Commissioner Brown denies NAACP ties
Fayette County Commissioner Steve Brown, a former member of the Fayette County branch of the National Association of the Advancement for Colored People, says he informally dissolved his membership “years ago” over the group’s stance on district voting.
Brown’s membership status was recently called into question because of the NAACP’s district voting lawsuit that remains pending against the county. The lawsuit seeks to impose district voting that would require residents to live in one of five geographical districts to qualify to run for the seat representing each district. The suit seeks to restrict voters to being able to vote only for the commission race tied to their district; currently county voters may vote on all five commission races.
Brown, as an elected commissioner, has sat in on confidential executive commission meetings during which the county’s strategy for the lawsuit has been discussed over the past several months.
Brown said he cut his ties with the local NAACP when it became clear that the district voting issue was becoming racially-charged. Brown said he felt the matter cropped up near the end of his term as mayor of Peachtree City.
“I think it was more [state Rep.] Virgil Fludd than anything else that kind of got the discussions going in the direction it did,” Brown said. “The whole thing blew up and turned into a big racial-type thing and I just got upset with it. ... I just faded away out of the organization.”
Brown noted that he still has friends who are currently NAACP members, but he himself has not participated in the organization for a number of years.
Fludd, who chairs the Fayette County delegation to the Georgia House of Representatives, last month blamed county officials for not getting a new commission district passed in time for the legislature to consider this session. The new map would have replaced the old three-district map with a five-district version that would tie each seat on the commission to a particular geographic district.
The previous map had three such seats; the other two seats were at-large seats, meaning that anyone in the county could seek election to those posts regardless of where they live. The old map has now been voided by a federal judge pending U.S. Justice Department approval of the five-district map.