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3-4-12 Memo to Oconee Chairman Melvin Davis- Congrats, Take a Bow and Retire Gracefully

….As am I, you are approaching your 72nd birthday this year. (Cameras cannot hide aging.) You have a wife, children and grandchildren that need some time with you. You cannot stay on a “Mountain Top” for ever. All good things come to an end. Penn State Coach Joe Paterno is a vivid example of someone trying to hold on too long. .

AVOC

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March 2, 2012

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Memo to Oconee Chairman Melvin Davis- Congrats, Take a Bow and Retire Gracefully

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By Wendell Dawson, Editor, AVOC, Inc

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After observing you for 12 years, Melvin, I know that you enjoy titles, positions of power and photo ops.   This past year you have reached “the mountain top”.  You have numerous titles and awards listed in your Bio on the County Website.   Your picture often appears in the local papers.    Some sources say it is an inside joke, “don’t get between Melvin and a camera!”

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You are completing your one year term as President of ACCG.   The County has landed the Caterpillar plant and that is a great achievement –not just for you personally but for a lot of us.   If you run again and win, it will be difficult to match or top those two things.

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Governor Nathan Deal making Caterpillar Announcement 2-17-12

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Melvin Davis and Nancy Denson on Front Row 2-17-12

http://spotted.onlineathens.com/

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SOME PHOTOS Courtesy of SPOTTED- ONLINE ATHENS

       http://spotted.onlineathens.com/

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Melvin Davis & Nancy Denson Waiting on Microphone

http://spotted.onlineathens.com/

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Melvin, you have diligently cultivated and enjoyed a “worshipful” relationship with Vinnie Williams and the Oconee Enterprise over the years but nothing or anybody lasts forever.  Age, time and diversity of citizens have taken a toll on Vinnie and the Enterprise.   Two years ago, we learned that she and your Chamber friends cannot carry the elections.

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Over your years of service, several reliable sources have told me how you have really worked behind the scenes to manipulate and exclude others from your activities-particularly board members and key staff.   Some of this comes from ego and from your natural instinct to “use folks” to advance your goals and career.    However, it has created animosity that does not go away.

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As a friend once said, in politics and in life, you can count your real friends on one hand but your enemies accumulate.   However, the day you leave the courthouse for the last time as chairman, you will find out who your real friends are.    The Larry Bensons, Tom Littles et al, will move on to the next Chairman.    You will be Old News!   The Press will also move on and you will become a mere mortal.  If you lose, it will be worse.

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I spent 26 years working for Oconee County, 12 as Chairman, and 14 more attending BOC meetings as Member and County Attorney.   I and many others, as a team, were able to accomplish a good bit (Bear Creek Reservoir & working with Athens-Clarke County on the Orkin Property were some things).   I also held a lot of titles and received several awards.   A number of folks worked with me and before me to make Oconee County what it is today.  You have benefitted from these past efforts.   However, seldom have I heard you recognize and thank your predecessors or fellow commissioners, for that matter.

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Now that Caterpillar is coming, Gateway Development Park, on GA 316 at Bogart is back on the front burner.  That property was acquired during previous administrations who also planned and worked on an Interchange at that site.   Sources told me you told the Development Authority at your first meeting “that you can forget the Interchange, DOT does not have the money”.  

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It is a good thing you were not Chairman when Bear Creek Reservoir was in the vision and planning stages or when the US 78 –GA 316 Interchange or the GA 53-Watkinsville By Pass Interchanges were being sought.   It also took strong lobbying to get the sidewalks, urban design and infrastructure for the Oconee County side of Epps Bridge Parkway.   The Parkway and infrastructure (in place before you took office) started the economic development along that corridor.   Home Depot, Lowes, Kroger, Publix, Wal-Mart etc were built or in final stages when you took office.

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Sources have told me about how Caterpillar basically fell in our laps.   I understand Congressman Broun heard about it and tipped off the Governor.   The GA Dept of Economic Development went to work on the possibility of bringing it to Oconee County-Athens area.   It is my understanding that Gateway Park was the ‘Hook” that got the state to looking at this area.   When they were putting together their first “dog and pony show” in Atlanta before Caterpillar news leaked out, I understand our Chairman did not go but had more important activities.   Another County Commissioner attended the meeting and suggested the larger Orkin tract was a better candidate because there had been interest and activity with it in the past.  After that, contact was made with Orkin and the State helped put the project together.

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Melvin Davis Speaking at Capitol 2.17.12

http://spotted.onlineathens.com/

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Sources also have told me that you did not include or invite the other commissioners to the Capitol on the day of the Governor’s Caterpillar Announcement.   I understand one commissioner, Horton, did go anyway and talked with other officials while you were busy with cameras and microphones.

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Melvin Davis & Nancy Denson shaking hands

http://spotted.onlineathens.com/

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NO, MR. Chairman, you did not bring Caterpillar to the area.   Bear Creek Reservoir, the Orkin Tract, sewer and roads at the site, previous planning and the efforts and vision of numerous folks made it happen.   It did require local cooperation with the State’s lead.   However, folks who have been around a while know why Caterpillar is really coming.

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Nancy Denson with TV Camera- Melvin Davis Waiting

http://spotted.onlineathens.com/

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As am I, you are approaching your 72nd birthday this year.(Cameras cannot hide aging.)   You have a wife, children and grandchildren that need some time with you.   You cannot stay on a “Mountain Top” for ever.   All good things come to an end.   Penn State Coach Joe Paterno is a vivid example of someone trying to hold on too long.

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You will have formidable opposition in Chuck Horton who will probably bring more vision and openness to the job and will share credit and promote teamwork.

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You barely made it in 2008.   Voters see and hear things that you don’t.   Folks usually won’t tell you how they really feel or how they will actually vote.   One is reminded of the Bible verse, ‘a prophet is without honor in his home land”.   Could it be that your popularity is greater outside Oconee County than in the County?   Money and press cannot always counteract a voter wave.

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Take your bow, Mr. Chairman, and move on.   Congratulations!  There is life after Politics!


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