ADW Atlanta Daily World Powered by Real Times Media www.adwnews.com Atlanta Daily World Special Edition Volume 85 • Issue 46 DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis Pleads Innocent to Felony Charges Compiled by ADW Staff DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis After being hit with a 15-count indictment from a DeKalb grand jury and checking in and out of the county’s jail, DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis professed his innocence. “I do want to make one statement emphatically to the good people of DeKalb County that I’ve done nothing wrong as I’ve said from the very beginning. Done nothing wrong and I would never, ever, ever do anything to violate the public trust,” Ellis said on Tuesday night outside of his home. On what he said was the advice of his attorneys, he would not speak to the charges specifically. Ellis was indicted Tuesday on 15 counts by a grand jury, including 14 felonies. He faces four counts of extortion, two counts of theft by taking and several conspiracy charges, said DeKalb District Attorney Robert James during an afternoon news conference. The indictment alleges that Ellis tried to extort campaign contributions from companies with county contracts in 2012 and threatened to withhold county business from those that didn’t contribute to his campaign. However, records show that at least one of the companies that did not contribute received county business despite the alleged threats. DeKalb County Commission Chair Lee May released a statement Tuesday in response to the indictment. “This is a sad day for DeKalb County. While every person is clearly innocent until proven guilty, this ongoing saga has been a distraction and continues to bring unwelcome negative publicity to our county and government” said Commissioner May. “Like all citizens of DeKalb, I pray that there will be a quick resolution to these issues,” May added. “Regardless of the accusations of corruption in the CEO’s office, my fellow commissioners and I are committed to keeping our District Attorney Robert James focus on our duties and responsibilities as public servants. We remain steadfast in our commitment to bringing a better future to DeKalb County.” May would assume the CEO job if Gov. Nathan Deal chooses to remove Ellis from office. Simply being charged with the felonies could lead to Ellis being removed from office, said DeKalb County Commissioner Jeff Rader. Deal, who has already removed members of the county’s school board and formed an advisory committee to look into removing State Rep. Tyrone Brooks, could form a similar committee to review removing Ellis from his job. June 20 - 26, 2013 Supreme Court Affirmative Action Ruling Contest: Race vs. Class By Justin Pope AP Education Writer In post-Great Recession America, which is the bigger barrier to opportunity -- race or class? A decade ago, the U.S. Supreme Court kept the focus on race as a barrier, upholding the right of colleges to make limited use of racial preferences to ensure a diverse student body. But in a ruling due this month, the court is widely expected to roll back that decision. Such an outcome would shift attention more toward a less constitutionally controversial practice: giving a boost to socio-economically disadvantaged students, regardless of race. If that happens, it would reflect more than just a more conservative makeup of the justices. Over the last decade, clogged social mobility and rising economic inequality have shifted the conversation on campuses and in the country as a whole. As a barrier to opportunity, class is getting more attention, while race is fading. ``The cultural zeitgeist has changed,’’ said Peter Sacks, author of the book Tearing Down the Gates: Confronting the Class Divide in American Education. “The Great Recession really exacerbated the vast and growing inequalities between rich and poor in America,’’ he said. “Talking openly about class has been taboo,’’ he added, but in recent years the evidence of widening inequality has mounted and it’s become “OK for the so-called 99 percent to talk about the 99 percent.’’ The shift is perceptible in a range of ways: -- You can see it in polling, like surveys from the Pew Research Center, which shows the percentage of Americans who feel racial discrimination is the chief impediment to Black progress is falling, from 37 percent in 1995 to 23 percent in 2012. Polling on affirmative action varies widely depending on how questions are phrased, but an ABC News/Washington Post poll released Wednesday showed strong feelings about using race in college admissions: Just 22 percent of Americans support letting universities consider applicants’ race as a factor, and 76 percent oppose the practice. The proportions supporting racial preferences were similar for Blacks (19 percent) and Hispanics (29 percent) as for Whites (20 percent). Most debaters agree the barriers to low-income students are a serious problem that should be addressed, and of course, many minority students are also low-income. But they acknowledge widening income inequality has made it harder to make their case that special attention to race remains justified. A report released last week by the Lumina Foundation underscored the large and persistent achievement gaps between races in the United States: Nearly 60 percent of Asian adults have a college degree, compared to 43 percent of whites but just 27 percent of blacks and 19 percent of Hispanics. More alarming are the numbers for those between 25 and 29 -- an indicator of recent trends. Whites and Asians are doing better than their parents. Blacks, Hispanics and Native Americans are doing worse. That’s a problem for everyone, said Lumina president and CEO Jamie Merisotis. “Narrowing these gaps is a matter of economic and social collective self-interest,’’ he said.