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7-20-08 Oconee Voters ‘Clipped the Wings’ of Melvin Davis and time will show it

In time, even Davis will realize that at least one out of two voters-citizens does not want him in office. When he meets two folks on the street, at least one does not want him in office! A thoughtful and sensitive person would be humbled by that fact.

AVOC

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July 18, 2008

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Oconee Voters ‘Clipped the Wings’ of Melvin Davis and time will show it

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By Wendell Dawson, Editor, AVOC, Inc

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Melvin Davis will see his power reduced

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Sarah Bell sensed voter desire for change

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Oconee County owes a debt of thanks to Sarah Bell for taking on Melvin Davis who some thought was invincible and almost a “County Dictator”.   Sarah was listening to voters and sensed the anger and dissatisfaction with Melvin Davis.    Davis was re-elected but by the slimmest of margins- 100 votes in 6,150, hardly an endorsement or mandate!.

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Davis made some arrogant comments on Election Night that were quoted in The Athens Banner-Herald on July 16.   It showed that he has a deaf ear for sensitivity.   In time, even Davis will realize that at least one out of two voters-citizens does not want him in office.   When he meets two folks on the street, at least one does not want him in office!  A thoughtful and sensitive person would be humbled by that fact.   However, from early on, some of us saw the ego, arrogance and insincerity of Melvin Davis.   Over time, that catches up with one.

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The majority of the Commissioners can out-vote and over-rule the Chairman on almost everything.   They do not need Legislation.   Just change policies and pass some resolutions.    Majority rules- I worked with the Board for 26 years, as member and attorney, and was actively involved in changes to the makeup.   The Chairman has never been given veto or arbitrary power.   He can be contained!  

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The Board should consult an out of town attorney and should not let ACCG tell them what to do.It just takes resolution and the will of the majority to make things change.  Hopefully, we will see that now.

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Consequences of the BOC election:

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  1. Davis will no longer command a majority on the BOC;he has lost his “second vote” and battering ram in Don Norris who did a lot of good in his public service but stayed on too long and became tone deaf on spending and efforts;
  2. Davis’s chief challengers on the board, Horton and Hale, won in landslides although Davis and his cronies tried to replace them;they now have a mandate to exert more control over the Chairman and county policy;
  3. John Daniell, who ran against Davis in 2004, is not likely to be a Davis Ally.John is an honest person of integrity and will do what he believes to be in the best interest of the county;
  4. While Jim Luke has been an ally of Davis on some major issues, including the overly ambitious and not well thought out Hard Labor Creek Project, he has shown some public independence of Davis.Now with the shift of power on the BOC and Luke’s less than “mandate win”, he may be more responsive to the feelings and positions of the new majority.

Possible changes:

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  1. Adopt a Code of Ethics with teeth and appoint a responsible Citizen Commission to address conflicts, ethics issues and complaints.
  2. The New Majority needs to look closer at SPLOST projects and calculate the maintenance and operation budget that impacts our Property Tax Bills.   The BOC needs to forget about minuscule “millage reductions” and look to real property tax relief using the much increased sales tax revenues to do so.
  3. Get back to working on improving infrastructure like roads, water sources and wastewater treatment and less emphasis on large “fast growth” projects or large Capitol Project structures that bloat future property tax budgets.
  4. Proceed to buy the 10-11 acres of land available adjacent to the Courthouse for future courthouse needs, parking and access.   Such opportunities are rarely available.  The County needs to move on this NOW BEFORE IT IS BUILT ON WITH APARTMENTS!
  5. The Board needs to change the County Attorney and choose one not connected to the real estate and development interest.   Like Don Norris, Daniel Haygood has been around 20 years, and has lost some of his sense of ethics that I remember when he worked with me for 12 years.   He often asked, “Does it pass the Smell Test”?   Unfortunately, his dual role as a real estate attorney and county attorney have fuzzed his sensitivity antenna;.
  6. The Board needs to change the method of selection of members of the Planning Commission and Citizen Advisory Committees.   Too many folks from the Development Industry are on those committees.    Many are allies of Melvin Davis and will recommend what he wants in many cases.   That needs to change..
  7. The new majority needs to adopt new rules of procedure that allows the majority to have more input on setting the agenda and bringing up issues.   They can get away from so many Executive Sessions that allow much to go on outside the public view..
  8. The new majority needs to take the lead in revamping the Oconee GOP and purge it of the Ivey-Davis-Norris 'power clique'.   There are some good folks involved but it was apparent in this year’s election that some officers are not neutral but are Davis allies.   Two officers ran against the two board members who challenged Davis the most.   Another is well known as a Davis “Groupie”.   Like Citizen Committees, the GOP committee needs to be more representative of citizens and not allies of Davis who championed the cause of a now convicted felon.
  9. Get over the feeling that one has to cater to the Oconee Enterprise who became allied with the Davis Reign and ignored conflicts, issues and information that the public should get.  Many long-time observers have been disillusioned with the current ownership of the Oconee Enterprise for years.   I believe its conduct in the 2008 election has opened the eyes of many others.   Most of the OE endorsed candidates either lost or just squeaked by..
  10. The Legal Organ has to be chosen by a majority vote of three constitutional officers:Clerk of Superior Court, Probate Judge and Sheriff who have been lavishly courted by the owner of the Oconee Enterprise.   However, the Commission does a lot of advertising and printing of notices and that can be changed by action or resolution of the Board of Commissioners majority.It can be split among other media outlets in the county.It is time to do that.   After all, the new majority owes no favors to Vinnie Williams!.
  11. KEEP THE BOARD AND CITIZENS BETTER INFORMED AND LISTEN MORE:The Board needs more openness- less Executive Sessions and more discussion of Consent Agenda Items when folks are present.   The County Website should have more substantive information and less “cheerleading” for the chairman.

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7-16-08 Davis ekes out win in Oconee

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The Athens Banner-Herald

http://onlineathens.com/stories/071608/election_2008071600219.shtml

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July 17, 2008

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Davis ekes out win in Oconee

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By Adam Thompson

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WATKINSVILLE - Oconee County commission Chairman Melvin Davis got an election-night scare from challenger Sarah Bell but, held on to win a third term in Tuesday's Republican primary.

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Davis got the nod for four more years as chairman with less than 51 percent of the vote, beating Bell's tally of 3,025 by just 100 votes.

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Tuesday's election showed most Oconee residents are pleased with the quality of life the county government has worked for during Davis' eight years in office, the incumbent said.

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Residents want quality growth and services, good decision-making, leadership and action, said Davis, 67.

"And I think that's what has been provided," he said.

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But the narrow victory also reflected that Davis' leadership has repelled a large number of residents, said Bell, 53, a college English instructor and a former county GOP chairwoman.

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"This sends a big message to him that he'd better listen to the people," she said. "It would be wise for him to listen, because there's a lot of anger out there."

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This was Bell's first campaign. Accusing Davis of being secretive and growth-hungry, she ran on a platform of smarter growth, lower taxes and more ethical government. Davis argued that Bell lacked experience and pushed his record as chairman.

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Incumbents Margaret Hale and Chuck Horton retained their seats on the board by wide margins after Tuesday's vote, while Post 1 Commissioner Jim Luke eked out a win as well………..


 

 7-16-08 End of the Nash Era in Madison County

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The Madison County Journal

http://www.madisonjournaltoday.com/archives/295-The-end-of-the-Nash-era.html

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July 17, 2008

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The end of the Nash era

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By Zach Mitcham

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……... The people of Madison County sent a resounding message to the county government complex Tuesday.
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Twelve years is enough.

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Nash entered the chairman’s office in 1997, defeating long-time chairman Bill Madden. He is a charming speaker, a master of country folksiness, showing confidence and ease in front of crowds with wide smiles and a catalogue of jokes. He can win a room.
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But Nash is no “aw shucks” kind of guy. He’s a cagey politician,
showing a real street survival instinct during his lengthy tenure at the head of the county………………..
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The chairman took office and promptly refused to carry out BOC orders that he contended were fiscally irresponsible. The commissioners took him to court and won, with a judge agreeing that the chairman had to follow the instructions of the board……………………………..


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