John Davis – President SCA:
“I am sharing this open letter sent to our steering committee by a Sandtown
resident addressing those who are undecided, waiting or unsure”.
I am not a politician. I
am a Christian, I am a wife, and I am a mother and worker. I am not a
politician so I can not promise you anything with this annexation, but for
communities to sit around and not make a decision really is making one. My
husband and I weighed the issues like some communities are still trying to
do. It was not easy.
Atlanta will not be a rose garden but we
can no longer stay in this limbo. The cheese has been moved.
First, it’s about
services. We have been told by Commissioners Darnell and Pitts that there is
no money to form a
new city. Commissioner Edwards supported a
new city and now has flipped and now someone is putting literature in our mail
Commissioner Edwards arguing to keeping things unincorporated.
How do we trust anyone?
We have read in the paper
and been told by members of the Police and Fire Department that services are
being drastically reduced.
Sandy Springs and the rest of North Fulton
have voted for cityhood and in essence most of the monies they use to pay into
the Fulton County treasuries have been drastically reduced. We “may” get a new
Westlake but without adequate emergency services there will be no one to save
our homes in fire, provide rescue for our children in schools, assist us with
heart failures or any other emergency. The funding for services will be
exhausted very shortly. Additionally, one more ill-functioning South Fulton
City is not what we need.
Second, our schools work
because WE WORK as parents. Look at the data, the Fulton County School Board
has added nothing to making our
South County schools great. We ultimately
believe North Fulton plans to abandon South Fulton schools in the next few
years to create their own system; thus, taking their tax base with them.
Also, only a few schools do well in South Fulton, most of which are in our
area. Atlanta schools with active parent involvement work. No, it will not
be a rose garden but neither has this run with Fulton County Schools.
The Fulton Board of
Education has treated us like second class citizens. They have taxed us
through SPLOST I & II promising schools we have not seen. They have expedited
the system to build their schools but burdened our efforts with more and more
paperwork. In the last few years, they have built 19 schools in the north and
perhaps 2 schools in the south. They have cared only for those students who
live near them and look like them.
By accepting this, what
are we teaching our children? Are we teaching them that people can abuse us
and when they decide to be nice we roll over and say thank you. Why did Dr.
King march? Why did Rosa Parks stay seated? At what point do we “stay
seated” and tell these people we are off the plantation and that our children
can learn without the crumbs from a group of selfish, self-serving school
This is a hard decision
where we must consider schools and services. If we stay put, perhaps we will
get a new
Westlake but for sure we will continue
having an overcrowded elementary and middle school. We will also have reduced
county services. If we leave, we bring to the table in Atlanta, a
productive community. In Atlanta, we join a tax base that can continue the
services we have been accustomed to having. We join a school system that is
financially viable. Now, we have to continue to advocate for our children in
APS. It will not be easy. It has already not been easy. Everything we have
gotten from teachers, to the new middle school facility and to a promised new
high school has come through community work.
I have a school age child
too. I am willing to show her that the proud civil right advocates have not
all died. I believe we can be heard and it doesn’t have come from begging. I
want her in good school facilities but I want her to have pride in who she is.
That is the legacy that my husband and I give our children.
I have shared with the
city leaders the issues that are dear to us and why we want to annex: schools,
services, and leadership; also, about the annexation process. After all,
Atlanta hasn't annexed an area since Buckhead was annexed and you know that
process was much easier back then because it wasn't for people who looked like
us. There are people around this town that don't want this to happen because
of political motives, both black and white. The political landscape of
Atlanta will change if we annexed.
We don't have good
leadership in our community, we don't have good schools in our community when
you compare them statewide and nationally, and we won't have any services if
we stay unincorporated or create a new city because so many people in our
community continue to let the powers to be move our cheese for their personal
and selfish reasons. All we are trying to do as an association is move our
own cheese! Our community must be diligent in taking charge of its own
Thanks for at least
thinking about the issue. We wish you all well in your decision, but we can't
make it for you. My family's decision is to join Atlanta and I'm going to fight to
the bitter end to make that happen. There is no other choice!
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