Lori Davis seized center stage quite a few times in recent days, but instead of coming away with newfound credibility and increased influence, the Harrisburg resident found herself pretty much where she’s always been, which is slipping further and further down the totem pole.
Sitting in the front row at last Thursday’s Commission Work Session on the TEE Center parking deck management agreement, which Davis and her minions have nursed from for months, she was brutalized by Augusta Riverfront’s Paul Simon, whose gleeful dismissal was unmistakable.
“You see all this stuff on these blogs that’s just wrong,” he said. “They had me on a little street sweeper.”
He was talking about her website, of course, which to hear her tell it is the only newsgathering organization in town.
Then, turning around to look directly at her, he proceeded to explain exactly what he felt was wrong about the story about him and the street sweeper.
Not only did he explain exactly what he felt was wrong about the story, but nearly all the commissioners were laughing with him as he spoke. The commissioners, who have been locked in a complicated tug of war with Simon over the management of the TEE Center parking deck, snickered along with him like a bunch of fraternity brothers.
The snickering continued when Simon took another jab at the press. “Not the good press,” he said. “But the bad press.”
Davis sat tall and took it, but the flagrant disregard the commissioners displayed for someone who is campaigning to become one of them made it clear how little they respect her.
This is the same woman, of course, who posted what amounted to a “Help us!” message on the ABC News Facebook page after the First Friday shootings.
“This needs national attention,” she wrote. “Augusta Ga. is a corrupt city on the political level. No money for proper law enforcement because it goes into the pockets of the wealthiest families every year at the detriment of the citizens. We need the help of the National media. We have a story to tell and 100’s of documents to prove our story. Won’t you help us???”
ABC News responded by taking down the post.
Then, Tuesday, she appeared before the commission on the day they were voting on the forensic audit of the parking deck and the management contract. The title of her presentation was “These are the Times That Try Men’s Souls — Who Owns Your Soul?”
In typical Lori Davis form, she lambasted the commission for being too lazy to act on the information she and her group of like-minded individuals have dug up for them, called out Fred Russell (who was messing around with his Blackberry while she spoke) and then accused Simon of being a shrewd businessman who might be a little too good at making money.
“Moral bankruptcy and the pursuit of monetary gain is an affront to hard-working, taxpaying honest citizens,” she said, before winding up her little speech.
A few minutes later, after an outside auditor heaped praise upon the city’s management, Russell subtly but deliberately fired back.
“You have people who are flat crazy when it comes to government and how it works and don’t have a clue how things really happen,” he said. “Those people are entitled to their opinions. Those people are entitled to their five minutes of fame, but those people need to recognize that we’ve got 2,700 people here that work very hard for the 200,000 people that live here and have a very good track record of success and getting things done.”
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