchase bonds at their original price rather than having to purchase the bonds

over the secondary markets.” According to Walker, Augusta’s way of doing business is no longer efficient.

Susanne Shank is president, CEO, and vice-chairwoman of Wall Street bond firm Siebert Brandford Shank & Co. L.L.C. The firm has partnered with IFS Securities which wants to do business with the city of Augusta. According to IFS’s vice president Craig Walker, Shank is related to a well known Augustan — the late John H. Ruffin.

Top-rated bond firm is minority-owned Things have changed dramatically in the municipal bond underwriting business. Minority and women-owned firms have proven that they can hold their own and even exceed the efforts of more traditionally staffed investment companies. IFS Securities which wants to do business in Augusta has partnered with one of the top financial firms in the country which, like itself, is minority-owned. According to Craig Walker, a company vice-president with IFS, it has added Siebert Brandford Shank & Co. L.L.C. to its Augusta team. If the city does business with IFS Securities, it is also going to be doing business with Siebert Brandford Shank & Co. Augustans would be interested in knowing that Susanne Shank, president, CEO and vice-chairwoman of SBS&Co. L.L.C. is related to the late John H. Ruffin. Shank’s firm is a consistent top performer year

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after year and has established itself as one of the top firms in the nation, not just among minority firms. Siebert was the seventh-largest underwriter for transportation deals in 2009, eighth-largest for stimulus-related bonds, and fourth-largest for airports, according to Thomson Reuters. Regionally, Siebert was ranked 10th in the Northeast, 11th in the Southwest, 14th in the Far West, 23rd in the Midwest, and 37th in the Southeast. In March 2008 the firm completed its biggest transaction to date, a $1.75 billion general obligation bond for California. Earlier this month, Siebert also senior managed Chicago’s $770 million GO deal, a complex transaction split into four series of tax-exempt and taxable new-money and refunding bonds, Build America Bonds, and recovery zone economic development bonds.

Publisher Ben Hasan 706-394-9411 Managing Editor Frederick Benjamin Sr. 706-306-4647

Sales & Marketing Phone: 706-394-9411 Photography and Social Media Courtesy of Vincent Hobbs

email: Ben Hasan bzhasan54@yahoo.com Frederick Benjamin Sr. editor@urbanproweekly.com Vincent Hobbs coolveestudio@gmail.com

UrbanProWeekly • JUNE 19 - 25, 2014

Why are minority firms shut out from underwriting the city’s bonds?

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REFLECTIONS ON DISTRICT 6

UrbanProWeekly •JUNE 19 - 25, 2014

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Commissioners-elect Sias and Williams lend support to Ben Hasan campaign HARDEN ENDORSES HASAN FOR DIST. 6 COMMISSION SEAT By Frederick Benjamin Sr. UrbanProWeekly Staff Writer AUGUSTA With about 30 days remaining before the July 22 runoff election to decide who the District 6 commissioner will be, candidate Ben Hasan is taking nothing for granted. “In this political environment, it’s important not to lose a single vote,” Hasan said. Not content to rest on his “front-runner” status, Hasan is encouraging his supporters to get involved and on-board with his passion for making Augusta a “model community.” At the candidate’s Fish Fry fundraiser this past Tuesday at the Jamestown Community Center, Hasan received strong support from local politicians and community leaders. Supporting Hasan at the event were Commissioners-elect Sammy Sias (District 4) and Dennis Williams (District 2). Angela Harden, who ran a strong campaign against Hasan on May 20 with over 20 percent of the vote, officially endorsed the Hasan candidacy on Tuesday. Also showing their support was Commissioner Wayne Guilfoyle and Senate District 22 candidate Harold Jones. Once again, the Police Benevolent Association of Richmond County was on hand after having pledged their support before the May 20 primary. Although city commission races are nonpartisan, political observers are keenly aware that Hasan’s July 22 opponent, Bob Finnegan, has strong G.O.P. roots. And while Democrat-leaning voters enjoy a significant majority in the “new” District

District 6 Commissioner Ben Hasan shares the importance of the upcoming runoff election with supporters at the June 17, fundraiser at Jamestown Community Center. Photo by Vincent Hobbs 6, Hasan faces the challenge of getting his supporters back to the polls. Unlike the other majority-black dis-

tricts, District 6 has a significant Republican base of power from which Finnegan can draw. However, based

on the turnout patterns in May, Hasan can take comfort that the district is likely to remain progressive politically.

How Dist. 6 voted in May 20 Primary SPLOST VII YES: 1552

NO: 1820

BALLOTS CAST FOR GOV. GOP 1197

DEM 1677

DISTRICT 6 COMMISSION SEAT HASAN 1105 FINNEGAN 948 HARDEN 706 GARVIN 311 LEWIS 259

FORMER DISTRICT 6 CANDIDATE ANGELA C. HARDEN (center), who has endorsed Ben Hasan. listens as Hasan speaks to a crowd gathered for a fund-raising fish fry at Jamestown Community Center. Hasan is in a run-off election for District 6 Commissioner. Photo by Vincent Hobbs


Directory

UrbanProWeekly • JUNE 19 - 25, 2014

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Good Shepherd Baptist Church

Rev. Clarence Moore, Pastor 1714 Olive Road / P. O. Box 141 (mailing address) Augusta, GA 30903 706/733-0341- Telephone/706/667-0205 – Fax E-mail address: admin@goodshepherdaugusta.org Web address: goodshepherdaugusta.org Rev. Clarence Moore Church Service: 7:45 & 11:00 a.m. Church School: 9:45 a.m. / Prayer Service: 11:00 a.m. – Wednesday Bible Study: 9:00 a.m. - Saturday / 7:00 p.m. - Wednesday

Everfaithful Missionary Baptist Church

314 Sand Bar Ferry Road Augusta, Georgia 30901 (706) 722- 0553 Church School Sunday 9:25am Morning Worship Sunday 11am Evening Worship 6pm (1st & 3rd Sunday) Midday Prayer 12pm Wednesday Intercessory Prayer/Bible Study 6pm Wednesday

Bishop Rosa L. Williams, Pastor

Radio Broadcast: Sundays • WKZK 103.7 FM at 7:30 a.m. Sunday School 8:30 am Morning Worship Services: 9:45 am Evening Worship Services 6 pm (4th Sunday) Bible Study: 6pm (Mondays) Midday Bible Study: 12pm (Tuesdays) Prayer Services: 6pm (Wednesdays) Celebrate Recovery: 6pm (Fridays) and 12pm (Mondays) 2323 Barton Chapel Road • Augusta,GA 30906 706.790.8185 / 706.922.8186 (fax) Visit Us @ www.broadwaybaptistaug.org • Join us on facebook

Sunday Morning Services 10 am Wednesday Services 7 pm 2070 Brown Road, Hephzibah, GA 30815 (706) 592-9221 | www.alwc.net

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UrbanProWeekly •JUNE 19 - 25, 2014

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LENS ABOUT TOWN

PANELISTS SPEAK OUT AGAINST VIOLENCE

ANTHONY “SLEEPY EYEZ” CARTER, a spoken-word artist and poet laureate, speaks to a crowd gathered at the Augusta Grooming Lounge for the “Speak-N-Action Violence Prevention and Success Awareness Panel”. The panel offered insight and different perspectives on how to reduce violence in the CSRA. Photo by Vincent Hobbs

“POWERFEST 2K14 –THE LAST AND FINAL” WPRW Power 107 will host the 13th annual Powerfest, Saturday, June 21st 2pm-6pm @ the Augusta Exchange Club Fairgrounds (308 Hale Street) in Augusta. Powefest is the largest outdoor event in the South East. Scheduled to appear this year at Powerfest: MACK WILDS GEORGE TANDY JR YOUNG JOC BENZINO ANTHONY LEWIS T K N CASH ALTHEA “THI THI” HEART RICH LOWE hi-riz JRE RILEY

J’BRIA ROXE’ TONY MICHAEL P NYCE MAIN ATTRACTION MISDEMEANOR  MATT CALCUTT TRE’ Tre tre muzik

Spectators can also enjoy the Empire Auto Car and Bike Show featuring cars and bikes from car enthusiast from throughout the south and over 40 vendors selling food, clothes, jewelry, arts and crafts. Grills and coolers are not allowed but, lawn chairs, umbrellas and blankets are welcome. Tickets are on sale now for $10. Advanced tickets can be purchased at both locations of Pyramid Music, Household Rental and Sales, and DTLR (lower level –Augusta Mall) or online www.power107.net. For more information on call 706-396-6000.

Richmond County School System – 2014 eBOARD Solutions Awards of Excellence

The Richmond County Board of Education was recognized at the Georgia School Board Association Summer Conference in Savannah, Georgia recently. Richmond County received 2nd Place for the use of the eBOARD Meetings Module which includes, “streamline agenda preparation and enhance effectiveness of all meetings.” The Award brings positive attention to school systems as eBOARD recognizes school boards across the state and nation for their use of an electronic platform. Mark Willis,

Chief Operating Officer of eBoard solutions stated, “The mission and vision of eBOARD is to provide the technology tools for excellence in governance and leadership and each of the winners demonstrated what it means to do so.” The recognition program was designed to showcase technology best practices in governance and leadership in the areas of strategic plan management, leadership evaluations, meetings administration, policy administration and internal and external communications.

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7 UrbanProWeekly • JUNE 19 - 25, 2014

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TIRE RECYCLING

Offering Monthly Tire Recycling for Richmond County Residents As a good community partner, Augusta Solid Waste provides a variety of community-wide events to encourage citizens to join in reducing waste within our community. On the 3rd Saturday of every month Augusta Solid Waste will hold a recycling event where Richmond County residents can drop off up to 5 scrap tires per resident! Since it is against the law for any person in a residental zone to accumulate any amount of scrap tires on or around their property, this is a FREE way to recycle and dispose of these scrap tires! We believe it is our responsibility to make Augusta a cleaner, greener and smarter community – a better place to live! A complete calendar of community events sponsored by Augusta Solid Waste can be found at: www.augustasolidwaste.com.

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AUGUST 16, 2014 Food Lion • 3722 Mike Padgett Hwy.

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OCTOBER 18, 2014 Daniel Field • 1775 Highland Ave

NOVEMBER 15, 2014 Lake Olmstead • 2200 Broad Street

DECEMBER 20, 2014 Goodwill Store • 3179 Washington Road

Recycling Guidelines: Customer must provide proof of Richmond County residency.

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Each resident may bring a maximum of five (5) tires per visit.

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Each event will run from 9am – 2pm on the 3rd Saturday of every month.


UrbanProWeekly •JUNE 19 - 25, 2014

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Ruby Dee

Her life was a perfect storm of art and activism Ruby Dee, an acclaimed actress and civil rights activist whose versatile career spanned stage, radio, television and film, died on June 12, 2014 at age 91. Dee had a long career in theater and film, receiving an Oscar nomination for best supporting actress at the age of 83 for her role in the 2007 film American Gangster. She also won an Emmy and was nominated for several other awards. Speaking to The Associated Press in 2001, Dee said: “I think you mustn’t tell your body, you mustn’t tell your soul, ‘I’m going to retire.’ You may be changing your life emphasis, but there’s still things that you have in mind to do that now seems the right time to do. I really don’t believe in retiring as long as you can breathe.” The celebrated actress was surrounded by family and friends at the time of her death, her daughter said. Throughout her career she frequently acted alongside her husband, Ossie Davis, whom she met on Broadway in the mid-1940s. Their partnership rivaled the achievements of other celebrated performing couples, such as Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy. But they were more than a performing couple. They were also activists who fought for civil rights, particularly for blacks. “We used the arts as part of our struggle,” she said at an appearance in Jackson, Mississippi, in 2006. “Ossie said he knew he had to conduct himself differently with skill and thought.” In 1998, the pair celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary and an even longer association in show business with the publication of a dual autobiography, With Ossie and Ruby: In This Life Together. Davis died in 2005. At his funeral, his widow sat near his coffin as former President Bill Clinton led an array of famous mourners, including Harry Belafonte and Spike Lee. Davis and Dee met when she auditioned for the Broadway play “Jeb,” starring Davis (both were cast in it). In December 1948, on a day off from rehearsals from another play, The Smile of the World, they took a bus to New Jersey to get married. They were already so close that “it felt almost like an appointment we finally got around to keeping,” Dee wrote in In This Life Together. They shared billing in 11 stage productions and five movies during long parallel careers. Dee’s fifth film, “No Way Out,” with Sidney Poitier in 1950, was her husband’s first. Along with film, stage and

Ruby Dee 1923 - 2014 television, their richly honored careers extended to a radio show, “The Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee Story Hour,” that featured a mix of black themes. Davis directed one of their joint film appearances, “Countdown at Kusini” (1976). The couple’s push for social justice was lifelong: In 1999, they were arrested while protesting the shooting death of Amadou Diallo, an unarmed African immigrant, by New York City police. They were friends with baseball star Jackie Robinson and his wife, Rachel — Dee played her, opposite Robinson himself, in the 1950 movie The Jackie Robinson Story — and with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. Dee and Davis served as masters of ceremonies for the historic 1963 March on Washington, and she spoke at the funerals for both King and Malcolm X. Among her best-known films was “A Raisin in the Sun,” in 1961, from the classic play that explored racial discrimination and black frustration. On television, she was a leading cast member on soap operas in

the 1950s and ‘60s, a rare sight for a black actress at that time. As she aged, her career did not ebb. Dee was the voice of wisdom and reason as Mother Sister in Spike Lee’s 1989 film Do the Right Thing, alongside her husband. She

won an Emmy as supporting actress in a miniseries or special for 1990’s Decoration Day. She won a National Medal of the Arts in 1995 and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Screen Actors Guild in 2000. In 2004, she and Davis received Kennedy Center Honors. Another honor came in 2007, after Davis’ death, when the recording of their memoir won a Grammy for best spoken word album, a category that includes audiobooks. Born Ruby Ann Wallace in Cleveland to parents who soon split, Dee moved to Harlem as an infant with a brother and two sisters, living with relatives and neighbors. She graduated from highly competitive Hunter High School in 1939 and enrolled at Hunter College. “I wanted to be an actor but the chances for success did not look promising,” she wrote in their joint autobiography. But in 1940 she got a part in a Harlem production of a new play, On Strivers Row, which she later called “one giant step” to becoming a person and a performer. In 1965, she became the first black woman to play lead roles at the American Shakespeare Festival. She won an Obie Award for the title role in Athol Fugard’s Boesman and Lena and a Drama Desk Award for her role in “Wedding Band.” Most recently, Dee performed her one-woman stage show, My One Good Nerve: A Visit With Ruby Dee, in theaters across the country. The show was a compilation of some of the short stories, humor and poetry in her book of the same title. She is survived by three children, Nora, Hasna and Guy, and seven grandchildren.

Active in politics most of her life, the actress spoke at a 1969 press conference during the trial of the Panther 21, the leadership of the east coast membership of the Black Panther Party, who were on trial for conspiracy and other charges for which they were all ultimately acquitted. David Fenton / Getty Images


THE GEORGIA REPUBLICANS CALL IT “MINORITY ENGAGEMENT” AND THEY’RE SPENDING MONEY TO SEE HOW MANY MINORITY VOTERS THEY CAN ADD TO THEIR SIDE. By Paul Lewis The Guardian ATLANTA “It is a David and Goliath challenge,” Leo Smith says of his job. “It is hard, hard, hard, work.” There can be few things in politics quite as difficult as persuading African Americans in Georgia to vote Republican. “Traditionally there has been a divide,” Smith concedes. “You can look at Atlanta. Northern Atlanta: white, wealthy Republican. South Atlanta: mostly black, minority, Democrat, poor.” Smith, 50, used to work in college admissions, recruiting minorities to almost exclusively white universities. Now he fulfils a similar role for the Peach State’s mostly white Republican Party. He recently sat down for an interview with the Guardian, giving an unvarnished insight into the challenges faced by the Georgia Republicans in their quest to attract minority voters. The thrust of his job, he said, was to bring together Georgia’s Republican and African American worlds, which he acknowledges rarely overlap. “I will take a candidate who needs to bridge that relationship and take him to a black church with me. I will say: ‘Hey, the first time we go, you’re just going to sit there. You’re not going to say anything and you’re not going to do anything.’” At the next visit, Smith might encourage the Republican candidate to “share some chicken nuggets or something with the pastor”. But it won’t be until the third or fourth meeting, Smith said, that they will broach the possibility of an audience with the congregation. “We need to have touch points with these people,” he said. “It’s almost like soft selling.” Smith also likes to compare his role to that of a schoolboy trying to fix-up a friend with a long-shot date. “I’m the wing man,” he chuckled. “I am the coordinator of physical encounters.” The Republican National Committee in Washington has hired eight other wing men and women – their official titles are “minority engagement directors” – in Virginia, Ohio, Michigan, North Carolina, Louisiana, Alabama and Florida. In the 2012 presidential election, Mitt Romney won only 17% of the national non-white vote, an appalling result that underscored the Republicans’ urgent need to lure minority voters. Ahead of this year’s midterms, the RNC said it was spending $60m on minority outreach efforts and hired more than 50 paid staff to help attract black, Asian and Latino voters across 19 states. Georgia, however, is a particular problem. The GOP fares particularly badly among African Americans there and, to a lesser extent, Latinos and Asians as well. Smith’s job is to start fixing that – and fast. With minorities forming a growing slice of Georgia’s electorate the state, which has gone Republican in every presidential election for the past 30 years – with the exception of Bill Clinton’s first campaign in 1992 – could be a swing state in the 2016 vote. Signs of that shift could be seen even sooner. Democrats believe their candidate for Georgia’s open Senate seat, Michelle Nunn, could win in November’s midterm election. Smith is focusing his efforts on a handful of regions in the state, including Savannah, Albany and Augusta, where there are precincts in which 25% of the minority population voted for Romney – the high-water mark. In each area, Smith has recruited African American “surrogates”, training them to host events – “women and wine” nights, college gatherings, movie screenings – where they can softly market the GOP. He believes African Americans are naturally inclined to a conservative belief system, in tune with the Republican focus on the family and free-market

Leo Smith, minority engagement director for the Georgia Republican Party, peers from a doorway during a meeting at the Georgia GOP headquarters in Atlanta. Smith is in the GOP’s front lines recruiting African-American voters in pivotal states. He and other black Republicans who recruit say there are plenty of black conservatives out there. They just don’t want to be identified publicly as conservative or Republican. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

It was the Democrats, under presidents John F Kennedy and Lyndon B Johnson, who ushered through civil rights legislation in the 1960s. As a result, many southern whites began turning to the GOP. The relationship between black voters and the Democratic Party was cemented. economics. Republicans, he says, are already capitalizing on this, pointing to the recent $25m grant by the billionaire Koch brothers to the United Negro College Fund, which gives students financial aid. “We need to make Charles Koch not sound like something you snort, but something you can aspire to be like,” Smith said. “What is wrong with wealth? Nothing.” Leaning forward, Smith adopted a stage whisper, re-enacting one of the quiet conversations he says he often has with African Americans. “Do you really hate rich fat cats? But what if you had an opportunity to be rich fat cat tomorrow. Would you take it?” Switching to a different voice, he added: “Yeah! I would!” Smith concluded: “I never went to a black person who said that they don’t want to be a rich fat cat.” In a state as racially scarred as Georgia, however, it is unclear whether appeals to the inner capitalist will do the trick. African American loyalty to the Democratic Party has roots that stretch back decades. Smith, who was once a three-county president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), insists – rightly – that both parties have ugly histories of discrimination. He stresses, as many in the GOP do when talking about issues of race and the two parties, that Abraham Lincoln, the president who abolished slavery, was a Republican. “Democrats were the Dixiecrats,” Smith said, referring to the party’s white, segregationist wing in the south. “They were the people who wouldn’t let black Americans attend their schools, they were the people who populated the KKK.” That changed, and it was the Democrats, under presidents John F Kennedy and Lyndon B Johnson, who ushered through civil rights legislation in the 1960s. As a result, many southern whites began turn-

ing to the GOP. The relationship between black voters and the Democratic Party was cemented. Smith’s point, though, is that the pendulum could swing back again. “Things change,” he said. “Society has shifts.” The problem for Republicans is that the pendulum is continuing on the same trajectory. Voting patterns reveal that the Deep South is becoming more racially divided, not less. Barack Obama’s presidential wins have had a particularly polarizing effect in the south, pulling blacks closer to the Democrats and making whites more inclined to vote Republican. In Georgia, the color divide remains stark. It is even on display in the reception area of the GOP’s state headquarters, in Atlanta, where Smith works. Portraits on the wall show the two dozen Republican politicians holding statewide office. All of them are white men. Smith insists the party is making great strides to change that and points out that during last month’s primaries, the GOP fielded a record number of minority candidates. Asked how many actually won the Republican nomination, Smith sighed and began to count aloud. “State superintendent – Ashley Bell. No. Vivian Childs. Did not make it through primary. Fitz Johnson. Did not make it through the primary. Gil Williams. Did not make it through the primary. Derrick Grayson ran in a Senate race, but he didn’t make it through.” Arguably, Grayson is the kind of candidate the party does not want to attract. He sparked controversy by posting a YouTube video of himself supporting Cliven Bundy, the Nevada rancher who, in the midst of a standoff with the federal government, ranted about “the Negro” who, he ventured, may have been “better off as slaves, picking cotton”. Grayson ended up sixth out of seven candidates in the Senate primary, winning 1% of the vote. Smith declined to comment on the candidate’s support for Bundy. After Grayson, Smith stopped counting African Americans who have tried and failed to win the GOP’s nomination in Georgia. “But look at all these names I’m mentioning,” he said. “That’s a start. They ‘also ran’.” Days later, over the phone, Smith said there were actually two African Americans (both state legislature candidates) who secured the Republican nomination. Both, he added, had been unopposed. Getting minorities on the Republican ballot is a crucial first step if the party is going to rebuild its standing among non-white voters, in Georgia as elsewhere. “Difficulty is no stranger to civil rights movements,” Smith said. “This is a civil rights movement. And we’ve got to start somewhere.”

UrbanProWeekly • JUNE 19 - 25, 2014

‘Hard, hard work’: Georgia Republicans seek African American, Latino votes

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UrbanProWeekly •JUNE 19 - 25, 2014

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Mini Theatre to honor Clint Bryant at Annual Roast & Toast Celebration

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Clint Bryant The Augusta Mini Theatre Community Arts and Life Skills School will present the 5th Annual Sunshine’s Roast and Toast Celebration on Thursday, July 17, 2014 at 7:00 p.m. at Augusta Mini Theatre’s Judith Simon Drama Studio.   This year’s honoree is Clint Bryant, Director of Athletics at Georgia Regents University.   Tickets for the event are $50 each or $500 per table. Proceeds from this event will benefit the Mariah McKie Butler Memorial College Book Scholarship. The Mini Theatre recently awarded the $400 per year scholarship to ten Mini Theatre alumni.  Tickets are on sale at the Augusta Mini Theatre, Inc. located at 2548 Deans Bridge Road. You can also purchase tickets by visiting www. augustaminitheatre.com  Now in his 26th year as Director of Athletics at Georgia Regents University Augusta, Clint Bryant has firmly established himself as one of the top administrators and leaders and advocates for equality in the state of Georgia, the Southeast and in the nation.  Named the Division II AD of the Year for the Southeast Region by NACDA (National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics) in the summer of 2007, Bryant was recently selected to the NCAA’s Division II 40th Anniversary Team for his collegiate efforts as a standout men’s basketball player at Belmont Abbey (N.C.) College. On Oct. 5, 2013, Bryant was inducted into the BAC Hall of Fame.   He oversees a 13-sport Athletics department that has consistently battled for conference and regional honors. Under Bryant’s leadership, Jaguar programs have enjoyed prosperity on and off the playing fields and courts. In May, 2012, GRU Augusta was named the recipient of the Peach Belt Conference Presidents’ Academic Award, a first for the University.   Highly visible and respected on the local, regional and national levels, Bryant brings an infectious enthusiasm to the university. Bryant’s work with the NCAA and USA Basketball has brought national attention to the GRU Augusta Athletics programs. The Mariah McKie Butler Memorial College Book Scholarship was established in 1985 and named to honor the late Mariah McKie Butler for her untiring support on April 20, 2010. The $400 per year scholarship is

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12

U W

Commentary Where’s the accountability? rban Pro

eekly

By Katrina vanden Heuvel Can someone explain to me why the media still solicit advice about the crisis in Iraq from Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.)? Or Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.)? How many times does the Beltway hawk caucus get to be wrong before we recognize that maybe, just maybe, its members don’t know what they’re talking about? Certainly Politico could have found someone with more credibility than Douglas Feith, former undersecretary of defense for policy in the George W. Bush administration and one of the architects of the Iraq war, to comment on how the White House might react to the rapidly deteriorating political situation in Iraq today. Certainly New York Times columnist David Brooks knows what folly it is to equate President Obama’s 2011 troop removal with Bush’s 2003 invasion, as he did during a discussion with me last Friday on NPR? Just a reminder of what that 2003 invasion led to: Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes authoritatively priced Bush’s war at more than $3 trillion. About 320,000 U.S. veterans suffer from brain injury as a result of their service. Between 500,000 and 655,000 Iraqis died, as well as more than 4,000 U.S. military members. Yet as Brooks’s words reveal, the prevailing mindset in today’s media is to treat the 2003 invasion as if its prosecution were an act of God — like Hurricane Katrina, an inevitability that could not have been avoided. Seen this way, policymakers can ignore the idiocy of the decision to invade in the first place and can instead direct all of their critical attention to how to deal with the aftermath. It’s almost as though the mainstream media have demoted themselves from a corps of physicians, eager and able to diag-

nose, prognosticate and prescribe, to one of EMTs, charged instead with triaging, cleaning and cauterizing a catastrophe without investigating its underlying cause. Since so many liberal hawks reached the same conclusion as did Bush et al., this notion of the 2003 invasion’s inevitability can falsely seem to have some credence (which is, perhaps why, as Frank Rich points out in New York magazine, so many

erstwhile hawks, especially so-called liberal ones, feel no need to acknowledge their erroneous judgments of a decade ago). But if so many were wrong about Iraq in 2003, why are they still being invited (and trotting themselves out) on Sunday morning talk shows and op-ed pages as authorities on U.S.Iraq policy? Where is the accountability for the politicians’ and pundits’ warmongering of 11 years ago? James

Fallows — who was “right” on Iraq in a 2002 Atlantic cover story — tweeted Friday, “Working hypothesis: no one who stumped for original Iraq invasion gets to give ‘advice’ about disaster now. Or should get listened to.” Amen. In the current cacophony of Washington, we must remember that there is no equivalence to be Continued on next page

Middle East redrawing its borders without U.S. help By Ross Douthat Every so often, in the post-9/11 era, an enterprising observer circulates a map of what the Middle East might look like, well, after: after America’s wars in the region, after the various revolutions and counterrevolutions, after the Arab Spring and the subsequent springtime for jihadists, after the Sunni-Shiite struggle for mastery. At some point, these cartographers suggest, the wave of post-9/11 conflict will necessarily redraw borders, reshape nationstates, and rub out some of the lines drawn by Sir Mark Sykes and Francois Georges-Picot in a secret Anglo-French treaty almost 100 years ago. In 2006, Ralph Peters, the retired lieutenant colonel turned columnist, sketched a map that subdivided Saudi Arabia and Pakistan and envisioned

Kurdish, Sunni and Shiite republics emerging from a no-longer-united Iraq. Peters’ map, which ran in Armed Forces Journal, inspired conspiracy theories about how this was America’s real plan for remaking the Middle East. But the reality is entirely different: One reason these maps have remained strictly hypothetical, even amid regional turmoil, is that the U.S. has a powerful interest in preserving the status quo. This is not because the existing borders are in any way ideal. Indeed, there’s a good chance that a Middle East that was more politically segregated by ethnicity and faith might become a more stable and harmonious region. Such segregation is an underappreciated part of Europe’s 20th-century transformation into a continent at peace. But this

happened after the brutal ethnic cleansing that accompanied and followed two world wars. There’s no good reason to imagine that a redrawing of Middle Eastern borders could happen much more peacefully. Which is why American policymakers, quite sensibly, have preferred the problematic stability of current arrangements to the long-term promise of a Free Kurdistan or Baluchistan, a Greater Syria or Jordan, a Wahhabistan or Tripolitania. This was true even of the most ambitious architects of the Iraq invasion, who intended to upset a dictator-dominated status quo ... but not, they mostly thought, in a way that would redraw national boundaries. But now that strategy has almost failed. De facto, with the shocking advance of militants toward

Baghdad, there are now three states in what we call Iraq: one Kurdish, one Shiite and one Sunni — with the last straddling the Iraq-Syria border and “governed” by jihadists. This means that Iraq is now part of an arc, extending from Hezbollah’s fiefdom in Lebanon through wartorn Syria, in which official national borders are notional at best. What’s more, we pretty clearly lack both the will and the capacity to change them. Our basic interests have not altered: better stability now, better the Sykes-Picot borders with all their flaws, than the very distant promise of a postconflict Middle Eastern map. But two successive administrations have compromised those interests: one through recklessness, the other through neglect. Now the map is changing; now, as in early20th-century Europe, the price of transformation is being paid in blood.


drawn between Bush’s 2003 decision to invade Iraq and Obama’s 2011 decision to withdraw U.S. troops. Bush’s invasion, after all, was not just a mistake. At best a fool’s errand, at worst a criminal act, this great blunder helped set the stage for Iraq’s chaos today. The increased sectarian violence stems not from the 2011 withdrawal; rather, it is the fruit of the 2003 invasion, subsequent occupation and much-vaunted “surge” of 2007–08. McCain and Graham insist that airstrikes are the only way forward in today’s Iraq. But what we need now are not armchair warriors calling for military strikes or sending weapons. (As an aside, I will say that, should members of the neoconservative movement feel so motivated, we would wholeheartedly respect their decision to enlist in the Iraqi army.) Obama, himself “right” on Iraq during the war’s run-up, is also

right today to resist calls for direct U.S. military action — including airstrikes — in Iraq. The U.S. misadventure in Iraq ended in 2011; we do not need another. Experience and history have (clearly) taught us that there is no military solution in Iraq. Only a political reconciliation can quell the unrest, and this requires more than bellicose calls for violence from 5,000 miles away. To find a solution, we must commit to regional and international diplomacy. We learned in 2003 that when we move in with guns blazing, we tend to spark a lot more fires than we extinguish. In 2014, we cannot afford to learn this same lesson. Regardless of how many are too blind (or proud or foolish) to realize it, we need to write a new scenario for 2014, so that 11 years from now, we can look back and ponder how, this time, we did things right. © 2014 The Washington Post

Remembering Bert Thomas – Class of ‘50 One of Lucy C. Laney’s brightest stars has gone dark. Bert Thomas, a member of the first graduating class of Lucy C. Laney High School, has been called home to the Boulevard in the clouds. Mr. Thomas was an icon in the Augusta community and he touched the lives of many of Laney’s alumni. Our sincere condolences are extended to the Thomas Family. We thank Mrs. Audrey Thomas and Adrienne Thomas Frazier for sharing their husband and father with so many of us. He truly will be missed but will never be forgotten.

Funeral services were held on Thursday, June 19, 2014, at 11:00 am, at the Trinity CME Church, 2930 Glenn Hills Drive, Augusta, Georgia 30906. Expressions of condolences may be sent to Bert Thomas Mrs. Audrey Thomas, 33 Eagle Pointe Drive, Augusta, Georgia 30909.

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Bid specifications may be obtained by contacting Amy Bauman in the Business Office at 706-826-1298, on our web site at www.rcboe.org, or at the Richmond County School System, Central Office, 864 Broad Street, 4th Floor, Augusta, Georgia 30901. The Richmond County School System reserves the right to reject any and all bids and to waive technicalities and informalities. COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION OF RICHMOND COUNTY By: Dr. Frank G. Roberson, Secretary

13 UrbanProWeekly • JUNE 19 - 25, 2014

IRAQ HAWKS from page 12


UrbanProWeekly •JUNE 19 - 25, 2014

14

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

BY KRISTIE ROBIN JOHNSON

Disconnect digitally and reconnect with life

I

often imagine that one hundred years from now, historians and researchers will marvel at all of the amazing advances that we’ve achieved in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. They will look back and be astounded at the speed with which we advanced from the horse and buggy to automobiles to airplanes and bullet trains. They will, without a doubt, speculate and deliberate to no end about the power of the internet and how devices like computers and cell phones changed the lives of generations of people. Whether you are seven or seventy, we are officially a digital generation. For better or worse, the technologies that drive us today will be with us forever. The ease that these technological advancements bring to our modern lives might only be surpassed by the amount of mental energy and actual time that we spend on them. I am reminded of a scene from the film, He’s Just Not That Into You, in which Drew Barrymore’s character laments the complications of dating in the digital age. She explains that it used to be that you just got dumped in person, over the phone, or—remember this relic—in a letter. Nowadays one has infinite possibilities of dumping mechanisms includ-

ing email, text messages, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, to name a few. And most of these portals didn’t even exist when the movie was filmed. The point is that, to a certain extent, we have become a society so buried in our virtual lives that we often forget how to really connect with the living, breathing part of life. Think about it. When was the last time that you enjoyed dinner with a group of friends without at least half of the group spending the evening attached to their I-Phone? How often do you find yourself at an event with family or friends and something interesting happens and, almost immediately, everyone pulls out their camera phone or I-Pad? When was the last time that you simply turned your phone off for more than a few minutes? We exert so much energy in attempting to capture and document moments that we often forget the importance of experiencing and being present in the moments that we wish to remember. I often say that the true genius of Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, is his keen sense of the blatant narcissist that lives deep down in each of us. One of the strongest desires of every human heart is to simply be noticed. On some level, we all just

want to be seen. Today’s technology allows us to make that happen instantaneously, in ways that we never previously imagined. As a result, many of us have been reduced to measuring our value in the number of “likes” that we get, “followers” that we have, or “friends” that we can attract. None of these things can replace the powerful significance of genuine face to face connections, real conversations that allow us to engage in thoughtful discourse, or the particular gift that can only be found in physical, human contact. I would urge you to take the fol-

lowing challenge: take at least one hour this week to disconnect. Cut off your phone, shut down your laptop and tablet, and use that time to build some non-digital connection. Visit a friend. Read a real paper and ink book to you child. Or, just quiet your mind and meditate. Disconnecting from your devices and reconnecting to your life may well be one of the healthiest things that you have done for yourself in a long while. KristieRobinJo@gmail.com @KristieRobinJ on Twitter KristieRobinSpeaks.wordpress.com

Long installed as president-elect of State Bar of Georgia’s Young Lawyers Division

in June 2015. AMELIA ISLAND, Fla. The YLD is comprised John R.B. “Jack” Long of approximately 10,000 of John R.B. Long P.C. lawyers admitted to the in Augusta was installed State Bar of Georgia as president-elect of the who are 36 years old Young Lawyers Division or younger or who have (YLD) of the State Bar been admitted to their of Georgia on June 6 first bar no more than during the organizafive years. The YLD has tion’s Annual Meeting. been strengthened over He was sworn in by the years through guidJustice Keith Blackwell ance by the State Bar of of the Supreme Court of Georgia. John R.B. “Jack” Long Georgia, its Executive Committee and Board Long, whose firm specializes in general civil litiga- of Directors, the Supreme Court, and tion, corporate and business law, through dedicated service rendered and family law, is a graduate of the by its members. In keeping with its Walter F. George School of Law at motto of “working for the profession Mercer University and was admitted and the public,” the YLD has more to the State Bar of Georgia in 2006. than 25 hard-working committees He previously served on the Board that produce an array of projects and of Directors of the YLD Executive programs. Through the years, the Council and as secretary and treasur- YLD has also gained national recognition by winning several American er of the YLD. He will be installed as the 69th pres- Bar Association awards for its projident of the State Bar of Georgia YLD ects and publications.

Contractors Academy next class features Gilbane Construction If you haven’t taken advantage of CONTR ACTORS ACADEMY’S great classes, then you still have an opportunity this Thursday June 19th from 6-8:30 p.m.  We are excited to announce that Gilbane Construction has joined our roster!  For those unaware Gilbane was recently awarded the contract for GRU’s Cancer Center, but they will be covering our Contracting Class on June 19th!!  This project is a $44 Million and is due to begin 1st quarter 2015.  Take the time to learn from industry experts on their best practices while also building, bridging, and forming relationships.  Great opportunity to network with other businesses and form teams/partnerships.  Don’t miss out on upcoming opportunities!  Seating is limited and class is only $50!  Call today for more information. Take the time to meet those contractors doing great things in our

region! Calendar of Upcoming Events June 19th – Contracting Course – Gilbane $50 June 26th – Georgia Department of Transportation FREE TO ATTEND June 30th – QuickBooks Beginners – Avail Accounting $75 lunch provided July 10th – Project Management – Turner Construction July 14th – QuickBooks Beginners – Avail Accounting $75 lunch provided July 23rd – Excavation Training & Certification – Master Safety Solutions   Patterson-Brown & Associates 1378 Laney Walker Blvd. Suite 104 Augusta, GA 30901 (706) 945-2173 www.pba-diversity.com


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