This is Why DeKalb Can’t Have Nice Things:

The video is 14+ minutes in total, and once you start watching, you’ll probably not be able to stop. Like when you see a train wreck.

These proceedings were NOT an audition for Tyler Perry‘s new movie, “Madea Gets Elected,” though no one would blame you if you thought so. This was an attempt to create new districts for DeKalb’s school board, and to reduce the number of members on the board from 9 to “no more than 7,” per SB 79, passed last year by State Reps Mike Jacobs (R-Brookhaven) and Mary Margaret Oliver, (D-Druid Hills) and State Senators Fran Millar (R-Dunwoody) and Emanuel Jones (D-Decatur.)  

You may also believe that this debate is really whether to create a 5-member school board or a 7-member school board, and nobody would blame you if you thought that, either. That’s exactly what those responsible for the debacle want you to believe. What it’s really about is eliminating any chance that the DeKalb School System can pull itself out of its usual state of cronyism and dysfunction, and start giving DeKalb taxpayers a return on the investment they make in educating 99,000+ kids in the County public schools.

If I were the speculatin’ type and wanted to noodle out who was behind some mischief in a redistricting process, I’d look for somebody who had spent some time on other governing boards, who had history of skirting the rules, who had not one but two sexual harassment suits against him settled using taxpayer money, who had been a legislator and who had once chaired a reapportionment committee. Bonus points if this person had just taken over the chairmanship of the DeKalb School Board from a feckless incompetent who will soon seek another office. I wouldn’t have to look far:

I think we have a winner.

Whoops: I would be remiss if I didn’t thank John Heneghan for filming the meeting and posting the video to his blog. Thanks, John.


  1. Jackster says:

    4:26 – Let’s do what Gwinnett does
    4:46 – Wait, we can’t, because Gwinnett doesn’t have diverse board – Race Card
    5:45 – Race card again, and the crazy lady flies off the handle. (Madea side)

    8:51 – Q: if it doesn’t pass, what happens
    A: IT doesn’t matter – it’s going to pass and there’s more legislation after this.
    Q: No, i mean if it doesn’t pass, what happens.
    A: I’m not sure what happens – I assumed it’s your job to vote yes. (Rep. Bell)

    I’m sure glad I don’t live in DeKalb county.

    • Hmm. Not enough pixels on the whole internet for me to delve into that one, though I was impressed that WSB-TV reported the grand jury found that “no laws were broken” during the campaign for the SPLOST renewal last year. I worked with parent volunteers for the SPLOST, and am a big fan of not breaking laws.

  2. ricstewart says:

    Is the rest of the video available somewhere? I want to see what Dee Dawkins-Haigler said after Jacobs’ comment.

      • ricstewart says:

        Thank you! Part 2 is even better than Part 1. You have my permission to post any video clips of Dee Dawkins-Haigler at any time. Heck, can y’all make her a front page poster on Peach Pundit?

        Also, can someone please call me anytime she’s scheduled to speak on the House floor?

  3. LoyaltyIsMyHonor says:

    Hence why I try to avoid all things DeKalbish.

    That was just painful to watch, although I am a fan of unintentionally funny angry black women.

  4. Cassandra says:

    Some of these people are using words that do not exist in our English language.

    My mind is reeling and I feel the ‘doubtness’ coming on even if it is ‘discontentuous.’

    John Heneghan administers antiseptic transparency on a process that hopefully will collapse under public scrutiny. If not, people of good mind shan’t tolerate this nonsense further; the smart ones will leave.

    Rep. Parent was both quiet and fidgety.

  5. Andre says:

    After watching both videos, I can honestly say the biggest dysfunction within the DeKalb legislative delegation is their ignorance concerning parliamentary procedure.

    The Chair of the delegation was asked to make a ruling on Rep. Oliver’s motion. The question was whether the Oliver motion was in order. The Chair could not make a ruling because the Chair seemingly doesn’t know diddly about Robert’s Rules.

    Now, it is my understanding that in order for local legislation to be voted on by the full House, the local bill must receive signatures from a majority of the legislators whose districts are located within the county.

    It doesn’t appear that a motion was ever entered to accept one map or the other. A sheet of paper, attempting to get the signatures of a majority of the DeKalb delegation, was passed around. Passing a sheet of paper around, seeking signatures, does not equate to a motion. Any legislator saying otherwise is gravely mistaken. Getting the signatures is the last step in passing a local bill.

    What the DeKalb delegation should have done was put a motion on the table that adopts one map and incorporates the map into the local legislation. Rep. Oliver could have then offered an amendment to the main motion. The question then would have been on the Oliver amendment. If the Oliver amendment failed, then the question would have reverted back to the original motion. If the original motion failed, then it’s back to the drawing board.

    It’s sad when you see legislators display a certain level of ignorance about a key component of their job — knowing the rules of procedure.

    Long story short, the Oliver substitute motion was out of order because there was no motion to substitute.

    If Oliver had made an original motion to incorporate her map into the legislation under consideration by the DeKalb delegation, her motion would have been in order.

    • Cassandra says:

      Andre, I agree that MMO’s substitute motion was out of order for the reason stated.

      I also, believe that in the Kubucki-like proceedings, a draw was desired by the man who offered ‘doubtness.’

      We’ll see what the braintrust comes up with in a week.

  6. objective says:

    let’s be fair about all of this.
    to be sure, a fully skilled parliamentarian would have been most helpful here.
    what also would have been helpful would have been if the DeKalb School Board actually took responsibility for their own jobs.
    but what is not helpful is saying that arguments based on racial representation within elected bodies is farcical or illegitimate, as implied above.
    people are allowed to get angry or contentious over what they believe, and if constituents want that kind of representation, they have a choice to use it or lose it.
    objectively, it was a slightly heated debate with a nice helping of poor procedural knowledge.
    and, as far as proper usage of vocabulary and grammar, i think no high horse is appropriate here. language evolves, and so should we.
    everyone knew exactly what was intended to be communicated.
    and sometimes people misspeak under pressure.
    so, forgiveness and flexibility on the use of language, but not so much on the misuse of the rules of order.

        • objective says:

          weaving poetry
          in comments
          more fun
          for all…

          what would be even more fun would be a sniglet for “capitolization”-
          has this been done before?

          let me suggest:
          capitolization- to dash the great potential success of a plan, and appurtenant hope, through the application of linguistic butchery and ambiguous ethics

        • elfiii says:

          Language has evolved. Did ya’ll miss that part? 🙂

          As a side note, Dekalb County government including and especially the school board has been a basket case for decades. I expect to see no improvement.

  7. L. Max Lehmann says:

    Sen. Millar offers a pragmatic opportunity to resolve the DeKalb School board governance mess:

    State Sen. Fran Millar (R-Dunwoody) said he would try to unravel the mess in the senate.

    “We’ll postpone implementation of the smaller board for two years and draw a map with seven districts,” he told The Crier. “We’ll need a referendum between now and then so that all seven can be elected at once in 2014.”

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