DeKalb Board of Education Maps: The Politics of Ridicule

February 20, 2014 16:24 pm

by George Chidi · 7 comments

House District mapThis is the map for new DeKalb County school board districts that the DeKalb County delegation passed in the Georgia House today.

Note the ridiculous ribbons here, streaming from the northern end of the county starting at I-85, splitting up south DeKalb into six linguine noodles. Note the gap between two sections of District 2, in red.

Now compare that to the map that will likely be adopted once the Georgia Senate votes on it — the current board of education election district map, minus the super districts.

The legislature mandated in 2012 that DeKalb move from a nine-person board to a seven-person board, expecting a new map to be approved by local legislation. However, legislation hasn’t appeared because the DeKalb School Board apparently couldn’t settle on a map to submit for approval with enough time to be considered. This is ominous.

So the DeKalb delegation submitted their own map. Actually, they submitted more than one. Here’s a different one that even worse.  The intent, I am told, is to use the same process that carved the House districts in DeKalb into a rainbow to make a school board map. The legislature justified the House gerrymandering redistricting in 2012 to avoid DOJ pre-clearance problems over packing black voters into districts, and in fact achieved pre-clearance with their absurd map.

I get the point. Redistricting is about the most partisan thing a legislature can do, and the string cheese House districts in DeKalb make a mockery of the concept of communities of interest. The incorporation movement in DeKalb feels like it has a racial element burbling below the surface. So, why not mock Republicans with a map that nakedly cracks north DeKalb’s more conservative voters into segments? One that would make electing a white Republican from Dunwoody in the top district a moderate challenge and any white candidate in any of the other districts virtually impossible.

The House essentially rejected this school board map by passing HB 979 earlier today, which calls for using the old map in the absence of local legislation. The map above, I am told by State Rep. Mike Jacobs, won’t pass before qualifying because there aren’t enough legislative days remaining, and probably won’t pass at all in any case.

Nonetheless, this is what the politics of ridicule look like.

This is legislation by derision.

bgsmallz February 20, 2014 at 8:41 pm

It’s like one of those 3D posters from the early 90s…you stare at it long enough and the words “HB 486″ suddenly appear before your eyes.

Where can we see who voted for this map? I’d love a complete rundown of which of our ‘leaders’ thought this was a good idea. It’s not really enough to say ‘delegation’ on this…they should be listed by name.

Thanks again, George, for the write-up.

Tom Taylor February 20, 2014 at 9:22 pm

This was dropped this afternoon by Rep. Billy Mitchell, but signed by most of the DeKalb delegation. Those who are in opposition in addition to myself are Reps Mike Jacobs, Mary Margaret Oliver and Scott Holcomb.

Blatant attempt at the 11th hour to construct districts to elect specific folks, including some removed by the Governor last year.

Tom Taylor February 20, 2014 at 9:36 pm

In anticipation of the delegation attempting to do this, Reps Jacobs, Mary Margaret Oliver and I got this passed as a general bill this morning, preserving the original districts.

http://www.legis.ga.gov/Legislation/en-US/display/20132014/HB/979

Tom Taylor February 20, 2014 at 9:43 pm

And sorry to Rep. Scott Holcomb, also a sponsor of the bill that I left out of my previous post.

Tom Taylor February 20, 2014 at 10:56 pm

And George, just for clarification, it is DOJ and not FBI that pre-cleared the 2011 redistricting based on the 2010 Census under the Voting Rights Act.

George Chidi February 21, 2014 at 12:52 pm

Indeed, it is. I have corrected it. Writing without a net here, folks. Thanks.

Dave Bearse February 22, 2014 at 1:15 pm

The DeKalb County school board seats up for election at the May primary continues under the radar of 90% of the electorate. An inadequately unresponsive county government spawned the municipalization of north DeKalb—it’s a done deal—it’s only a matter of time and details.

The utter nonsense of the map above feeds efforts to likewise fragment DCS, with perhaps a different wrinkle, DOJ attention.

I think significant change to DCS will occur after muncipalization is complete, but the magnitude and details have yet to be determined. Those paying attention are aware of efforts underway to form new school districts, but change could be more limited, such as realigning cluster boundaries with municipal limits, or charter clusters.

The County band plays on.

I’ve complained about the travesty of General Assembly House Districts in DeKalb, but I’ll turn a deaf ear to those that supported the map above complaining of House District maps.

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