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.