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Free thoughts about freethought chairman (updated)

Cal Beverly's picture

[ADDENDUM and update follows below this column.] — In the aftermath of last week’s momentous votes by the Fayette County Board of Education, I’m still puzzled.

First, the four members of the board in early November interviewed seven volunteers for the opening on the board created by the Sept. 22 death of Post 5 member Sam Tolbert.

By mid-November, they made their choice unanimously: Leonard Presberg.

At the first meeting in the new year, members Janet Smola and Terri Smith — herself a former chairman — voted with Presberg to install him as chairman of the board. Then-Chairman Bob Todd and member Marion Key voted against Presberg.

During the same meeting the board voted 3 to 2 — Presberg, Smith and Smola against Todd and Key — to capitulate to the NAACP in the voting rights lawsuit pending against the board. [CORRECTED SENTENCE — See below.]

Here’s my review of that astonishing series of events.

First, the board was being sued so that a black Democrat would have a better shot at being elected to the board. Shuck it all down, and that’s what the lawsuit was about.

Standing before the board in early November were no fewer than four black candidates for the open seat.

Inexplicably, the board chose to appoint a white male, Presberg, to the post. No explanations, no public input, no recourse.

As it turns out, not just any old white male either. Though such information showed up nowhere on his résumé, Presberg is a staunch Democrat, who expects to be listed this fall on the special election ballot as a Democrat for the Post 5 seat.

An interesting side note also nowhere to be seen on his résumé (as under hobbies or interests or such): Presberg is an apparent charter member of an organization called the Fayette Freethought Society. The organization was formed in February 2010; Presberg joined in April 2010.

Here’s what the organization says about itself: “We’re about freedom from religion, separation of church and state, rational thought and skeptical thinking, secular humanism, agnostic, skeptics, freethinker, atheists, brights, secular parenting, secularism, wissenschaft, neopagan, recovering from religion, pantheism.”

Presberg just weeks before being appointed to the Board of Education volunteered his home for the freethinkers to screen a freethinker’s documentary film, “Godless.”

According to the Wikipedia entry, “In the United States, ‘freethought was a basically anti-christian, anti-clerical movement ... .’”

In the sense that every person should be free to think what he/she desires, I too am a freethinker and here’s what I think, freely.

So what we have here is a man who has never held elective office appointed to a school board in a mostly Republican county on the buckle of the Bible Belt.

Within two months of that appointment, he is chairman of the board that controls $180 million in Fayette County public tax money to pay 3,000 public employees and educate 21,000 Fayette children.

And in this Bible Belt Republican county, our new unelected school board chairman is both a Democrat and a member of a militant atheist organization, a man who could never have hoped to be elected to public office in this county, simply because he is so unrepresentative of the vast majority of Fayette voters.

It’s likely that all 133 members of the Fayette Freethought Society would shout in unison that such a man as Presberg is just what the ignorant majority of us need, for our own good.

I humbly disagree.

Under the old qualifier, “some of my best friends are ... (fill in the blank),” we’re not talking about your garden variety village atheism here. We are talking about in-your-face, proselytizing atheism, which seeks to banish all trace of the great monotheistic religions from every square inch of the public square.

These are not live-and-let-live, mind-your-business-and-I’ll-mind-mine true nonbelievers. No, these folks deeply believe that most of us religious folks (mainly of the Christian variety) are just simply stupid and that our stupid religion should be ridiculed as myths.

They hold in pure contempt what most of us in Fayette County consider to be holy. They reserve their highest contempt for Christians who dare to proclaim their faith.

I feel betrayed by the four sitting members of the board of education. Is this the best they could do?

And for the two board members — Smith and Smola — who elevated this neophyte to a position of public power without any public scrutiny whatsoever, what is their excuse?

For my atheist friends who are foaming at the mouth at this point, I’m NOT talking rights here. I agree with my atheist friends that any adult citizen of Fayette County has an inalienable right to life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness and to be elected to public office.

That’s the rub: Presberg slid in under the radar. He was not elected to anything by Fayette voters.

And then he provided the clinching vote to snatch away four-fifths of ALL Fayette voters’ rights to elect their five-member school board.

Because of Presberg, Smith and Smola, never again will Fayette voters get to vote for all five members of their board of education. [CORRECTED SENTENCE — See below.]

And thanks to Smith and Smola, the man sitting atop the public school system in Fayette County is a charter member of an organization that considers the worldview and religious beliefs of most Fayette Countians to be contemptible.

How should the stupid majority feel about that? Grateful to our intellectual betters?

[The original sentence erroneously listed the vote to settle the lawsuit as unanimous. In fact, only Presberg, Smola and Smith voted to settle the lawsuit. Todd and Key voted against the settlement. The original story is at

[Cal Beverly is editor and publisher of The Citizen.]


ADDENDUM Jan. 19, 2012: Here is one screenshot of the Fayette Freethought Society website, taken before the site was altered recently, and from which I derived the information that the group was "founded Feb. 25, 2010," and that one of its founders was Al Stefanelli, one of two persons who listed their full names.

The screenshot from the original website presentation (prior to the site's alterations) clearly says "founded," it clearly says that founding occurred in February 2010 and it also clearly lists Mr. Stefanelli as one of its "organizers." Draw your own conclusions as to what information the site itself presented to the world at large on its fully publicly accessible pages (at that time).

The site itself, of course, has since been altered so that the information in this screenshot differs from what appears on the site now. Draw your own conclusions about that.


How exactly can someone be a devout Christian, yet belong to a group that wants to target our Fellowship of Christian Atheletes??? You people really are nuts! Just where exactly does the FCA fall into your contempt for bigotry, misogyny, racism, and homophobia?

Fayette Native

Dondol's picture

Looks like you got the Bugs to come crawling out from under the Rug!

kevink's picture

"Militant atheist organization"? Wow! Burn them at the stake. How dare someone who is not a self-described born-again Christian dare hold office in this county!?

Cal, engage your brain. The same document which protects freedom of and from religion ALSO gives freedom to the press. If you were to truly "correct" this article, it would be about three paragraphs long.

You might think of that before you set out on your next Christian Crusade! Your party, which will be lead by a Mormon, needs a mirror big enough for some collective self-reflection.

Vote Mytmite in 2012!

ginga1414's picture

It is all about deception!

A bug? I resent being called a bug. Last time I checked I am human being that likes to think for himself. Nothing wrong with that.

kimberlyinptc's picture

This article screams hatred and fear...hatred and fear of any ideology other than Christianity. So what if most of the voters in Fayette County are Christian and Republican? I am a native Atlantan, and our history is full of bigotry and hatred, most of which was supported by the voting public...was it right? I'm one of the 133 and have never once been called 'militant' or felt that way. I'm married to a born again Christian, whom I respect and love, regardless of whether we have the same religious ideology.
Your observations about the FFS are absurd and severely misinformed and possibly libelous as well. If you take offense to someone's political agenda, then by all means report on that. How dare you "OUT" someone as an atheist when you have no clue what you're talking about. I bet most of the "elected" officials of this county wouldn't pass muster if their online lives were probed too deeply.
As for how Mr. Presberg will fare as a BOE Chairman, we will see...but he deserves a chance before being tried and convicted in your court of public opinion...he couldn't do any worse than build a school that no one attends :/

Veritas's picture

If vetted this is what should have been known about Mr. Presburg's resume and had influenced the boards decision making and not his religion or affiliation with free thinkers society.

Ok let's see ... He never held a public teaching position. He was a private school teacher and head master at Hill Country Montessori which he himself started. He does not have GAPSC license to teach .He has only a certificate /diploma of Montessori training of  "7 to 9 months devoting 4-5 hrs of study each week and students may accelerate their schedule if desired" (so essentially 5-7 weeks) (Primary grades are 3-6 yrs ).He has.3 years classroom experience with said primary age students while also being the head master, all at a now defunct Montessori school. It had up to 22 students total and at times as few as 5 and  was only open 3 yrs with 2 -4teachers. His only financial experience is  working at his wife's medical practice as "CFO" ...  So he has limited to no knowledge on state, Fed and local funding and nuances in dealing with educational funding allocation and limitations in public education... As an attorney "     practices primarily in the areas of residential and commercial real estate, business and corporate, estate planning, and civil litigation" NOT SCHOOL law which is a specialized area of law....School  leadership... Two to four teachers..... Three yrs... 
It's called embellishment through insinuation.....
Chattahoochee hill country Montessori 
2006-2007 first school yr

2009 closed

yellowjax1212's picture

Religious Feelings Aside, it would seem very bad practice/policy to appoint anyone not elected (Presberg was appointed to fill a vacant seat) to a chairmanship role. One of the remaining elected board members should have have been appointed interim Chairman.

ginga1414's picture

It is obvious why Presberg didn’t list his affiliation with the Fayette Freethought Society along with his qualifications when he applied for a position on the Board of Education!

Why didn’t our all knowing and more intelligent than thou Smola and Smith have knowledge of Presberg’s FFS affiliation? Or more importantly, did they have that knowledge?

Thanks so much for the information, Cal!

Being a very thoughtful and curious Christian, I decided to do a little investigating of my own. One of the many things I discovered about the Fayette Freethought Society is the fact that not just anyone can delve any further than the superficial. You have to be a member of the group in order to fully access their website.

However, one of the links I found stated, “Wanting to create an open and inclusive group for the secular community in our area, we created the Fayette Freethought Society….”

Therefore, we have someone who is involved in a closed Society in a position of influential power over our school system and our tax money. The FFS is only “open and inclusive” to “the secular community.”

Another Fayette Freethought Society link said, “Building a secular community in the rural south…. because we love a challenge!”

Wait just a minute!! Weren’t we told by some of our public officials and some commenting enthusiasts here that Fayette County is no longer a rural community? I find it very gratifying, however, to know that we are presenting a “challenge” for the FFS.

Cal’s article quoted the FFS homepage as to what “We’re about” and I clicked on each category. More than 90% of the categories referred to the “Houston Atheists, the world’s largest atheist community!”

Come on, Fayette County voters!! This is just more deceptive backroom, closed-door politics! Haven’t we had enough of that?

"Why didn’t our all knowing and more intelligent than thou Smola and Smith have knowledge of Presberg’s FFS affiliation?"

You have got to be kidding me?! FFS is mainly a social and community service group. We meet for dinner, lunches, trivia, movies, and pick up trash every quarter on hwy. 54! You people are totally nuts. I don't recall even seeing Leonard Presberg at any of our events, but I'm proud that he chose to be a member of our group! Ginga, do you even know what freethought is? If I'm not mistaken, many of our founding fathers would be considered freethinkers, but I know this is opening a big can of worms with you folks so I'll leave that one alone, for now.

Why not come to one of our many events and decide for yourselves who we are. By the way you all are talking, you would think we had devil horns and tails... sheesh!

hutch866's picture

Why not blame all four of the sitting members instead of just two? If you're going to spread blame, at least spread it equally. After reading some of the comments on here, do you really have to ask why certain parts are closed, maybe to limit the abuse from all these super Christians that can't stand for some one to believe differently.


Being a very thoughtful and curious Christian, I decided to do a little investigating of my own.[/quote]
You left out one word ginga, "selective".

I yam what I yam

ginga1414's picture

As far as I am concerned, everyone is free to think whatever they please.

However, I have a huge problem with deception.

It is my personal opinion that if Mr. Presberg is going to represent the population of Fayette County on our School Board, he is obligated to fully disclose all of his affiliations. Every citizen in Fayette County should have the right to know exactly who is representing their interests.

Mr. Presberg was not elected to his position. He volunteered and was appointed. The citizens of Fayette County were not afforded the opportunity to decide for themselves whether or not they wanted him to represent them. I truly believe that anyone who is brave enough to put themselves before the public should be brave enough to take the heat. In other words, if someone is seeking or attains a position as a public official, they must undoubtedly realize they will be scrutinized by the population they seek to serve.

Christians have been maligned since the days Jesus walked the earth.

hutch866's picture

You failed to address my post to you. Why is it only two members of the BOE are responsible for selecting Pressberg. It is my personal opinion that if two are wrong then they all are wrong. That was the gist of my post to you, yet somehow your answer failed to address any of my post.

I yam what I yam

ginga1414's picture

I did fail to address your post. Please forgive me. I guess my pesky freethought took over and I decided to say what was on my mind.

It is my understanding that all BOE members were involved in the selection process for a new BOE member when Sam Tolbert passed away. I do not have the information as to how the voting played out other than what we all know and that is that Mr. Presberg received the majority of the vote.

We all know that Mr. Presberg, Janet Smola, and Terri Smith voted in favor of Mr. Presberg holding the position of Chairman. Bob Todd and Marion Key voted against.

For many years, Smith and Smola have controlled the voting process on the BOE which led to many questionable decisions. Those questionable decisions led to the citizens of Fayette County footing the bill for empty schools and land holdings that can't or haven't been sold.

My thinking is that when someone’s decisions lead to less than desirable consequences, I should be very wary of their future decisions. That thought coupled with the fact that Mr. Presberg’s affiliation with the FFS was not disclosed in his application package is troublesome.

Way back in 2004 our local Transportation SPLOST appeared on Fayette County ballots with no more explanation than “road, street, and bridge purposes.” Normally when issues other than candidates appear on a ballot, there is more explanation. “Road, street, and bridge purposes” could mean anything. Therefore, I did not vote in favor of the SPLOST proposal.

As it turned out, the SPLOST meant that county officials wanted funding for the East and West Fayetteville Bypasses. The small number of citizens who voted that year had no idea that they had agreed to fund the Bypasses. My pesky freethought tells me that the voters were deceived because they were not provided with essential information before they cast their votes.

In the case of Mr. Presberg’s seat on our BOE, the citizens of Fayette County weren’t even afforded the opportunity to express their thoughts.

All of these thoughts seem logical to me. But, who am I? Certainly not a freethinker!


Veritas's picture

For such an open group.... Why now close your site ( you can still get to the home page)and block viewers other than members..luckily some of us read through the page and links before the lockdown. Let the public see and base their opinions on what you say on the web page not you say on th blogs...

Our group page has always been open and accessible to the general public, until Cal went on his tirade. Member identities are hidden now, for obvious reasons, thanks to Cal and his "witch-hunt." Our home page actually provides ALL of the information about our group and who we are.

Veritas's picture

I am not concerned with Presbergs affiliations with your group or his religion or lack thereof... My concern is with his lack of qualifications an insinuated expertise . I too would block members identity in such a a situation but I would leave my discussions open to let everyone see what we really talk about...(I know that members names probably appear in the discussions but the topics of discussion could be left). I do feel for your group as all groups tainted by views of extremist (stefanelli)members .... But that's how life is often guilty by association sad but true.

[quote=Veritas].. I would leave my discussions open to let everyone see what we really talk about[/quote]

That's the way the default settings are, once they're set to "private" in order to protect our members, all other pages are private. Our "Discussion" page is very benign and is mostly for announcing events or movie nights at someone's house. Currently, we aren't discussing anything on our Meetup site.

Love how their leader Julie doctored up their home-page, pictures,beliefs, etc. Cowards!

Fayette Native

what are you talking about, "doctored." Nothing has changed on the home page.

C'mon Julie give me a break....we all saw the website before the nice family group picture was added, etc, etc...Why are you trying so hard to make it look like Mr. Presberg is not "really" apart of our group....

Fayette Native

The Wedge's picture

A defense against libel is always the truth. If Cal does not have the truth about this organization on his side then he has no good defense against a suit. My prediction is that this is a factual representation of what the group states. My main beef with all this righteous indignation is that your voices would be silent if it were uncovered that Pressberg was a member of the John Birch Society, or the Answers in Genesis group. Or even something legal and more tainted like a society change organization like the Tea Party (sacre bleu) or somehting as extreme as the KKK. Get a grip, or take your toys and go home, but dont beat your chest with this indignation. all sound like we're some scary secret society for pete sake! We meet for lunch, dinner, trivia and trash pickup... oh my gawd! We're not even a blip on a radar screen... this is getting comical.

The Wedge's picture

Like I said, I do not know if this is a factual representation of what the Free Thinking Society espouses as their goals. If it isn't then attack away. My main problem is that you cherry pick your indignation. If Cal was attacking because Mr Pressberg was determined to be a member of a group that is reprehensible to you, would you attack back with the same vim and vigor? I certainly don't mind a miriade of voices on here. I enjoy the debate points when it is done well. If the story is not factual, then fire away. If this group campaigns against a group like the FCA, why isn't it newsworthy to discuss the new FYBOE Board President belonging to that group?

When you write, "oh my gawd," do you really mean, "Oh, my God?" And if so, why do you acknowledge the name of a deity of which you deny the existence thereof? If that is not the case, then what is a "gawd?"

Also, why close-off portions of your site if your organization is just a "social club?" Earlier today you seemed quite angry...ready to "post your statement" (or whatever word you used) this afternoon. However, now you're stating that your organization is nothing more than a "social club" that meets for lunch, plays trivia and picks up litter. If that is the case, then what are you all afraid that people will see on your site? I have actually been to the site (someone posted a link to Leo's profile) and I was able to see all the names and photos (if they had them) of the members. I'm sure lots of others did as well. You are correct; there is nothing scary about your site. For now, the proverbial cat is out of the bag, so why not become one with it and be is much more becoming. And you are right....this is getting quite humorous (and I don't mean you)! Hang in there girl!!

Mike King's picture

I do hope Kevin and Mainstream reach a compromise and remain contributors for this site would suffer their loss. You pose a staunch retort for each since they have railed at the very same indignation of others.

I,for one, hope they remain.

carbonunit52's picture

The act of attacking in this thread seems to belong primarily to Cal, while I would list kevink's and Mainstream's contributions as reactions. Cal's editorial reeks of a callousness toward the well being of identified individuals. I have always defended his right of freedom of the press regarding his newspaper however I cannot defend this tirade. It is a well known fact that people who have participated in discussions on this website have been stalked and the results have never been pretty. One can allude to truth in their reasoning however: while there certainly exists the virtue of truth, when humans get a hold of it, it is not a virtue any longer.

My opinion is that Cal owes an apology to the identified individuals. You cannot be so right that you can do something wrong and still be right.

The Wedge's picture

However, I feel that an apology is in order only if the story is not factually correct. If it is factually correct, what is to be protested then?

JeffC's picture

Yes, the editorial is outrageous. So what? Cal owns the newspaper. Y'all didn't know that? Outrageous accusations and extreme slanting in newspapers are as American as apple pie. It's been happening at least since Ben Franklin published Silence Dogood, Harry Meanwell, Alice Addertongue, Richard Saunders, and Timothy Turnstone's stuff.

So rage on, on the merits of the arguments; but let's not forswear participation in the forum because of some perceived beyond the pale action on Cal's part as if it was some unique occurrence. Heck, if I may say so, (and Cal you are welcome to set me right if I'm wrong), that's half the fun of owning a newspaper. It always has been and publishers have been doing this since before the Republic.

Please, all my liberal cohorts. Let's not bail now during the elections. Gingrich says he might want Palin in his Cabinet and you're getting out, quitting commenting? It's Cal's newspaper and forum and he let's us use it. It's not like we didn't know we were dancing with the devil all along, right?

Gort's picture

don’t let Cal run you off the site. Answer back, don’t bail out.

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

Cal Beverly's picture

You are this right-wing extremist devil's favorite liberal -- oops, sorry — favorite progressive.

If only — sigh — your comrades would advance their arguments as lucidly as you do, without all the name-calling and condescension.

I appreciate your perspective, even when disagreeing with your conclusions.

Just between you and me, this episode has been more frustrating than fun.

That whole column boils down to few simple points:

1. ALL Fayette County voters got disenfranchised by the lawsuit settlement. All of us lost four-fifths of our ability to choose elected members for the board of education.

You can argue (and probably will) that loss was necessary to redress what the NAACP and others believe was a greater loss of their ability to elect someone of their race and political persuasion to a governing body that affects all of them.

I disagree, believing that no voter or group of voters should be guaranteed a specific outcome, but should compete on the basis of political principles and the content of their character on a level playing field.

2. Mr. Presberg was appointed to fill an unexpired term remaining of more than 3 years (a travesty in itself — there should be a special election in all such cases). He never ran for political office and his political views were never subject to public scrutiny.

Within weeks of being appointed with no public input or vetting, he campaigns for the post of chairman. He works a deal with the former ruling faction of the board (Smith and Smola) and gets to be chairman of the board despite never having served in any elected post before in his life.

Absent all other emotional baggage — ignore his politics and his worldview — isn't that outrageous in and of itself?

3. Then belatedly, we discover that this total newcomer (I'm tempted to say "usurper") belongs to a political party that hasn't had the numbers to elect anybody to a public post (openly, anyway) in a decade or more. So someone who could never get elected in a free and fair election slides in this backdoor way.

Remember how you felt when the Supremes ruled against Gore and in favor of Bush? Remember how many Democrats considered Bush an "illegitimate" president? That's how I feel about this.

4. The Freethought thing was just the icing on the cake.

Mr. Presberg has my blessing and permission (as if he needed either) to believe or not believe what he chooses. He has (and I support absolutely) his right to run for public office, to campaign in the arena of ideas, to espouse whatever beliefs he holds both publicly and privately.

But if he has volunteered to serve in public office, he is absolutely subject to the intense scrutiny and criticism of those he is supposed to be representing.

And just as you are not likely to vote for anybody with an "R" after their name on any ballot, so am I not likely to vote for anybody with Mr. Presberg's philosophical leanings.

You are not a bigot for choosing to vote for a freethinking Democrat over a rightwing Republican. Neither am I a bigot for choosing to vote against that same Democrat. What we have here is robust political discussion, the hallmark of a functioning democratic republic.

Thanks for listening, Jeff. I feel better already.

Cal Beverly
The Citizen
Fayetteville, Ga. 30214

PTC Observer's picture

"What we have here is robust political discussion, the hallmark of a functioning democratic republic."

Isn't your entire position in this column to point out that we don't have a functioning democratic republic?

So, I suppose your dialog with Jeff is simply a dialog. The reality is that we don't have a democratic republic.

What is not in keeping with a democratic republic regarding Mr. Presberg's rise to the Chairmanship? Duly elected officials created rules for what happens when someone quits/dies in office. These officials followed the rules when that indeed happened. They again followed the rules when electing a chairperson. What is wrong with elected officials following the rules!

Cyclist's picture

JeffC is right. Please don't leave the conga line.

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

S. Lindsey's picture

I can relate.... But in the words of the infamous Governor from Kalifornia... They'll be back.

"Whoever claims the right to redistribute the wealth produced by others is claiming the right to treat human beings as chattel."

-Ayn Rand

Cyclist's picture

Don't get me riled up so early in the morning about him!!!!

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

S. Lindsey's picture

East Coast can't get much further away without going to the UK...

"Whoever claims the right to redistribute the wealth produced by others is claiming the right to treat human beings as chattel."

-Ayn Rand

Cyclist's picture

I'm were talking about Arnold S. I need to got back to bed. It was a "long" night in Texas.

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

S. Lindsey's picture

However I think "Moonbat" is much worse.... Go get some rest.

"Whoever claims the right to redistribute the wealth produced by others is claiming the right to treat human beings as chattel."

-Ayn Rand

meanoldconservatives's picture

If memory serves, this isn't the first time Hack and "Julie" have folded up their circus tents and left the premises. They always seem to find their way back....

PTC Observer's picture

Ninja, now you should know this but I will remind you, we don't live in a Republic, democratic or otherwise. We live in a Democracy. What has happened with the BOE is consistent with our form of government, in this you are correct. If we actually lived in a Republic, it would be highly unlikely that a public financed school system would exist at all.

Keep following my posts and you actually may learn something.

Seems your black suit is a little too tight these days?

Any Republics you can point to today as an example of what the US should aspire?

Time to rotate the tires on the Malibu!

PTC Observer's picture

Nope, ours was the last best hope.

Simply pining for minds bigger than yours.

Cench up those britches there Ninja.

that is like saying 'well, we don't live on Mars like I read about in this utopian space fantasy, but if we did everything would be swell.' You sound like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz repeating 'There's no place like home' over and over again! Keep clicking those heels together!

As for bigger minds, it cinch NOT cench.

I guess you had to sell your dictionary to buy parts for the Malibu.

PTC Observer's picture

You caught it.

Oh yes the Wizard of Oz, one of your favorites no doubt?

Speaking of Utopia, how's your bookeeping job working out for you? Remember you have to educate those kids of yours so better get back to work.

Did you make any effort to talk to Presberg to determine the status of his Freethought membership, ask him why he's in it, how active he is, which views/activities he supports and which he doesn’t? Allow him to comment on how it does or doesn't influence his decision-making on school issues?

In your article you describe him as an “apparent charter member.” What does “apparent” mean – that you really don’t know? What was the source of your info about his personal political affiliation and freethought membership, anyway? Was it simply Ms. Wanzer’s letter to the editor?

Did you talk to any other school board members for their views or comments? Any other members of the club? Did you make any effort to determine how Presberg’s overall track record on the board and as a system leader square with your concern that he is out of step with the people he represents?

If the answer to all those is no, why not? (Simply because you were doing an editorial and didn’t have to is not a very good answer.)

And why in the print edition did you run a fromt-page top story about how Matt and Ronnie disagree with the settlement? They have zero standing on the issue and zero ability to do anything about it. So their opinions (which Matt repeated in a letter anyway) are front-page worthy because....? And on that note, if they are reading I'd like to ask them: Do you agree with Cal's previously stated stance that the county should have fought the suit to the bitter end even if it meant laying off teachers and parapros to fund the effort? Your constituents might like to know how many of them you'd be willing to throw under the bus to make your valiant stand with Cal.

One more thought: Cal, you think it’s an outrage that Presberg would represent people who, in the main, probably do not share his political and worldviews. I guess the irony is lost on you, since that’s pretty much the underlying argument in the naacp lawsuit, which contends that at-large voting diminishes the ability of people in a minority district to be represented by someone with similar persuasions.

[quote]You can argue (and probably will) that loss was necessary to redress what the NAACP and others believe was a greater loss of their ability to elect someone of their race and political persuasion to a governing body that affects all of them.[/quote]

I wonder what would have happened if Whitewater Creek Development had brought the 'district voting' issue to the BOE and Bd.of Commissioners? They would not have had a LAW to defend their position. The only law that would be questioned in requesting district voting would be found in the VRA. It has been proven that the majority of minorities live in this area designated District 5. However, please post the number of registered Democrats in this area; number of Republicans, etc. All we know about this area is that a little over half are 'black or part black'. Well, the NAACP was successful in getting what other residents in FC may have wanted. There are those living in FC who do not consider this action a loss. . . .but an opportunity to encourage others not to deny their leanings towards the Democratic Party. As someone else said - we're here - and we exist throughout the country with pride and hope and looking forward to being able to voice our opinion without being ridiculed and/or denigrated. However, we do respect the wishes of the majority. This should not be an issue. The BOE is still majority 'white', Republican - and still represents the majority of residents in Fayette County. What is the problem?


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