VOTE 2010 October 23, 2010
Newcomers nab support in School Board races By Jennifer Ffrench Parker
All elections are important, but parents, business people, education supporters and the county’s teachers’ union say the Nov. 2 DeKalb School Board elections are extremely critical for the future of the district. Five of the board’s nine seats – Districts 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9 – are up for re-election at a time when the school system has been battered by scandals and school closings, is suffering from low student achievement, is undermined by low morale, and is facing a SACS inquiry into nepotism and other issues. In history-making moves last week, eduKalb and the Organization of DeKalb Educators (ODE) issued endorsements that ditched three of the incumbents. Both organizations, who were endorsing candidates for the first time, picked just two incumbents, Dr. Eugene “Gene” Walker in District 9 and Jim Redovian in District 1. Instead of endorsing incumbents Sarah Copelin-Wood in District 3, Jay Cunningham in District 5, and Zepora Roberts in District 7, the groups picked from among their challengers. Political newcomers Corey Wilson got the nod over Copelin-Wood; Dr. Kirk Nooks triumphed over Cunningham, and Donna Elder garnered the nominations over Roberts. Copelin-Wood and Roberts have been under fire for bad behavior unbecoming to members of a school board that oversees more than 98,000 students. A video clip of Copelin-Wood berating employees about school closings went viral on YouTube, and Roberts was captured on tape threatening to slug a television reporter who was questioning her about her daughters’ employment with the school district. Both have apologized for their behavior. All three challengers who received endorsements and some of the other candidates on the ballot have kids in the school system. Wilson, a car dealership manager, has been active in his son’s elementary school PTA. Nooks is a college administrator who has a daughter in elementary school. Edler, an accountant, has a son and a daughter in the school system. The other candidates seeking to unseat the incumbents are Robert Holt in District 3; 23-year-old Jacques Hall Jr. in District 5; attorney and engineer Richard Gathany and Willie R. Mosley Jr. in District 7; and Ella “Coach” Smith in District 9. Since qualifying in July, Holt has been unresponsive and has not returned telephone calls or filled out questionnaires or showed up for any candidates’ forums. Hall, a 23-year-old Lakeside High School graduate with a financial background, is a volunteer at Southwest DeKalb and Arabia Mountain high schools. He is currently unemployed. Mosley has two kids in the school system. Smith is a Fulton County special education teacher; she lives in the city of Decatur.
Critical issues ahead Lorraine Brackery, a member of the Southwest DeKalb PTSA, said these elections offer voters the opportunity to get some new people with fresh ideas on the board. She said that we need people on the board who will implement the things that work across the system. “If we know that traditional scheduling works, why are we hanging on to block scheduling?” she said. “If you know some things that work, why aren’t they being implemented across the county. We need people
No response from candidate
Curtis Parker / CrossRoadsNews
Lorraine Brackery, a member of the Southwest DeKalb PTSA, queried District 5 and 9 School Board candidates during a forum at the school.
with the courage to improve the system.” Brackery said that it’s time for ineffective board members to vacate their positions. “It’s time to leave and make way for somebody else to try,” she said. Leonardo McClarty, executive director of the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce, said that education “is huge” this year on a number of fronts. “There is the anticipated budget shortfall next year, the hiring of a new superintendent, and the upcoming trials,” he said. “It is important to have school board members with the skill sets, qualifications and previous experience to make those decisions.” McClarty said previous experience does not mean service on the school board. “Experience is the things you have done in the past, your education, all of those of those things that hone in on your ability to ask the tough questions and make the tough decisions,” he said. The chamber is not allowed to endorse
candidates but many of its members are part of the nonprofit eduKalb. As voters head to the polls this week and on Nov. 2, McClarty said that they should be mindful that we will have to live for the next four years with the decisions that we make at the polls. “This is a critical time for the school system,” he said. “Voters should think beyond their district to how a candidate will represent the system. When school board members go to meetings in other counties and out of town, people don’t ask what district they represent. They represent the system. We have to think of how they represent the system and we must look at their ideas for moving the system forward.”
tion,” she said. “We need to have a board with new faces, new ideas who can hopefully bring some stability to the system. Duff said the system needs board members who will be more knowledgeable and will advocate for students and employees. “With the current board it took too long and a lot of different incidents for it to see that the concerns voiced earlier, before they made it into the media, had some validity,” she said. “We need people who are going to listen to us and act.” She said Copelin-Wood and Roberts did not answer ODE’s questionnaires or attend the interview sessions that they held to determine their endorsements. “We had no information on them to consider,” she said. System at a turning point In spite of the challenges facing the disNichole Duff, ODE’s first vice president, trict, Duff said that there are a lot of good the school system is at a turning point. things in DeKalb. “We are looking for a new superintendent “We are hoping to see things moving up and there have been changes in administra- again,” she said.
Vote 2010 Caravan to spur voter excitement DeKalb elected officials will lead caravans throughout the county on Oct. 23 to help get voters excited about extended voting hours this week and the Nov. 2 election day. Starting Monday, pools are open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily until Friday, Oct. 29. At 11 a.m., 4th District Congressman Hank Johnson and District 2 Commissioner Jeff Rader will lead a caravan through North DeKalb. The caravan, which is also sponsored by the DeKalb Democrats Unity Hank Johnson Cabinet will depart the DDUC’s North Office at 2050 Lawrenceville Highway in Decatur and travel through North DeKalb neighborhoods. Labor Commissioner candidate Darryl Hicks, State Rep. Karla Drenner, District 4 Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton, and other elected officials will also participate. It will arrive at 1 p.m. at a “Get Out and Vote Rally” where Democratic gubernatorial candidate Roy Barnes will speak. State Rep. Howard Mosby, other House and Senate members, and DeKalb Commissioners are scheduled to attend the 1 to 5 p.m. rally. There will be free food, a DJ, inflatables, games and other family-friendly entertainment. DDUC will also provide rides to the polls. Wade Walker Park is at 5584 Rockbridge Road in Stone Mountain. For more information, call Ashley Robinson at 678-464-3321.
Transport to polls offered on Nov. 2 Oak View neighborhood residents in Decatur who need a ride to the polls can call on businesswoman Delores Tennant on Nov. 2. Tennant, who owns DelTravel Transportation, says she is offering free rides to the precinct at Oak View Elementary School at 3574 Oakvale Road on Election Day. She said she will use her 15-passenger van to transport anyone in need of a ride to the polls. “I just want to help out in my community and get people out to vote,” she said. The polls will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on election day. For more information or to schedule a pick up time, call Delores Tennant at 678-576-0156.
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The 2010 Voter Guide is a publication of CrossRoadsNews Inc., South DeKalb’s award-winning weekly newspaper.
October 23, 2010
“I just want to help out in my community and get people out to vote.”
Your Guide to the 2010 General Elections These candidates are on the ballot for the General Elections on Nov. 2, 2010. This information includes the office they are seeking, the salary for the office, party affiliation, age and occupation. (D) = Democrat; (R) = Republican; (L) = Libertarian; (I) = Incumbent
Stephanie Stuckey Benfield (D)(I), 44, Attorney Kenneth Brett Quarterman (R), 69, Politician
District 94 Dar’shun N. Kendrick (D), 28, Attorney Steven Conner (R), 58, Attorney
Ronald B. Ramsey, Sr. (D)(I), 51, Lawyer/ Director Diana Williams (R), 45, Commercial Aviation
Judge, Superior Court of the Stone Mountain Judicial Circuit (To succeed Robert Joseph Castellani) Salary: $169,000 Yvonne Hawks 53, Attorney Courtney Johnson 36, Attorney Michael Rothenberg 32, Attorney Denise M. Warner 44, Attorney
District Attorney, Stone Mountain Judicial Circuit (Special election to fill the unexpired term of Gwen Keyes Fleming) Salary: 167,000 Constance Pinson Heard (D), 63, Lawyer Robert James (D), 38, Solicitor General
Board of Education
Sarah Copelin-Wood (I), Community Activist Robert “Mr. Holt” Holt Corey E. Wilson, CarMax manager
District 5 Jesse “Jay” Cunningham (I), Business Owner Jacques Hall Jr., 23, Unemployed
Kirk A. Nooks, Georgia Highlands College Administrator
District 7 Donna Edler, Certified Public Accountant Richard Gathany, 60, Tutor, Teacher, Attorney, Engineer Willie R. Mosley, Jr., Community Activist, Business Owner Zepora W. Roberts (I), Community Activist, Retired from Telecommunications Field
District 9 Ella “Coach” Smith, educator Eugene P. Walker (I), Former State Legislator, Former Teacher, Former State Commissioner of Juvenile Justice
Salary: $139,339.44 Roy E. Barnes (D), 62, Attorney Nathan Deal (R), 68, Former Congressman John H. Monds (L), 45, Homemaker
Salary: $91,609.44 Carol Porter (D), 51, General Manager L.S. Casey Cagle (R)(I), 44, Businessman Dan Barber (L), 46, Self-Employed
Secretary of State
Salary: $123,536.72 Georganna Sinkfield (D), 67, Real Estate Sales
Brian Kemp (R)(I), 46, Small Business Owner David Chastain (L), 53, Logistics Management Analyst
Salary: $137,791.20 Ken Hodges (D), 45, Attorney Sam Olens (R), 53, Attorney Don Smart (L), 59, Attorney
State School Superintendent
Salary: $123,270 Joe Martin (D), 68, Education & Business John D. Barge (R), 44, Education Administrator Kira Griffiths Willis (L), 42, Teacher
Commissioner of Agriculture Salary: $121,556.64 J.B. Powell (D), 48, Project Manager
Gary Black (R), 52, Farm Owner Kevin Cherry (L), 49, Pest Control Manager
Commissioner of Insurance
Salary: $120,394.32 Mary Squires (D), 52, Consultant Ralph T. Hudgens (R), 67, Investor
Shane Bruce (L), 53, Installer
Commissioner of Labor
Salary: $121,570.32 Darryl Hicks (D), 47, Self-Employed Mark Butler (R), 40, Real Estate Appraiser Will Costa (L), 42, Food Manufacturing
Public Service Commissioner District 2 - Eastern
Salary: $116,452.32 Keith Moffett (D), 39, Government Affairs Tim Echols (R), 49, Nonprofit Executive James “Jim” Sendelbach (L), 70, Psychophysiologist
Judge of the Court of Appeals
Salary: $167,209.68 James Babalola, 47, Attorney Antoinette “Toni” Davis, 59, Attorney Stan Gunter, 51, District Attorney Adrienne Hunter-Strothers, 35, Attorney Christopher J. McFadden, 53, Appellate Lawyer David N. Schaeffer, 54, Attorney
U.S. House of Representatives Salary: $174,000
Henry C. “Hank” Johnson Jr. (D)(I), 56, Attorney Lisbeth “Liz” Carter, (R), 41, Business Owner/Consultant
5th District John Lewis (D)(I), 70, U.S. Representative Fenn Little (R), 48, Attorney
13th District David Scott (D)(I), 65, Business Owner Mike Crane (R), 47, Gen. Contractor
Salary: $174,000 Michael “Mike” Thurmond (D), 57, Commissioner of Labor Johnny Isakson (R)(I), 65, U.S. Senator Chuck Donovan (L), 53, Aviator
Remember To Vote On Nov. 2
Editor / Publisher Jennifer Parker Graphics Editor Curtis Parker Reporters Carla Parker Jennifer Ffrench Parker © 2010 CrossRoadsNews, Inc. All rights reserved. No portion of this publication may be reprinted without written permission of the publisher.
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October 23, 2010
“All they have to do is come. Please encourage them to vote.” Voters cast their ballots on Oct. 20 at the DeKalb Elections Office on Memorial Drive in Decatur, where the pace has picked up. More early voting locations will open Monday.
By the Numbers
12,178 number of people who have already voted
386,454 number of active voters in DeKalb County
79,892 Carla Parker / CrossRoadsNews
Four more early voting locations to open Voters who want to avoid the rush on Nov. 2 or will be unable to cast a ballot on that date can vote this Saturday and daily from Oct. 25 to 29. On Oct. 23, voters can cast ballots from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the DeKalb Elections Office, 4380 Memorial Drive in Decatur. Starting Monday, four new locations will open in South DeKalb, Decatur, Northlake and North DeKalb from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. for voters to cast ballots ahead of the general and special elections. Mary Frances Weeks, a DeKalb Elections spokeswoman, said Wednesday that they are ready for voters. “All they have to do is come,” she said.
“Please encourage them to vote.” The last day to vote early is Oct. 29. After 5 p.m. next Friday, the polls will not reopen until 7 a.m. on Election Day, and voters will go to their regular precincts to vote. This election, DeKalb’s 386,454 active voters can cast ballots at 110 precincts across the county.
n Main Elections Office: DeKalb Elections
Office, 4380 Memorial Drive, Decatur.
n South DeKalb: Porter Sanford III Per-
forming Arts Center, 3181 Rainbow Drive, Decatur. n Decatur: Clark Harrison Building, 330 W. Ponce de Leon Ave., Room A, Decatur. n Northlake: DeKalb County Fire Headquarters, 1950 West Exchange Place, Saturday Voting this weekend Tucker. Voters can cast ballots 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on n North DeKalb: Chamblee Civic Center, Oct. 23 at the DeKalb Elections Office, 4380 3540 Broad St., Chamblee. Memorial Drive in Decatur. For more information, visit http://web .co.dekalb.ga.us/voter/default.html or call Extended Voting next week DeKalb Voter Registration and Elections, Vote 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Oct. 25-29 at: 404-298-4020.
number of DeKalb registered voters in the 1990s
9,566 number of ballots mailed in so far
55.4 percent of female voters in DeKalb
October 23, 2010
The special election seeks to renew through 2016 DeKalb’s Property Tax Assessment Freeze, set to end in the 2011 tax year.
Proposed constitutional amendments, state referendum on ballot Voting usually isn’t over when you’ve chosen your favorite candidates, and this election is no exception. The Nov. 2 ballot includes five proposed constitutional amendments and a statewide referendum. DeKalb voters also will decide whether to extend a county five-year property tax assessment freeze. Here’s some help with your back-of-theballot homework – the language you’ll see there and what it means.
enter into multiyear construction agreements without requiring appropriations in the current fiscal year for the total amount of payments that would be due under the entire agreement so as to reduce long-term construction costs paid by the state?”
proved which grants an exemption from ad valorem taxes for county purposes in an state ad valorem taxation for inventory of amount equal to the amount by which the current year assessed value of a homestead a business?” exceeds the base year assessed value of such What it means: Allows business inven- homestead by extending the exemption for another five-year period?” tory to be exempt from state property tax.
What it means: Allows the DOT to Special election What it means: This renews through DeKalb County Homestead Exemption: 2016 DeKalb’s Property Tax Assessment enter into multiyear contracts that commit the agency to payments that go beyond the “Shall the Act be approved which amends the Freeze, currently set to end at the end of the current fiscal year. Contracts would not be homestead exemption from DeKalb County 2011 tax year. binding in subsequent years if funding could Constitutional amendments not be obtained. Amendment 1: “Shall the ConstituCurrently, the DOT must pay multiyear Endorsed by eduKalb and the Organization of DeKalb Educators tion of Georgia be amended so as to make contracts in full in the first year. E L E C T Georgia more economically competitive by authorizing legislation to uphold reasonable Amendment 4: “Shall the Constitution be competitive agreements?” amended so as to provide for guaranteed cost savings for the state by authorizing a state What it means: This amendment deals entity to enter into multiyear contracts which with “non-compete” contracts in which obligate state funds for energy efficiency or employees agree not to engage in business conservation improvement projects?” activities that compete with their employers What it means: Authorizes multiyear EXPERIENCE once they leave their jobs. Amendment 1 contracts to make government buildings would allow judges to change the terms of more energy-efficient. – DeKalb County School System (DCSS) parent since 1996, 3 children non-compete contracts to limit the duration, geographic area and scope of prohibited Amendment 5: “Shall the Constitution – Certified Public Accountant (CPA) with Bachelor activities. of Georgia be amended so as to allow the and Master Degrees owners of real property located in indusAmendment 2: “Shall the Constitution trial areas to remove the property from the – As contract investigator, investigated allegations of waste, fraud, and abuse in government of Georgia be amended so as to impose an industrial area?” contracting. annual $10.00 trauma charge on certain passenger motor vehicles in this state for the What it means: This proposal applies to – As accountant, reviewed, tested and recommended purpose of funding trauma care?” industrial areas that exist only in two Georgia internal accounting and operational controls for What it means: Adds a $10 fee to car reg- counties, Chatham and Jeff Davis. It modifies profit and nonprofit business entities istration to raise as much as $80 million per the conditions under which owners of land Working for Our Children Ethical, Professional and Effective Leadership – As asset specialist, provided contractor oversight year for statewide expansion of trauma care. zoned industrial can remove that designafor the liquidation of multimillion dollar real The charge would be collected with license tion from their property, allowing it to be NOVEMBER 2, 2010 estate and loan portfolios tag and registration fees. annexed into neighboring cities and receive WWW.DONNAEDLER.COM municipal services. – Nonprofit board member and advisor Paid for by the Friends of Donna Edler campaign committee Amendment 3: “Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended so as to allow the Proposed statewide referendum Friends of Donna Edler • PO Box 1725, Pine Lake, GA 30072 • Info@DonnaEdler.com • 770-808-7779 • facebook.com/DonnaEdler Georgia Department of Transportation to Referendum A: “Shall the Act be ap-
DEKALB COUNTY SCHOOL BOARD DISTRICT 7
Vote Now Through Election Day, November 2, 2010
Friends: These are historic times. We changed the world by electing President Obama and I am proud to have his endorsement. I know times are still tough. That’s why we have to keep fighting for you. I will stand with our President as we get our economy back on track and move America forward. With your vote on Tuesday, Nov. 2, I will keep fighting to: • Create jobs • Bring resources to our community, and Vote Now Through Nov. 2 • Defend our rights.