Fayette’s district voting lawyer fees rise to $283K

The district voting lawsuit filed by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People continues to be a costly one for Fayette County government.

So far, the county commission has paid $283,522 to the Atlanta law firm which is representing it in the case. That cost does not include additional hourly charges caused by action of the county’s own attorney nor does it include the attorney’s fees paid by the Fayette County Board of Education, which was also listed as a defendant in the lawsuit.

The costs may rise significantly further if the judge on the case rules that the county is responsible for paying the NAACP’s legal fees as well.

The county was dealt a blow in May when U.S. District Judge Timothy C. Batten ruled that Fayette must institute district voting since the current at-large voting system was inherently discriminatory. The NAACP had argued that at-large voting prevented black residents, who have come to number around 20 percent of Fayette County’s population, from choosing the candidate of their choice.

At-large voting allows each Fayette voter to cast a ballot for all five seats on both the county commission and board of education. District voting, in contrast, would restrict voters to casting a ballot for just one of the five seats, corresponding with whichever geographic voting district the voter lives in.

Proponents of district voting contend it will improve citizens’ representation on both governing bodies because commissioners will be more responsive when they are assigned to cover a particular geographic district. Opponents claim it will lead to infighting among officeholders who will seek to advance the interests of their district ahead of the county’s overall interest.

The question to be resolved now is which district voting map will be adopted by the judge. The NAACP has submitted a map that excludes incumbent officeholders to create a majority-minority district which would allow for an open race. NAACP attorneys say this is crucial to providing the best shot for a minority candidate to be elected instead of having to face an incumbent who could have a built-in advantage at the polls.

The county has submitted a different district map that keeps an incumbent in each district. The county has argued that the NAACP’s map is in essence a gerrymander because of the way it meanders through a narrow swath of unincorporated area in northwest Fayette to reach a concentration of minority voters in Tyrone.

The NAACP is also seeking a special election under the new map, but it remains to be seen if the judge will order such a remedy.

District voting supporters have chided the county commission for spending the money on the lawsuit instead of simply avoiding the suit by adopting a district voting format for county commission races. District voting opponents have shot back that the expenses wouldn’t have been incurred if the NAACP had not filed the lawsuit.

While the suit was also filed against the Fayette County Board of Education seeking to adopt district voting for seats on the BoE as well, the commission’s fight against it has kept the BoE’s portion from being resolved since they are listed as co-defendants. Early on the cash-strapped BoE attempted to adopt district voting through a consent decree that was originally adopted by the judge, who later rescinded it after learning the county commission opposed the settlement.

mar66cla
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I agree with G35 Dude

These groups also need one seat each: one for bald people, people with hair, people who like dogs,people who like cats, one lesbian,one gay,one indian,one Japanese,one Chinese,one Mexican,one eskimo ...that would work,right.
I'm pretty sure that most of the blacks in Fayette moved here for the low crime,the best schools, the environment in general. They ran away from the problems their brothers created in Fulton,Clayton,Decalb,counties.
But,like Robert M. said and like I told my neighbors when I moved from Clayton County in the 1980's, Its a lost cause and just a matter of time.
Excuse me, I've got to call the NAABP, "National Association for the Advancement of Bald People". We need to get started on our Gerrymandering right away.

Davids mom
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mar66cia

Cute - but so ignorant. All black people do not fit the demographics of Clayton County and fortunately, all white people in Fayette County are not convinced that there are no minorities that may fit the demographics of Fayette County. (20% of their neighbors have for years.) You may have run from Clayton in the 80's using Section 8 to keep your property while you moved to Fayette. There are quality 'whites' here in Fayette - but you don't sound like one of them. I guess all don't fit the average demographic of FC. Most 'blackss' in FC today never lived in Fulton or DeKalb. You're right, we moved to an area where the crime rate was low, the schools were good, and the citizens were reasonably intelligent (educated). If you moved here to get away from minorities, well, sorry - but 20% of your neighbors are minority. Run on!!

Davids mom
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CAREFULLY TAUGHT

Racism has been carefully taught and learned. I applaud those who can speak of this issue as one of Districtwide vs. District rather than 'black vs. white'. Valid points have been expressed. Clayton County residents will not vote in Fayette County. The 20% of 'minorities' in FC are not 'clustered' in one area. Both the judge and the NAACP are having a problem gerrymandering a 'district' that would automatically elect a black' representative. Just for some information - a number of minorities in FC are Republican - but from some of the comments made in this discussion - the younger members of the family may vote Democrat! Interesting. Remember - 12-13% of the American population did not elect the first African American president - twice!

borntorun
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District Voting

Oh please! District voting will not lead to the end of democracy as we know it. As noted in PTC Observer's post, the vast majority of counties in Georgia...in fact in the country...already have district voting. And to use Fulton and Clayton as examples of what it will lead to is baloney. Coweta County has had it for years and guess what....functioning fine. And to continue to pour good money after bad is just plain stupid. Fayette County is not going to win their case so drop it. What else could we have better used the $283,000 on besides this lawsuit. Besides, one good thing that will come out of district voting (I hope) will be the removal of The Brown Clown from the County Commissioners. Whatever else happens, that would be worth it.

PTC Observer
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District Voting Uproar

What's the uproar here? I just don't see it. Most counties have district voting. Voting districts are all gerrymandered. Has anyone noticed how the Congressional districts are drawn? It seems to me that once you begin at the National level drawing voting lines based on race, there is no reason not to do so at the county level, or even city level.

The aim of this race based gerrymandering, as I understand it, is to make certain that Blacks have fair representation. African Americans make up about 13% of the population and they now make up 8.3% of the Congress, it appears that they are not disproportionately represented.

So, the real question is not whether we should have district voting, the real question is what has district voting based on race brought to our country and soon our county? More importantly, how has it benefited African Americans? What do you think?

How has the work of the NAACP been effective in improving the condition of the people they represent? Their expectations are always about how governmental power can solve problems, has it? What do you think?

starsmills
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District voting

Votes should be counted only as the people voting not based on racial preferences. OMG, enough is enough! quit changing policies just to give political correctness it's importance. Pretty soon it will be we have to have some of them live with others that really don't make relations. Who ever the residences are that how it goes but enough with being racial issues for nothing. Counties fail due to this mind set, then we start getting robbed out of our taxes because it has to be paid to newly elected officials that in the first place don't belong and don't want to work. Majority of the residences and citizens of Fayette county are happy except for outsiders that want to come in and ruin what has been built and been peacefully successful. Garbage issues.

Davids mom
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Another Opinion

Who are these minorities that have invaded Fayette County? According to several demographic studies, the gap between white and minority educational level and finances is hardly noticeable in FC. The citizens in this county have kindred tastes. Among those who are 'newcomers' here, it is astounding, but not surprising that the fear of blacks still exists (and the fear of whites). In most neighborhoods in FC , minorities live peacefully with their neighbors. It is unfortunate that this law suit has exposed that racism is alive and well in FC (expressed by fear of loss or being denied 'power'. ) Gerrymandering is a strategy that is used in politics and is not always based on 'race'. The major political parties use this strategy in getting or maintaining power. From the racist statements expressed in this discussion, one would not be surprised at the discussions behind closed doors in the 'leadership' organizations of the county or the NAACP .
To assume that all minorities (blacks) want to live in substandard, crime ridden communities is as absurd as to assume that all white people admire the Duck Dynasty way of life. What has assuring all citizens (blacks) the right to vote done for this country ? It has shown to the world that the United States has corrected its apartheid practices - and respects people of color the same as they respect those citizens who appear 'white'. (This concept is important in a world where the majority of humans are people of color.). Unfortunately, to the rest of the world, in 2014, the important color to Americans is green. There are some here who appear to resent the use of the term 'work together'. There are groups throughout FC who have learned to work together. Some refuse to recognize that these 'groups' are integrated and are joined together by kindred tastes and interests. Support for Herman Cain should not be used as a test of ones 'racism'. The majority of African Americans do not agree with Cain's politics or the politics of Dr. Ben Carson, but the majority of African Americans are not against 'black' people. Herman Cain and Dr. Carson are not against their own people, but against policies that may have provided opportunity for minorities , in the eyes of some.

In the new south, there is an opportunity for blacks and whites to work together. There are minorities in almost every District in FC. The residents of Clayton County will not be registered to vote in FC.

G35 Dude
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Interesting comment
Quote:

Support for Herman Cain should not be used as a test of ones 'racism'.

So then what is a test of ones racism? Your opinion only is the deciding factor? You get to set the criteria? People that support a black candidate that disagrees with you are still racist? As you would say INTERESTING.

PTC Observer
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Gerrymandering DM

"The major political parties use this strategy in getting or maintaining power."

This is very true, and it happens that as a voting block African Americans overwhelming vote the Democrat Party. So, when I say that districts are carved out to make certain Blacks are represented, it happens that that benefits the Democrat Party. You see, it's a win, win.

Then the Democrats, expand government programs to benefit the people who vote them into office. That's how the system works. Do you agree? To the victor goes the spoils. The majority of the minority (voters), votes themselves benefits at the expense of the many.

Davids mom
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PTCO

What has the Republican Party done for minorities, women, our youth lately? What is Congress doing for the American people today? Government programs have been cut; the present administration has offered more monitoring, etc. - but nothing of Obama's program is going to get through this do-nothing Congress until now - that the 2014 elections look 'close'. Why should African Americans listen any more to Heman Cain and Dr Ben Carson than they do to Tavis Smiley or Jesse Jackson? Do you think all white people listen to Glenn Beck or Limbaugh? Evidently not - since Obama was re-elected in spite to the Tea Party efforts. People are tired of 'running against ' - they want to know is there anyone in Washington who really cares about the unemployed, the work being shipped overseas; the failing education system; etc., etc., etc. I hear your points - just don't see any solutions in your suggestions.

PTC Observer
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That's your problem - DM

That's your problem, your expectations of what government can and should deliver are all wrong. Government has no solutions for what ails the nation, in fact government is a cause of many of our problems. The more it's involved in our lives, the more acute our situation becomes.

As far as what African Americans listen to, I would say they should listen to common sense and look at the results delivered. The government is not a bank of "bennies" that should be delivered unfettered. It too has its limits.

BTW, no representative in Washington cares about anything but re-election. They payoff, they get re-elected.

Davids mom
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PTCO

Your problem is that you are one of those who never understood government of the people, by the people, for the people. The problem is citizens like you who seek blame instead of assuming responsibility. What can you do to work towards a solution without blaming others? I know, I know, you give to Haiti once a year and I'm sure you're involved in many, many other wonderful activities. At one point I thought you might be one of those rare Americans who truly saw beyond the race of their fellow Americans. I'm not there yet, and neither are you. Blaming everything on 'government' is a sick excuse for sitting on supposed laurels and allowing things to fall apart - because of the 'other guy'. IMO.

PTC Observer
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DM - Government

The government is not a solution to anything that you seek to resolve DM, that's the essence of your problem, you believe it is.

Of the people, by the people, for the people does not mean robbing one class of citizens for the benefit of another class of citizens. It's still robbery DM no matter how you want to spin it. Democracy is mob rule.

Davids mom
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PTCO

Democracy is mob rule. NOT!!!

I have already experienced this (mob rule) in the south and other parts of our country in the 50's. The 'government', by enforcing the 'law' - saved many of us. When we, the people, give our 'rights' over to a few so-called leaders who pledge their allegiance to a man who pays for their campaign costs - we deserve what we get - NOTHING.

The middle class is being robbed - and many citizens see this demise of middle class growth. The 'rich' are getting richer and the poor are getting 'poorer'. Economists - by using common sense - and not political strategies based on fear and ignorance have some good ideas towards solutions.

Your fear of 'socialism' has a tinge of 'elitism' in that the 'common man' represents a mob. Sorry - don't agree with you. . . . but you're entitled to your opinion. Some interpretation of American History has the Pilgrims as 'common people- looking to rule themselves. Some describe the Tea Party participants as a 'mob'.

I join the shout - get the government out of my bedroom and my reproductive organs!! It is none of my business or your business what I or my relatives do in our bedrooms - and certainly my rights as a citizen in this country should not be determined by what I do in the bedroom, my religious beliefs, or who I vote for.

LAW is what we in a civilized society use as a guide. Our country is based on 'law;, If we feel that individuals or organizations abuse our laws - we as citizens have the POWER to change those individuals. You can't do that by blogging - you have to vote; participate; question. Now the person you feel would do a better job - but loses an election - it doesn't mean that those who don't agree with your perception of leadership are a 'mob'.

My American ancestors have been 'robbed' of land, dignity, etc. for generations. Since 1960, the 'law' prevented this. Legally - we move on. Socially,educationally, financially there is still a gap - but not here in FC! (AND NOT IN MY FAMILY). Why? Equal opportunity to law, justice, employment, etc. All American families (regardless of color) have not been so fortunate) When all Americans truly have EQUAL OPPORTUNITY - we'll be closer to the dream of FREEDOM.

PTC Observer
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Oh my! DM

DM, please read carefully.

Justice has precise limits - The protection of Rights
Philanthropy is limitless - government can grow without limits when this becomes its function.

Law in the pursuit of philanthropy, results in the notion of "the total inertness of mankind, the omnipotence of the law, and the infallibility of the legislator".

I reject this notion of government, you do not. You are a socialist, I believe in individual freedom, which by definition is anti-socialist. I do not believe, as you do, that the force of law should be used against citizens of one class against another class of citizens. For example, using the law against one race over another. Or for using the law to take property from the rich to give to the poor. You do, what does that make you DM?

Our country is not based on Law DM,, it is based on the notion that every individual has certain Rights given to us by God, that notion was protected by the use of a a Constitution, that is the law DM.

That document was constructed to institutionalize a form of government that would not concentrate centralized power. A powerful central government threatens individual freedom and thus it "rules" over the people, instead of protecting individual Rights. Today, we have a very strong central government, a social democracy, that government abridges on a daily basis our Rights. All based on the socialist notion of a unattainable egalitarian society using the force of law.

No government is empowered to deprive Rights, it cannot in the long run survive if it attempts to deprive Rights. God given Rights exist before government and Rights are superior to any form of government. To the extent our government deprives us of our Rights, it has failed and becomes illegitimate. Democracy is mob rule DM, whether you want to accept that or not. Our social democratic government is out of control, serves its own purposes by rewarding its supporters, targets its opponents and destroys human dignity.

I repeat, government has its limits too, it cannot solve our problems, it can only contribute to them. The solution, is to dismantle government and make it smaller by cutting off its revenue sources.

Fred Garvin
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Liberals don't really care

Their constant harping about 'income inequality' is a dogwhistle for their minions to begin demanding that government take from the producers and give to the do-nothings.

Their goal is not to improve the economy or lift everyones economic status. No, their real goal is to bring everyone down even if it means ruining the economy and hurting the poor.

Obama is a liar. He stated over and over and over that we could keep our insurance and that insurance costs for the average family would be reduced. Now more people have lost their insurance than the number that have signed up for the abysmal catastrophe known as Obama-care.
Now the bedwetters on the left are scrambling for their latest cause celebre - income inequality!

Forget the poor, forget those that have lost insurance, for get the constant lies that this fake president tells on a daily basis. Go after the rich!

AtHomeGym
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Garvin & 'go after the rich'

which is exactly what the new Mayor of of NYC has vowed to do. Within 3 yrs, New Yorkers will be moaning and asking "what have we done to ourselves?"

mudcat
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The uproar is racial. 13% of the population is actually 20% here

20% is one-fifth and that is all they want - 1 out of 5 votes on county commission. Not in and of itself a big deal and if you replace one of the incumbents with a black person - on both county commission and school board - no big deal.

The problem and push back comes from old time racists, who are just racist and can't help it, so they should not count, but they do in the sense it is that racist feeling that causes the legal bills to mount. In other words, the commissioners are told by the portion of their base that is in fact racist, that they must fight this.
But the valid objection is what you asked "....the real question is what has district voting based on race brought to our country and soon our county? More importantly, how has it benefited African Americans?"

The answer is that not much good is going to come of it. The fact that 4/5 of the county can't vote for that commissioner is bad enough, but that commissioner (if actually black) is going to have incredible pressure to push for race-based solutions to imaginary problems funded by the entire county that benefit only his district. That will result in resentment at first and a backlash afterwards. It is a given that the schools in the new BOE black member's district will suffer as well. If nothing else we will have black schools and white schools and a couple of mixed schools. And that is supposed to be progress? But the NAACP is not into long-term results, they are just into short-term fixes, quotas and affirmative action.

G35 Dude
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Mudcat-Intersting Post

Interesting post Mudcat. You start out by saying:

Quote:

The problem and push back comes from old time racists, who are just racist and can't help it, so they should not count,

Then you appear to switch gears and oppose district voting. ???????

I don't think I'm a racist. I supported Herman Cain early in the last presidential race. But I strongly oppose district voting. If anyone can show me where district voting will improve Fayette County other than just guaranteeing a black face on the boards I'll reconsider. And I do believe what you say about the schools in that district suffering as well. Right now the commissioners each consider whats best for Fayette County as a whole because that is who their constituents are. When we switch to district voting they will only consider whats best for their district. And the in fighting will really begin.

starsmills
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We have great people willing

We have great people willing to make a difference Allan West and all those that go the extra mile for the future of everybody , no color base. Enough of this racism. Watch BET, Black. Pilots Association, nobody complains, you can enjoy all and everything but if a county succeeds or if you disagree it's because they are racist. excuse me it's because citizens work hard, families care and tax dollars at work for the well being of the county not officials pockets. Look at ATL hah, now they think part time council people deserve $60,000. Raise...this is robbery at work. While Atlanta streets are collapsing, what a joke. majority of the tax payers are who? hard workers and businesses that believe in thee conic future of the city but the officials of Fulton would like it to be Detroit or Chicago. This is where NAACP should go after. Leave us successful small town yet beautiful place be.

mudcat
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I despise all kinds of racism. Against district voting as well.

My point is that old fashioned racism from old time southern rednecks - specifically the belief that all whites are superior to all blacks automatically because of the color of their skin - is stupid, outmoded, just plain wrong and is in and of itself not a reason to oppose district voting. That's why I said they (meaning old racists) should not count.

District voting is a completely different thing. It has risen up because of the NAACP's newer brand of racism - specifically that all whites living today must forever pay all black people living today and tomorrow extra benefits, reparations, supplements and now - give them a guarantee that a black person will be part of the leadership regardless of qualification (political affirmative action) and that's all ok because of slavery and Jim Crow.

Both types of racism are pretty stupid, but I think #2 is by far the stupider of the two - not that I could ever endorse #1. So with all that in mind, why change things around for 100,000 people in Fayette County when the underlying argument for the change is based upon the worst kind of racism? How about somebody taking a stab at answering that?

I guess the judge has done that already, but to do that he actually has to believe the underlying premise - Racism #2. How can a judge - or anyone buy into that? I know for sure he's not thinking of 15 or 20 years down the road. He just wants to get this behind him and retire. That leaves us to pick up the pieces and try to live our lives with more problems created by politicians and judges. I wonder who the genius judges and politicians were 20 years ago that started the ball rolling downhill in DeKalb County? Probably have a courthouse named for them.

suggarfoot
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mudcat

you said it all, and so well.

suggarfoot
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the problem is

people look at the counties where this has taken place, and all would agree,they are only the worse for it. DeKalb is ruined, Clayton is a thug breeding ground, South Fulton? OMG So what do we do? We should be able to elect the best qualified, no matter if they are white or black. The NAACP takes that away from us, the Civil Liberties group is just as bad.

Sandy Creek football team is not made up according to the race %, but that is ok right? Delta ground personal at the ATL is disproportionately black and doesn't represent the % of whites in ATL area, same at Wallmart, and Homedepo. That is reverse discrimination, but I don't hear the NAACP or the Civil Liberties crowd, or our congressmen saying a word.

I'm sorry, but the apathy of whites is/has led to your children's rights being taken away, and for what? Give blacks the same CHANCE as whites, don't just GIVE them everything cause they are black, that is just plain stupid, that has created a sense of entitlement without having to TRY to be the BEST, or shoulder any RESPONSIBILTY that SHOULD go along with it.

What we see now is the handywork of just what I said. Clayton, S Fulton, and DeKalb, handed over, ruined, no leadership shown, and yet it is Fayette counties responsibility to get in line for the same? Is that responsibility or stupidity?

stranger than f...
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District Voting is not Anathema

Indeed, voting districts are much more in line with Madisonian ideals than are at-large elections. Perhaps the Founding Fathers lose their appeal when they run counter to historical white interests. Besides, how could district voting in Fayette County possibly render a less desirable outcome than the current commissioners the tea party installed?

brooksdad
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District voting lawsuit

What year is this? I hate it that we are spending this amount to defend this baseless racist (yes racist) lawsuit, but it is time someone stands up to the bigoted racist NAACP. Unless Judge Batten was misquoted above, who decided that a particular group of people and a federal judge in Atlanta have the right to change the way we elect officials, for the sole purpose of insuring their candidate is elected? Is that not racism in its highest form?

"The NAACP had argued that at-large voting prevented black residents, who have come to number around 20 percent of Fayette County’s population, from choosing the candidate of their choice". There is no right or privilege for "choosing the candidate of their choice", you get to vote for a candidate, just like everyone else.

"the NAACP’s map is in essence a gerrymander because of the way it meanders through a narrow swath of unincorporated area in northwest Fayette to reach a concentration of minority voters in Tyrone." Can we not call this exactly what it is, and call out the NAACP for it?

District voting promotes division, as "groups" in "districts" leverage their representative for self interest, and not what is best for Fayette County as a whole.

Everyone is, and has been welcomed to come to Fayette County and enjoy the way of life here. Not to come with the express intent in changing it into another Clayton, Fulton, etc.

FAYETTE COUNTY WAKE UP!!

Robert W. Morgan
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What year is this? More to the point in 7 years it will be 2021

That is when Fayette County will be 200 years old. For the first 150 years it was a bunch of farms with barely more than 10,000 people in some peak years. District voting made even less sense then than it does now, but for exactly the same reason - we are too small! We do not need districts unless you want to divide people into an "us and them" rivalry. We can divide into rural and urban or black and white or east vs. west and others, but why in the world do we want to do that and who is pushing for it and why?

I don't think we are in any danger of becoming Fulton or Clayton, but of course if you lived in DeKalb or Rockdale in the 1980s you would have said the same thing. Or Clayton in the 1960s, so one never knows. I understand why people move to better and safer locations, but I will never understand the tendency to want to "Fundamentally transform" that new environment. Maybe the first generation to move in is sincere and responsible and it is the second generation in that screws things up, I just don't know.

Anyway fighting this thing is pointless. The racist organization has gotten itself an activist liberal white guilt judge and it is over. What are we going to do - appeal to Eric Holder? The Supreme Court? Fact is others have tried to fight district voting and lost on appeal. It is what they call settled law and we don't have a chance - so stop spending money Mr. Brown. Your liberalism is duly noted, now turn off the money spigot or we will have to pay for the NAACP's lawyer as well.

suggarfoot
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brooksdad

without this kind of BS.. the NAACP lawyers and the rest drawing their paychecks from them, would be out of a job.
People from all white areas,(that have never had the exposure) don't understand what is happening now...my poor Father, God rest his soul, gave money to the NAACP. It was different then, and he would be turning over in his grave if he saw what is happening now. Truth is...times are changing and the NAACP is not...If... they want to get rid of the stigma..and help blacks...(I don't think they do)they would address the Welfare Queens , call them out, who have 5-7 kids and more for kids for money(and hands down, are at the bottom of the gene pool)...instead..they promote the "you owe me cause I'm black mentality". Until they address what everyone knows is the problem..they will never get the respect of the whites in areas like Ga...and whites in Minnesota, Michigan...etc are all becoming too aware of, the "you owe me cause I'm black" deal

G35 Dude
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My "District Voting" suggestion

To be fair to all concerned I think the seats should be elected not by district but by race. We should have one white seat, one black, one asian, one hispanic, and one at large. Who cares if this gives us the best people for the job thats not important. (Sarcasm off)

suggarfoot
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district voting....to be fair

I'm deeply offended! We all know that the Asians should have ..No...vote.. as they are the smartest, ask for nothing, and only go into areas others have tore to ribbons and turn them around. That really tinkles off the blacks, who live in the areas spoken about...therefore..the Asians shouldn't be given any vote..otherwise, the NAACP will seek justice (for Blacks only)!

30YearResident
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District Voting Is Not Representative

When you have five commissioners making decisions on the county as a whole, they should be voted on by the county voters as a whole.
District voting is NOT representative and is not a good change.
NAACP should find a suitable candidate in their district that would appeal to the entire county and support that candidate.
What they are doing with their law suit does not make things better, but cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars that would be best used elsewhere for the good of the county.
NAACP is an extremely bigoted organization who only has one goal, and it is NOT what is best for Fayette County.

30YearResident
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Dupe

Double tap.

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