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Newspaper VOL.2 NO.12

ENTERTAINMENT NOV. 22 - DEC. 5, 2012

THE ARTS

Introducing artist Lauren Penha

TALENT SEARCH

S.P.A.R.K. Finalists set to compete Dec. 1

NEIGHBORHOOD IMPROVEMENT

District One Candidate Bill Fennoy

Artist’s rendering of 15th Street Bridge

Photo by Vincent Hobbs

Can Bill Fennoy’s Obama advantage edge Matt Aitken’s Romney backers?


UrbanProWeekly • NOVEMBER 22-DEC. 5, 2012

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“People high up are wanting this legislation, The vagueness of the ballot wording is something they want to keep. They think if they keep it vague it will more easily pass.” – Rep. Tommy Benton, (R-Jefferson)

Misleading language at center of charter school amendment lawsuit By Donna Williams Lewis The Georgia Legislative Black Caucus plans to join a lawsuit that seeks to unravel the charter school amendment passed by voters on Nov. 6. State Sen. Emanuel Jones (D-Decatur), chairman of the caucus, said language in the ballot question was “intentionally deceptive.” He has asked state and federal officials to investigate what he’s calling ballot fraud. “Ever since the word has come out about our legal effort to turn this back, I have received countless e-mails from people across the state saying how betrayed they felt after learning what they voted for,” Jones said. On the ballot, voters were asked the following question: “Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended to allow state or local approval of public charter schools upon the request of local communities?” It passed overwhelmingly in DeKalb and across the state. DeKalb

voters approved the amendment with 63.9 percent of the votes. Statewide, it passed with 58.5 percent of the votes. Local school systems already are the approval body for charter schools. So there was nothing new there. What was in question was whether the then-defunct Georgia Charter Schools Commission should be revived as an “alternate authorizer” of charter schools, allowed to override local school boards’ denials of charter school petitions with charters of its own. Jones said the amendment was really about creating a “gold mine” for people who want to profit from Georgia’s tax dollars. “This had nothing to do with student achievement, nothing to do with local control,” he said. “It was all about this seven-member commission that was formed by the governor who makes three of the seven appointments on the board.” A Dalton teacher and an Atlanta pastor filed a lawsuit over the amendment question in Fulton County

Superior Court on Oct. 26. The lawsuit names Gov. Nathan Deal along with Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and Secretary of State Brian Kemp. The Rev. Timothy McDonald, senior pastor at First Iconium Baptist Church and a member of the Concerned Black Clergy group, and teacher Beverly Hedges allege in the suit that the ballot language and the preamble that describes it were “purposely” misleading. The suit asks that the charter school amendment not be enforced even it was approved by voters. When asked for comment from the governor, his spokesman, Brian Robinson, said in an e-mail: “The voters spoke overwhelmingly in favor of school choice.” Deal ardently supported the charter school amendment, which was opposed by many in public education, including Georgia State Superintendent of Schools John Barge. Jones said he met with the governor in February to discuss concerns over the ballot amendment’s wording.

The lawsuit alleges that lawmakers wanted the ballot question to promote charter schools’ ability to improve student achievement. That type of language was removed before final passage of the proposed amendment, but it was later put into a preamble to the ballot question by the Constitutional Amendments Publication Board. Deal has one of three votes on that board. Jones said he obtained an e-mail the day before the election that proves the ballot question and its preamble were intentionally worded in a misleading way. “People high up are wanting this legislation,” Rep. Tommy Benton (R-Jefferson) wrote to a constituent on Feb. 3. “The vagueness of the ballot wording is something they want to keep. They think if they keep it vague it will more easily pass.” Benton confirmed to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he wrote the e-mail to Jeanette Knazek, an Continued on page 4

Early voting for District 1 Runoff has started, No Saturday voting A run-of will be held in Augusta- and voting will not be available on Richmond County on December 4, those days. 2012 in Augusta Commission District 1. Voters who were eligible to vote in the November 6, 2012 General Election are eligible to vote in the Runoff, whether they did or did not vote on November 6, 2012. All 14 polling locations in the 1st District of the Augusta Commission will be open for the run-off. Applications are being accepted now for mail-out absentee ballots. Requests for mail-out ballots may be made by mail, fax, email, or in person. In-person Early Voting began on Monday, November 19, 2012 and will end on Friday, November 30, 2012 at the Board of Elections Main Office only. The location of the Board of Elections Office is 530 Greene Street in Augusta, Georgia. Voting hours for Early Voting will be from 8:30 AM – 5:00 daily, except that during the week immediately preceding the date of the election, voting hours will be extended until 6:00 PM daily. There will be no Saturday Voting and the Satellite Sites will not be open for Early Voting. Thursday, November 22 and Friday, November 23 are holidays

Voters seeking information may also contact the Board of Elections

Office at (706) 821-2340 or www. augustaga.gov .

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LOCAL NEWS & Commentary

3 UrbanProWeekly • NOVEMBER 22 - DEC. 5, 2012

Bill Fennoy, District 1 candidate, must overcome Matt Aitken’s significant GOPleaning base to win the runoff election. Photo by Vincent Hobbs

GOP voters have foothold in District 1 Aitken base of support in District 1 voted for Mitt Romney and Freddie Sanders. By Frederick Benjamin UrbanProWeekly Staff Writer It could very easily be said that District 1 is Obama country. In the upcoming District 1 runoff between incumbent Matt Aitken and challenger William “Bill” Fennoy, Fennoy must go after those voters who voted to reelect President Barack Obama and Aitken must persuade Mitt Romney supporters to once again give him their vote. Even though city-commission elections are non partisan, an analysis of the 2009 District 1 race between Aitken and Fennoy and the results of the General Election on Nov. 6 reveals a partisan tinge in very stark terms. Aitken’s base of support in District 1 voted overwhelmingly for Mitt Romney while the precincts that heavily supported Fennoy went crazy for the president. Here’s what we’re talking about. The District 1 precincts that Romney carried on Nov. 6 were Precincts 101 (Asbury United Method Church poll-

ing center) and Precinct 107 (Julian Smith Casino). These two precincts happen to have also given Matt Aitken his largest margins not just in this past election, but in the 2009 runoff as well. Conversely, the District 1 precincts that voted most heavily for Obama, Precinct 104 (Eastview Recreation Center) and Precinct 113 (W.T. Johnson Recreation Center) also gave Fennoy his largest margins. This reveals that there is a significant GOP presence in District 1, which also provides Matt Aitken his most concentrated base of support. The problem that Aitken faces in the Dec. 4 runoff is that there are very few GOPleaning voters that he hasn’t already tapped. Fennoy, on the other hand, has hardly scratched the surface in terms of attracting the more liberal-leaning District 1 voters. Obama carried 13 of the 15 District 1 precincts, Fennoy only carried 6. It is significant that hundreds of District 1 voters who cast their ballots for Obama on

November 6, did not bother to vote in the commission-level races. That is, they did not cast a vote for either Aitken or Fennoy, nor any of the other candidates. That may have something to do with how the names appeared on the ballot. For instance, Democratic candidate for Sheriff Richard Roundtree, matched Obama nearly vote for vote in District 1. Roundtree’s name was further up the ballot. While Fennoy “left voters on the table” so to speak, Aitken polled even better than Romney in District 1’s GOPleaning precincts (101 and 107). In other words, he got about all of them that were out there. In the Democratic Primary election for Sheriff’s race this summer, hundreds of Republican voters in Richmond County crossed over and voted in an attempt to elect Scott Peebles over upstart candidate Richard Roundtree. The tactic fell short, but it threw the spotlight on an energetic and well-financed GOP presence in Richmond County. For many, District 1 has

remained an enigma. A majority-black district that elected its first white representative. The election of Matt Aitken in 2009 left many political observers scratching their heads. With only a 24.9 percent turnout and with less than 300 voters providing the margin of victory, one was left wondering whether it was Aitken’s supposed biracial appeal or political apathy on the part of African-American voters in District 1 that led to the Aitken victory. Looking at the 2009 race reveals that Aitken’s two top voting precincts also voted heavily for Scott Peebles in 2012 and then again for Republican Freddie Sanders a couple of weeks ago. Analysis of the District 1 race in light of the Obama and Richard Roundtree victories suggest a third alternative – a Republican enclave in District 1 primed and ready to turn out for sufficiently conservative candidates. Those same precincts have demonstrated that they will more likely vote for a white candidate over a black candidate. That has been proved in

those recent elections where the opportunity to do so had presented itself. Can anything be learned from the 2009 District 1 runoff? Not much. The differences between 2009 and 2012 are significant. For one, there was a huge difference in the turnout. The 2009 General Election only pulled 16.9 percent in District 1 and the runoff only 24.9 percent. The 2012 General Election wooed 69.03 percent of District 1 voters to the polls. The runoff turnout this time around will likely be greater. Next, 2012 was a presidential election year. In 2009, hardly anyone in District 1 got excited about the race. Perhaps the biggest difference between the 2009 and 2012 races is the fact that all indications show that Fennoy is receiving more logistical and financial support from the local black political leadership who view this race as being unfinished political business. Fennoy’s path to victory will depend on his ability to mine those strains of Obama voters that are all over District 1.


UrbanProWeekly • NOVEMBER 22-DEC. 5, 2012

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15th Street Project seeks to rejuvenate area AUGUSTA A new design for improvements to the Rosa T. Beard Memorial Bridge on 15th Street, along with other project ideas, were on display during an open house hosted by the Augusta Sustainable Development Implementation Program this past weekend. The project includes road widening, new housing, retail services, recreation space and job creation encompassing a 4.5 mile corridor along 15th Street, MLK Jr. Boulevard and Deans Bridge Road. With the help of nearly $2 million in grant money, Augusta is seeking community input, especially from those who work, live and own businesses in the affected area. The corridor starts downtown near Georgia Health Scien­ ces Uni­ versity and Paine College and extends to south Au­g usta’s vacant Regency Mall on Dean’s Bridge Road. The GHSU expansion, along with the Paine College improvements, including the new community health center, will be augmented by a comprehensive and ambitious set of plans. Residents and stakeholders gathered to discuss needs for housing, retail, parks, jobs and transportation. The massive revitalization project will reverse negative trends by improving infrastructure and building affordable housing, according to planning experts in charge of the project. Plans include such non-intensive tasks as installing bike racks and bike paths and encouraging pedestrian traffic by widening sidewalks and planting trees close to the street. Planned improvements to the area include a state project to widen 15th Street from Milledgeville Road to Govern­ ment Road, which could begin as early as 2016. The Augusta Housing Authority has already announced plans to demolish the Cherry Tree Crossing public housing project to build a mixed-income development along 15th Street.

Elma Felix (L), a town planner with Dover, Kohl & Partners, and Justin Falango (R), project director, prepare designs during an Open House for the 15th Street and MLK Blvd Sustainable Development Implementation Program. Photo by Vincent Hobbs

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A new design for improvements to the Rosa T. Beard Memorial Bridge on 15th Street, along with other project ideas, were on display during an open house hosted by the Augusta Sustainable Development Implementation Program. The project includes road widening, new housing, retail services, recreation space and job creation encompassing a 4.5 mile corridor along 15th Street, MLK Jr. Boulevard and Deans Bridge Road. Photo by Vincent Hobbs

CHARGER AMENDMENT LAWSUIT from page 2 Alpharetta parent who had been following the charter issue. Knazek said she felt the ballot wording didn’t give voters accurate information. Jones has sent letters asking Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate. He said he contacted Holder because charter schools would receive federal funds. Neither office has responded. The charter school amendment was an effort to revive the Georgia Charter Schools Commission, which was formed by a law passed in 2008. Last year, after legal challenges from school districts including DeKalb County’s, the state Supreme

Court struck down the law that established the commission.

The court ruled that local school boards have exclusive authority over whether charter schools come into their communities. But the Nov. 6 vote put the matter in the hands of voters, who have now reinstated what the court struck down. “We’ve taken power away from elected school boards and given it to appointed members of this seven-member commission that is not accountable to anyone,” Jones said. “The commission will create a dual school system and resegregate public education based on race and income.”

Pick up the latest edition of UrbanProWeekly at a location near your home or workplace.


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Walkable City is roadmap for urban planners This timely, important book should be required reading for city planners – and anyone simply hoping for a more walkable downtown.

deals with the impact of trees on a neighborhood: “the presence of healthy street trees likely adds $15.3 million to annual property tax revenues.” Plus, the cooling effect of a single healthy tree “is equivalent to ten room-size air conditioners operating 24 hours a day.” He takes his reader on a stroll down Main Street, slaughtering the sacred cows of city planners and traffic engineers as he goes. Among the surprising claims he makes: Green zones are for the birds, and excess downtown parking is the proverbial kiss of death. But Speck is wise enough to recognize that following his laws to the letter “would bankrupt most cities.” Sadly, he notes, “the universal appli-

By Richard Horan What’s Rome got – and for that matter Barcelona, Venice, Boston, San Francisco, Paris, Prague, New York – that my hometown does not? Walkability, that’s what! That and, perhaps, a bit more fabric – that is to say, “the everyday collection of streets, blocks, and buildings that tie the monuments [of a place] together.” It is walkability and fabric that make any urban experience rich and vital. However, according to Jeff Speck, author of Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America, One Step at a Time, these features are not exclusive to the world’s great metropolises. Theycan be achieved anywhere ... in 10 basic steps. In Part I, Speck, who is a city planner, lays out his “General Theory of Walkability” – i.e., a walkable city is a better place than a drivable one. He also explains what is required to make a walk down Main Street compelling and satisfying: utility, safety, comfort, and interest. He first discusses the advantages that a walkable city has over a drivable one. No. 1 on the list is a “walkability dividend” that nurtures property values. “Not only have city centers fared better than suburbs [since the Great Recession],” Speck says, “but walkable cities have fared better than drivable ones.” Next, there are fitness benefits. “60 percent of residents in a ‘low walkable’ neighborhood were overweight,” notes Speck, “compared to only 35 percent in a ‘high walkable’ neighborhood.”

In Part II, Speck delivers a complete prescription for making cities more walkable with his “Ten Steps of Walkability” formula (see below). Every statistic and fact that Speck includes in this section deserves a double take: “a 10 percent increase in lane miles induces an immediate 4 percent increase in vehicle miles traveled, which climbs to 10 percent – the entire new capacity – in a few years.” In other words, “building new roads [or widening streets] usually makes traffic worse.” And “[c]ities with higher congestion use less fuel per capita, while cities with the least congestion use the most fuel.” In sum: “Congestion is good.” My personal favorite

cation of walkability criteria is simply not in keeping with the way that cities actually work.” However, he suggests, his formula provides a place to start. And for cities needing something fast and cheap, he recommends a first step: “urban triage.” Specifically, fix the downtown. A city’s reputation rests on its downtown; it is “the rising tide that lifts all ships ... a little bit of great downtown can help push a whole city into the great category. That is the place to begin.”

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UrbanProWeekly • NOVEMBER 22 - DEC. 5, 2012

BOOKS & MORE


UrbanProWeekly • NOVEMBER 22-DEC. 5, 2012

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Introducing URBANPRofiles Artist Lauren Penha

Artist Lauren Penha is photographed in front of a portion of a mural she painted for a local business. Photo by Vincent Hobbs

Artist Lauren Penha, a 23-year-old nursing student at Augusta State University, likes to incorporate people into her artwork to “tell a story about what they’re feeling”. Her talent has been recognized through two previous mural artwork commisions, including one in Bisbee, Arizona, which was published on the Globetrotter Girls website. Penha attributes the major influences in her art to “my experiences in life and what I’m feeling” and she also appreciates the artwork of David Choe, an acclaimed street artist based in Los Angeles. Although Penha will soon be armed with a degree in nursing, her long-range goal is to put art at the forefront of her career and delegate nursing as the side job. She also has a keen interest in all aspects of filmmaking, both behind the camera and as an actress. This mural painted by artist Lauren Penha was published on the Globetrotter Girls website. Photo by Vincent Hobbs

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The S.P.A.R.K. (Speaking Poetically and Remixing Knowledge) finale is scheduled for December 1st

Shaquilla Jackson: is an 18 year old freshman at Paine College. She is a singer, actor and writer. “As long as I make them feel something, even one person, I have done my job and that in itself is an accomplishment.”

Where it all started -During the summer of 2012, the CSRA African American Arts Alliance set out to discover the most promising creative talents in the CSRA. From the group potential candidates, 12 contestants were chosen to compete in this ground-breaking performance competition. Over the course of many months, the contestants were given topics and had to develop original creations and present them in front of a live audience. They were judged by a cross section of industry professionals from a variety of genres, cultural leanings and areas of expertise. Four finalists remain and will compete for $15,000 Prize Packet.

MEET

Monet Epps: is a 23 year old all around creative type – she sings, dances, acts, writes and models. “My goal is to change lives through my art, edifying and informing in beneficial ways. The stage is a platform and can be used to birth movements.”

THE FINALISTS

Andru Champion: is a 15 year old freshman at TW Josey High School. He is a Hip Hop and Spoken Word artist. “I fell in love with the art of hip-hop (music) years ago.. .don’t plan on letting it go.”

S.P.A.R.K. is presented by Blue Bistro Theater; the CSRA African American Arts Alliance, the Hush Experience and Paine College’s Department of Media Studies. Anthony R. Page is the Executive Producer.

Sassett West: is an 18 year old senior at Davidson Fine Arts High School. She is a Poet and Spoken Word artist. “I’m inspired by every other poet and musician that crosses my ears as well as those who have loved and hurt me along the way.”

UrbanProWeekly • NOVEMBER 22 - DEC. 5, 2012

Game Changing Career Move for Creative Talents in the CSRA

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UrbanProWeekly • NOVEMBER 22-DEC. 5, 2012

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Nation / World

West Bank Palestinians cheer Gaza militants Palestinians in the West Bank have staged solidarity marches, praising Gaza’s rocket strikes on Israel and calling for an end to the diplomacy track with Israel – an indirect blow to President Mahmoud Abbas. By Joshua Mitnick CSM Correspondent RAMALLAH, WEST BANK As Israel and Hamas traded blows across the Gaza Strip, angry demonstrators throughout the West Bank staged solidarity marches praising rocket strikes and calling for a new uprising and the abandonment of diplomacy with Israel. “We cheer for the all rockets, especially the ones on Tel Aviv,” chanted a voice from the booming sound system at the head of a parade of about 300 demonstrators in Al Manara Square, at the center of Ramallah. “Negotiations are dead.’’ Sentiment like that is a blow to the prestige of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who has spent seven years in office trying to convince his countrymen that talks with Israel are the only route to Palestinian statehood. It is also generating sympathy with Hamas, the Islamist militant group that controls the Gaza Strip and is a bitter rival of Mr. Abbas. Though beset by a two-year impasse in the negotiations, rejection by the Israeli government, and a budgetary crisis, Abbas was poised to mount a controversial bid for international recognition at the United Nations, which could have revived support. But the Gaza fighting is making him look like a spectator rather than a central player to the regional events; the Palestinian Authority isn’t believed to be a part of the cease-fire talks, which are led by Egypt and include Qatar, Turkey, and Tunisia. “The UN bid of the Palestinian Authority is one of the early casualties of this war... the political significance of this move is going to be much less than it could have been. All the attention is going to this war,’’ says Ghassan Khatib, a Palestinian political analyst and former spokesman for the Palestinian Authority. “If this war will continue, I think the protests will expand and escalate. It has a radicalizing effect on the population,” Mr. Khatib adds. There were unconfirmed reports of hundreds of demonstrators in Hebron, in villages south of Jerusalem, and outside of the Jalameh crossing into Israel in the northern West Bank. Yesterday two Palestinians were killed in clashes with Israeli forces at West Bank demonstrations, and the body of one of those killed was carried through Manara Square under a thicket of Palestinian flags and with an escort of Palestinian security forces. Not surprisingly, legislators from the West Bank allied with Hamas portrayed the demonstrations as support for their party. “In every street and every alleyway, Palestinians from all factions are coming out,” says legislator Abduljaber Fuqahaa. “For them, the resistance is the only way.” But the demonstrations seem far from mushrooming. In Ramallah, there were

no green banners signifying support for the Islamist militants, and most of the people in the square did not join the protest, although it was unclear whether that was more due to fear of a Palestinian Authority crack down against supporters of its rival, or broader unease toward the Islamic militants.

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“PROVEN AND DEDICATED LEADERSHIP”

RE-ELECT DR. CHARLES J.SMITH, SR. Silver Life Member ~ Gold Subscribing Life Member

OFFICIAL BRANCH NOMINEE

PRESIDENT OF THE

AUGUSTA BRANCH NAACP ~ #1 Unit in Georgia (President 2003 – Present) National Credentials Chair NAACP Annual Convention Los Angeles, CA (Elected Unanimous) - 2011 Re-Elected National Credentials Chair NAACP Annual Convention - Houston, Texas – 2012 Member, NAACP National Life Membership Committee - Baltimore, MD - 2009-Present National Certified Training Instructor ~ Georgia State Conference NAACP – 2008- Present - Atlanta, GA. Southeast Region Crati Medgar Evers Leadership Award – Montgomery, Alabama – 2011 Southeast Region Crati Medgar Evers Leadership Award – Raleigh - Durham, NC. – 2012 Georgia State Conference NAACP Richard Harris Political Action Leadership Award – 2011 Georgia State Conference NAACP Richard Harris Political Action Leadership Award - 2012 Georgia State Conference NAACP Presidents Award for Outstanding Leadership - 2006 Georgia State Conference NAACP Political Action Chairman - 2005-2010 Georgia State Conference NAACP Voter Empowerment Chairman – 2005-2010 Georgia State Conference NAACP District 10 Coordinator – 2007-2010 Georgia State Conference NAACP Assistant State Secretary – 2009-2011 Georgia State Conference NAACP State Secretary – 2011 Member- Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. - “State Citizen of the Year” - 2012 Augusta City Classic Lifetime “Legacy Award”- 2012

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PEOPLE & organizations making a difference played at Arts In The Heart in Augusta and a number of other prestigious events such as the National Black Arts Festival. Tyler’s work will be featured through February 2013. The library is located at 823 Telfair Street. For information, call 706-821-2600.

Visit her website at www.butterflyphotographycompany.com

Tyler Ashlin

Friends of the Library Book Sale Saturday December 8th @ 10:00 AM Diamond Lakes Branch Library

The FOAL Book Sale comes to Diamond Lakes Branch Library in time for holiday shopping. A wide variety of books will be available, as well as VHS tapes, Friends merchandise and other items. All proceeds benefits public libraries in Augusta-Richmond County.

December is National Writers’ Month

Join the Celebration Saturday, December 1 A celebration of the written word at the Downtown Library

The Augusta Branch NAACP received numerous awards and honors including being ranked the number one (#1) Membership Branch in the State of Georgia among other units with more than 431 active members.   In Marietta, they won the 1st Place Membership Laydown Award for laying down 269 memberships which was the largest in the state.  The branch was honored during the recent NAACP State Convention held in Marietta, Georgia for its activism in Augusta-Richmond County. The Branch won the Ruby Hurley Award for the Greatest increase in Adult Memberships” from June 30, 2011-June 30, 2012; the Robert Flanagan Award for the “Greatest increase in “Overall Memberships over last year from June 30, 20112012; the Donald Hollowell Award for Education Lawsuits and the “Rockin Reader Program” which is sponsored by Cracker Barrel;  and the Richard Harris “Political Action Leadership Award named in honor of the former State Political Action Chairman.   Dr. Smith was honored for leading the Augusta Branch as the field commander during the Primary Election to insure that every vote cast is counted.  The Augusta Branch NAACP recently covered 33 of 70 precincts during the Primary and 40 of the 50 plus precincts dur-

ing the General Election to insure that election protection was in place on election day.   The branch also received recognition for voter registration efforts in Augusta.   The Augusta Branch brought home more awards and recognition for its work in their community than any other Georgia Unit receiving a total of five NAACP State Awards.  The Augusta branch was the only unit in Georgia to present and pass four unanimous State Convention Resolutions. A resolution was passed honoring the Lucy Craft Laney State Championship Basketball Team; a Resolution honoring Glenn Hill High School, T.W. Josey and Lucy Craft Laney High Schools for improving their graduation rates with Glenn Hill High School improving the most with 86 % percent; Josey 80% percent and Laney up to 71.4 % percent.  The final resolution honored New York Giants Super Bowl Champion and T.W. Josey Graduate Deon Grant.  Dr. Smith served as the Chairman of the State Convention Resolution Committee. Delegates representing the Augusta Branch NAACP at the State Convention included Queenie Lawton, Clara Calloway, Inger Carter and Viola B. Elam. Observers were Beulah Teachey, Juanita Dicks, Stella Nunnally. 

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UrbanProWeekly • NOVEMBER 22 - DEC. 5, 2012

Augusta Branch NAACP brings home most awards in Georgia

Library to host exhibit by teen photographer Tyler Ashlin The Downtown Library presents the YA Art Exhibit Opening Reception featuring Teen Photographer Tyler Ashlin on Thursday, December 6 at 6 p.m. in the Meeting room and YA Room. Tyler is a talented local teen on the move. She’s already had her photography dis-

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UrbanProWeekly • NOVEMBER 22-DEC. 5, 2012

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Commentary

A new southern strategy As we saw in this election, today’s Republican Party has become the bastion of white voters, and not just within the South. There is evidence that “whiteness” is not a foolproof strategy in the region, given its changing demography. By Karen L. Cox Charlotte, N.C. It’s tough being a Southern liberal. In the postelection analysis of the past two weeks, pundits have made hay of the fact that while Barack Obama won the election, Mitt Romney won the Confederacy. Or as Jon Stewart put it, “most of the Confederacy.” After Mr. Romney carried the lion’s share of the region’s electoral votes, people were quick to pounce. One person on Twitter wrote, “I always knew the Zombie Apocalypse would start in the Southern States.” On Facebook, in a  widely shared image comparing the 2012 electoral map with the map of former slave states, the individual who posted it wrote, “Sometimes change is really hard, especially when people don’t want to change.” That we are still using the term “Confederacy” to describe the South and pointing to slave maps says a lot about how hard it is for the region to move beyond its historical reputation, however richly deserved, for one that reflects more current realities. Voters in Charlotte, N.C., Atlanta, Nashville, New Orleans, Birmingham, Ala., and even Jackson, Miss., gave Mr. Obama substantial majorities, not because they are out of step with the rest of the country but because they are part of the same urban-rural divide that drives voting everywhere. So if we’re going to apply the term “Confederacy,” then perhaps we can all agree that while a majority of Southern white voters seem intransigent to change, the region is nevertheless being transformed by its changing demographics. Virginia, home to the capital of the Confederacy, went for Mr. Obama. Florida, part of the original Confederacy, also went for Mr. Obama. North Carolina, which Mr. Obama carried in 2008, went to Mr. Romney, but by a very slim margin — more attributable to the economy and job losses than to any conspiracy of Confederate dunces. Many people have labeled my home state of North Carolina a red state, but

LETTERS: Reader

Election Day results at Southern polling places reflected the same urbanrural divide that appeared everywhere else. Travis Dove for NYT it’s much more complicated than that. In the very rural mountain county of Avery, for example, Mr. Romney won with a whopping 74.5 percent of the vote, yet in Mecklenburg County, which includes Charlotte, he lost to Mr. Obama by nearly 23 percentage points. (True, North Carolinians elected a Republican governor, but to be fair, the Democratic candidate ran a weak campaign.) Similarly, in Fulton County, Georgia, whose county seat is Atlanta, Mr. Obama bested Mr. Romney with about 64 percent of the vote but lost in the state’s mostly rural counties. If Charlotte or Atlanta were the size of New York City, then perhaps we wouldn’t tag either North Carolina or Georgia as red states. Even when you break down a clear blue state like New York, you can see this urban-rural dichotomy. In Brooklyn, Mr. Obama carried 81.4 percent of the vote; in the rural county of Hamilton, Mr. Romney won 62.2 percent. The same urban-rural divide can also be found in blue states like California and Washington. In other words, before our liberal allies in blue states point their fingers and scoff, they might want to take a look in their own rural backyards for evidence that their states actually have something in common with the supposedly backward ones in the South. Yes, Southern voters (especially white ones) cast their lot with Mr. Romney. So, too, did voters in a large section of Western states. What do they have in common? They are states with large-

ly rural populations that tend to be less diverse racially and ethnically, and they tend to vote more for conservative Republicans — the same trend found in the rural counties of the bluest of states. THE coalition that voted for Mr. Obama nationally — single women, minorities and young people — is the same coalition that voted for the president in Southern states. Latino voters, for example, voted overwhelmingly for Mr. Obama, and they also represent the fastest-growing population within the South. Future elections will be determined by this expanding diversity in the region, much to the chagrin of conservative whites. It’s well known that the Democratic Party of old, commonly referred to as the “white man’s party,” ruled the South. Today’s Southern Democrats reflect the changes that have taken place in the party’s platform in the post-World-WarII era. Old-school Southern Democrats, like Strom Thurmond, Jesse Helms and those who followed in their footsteps, bolted to the Republican Party, which adopted a “Southern strategy” to win elections by appealing to whites’ racism. As we saw in this election, today’s Republican Party has become the bastion of white voters, and not just within the South. There is evidence that “whiteness” is not a foolproof strategy in the region, given its changing demography. While it is true that Republicans dominate the region, there is change in the air. I can see this in my own family. Every summer my brother, who is decidedly Republican, plants a garden in which he

grows a variety of peppers — jalapeños, habaneros and poblanos. He is proud of his garden and shares his harvest with friends who own a Mexican restaurant near his home in Greensboro, N.C. I doubt that his conversations with the people who work there center on whether they are in this country legally or illegally. So while he may remain a Republican, I believe he recognizes the contributions of Latinos to his community and knows that they do not threaten his success as a white man. Liberals north and west of me — people who consider themselves educated and learned — are the very ones who seem to make the most ill-informed statements (often in a bad attempt at humor) about the region’s politics. As someone I follow on Twitter posted: “I’m liberal. I live in the South. Your jokes are not funny.” I have no idea to what he was responding, but I can sympathize. To my chagrin, liberals living outside the South deny our existence, lump us all together by using rhetoric about the Confederacy and heap pity on us with a little condescension thrown in for good measure. They also seem to be unaware of nuance. The fact is, liberals everywhere live among people who don’t share their views. Are you listening Wisconsin, Arizona, Indiana and, yes, New York? Jesse Helms and Strom Thurmond are long dead. Michele Bachmann, Scott Walker and other Tea Party darlings are alive and well, and they aren’t all whistling Dixie. If the Democrats are going to be a true majority party, they will need to build a coalition in all 50 states. So rather than see the South as a lost cause (pun intended), the Democratic Party and liberals north and west of us should put a lid on their regional biases and encourage the change that is possible here. A professor of history at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte and the author of “Dreaming of Dixie: How the South Was Created in American Popular Culture.”

high on William Fennoy for District 1 runoff election

In our current political climate true leadership can be hard to find. Career politicians tend to say what they think you want to hear, just so they can be re-elected. Gridlock and in-fighting in Augusta has stymied progress for years. No one wants to listen to sensible solutions that will allow Augusta to compete or even surpass cities equal in size. What Augusta and District 1 has needed over these last few years is a public servant willing to roll up his

sleeves and work for the betterment of his district 24 hours a day, seven days a week. What Augusta and District 1 has needed over these last few years is a public servant willing to reach across the political aisle and work with other commissioners, regardless of their political leanings. Augusta and District 1 have needed a public servant with conviction, who listens to his constituents, who believes that in the not too distant future Augusta

will take its rightful place as one of the leading cities in the Southeast. William “Bill” Fennoy stands ready to work for the people of Augusta and District 1. A resident of Augusta since 1966, Mr. Fennoy has developed a four point program: 1.Promote Job Training For Displaced and Underemployed Workers 2.Neighborhood Revitalization That Creates a Business Friendly

Environment 3.Fully Support Law Enforcement Efforts in Maintaining Safe Neighborhoods 4.Support Accessible and Affordable Public Transportation Come this November cast your vote for a public servant in the truest sense of the word. William “Bill” Fennoy: “Leadership You Can Trust” Mr. Leroy Rogers


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Urban Pro Weekly - November 22, 2012