Frady, Hearn defend county’s new at-large voting district map

Composite shows Fayette County commissioners (from top clockwise) Steve Brown, Lee Hearn, Herb Frady and Robert Horgan.

Last week, two Fayette County Commissioners defended the current at-large voting method against the district voting scheme proposed by a lawsuit filed by the Fayette County National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

It marked the first time any commissioner has publicly spoken out about the matter since the lawsuit was filed Aug. 9 last year.

In defense of at-large voting, Commission Chairman Herb Frady said he felt that if he can vote to spend county taxpayers’ money, “you should be able to vote me in or out of office.”

“I think that’s a good way to go, and it’s a fair and equal way to go,” Frady said.

Commissioner Lee Hearn noted that as a government employee he has worked for several counties that used district voting. Hearn said he felt “often times, the only thing those commissioners, who were elected by their district, were interested in was what was going on in their kingdom.”

“They didn’t at times look at what was best for the overall county,” Hearn continued. “And I think as Americans and Fayette Countians we need to look out for what’s best for our entire county.”

The NAACP argues that district voting would enhance the chance of a black person being elected to the board by creating one “majority minority” district and limiting voters to selecting just one candidate for the commission, coinciding with the commission district each voter lives in.

Currently the county has at-large voting, which means each resident can vote on all five commission seats regardless of where they live in the county.

While the county has not specifically said it would challenge the district voting lawsuit, last week’s adoption of a five-district map for commission seats included retention of at-large voting, which is directly at odds with the district voting format sought by the NAACP lawsuit.

At-large voting allows county residents the chance to vote on all five commission seats, while district voting would limit residents to voting for just one commission seat: the one that corresponds with the commission district in which they live.

The NAACP has worked out a tentative settlement with the Fayette County Board of Education to adopt a new district map with district voting instead of at-large voting. That settlement has yet to be approved by the federal court judge assigned to the case.

The NAACP lawsuit lists the county commission and the board of education as co-defendants. If the commission does challenge the lawsuit, it could possibly delay the settlement to the point where it can’t be enacted in time for the new school board map and district voting to be enacted for the July election.

Qualifying for three school board posts and three county commission posts begins in three months, starting May 21.

Robert W. Morgan
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Big 3 giving us a goodbye present

Weeks ago I thought one of the possibilities in this whole thing could have been Frady, Horgan, Hearn upset that they had been vilified (properly) by the citizens and voters and the press and since none had a chance at reelection, their going away present to the votes would be district voting.

True, this is only a half-step - creating the 5 districts, but where else is that going to lead? No way out of it.

So, why else would they do what they did?

ginga1414
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Public Officials Stack The Deck

Mr. Sukalewski and moelarrycurly,

Until the last few years, some Fayette public officials have been very quietly stacking the deck against all citizens for so long it has for the most part gone un-noticed.

During the last commission meeting, Commissioner Horgan said that he was “tired” of Commissioners Brown and McCarty voting against expenditures for the West Bypass.

In a letter to Commissioner Horgan, I pointed out that each commissioner has the right to vote as he sees fit. I told him that he and Commissioner Hearn always vote with Chairman Frady.

Commissioner Horgan’s reply to me was, “It may appear that I vote with Mr. Frady all the time, but I would like to think of it as we are voting for the right things for Fayette County.”

Apparently, Chairman Frady, Commissioners Horgan and Hearn are the only people in Fayette County who have the ability to know what is right for the rest of us.

yada yada yada
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Frady, et al

Just seems to me that the citizens of this county really need to wake up before it is too late. This year is not only a vital election year for the President, but three commissioners need to be replaced. In addition, there are three school board members that sorely need to be put out to pasture.

ginga1414
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yada yada yada, Absolutely

Oh, how right you are. We all need to spend some time and energy in educating ourselves about what is actually going on in our county. There have been so many closed door issues that were decided way before they were presented to the public it is extremely scary. Even after an issue reaches the public during a commission meeting, the wording of proposals is so obscure it is almost impossible for the public to decipher.

Who knew that a proposal to put a Recreation Dept. notice in county water bills actually included a survey that asked how many citizens would support a Recreation SPLOST, bond issue, and additional recreation taxes? Who would have known that the notices had not been published in the newspapers if a concerned citizen had not pointed out the fact during a commission meeting? Commissioner Brown had to request that the general public be notified through the newspapers. I was there. I observed that situation.

Commissioners Brown and McCarty have made a great effort to discuss all issues before the public so that we will have a better picture of each proposal. Frady, Horgan, and Hearn read directly from the Agenda and proceed with the vote.

yada yada yada
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Frady, et al

Just seems to me that the citizens of this county really need to wake up before it is too late. This year is not only a vital election year for the President, but three commissioners need to be replaced. In addition, there are three school board members that sorely need to be put out to pasture.

ginga1414
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yada yada yada, THE SCHOOL BOARD, TALK ABOUT SCARY!

Who knew the commissioners and developers would use EMPTY Rivers Elementary as an insurance policy to building the West Bypass? Who knew there was a mega Hamlet development planned for the area? Who knew the school was built and is still sitting empty years before the development was even announced? Who knew that former Fayetteville Mayor Ken Steele was sitting on that development and didn't want it announced before his re-election this past year?

Who knew that Commissioner Hearn's relative sold acreage for a new high school to the BOE as part of the planned West Fayetteville development? Who knew that Commissioner Hearn's relative also sits on the Fayetteville Downtown Development Authority and that his family property is part of the mega development? It took days and days of digging to find out all of that information!

Who knew that Smith and Smola were trying to invest our tax money by buying huge tracts of land they couldn't use? Who knew that we would be stuck with a hundred acres that has to be advertised for sale on the school system website?

When Dr. Sam Tolbert passed away, who knew the public would not have the right to decide who would take Sam's place on the board? Who would even suspect that Smith, Smola, and Presberg would band together and elect newly appointed Presberg to the position of School Board Chairman?

suggarfoot
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3 of the school board are scary!

I think the purchase of the cowpastures we can't give away, plus the building of extra schools along the bypass for developers, need to go down in the book of records for all time arrogance and greed. This has been done at the expense of the teachers, taxpayers and children. All will go lacking because of this. Smith and Smola need to go.

bladderq
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Dredging Lake Peachtree

Maybe you can explain how district voting will be beneficial to those worried about Lake Peachtree? You seemed to have moved on. I see 1 guy has already announced for Westmoron's job.

Steve Brown
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The precursor of things to come?

Why did the Frady-Horgan-Hearn majority decide to go with five districts in the reapportionment process rather than three?

Take a good look at those districts. The layout defies the logic of constructing districts based on geography, jurisdictional integrity and continuity/form. The make-up of those individual districts points to only one conclusion.

PTC Observer
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Mr. Brown - These

districts are no different in the way they were developed than the Congressional districts that make up the state of Georgia. Talk about defying logic, or maybe there is a sort of twisted logic in all of these maps.

What would a reasonable person deduce?

Mike King
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A Precursor Mr Brown?

Should the five districts be adopted, and the NAACP prevails in its lawsuit, your chances for another term are reduced.

Or could it be that you plan on moving?

Steve Brown
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Read the minutes Mike K.

I did not vote for five districts. Hey, you can be my campaign manager!

Too bad you do not come to the meetings, but you can read the minutes off of the county website.

Mike King
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Steve

Don't regress to similarities to Haddix by restating the obvious. The point is that when/should the NAACP win their lawsuit, your 'new' district places your reelection in jeopardy-as RWM states "we know you."

The whole thing does beg the question: With the requirement of having to have resided in one's district for the previous six months, when should we expect to see the moving vans?

Robert W. Morgan
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Mike K, I have essayed about the precursor and Brown's district

Somehow they have disappeared from this website, but I will try to recreate - or at least a summary.

The precursor is obvious. The commission did a half-way measure that will signal their willingness to the NaaaaaaaaaaaaaCP that they will eventually knuckle-under to the district voting demand. Or even if they don't - they paved the way for future commissions. They certainly created the districts and those will stick. We be gettin' district voting, folks - get used to it.

As to the brown clown, district voting sucks for him because his "district" knows him. Mike Amos or Allison Chambers have a better chance of winning in the district from Old PTC. Brown indeed may move to Tyrone and he would be a shoo-in. That at-large county commision chair post that he proposed was his best chance of getting elected again by those that don't really know him. Bye Steve.

Even so, I think electing the Chairman of Fayette County Commission by all voters in the county is a good way to go. With the new district voting thing, someone from a do-nothing district like 2 or 5 or 3 could become chair because the other guys don't want to be bothered with the responsibility.

ptctaxpayer
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Morgan, what a clown...You

Morgan, what a clown...You and Haddix are two of a kind-- love hearing yourself talk. District voting in Fayette County was made an inevitability with the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965.

Steve Brown
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Too funny ... you should run Morgan

Thanks, at least, for agreeing with my stance on electing the chairman.

Davids mom
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Mr. Brown

Please expand on your interpretation of the conclusion.

moelarrycurly
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Commissioner Brown- Off this topic

I've heard about your strong opposition to the reappointment of members of the FC commissions, authorities and volunteer boards without any new volunteers being considered for these posts.

I applaud your for taking this issue public and let's hope, as you have stated, that those who live here will now apply for (initially) your Rec. Authority appointment.

The first I had ever heard of the power of some of these boards was the "FC Water Committee" actions on Lake MacIntosh. Shame on me for not knowing about all of these appointed boards, but many, many of us here never even knew they were in existence.

Thank you again for bringing this issue forward. I'm sure others will become aware that the same old, same old good old boy network has been in place for decades. We do have a wealth of highly educated and intelligent citizens here who would be interested in contributing their skills.

To Commissioners Frady, Hearn & Horgan....your list of "it's been this way forever, so why should we change it" attitudes are going by the wayside.

Justify to the citizens here why others are NOT allowed to apply and be voted in on your appointments. If the people you reappoint over and over and over are just so good, then let them stand the true test against some new blood in Fayette County. They shouldn't have a thing to worry about now should they? I also think it would be an eyeopener for all 3 of you to have one on one sit downs with others concerned about our quality of life here.

phil sukalewski
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District voting only fair with taxes staying in that district

Combine district voting with keeping the property taxes that I pay only going to the schools in my district and then I might be in favor of it (or give me a voucher to send my kids to any school I choose).

Otherwise, if my property taxes get spent all over the county, I want to vote on all the representatives who will decide where the money is spent.

p.s. Why was there not a special election to fill Sam Tolbert's seat when he passed away instead of the 4 members of the board appointing Leonard Presberg. Talk about disenfranchising the voters.

Robert W. Morgan
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You one funny dude, philsuk

Keeping taxes in the districts from which they were generated? Ha! Funny.
If we did that we wouldn't need government. Think about it - you and your neighbors do the "village thing" with your kids and you would not have to hire outsiders. No need to have school boards, principals, asst. principals, guidance counselors, grief counselors, special ed teachers, nurses, teacher unions, etc., etc., etc. So, how many kids you have in school at $8k a year on the taxpayer? How much you pay in taxes?

No Phil, the reason for all this stuff is to redistribute money. Study the Fulton County model over the last 20 years - north against the south.

Joe Kawfi
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Good Point, Phil

No taxation without representation!