Fayette school board to appeal district voting

Fayette school board to appeal district voting

The Fayette County Board of Education in executive session at a March 14 called meeting voted 3-1 to appeal the recent federal court decision to require district voting in Fayette County.

A mid-February decision by U.S. District Judge Timothy Batten made district voting the law of the land in Fayette, setting aside the long-time at-large voting format.

Under district voting, Fayette residents will no longer be able to vote for all five posts on both the board of education and the county commission. Instead, voters will be restricted to casting ballots for just one post on each group: the one corresponding with the geographic district the voter lives in.

Batten’s ruling was the result of a lawsuit filed by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) which claimed that at-large voting prevented black residents from electing the candidate of their choice.

The lawsuit specifically noted that no black candidate had ever been elected to the school board or the county commission. Several county residents were also listed as plaintiffs in the lawsuit.

The school board’s vote was 3-1, with Leonard Presberg opposed and Bob Todd, Marion Key and Barry Marchman in favor of the motion to appeal.

Presberg prior to the vote said, “I couldn’t disagree more strenuously. I think this is a waste of money.”

Presberg said the lawsuit was one that “we lost every step of the way.”

Also speaking prior to the vote, Marchman said several candidates for the school board and Fayette County Commission during their campaigns said they would push back on the disenfranchisement of the voters if district voting was implemented.

“This is a promise kept, and I want to remind voters that their voice was heard,” Marchman said.

The new district map and district voting process ordered by the court is being used for this year’s elections.

suggarfoot
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This is a promise kept, and I want to remind voters that their v

I respect Marchman. He is a good strong man who stands up for what he believes. That is so important and so rare these days. Thank you

Husband and Fat...
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Suggar

While we certainly want our officials to keep their campaign promises, there are certain times circumstances change, and this may be one of them. So before the BOE runs off spending money, I would like to understand the rationale and odds legal council is giving them on winning the case.

Spending our money simply to keep a campaign promise when the odds of winning are slim breaches the fiduciary trust.

Veritas
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Two cases

I really don't care one way or another but here are 2 Supreme Court cases for those that say an appeal is hopeless..
Georgia case

In June 1995, a 5-4 majority of the Supreme Court ruled that Georgia's redistricting plan was unconstitutional under the 14th Amendment. The court majority concluded that "race was the predominant factor' in creating at least one of the black-majority districts. In such a situation, the court decided, unless there is a strong reason ("compelling governmental interest"), states are forbidden to separate citizens into different voting districts by race just as they may not racially segregate public parks.

North Caroline case

Under pressure from the Justice Department, North Carolina created two "minority-majority" districts, each about 60-percent black. As a result, two African-American congressmen were elected in 1992, the first from North Carolina in 90 years. But some voters challenged these districts in court. They claimed that the odd-shaped districts were drawn up for solely racial purposes in violation of the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment.

In 1993, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that these districts do violate the 14th Amendment unless they are "narrowly tailored to further a compelling governmental interest."

Writing the majority opinion, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor declared that, "Classifications of citizens solely on the basis of race 'are by their very nature odious to a free people whose institutions are founded upon the doctrine of equality.'" Justice O"Connor further warned that corralling minorities into separate voting districts "threatens to carry us further from the goal of a political system in which race no longer matters. . . ."

Robert W. Morgan
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Sounds like those are two very relevant decisions

So, who dropped the ball?
1. County Attorney. Did the attorney for the county discover those rulings and bring it up before the judge before he made his ruling? Who was the county attorney, BTW?
2.Da Judge. If the judge knew about these rulings, how could he have ruled the way he did? He was very clear that he knew it was all about race and his ruling makes it clear that he is all about race. Maybe he wanted to set up an appeal so he didn't get tagged for the ultimate decision which would upset his liberal panty wearing friends.
3. Everybody. Or did no one at all know about these rulings and our attorney (and the county commission and the BOE) and the judge are all auditioning for the next Dumb and Dumber movie?

Unlikely the county or the NAACP has the time and money to go to the US Supreme Court, But it sure sounds like the Supreme Court got it right - discrimination is always bad, no matter who is doing it or who is affected by it. No one group gets a pass because their ancestors were treated poorly. Surely there are still 5 grownup votes left on the Supreme Court. Although I would think the appeal first goes to the GA Supreme Court and I know nothing about them.

PTC Observer
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Veritas - Right

There is right and then there is dead right. By the time the BOE drains the coffers of Fayette County of a large sum of money, remember that it only MAY make it to the SCOTUS. Both cases were very narrow and close. The SCOTUS is a different court today than in 1993 and 1995.

Justice O'Connor was correct in her majority opinion, but it likely doesn't matter today.

How much money are the citizens of this county willing to pay to prove the point? How much? A million? Two million?

NUK_1
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Presberg is right

It IS a waste of money fighting this and the BOE just needs to carry on with their duties and let this go. It's been decided and it's GAME OVER.

MYTMITE
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I don't have nor have I ever had a child in Fayette County

schools, but I do know that our small class size and student to teacher ratio puts PTC and Fayetteville on the Desired Place to Live list. Instead of appealing something you have no chance of winning, why not put the money you feel you have to spend on this no win situation to downsize the size of the classrooms? Use this money for education where it should be spent. Don't throw it down the rabbit hole.

stranger than f...
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Foolish Waste of Money

This latest appeal is a reckless and foolish waste of our tax money by the BOE. This is what happens when Fayette County voters elect ideologues rather than pragmatists to run their government. Paradoxically, Mr. Presberg (the only Democrat) appears to be the lone fiscal conservative on the board.

NeilSullivan
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Each $50k spent on the appeal could be 2 first grade parapros

I have said here before I prefer that the BOE and County Commission be accountable to the whole county and not a select part. That said, to Mr. Presberg's point. Fayette County has not won at any juncture in this case and judicial precedent suggests we won't. Therefore this Quixotic stand takes from our public school children and taxpayers and returns exactly what?

Not even 12 months ago we were discussing closing neighborhood schools, increasing class sizes to the point where our teachers are now trying to control small mobs, eliminating the Fayette Advantage of first grade parapros, and making other deep cuts. Now our board feels that we have money to basically put into a pile and burn before we consider restoring any of the programs we have cut. As my title suggests, we should imagine what we could do with the money, and ask is this appeal necessary?

This is a disgraceful use of public funds

Voter
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Mr. Presburg qualified as a

Mr. Presburg qualified as a Democrat Mr. Garlock, so I guess he is a Democrat. There is nothing wrong with that. Here is the problem. I understand that two black persons qualified to run for Mr. Presburg's seat. There is nothing wrong with that. I understand that they had a meeting with someone in the Democratic organization and then withdrew their names. There is something wrong with that. Where is the NAACP concerning this? Is the district voting issue just another misuse of the black population by the Democrats because there is no other way in the door?

ninetogo
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Have Heard The Same

I believe that conversations have been held between the BOE Board Members and their esteemed Legal Counsel. These member would not pursue an Appeal unless Legal Counsel gave them good odds of winning. I have read, with much dismay, reader comments discouraging the Appeal process. Several think this a complete waste of $$$$$$. I strongly disagree.

The solution is very simple. The BOE representative should restructure the engagement agreement with Legal Counsel. Pay for success. If the BOE Legal Counsel obtains relief through a temporary injunction that stops District Voting implementation, pay Legal Counsel X amount. If not, pay Legal Counsel 50% less. If Legal Counsel wins an Appeal, pay the full fee. If not, pay 50% of the fee and file an Appeal to the US Supreme Court. Same conditions apply for the case at the Supreme Court. In every law suit that I have ever seen or heard about, the legal team is always the clear winner. Our best interest are served if the legal team is given an incentive to win.

One more item, the NAACP filed the suit alleging that Black candidates have been disenfranchised because none have been elected in Fayette County, outside of one magistrate court judge. The truth is that all have run as a Democrat party candidate and the voters rejected them for party affiliation, not color of skin or racial make-up. The Georgia Democrat Party is using the NAACP as a foil to produce an elected Democrat in Fayette County. Nothing more, nothing less.

NUK_1
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Sorry, but legal counsel for government is usually bad

I have seen various government attorneys completely blow it on Open Records and Open Meetings Act and seemingly have no clue whatsoever until it's too late. Neither are very difficult to understand, yet time and time again, they misinform the govt that is paying them and totally drop the ball.

Why throw good money after bad in this case? I may not like district voting and how it came about from the bigots at the NAACP who care only about themselves, but it's not the end of the world and was going to happen sooner rather than later.

SPQR
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One call that's all

One call that's all

Robert W. Morgan
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I had read somewhere that a black candidate actually qualified

and paid his money on Friday and then pulled out later that same day. That's odd behavior, but if he was influenced by the Dem leaders, I'd sure like to know more. And if Mr. Pressberg exerted some pressure - then we have a real political intrique situation.

NeilSullivan
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RWM - Rest of the story

I had heard about the other candidate that he was a 20+ year veteran of the Atlanta Public Parks Department with no real passion for public education or any other type of platform. I did see a few endorsements go out from key leaders in that area on Facebook before the qualification period ended for Leonard which would have made a challenge from the left side rather difficult. I am hoping that someone did reason with him and ask him if it were worth the time and money.

Leonard and I agree on very little from a politcal standpoint, but he has done a great job being involoved with our schools and serving as a voice of reason. I respect him very much and admire the way he has carried himself since coming on the scene, except for one July 4th which I still do not understand.

I hear the GOP candidate is a friend to atleast one sitting board member so I look forward to the general.

Take Care,

neil

Robert W. Morgan
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Somebody probably told him it would be slam dunk

to get elected in that district because he was black and then the reality of an actual political campaign set in. That's the innocent explanation.

OR, somebody strong armed him because a black losing in that district to a white would embarrass the NAACP and make them look even more foolish than they do now. OR maybe the Dems are actually satisfied with Pressberg.

ninetogo
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Good Points, All

Robert;
I believe that conversations have been held between the BOE Board Members and their esteemed Legal Counsel. These member would not pursue an Appeal unless Legal Counsel gave them good odds of winning. I have read, with much dismay, reader comments discouraging the Appeal process. Several think this a complete waste of $$$$$$. I strongly disagree.

The solution is very simple. The BOE representative should restructure the engagement agreement with Legal Counsel. Pay for success. If the BOE Legal Counsel obtains relief through a temporary injunction that stops District Voting implementation, pay Legal Counsel X amount. If not, pay Legal Counsel 50% less. If Legal Counsel wins an Appeal, pay the full fee. If not, pay 50% of the fee and file an Appeal to the US Supreme Court. Same conditions apply for the case at the Supreme Court. In every law suit that I have ever seen or heard about, the legal team is always the clear winner. Our best interest are served if the legal team is given an incentive to win.

One more item, the NAACP filed the suit alleging that Black candidates have been disenfranchised because none have been elected in Fayette County, outside of one magistrate court judge. The truth is that all have run as a Democrat party candidate and the voters rejected them for party affiliation, not color of skin or racial make-up. The Georgia Democrat Party is using the NAACP as a foil to produce an elected Democrat in Fayette County. Nothing more, nothing less.

ninetogo
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Good Points, All

Robert;
I believe that conversations have been held between the BOE Board Members and their esteemed Legal Counsel. These member would not pursue an Appeal unless Legal Counsel gave them good odds of winning. I have read, with much dismay, reader comments discouraging the Appeal process. Several think this a complete waste of $$$$$$. I strongly disagree.

The solution is very simple. The BOE representative should restructure the engagement agreement with Legal Counsel. Pay for success. If the BOE Legal Counsel obtains relief through a temporary injunction that stops District Voting implementation, pay Legal Counsel X amount. If not, pay Legal Counsel 50% less. If Legal Counsel wins an Appeal, pay the full fee. If not, pay 50% of the fee and file an Appeal to the US Supreme Court. Same conditions apply for the case at the Supreme Court. In every law suit that I have ever seen or heard about, the legal team is always the clear winner. Our best interest are served if the legal team is given an incentive to win.

One more item, the NAACP filed the suit alleging that Black candidates have been disenfranchised because none have been elected in Fayette County, outside of one magistrate court judge. The truth is that all have run as a Democrat party candidate and the voters rejected them for party affiliation, not color of skin or racial make-up. The Georgia Democrat Party is using the NAACP as a foil to produce an elected Democrat in Fayette County. Nothing more, nothing less.

copecc
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BOE Appeal

This is not a black or white issue. I would like to vote for someone who will represent the best interest of the district I live in. If you don't live in our district, there is no loyalty if you don't live here. Everyone living in this district deserve to be accurately represented. This is a human issue.

Robert W. Morgan
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Your sliding scale, incentive based legal fee solution has

but one simple problem. No lawyer would touch it. They like the sliding scale when they are going after a deep pockets defendant who is almost certain to make some sort of offer settlement, but when the scale slides the other way - no way. One thing about your idea though, it sure would reduce the number of frivolous lawsuits.

Lawyers thrive on conflict and many openly encourage it. They must teach in first year law school how to churn an agitated client into spending maximum dollars, until the dollars run out and then they always want to settle. This seems like it must be the world's second oldest profession, but without the physical pleasure.

Another thing, any honest lawyer is going to look at what has happened with similar suits in other counties and that picture is pretty bleak. The whole guilty until proven innocent approach the NAACP takes on these things and the pansy judges trying to be sensitive and politically correct have given us a history of case law that guarantees us a lost cause. Those 3 BOE votes to appeal is simply posturing. I just wish they would use their own money instead of ours.

tgarlock
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RWM, to help bolster your argument . . .

An engineer and a lawyer were debating whose profession could be traced back to the earliest point in time.

The engineer smugly declared, knowing there was no way the lawyer could top this, "The bible begins in Genesis by saying in the beginning God brought order out of chaos, and that, counselor, was the first feat of engineering!"

The lawyer, confidently and with a wry grin responded by asking, "And just where do you think that chaos came from?"

tgarlock
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Leonard Presberg . . .

. . . has a point. I assume he is a Democrat, and maybe he likes the result of district voting, I don't have a clue what is in his head. And I don't give a hoot whether he ascribes to this religious belief or that since that is personal and none of my business.

But spending more money opposing district voting is a fool's errand. I say that as one who still gets angry at the very idea of taking away 4/5 of your vote and mine, all for a play straight out of the Democrat playbook to game the system. But let's not throw our money away.

Furthermore, the way I hear it Leonard Presburg, however liberal he may be compared to my conservative lean, is the most level-headed - some might say the only sane - voice on the BOE. Maybe conservative isn't quite enough even in Fayette County, maybe a few brains scrambled in helps.

And consider this twisted irony. Now that Leonard Presberg will be a white man running unopposed in the district cooked in the NAACP kitchen to make sure blacks could be elected - even though they really wanted Democrats to be elected - the NAACP will get what they wanted and will still be set up to escalate their complaint since a black won't be elected.

And if he really is the sole voice of reason on the BOE, being elected over the protest of my conservative friends in Fayette County doubles down on the irony. Hell, if not for district voting rules I might even vote for him myself and I wouldn't give one flip about his freethinker association.

Terry Garlock

mudcat
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Maybe that's why the guy withdrew on Friday

The NAACP wanted to have an unopposed white guy as their poster child for why the county can't appeal the decision of the judge. Somebody really needs to delve into this. Is Lane Watts still the go-to guy on election fraud?

Maybe The Citizen could get a comment out of the one day candidate. Even if it is no comment, we can interpret that anyway we want. I think something smells about this and its not Lake Peachtree. I am very uncomfortable that Pressberg has skated through and become chairman without be subjected to an election. At the very least he should have the grace to step down and let one of the others be chair.

And is it fraud or at least suppression if a black candidate was told not to run for whatever reason? This thing really is dripping with irony.

Husband and Fat...
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Mudcat, drink some coffee

Presberg is not the chair. Ms. Key is chair and Dr. Todd second in command.

Is everyone going to scalp the next unelected BOE member taking over for Baccallao?

borntorun
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Waste of Time and Money

“This is a promise kept, and I want to remind voters that their voice was heard,” Marchman said. All well and good if you had a legal leg to stand on. But like drug testing food stamp recipients, a good idea in theory...an absolute waste of tax payers money in reality when cost versus outcome is compared.

G35 Dude
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Drug testing was not a waste of money!
Quote:

But like drug testing food stamp recipients, a good idea in theory...an absolute waste of tax payers money in reality when cost versus outcome is compared.

Well no not really. For four months Florida did drug test food stamp/welfare recipients before the ACLU had the law overturned. The numbers were as follows: 4,080 applied. 108 failed the drug test. Less than 3%. OK as the law was written the applicant had to pay for the drug test up front and Fla would reimburse all that passed. 4,080-108=3,972. The cost to the state was 35 (cost of a drug test) x 3,972 or $139,020. If an applicant failed they had to either attend a state approved rehab program or wait one year to reapply. Now the lowest amount that the state paid for welfare/food stamps was $200 a month. Or $2,400 a year. $2,400 x 108 = $259,200. So the 4 month minimum savings was $259,200 - $139,020= $120,180. This does not include the applicants that may have decided not to apply because they knew they'd fail nor does it include cost savings from any other program that these failing applicants may be removed from as a result of failure. Plus it creates a few jobs as drug testers for the state and may result in a few people getting some help for drug abuse.

The liberal media reported the program as a failure by stating that less then 3% failed. They did not take the time to finish the analysis to get the final cost savings.

As for the district voting appeal, if I thought we had a 10% chance I'd say go for it. But in todays PC world we probably do not.

Cyclist
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Dude - Drug Testing

I hear you but I'm having some difficulty in understanding how welfare recipients are to give up their 4th Amendment right of unreasonable searches. The lower Federal Court in Florida had the same concerns. Let's see if this case will be heard here in Atlanta at the 11th Circuit.

MYTMITE
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Hey, Cy, I may be wrong, but doesn't Home Depot and some

other business make employees take drug tests? I know it is exactly the same but wouldn't the same rules apply?

Cyclist
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Hey MYTMITE - Dude

I'm not sure if that logic was applied in this case. The court's summary is as follows:

The court finds there is no set of circumstances under which the warrantless, suspicionless drug testing at issue in this case could be constitutionally applied,..

The court case was Lebron v. Secretary of the Florida Department of Children & Families.

Luis W. Lebron, a Navy veteran and full-time student who had filed for public assistance. Mr. Lebron, who provided care for his disabled mother and was raising a young child as a single father, argued that it was unfair to require drug testing when no suspicion of drug abuse existed.

From what I see, Governor Scott has indicated that an appeal will be made. If that's the case, the 11th Circuit court will hear it.

G35 Dude
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Cy and Mytmite

I'm not a lawyer but in my opinion unreasonable search and seizure does not apply here. First no one is forced to apply. It is voluntary. So what makes requiring a drug test for welfare is unreasonable? Last as Mytmite says if it's illegal to force welfare recipients to take a drug test, how does my company get away with forcing me to take one?

Of course in this day and time it seems that the courts can find a way to justify any verdict that they choose to render.

Davids mom
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Drug Testing - 4th Amendment

Drug testing : many companies do 'random testing' when the employee has a responsibility that requires clear headed decision making. to insure safety of employee and facility.

4th Amendment Right - no unreasonable search.

Robert W. Morgan
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“I couldn’t disagree more strenuously" says our unelected leader

So we now know where he stands, but you guys are moving forward without the county commission. Remember when you went down the other road and caved in early and they told you NO, you have to act on concert with the other defendant? Think you have the same thing here.

And timing is an issue. How long does it take for the county commission to grow a pair and vote to appeal? Brown and McCarty might see it as a way to fend off their likely defeat, but I'm betting the other 3 secretly like the way this is shaping up.

That being said, honorable unelected Democrat Pressburg is correct - It is certainly a waste of money and there is not much chance of appeal. And probably no grounds for an appeal unless the shortage of black candidates is some kind of reason. It shows that the whole thing is stupid, but that is not grounds for a legal appeal.

Husband and Fat...
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Don't like district voting

I don't like district voting, and would prefer a say in all 5 positions, but also don't see how we can win.

Would like to hear from those that voted to spend our money, how they think we can win this case on appeal. Just show us a case record that supports this. Otherwise, just voting to fight this because of a campaign promise is simply pandering.

PTC Observer
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H&F - Voting Rights

Given the Voting Rights Act, they have already lost this appeal.