of reapportionment session
means time to be diligent again
Editor and Publisher
Aug. 7, 2001 - - It's time to be vigilant.
As the Legislature begins work on reapportioning the state to insure
an equal representation, it's also time for the Gwinnett school
board and county commission election districts will also be re-drawn.
This also means you can bet there will be efforts to maximize the
re-drawing to benefit every county interest group. Therefore each
of us must be vigilant that the lines are drawn with the interest
of "Best Government" in mind.
Since every interest group has a horse in this race, it automatically
means that not every proposition to come before those drawing the
lines will be a good move. Who doesn't want the re-drawing that
suits us best?
Lately, there has been less rhetoric on enlarging either the Gwinnett
school board or county commission. That doesn't mean that efforts
have not been going on behind the scenes to enlarge these boards.
Since that will come before the Gwinnett legislative delegation,
we ask: Do we have a "bad" school board or a "bad"
That view, to some malcontents, is right. Some do not feel that
the work being done these days by the Gwinnett School Board or the
Gwinnett County Commission in guiding these two entities is good.
Some may even say their work is poor.
But they would be in the vast minority.
The Gwinnett County School System is recognized as being among
the best, if not the very best, in all of Georgia, in spite of having
the largest school enrollment in the state.
The work of the Gwinnett County Commission is also that of an exemplary
body, continually in the forefront of good government practices,
offering solid, clean government without corruption. Can every government
in Metro Atlanta make that statement?
With such commendatory government by these two bodies, why would
anyone suggest enlarging the two bodies? After all, it is far more
difficult to get more people to agree on anything. Again, we suggest
that there is no better case for not enlarging the two bodies than
another in our presence, the 15 members (plus council president
and mayor) of the Atlanta City Council. That body dramatically illustrates
that a larger governmental body is not necessarily more efficient.
Some point out that in a large county like Gwinnett, with 600,000
people, having four or five people to represent 125,000 or 150,000
each is too many to represent. What if two more seats were added
to either body? Would six or seven people be able to represent 85,000
to 100,000 easier? In reality, there is not much difference.
We would suggest it's more reasonable to trade off the easier working
relationship of a small body than representing fewer people.
But be ever vigilant. Some insist we in Gwinnett need larger governmental
bodies. Yet it's hard for this group making the call---the often
bickering and sometimes dysfunctional Gwinnett legislative delegation---to
get enough votes to tip the scales toward larger governmental bodies.
This group of five senators and 12 representatives---17 people---find
working with this size group is difficult.
What does that really say?
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY:
"The library is the temple of learning, and learning has
liberated more people than all the wars in human history."
- - Carl Rowan, author and journalist, 1925-2000.
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