Voting is your right; and it is your duty as citizens to cast an informed vote for those candidates you believe represents your view point best, while remembering consequences follow choices — good or bad. Our current president being an example of a bad choice.
Since moving to Cherokee in 1995 Joan and I have been involved in many intensely contested races. Sometimes I was on the winning side and sometimes on the losing side after which I paid a political consequence, and have political scars to prove it.
But this election has gone beyond anything we were involved in. This election reminds me of the recent Wisconsin election, minus the thuggery.
The rhetoric and mail-out literature is dangerously vicious. Perhaps this is because of the outside influence that has invaded our county after being governed from within for so many years — one unopposed senator from Bartow County and a would-be senator from Fulton County.
When we moved here, the county was in transition and the school system was in chaos and losing its accreditation. At the time, the school superintendent was elected by popular vote and with the county quickly becoming a bedroom community for metro Atlanta and with fortunes being made in land speculations and the building of new communities, county fathers realized they had to resolve that school crisis quickly.
Committees were formed and meetings held. The county power brokers knew any plan devised would need to stabilize the school system by retaining its accreditation because they feared no one would move to Cherokee County without an accredited school system.
A plan was quickly devised and presented to the state legislative delegation. It contained a major proviso: it called for the election of school board members with a countywide vote, a bad thing, going counter to the constitutional principle of one man, one vote.
This constitutional flaw was corrected this year by the state legislative delegation with unanimous delegation approval and led to the current political battle.
I learned about most of those earlier maneuvers from former beloved political giant Bill Hasty who became my mentor to Cherokee County politics while we both wrote op/eds for the Tribune. It was an interesting education from one of the local power brokers.
In addition to requiring the election of school board members to be elected on a countywide vote legislation also required that county commissioners be elected from two districts: one east, one west.
The argument used to justify this constitutionally flawed law was that because the county school system budget came from county taxes all voters should have a voice in electing each school board member.
Using this logic, all members of Congress would be elected statewide, not just from their district. That logic just doesn’t pass muster.
Mike, you as a “fellow conservative” and as president of the school board have seen how this flawed system has been used to assure a supportive board.
Many, including me, also admire the job Dr. Petruzielo has done in turning the school system around and making it one of the best school systems in Georgia.
Sorry Mike, but I will not “step back” from my belief that the system was flawed, even rigged to control the election of school board members by the county’s largest employer, the county school system.
You and I discussed many school issues, including Dr. P’s age and coming retirement during our recent luncheons with both of us believing the major role of the school board in the next few years will be to assure county voters that there is a replacement in place for Dr. P. as capable as him to administer a growing and ever changing system.
Regarding charter schools — they are coming as Romney recently declared federal money will follow the child in his upcoming administration.
Again Mike, thanks for this opportunity to more fully present my “conservative” views on an issue that has led to an election that has turned increasingly ugly — over an issue that should never have become an issue.
But we still agree on one thing Mike — every county voter needs to vote in both upcoming elections.
Donald Conkey is a retired agricultural economist in Woodstock.