Dougherty County voters, many of whom are licking their wounds today over the defeat of political candidates they supported, should take consolation in the fact that they at least helped bring about historic change during this election cycle.
No matter whether the countywide Dougherty County School Board at-large race is determined to have been won by Democratic Primary victor Lane Price or write-in candidate the Rev. Lorenzo Heard, Dougherty voters have succeeded in one monumental accomplishment: They’ve banded together to remove Anita Williams-Brown from the board.
Williams-Brown’s ouster, which she’s already attributed to some mythical “powers that be” — which, in her twisted, race-based worldview means white people — is an example of a community finally saying, “Enough!” Sure, she’s not alone in her ineptitude when it comes to the actions of the board, but her narrow-minded decision-making has been a blueprint for a collective whose actions have dragged a once-proud school system to the precipice of insolvency.
Price’s well-organized campaign was the deciding factor in Williams-Brown’s primary defeat, but it was the community’s collective refusal to allow her to continue her misguided brand of self-serving governance that actually did her in.
The soon-to-be-but-not-soon-enough ex-school board member has told any who would listen that the primary race was stolen from her, insisting that there’s no way she could have lost a countywide election in a county whose black voters hold an overwhelming majority. As if black parents care more about her position on the board than they do their children’s deteriorating educational opportunities.
If Anita Williams-Brown wants to know the real reason she lost the primary election to Price, she need look no further than her mirror. While Price was out walking the streets and knocking on doors in neighborhoods I daresay Williams-Brown would not even go into after 4 p.m., the incumbent was busy conducting a campaign based on one thing only: her skin color.
Unfortunately for Williams-Brown, a number of African-American parents who are more concerned with the continued decline of the school system than they are her political ambitions were among those whose votes removed her from office. That’s what’s so hard for Williams-Brown to come to grips with: Parents’ concern for their children’s future trumps skin color, no matter if the parents live in some ritzy Northwest Albany neighborhood or a ramshackle tenant house in the heart of the inner city.
Certainly the removal of one member of a pretty much dysfunctional school board is not going to automatically turn that board or the school system it’s charged with overseeing around. In fact, until the majority of the members of that board understands that its collective and individual agendas and egos mean little to parents in the community, it will continue to flounder.
But at least Dougherty County voters managed to send a message to the school board. Clearly the ouster of Williams-Brown puts board members on notice that the community expects more from the people it trusts to conduct its business in elected office. Members of the community can only hope that the message was received by the school board and other elected officials in a region whose untapped potential is going unrealized in part because of substandard leadership.
Email Metro Editor Carlton Fletcher at firstname.lastname@example.org.