Gwinnett Named Best Urban School System In US; In Other News, Gwinnett Is Urban

First, Sincere Congrats to Gwinnett Schools:

Gwinnett County Public Schools has won the prestigious Broad Prize, after finishing as a runner-up last year in the competition for thenation’s best urban school district.

The victory comes with a million dollar pay day.

But the real story here is how we view the inner suburbs. Gwinnett, Cobb, Clayton, and even some of the smaller counties are taking on significant urban characteristics across the board: Infrastructure, traffic, demographics, crime, and extremes of poverty and wealth in close proximity.

In Georgia politics, there was a time when the “doughnut” of counties surrounding Fulton and DeKalb was the Republican base. Now Clayton is solidly Democratic, Gwinnett is trending so, as are counties like Rockdale, Douglas, and even my former home of Fayette.

While this is changing the policy debates at the local levels, it also will drive one of the main factors used in this Governor’s race, and that is re-districting. Barnes didn’t handle it so well last time. And that is being overly generous. It was an unmitigated disaster, and while it didn’t resonate with most as a reason to “Boot Barnes”, it did in areas like Fayette who were suddenly represented by three house members in South Fulton, or areas of extreme North Georgia who found themselves representated by a State Senator a hundred miles away, connected by a land bridge 100 feet wide.

The redistricting boogey man is one of the strongest arguments used by Republicans to keep folks like me from voting for Roy Barnes. I haven’t noticed (granted, haven’t looked) to see if Barnes has addressed how he would approach redistricting differently this time around.

I’d be interested to hear if he has a different plan.

4 comments

  1. Erick's Mortal Enemy says:

    Raise your hand if you think Gwinnett is urban.

    Okay, now put down your hand if you’ve never driven through Gwinnett.

    Okay the rest of you just have no idea, do you?

  2. bgsmallz says:

    I think Barnes could take a large step towards swaying moderates…and putting pressure on the GOP…by introducing a plank in the platform to move redistricting in Georgia out of the legislative and executive branch and into the hands of an independent body. I think there are 7 states that handle redistricting in that manner…Iowa, Maine, Idaho, Arizona, Washington, Hawaii, and New Jersey. And while I’m sure it can’t be that difficult to divide up the two districts in Idaho, the process in Arizona, Washington, and New Jersey might be interesting to look at.

    Besides basic fairness issues and reducing gerrymandering, it would certainly save money in court costs defending the redistricting plan from the inevitable Voting Rights Act challenge.

    • Charlie says:

      Putting Iowa-like rules in place, and getting them pre-cleared, would go a long way in taking much of the gerrymandering out of the process.

      …which is why it will never happen, under either party’s watch.

      But I’d at least like to see one claim they would.

  3. Steve says:

    When my in-town friends make plans for an event at Gwinnett Arena, they talk about driving out “to the country”. The tone is disdainful, but they’re not being sarcastic. They really do see it that way.

    When my rural Georgia family makes plans to host Thanksgiving at my house, they talk about driving “into the city”. The tone is disdainful, but they’re not being sarcastic. They really do see it that way.

    This is just the nature of living in the suburbs… you get to be EVERYBODY’S d*****bag! Regardless, Gwinnett County has over 800,000 residents. That’s “urban” enough compared to most U.S. counties if you’re throwing them all together in an Excel spreadsheet.

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