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Letter to the editor
It's all about who keeps power
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Forsyth County News
At the Feb. 24 called work session of the Forsyth County Board of Commissioners, Commissioner Harrell read a proposed resolution that essentially said the board should disregard the ballot question voted on by 14,240 primary voters last July.  74 percent of them voted to change the way our commissioners are elected from a countywide vote to a district vote.  

His arguments were that it shouldn’t be a valid vote for several reasons: “Only a small number of people voted. “  Commissioner Harrell was elected (Republican Primary Run Off Aug. 2006) with only 12,326 people voting. Why doesn’t the same argument apply to his own election then?

He said people didn’t understand what they were voting for.  

“Should the County Charter be revised to provide that County Commissioners and School Board members be elected by the voters in their respective Districts?”

Seems  pretty clear.

Mr. Harrell’s response to other commissioners’ arguments was that since every commissioner votes on every item, they should be elected countywide.  Following that logic, every state legislator in Georgia would have to run a statewide race since they vote on every issue brought before the legislature.  

Once again, as it is so often in politics, people say they are opposed to something because they’re worried about “the people.” In this particular case, they’re worried about their political power base. Mr. Harrell is concerned that he (or a candidate he supports) may not be able to be elected in District 3 in a district election.  

The other main supporter of the status quo is Chairman Laughinghouse.  

His reasons for not wanting to change are obvious — in two primary elections and two runoffs, not only has he never carried his district — he has never carried a single precinct in it!

The people expressed a clear preference for district elections. Our legislative delegation introduced a bill to change the way commissioners and school board members are elected to conform to that preference. This bill has passed both chambers and awaits the governor’s signature.

We live in a diverse community. The needs of developed areas are much different than those of rural areas. Electing commissioners by district will provide for fairer representation for everyone in the county.

Don’t fall for the story you’re being offered by those who want to subvert the people’s voice for their own selfish reasons.

Pam Bowman