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District voting = pork by district

Mr. Lowry, you are entitled to your opinion, but it one with which I strongly disagree.

You are correct that at-large voting has been in Fayette County for 191 years; I am of the opinion that it has worked well and afforded every registered county voter the right to influence every countywide election.

Presently, each representative on the County Commission and on the Board of Education is my personal employee. Their collective decisions are accountable to all of the registered county voters.

Three county commissioners were replaced in the last election cycle and our sheriff was replaced. All voters in the county should have the ability to measure their performance.

I personally should have the right to measure the performance of each county commissioner, and each member of the Board of Education to verify their stewardship of my tax dollars and evaluate their suitability to remain in office. Their decisions directly affect the community that I call home and affect me financially.

District voting dilutes and diminishes the choices of every registered voter within the county and nullifies the one-person, one-vote philosophy.

District voting has several unintended consequences:

1. Each of the five proposed districts will compete for the financial spoils generated by the countywide tax digest. The district commissioner will be answerable to only those constituents within their district and will be measured by the pork brought into their district.

The decisions based on what is best for the general good of the county will be subordinated to what is in the best interest of each district. Competition will arise as to where we locate new parks, new county facilities, and I can see zoning altered due to political pressure.

2. If a countywide financial decision is reached by the Board of Education (such as to purchase a large tract of the Harp Farm, at an over the market price, to build Inman Elementary School) the total board cannot be held accountable.

3. It will create a very partisan relationship between the commissioners representing various districts and build voting blocs within the Board of Education and on the County Commission. These voting blocs will struggle to reach a general consensus that is acceptable to the majority of voters within the county.

4. Division of SPLOST funds or other mass taxation dollars will be doled out, not based on what is in the best interest of the county, but on a partisan basis that measures “what can we get for our district.”

Tell me that I am wrong.

Understand that every family living within this county made a very conscious decision to relocate to or remain in Fayette County. The reasons vary but include good schools, safe communities, plentiful housing, good neighbors, and convenient shopping. I can see the attraction that our county has for many people.

Our communities are politically conservative, as evidenced by the election results spanning the past 20 years. If the NAACP wants a viable candidate, political wisdom suggests that qualified candidates should be offered to the countywide voters with platforms and priorities that appeal to a broad political spectrum.

From the actions of the NAACP and the tenor of the statements issued by its leadership, they either refuse or cannot find candidates that appeal to the broad political spectrum.

Their candidates to this point mimic the views of the Georgia Democratic Party, which are views that are the polar opposite of the views held and evidenced by most Fayette County voters.

Hiding behind the Voter’s Right Act as a means to steam-roll a judicial decision is just plain wrong. This decision disenfranchises every current voter in our county.

I would suggest to the powers that be that the stake holders, all of the current registered voters within the county, have a voice in this matter.

Add a referendum to the ballot in the next countywide election allowing all registered voters in this county to vote on approving or disapproving district-wide voting.

You can bet your bottom dollar that Judge Batten does not live in Fayette County and truly has no skin in the game. He is making a determination that vastly impacts each and every one of us that call Fayette County home.

I strongly resent this activist judicial intrusion and will contribute personal funds towards a legal defense fund to challenge Judge Batten’s ruling. I am not one bit intimidated at the prospect of being called names or being labeled racist.

I am not attempting to parse words and make this a racial issue. It is not about race; it is about a group attempting to limit the influence of my personal vote on a countywide basis so that their vote has more influence.

If it walks like a duck, swims like a duck and quacks like a duck, you can be reasonably assured it is a duck.

Judson Johnson
Fayetteville, Ga.



well said Mr. Johnson. Agree 100%


that district voting will result in corrupt politicians?

Don't you think vendors contribute to political campaigns now?

G35 Dude's picture

Excellent article. I've asked on a couple of occasions for someone to name some instances where the blacks and/or district 5 were short changed in the past but have yet to get a response.

Robert W. Morgan's picture

All the bickering, competition for tax dollars and the utter impossibility of ever looking at what is best for the entire county.
All that and more when we realize the same districts will be used for the BOE as well. Will we ever be able to close another school? Better question - will the voters upset about school closings and similar things be able vote the majority that caused it out of office? No, we can't.

Stupid, racist, self-promoting, 1950's throwbacks in the NAACP. Thanks a lot.

And District 5? You think anyone is going to respect your new affirmative-action hired district commissioner? You think the immaturity on county commission is going to suddenly disappear when your new guy shows up? You think District 5 is going to have any big infrastructure or pork projects in the next decade? If you really, really think about this, District 5 taxpayers are the real losers here.

Live free or die!

What are the odds of winning this battle in court? How long will this cloud be over us? and how much will it cost?

That's the bottom line.

G35 Dude's picture

I don't know what the odds are. And the cost will be high. But I think it's a battle that we have to fight. To just lay down will not only make us losers here but it'll encourage the NAACP to attack again when ever they want a black person in any given position. I've yet to see anyone give examples of how county wide voting has hurt district 5 or the black community in the past. Still they want to attack a system that created schools so good that it was probably the reason that most of them moved here. Not to mention take tax dollars away from the very taxpayers that they claim to be representing.

Robert W. Morgan's picture

No chance in court - the fight is purely symbolic for the commissioners political cover. You know - "well we tried, but its just so expensive -----"

Someone pointed out that we only have 2 counties in Georgia with at-large voting and there have been many others changed from at-large to district by the very same type of lawsuit by the very same NAACP. The courts love to follow previously settled cases - neat and tidy.

The only reasonable challenge, as I said before, is to challenge the %'s the NAACP is using. They were from the 2010 census and it is now 2013 and my contention is that the black population has actually gone down - at least in that district - if not the whole county due to foreclosures and banks selling property to investors who then rent them out and some simply vacant houses. Far fetched? Sure, but there is some element of logic - even fairness. Courts like that stuff too. Might be a slight chance.

Live free or die!

I think district voting is wrong and I am not saying that we back down.

But commission owes us more information at some point so we can determine the path to take. I don't want to fight this because Barlow is afraid to lose to McCarty in his district.

I want facts. What are to odds of winning? How long will the process take? How much will it cost? Plus, we always have to be reminded that should we lose, we would probably be on the hook for the NAACP attorney fees.

At the end of the day, everyone is going to be the loser, and only the lawyers will gain monetarily.

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