All right, we all know this has not been a good week for mayoral candidate Helen Blocker-Adams.
That’s putting it mildly.
In the beginning of the week, Blocker-Adams held a news conference telling the public that she thought $70,000 in unpaid debts she owed creditors in Aiken County had been paid off.
The debts were apparently associated with a repossessed car, a home she owned in North Augusta and a bank loan she had entered into with her ex-husband.
As she smiled to cameras, Blocker-Adams told the public that she would pay whatever she owes.
By Thursday, things were becoming clearer about how many financial troubles Blocker-Adams was really facing.
Following an extensive story in The Augusta Chronicle detailing Blocker-Adams being served more than 40 times with eviction or dispossessory notices between 2007 and 2013, it was clear that the walls were caving in on her.
As the controversy continued to grow, it appeared as if Blocker-Adams was beginning to see the writing on the wall.
She held a news conference on Thursday evening with her campaign team standing behind her and issued a statement that she was suspending her campaign for mayor of Augusta.
“These last few days have been hard and humiliating,” Blocker-Adams told the public during the May 15 press conference. “It has shown me that I have to work on me and especially my financial challenges. I take full responsibility for the debt and for my mistakes. I failed to let my campaign team and family know about any of the personal financial details in my life and I regret that. If my executive team knew what they know now, they would have advised me not to run for mayor.”
It was a stunning announcement, but most Augustans believed she was doing the right thing for the city.
“I have always been an independent person and felt I could get things done by myself,” Blocker-Adams said. “As a woman who knows and loves the Lord, I realize that is pride and he has revealed that to me over the past few days.”
She told the citizens of Augusta that she deeply loved the city and she wanted to improve the lives of all Augustans.
“I know I have let many people down and I am deeply sorry for that. I ask for your forgiveness,” Blocker-Adams said. “The love and support from this community has been overwhelming. Effective immediately, I am suspending my campaign and run for mayor.”
So, many people thought that was the end of Blocker-Adams’ race for mayor.
What else would people think? She has suspended her campaign for mayor just days before the election.
Everyone expected her to file the proper paperwork with the Richmond County Board of Elections that she wanted to withdraw from the May 20 election.
But the truth of the matter is, she hasn’t.
So, her public apology is meaningless.
If she doesn’t withdraw from the mayor’s race, she is not thinking about the Augustans she claims to love.
She is thinking of herself.
That is the truth. Like it or not.
The May 20 election was complicated even further when Barbara Gordon, the publisher of The Metro Courier, sent out a press release on Friday calling for the “unwarranted attacks” against Blocker-Adams to stop.
The press release stated that the Courier and the organization, Black Women Empowered, will hold a press conference at the Courier’s office at 314 Walton Way on Sunday, May 18 at 2 p.m.
The press conference will be held to address the “media’s effort to crucify Mayoral Candidate Helen Blocker-Adams.”
Let’s looks at the facts.
The Courier can’t even begin to attack The Augusta Chronicle for crucifying Blocker-Adams.
That is beyond ludicrous.
And, we must point out, that statement is coming from the Metro Spirit, probably the last media outlet to defend the Chronicle.
So that’s saying something.
The Chronicle has been a champion of Blocker-Adams for more than a decade.
The editorial board’s original endorsement of Blocker-Adams this month was nothing but full of praises for the mayoral candidate.
“She’s got the vitality this town is in so desperate need of, and there’s little doubt she’ll shake things up – in a good way,” the May 10 editorial endorsement stated of Blocker-Adams. “We encourage you to vote for Helen Blocker-Adams for mayor. We ask you to go out of your way to do so; come out and vote for her, even if you weren’t planning to vote.
“She’s worth it. She’s the candidate of progress and positivity. And she has the potential to put her mark on Augusta history like few leaders we’ve ever seen.”
How is that crucifying Blocker-Adams?
A conservative, daily newspaper was completely standing behind Blocker-Adams and it now has egg on its face.
Blocker-Adams has to live with that.
So, this argument puts the Metro Spirit in the unusual position of defending the Chronicle and blasting the Courier.
The truth is, Barbara Gordon is wrong.
She is defending a mayoral candidate that is not being honest with the public.
If Blocker-Adams didn’t want to get out of the race, she should have officially stood her ground, explained the $70,000 in unpaid debts and convinced voters that her personal financial problems aren’t an issue in the mayoral race.
But, instead, she “suspended her campaign,” but hasn’t formally withdrawn from the race.
That is beyond weak.
So, when Gordon decided to defend Blocker-Adams and blame the media for crucifying her, she appears to be wearing blinders in this race.
“We are asking all God-fearing, fair-minded citizens–black and white, male and female– to attend,” Gordon wrote in the May 16 press release. “Augusta will never be the great city it can be, along as we allow these attacks, these disparities, these injustices to govern our community. Augusta can be a city of prosperity, compassion and equity. But it will not be so, as long as we allow this ugliness to prevail. We have the right to hold people accountable. We do not have the right to crucify them.”
All Augusta is asking Blocker-Adams to do is make up her mind.
If she wants to run for mayor, run.
If she is so ashamed of her financial difficulties and wants to withdraw from the race, withdraw.
It’s that simple.
This is not about race. This is not about her being a female candidate.
No one is crucifying anyone.
It’s in her hands.
Just make a decision.
Augusta deserves at least that much from a candidate who claims she loves this city more than anything in the world.
So decide already.
Oh, and before readers believe the Metro Spirit has totally lost its mind by defending the Chronicle, it must be mentioned that this Saturday’s reversal endorsement of mayoral candidate Hardie Davis by the editorial board was pretty lame.
Not the endorsement of Davis, but the way it was written.
“Davis has conveyed to us a renewed willingness to embrace openness at all levels of government. This cannot be understated,” the May 17 editorial stated. “Openness to citizens; openness to – and from – the Augusta Commission; and especially openness to the press should be of paramount importance to the person leading this city.”
This comment refers back to the editorial board’s objection to Davis’ support of legislation that would keep arrest reports and mug shots secret from the public. This is again an example of the Chronicle trying to protect its online “Booked” section that includes the photos of people recently arrested in Aiken, Columbia and Richmond counties.
But the Chronicle didn’t stop there.
“Davis grasps that the next mayor has to be an unflagging champion for Augusta,” the May 17 editorial states. “That includes being a standard-bearer in the fight to change the name of Georgia Regents University to a name that better reflects the school’s respected sense of place.”
This editorial implies that Davis’ eyes have now been opened to the concerns of Chronicle publisher William S. Morris III and that the name Georgia Regents University doesn’t convey the history of Augusta. All of a sudden, Davis has seen the light and will stand shoulder to shoulder with the Chronicle.
Don’t count on it.
While we are sure that Davis appreciates the endorsement by the Chronicle‘s editorial board, he didn’t need it. With Blocker-Adams’ campaign virtually dead, Davis may easily coast to a win without a runoff.
And who else was the Chronicle going to endorse? Alvin Mason, who has publicly blasted many of Morris’ pet projects? Charles Cummings, the former owner of the controversial Super C’s Louge? Lori Myles, who reportedly has some financial issues of her own?
The Chronicle‘s only real choice was Davis. They knew it. He knew it. All of Augusta knew it.
So, get real. Davis doesn’t have to change his mind about a thing and he sure doesn’t owe the Chronicle anything.
If Davis wins on May 20, it’s because he earned it.
And that’s the truth.