Ask the average small business owner in Richmond County what is wrong with Augusta politics and this astute quote from Commissioner Grady Smith in this week’s feature story about the tax increase would sum it up:
“Might as well start off on the right foot,” Grady Smith said, sarcastically referring to Augusta Commissioner Ben Hasan’s decision to vote to raise taxes. “I knew what the game was. It didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that out. Now, we know. He is out of the closet. We know how it is going to be for a while.”
Clearly aggravated by the tax increase, Grady Smith simply said that he hopes the voters in District 6 are satisfied with their choice for commissioner.
“Ben voted the way he wanted to vote. He knows he is not going to hear anything from me,” Grady Smith said. “The people voted for him. It is too late to bitch and moan. The game is started. You can’t change the rules in the middle of the game. We have Ben for four more years.”
Politics can be boiled down to the ability to influence other people.
So Grady Smith is basically telling Ben Hasan, “Hey! You’re on the other team, buddy.”
Nice way to start off a four-year relationship.
The notorious political dysfunction that has held our city back for so long is exactly due to this mindset.
And one of the worst aspects about Grady Smith’s comments is, according to Smith himself, Ben Hasan is in a power position on the Augusta Commission right now.
Smith believes Hasan will automatically vote with the other five black commissioners on the board, giving them a solid six-vote advantage on issues.
Whether that is true or not is yet to be determined, but let’s pretend for a moment that it’s a fact.
So, then why would Grady Smith want to pick a fight with a future All-Star on the commission?
It doesn’t make any sense. That type of attitude will only hurt Smith’s constituents.
And, a quick reminder, Smith represents Super District 10, which consists of half the entire county.
Not smart. Not smart at all.
Augustans want our leaders to work together and try to get along, despite their differences.
After all, that’s the real world.
Local elected officials need to be able push and pull, give and take, win and lose, but at the end of the day, still work for one Augusta.
That is the only way Augusta will ever fully enjoy success.
But, instead, Grady Smith welcomed Ben Hasan to the commission by acting like a child, calling him names and pointing fingers.
Well, Grady, I guess it’s time for you to go sit in the corner and have a timeout.
The other commissioners don’t want to play with you anymore.
Unfortunately for Augusta, that timeout goes for the entire city, too.