Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Augusta Commissioner Alvin Mason Arrested

Tuesday, Dec. 27th, 2011
Augusta, GA

It's the kind of photo opp no politician wants: a mugshot, but one of Commissioner Alvin Mason has been making the rounds of the local media since he was arrested earlier today. The domestic violence charge stems from an incident that occurred at the commissioner's Hephzibah home back on December 23rd. Mason turned himself in to Richmond County authorities today at 12:30 pm and was booked on charges of simple battery. He was released shortly thereafter on a $1,200 cash bond.

Commissioner mason's Mug Shot
The police report shows that officers were called to the Mason home at 10:00pm on Friday, December 23rd after there was a verbal altercation between Mason and his wife that escalated and allegedly resulted in Mason grabbing his wife by the throat and shoving her against a wall. The responding officer says that he observed red marks around Mrs. Mason's neck and a slight cut. Commissioner Mason told Chris Thomas of WRDW that  it is a "regrettable situation."

This news breaks in what is generally a slow local news week, especially in local politics, but there is little doubt that after the New Year, the Mason arrest will be the top local political story. Mason has emerged as the leading spokesman for the minority opposition on the Commission. Mr. Mason chaired the ad-hoc redistricting committee and has often butted heads with fellow commissioners over issues such as government re-organization. At just the last commission meeting Mason chastised commissioners Brigham and Smith for switching their votes on the redistricting map. At that same meeting he successfully won approval on  a substitute motion  that authorized a forensic audit over the questionable land and financial deals over the new $12 million TEE Center parking deck.

Mr Mason also lead the charge calling for city administrator Fred Russell's dismissal twice; however, both times the commission voted to keep Russell. It has been widely speculated that Mason will run for Mayor in 2014. Even though these charges are not political in nature, they will obviously have some political impact, how much at this point is not certain. More details will need to emerge to see how much political fall-out there will be and if this incident has the potential to derail a Mayoral campaign or even lead to a resignation from the commission. Some are already calling for a resignation, but that seems to be premature at this point until more  is known. 

 But there will likely be immediate political ramifications. This incident will most likely temper Mason's bark, if not temporarily silence it. That may mean that a new spokesman for the opposition may need to emerge in the next week, and all eyes will be turning now to Commissioner Bill Lockett. ***
*More to come

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