City Council Heats Up over City Center

City Center vs Richmond Hill Restaurants

Everything was very calm and quiet at City Hall on Tuesday until the management group that runs the City Center proposed having a $18 Sunday Brunch and Friday night tapas & drinks for $9 plus cash bar.

City Center Proposal

Richmond Hill  restaurants parried with the reason the City Center was built, to bring out of town people to Richmond Hill to spend money in our hotels, restaurants, and shops.

Restaurant Owners Parry

General questions that need to be answered:

How does a Sunday Brunch appeal to Savannah’s populus?

Or does the $18 brunch target after church crowd from Richmond Hill?

Why did the tax payers build the City Center?

Is the City Center management group focusing on bringing out of county business to Richmond Hill businesses?

Is there a public list of the vendors used to plan, decorate, and facilitate functions? are Richmond Hill businesses given priority?

As a recent new comer to Richmond Hill, I’m perplexed by the building, the concept, and the City Center’s management style that was demonstrated tonight. When you have direct conflict with multiple businesses that make up the tax base that fund the very building that is occupied by the management company, something has to change.

When you drive by City Hall on Tuesday Night and the parking lot is full, you know there’s going to be fireworks tonight.

Hope to see ya next time, Dr. Trace

Henry Ford (The saga continues)

The Bryan County News has apparently jumped into the breech in support of Col Kent and his quest to remove “A Henry Ford City” from Richmond Hill signage.

I have written on this subject before; as a matter of fact, it was exactly one year ago.  Instead of reprinting what I said then, readers can find the story at “A Henry Ford City” dated February 15, 209.
My focus this time is the editorials and news content of the Bryan County Times covering this story.  It is obvious they are fully in support of Col Kent.  This is reflected in their editorials and the slant of various stories covering Henry Ford, and in particular – his antisemitism as well as various reactions around town.

Ms Potter wrote an editorial, “Here we go again” in which she made it quite clear, through her selection of words and phrases to reflect Henry Ford in the worse possible light, she would like nothing better than to see this “offending” phrase removed.  This is acceptable as she was writing an editorial, not a news item.  What is not acceptable are blatant falsehoods.  She states, “He even traveled to Germany to personally accept an award from Hitler...”.  She goes on in the next paragraph and states, “..there are pictures that prove that meeting took place.“.

I would be delighted to know the source of Ms Potters information.  All of my research indicates the award ceremony took place in his (Henry Fords) own office.  The award was presented by the Consul stationed in Cleveland.  And the award ceremony took place in March of 1938. The date is important as it was a full 18 months before Germany invaded Poland. The award was given due to the work the Ford Motor Company German factories had done in making cars and trucks for Germany.  And the photos of the award ceremony (the real one) can easily be found by Googling it.

A prudent and reasonable person reading the two different sentences would easily draw different and opposing conclusions.   A short survey of friends and neighbors reveal seven of ten queried believe Mr Ford made that trip having heard the story before (three hadn’t heard anything of the sort).  This belief, although lamentable regarding the shortcomings of a knowledge of history are not surprising as far as it goes.  But; a newspaper editor (and part owner) of the towns local newspaper who is reporting on a local issue has a very real responsibility to “get it right”, not print Internet rumors.  A few minutes spent fact checking would have revealed the facts.

It is very easy and convenient to judge past historical figures and events based on our moral and ethical standards of 2010. If we are to strip any favorable recognition from historical figures because of some character or moral flaws found within that person, we will find ourselves shortlisted indeed.  Ideally, we can learn from their character flaws as well as their scientific, military, political, or artistic abilities.

As an additional note, if the “offending” phrase were removed from the towns signage, would that be the end of it?  According to Col Kent?  Sure, although his new supporters may not be so amiable to the solution.  Call me a skeptic , but I find it highly doubtful this would be the end of this matter, as these matters rarely come to an easy close.  We have a statue of Henry Ford in City Hall, a street named for him,  a plaza named for him, and a housing development named for Henry Ford.  They would be targeted very quickly I am sure.

Some late corrections:

Although I started this blog to make a correction, it turns out I had to make three corrections of my own when Jeff Whitten of Bryan County News responded to an E-mail.

1.  The paper is the Bryan County News; not the Bryan County Times.

2.  The medal was awarded in July of 1938 not March.  Now my sources all said July.  My notes said July.  I have absolutely no idea why I typed March.  But, I thank Mr Whitten for catching my error.

3.  Ms Potter is the “editorial director and part owner” not the “editor and part owner” as I stated.

It should also be clarified at this time, the slant I referred to as found in the news stories is actually the slant found in the columns which are found on the editorial page, but are not editorials.  There is a distinction between the two that I did not fully appreciate.

I appreciate Mr Whitten taking the time and patience to point out these errors.


Drinks on Sunday

In case you missed it in yesterday’s edition of Bryan County News, there has been a referendum submitted to the city. The measure would allow eateries in town to serve alcohol on Sundays – not the bars or the package stores – but places where you go to eat.

The measure was proposed by the owner of Molly McPherson’s and supported by most of the related businesses.

I would be interested to hear how you feel about it or if you have any questions related to the proposal.

The Votes Are In and the Comment Requirements are Off

Tuesday elections have come and gone.

The unofficial results are in.

Post 3

  • Jimmy Hires – 507
  • Van Hunter – 216

Post 4

  • Billy Albritton – 264
  • Marilyn Hodges – 254
  • Kevin Artz – 108
  • Darryl Petermann – 85

SPLOST

  • 880-278 in favor of

Billy Albritton and Marilyn Hodges will go at it again December 4th as the top two vote getters in Post 4.

Anybody out there care to comment on what the voting seems to suggest about the trends in Richmond Hill? Seems to me you have the issue of growth being the hands down top discussion point. So, what do our voting choices say about our ideas on growth?

By the way, I have noticed that folks are clicking to leave comments and then decide not to (don’t worry – I don’t know who you are, only that you are). After spending some time on the Bryan County News Blog site, I am assuming that the requirement to enter name and email address may be a deterrent.

So, I turned it off. As much as I love transparency, I don’t want to stifle conversation. So come on and join in.

Meet Van Hunter and Darryl Petermann

I had the great opportunity to have coffees last week with two Councilman candidates, Van Hunter (post 3) and Darryl Petermann (post 4).

Marilyn Hodges didn’t have time to talk to me (although she knocked on my door) and I didn’t hear from the others. This is not to take exception with their position, or to suggest how I myself will vote, but even Jack Kingston returns emails.

I’m not saying…I’m just saying…

At any rate, I had the best time talking with these guys. I appreciate their time and their respect for me as a voter and a resident.

Van Hunter

In 1985, Richmond Hill gained another resident. Van Hunter, father of 4, grandfather of 3 and an Army veteran, decided Richmond Hill was the place for him. 22 years later, he would tell you he made the right move.

He gets excited when you ask him about his family. Two children serving in the military, 2 still live here in the Hill, and he drops his grandson off at school. Sounds like he wouldn’t give that taxi driver job to anybody.

City Councilman is another job he wants. Pretty bad it seems – this is his third run at the seat.

Van believes there needs be to be changes on the council. With all the big growth happening in Richmond Hill, Van thinks it important to have a voice on the council that will disagree with what he feels is Mayor Davis’ manner of “stacking and pack” current development.

“Lessen the density, more active green space, and hold developers accountable.” These are the big issues according to Van. He thinks the putting the planned convention center in the park is a bad idea due to overcrowding and limited green space. Maybe a larger area down Hwy 17S would be a better location.

“There’s no effort to support small business.” Van thinks that there is so much emphasis placed on development that those who are already here get overlooked.

Van will tell you the council needs somebody on the council that will not be the Mayor’s “yes man.” He will tell you the council needs a consistency, a conscious, and a backbone. Van will tell you he is all those things.

Darryl Petermann

At a little eatery in Savannah, Darryl Petermann, retired detective, thought he was going to have to break up a fight. He had spent enough time in law enforcement to know to stay calm. He was not sure if the four men were truly angry or joking loudly. He would wait until the waitress came back. If she had to deal with any trouble, he would take care of that. Then he heard an odd noise and turned around to look again. The four men had joined hands around the table, bowed their heads, and had joined together to bless their food.

This moment stayed with Darryl as this Manhattan, New Yorker was making a decision to move with his beloved. Richmond Hill was that place. Darryl and his wife owned a small business in Pooler. They have been married 40 years and have worked together for 25 of those.

Recently retired, Darryl has turned his attention to running for City Council. Living here for 8 years, Darryl loves what he calls Richmond Hill’s “Small town charm.” Darryl believes the growth is poorly planned and headed in the wrong direction.

Darryl thinks that industrial development is the way to go. He believes it is the best use of land outside of the city limits, will provide great job opportunity, can attract civilian contractors for the military, and eliminates many of the issues he feels are problems with the current form of growth.

Want to read more? Darryl is the only candidate (as far as I know) with his own website. He built the site himself, writes, his own articles, and plans to keep it running if elected.

*The Bryan County News (Ross Blair) has an article previewing all the candidates. You can find that by clicking here.

The Candidates are answering – well, some of them…

You may recall we discussed the City Council spots coming up for a vote November 6th. This generated some questions and some searching emails to all involved, in so much as I could find them. You would think I would at least run into somebody at Kroger or something. After all, it is Richmond Hill.

First, I am proud to say I have been educated on what a “post” is. As I suspected, it is typically a district in a city. Where I got confused was, if that was the case, why do I get to vote in each? Well, Richmond Hill has “posts,” but, because of our size, they are not big enough to be exclusive. Therefore, while the posts may be numbered, they are essentially “at large.”

That created a new question. How does a candidate get placed in a post on ballot? Simple – they just choose the one they want to sign up for.

Now that’s out of the way, I am going to get to the individual candidates of which there are 6.

  • 2 I have interviewed and that information will be posted soon – I had a nice time talking over coffees with Van Hunter and Darryl Petermann
  • 1 declined due to time unavailability – I hope Marilyn Hodges will change her mind
  • 1 was supported by a resident, which has to be a good thing – I am looking forward to speaking with Kevin Artz directly
  • 2 have not responded – I will try again to contact the incumbents, Jimmy Hires and Billy Albritton. I am looking forward to speaking with them.

The Candidates are answering – well, some of them…

You may recall we discussed the City Council spots coming up for a vote November 6th. This generated some questions and some searching emails to all involved, in so much as I could find them. You would think I would at least run into somebody at Kroger or something. After all, it is Richmond Hill.

First, I am proud to say I have been educated on what a “post” is. As I suspected, it is typically a district in a city. Where I got confused was, if that was the case, why do I get to vote in each? Well, Richmond Hill has “posts,” but, because of our size, they are not big enough to be exclusive. Therefore, while the posts may be numbered, they are essentially “at large.”

That created a new question. How does a candidate get placed in a post on ballot? Simple – they just choose the one they want to sign up for.

Now that’s out of the way, I am going to get to the individual candidates of which there are 6.

  • 2 I have interviewed and that information will be posted soon – I had a nice time talking over coffees with Van Hunter and Darryl Petermann
  • 1 declined due to time unavailability – I hope Marilyn Hodges will change her mind
  • 1 was supported by a resident, which has to be a good thing – I am looking forward to speaking with Kevin Artz directly
  • 2 have not responded – I will try again to contact the incumbents, Jimmy Hires and Billy Albritton. I am looking forward to speaking with them.

Do you know who is running for the City Council spots?

General Elections are November 6th.

You can find the election notice here.

To save you the trouble, I’ll go ahead and fill you in.

Council Post Three

  • Jimmy Hires (incumbent)
  • Van Hunter

Council Post Four

  • Billy Albritton (Incumbent)
  • Darryl Petermann
  • Marilyn Hodges
  • Kevin Artz

Blogging Richmond Hill has gotten a request to attempt to host a Q&A of these folks to see where they stand on city issues such as growth, representation, taxes, and general platform.

I’d love to do this…but I don’t know how to get a hold of all of them. I see their signs everywhere. No websites and no contact.

So – here’s mine – email me at info@bloggingrichmondhill.com

Tell them we are looking for them. Then send us your questions…we love to try to get them answered.