Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Single-Member Districts for Dorchester D2 and CCSD

My husband's uncle, a retired British Army colonel, used to claim that he was "so far to the right, he met himself coming around the other end." Sometimes, however, the positions are not right and left but right and wrong. I remembered Uncle Stanley when I read of the activities of Louis L Smith at Monday night's Dorchester District 2 meeting in Summerville. Two minds with but a single thought!

"Single" is the word. Smith has correctly identified one of the stumbling blocks to a more representative school board. His group was prepared to stage a sit-in to promote single-member districts for DD2. Smith himself took the floor to state that the "current at-large method of electing board members is an elitist vestige of the Jim Crow era." A recommendation to bring up the issue with the state legislative delegation met with no support from the present board, who were all elected under the at-large structure. Go figure!

The board passed the buck by authorizing a letter to be written to "a community member" who had brought up the idea (Smith?) that the issue rests with the legislative delegation. Weasels.

To defend the present system, Board member Tanya Robinson stated her opinion in classic autocratic fashion: "each member of the board represents all children in the district, unlike single-member districts where board members represent only their areas, and the board becomes politicized as members fight for their slice of the pie." To put it more succinctly, each board member represents himself or herself and the deeper, more politically active pockets of the community, such as the Chamber of Commerce--in Robinson's case, perhaps the Junior League.

Amazingly (or not), Robinson sounds exactly like former CCSD board member Toya Hampton-Green, protege of Mayor Riley, who told Constituent Board D20 members that, even though she was elected for District 20, she didn't speak for them.

I share Smith's frustration over outmoded school-district structures. Let's not forget that CCSD's Board Chair, Cindy Bohn Coats, who ostensibly represents North Charleston, would not have won re-election without piling up votes in Mt. Pleasant that pushed her over the top.

DD2  http://dorchester.schoolfusion.us/modules/groups/homepagefiles/cms/478113/File/PIO/2015/District%20Office/Board.pdf?sessionid=7d86952c8e7acf360827599f364f2bf7

Notice anything?

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