State Rep. Tyrone Brooks, D-Atlanta, resigned his seat in the Legislature on Thursday before pleading guilty to one count of tax fraud and no contest to five counts of wire and mail fraud.
No surprise really. Charges have been swirling around Brooks for quite some time. But we would like to remind everyone of the very tightly knit circle that includes Tyrone Brooks. There is direct linkage back to DeKalb politics and specifically, control of DeKalb County schools and its $1.3 Billion annual consolidated budget, and specifically the jobs and contracts within that budget that are controlled by the leaders of the district.
History: Michael Thurmond, Tyrone Brooks, Gene Walker, Cynthia McKinney
Thurmond, Brooks, Walker, Johnson, and McKinney have been working together for decades.
Michael Thurmond (Athens) – Georgia General Assembly, 1986 to 1998
Tyrone Brooks (Dekalb) – Georgia General Assembly, 1980 to present
Cynthia McKinney (DeKalb) – Georgia General Assembly, 1989 – 1993
Gene Walker (DeKalb) – General Assembly (majority whip), 1984 – 1992
The book, “Redistricting: The Most Political Activity in America”, depicts these 4 working together regarding redistricting and majority black districts.
Below is a description of the book followed by an excerpt >>
“Redistricting: The Most Political Activity in America” By Charles S. Bullock.
The author gives a long history of gerrymandering during the redistricting and reapportionment that happens every decade. The text about Gene and Michael begins on page 147. There, we learn that during the 1990 redistricting, Georgia legislators were committed to creating a second majority-black congressional district. They felt this plan would be approved by the Department of Justice, as had not happened the last two decades. However, the Legislative Black Caucus (LBC) with Gene Walker leading the senate redistricting committee, wanted to ensure that lines were drawn that would secure the election of a second black to Congress (in addition to John Lewis’ Atlanta district). So he set about drawing a very convoluted map that linked black areas of three major urban districts (south DeKalb, Macon and Augusta) in order to bump up the black population in the new 11th district.
…Then, suddenly, near the deadline, a plan was hatched by Bart Ladd (R) that would draw three majority black districts for congress. He gave the plan to Cynthia McKinney and then flew to D.C. to present it to the DOJ. This plan also had 8 majority white districts. The plan was called MAXBLACK, partly due to the fact that they used floppy discs and were limited to 8 character file names. The thought was that promoting black interests would advance the GOP.
…During this time, Michael Thurmond was the chair of the LBC, Gene was chair of the senate redistricting committee and both favored the two majority black districts plan. Cynthia McKinney and Tyrone Brooks led a group that lobbied for the plan with three majority black districts. Gene Walker and Bob Hanner (a white man) met with a DOJ rep and were ‘attacked’ in a four hour meeting. The DOJ thought they were wrong to go with only two majority black districts – and that they were sidelining black voters in SW Georgia in order to draw more blacks into the 11th Atlanta district. The DOJ rejected the two district plan and ended up creating and approving a plan with three majority black districts, moving blacks in Macon from the 11th to the 2nd district while appending Savannah’s blacks with the 11th district. These three districts corralled 61.6% of all blacks in Georgia. The GOP made out better though – increasing their seats in the senate from 11 to 15 – the largest gain by Republicans in the country. The new 11th district was extremely gerrymandered and later challenged in court by George DeLoach, a politician who lost to Cynthia McKinney in a 1992 runoff in that district.
Fast forward to today’s DeKalb County School District: Remembering it was a majority [excluding Pam Speaks and Nancy Jester, who each voted ‘No’] of the former board – led by Gene Walker – and including three current board members [Orson, McMahan-Vice Chair and Johnson-Chair] – that hired Michael Thurmond in secret – behind closed doors – without public participation or knowledge that our superintendent at that time had not reported for work in weeks and was in fact, negotiating an exit package via her attorney. This was done within just a few days of the Governor removing six of the nine from office. Thurmond said at the time that he was only temporarily ‘here to help’, yet he remains, collecting $300,000 a year and cutting costs in the classrooms in order to ‘balance’ a budget that has always in reality, been plenty of money to run a school district.