Monday, February 20, 2012

District 1 Race Starting to Shape Up

Monday, Feb. 20, 2012
Augusta, GA
From Reports

The District 1 race for The Augusta Commission just got its first official candidate today. Stanley Hawes, who served as the president of Laney-Walker Neighborhood Association for 19 years threw his hat into the ring to take the seat currently held by Matt Aitken. But it is not entirely clear whether Aitken will even seek reelection. In an impromptu interview with Chris Thomas of WRDW last Friday, Aitken said that he was talking it over with his family and would likely make an announcement in a week. But sources are telling us that it is a good bet that Aitken won't be returning to the commission for a 2nd term.

That leaves and interesting question. If Aitken decides to call it quits, who will The Cabal run in his place? We must remember that when Aitken ran last time the TEE Center was at a standstill over increasing funding.  After he defeated Bill Fennoy in a run-off election, the TEE Center was hurriedly approved on December 9th, 2009. So perhaps Aitken fulfilled his mission before even being sworn in.

A bill being sponsored by Barbara Sims in the Georgia House would move all  Augusta Commission races to the July general primary ballot instead of the November General election ballot. If the bill passes it would affect this race. The district is heavily African American, but a July election could help increase the odds for a white candidate.

There's not much of a record on Hawes. He has never run for public office before, despite his long tenure as President of the Laney-Walker Neighborhood Association. He does serve on The Sheriff's Merit Review Board. Hawes, 53, lists his occupation as a contractor. His residence in Laney-Walker is one of the ANIC constructed homes.

Though Hawes is the first to announce, others are expected to enter the race. Joe Rae Jenkins who ran against Aitken in 2009 is expected to join the race. Postings to her Facebook page have indicated she intends to run. Also, there has been a lot of speculation whether community activist Lori Davis will enter the race. Davis has been making a lot of waves recently by calling for the firing of City Administrator Fred Russell at the last commission meeting and by bringing the irregularities over the TEE Center Parking deck land deals to the forefront. 

As always, we will research all of the candidates and will submit questions to them getting their stance on important issues facing the district and the city. One particular issue that will be important to many Laney-Walker residents is the city's handling of the Overlay Zoning District. Some residents like Dee Mathis, believe they were purposefully left in the dark by city officials about the true scope and impact of the overlay district.  We would most certainly like to hear from Stanley Hawes, since he is the first announced candidate, how he feels about the Overlay Zoning District and how it was handled by the city.***
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