Charter School Foes Filing Suit Against Ballot Language

Bryan Long of Better Georgia is distributing a press release on behalf of two plaintiffs who have filed a lawsuit today challenging the ballot language of the Charter Schools Amendment, which they claim is purposely misleading.  Governor Deal, Lt. Governor Cagle, and Secretary of State Kemp are named in the lawsuit, according to the release.

The suit is said to be brought by Beverly Hodges, a Dalton School Teacher, and Reverend Timothy McDonald, a pastor at First Iconium Baptist Church in Atlanta.  They claim the language used doesn’t accurately reflect the enabling legislation which would provide the underlying law if the amendment were to pass.

The press release presented, however, has a material error in what they claim is wrong.  It says “The ballot language states that the amendment is necessary for ‘state and local approval of charter schools’ …” Whereas the ballot language says “or”, not and.

It would seem that if you’re filing a lawsuit saying the language was misleading, you may – just may – want to have the correct language that you’re challenging.

16 comments

  1. The and/or is meaningless. Local systems can already approve charters.

    Charlie – did the TSPLOST language have something in there about the gas taxes we already pay? Did the gay marriage amendment also reauthorize hetero marriage?

    • bgsmallz says:

      Bryan-

      I read your ‘who’s for it; who’s against it’ post. Let’s assume that you feel it is ok to point out the corporate interests backing the ‘yes’ while ignoring the corporate interests backing the ‘no’ vantage point…I would call that a case of the pot calling the kettle …but whatever….

      You proudly list the DeKalb County BOE as officially taking a position against Amendment 1, but what’s interesting is you don’t list the several dozen law firms that do business with county BOE’s in your section of donors to the “No” campaign.

      Why is that interesting? Well…DeKalb’s resolution is listed the 19th of Sept; which is the same day we found out that our legal fees OVER BUDGET for the upcoming year would be DOUBLE that of last year. Rising from THREE MILLION over budget to SIX MILLION Dollars over budget! That’s NINE MILLION in local tax dollars over budget being spent on legal fees over a two year period. DeKalb has spent over $37 Million in Legal Fees since 2007 and is looking to go over the $50M mark by next year, it seems.

      That’s why this paragraph from your website is the height of irony to me:

      “You won’t elect these people. You won’t be able to fire these people. You may never see these people set foot in your community. But the members of this unnecessary government agency may stand to profit from their decisions.”

      L O L… A’int that the truth.

      There are 100,000 children in the DeKalb School System…and you have given no alternative to helping those children beyond ‘the state should send more money.’

      Sorry…but I’m sick of obstructionists from either the right or the left getting in the way of vision in this state. I don’t love the school amendment, but I’m voting for it anyway…mostly b/c the DeKalb BOE is against it… and am urging others in N. DeKalb to do the same.

      http://blogs.ajc.com/get-schooled-blog/2012/05/03/dekalb-lawsuit-cost-now-at-37-million-pass-me-the-aspirin/?cp=2

  2. Trey A. says:

    I applaud the suit and I think it has merit–not that I’m a legal expert, amendment 1’s language is clearly slanted to encourage a yes vote. And so is amendment 2’s for that matter. Other states, like Colorado, do not allow for this type of thing.

    But why is this suit coming so late in the game? Thousands have already voted.

  3. DeKalb Wonkette says:

    Agree there is much not to like about the amendment but I will say “yes” to ANYTHING that busts up a system that promotes incompetence at vast taxpayer expense.

  4. Dave Bearse says:

    The use of the wrong word is certainly an embarrassment in a word of copy and paste, but the ideas behind the lawsuit are spot on. Constitutional amendment preambles should not be leading, and the ballot questions not deceptive.

  5. cheapseats says:

    The correct language should read: “Shall the voters enable Kim Jong Deal to pick a group of his buddies to dole out huge amounts of taxpayer dollars to their buddies?”

  6. Andre says:

    This lawsuit, I believe, is just a prelude to more legal action seeking to overturn the election results, should the charter schools amendment pass; which begs to question:

    Why is it that some Americans talk about “making your voice heard at the ballot box,” then file suit in court to overturn the results at the ballot box? It seems like “making your voice heard” isn’t worth a hill of beans when someone doesn’t like the voice that’s being heard.

      • Andre says:

        As someone wise once said, “It takes some brass to attack a guy for doing what you did.”

        I can say, after reading both the lawsuit and the press release, that Better Georgia and Timothy McDonald are purposely misleading the public into believing that their main concern is the “purposely misleading” ballot language presented to voters in Amendment 1.

        This lawsuit seeks to stop an election. This lawsuit seeks to prevent people from making their voices heard at the ballot box, because the plaintiffs are afraid of the voice that might be vocalized on election day.

        In their press release, Better Georgia and Timothy McDonald say they are asking for “a declaration that the ballot language presented to voters for Amendment 1 is purposely misleading.” What their press release doesn’t say is that, on page 11 of their lawsuit, they are asking a judge to “issue a preliminary and permanent injunction that the Proposed Amendment (if passed) is null and void.” What the Better Georgia press release doesn’t say is that they are asking the Fulton County Superior Court to stay the vote on November 6, 2012 and tally of the vote.

        Nowhere, in the Better Georgia press release, is it said that the plaintiffs are seeking to keep millions of Georgians from making their voices heard at the ballot box. But that’s exactly what their lawsuit does.

        As I said before, it seems like “making your voice heard” isn’t worth a hill of beans when folks like Better Georgia don’t like the voices being vocalized.

        So let’s sift through all the political b.s., and call a spade a spade.

        Better Georgia and Timothy McDonald aren’t the least bit concerned about “purposely misleading” or “deceptive” ballot language.

        The two simply want to stop an election, and silence the voices of Georgians, because Better Georgia and Timothy McDonald believe they can’t convince enough people to vote no at the ballot box.

  7. Bob Loblaw says:

    This reeks of a SLAPP Act violation. The Plaintiff’s have had since March 29 to look at this language and they wait until October, less than 10 days out from Election Day, to file. Weak.

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