Gov. Deal recently approved a measure carving out land from the city of Stockbridge near Atlanta, giving some voters the opportunity to create a new municipality with more concentrated wealth and much fewer minority voters.
The new city, Eagles Landing, was named for its local country club of the same name and proposes to take about a third of Stockbridge’s residents but half of the its revenue. The median income of Eagles Landing will be more than double the median income of Stockbridge.
In addition to creating a concentration of wealth, the new city would also have very different demographics. Stockbridge is currently made up of 29 percent white residents (more than 32 percent of them of voting age) and 56 percent black residents (about 53 percent of them voting age).
However, Eagles Landing will have about 39 percent white residents (43 percent voting age) and 44 percent black residents (44 percent voting age).
Proponents of the plan have been pretty candid about their desire to create a more exclusive and luxurious town for rich people only. “We just want to seek out world-class corporations to come to our area to provide high-income jobs so citizens don’t have to drive outside our county to go to work, eat, shop or play,” one Eagles Landing proponent said.
And Republican lawmakers love the plan because it would deliver huge hit to minority voters by significantly and intentionally diluting their voting power. Essentially, Eagles Landing would create a new, much whiter, much more Republican district.
And of course it remains to be seen how this will affect county and state elections.
Allowing Eagles Landing to be created from land that already belongs to another jurisdiction also creates unprecedented possibilities for the rest of Georgia. If Deal is willing to allow affluent parts of cities to withdraw from their jurisdictions it could lead to vast uncertainty in Georgia. This uncertainty could lead to increases in costs of municipal bonds and increases in costs of living all over Georgia.
Mayor Anthony Ford strongly discouraged Deal from approving this measure, citing both concerns for individuals as well as for Georgia’s economy, yet Deal persisted.
“I’m disappointed as well, especially after meeting with Gov. Deal,” said Ford. “After asking him several times to veto the bills, and all the information the staff gave him in reference to the bond issue and deannexation process and the disenfranchising of citizens to vote on this issue in the first place — I thought that would resonate with him and he would veto everything.”
Deal and Ga. Republicans are willing to steal minority voting power and disrupt the lives of Georgians all over in their attempt to control voters. We need to fight back and show them we won’t accept their manipulation.