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.