Thursday, April 29, 2010
Thoughts on the "Great Division" proposed for Fulton County (Georgia)
I've been wondering and contemplating about this topic for months now. For the life of me, I still don't fully understand the fundamental logic behind the desire to create or recreate the 160th county in Georgia, Milton County.
Now for those that don't know, Milton County used to exist until 1932 when the Great Depression forced the county dissolve and merge into Fulton County. The original boundaries of it was pretty much all of northern Fulton County from the Chattahoochee River and northward with the exception of a triangular shaped strip of land stretching from original Roswell land area including downtown to Chattahoochee River was originally apart of Cobb County. Also Fulton County obtained the land north of present-day Dunwoody Club Road to the Chattahoochee from DeKalb County whose northern border was originally the river as well. Regardless, the original Milton County went broke because of the disaster number of season of cotton harvest due to boll weevil devastating the crop. However, the recent push as early as 2006 after a spring of municipal incorporation of Sandy Springs, John's Creek, Milton, and Mountain Park in northern Fulton County, the overwhelmingly Republican Georgia General Assembly delegation has pushed to sever Fulton County. Interestingly enough, the "new" Milton County would include Sandy Springs, which was originally a part of the original Fulton County. But, the recently-incorporated Sandy Springs is majority white (77% to be exact) and very Republican. The 2010 general session of the General Assembly, the newly appointed House Speaker Pro Tempore Jan Jones has been pushing this HARD to secede northern portions from the rest of Fulton County.
The real question is it racially motivated? Could very well be... According to the 2000 Census data, the majority of the municipalities and former CDPs (that's census-designated places for those who don't know the statistical lingo) in northern Fulton County were on average 75% white and no more than 25% non-white. It seems like a case where racial identity and partisanship politics meets and becomes quite ambiguous in definition. The argument has been for years according to some is that the current Fulton County government is "too bloated and ineffective in providing services". On the other hand, the proponents of keeping the now 1 million + inhabitant Fulton County unified hasn't really helped themselves with the site http://www.onefulton.org, but they do have some points as well. The northern communities were given in recent years 3 new libraries from the Atlanta-Fulton County Library System with state of the art facilities and resources; whereas, the communities in the southern portions of the county aside from the locations in Buckhead and main branch in downtown Atlanta itself are still half-assed at best.
Now, this is my opinion on this since I have lived in another ineffective urban county, Jefferson County. The efforts by the Republican delegation in the Georgia General Assembly is aversively bias in intent because they don't want to deal with the overwhelmingly non-white and politically different demographic groups of the rest of the county. It is ineffectively pointless to secede from Fulton County when you could just write legislation to reform the county government to fix whatever issues ails the communities. However, I've come to the conclusion this is another case where some socially conservative whites will walk and run around the main point here and that is "they don't want to be involved in anything where they feel they can't control or orchestrate on their grounds". It's a shame that some whites will think this way and act that they should just sever an urban county because it doesn't represent them directly or politically, and you don't see too many non-whites or social progressives attempt to enact an usurp of power or government when we don't control things. It's quite self-destructive and leads to further strife between the socially conservative whites against non-white and other non-WASP demographic groups in Metro Atlanta. Nevertheless, it just shows that Atlanta is just as screwed up as Birmingham in a more ways than none.
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