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County to fight NAACP voting lawsuit?

It appears the Fayette County Commission will fight the district voting lawsuit filed by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

The commission next week will vote on one of two new commission district maps, both of which would retain at-large voting for all commission seats. The NAACP suit wants to eliminate at-large voting in favor of district voting.

Under at-large voting, every voter in the county can vote for each commission seat, regardless of where they live. With district voting, voters would only be able to vote for one of the five commission seats, based on which geographical commission district they live in.

The NAACP claims the district voting format will allow black residents a more fair opportunity to seek elected office.

Of the two maps that are up for consideration, one creates five separate commission districts. The other, proposed by Commissioner Steve Brown, would retain the current format of three districts, leaving the other two commission positions available for any qualifying resident of the county regardless of where they live.

(Scroll to the bottom of the story for links to the maps, which are in a high-resolution PDF format.)

Both proposals would keep at-large voting for all five commission seats. As part of his three-district plan, Brown is advocating for one of the at-large seats to be dedicated to a chairman, which means county residents would elect the chairman in lieu of the current process whereby the commission votes on its chairman each year.

The announcement was made at Thursday’s commission meeting after the board met for more than 45 minutes with the law firm that is consulting the county on the NAACP lawsuit.

There is a looming deadline in a few weeks for the county to file the maps with the legislature so the maps can be approved in time to be enacted for this year’s election cycle.

Discussion about the upcoming map vote was added to the agenda in part so the public could be informed of the decision to be made by the commission next week, according to County Attorney Scott Bennett.

That’s a stark change from the way the Fayette County Board of Education handled its 3-2 vote to settle the lawsuit Jan. 9.

While the settlement document was dated Dec. 15, the settlement was added to the Jan. 9 BoE’s website earlier that same day.

Voting for the settlement were school board members Leonard Presberg, Janet Smola and Terri Smith. Voting no were Marion Key and Bob Todd.

The county commission has hired a law firm which specializes in Voting Rights Act cases: Strickland Brockington Lewis LLP. The school board, however, decided to use its appointed attorney, Phil Hartley, instead.



This shouldn't cost the county too much, since Ramsey said prviously, that some fights are worth fighting. I am sure he will step up and do some 'Pro Bono' work. Is Commish Brown still working on that Lake Peachtree dredging issue?

Don't let that bigoted organization buffalo you into something that we don't want. If they want to elect a commissioner that happens to have the same skin tone as their members, then they should find a suitable candidate that can support a county-wide appeal. Otherwise, they should keep their bigoted ideas to themselves.

ginga1414's picture

The Fayette County Board of Commissioners has called a special meeting on TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 14th, at 6:00 p.m. to display the proposed district maps for Commission seats. The public is invited and will have the opportunity to speak on the issue within a two-minute time frame.

It is also a great opportunity to explain the voting process to children and grandchildren.

Robert W. Morgan's picture

And I certainly like the idea of the entire county voting for county commission Chair. Logical and fair. Now 2 questions:
1. Will the NAACP like this map since it appears to put white incumbent Mr. Brown in the northern district? I mean this suit is about skin color, is it not?
2. When a sitting county commissioner decides to run for chair, will he have to resign his district seat first? Seems like he would have to because if he won then his old district would not be represented. We sure don't want the expense of a special election - thank you Mr. Bost in case you all have forgotten that one.

Live free or die!

A commissioner or a school board member, represents the county as a whole. The idea that they must live in a certain district is good, because that ensures a wide distribution, but since each commissioner or school board member represents the county as a whole, then the whole county needs to have a voice, not just that particular district.

Thank you Commissioners for standing up to that bigoted organization.

If they want someone who shares their skin color, then they should recruit a candidate that has the whole county's best interests in mind and that is electable county-wide, not waste tax dollars fighting the laws that are in place.

PTC Observer's picture

Yes, I see now, just like the President represents the entire country. Let's get rid of the electoral college too so we have have a popular vote on the president.

Why with the level of understanding history, David's Mom should lead this effort. Her in-depth knowledge of Georgia and American history is quite astounding. Though, not surprising for a public educator from California. And you 30 year, should be right by her side helping her based on your logic of broad democratic representative government.

Yes indeed, quite astounding.

Ever since childhood, people have not always gotten their way. Being that we are all different and have such diverse opinions is allright as well. But when the NAACP gets involved with anything, the "race card" is allways the prominent complaint. I am so sick of hearing about why somebody did not get their way that it was because of their color. I am against the Black History Month but I don't run around hollering that this caused me harm or something like that. Let a "White" organization have anything to say or do about a White History Month or anything to do about the White Race and BAM!!, the race card is slammed in your face. I had realitives long ago that lived in poverty and were treated as slaves, but I can't change the past and I sure wasn't there to do something about it. Live and let live, don't choke the society with the craziness of everything going wrong was because of the color of one's skin. Times are hard enough just trying to get by these days. We sure don't need the added pressure of that same old song and dance. Relax and try to live each day as if it were your last. You never know when that might be. I whole heartedly support the commisioners on this fight.

Your opinion is understood - but not agreed with. You have evidently experienced the improvements that have been made here in Fayette County. . . yet I find very few people publicly celebrating these improvements in race relations in Fayette County. The silence regarding these improvements is another strategy in playing the 'race card'. When one shops, eats in the many restaurants, attends religious services, participates in festivals one is well aware that citizens in Fayette County do respect their fellow citizens regardless of race.

The sad reality is the reality of the absence of the contribution from blacks, Asians, Hispanics from American History until relatively recent textbooks. American History is NOT white history of the United States. Because of this reality - we have the celebration of the different ethnic groups to America. No one complains about St. Patricks Day - and even in historically 'black' schools, the wearing of the green was/is celebrated. It doesn't take away from anyone to celebrate the contributions of the different groups which comprise the American populace.

The law involved in the Voting RIghts Act took into account that there are certain individuals and certain states in this country who will try to use skin color as a factor in the right to vote. 40 years later, we are finding that this is still a reality - and so the legal use of the VRA is in play. Sad. No one is worried about the past - we are dealing very much with the present. Fayetteville elected a 'black' man to the city council. I have no idea regarding his politics - but evidently he made his case to the voters, and he is still being well received by the citizens of Fayetteville as he speaks at different gatherings. How sad that we feel we have to fight in order to do unto others as we would have them do unto us. It is sad when some feel that they must rely on their skin color to feel superior to others. Thanks to the law - and the practice of non-violence as taught by Ghandi and King - this concern will be worked out in the courts or settled without violence. In the meantime, there are daily proofs that Fayette County has made great strides in race relations - and will follow the law in making sure that every citizen has an opportunity to have their voice heard.

The concern may be has 'gerrymandering' been used to control/deny a vote in Fayette County based on skin color. We'll see.

By saying that St Patricks day has anything to do with a racial issue is ludicrus. The color green has never been misconstrued with skin color unless your a martian, and the celebration of that particular day has no racial values. The race card is,in my opinion,played out. If a person waves the old Dixie flag or even mentions the word dixie, then they are, in some peoples opinion, racist. The flag to many, represented the South and only Southerners who fought, and some lost their life protecting their heritage. It wasn't displayed as a token of color. Some groups may do so, but that is not everyone. If you take the time and watch, when a situation arises, and there are more than one color of people involved and the decision does not favor the black man, then all hell breaks lose. Case in point: The Gainesville HS Valedictorian was decided to be given to one white kid and one black kid. The research shows that their GPA was almost identical and other protocol was involved for the deciding factor. So they equally gave it to both. How can you be any fairer? Well if you have kept up with the news, it has become a travesty in Gainesville.

And then you say its sad that the Blacks, Asians and Hispanics that made contributions to the American History were absent from textbooks until now. How about the poor old INDIANS. Where are they at. Their land was stolen and infested with the melting pot of other nations. What about their history? Why don't you do something good and push for an Indian History Month and the positive of those people, or do they not matter anymore. If everybody took there eyes off of who did what and worried about What are we going to do, then we wouldn't have time to be racists. Our Nation is in a mess. Our leaders are sending us "down the road" and they don't have to worry. They are "Vested for the rest of their lives" .

The only thing left before the thugs Take over Fayette County is for MARTA to pull up in front of the Courthouse. You can bet that the NAACP will have a voice in the matter. I hope that our Commissioners fight them "tooth and nail" and help run them out of town. Its time that the Race Card be reversed, because I feel that I am being discriminated against and I am tired of it. I FULLY BACK THE COMMISSIONERS AND HOPE THEY WIN THE WAR.

1. Fayetteville is growing not declining - and new business is picking up.
2. Atlanta and Fayette County are attracting new businesses
3. If a person, regardless of race, gender, or religion has the skills and motivation to succeed in this country and this county - they can. I'm sorry that father time feels that he is being discriminated against just because he is not viewed as superior because of his gender or race. There is no 'war' here - just a clarification of the implementation of the law.
4. Father time's feeling that persons of color are 'thugs' is as erroneous as my feelings seven years ago that all white males in pick-up trucks were KKK. (Get out and get to know your Fayette County neighbors of color. They are just as interested in preserving what is good about this county as you are. They have invested time and funds to insure that Fayette County remains attractive to all Americans.)
5. Maybe it's just in the south, but where I grew up, we were taught the history of the Native Americans, especially those who were native to the region where we lived. Sorry you missed that in your education. Throughout this country, there are many celebrations and festivals involving the Native American culture - and if you feel strongly about this, I'm sure you can find groups that are interested in pursuing a Native American month.
6. I'm sure you will be at the Commission meeting tonight. Your point of view will be noted I'm sure.

St. Patrick's day: In the celebration of that day, we were taught the contributions of the Irish to our country; the difficulties that they had; etc., etc., etc. We also celebrated when JFK became an Irish-American president!! (We also noted that he was 'white' - but we celebrated anyway!) (sarcasm)

Mike King's picture

"If a person, regardless of race, gender, or religion has the skills and motivation to succeed in this country and this county - they can."

Should this be true, why then must a(n) individual(s) of color resort to the effort of an outside and racially motivated entity to succeed to win a county wide election?

Is that a rhetorical question? Why were persons of color denied the right to vote in this state and this county until 1964? (Our democracy/republic was founded in 1776) Why are there those who feel that when those of a different color question their opportunity to be represented in this state/county - that it is an act of discriminating against them? Fortunately, we will have a decision based on law. The answer to all of this is in the hearts of men and women in Fayette County. There are different perceptions and emotions regarding this issue. The law will settle the question. The history of Fayette County and the motivation of setting district voting areas will be discussed tonight. It should be interesting.

[quote]And then you say its sad that the Blacks, Asians and Hispanics that made contributions to the American History were absent from textbooks until now. How about the poor old INDIANS. Where are they at?[/quote]

Evidently not in your educational experience. Native American Month is November. (Remember the story of the Pilgrims and the Indians?) Look it up. What a shame that you are unfamiliar with this - and I'm ashamed that I forgot!! )

suggarfoot's picture

that is indeed what has happened here...and because of it Atlanta as a whole, Fayette county with it....are going down. No one wants to bring a new business in here because it is too hard to hire ratios and expect them to work. People want to hire the best qualified.

It is reverse discrimination at its finest.

"I had realitives long ago that lived in poverty and were treated as slaves, but I can't change the past and I sure wasn't there to do something about it"

That is the dirty little secret that the Sharpton's of the world don't like people knowing. There were huge numbers of Irish brought to this country as slaves. The blacks have been rewarded and rewarded and rewarded for political pandering. The Irish, nor other groups....never.

Cyclist's picture

Good luck in court.

Judging by the reasons the BOE acknowledged in their decision not to defend the current voting scheme, I don't honestly see the county prevailing. But then, I am not a lawyer nor have stayed at at a Holiday Inn Express lately.

I do hope that the cost to exit the courthouse, when it's all said and done, is not too steep.

Caution - The Surgeon General has determined that constant blogging is an addiction that can cause a sedentary life style.

Can't be too much since one of our elected lawyer representatives said about BOE that some fights are worth fighting. Pro Bono! I wonder what the final tally is over in Coweta w/ their Commishs fight Free Enterprise but not that type Free Enterprise (Starship)? Tilting at Windmills to play to the base.

Cyclist's picture

where his mouth is. Honestly, I think the he is boasting. But then I have a hard time to take him seriously. After all, he did vote for the first revision of HB277 which was put us on track for TSPLOST. Now the young Senator is trying to do his best to unravel it.

Caution - The Surgeon General has determined that constant blogging is an addiction that can cause a sedentary life style.

and Planned Parenthood and unions and Why they are relevant today..

Woody's picture

Well, it could be true, seeing how they are doing this:

<b><a href=" Asking U.N. Human Rights Council to Condemn American Voter ID Laws</a></b>

<cite>The NAACP’s “Stand For Freedom Pledge,” the centerpiece of its campaign, includes a appeal for “[t]he United Nations to investigate and condemn voter suppression tactics in the United States.”</cite>

suggarfoot's picture

Oh well...anyone surprised? disgusting.

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