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NAACP issues $850K bill for district voting

Group seeks legal fees, damages from Fayette County Commission, Board of Education

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is seeking more than $850,000 in attorneys fees and costs to be paid by Fayette County taxpayers following the group’s district voting victory in federal court.

According to the motion filed Thursday, the NAACP and other plaintiffs will file a “detailed specification and itemization” supporting that figure within 30 days.

The NAACP prevailed in the lawsuit, as U.S. District Judge Timothy C. Batten threw out the county’s at-large voting system and replaced it with the district voting format which will be used in this year’s primary and general elections.

Under district voting, registered voters will be limited to voting for just one of the five posts on both the county board of education and the county commission; they may only vote on the post corresponding with the geographic area they live in.

Previously, under at-large voting, each voter was able to cast ballots for all five seats on both governing bodies, which combined spend the lion’s share of tax dollars levied on taxpayers.

The NAACP argued that the district voting process was necessary to allow black residents of Fayette County to “elect the candidate of their choice.”

In addition to ordering the voting format switch, Batten also ordered a new district map that drew a specially-created 5th district. That district is key because it is now a “majority-minority” district which has a voting-age population where just over 50 percent are black voters.

The commission and the board of education are both appealing the case to the 11th District of the U.S. Court of Appeals. In a news release, the NAACP is pressuring the county commission and board of education to drop the lawsuit, contending that their costs, added on to the county’s early legal fees, presses the legal bill beyond $1.1 million.

“The ongoing appeal process will be just as costly and will push legal costs much higher unless Fayette County leaders are convinced by irate taxpayers to drop their appeal and accept the reality that enough taxpayer dollars have been lost opposing district voting,” the NAACP said.

John Jones, president of the Fayette County NAACP, revealed that his organization attempted to settle the lawsuit with the county commission, but commission members rejected it. A settlement was brokered at one point with the board of education, but the court set it aside after learning that the commission objected to it.

The settlements would have cost the county about $10,000 in fees, Jones said.

“Instead, our county, under the misguided leadership of our currently elected board members, is now in the position of having to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees to pay their attorneys and our attorneys because they have lost,” Jones said. “Any astute business person, spending her own money and given the reality that at-large voting operates to discriminate in Fayette County, would have settled years ago for only $10,000. It is this type of decision making and wasteful spending of our taxpayer dollars which underscores our call for a change in the method of electing our county leaders.”

Jones also called for voters to toss out incumbents in favor of new officials who would “promise to put aside their own personal interests in power, unlike our current leadership, for the sake of what’s best for all members of the county.”

“We pose this question to our current county leaders: when they lose their appeal, will board members individually pay the balance that is due or will we as taxpayers continue to bear the burden of their bad decision making?” Jones said.



Robert W. Morgan's picture

Wow, talk about an entitlement mentality! You disrupt our right to vote on all 5 commissioners and now you want us (the taxpayers who are voters and non-voters) to pay your legal bills? Absurd. I'm all for a loser pays system when somebody pushes a frivolous lawsuit on someone and the case is dismissed as obviously frivolous, but this is not that.

This should remove any doubts anyone in the county ever had about appealing this thing. You need to be stopped and put out of business. Maybe a long expensive appeal will do exactly that. If nothing else the appeals court will take into account your highly padded and possibly fraudulent legal bill. Love to see those itemized expenses and meetings and how someone very creative got them to total $850,000. I pity the poor citizens you dragged into this thing. They have several expensive years ahead of them - or embarrassment when they back down and join the other side or write a book about how you enticed them to front for you.

And your pathetic attempt to drive a wedge between our county commission and the taxpayers is just that - pathetic. They may not be perfect and a couple probably won't get reelected, but they and certainly their replacements speak for most of us in opposing your racist lawsuit.

Live free or die!

PTC Observer's picture

yet RWM, wait until the county loses the appeal. Now that will be a legal bill!

Robert W. Morgan's picture

people in the county, that is. $20 or even $30 for everyone in my household to fight this thing - a no-brainer. Win or lose. That Jones guy has really annoyed me and I hope others - especially the commissioners feel the same way.

Live free or die!

One way or another we all will. I am certainly for appealing it, although I don't see much chance of winning. Maybe others will more legal schooling in the area can shed some light on this.

I think what goes against us is that our way was not the norm...I and many others liked it, but I don't think that matters.

Robert W. Morgan's picture

That's what everybody seems to be pushing for - the norm or as we like to say the new normal. The new normal is where only 1/2 the people pay taxes, but everybody votes, illegal aliens are no longer illegal they are automatically citizens - this from our Secretary of State or VP - interchangeable boobs.

The new norm is no one can succeed or accumulate wealth or even a retirement account unless you give the government back a half or a third so they can redistribute. And we can't have a voting system we like because it is "not normal". Normal according to the NAACP is manipulating the system so it forces black representation - like it or not, want it or not.

I guess the next thing to attack is the high SAT scores at McIntosh because that's "not normal" - gotta make them lower somehow so we line up with the "normal kids" in adjacent counties. Wouldn't want to make the dumber kids feel bad, would we. That would be like keeping score or something. Hey, I know what to do. Let's bus kids from the low scoring schools to the high scoring schools and send some of the high scoring kids back to the low scoring schools. That should do it. It will all average out the, won't it? Wonder why no one has ever tried that.

I am so sick of this crap where people at the top or the front of the line get dragged down just because its fair. Says who?? Our President, Congress, the Supreme Court???? Oh yea, they do. I forgot. Never mind.

The only good in all this is that I am very thankful my parents and in-laws - all 4 very much participating members of the Greatest Generation are not alive to witness the destruction of what they worked so hard to build up. They are probably going to hold me and other baby boomers accountable - and maybe we should be.

Live free or die!

[quote]Normal according to the NAACP is manipulating the system so it forces black representation - like it or not, want it or not.[/quote]

Liking or not liking 'black' representation is not implementing the law of the US. We are a country of 'law' - and the law applies to all citizens regardless of their gender, religion, skin-color. I'm sure the attorneys for the county will make their additional appeal based on 'law' - not likes or dislikes. This situation is the basis for a fantastic civics lesson!

Robert W. Morgan's picture

The lesson is that 120 years of perfectly legal at-large voting has produced some dedicated public servants and some boorish clowns, even some potheads, but sadly they were all white or hispanic or oriental. Some blacks have run, but did not win.

So, by using an obviously racist organization, a few clueless citizens and an ethically-challenged attorney, they convince an activist judge to overturn a 120 year voting pattern which could never be done legally - by county commission vote and state legislature approval. Then the judge draws a map that specifically seeks out only black voters to ensure a black candidate gets elected. Oh yea, and then they asked to ban all incumbents because they might be white or something. Fortunately that smelled so bad even the bow-tied judge had to say no.

And that's your great civics lesson - you don't like the law, but you can't change it legally, using the systems that are in place, just go over everyone's head and ram something through that the majority doesn't approve of. Is that what you want to teach your kids and grandkids? Who do you think you are - Obama?

A better civics lesson is appealing this thing and paying attention to what the judges that overturn it (or not) actually say. Judge Batten is not going down in history as someone great or even competent, so let's learn from the unbiased grownup judges farther up the food chain.

Live free or die!

Has anybody raised the question of "What happens if this 'special' minority-majority district reverts back to minority-minority? Then what? Do we make a "special" 6th district? Do we just shift district lines around every election cycle to have this "special" district standard met?

Maybe by then, this unique county - which in reality is a living role model of the new south - except for this Voting Rights thing for over 50 years - will be recognized for its ability to live the 'DO UNTO OTHERS AS YOU WOULD HAVE THEM DO UNTO YOU' principle. Almost all new developments in Fayette County have been integrated for the past ten years and longer. Large and small churches in our county reach out to all.

I was raised in the west - and white flight was prevalent during my youth. This left the prime areas of the city in the hands of minorities. (Those whose population was less than the majority of residents of the city) Today, all 'races' are interested in residing in the area where I was raised - homes have been maintained over the years - and are selling for well over one million dollars. Homes in Fayette County have not been turned into Section 8 rentals; the unemployed in FC are almost equal in race. <strong>As a taxpayer in this county for over 10 years,</strong> I want to know how the expenditure of these funds for an appeal will help secure the jobs of 4 teachers, include parapros in first grade classrooms, improve the graduation rate of the county high schools, etc., etc., etc. I thank Ms. Leonard's sharing of the reality of the situation in Fayette County.

If you thought that an elected official on the BOE or BOC was doing a lousy job and thought that he/she should be removed, why wouldn't you want the opportunity to do just that. Before this rule change you could. Now you can basically only vote for the guy on your street and hope for the best. Seriously?..... Why should I not be allowed to vote for the better of my county (the whole county) and not just for the guy who represents my district? Since you are always bringing up Mr. Presburg, I would like to have the opportunity to vote for him as well. Last election cycle I was able to, not I cannot. that voting right (and is was a voting right) was taken away from me by a group of individuals with an agenda. That's not right and not how you do things.

[quote]If you thought that an elected official on the BOE or BOC was doing a lousy job and thought that he/she should be removed, why wouldn't you want the opportunity to do just that.[/quote]

The judge felt that under Districtwide voting, some residents who felt this way could not be heard. Your right was also voiced as having the right to deny a citizen a seat at the tabled. No one is blind.

You vote for the candidate who is the most qualified to occupy the position. No one is being denied anything here. Put a more qualified candidate on the ballot than the one currently in office and that's how you vote someone in. When people are forced into a situation against their will for the benefit of a select few, that's when the animosity and bitterness comes out. Why do you think people are upset about the ACA? They are being forced out of what they have and like and are being corralled into something they don't want against their will.

The ACA will not be repealed. It will be improved. Until it is improved, there are those who may choose to pay the penalty and go to the ER room. There have been participants in this discussion who have boasted about the ability of residents of Fayette County to use their vote against a Democrat or 'other' under the Districwide method. (They just vote for the other guy). If the residents of the four Districts 'get together' the Democrat or'other' candidate doesn't stand a chance.

[quote]When people are forced into a situation against their will for the benefit of a select few, that's when the animosity and bitterness comes out.[/quote]

Thank heavens MLK realized the bitterness was boiling over in the black/poor communities in our country. There are different perspectives to every issue. When we realize this and cooperate in finding solutions , we'll be moving back to a united country. . . And no ideology will be able to separate Americans.

RKS's picture

I'd like to put a little reality into this thread about what this "unique" county has become:

1. Crime ridden
2. Mom and Pop businesses closing up due to all the big box stores taking over
3. Losing it's small town feel due to the mall and chain stores
4. Did I mention crime ridden?

If this town is a living role model, then I hope no one is paying attention. So many things done wrong in the name of "progress".

My neighborhood isn't section 8 yet, but the value is so diminished, everyone is upside down. It isn't a safe place to be after dark and the kind of people living here now don't take good care of their homes and yards like they used to. So, sorry, I am not buying your "living role model" speech. I have lived it for 25+ years's sad what has happened.

Come take a ride down Glenn. Note the activity in the small shopping centers that are newly built or renovated. Note the new businesses that are opening up to meet the needs of the new housing developments that are being built AND SOLD. I came to Fayetteville in 2004 - and wondered if we had made the right decision in moving here. We have been most pleased with the vision of the leaders at that time - and the renovation of the Court House area - which still gives our city a 'small town feel'. I don't know where you live - but everyone's value has diminished. Many of our young neighbors lost their homes - but new neighbors are moving in with their young children - and bringing joy to us 'retirees'. I'm sorry that your neighbors have not maintained their homes. . . .but this is happening all over the country - and is not happening where I live. I hesitated in getting involved with a development's Homeowner Organization - but we have been pleased with the leadership of the organization and the adherence to maintenance regulations. I have lived here for over 10 years now - and I'm very pleased. Those like you who are experiencing your reality - no one will deny it - but I feel the majority of citizens in Fayetteville do not feel this way and are welcoming their new neighbors. Fayetteville is a role model.

Crime: In this economy, crime has escalated. We are part of an active Neighborhood Watch program. The cooperation of our Mayor's office and the Chief of Police has made the Fayette Pavilion area feel safe again. The opening of outstanding restaurants in that part of town (Longhorn and Olive Garden - as well as Panera Bread) has shown that the community does support the business area near the Pavilion. Our unique county is growing. Sorry to hear that some neighborhoods are not growing with it.

RKS's picture

The arrival of The Olive Garden (a franchise), pushed out a long standing Italian restaurant. The arrival of Longhorn pushed out a long standing steakhouse in this town. How about the closing of the only service attendant gas station, had been here since time began? I would suggest you drive past the crime ridden Pavilion up GA 85 and up GA 314 and see what has happened to the northern part of Fayetteville. Then drive back down to Banks Station and take a look at the once lovely neighborhood behind that disaster of a shopping center...mostly vacant shops, filthy movie theater. Then, head back up 85 and turn down Corinth Road and see that subdivision and what it has become.

If you think going to the Pavillion is safe again, go right, I continue to avoid it. Let's see what happens now that it is getting warmer again and the thugs return from their hibernation.

You have been here a mere 9-10 years, you don't know what this place used to be...small town feel, mom and pop businesses and a place where we never worried about thuggery.

Doesn't know good Italian.

It's filled everyday - bringing in revenue. It will be an asset as long as customers support it. Many businesses closed in Fayetteville in 2003-2010. No one comes to Fayetteville, GA for 'fine dining'. Good food, good service - that keeps the parking lots of restaurants in Fayette County filled.

Just not the Olive Garden....I hear McDonalds sells lots of hamburgers too.

Almost all of the restaurants on Glenn have filled parking lots - including the McDonalds!! The builders laughed - saying the families wanted great kitchens - but ate out almost every night!!

It gets expensive and is generally not as healthy in my opinion. But hey, I am glad they are busy.

It's not real Italian, but it fills a need for casual dining. And she is right, it's crowded. People like it for the unlimited salad and bread.

I prefer my wife's Italian food myself.

If it was like it was then - I would never have moved here with my family. That, I guess, is what you want.

RKS's picture

[quote=Davids mom]If it was like it was then - I would never have moved here with my family. That, I guess, is what you want.[/quote]

I don't know what you mean by that comment, please clarify...."back then" that I am referring to was a family friendly town, mom and pop businesses, people who knew eachother, and most importantly was pretty much free of crime. It was a place where we felt safe to go outside and take a walk and shop and frequent shops and restaurants that were locally owned and operated. We were free of big box stores and chain restaurants that destroy locally owned businesses. We were proud homeowners who took care of what we had. I don't find neighborhoods that look like dumps with poorly maintained homes the least bit appealing. I don't find thuggery the least bit appealing.

If you are insinuating something else to me, you are barking up the wrong tree.

My family could not stop at the few restaurants that a passerby would see from the road; in 1981, my children may have had to attend a segregated school. Maybe not. Our relatives advised my father not to stop in Fayette County unless it was with friends or relatives. My son was at Morehouse, and was advised not to stop in Fayette County. There were 'black' families in FC. . . and according to them, they knew their place according to the established traditions of Fayette County. There are many families Iiving in FC today, cooperating with their neighbors, and maintaining neighborhoods that exhibit pride in ownership. There are neighborhoods and single dwellings that do not exhibit 'pride' of ownership in Fayette County. There are organizations in FC who try to provide assistance to those whose homes are not being cared for. The lack of monitoring of Section 8 housing is a concern of many in this country, not just FC. Crime has escalated in all communities since 1981. Neighbors who work with one another as well as law enforcement are trying their best to combat the thug culture.
I don't need you to give me a tour. As a resident, you need to address your concern with your neighbors. It's not 1981, thank heavens it's 2014 - and concerned citizens can accomplish a lot with cooperation.

I have worked with the law enforcement in my community and the Mayors office in Fayetteville. I feel much safer than I did last year, I walk the streets of my community using the precautionary measures suggested by law enforcement. It's not 1981 anywhere on this globe. I hope you find the peace and harmony that you're looking for. The search begins with you.

Schools were fully integrated here in the late 60's. Why not talk to long time residents to get info, and not some relative that was obviously a racist. No wonder you feel the way you do.

How many of the 'private' Christian schools were integrated in the late '60's? In the late '60's how many of the residents of FC were non-white? My relatives in Georgia experienced 'traditions' as blacks and whites. I have a rather unique view of Georgia and our country. There is 'truth' from both perspectives. There is also error from both perspectives. What some don't realize is that change is here! My relatives experienced ignorance in race relations throughout this country. What changed during my lifetime was 'law'. The ignorance is still here because of lack of positive experiences due to continued informal segregation. Humans who have had the experience of living in a cooperative environment on this planet have learned that they have more in common than not. My questions were not rhetorical . Thanks for the answers.

I know schools in Clayton County were fully integrated on 1969, I was in First Grade.

G35 Dude's picture

You are correct Spy. I attended Clayton County schools in the late 60's and that is when the schools were integrated. The black high school was the smaller of the 2 so the plan to accommodate integration was to send the 9th graders to the old black high school and use the white high school for grades 10 and above. This infuriated many blacks as they had to abandon their school. They did not think that was fair so many (not all) tried to cause problems as a way of protest. No white girl could walk down the hall alone safely as they, not the boys as much, were the targets of these new trouble makers. At one point the police had to stop what was going to be a riot probably. Many of the white boys were going to wait for the trouble makers that had harassed their girlfriends. Luckily the police found out and stopped it. And no family member told me this. I was there.

You can't use logic with an illogical person.

hutch866's picture

I grew up in Clayton County graduating in 75, and as far as I know, there were 3 high schools in the county in the late 60's and none of them were for blacks only. What were the names of these schools?

I yam what I yam

G35 Dude's picture

The black school was Fountain. The white was Forest Park Sr High. You don't remember Fountain? You can find it on It was behind the old Kiwanis Fields in Forest Park.

You can't use logic with an illogical person.

Busy Bee's picture

I graduated from high school in 1981 from a Cobb County high school (that's in Georgia, you know) and I don't ever recall a time in my school career that the schools were not integrated. I started 1st grade in the fall of 1969. A quick check of Google told me that Cobb County schools were desegregated in 1967, and I assume that all of Georgia was integrated around the same time. When I graduated high school we all thought of segregated schools as ancient history. Same with restaurants. The idea of segregation was inconceivable to my generation.

And we appear to be the same age.... :)

A high school in Georgia just celebrated their first integrated prom! What generation do you represent ? I'm happy to hear about your experience . California schools were 'integrated' as far back as 1900 - but education in some schools was not equal. My cousin came to California from Georgia in 1970. It was her first time being in a class with 'Blacks'. Integration in Georgia was not too different from other states in our country. Yep - my cousin passed as 'white'. The family wanted a quality education and it was in a 'Christian' school that excluded 'blacks'. This race thing is complicated isn't it! LOL - there is a truth to when integration happened in the south! The inclusion of minorities and the poor is another issue. The majority of blacks in the south did not 'pass', but insisted on quality education and civil rights. My relatives were not racist - just realists for their time.j.

Was by choice of the students...nothing to do with the school. And it was rare...your thoughts about Georgia and Fayette County "back in the day" just aren't based in much truth.

Anyways, 61 or 81 for that matter was a long time ago.

brewster's picture

I was in public school in the late 1960's and 1970's - and it was 75% black. But they had class structured (by alleged test scores) and my individual class rooms where all white, maybe one black. We never had school proms, we had all white High School Fraternities and Sororities that had dances and parties away from school. While I was in school, it never occured to me what was going one, but looking back it was a pretty bold plan in the face of what the Supreme Court put forth. When I moved to Fayette County - I've never seen so many white people in all my life.

Thanks for sharing your truth. The good thing about this conversation is the reality of today is so much better than 'back in the day', It is important to realize that 'truth' appears different in some situations.

G35 Dude's picture

[quote]Crime has escalated in all communities since 1981.[/quote]

No actually crime overall has decreased. I can't pinpoint 1981 exactly but here are some facts about crime in general:

[quote]In 1973, the rate of aggravated assault reported by victims was
1,250 per 100,000. It reached its peak at 1,290 per 100,000
persons in 1,974 and dropped to 320 per 100,000 persons in
• By comparison, the rate of aggravated assault reported to law
enforcement was 200.5 per 100,000 persons in 1973. It reached
its peak in 1992 at 441.9 per 100,000 persons and dropped to
264.7 per 100,000 persons in 2009.9
• In 1973, the rate of simple assault reported by victims was 2,590
per 100,000. It reached its peak at 3,150 per 100,000 persons in
1994 and dropped to 1,130 per 100,000 persons in 2009.10
• In 1973, the rate of rapes reported by victims was 250 per
100,000. It reached its peak at 280 per 100,000 persons in 1979
and dropped to 30 per 100,000 persons in 2009.11
• By comparison, the rate of rapes reported to law enforcement
in 1973 was 24.5 per 100,000 persons and reached its peak in
1992 at 42.8. In 2009, the rate dropped to 29.1 per 100,000

You can't use logic with an illogical person.

RKS's picture

[quote=Davids mom]
I don't need you to give me a tour. As a resident, you need to address your concern with your neighbors. It's not 1981, thank heavens it's 2014 - and concerned citizens can accomplish a lot with cooperation.

I have worked with the law enforcement in my community and the Mayors office in Fayetteville. I feel much safer than I did last year, I walk the streets of my community using the precautionary measures suggested by law enforcement. It's not 1981 anywhere on this globe. I hope you find the peace and harmony that you're looking for. The search begins with you.[/quote]

What makes you think my neighbors and myself have not done any of that? You are so quick to make assumptions.....

I'm sincerely sorry you and your neighbors have not experienced any success,

Take that ride again - and open your eyes.

RKS's picture

[quote=Davids mom]Take that ride again - and open your eyes.[/quote]

Why don't you take that ride, stop by my house for lunch and I will give you a tour of my neighborhood so you can see the life me, my family and my neighbors have now. I really don't appreciate your sarcasm. I live in what used to be a really lovely part of Fayetteville. So, you just stay South of HY 54 and keep your blinders on, that's ok.

I have visited friends in 'your' neighborhood. Are you part of the Neighborhood organization that works cooperatively with neighbors, or are you a whiner about how things used to be (white)? The homes on my friends street are well cared for. I'm sure your home is well cared for also. It's not surprising when neighbors work together what can be accomplished. Sometimes the view is in the heart of the beholder. I'm not being sarcastic, and I'm in your neighborhood quite a lot. If you notice, there has been renovations, yard clean ups, etc. Yes, I also notice there is still work to be done, in my 'south' neighborhood also. In this economy, some had to cut gardeners from the budget, health issues have hindered the desires of some residents in keeping their property presentable. Sometime individuals offering a helping hand is appreciated, sometimes not. A neighborhood where people are working together is 'viewed' by the passerby. How is your neighborhood viewed by the passerby?

It's YOUR fault that the neighborhood that was once beautiful and crime free has turned into a cesspool.

KindlynametherestaurantthatOlive Garden "Pushed out". I"ve loved here since 1986 anddammned if I can name it! And pls don't say Johnny Carino's!

I think the restaurant he references was Baci. It was located behind Arby's for several years, and then moved to Banks Station. It closed about the time that Olive Garden opened.

Its in Coweta County but the best Italian restaurant in the area is Mama Lucia's over in Ashley Park in contest.

Gort's picture

For years we went to Corelli’s (sp?) in PTC, then we started going to Hogan’s Hero’s in Hogansville, (they were at their best when they were in the old building. Gone now.)

We tried Baci’s at the recommendation of a friend but we must have gone on a bad night. The service was terrible, the food bland, poorly presented, and we never went back.

Mama Lucia’s is a great place to eat, they used to be at Thomas Crossroads before moving to Ashley Park.

Remember: If you think Social Security and Medicare are worth saving, vote Democratic.

NUK_1's picture

Hogan's Heroes was incredible. Too bad the owner decided that it was also a good place to cook a bunch of crystal meth after-hours. Food was awesome. Corelli's in PTC(at a couple of different locations) was really good but they didn't seem to like paying taxes and that can cause problems. When they came back and opened in Tyrone a year and half ago or so ago, still good, but they are closed again now too.

I thought Baci's was simply not good. Went there a few times and service absolutely sucked and the food was rather blah. Same with Saza's(now closed) in Newnan.

Best Italian I have had recently is Venucci's in LaGrange. The owner was trained by the owner of Hogan's Heroes years ago before he had to do a dime in the big house for selling loads of meth and Hogan's Heroes became no more.

I never ate there but had forgotten about cooking the crystal meth story. What was the joint in the Braelinn Village Shopping Center that up and moved to Newnan and then closed. Seems like a couple of brothers owned it. Was that Corelli's?


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