News 12 at six o'clock, January 02, 2008
AUGUSTA, Ga.---Today, three new commissioners took their seats on the Augusta commission and placed their first vote on the future of a popular nightspot.
"It's really mind boggling, and it really hasn't hit me just yet." Newly elected commissioner Alvin Mason spent this morning preparing to take his seat as an Augusta commissioner. He's traveled the world in the military, and now he's taking on city government.
"I tell people all the time I grew up a boy in Lansing, Michigan, but I became a man here in Augusta,Georgia in Fort Gordon."
There are some challenges ahead. The Augusta commission of 2007 was infamous for butting heads. "I know that it won't always be holding hands and kumbaya, but at the same time I think that we can work together."
"Some of them come in thinking I can do this and can I do that...I can change things. You can't. You just got to hold people accountable," said former District 2 Commissioner Marion Williams. He threw his support behind Corey Johnson a local carpenter.
Johnson is looking to fix things on the commission. "We are gonna exemplify what a commission board should work like and operate like," he said.
The 35 year old Johnson is a father of 4. He says change is coming. "I think everybody's excited. They got use to seeing a older face and now they gone see something completely different and I'm just looking forward to it."
"There comes a time when you have to have some change and some new viewpoints within the governing body and we are there today," says Augusta Mayor Deke Copenhaver.
It's a mission shared by the mayor and new commissioners like Joe Jackson. "Let's move forward. Let's make your job harder to find the bad things that we disagree with."
Jackson finished up at work before headed to Wednesday's meeting. "Oh yeah, I gotta work to feed the family." He says the year ahead will be challenging but he's ready. "I guess, sure...Why not?"
Of the 10 people on the Augusta commission, three are brand new. There was standing room only in the Augusta commission chambers for the oath of office ceremony. Each new commissioner was surrounded by family and friends. They were sworn in at 1 P.M. The first commission meeting of the year got underway at 2 P.M. Commissioner Betty Beard was again named Mayor Pro Tem in that meeting.
The big topic of discussion was Club Dreams. The popular nightspot battled noise violations in 2007. It landed them on probation. The city license and inspection department and the sheriff's office recommended the commission deny Club Dreams an opportunity to renew their license in 2008. They say the club violated probation after a recent shooting at the club. It was a shooting that landed two people in the hospital. The commission took no action.
The commission will take up the issue at the next meeting on January 15, 2008. The commission instructed the Licencse & Inspections Department not to issue a license to Club Dreams until a decision is made at the next meeting.