The editorial staff at DSW is reprinting the article below in its entirety. We believe it makes an important point concerning the corruption in DeKalb County that is driving taxpayers to separate and create honest local government. It also is analogous to the corruption and incompetence in the administration of DeKalb County Schools, aided and abetted by the inept DeKalb Board of Education, driving taxpayers to demand the right to separate and create honest, competent and successful city-based school systems. Our kids can’t wait!
DeKalb County is guilty of all of the above in its actions toward its citizens. House Bill 22 introduced by Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver of Druid Hills illustrates and exacerbates the problem because it only locks the doors on those neighborhoods ready to take the initiative of trying to find their way out of the abuse.
In an abusive relationship, it takes a lot of courage, effort, and persistence to leave an abuser. Leaving takes a plan and it takes supporters from outside the family system who are willing to help provide safety for the victims and a way for them to get on their feet and support themselves. Very well intentioned people who want the best for the abused say, “Stay…work it out…itʼs better for the family and the children to stay together.”
DeKalb residents need a pathway to get out from under their abusive county government. Representative Oliverʼs bill does just the opposite. House Bill 22 locks the door on Dekalb residents who, after years of trying to make it work, now dare to take the risk and make the investment in trying to leave the county by incorporating themselves as a city.
Rather than addressing the problem of the abuser–DeKalbʼs dysfunctional government—this bill demands residents to stay and ʻwork it outʼ with their abuser. It locks the doors for a minimum of two years on any neighborhoods working on leaving the county by annexation or incorporation and it requires those who want to leave to get permission from the county before they leave. Getting permission from the abuser to leave is a very dangerous thing that can result in death in actual domestic violence situations.
The primary concern driving this bill, Iʼm sure, is concern about DeKalb County government losing tax dollars to the new cities. But this bill merely places protection around the corrupt govt and not behind the hard working, taxpaying citizens of DeKalb County. DeKalb governmentʼs loss of the tax dollars of the communities that want to leave is a consequence of its own misuse of power and the resulting lack of trust by her people. It is DeKalb Countyʼs elected officials problem to figure out, not the people who have been pummeled by this govt over and over again who want to organize and pay the cost of leaving the county.
Some would say this is a race issue. Certainly, generations of racism and classism play a part in where we are as a county now, but this is not ultimately about race or class. To boil it down to race is an attack on black individuals as well as black communities who are just as fed up with the corruption of DeKalb govt as other citizens. DeKalbʼs corruption and abuse is about a misuse of power and about corruption in the executive branch — not about race or class.
People of Georgia, DeKalb residents need your help in getting a safe pathway to local independence. Hereʼs how you can help: please tell your representative to vote against House Bill 22. DeKalb residents, let Mary Margaret Oliver [firstname.lastname@example.org] know that you want her to support any of her constituents who are ready to make the effort and pay the costs of freeing themselves of the abuse of the DeKalb County Govt .
Virginia DuPre is a resident of unincorporated DeKalb County.
UPDATE: The author just sent us an update which we are including here: “Further word has it to contact Representative Amy Carter [call: 404-656-6801; e-mail: email@example.com] and ask her to stop the bill (HB22) from going further. The bill has not made it to subcommittee and can be stopped by the chair of the Governmental Affairs Committee; Carter is chair of the Governmental Affairs Committee.” DSW Note: Amy Carter is also a teacher for Lowndes County at Lowndes High School.