The Dekalb War between the cities and the county has officially begun


After years of unrest, corruption and disappointment, and with momentum gaining for cityhood efforts across the county, it was DeKalb schools superintendent Michael Thurmond who first threw down the official gauntlet – in the form of a Powerpoint at the December 8 board meeting. Created by the Superintendent’s Office, Division of Finance, Division of Operations, Division of Curriculum & Instruction, and Division of School Leadership & Operational Support — the report proclaims the annexation of Druid Hills into the City of Atlanta would cause serious harm to nearly 3,000 children as well as elderly residents.

They then released the following press release >>


Study finds 2,922 students will be disenfranchised and displaced, taxes on senior citizens will increase significantly and Fernbank Science Center will be lost to all DeKalb students

Today, Superintendent Michael Thurmond issued a report on the impacts of the proposed annexation of the Druid Hills neighborhood into the City of Atlanta. The proposed Druid Hills annexation plan is supported by “Together in Atlanta,” a local group of residents advocating for annexation.

The proposed Druid Hills annexation plan would result in significantly higher taxes, disenfranchisement and displacement of 2,922 students, and districtwide loss of instructional opportunities, athletic programs, instructional staff, and funding potential.

“Innocent students will suffer under this proposed annexation plan,” said Mr. Thurmond. “With this proposal, the focus and priority for public education will be on the wants of adults and not the needs of children.”

Highlights of the annexation’s impact on the DCSD include:

  • Property taxes for senior citizens over the age of 70 years with incomes of less than $82,000 will see their property taxes increased by $4,000, or more than 200 percent.
  • All other property tax payers will experience increases in taxes by the City of Atlanta.
  • A total of 2,922 students in the District will be disenfranchised and displaced by the annexation with the largest impact being 1,075 students at Druid Hills High School.
  • Similar impacts will be seen at Druid Hills Middle School, Fernbank Elementary School, Briar Vista Elementary School, Laurel Heights School, and the International Center.
  • 1,626 students and parents in 37 schools will no longer have access to DeKalb school choice options.
  • 100,000 students will no longer have access to the Fernbank Science Center resulting in the loss of a STEM Training Center. (DeKalb County has four of the 11 statewide STEM certified schools with 48 schools working on certification.)
  • The old Briarcliff High School, a long-term fixed asset for the DCSD with a potential value of $50 million, could be forced from the District.
  • One of five District stadiums that serve 18 high schools and 18 middle schools will be lost resulting in a possible loss or reduction of junior varsity soccer and lacrosse.

A complete copy of the impact report may be found at: or CLICK HERE to download it from our files.



After attempting to schedule a face to face meeting with Michael Thurmond and their request being denied, the group Together In Atlanta [TIA] released a response to the statements made by Thurmond.

The TIA letter, in an attempt to correct misinformation, states the following key responses in part >>

  • [T]he presentation took liberty with senior exemptions, comparing Atlanta and DeKalb without acknowledging DeKalb does not apply senior exemptions until age 70, while Atlanta applies exemptions at age 65, amounting to five additional years of payment before receiving any senior exemption.
  • APS has a millage of 21.74 while DeKalb charges 23.98 mills. For most homeowners, Atlanta is a less expensive provider of education services than DeKalb.
  • The Superintendent brings the impact of HOST into the discussion perhaps to skirt the comparison of direct educational costs. HOST has never and will never be applied to school taxes. For countywide services the HOST discount will continue for any areas annexed into Atlanta. In fact, the likelihood that HOST will remain as it is currently configured is doubtful.
  • That the DeKalb Superintendent chose to delve into areas of fire, police, garbage, water and sewer, which are outside the purview, authority, and expertise of the school system is unfortunate, particularly in light of the many pressing and germane issues facing the DeKalb school system.  CLICK HERE to read more about the tax implications of the annexation.
  • We believe those with an interest in preserving their elementary school attendance zones should get an opportunity to vote on that interest. We are excited about the success of Atlanta, its trajectory going forward, and its responsiveness in this process.
  • The attendance zones for Fernbank and Briar Vista elementary schools, the core of communities, was bisected and affected by many [city] legislative proposals. The result would break communities with decades of cohesion. Together In Atlanta sought a plan that would maintain the community, while not affecting the rights of self-determination or cohesion of other elementary school zones. The result is a map that follows exactly the longstanding DCSD zone boundaries for Fernbank and Briar Vista elementary schools.
  • When the LaVista Hills map was recently published, TIA reached out proactively to its organizers to resolve conflicts – including suggesting that the Adams Stadium/former Briarcliff High School/International Center complex be included in the LaVista Hills map, not the Atlanta map. This resolution would preserve those facilities for DCSD students. No families live on that property and therefore the integrity of the Briar Vista community would not be harmed by this resolution maintaining TIA’s principle for keeping the elementary schools together.
  • LaVista Hills gains strength and viability with commercial and educational assets. We expect to have similar conversations with Decatur representatives. We believe there are solutions that meet each party’s needs around the edges of all our maps. Had the Superintendent contacted TIA or others involved in these discussions, he would have been aware that TIA’s has clearly and specifically proposed to exclude the Adams Stadium/former Briarcliff High School/International Center complex.

CLICK HERE to read the entire response from Together In Atlanta.

>>> Stay tuned, it looks like we may be in for a rough [and expensive] ride.  So much for Thurmond being able to keep the legal costs down!

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90 Responses to The Dekalb War between the cities and the county has officially begun

  1. “Innocent students will suffer under this proposed annexation plan,” said Mr. Thurmond. “With this proposal, the focus and priority for public education will be on the wants of adults and not the needs of children.”

    How ironic. We’ve been saying that’s exactly what the administration and board of the school district has been doing for years. It’s the reason for the cityhood movements. It’s the reason people want OUT of DeKalb schools. The disconnect is mind-boggling.

  2. We do give Michael Thurmond some credit. He is one heck of a professional politician. He is always at least 2 steps politically ahead of everyone else. And he’s extremely successful. For example, just last week he was appointed to the State Board of Education Advisory Board by Governor Deal – who fired 6 of the 9 school board members literally a few weeks after they hired Michael Thurmond as superintendent.

    FWIW – it’s important to be a friend of the Gov’s as this is the process for annexation >>

    Annexation begins in the General Assembly. Local legislation is drafted defining the area proposed for annexation into a city. If that legislation earns the support of a majority of the relevant local delegation, it goes to the Governor for signature. Once signed by the Governor, a referendum is held for voters within the proposed annexation area to vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to the annexation. If the ‘yes’ votes produce a majority (50% + 1), then the annexation becomes effective and city limits are extended.

  3. howdy1942 says:

    Just a couple of months ago, Mr. Thurmond was asked about the possible annexation of Druid Hills by Atlanta. His response was that it was simply a political game by adults. Although I do not live in Druid Hills, I always sensed that the Druid Hills group was led by some very smart people who were very serious in what they were doing. It also seemed to me that the strength of the Druid Hills Cluster Petition was twofold.

    First, it offered a new approach that may have provided all of us in Dekalb County some lessons and insight. Given my view of the Druid Hills management team, I just think that the results may have well been very positive. They were going to focus more money on the classroom and less on administration.

    Second, I thought that this petition represented a middle-ground that would give the Druid Hills community what it wanted while remaining a part of the Dekalb County School System and being under the governance of the Dekalb County School Board. Mr. Thurmond bitterly opposed this proposal and the school board subsequently, in response to his recommendation, rejected this petition by a 5-4 vote along the lines of North Dekalb vs. South Dekalb.

    Now, Mr. Thurmond recognizes that perhaps he underestimated Druid Hills and is now attempting to scare Dekalb residents and even the Legislature. I suspect that, in contrast to the facts presented by the TIA group above, Mr. Thurmond will be hard-pressed to support his allegations. The Dekalb County School System has either the highest or the second highest millage rate in the State of Georgia. It cannot be increased without the approval of the Legislature and any such effort to increase that cap would be met with strong opposition from North Dekalb – 40% of the County. And since this is a heavily Republican area of the County and both Houses of the Legislature have veto-proof majorities, any increase in the cap is highly unlikely. I think that it is more likely that the Legislature would consider some new system of approval for proposed charter schools that would greatly reduce the role of the local school board.

    Rather than making threats, Mr. Thurmond would be well-advised to start reaching out to communities such as Druid Hills and other communities to find common solutions. Moreover, this effort should, in fact, be led by the school board. The article posted by Lynn Deutsch was published this week in the AJC. It is very persuasive. As you say @DSW, the disconnect between Mr. Thurmond, the school board, and the community is incredible.

  4. dsw2contributor says:

    DSW said “[Michael Thurmond] is always at least 2 steps politically ahead of everyone else.”

    Not this time — the powerpoint and press release are the work of a panicked amateur. If Mr. Thurmond had really been 2 steps ahead of everyone else, he would have been working behind the scenes to squash the annexation efforts.

    Kasim Reed said “Check”. That was when Mr. Thurmond realized he was playing chess.

  5. For those who would like to read Ms.Deutsch’s letter to the editor, we reposted it here >>

    AJC Opinion: ‘DeKalb Way’ is wrong way in school chief search

  6. Beverly Fraud says:

    What does it say about how low DCSS (aka, the charter member of “The Four Horsemen of the Incompetence”) has sunk, that people in the community are ACTIVELY seeking to be annexed in order to be a part of the educational equivalent of North Korea, Atlanta Public Schools?

  7. Beverly Fraud says:

    Is Markie Mark Elgart going to try to weigh in behind the scenes to politically protect Michael Thurmond, in much the same way he tried to politically protect Beverly Hall?

    Might be time for some Open Records Requests…

  8. Insider says:

    Notice how they throw the words “disenfranchise” or “disenfranchised” around a great deal?

  9. Beverly Fraud says:

    What’s Thurmond going to say next; “For every child who gets annexed, a child in China goes to bed hungry.”?

  10. thedeal2 says:

    Beverly, LOL! You made my day.

  11. Morcease Beasely says (well, almost yelled) that over 20,000 students exercise a school choice option in DeKalb. Apparently many of them – almost 3,000 – are in this Druid Hills attendance zone. These 3,000 students would not have access to DeKalb choice schools as they would be in the Atlanta City Schools district. That is their main issue. They say.

  12. Watch the replay of this portion of the meeting here>>
    Start about 25:00 into the meeting. Morcease Beasley and Dan Drake make presentations.

    These are the schools that would affected by the annexation to Atlanta >> Fernbank ES, Briarvista ES, Laurel Ridge ES, McClendon ES, Avondale ES, Druid Hills MS, Druid Hills HS. He also says that the students at the Elementary Schools would no longer have a high school in their attendance zone. (?)

  13. Dan Drake says that only 311 students from the attendance zone would qualify to attend Druid Hills in Atlanta – over 1000 would have nohwere to go. (He also says they would have to go to other schools like Towers, which are at or over capacity – which is not true – these schools have plenty of empty seats.) He also complains that we would lose this beautiful historic building and over $19 million in SPLOST construction spent (REMINDER: SPLOST is a penny sales tax – totally funded by the state – it doesn’t come from property taxes or state income taxes.)

  14. Plus – the brand new 900 seat Fernbank ES would go to ATlanta too. 480 students would go – and over 100 would be forced to transfer elsewhere. (Again, this was paid for with the penny state sales tax – SPLOST). He says we would lose over 20+ teachers. He also lists the % mix of races of these students (not sure of the relevance of that other than to say that more white students would go to Atlanta – about 40% than is average for those schools – about 19% white).

    They are taking the planetarium as well. We would lose the STT program, etc. We would lose this highly educated staff. It’s the backbone of the STEM program. Cost to replace would be tens of millions.

  15. decaturmax says:

    Does Thurmond have authority to allocate millions toward a “legal defense” without board approval?
    Did I read 2.5 million $?

  16. According to DRAKE: Laurel Heights would transfer. International Student Center would transfer. Adams Stadium would transfer.

    According to the group “Together in Atlanta”, “Had the Superintendent contacted TIA or others involved in these discussions, he would have been aware that TIA’s has clearly and specifically proposed to exclude the Adams Stadium/former Briarcliff High School/International Center complex.”

  17. DecaturMax says:

    So sad to say that I was just wondering if City of Atlanta might take Lakeside too. Who would have ever thought that could be a consideration and a potentially better run school situation. I am sure the teachers would hate the large raises that come with the APS pay scale. Not advocating for this …….yet.

  18. Mr. Bell goes into the tax implications. He also talks about sales tax (7% vs 8% – depending on where you shop- DeKalb vs Atlanta). Not sure why he goes into the sales tax. He also talks about Atlanta’s 1% sales tax for water/sewer. Sanitation rates are higher in Atlanta – DeKalb has a land fill. Atlanta’s are full. Senior citizens over 70 who earn under $82,700 don’t pay school tax in DeKalb. Atlanta is higher. [These are county issues and have nothing to do with the schools.]

    Only Thad Mayfield asked to sit down and have talks with the TIA group. He asked THurmond if he had spoken with them and Thurmond simply responded “No”.

  19. Overall, between Thurmond, Beasely, Blake and Bell, they spent 40 minutes of the total meeting of 1 hour, 20 minutes (which started 20 minutes late and began with 25 minutes of student recognition and ended with 20 minutes of retiring board members saying their goodbyes).

    They then promoted Dr. Simpson (of BookGate) to Area Superintendent.
    And then they approved hiring a certified substitute teacher (name not mentioned).


    There was NO DISCUSSION about the superintendent search.
    There was NO DISCUSSION about teacher retention and the need to hire more teachers.
    There was NO DISCUSSION about the lawsuit DCSS has against their own teachers.
    There was NO DISCUSSION about the recently released Performance Measures.

    Mostly, There was NO DISCUSSION about the $2.5 million Thurmond and the board has committed to fighting this annexation in the courts!!!!

  20. Brockett Elementary would be a perfect addition to the school cluster if there needs to be some reassigning going on. That might actually bring several great families back to our school system! Parents in our school are dead set against Tucker Middle and High and, unfortunately or fortunately, we haven’t exactly paved a way for anyone to get into Lakeside, so I say let’s start the new SPLOST off right with an official Briarcliff High refurbishing and reopening, convert Medlock back to a traditional school and move the International School over to Avondale Estates. BadaBoom, you have a perfect new cluster ready for its charter petition or whatever comes next. Although, it would be a loss for DeKalb if Druid Hills were no longer part of our system. So, for selfish reasons I say let them go. For more selfish reasons I say, take Lakeside instead. For realistic reasons I say, “Uh-Oh! This can’t be good for anyone!”

  21. ” They are taking the planetarium as well. ”

    But they aren’t really taking it anywhere. It will still be there. Remember when there really was a plan to take it to Arabia Mountain?? That was actually taking it. This is more like just changing your visitation hours with it. And if they were to stay here and have to try and share leadership with Lakeside in a small city, who knows what kind of damage would be done to all involved. And think of all those seats that would open up and relieve overcrowding in other schools. I’m starting to think Thurmond’s idea of what’s good news and what’s bad news may be open for interpretation!

  22. thedeal2 says:

    TiA’s response also says they are good without taking ICS and the old Briarcliff HS. It is obvious they do not want buildings. They just want out. DHCC, more than anyone else, has exposure to the inner workings of how it is to deal with DCSD. Thankfully they documented every step and published it in a timeline for all to read. It is a sobering look at a $1 billion enterprise built solely to pay its administrators and has nothing to do with educating children. I wish my area could opt out, but we are currently on 2 cityhood maps and nowhere near TiA’s area.

  23. Ned says:

    “These are the schools that would effected by the annexation to Atlanta >> Fernbank ES, Briarvista ES, Laurel Ridge ES, McClendon ES, Avondale ES, Druid Hills MS, Druid Hills HS. He also says that the students at the Elementary Schools would no longer have a high school in their attendance zone. (?)”
    Not sure what the question is here. All five of those schools (plus AYP transfers) send kids to DHMS and on to DHHS. Only 2 of those ESs would go with DHHS to Atlanta. TIA seems perfectly happy with throwing their children’s classmates under that bus. A lot of Thurmond’s argument is hyperbole at best, but the fact of the majority of DHHS kids losing their high school if DHHS goes to Atlanta is, well, a fact.

  24. Ned says:

    Point of clarification–the International Center and the International Community School are two different things
    GTCO, ICS has a lease on Medlock. Do you have someplace for them to go in Avondale–bada boom?

  25. Thanks Ned. We really kind of missed that part. So essentially, they are not taking Druid Hills middle school, but are taking hundreds of those students, leaving the building with hundreds of empty seats — and then they ARE taking Druid Hills High School, but not all of the students currently attending there, either because they are currently in the DHHS attendance zone but not in the annexation zone, or attending DHHS by special transfer, will have to transfer or be districted to another high school (Lakeside maybe?) …

  26. Ty Tagami at the AJC has a post on the subject being discussed at Get Schooled today >>

    DeKalb Schools gears up to fight annexation, to protect ‘what is naturally ours.’

    He clears up our questions >>

    In a new report released this week and discussed on the blog earlier, DeKalb Schools contends only 311 Druid Hills High School students live in the area that would go to Atlanta under the proposed map. The other 1,075 students live outside the annexation area and would be stranded, along with about 40 teachers.

    … Whether Atlanta can take the schools and other properties is in dispute, but if Georgia law does allow it, it “would result in the disenfranchisement and displacement of 2,922 students,” Superintendent Michael Thurmond said Monday. He said he would earmark $2.5 million from reserves to hire legal and government affairs experts who can help in “protecting what is naturally ours.”

    The report is clearly aimed at undermining support for annexation, a movement that gained steam after Thurmond’s administration denied a petition by parents in the area to control their own schools. Parents at Druid Hills High and its six feeder schools wanted to use a new state law to create a “charter cluster,” a group of public schools under independent management. That movement is now dead, and the annexation would split the cluster in two.

    At least two members of the steering committee for a pro-annexation group, Matt Lewis and Kathleen Mathers, hail from the now defunct Druid Hills Charter Cluster governing board. They are only stoking a fire that was already burning, though.

  27. September says:

    I would prefer to see Thurmond spend 2.5 million in our schools. Building maintenance. Working copiers. Better yet textbooks so teachers would not have to spend hours printing lesson ides from the Internet and then making a mountain of copies for their students.

  28. thedeal2 says:

    There are plenty of other buildings that can be used as a high school. Isn’t the essence of a school its students? Are the other DHHS elementary schools not in TiA’s area saying that they are going to miss out on the DHHS building or the students? If it’s the building, they can get another one; if it’s the students, well, it’s up to their parents where they go. If the annexation doesn’t work, I would expect a mass exodus, which means DHHS isn’t going to be the same ever again.

  29. We were always told that DCSS didn’t own the Druid Hills HS building – that it’s some kind of long-term lease if it’s maintained as a school. Anyone know if that’s true?

  30. AMB4 says:

    My understanding is that the building belongs to DCSS UNLESS it no longer is a school. Then it reverts back to Emory University.

  31. Allquestionsandnoanswers says:

    Imagine an organization notified you and the parents of six other children getting an award for hard work throughout the year. Because they worked so well together…a scholarship perhaps. A total of seven kids were getting this award and the organization touted your kid and the six others as the best because of their work. Now imagine the next week, the organization calls you and three other parents and says…..umm, we are only giving the award to the three other kids. Would you, as a parent, be upset? Would you want some explanation? Would you believe you were justified in getting some answer? Would you as a parent–of ANY of the kids–start to question the process? Would you require some accountability for the decision–just like you ask of your child? Hello there, TIA.

  32. concernedmom30329 says:

    I get what allquestions is saying, I think. The concern is what happens if an annexation occurs. The fear, I am presuming, is that whatever school (high and middle) is there for this part of DeKalb won’t be as good as the current situation. (Frankly, I hear less than good reviews on the middle school, anyway.) And that is a genuine fear. But, for the most part, humans are selfish and want what is best for themselves and theirs.

    And this goes for the choice parents too. They are worried strictly about their child(ren) and not about those who might benefit from an annexation. (there is no guarantee that things will be better by the way)

  33. Can you get us a copy of the lease? This would not have been a handshake deal. There has to be a lease — even if it is just $1 rent per year. There has to be, in writing, a process and procedure for the Druid Hills High School facility to be returned to Emory University. We can’t guess on this. We must have the least, if that is a fact.

    There was a similar lease for the irreplaceable Fernbank Forest and the classrooms in the buildings around Fernbank Science Center and classrooms in Fernbank Museum. Even though Crawford Lewis was informed that the Fernbank lease was ending and needed to be renewed, he allowed the lease to expire because he was dead-set on moving Fernbank Science Center to Arabia Mountain. So, ownership reverted, per the lease, to Fernbank Museum.

  34. Dianne joy says:

    Druid Hills HS is owned by the DeKalb County School System. It is in the county tax records.

  35. howdy1942 says:

    First, I apologize for any typographical errors – I had cataract surgery this morning and am not seeing 100% as yet (I have a patch on one eye, so I am 50% at best!)

    @DSW – thank you for posting that link to view the board meeting. I watched all of it. Also, thank you for posting the fact that there was no discussion in this board meeting of the superintendent search, no discussion of resolving the teacher lawsuit and dispute, and no discussion of teacher retention or recruitment. This school board and this superintendent had rather fight, fight, fight than to find ways to solve problems.

    As you point out, Mr. Mayfield asked a very important question: Had the school district talked to members of the Together In Atlanta (TIA) group and finding common solutions. In answer, Mr. Thurmond respondied NO. He may have thought his abrupt answer was funny – it wasn’t. It was arrogant and disrespectful of Mr. Mayfield.

    The people of Druid Hills have every right to work with Atlanta to be annexed. The question to answer is: Why do they want to be annexed into Atlanta rather than remain a part of unincorporated Dekalb. The Dekalb County School Board and the Dekalb County Commission need to meet with TIA,, find out the reasons why Druid Hills wants to do this, and work to find common solutions. I know that schools are a major driving force and it just seems to me that the Druid Hills Charter Cluster proposal could be adjusted by reasonable people to find a win-win solution.

    I very, very strongly oppose Mr. Thurmond’s request for $2.5 million to fight the TIA – that is just the wrong way. From my perspective, Mr. Mayfield proposed a reasonable approach – the school board should appoint a subcommittee to meet with TIA. I would go further to say that Mr. Thurmond should not be involved in these meetings – this matter should be resolved “above his paygrade”. The superintendent’s office did not approve the expenditure of funds to build those building and the interests of Dekalb County in this matter should not be delegated to the superintendent. One thing for sure – the Dekalb County School System does not need to be spending more in legal fees to fight – it needs to find solutions, cut legal expenses, and allocate those funds to the classroom.

    Just think if we had spent the brainpower and the time used to prepare that presentation at the board’s meeting to find constructive solutions to the issues driving the TIA what we may have achieved. The TIA clearly has some reasons for what it is doing and Mr. Thurmond has not even bothered to find out just what those reasons are.

    I am growing weary of Mr. Thurmond’s arrogance and inability to resolve problems and find solutions. I look forward to his departure. I would say in the same breath that I will miss Mr. Mayfield and wish him well. His voice was always one of reason and one that sought answers and solutions.

  36. AMB4 says:

    Unfortunately, Dekalb will have to fork out money to handle the possible annexation by TiA. They can fight for the property (which I feel like is in their right to do, since it involves so many properties), or they can pay to renovate/build a new high school for the remaining students (all other nearby schools are over capacity), and then there are the costs that will come from the inevitable redistricting that will happen as a result.

    Obviously, Dekalb doesn’t have a lot of money to mess around with so it stinks that TIA has decided to force the rest of the county to deal with this situation. Not to mention the tax loss that will occur when that corner of the county leaves as well. So we can fuss about if Thurmond should spend this money but in reality, TiA is forcing Dekalb to spend money one way or the other.

    It seems to me we can also thank TiA for pushing this issue at this critical moment in DCSS. I’m not defending anyone in DCSS (promise, I’m not) but perfect timing for TiA to make this move, right when we’re looking for a new Super. The focus is not where it needs to be. Thurmond should be gone by the time this gets fully underway–maybe. The already unappealing Dekalb just got even more unappealing to any new candidates.

    And finally, should DCSS sit down and negotiate with TiA? Maybe. In my opinion they never wanted that property at Adams Stadium anyway. It’s all just outer pieces used to negotiate and insinuate they have some sort of power in this situation. They couldn’t get the power play so now they’re acting the martyr by graciously giving it up. I doubt it will be the last time.

  37. DecaturMax says:

    Druid Hills does not have a large majority in favor of going to Atlanta and they are about half the votes. From what I have heard of the meeting at Young Isreal, Briar Vista does not seem to have the same enthusiasm.

  38. Kim says:

    What kind of humility would it take to climb back out of the tree and actually concede more autonomy to the DHHS cluster advocates to placate them? Well, that would have been a great self-searching question about a year ago. Now, I fear the DCSD saber-rattling has long ago drowned out any rational discussion that may have been possible. Each bad decision by DCSD leaders further impairs their options as leaders and this year’s actions vis-a-vis DHHS seem more imperial than anything else.

    The situation seems a lot like the opening scene and pre-battle exchange from Gladiator:

    Quintus: People should know when they’re conquered.
    Maximus: Would you, Quintus? Would I?

    Thurmond as Marcus Aurelius???? Gladiators, we salute you!

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