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Posts Tagged ‘Election 2010’

Both incumbents out in DeKalb BOE race

November 30, 2010 3 comments

Seems voters in District 1 and 7 were keen to the goings on at the BOE. Voters tossed both incumbents in favor of fresh faces and new blood. Though it is not the turnover I would like to have seen, it sends a message to the other board members that business as usual will not work. Congrats to Ms Edler in district 7 she took nearly 3/4ths of the vote. A resounding denial of Zepora Roberts. The race in district 1 was a bit tighter but Nancy jester finished with with a comfortable 55 percent of the vote. Now, let us sit back and see if two fresh faces can make a difference.

 

See results here

Inside the numbers – BOE Elections

November 11, 2010 9 comments

OK, I looked at the precinct level numbers for the BOE election from earlier this month and they tell a better story about how some candidates fared. In district three,  Sarah Copelin-Woods did not cruise to a victory. Lets remember she got 51 percent of the vote. It looks bad because her opponents Holt and Wilson got 18 and 30 percent respectively. But if you look at from a precinct level, Woods only walked away with two precincts. In both she had a ten point differential between her and her combined opponents. She actually lost seven of the 25 precincts. I think it is fair to say she squeaked by. Also lets not forget that Robert Holt did no campaigning, and attended no forums. He pulled nearly 1/5th of the vote on name and dissatisfaction alone. Had he put an effort into this race we would be talking about a run-off in the 3rd.

In district 5, it was a wash. Jay Cunningham got 60 plus percent in every precinct save one, and in that one he got 57 percent.  The voters in district 5 are obviously happy with their representation.

In District 7,  Zepora Roberts won no precincts outright. In fact the closest she came to winning a precinct was a tie in Snapfinger Elementary precinct. In all the other precincts the combined opponents percent of the vote was double digits over Roberts. In half the precincts it was 25 percent or more. Roberts lost outright to Donna Edler in seven precincts. In Contrast, Edler lost four precincts to Roberts. In a nutshell, Edler, with thirty percent of the vote, is within range to unseat Roberts. Roberts has a heck of a hill to climb if she wants top keep that seat. When looking at the numbers, I have to wonder if Willie Mosley sucked votes from Edler or from Roberts. Mosley got 22 percent of the vote. If he sucked votes from Edler,  She will be a shoo-in to win. If he sucked votes from Roberts, we may have a WTF moment on December 1st. I spoke to Mr. Mosley and he has strong opinions about both candidates. He has a dislike for Roberts , who he sees as taking the schools in that district down among other issues, and he thinks Edler is unprepared for the seat. If he gets vocal, in the next couple of weeks I think he can get quite a few people to go back to the polls. We will have to wait and see if Enough people are upset enough to return to the polls on what will almost assuredly be a defining moment for DeKalb schools.

Finally a look at the numbers in district 9. Since this is a so called super district, it encompasses neighborhoods from the south and central parts of the county. Ella Smith essentially won the precincts above Memorial Drive, and Walker those south of Memorial. There were some notable exceptions. Walker one four precincts in the Emory area. Not only did he win them, he won them by double digits. He also ran a closer race in all the other precints than Smith did. Smith won ten precints by more than ten percent. Walker on the other hand won 44 by ten percent or more. Walker recieved at  least 40 percent of the vote in every precinct except one. Walkers strength was in South DeKalb precincts, but he ran strong enough in all precints unlike Smith. Walker was put back in office by residents throughout the district.

The numbers can be had if you go to DeKalbs website for elections here and download the statement of vote. Here are the excel documents I created from the election results database.

BOE-D7 Results

BOE-D3 Results

BOE-D9 Results

 

Another election down too many more to go

November 2, 2010 Comments off

I cast my vote today and the crowd was extremely light. I did go during the midday, so I expect that played a huge role on the lack of people there at the time. I must say some of the poll workers needed to have some training in manners. For the first time since I started voting, a majority of the poll workers were teenage kids. Of the four that I dealt with personally two of them were nitwits. They were giggling and poking at one another like little schoolyard boys. They were snickering back forth and using language that was clearly inappropriate for the setting. The other two kids were quite professional. In fact the first clerk who was checking ID was not going to let me proceed because I did not have an acceptable piece of ID on my person. I had to go back to my car get my license before he would let me in. All in all, I am glad this election season is coming to an end (hopefully). I was tired of all the campaign ads on TV/radio. The campaign signs that litter just about every corner will soon go away(hopefully). Hopefully a sense of calmness will come over all of us because people have been downright uncivil in the past two years when it comes to politics.

Corey Wilson attempting to salvage campaign, reputation

October 25, 2010 10 comments

OK, here we go again. All of a sudden candidates for school baorad are showing up as criminals. First it was Jay Cunningham and his three-decades old felony conviction. Now the wave has hit Corey Wilson, the golden boy in district 3 may have hit a speed bump on his way to the school board. According to the AJC, Wilson is suppose to come clean on a few arrests of his own. According to public records, Wilson has been arrested on several occasions including the 2006 arrest for simple assasult that the AJC dug up. The assault was a misdemeanor. The AJC could not confirm that a booking photo of Wilson was truly him. There is no doubt that the person in the booking photo is Wilson. The fact that this particular offense is recent,  is what is most disturbing.  Here is a man that was in his mid-30’s and got caught up in criminal proceedings in the court system. Not a good example at all. To his credit, Wilson went through a pre-trial diversion program which he completed successfully, and the case was eligible for expungement. The 2006 case was pleaded out to Nollo Prosse with no conviction on his record. The charge in question revolves around a dispute between himself and his wife. I questioned Wilson on the details, but he said it was a private matter. Wilson and his wife recently celebrated their 12th anniversary. I have talked to Corey Wilson in the past, and he really is a genuinely concerned parent. Part of the reason he accepted the Nollo plea, according to Wilson, was to protect his children from any embarrassing and drawn out court appearance. Wilson admitted that he has made mistakes in the past, but wants people to judge him as a whole and not as the few parts divulged in the media. The first time we talked, he told me his life story damn near (minus this of course). We spent more than an hour on the phone really connected. His story was my story. It is truly possible that we may have crossed paths but never knew it.  Now, here we are, 40 years old, we are husbands, fathers, we work in the community and we really care about where we live. I am not going to change my overall opinion of Wilson based on these recent revelations though I will follow him with a much more cautious eye. I had already pledged my vote for Wilson, and I will probably follow through on that. I think Wilson should have come clean early on. I know he probably thought people would crucify him for it, but coming clean and explaining the circumstances would have gone a long way in mending any doubts that lingered in people minds. I hope that Wilson has learned a valuable lesson from this. I also hope that he knows that, even if he wins, he has a very short leash to work with. Any misstep, and he can be ousted very quickly, and his aspirations of higher offices dumped as well.

 

Here is an updated story from the AJC with some details

School board blast from the recent past.

September 27, 2010 6 comments

Doing some research about the DeKalb school board and came across this recap of and endorsements in the 2006 elections from the AJC.  It seems that nepotism, questions surrounding spending, and an out of touch board has been standard for years now.  The trend here is  actually worrisome, because it makes you wonder if dumping the present members will make much of a difference. Reading these excerpts showed me how little has changed in four years.I remember asking a friend years ago why would anyone want to run for public office. His response was “ego, thats what drives them”. I hope he is wrong. I thought this would make for good reading. Enjoy.

This from 11/16/2006

District 1 incumbent Chip Franzoni did not seek re-election. so in stepped Jim Redovian, a Dunwoody resident who ran unopposed for this north DeKalb seat.

Another fresh face arrives in January in the form of Tom Bowen, who beat fellow challenger David Anderson for the District 6 seat in Stone Mountain.

While Anderson, ex-husband of board Chairwoman Cassandra Anderson-Littlejohn, did not present much of a platform, voters apparently bought Bowen’s pitch that his experience as an attorney and certified public accountant would help the board.

By that same token, however, voters stuck by members who have been around for years….

District 7’s Zepora Roberts, who also sits on the executive board of the DeKalb NAACP, comfortably earned a second four-year term in this central DeKalb seat over challenger Sandra Gistarb.

But the biggest surprise came in District 3, with the most academically challenged schools in the county.

Eight-year incumber Sarah Copelin-Wood, facing three challengers in a race expected to head to a runoff, garnered enough votes to win the race outright.

“I hope the interest [in improving schools] continues, ” she had said before the vote. Now she gets four more years to encourage just that.

Finally, in a race that will decide whether the board gets a third fresh face, 16-year incumbent Frances Edwards faces challenger Jay Cunningham in a runoff for the District 5 seat. The outcome of the Dec. 5 race will largely depend on who mobilizes the most supporters to actually get to the polls, since this will be the only local race on the ballot.

Here are the endoresments made by the AJC from 10/31/2006

In their combined half-century on the DeKalb County school board, Frances Edwards, Elizabeth Andrews and Sarah Copelin-Wood have watched the system decline.

Most recently, board members botched the hiring and firing of Superintendent Johnny Brown, whom they had to pay $410,000 to go away. Charges of meddling and patronage by board members have also contributed to public mistrust. An audit of the $500 million SPLOST-funded school construction program found that neither the school system nor its management firm did its job thoroughly, leading to delays and likely overpayments.

It’s time for a change, especially as the financially strapped system looks ahead to a controversial redistricting, school consolidations and a campaign to persuade voters to embrace a third sales-tax initiative.

Six seats on the nine-seat, nonpartisan board are up for election, but only five are being contested.

In District 3, three candidates are challenging Copelin-Wood, who has been on the board for eight years. The most promising is Hayward Lamar Jr., who offers some management experience. As an involved Cedar Grove High School parent, Lamar has questioned the school system on standards and grade inflation and was on the task force to evaluate block scheduling.

In District 5, two motivated parents — Jesse “Jay” Cunningham and Wendell D. Muhammad — are challenging Edwards. Cunningham offers a peerless record of school involvement, including service as a PTSA president and on several school councils.

A restaurant owner, Cunningham is plain-speaking and direct and spends a lot of time in the schools. He reflects the impatience of many of his neighbors in south DeKalb over the failure to keep pace with growth and calls for better communication between the school board and County Commission.

In District 6, attorney and certified public accountant Thomas Eugene Bowen brings invaluable expertise in law and taxes. Bowen also chairs the Georgia Student Finance Commission, which oversees the HOPE scholarship.

His opponent, David Anderson, is the ex-husband of school board chairwoman Cassandra Anderson-Littlejohn. Two years ago, Anderson ran against his ex-wife in a messy campaign that degenerated into a soap opera, and District 6 voters ought to worry about whether their stormy personal history would undermine his effectiveness.

In District 7, voters ought to back one-term incumbent Zepora W. Roberts, who has demonstrated independence in her thinking and her votes. Her opponent, Sandra Gistarb, simply doesn’t make a strong argument to dump Roberts.

In District 9, Andrews has seen county schools change dramatically in her 28 years as a board member, but it’s not clear that she has changed with those times. She has a viable opponent in Colet Odenigbo, who quit his job as a juvenile court probation officer to run for the board.

A 14-year Navy veteran, Odenigbo wants to focus on keeping children out of juvenile court and in school, and he has the background to shape effective programs to do so.

Finally a piece with candidate bios and experience dated 10/26/2006

DeKalb County school board races this year feature 14 candidates vying for six seats on a nine-member board. Come January, newcomers could outnumber veterans on a board facing some of the biggest changes proposed for the 102,000-student system in decades.

As Superintendent Crawford Lewis readies those proposals, which include systemwide redistricting and a third sales-tax-funded construction program, all four incumbents running for re-election — including one in office for nearly three decades — face opposition.

The incumbents all tout their experience as a bonus. The challengers’ theme? Out with the old, in with the new. Most come from a reinvigorated south DeKalb, where crowded schools and construction needs spur parents to speak out at board meetings nearly every month. A local community group promoting the ouster of board members and the superintendent has endorsed challengers in four of the board races.

DeKalb as an urban school system has some of the best and worst schools in the state, a dichotomy it has struggled with for years. However, most onlookers point to the ouster of Superintendent Johnny Brown in 2004 as a catalyst for this year’s election interest.

In the two years since, an independent audit criticized both the school system and the management firm it contracted with for problems in the system’s school construction program, including delays and probable overpayments for work.

The system is still stinging from the hiring of a human resources director who was then found to have a criminal history. It also recently agreed to repay the state teacher retirement system more than $280,000 because six retired educators over the last two years worked more hours than legally allowed.

A breakdown of each race follows. The election is Nov. 7.

District 1

Two words: Jim Redovian. With incumbent Chip Franzoni deciding to move on, Dunwoody resident Redovian is the only person in this north DeKalb district to throw a hat into the ring.

District 3

Eight-year incumbent Sarah Copelin-Wood faces three challengers — Ann Brown, Hayward Lamar Jr. and Jonnathon Mason — in a race expected to lead to a runoff. District 3 in south-central DeKalb is the county’s most challenged. None of its middle or high schools met federally required academic goals last school year, although the problems have as much to do with poverty and social inequity as with learning.

Copelin-Wood probably will be helped by her longtime community activism, although she has angered parents over her handling of construction issues such as the new Leslie J. Steele campus as well as for what some consider her micromanagement of school staff. But her challengers say she’s no longer accessible to the community.

“It doesn’t seem like [area schools] are getting the attention they need, ” said Lamar, a father of three DeKalb graduates who was an unsuccessful board candidate in 2002. Mason, a DeKalb graduate and a student at a local Bible college, said people are “tired of seeing slow progress.” Brown, a grandmother active in community issues, substitute teaches in local schools and said all three challengers have a similar theme: “the failing schools.”

None of the four candidates boasts a bachelor’s degree. Lamar has been endorsed by Our Kids, Our Schools, Good Government — Georgia, the local anti-board group spearheaded by organizer and activist Harry Ross.

District 5

The southern corner of DeKalb represented by 16-year incumbent Frances Edwards is home to some of DeKalb’s most explosive growth. Here, crowding and construction nearly surpass academics as concerns. Delays and rising renovation costs at Southwest DeKalb High School have riled parents and students, while crowding at Martin Luther King Jr. High has resulted in the system’s commitment to building a high school at the nearby Arabia Mountain nature preserve.

Most parents understand the system is addressing needs as fast as it can as the area grows, said Edwards, who often takes a public role as a voice of moderation on the board. “I’ve been working in this community long before I’ve been on the board, ” said Edwards, whose two grown children work for the system. “My concern is not one that started 12 months ago. My concern has been over the last 24 or 25 years.”

But challengers Jay Cunningham and Wendell Muhammad both say Edwards has communicated poorly with parents. “She’s a good person, but she’s out of touch with what’s going on, ” said Muhammad, a father of five school-age children and a former campaign official for U.S. Rep. Cynthia McKinney. He has been endorsed by the Our Kids, Our Schools, Good Government — Georgia group.

Cunningham, a DeKalb graduate and high school basketball star, points to his experience as a “native son, ” former PTA president and local businessman. “You’ve got to be out in the community to hear what the parents are saying, ” said Cunningham, who has two of his four children enrolled in local high schools (the other two are in college). He said the system has fallen short in long-term planning.

District 6

Board member Simone Manning-Moon gave up this Stone Mountain area seat in May to spend more time on family issues, leaving the door wide open for challengers David Anderson and Tom Bowen.

Both have a past when it comes to school board races.

Local businessman Anderson failed in a bid for the board two years ago when he lost to ex-wife Cassandra Anderson-Littlejohn in a race marked by finger-pointing dramatics. Active with their two school-age children, Anderson now downplays any conflict and said he would have no problem working on the same board with Anderson-Littlejohn, who is board chairwoman. “People want results, ” said Anderson, who’s been endorsed by the Our Kids, Our Schools, Good Government — Georgia group.

Bowen, an attorney and certified public accountant, lost to Manning-Moon four years ago in an election runoff. He’s also been unsuccessful in bids for the state Legislature and the DeKalb County Commission. “I think I’ve gotten better gauging what needs to get done, ” Bowen said of his current race. “There’s a lot of good I can do. We have a board that is completely unsophisticated when it comes to financial matters.” He and his wife have a 3-year-old son.

District 7

Currently the board’s vice chairwoman, four-year incumbent Zepora Roberts has shown both an independent streak and strong loyalties in a system educating three of her grandchildren. In 2004, she was the only board member to vote in support of Brown before his ouster. Brown, who was the first black DeKalb superintendent, has supported her in turn, including a $500 campaign contribution in August. Roberts, in this central DeKalb seat, has also backed the current superintendent. A county resident for more than 35 years, she sits on the executive board of the DeKalb NAACP.

Sandra Gistarb has lived in DeKalb for 16 years and would be a newcomer to public office. Her four children have all graduated from college; two went through Redan High School. She previously served on the board of a private school in Seattle. “I really felt the board wasn’t being effective, ” Gistarb said. “I think they’ve lost sight of their real goals, ” she said.

Gistarb has been endorsed by the Our Kids, Our Schools, Good Government — Georgia group. Its leader, Ross, charged her a $130 consulting fee in August, but she said he advised her on how to get her campaign going and she did not know his group would endorse her.

District 9

One of the longest-serving school board incumbents in Georgia, Elizabeth Andrews touts her 27 years as invaluable. She was the first woman to be chairman of the board and has been active in system and county leadership roles. Serving in an at-large seat, Andrews, who is white, for years represented an overwhelmingly black area in south DeKalb. She’s been attacked in past elections, and a challenger’s 1998 flier calling her “witch-like . . . callous and cold-hearted.” But supporters say she calls it like it is. “Tenure equates to experience, ” Andrews said. “We want experienced teachers in the classroom, ” and the same goes for a school board, she said. “You never take anything for granted.”

Her opponent, Colet Odenigbo (pronounced O-de-nee-bow), is a native of Nigeria who quit his job with the county juvenile court system to run for office. “I just got tired of locking kids up, ” said Odenigbo, who said he came to the United States in 1986 before serving 14 years in the U.S. Navy. That Odenigbo is serious can be seen in his fund-raising efforts, which have surpassed the $33,000 mark. He has drawn support in the Nigerian community from Texas to California, although he is also pledging to limit any time in office to three terms. “There’s a cultural, generational change that takes place in schools, ” he said, adding that current “board members don’t have any relationship with their community except at election time.”

Attack of the cloned politicians

May 10, 2010 3 comments

I recently looked at the four republican candidates trying to be the nominee to “yank Hank” from Congress.  I try to do my due diligence as it relates to my elected officials. So there I was with my web browser tabs open for all four candidates. Actually one candidates site was down at the time but I am pretty sure of what he had to say, based on the other three. The three candidates whose sites were up were basically clones of one another when it came down to where they stood on the issues. It was as if they all read the same playbook. All are for the fair tax, which I believe has some merit. Each candidate blasts illegal immigration, and each was very predictable about how they feel about healthcare legislation. They all basically are regurgitating republican talking points that have existed for at least two decades. With that said, how in the world are you supposed to choose a candidate from a group of people who spew the same ideology, with nothing of substance to separate them? Look at these two pieces from two of the campaigns and decide who would do the better job on the issue of immigration:

We have always had immigration. In fact, this legal immigration is and has been an incredible source of prosperity for America. Illegal immigration threatens the foundation of this system. There is no doubt that we need to fix our immigration system, and it must begin by securing the border and fixing the visa and entry process. This should not include amnesty.

The United States has always opened its arms and welcomed those who seek to come to our great country legally. Process and laws have been put in place to protect our borders and our economy, yet at this time those laws are being broken, challenged and there are those who want to grant “amnesty” to those who bypassed those processes and laws.

Immigration made our nation great. The United States has a diverse population with diverse backgrounds and diverse beliefs. However, illegal immigration has eroded Americans’ trust in government, threatened our national security and hurt fellow Americans.

The solution to our nation’s illegal immigration problem must begin with securing our borders. Without secure borders, we cannot begin to have a rational or logical discussion about immigration policy. Technology holds great potential to help in our nation’s security efforts, and I believe we should use every tool at our disposal to ensure our borders are secure.

Securing our borders is just a piece of this complex issue. The issue does not solely rest with the individual; employers have a responsibility in this equation. We must look closely at our current laws and develop an effective visa program and temporary worker program to support legal immigrants who fulfill important roles in our nation’s economy.

Our border must be secured and our immigration laws must to be reviewed, especially during an economic crisis. We the People cannot afford to pay for and support those who do not follow process and who do not pay taxes.

I think this is why people are jaded with politics in this country. The candidates are clones of one another, so you must come up with other reasons when you try to pick a candidate to vote for. I could say I won’t vote for the black guy or the woman, but that would be ignorant on my part. I could check out the debates but those will not be filled with substantive ways of fixing Washington or helping the district, but will become a televised crap throwing contest to see which candidate can make the one-liner that gets the most media coverage, and therefore makes them the de facto front runner. If I sound a bit cynical it’s because I think our political system needs a healthy dose of cynicism from a lot more people. Our election cycles remind me of high school politics many, many years ago. Every year, a kid would promise the masses that they would change the school. Faculty will respect us; the cafeteria will serve better food. There will be free pizza parties before every exam. The masses loved what they heard and voted for the kid with all the popular ideas. Then they realized that he or she couldn’t do much if any of the things promised. In fact, he had become cozy with the faculty and staff and enjoyed the perks of class leader. They no longer needed their fellow students; after all they had their own agenda, an agenda that benefited their friends and associates. Every year this went on until you went off to college and the merry-go-round started all over again. I feel like I am back on that same merry-go-round from a couple of years ago. As I get older I feel less inclined to vote, knowing that the system will continue to head down the wrong road no matter who I vote for. But deep inside of me, I know that if I stop voting there is one more compliant soul that has been beaten and that’s one less voter they have to worry about.

Governor’s race – The candidates

March 31, 2010 Comments off

I have been spewing a lot about the congressional races that affect South DeKalb, but have neglected the race for the CEO of the great state of Georgia. So here they are with some campaign sites and my take on each of course. my list is not exhuastive. for the complete list of the governors race as well as others check out this page from the Sec. of States website

Democrats

  • Thurbert Baker, Smart guy, knows his stuff, needs to fix his cut though. Can he win? No. Not because he is not qualified, but because history says he can’t win.
  • Roy Barnes, The former head man is qualified; after all he has held the job before. Can he win? Of course he can win, but he won’t
  • Carl Camon, I didn’t know who this was until I started this list. His bio suggests a hard worker who was not privileged like some of the other candidates. Can he win? No. Small town mayor ain’t enough to overcome the history that says he can’t win.
  • DuBose Porter, This guy seems squeaky clean. Church man, Eagle Scout, family man, all great things. Can he win? Maybe. He might be a dark horse, if he doesn’t have any skeletons.
  • David Poythress, I like this guy. He is a military man, although it is was the Air Force. It is hard to go wrong with a military man. He has been in many leadership positions. Can he win? I think he could go all the way and get beat by any Republican.

Libertarian

Republicans

  • Jeff Chapman, Can he win? I don’t know. Probably not. But who knows. He does have the best website of all the candidates.
  • Nathan Deal, I wonder if this ethics thing has any legs? Can he win? Polling says he is competitive, and would beat Roy Barnes if he were the Republican candidate and Barnes was the  Democrat choice.