Democracy in America

Victor Hill: The Face of Democracy in America

Recall that in 2008, 96 percent of Black people voted for Mein Obama in the presidential election. Obviously, four percent of Black people made a huge error in the voting booth and were incapable of reading the ballot correctly; this is the only reasoning one can conceivably conjure when confronted with the latest NBC/Wall Street Journal poll:

Obama continues to lead Romney among key parts of his political base, including African Americans (94 percent to 0 percent), Latinos (by a 2-to-1 margin), voters under 35-years-old (52 percent to 41 percent) and women (51 percent to 41 percent).

Romney is ahead with whites (53 percent to 40 percent), rural voters (47 percent to 38 percent) and seniors (49 percent to 41 percent).

Yes, presumable GOP candidate Mitt Romney is currently polling at zero percent with Black people.

Gotta love that, considering it was Valerie Jarret – senior adviser to Mein Obama – who told Black journalists of all the wonderful things that he has done to specifically help Black people:

the Obama administration’s successes, among them funding for historically black colleges and universities; health care reform, which she said will disproportionately help African Americans; and reducing disparities between penalties for possession of crack and for powdered cocaine.

It was in an interview with Black Enterprise that Obama bragged about how his policies have successfully impacted Black entrepreneurs and small business owners, so who can blame Black people for looking upon the tag-team tandem of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan with absolutely zero excitement.

But it is in another election that was held in Clayton County (Georgia) that we got to see how wonderful democracy is as a system of government. For those who have seen Gone With the Wind, you might recall that Scarlett O’Hara’s beloved Tara was located in Clayton County. Once an almost all-white county (home to some of the first Chick-fil-A restaurants) as short as 30 years ago, Clayton is now almost 70 percent Black.

And it was the fine citizens of Clayton County who took to the polls on Tuesday, August 21 and cast their ballots in favor of Victor Hill for sheriff — a position that he first won in 2005 (and, as the first Black sheriff of Clayton County, promptly fired all white officers and had them led out with snipers on the roof) — despite having 37 felony counts pending against him (Hill wins another term as Clayton County sheriff, Atlanta Journal Constitution, Rhonda Cook):

Former Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill has reclaimed the office he lost four years ago despite 37 pending felony charges that accuse him of using his government office and his 2008 campaign to enrich himself.

With only one precinct uncounted, Hill was ahead. But the charges he’s facing make it uncertain whether he will take office in January because the governor could suspend him until he goes to trial.

“Don’t be sorry for me. Be sorry for Clayton County,” Kimbrough said. “I’ll be fine but there are a whole lot of people’s lives that will be affected by this and maybe they have to see this for themselves. It’s something I’ve heard a million times; only in Clayton County. It is what it is.”

Hill, in an emailed statement, thanked God and the voters for letting him “serve once again.”

“As promised, I want to advise those who prey on others by breaking into homes, robbing businesses and drug trafficking to stop or leave Clayton while you still can. Your presence is not wanted and your lawlessness will not be tolerated,” Hill said.
This year’s contest was a rerun of the runoff for Clayton County sheriff of four years ago, the buttoned-down Kimbrough vs. the controversial Hill. Only this campaign was extraordinarily nasty even before a field of eight candidates in the July 31 primary was reduced to the two.

Hill insisted that Kimbrough, who holds a law degree from Emory University, was behind the 37-count indictment returned against Hill in January. Hill said Kimbrough assigned deputies to follow him and to go through his trash and then handed over documents to a special prosecutor just to keep Hill from returning to office.

In campaigning, Kimbrough struggled to get across the message to voters that, as sheriff, he had no role pushing for an indictment that came out of the findings of a special grand jury overseen by a special prosecutor, the district attorney for Walton and Newton Counties.

Special prosecutor Layla Zon obtained an indictment of Hill on charges of racketeering, theft by taking, making false statements, influencing a witness and violating his oath of office, all allegedly while he was sheriff. He is charged with taking tens of thousands of dollars from his 2008 re-election campaign and from the county, using his government car and county credit card for vacations with a female employee of the office.

“People have forgiven him for his missteps and he’s said, for this second time around, he’s become more mature and he’s learned from his mistakes, but he still has the indictments against him,” said Pat Pullar, chief executive of Atlanta-based political consulting and training firm Talking Points 4 U.

“He’ll have to overcome that as well,” said Pullar, who is also vice chairman of the Clayton County Board of Elections and Registration.

Since there was no Republican running, this run-off decided the sheriff’s race.
In 2008 when Kimbrough and Hill faced each other Kimbrough bested Hill, who was the incumbent.

Hill, a former homicide detective and state legislator, was among those elected in 2004 after Clayton voters dismissed virtually all incumbents.

 Democracy in action. The embarrassingly leftist (almost openly communist) Atlanta alternative newspaper Creative Loafing published a hilarious look at life in the demographically changed Clayton County back in 2006. We have also targeted Clayton County for abuse – the concept of the Black Undertow was invented when thinking about how the new Black majority in the county remade Clayton into their image, which mirrored that of majority Black Atlanta – but it is this article from Creative Loafing which slams home what democracy actually means (Clayton County’s tribulations
Dunderheads, dumb growth and race in the southern suburbs, July 23, 2008):

Bad news in Clayton ranges from the bizarre to the sordid. Aside from [Clayton County Commissioner Eldrin] Bell’s self-inflicted wound, word came this morning that another lawsuit had been filed against Victor Hill, the controversial sheriff. This one, a discrimination suit filed by a white employee, contains explosive allegations that Hill misused funds seized from drug busts and vending machines he operated in the department’s headquarters and jail. The suit alleges that he used the money to purchase provocative artwork for his office that depicted “African American cowboys” and “a lynch mob scene portraying Caucasian people with shotguns.”

It’s just another day in the headlines for Clayton County. The schools are on the verge of losing accreditation. The district attorney is a barrister who had little experience with criminal cases when she was elected. The sheriff fired 27 deputies on his first day in office, under the watch of snipers he’d dispatched to rooftops. And there’s the irony that Bell was at a party thrown by Galardi, who had successfully sued the sheriff for setting up roadblocks almost every weekend near the newly opened Pink Pony South.

But shortly before the 1996 Olympics, residents noticed the face of the county beginning to change. Between 1990 and 2006, it underwent a dramatic shift in demographics – from 75 percent white to 64 percent black.

“Back in the 1950s, Forest Park was one of the fastest-growing municipalities in the country,” Hatfield says. “Clayton County was growing dramatically. But that was a largely self-selected population that wanted to get out of Atlanta and the problems of the big city. Over the recent years, the population growth has been from those seeking lower-cost housing, and they’ve had relatively larger numbers of children.”

Much as Atlanta faced a transition from white leadership to black in the ’70s, Clayton County’s new demographics brought a changing of the guard that began in the 2004 elections. It just happened less gracefully than it did in Atlanta.

And Victor Hill, a former Bell protégé, was elected sheriff.

Hill set the immediate tone when he fired 27 deputies on his first day in office, including four of the highest-ranking officers, all of whom were white. He called the officers in on the pretext of swearing them in; instead, they were relieved of their badges and service weapons and taken out of the sheriff’s office inside inmate vans with police snipers posted on nearby rooftops.

Clark Talmage Stevens, chief of staff for the commission and a former adviser to presidents Carter and Reagan, told the New York Times it was “an embarrassment” and “blatant mass political firing.” He added: “This is all over the country, like we’re a bunch of goofballs.”

It was also expensive. The firings wound up costing taxpayers $7 million in settlements and court costs.

Then, in 2006, Lee Scott made a run for county commission against a white incumbent, Michael Edmondson. He distributed fliers with Edmondson’s face superimposed over a Confederate flag. Scott lost, but the changing of the guard was nearly complete. With the exception of Edmondson, the white Democrats who’d controlled Clayton County government were all cast out. The political leadership finally mirrored the demographics.

It’s hard for an outsider not to notice the role the Scotts have played in Clayton County’s political circus. They’re close allies with Hill, often contributing to each others’ campaigns. And Bell has openly bickered with Lee and Jewel Scott. But he reserves his harshest criticism for Hill, who was once his driver.

“If Victor Hill was [white], we would have already run him out of town, hung him in effigy, and we would’ve cussed his grandma out even if she were already dead,” Bell says. “We would have not tolerated it. I’m worried about the fact that we vote for race over the ability to lead.”

Yes, the new Black majority in control of Clayton County are goofballs; they’re also grossly incompetent. And yet, all those in seats of power were elected (or have benefited) from the racial demographic changes that have re-made Clayton County from a majority white county into just another Prince George’s County.

 No Scarlett, there won’t always be a Tara. And frankly, the new Black majority doesn’t give a damn.

They just re-elected Victor Hill, a man who upon seizing democratic power as sheriff fired all white officers and had snipers on the roof when they were escorted out of the building.

Black people support Obama 94-0 in the newest poll released by NBC/WSJ, meaning Mitt Romney has zero Black support.

Democracy in America.

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