Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Censored Comment Blasts Bad Parking Deck Deal

Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2012
Augusta, GA
Posted at 9:25pm

We've told you before how The Augusta Chronicle has an inconsistent policy regarding censorship of reader comments: (See-->Banned From The Chronicle). There are certainly circumstances where censorship is warranted on an online paper's comments section such as: Obscenities, advocating violence against others, racial  slurs, misogyny, and libel, among others. But with The Chronicle, often comments are simply removed because certain people disagree (often the publisher) with the opinions being espoused. The terms of service (TOS) for commenting underneath stories says that the service is  intended for "robust debate"... well up to a point.

So it was no surprise to us when we noticed comments under a story about the recent debacle over the TEE Center Parking Deck being removed: See -->Augusta Parking Management Deal Stalls. Community activist and City Stink columnist Lori Davis first brought it to our attention, notifying us that several of her comments under the aforementioned story were removed with no warning or explanation. But then this should not be much of a surprise.. the company that is trying to get a 15 year contract to operate the parking deck is Augusta Riverfront LLC, which has connections to William S Morris III, publisher of The Augusta Chronicle.

Now to be fair, it is their website. They can make the rules and change them without notice. But it is worth pointing out the inconsistencies in how the terms of service are enforced regarding censorship. Knowing that certain opinions are filtered out intentionally may give readers pause that the purpose of the comments section is not about facilitating "robust debate", but rather suppressing it. 

There was one comment that stands out from all of the others on this particular story. It was written by a regular poster who goes by the handle Dichotomy. It remained on the site for several hours before being removed by site administrators in the evening of January 31. Luckily, someone saved it and sent it to us. We've reprinted it below:

Comment by Dichotomy that appeared on The Augusta Chronicle TEE Center Parking Deck Story that was later removed. (Below)
I think that if you poured all of the idiots and crooks in Augusta into one beaker and shook it well you could not have created a bigger mess than this deal. The City supplied the idiots and the LLC(s) provided the crooks. The lawyer, I'm still not sure which side of the fence he would fall on but I suspect his motives.

Congratulations South Augusta and south RC, you paid for much of this. You don't own squat but you paid for it and you are going to continue pay to operate it. I was going to say you paid for a lot of this.....but you didn't even get the "lot". I'll bet Billy and Paul laugh every time they see their parking deck(s), hotel, and TEE. And by the way, Fred "yes I am complicit in all of this", wants to raise your taxes again so we will have plenty of money to pay Billy and Paul to operate their decks and hire attendants.

And if you think this is crooked, just wait until you see how you are going to get took for the ball park and some of the "deals" and payback "jobs" that will come out of that.

If you can't figure this out....it's all about the influential rich people downtown playing with YOUR money and our commissioners being too stupid, or too crooked, to look out for our interests. Our commissioners keep getting us involved in a battle of wits with the rich guys and between the idiots and crooks on our side we are totally unarmed. Throw in a suspected crooked lawyer or two and we are totally screwed.


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