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02 March 2010

On Milton County, Some Folks Just Don't Get It

In Monday's Atlanta Journal-Constitution, reporter Ralph Ellis touches on the movement to re-form Milton County as part of a larger article detailing the animosity between three newly-created cities and Fulton County government.

Ellis writes, "Five years after the first new city emerged, there are enough accusations, counterclaims, lawsuits, secession threats and racial overtones to create a permanent municipal divide. People aren’t polite when discussing their differences. They’re angry and combative." [Ellis, Ralph (2010-3-1). No love lost between Fulton, cities. Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved on 2010-3-2.]

People, in Fulton County, have a reason to be angry and combative. Nothing about Fulton County works.

Now, that great representative of the people, Bill Edwards, says that the creation of the new cities and the movement to resurrect Milton County is all about race.

The Milton County movement smacks of racism, as did the creation of the northside cities, said Bill Edwards, a Fulton County commissioner.

“People seem to treat us differently,” said Edwards, who represents Fulton’s southside.

I disagree.

Milton County has nothing to do with racism. Milton County has everything to do with Fulton County being too big for its britches. Milton County has everything to do with creating smaller government that is closer to the people it serves. That's why these new cities were created.

This is a fact that is backed up by Steve Rapson, the city manager of Union City:

"If the citizens of Sandy Springs, Johns Creek and Milton thought they’d been heard, I don’t think those cities would be in existence today," Rapson told the AJC.

If Fulton County worked the way it was intended; if Fulton County operated similar to the way Fayette County operates, does anyone really think people would have jumped at the chance to start from scratch with a new city? Does anyone think those same people would be clamoring for a new county?

Starting new government is hard work. Creating new government involves a lot of heavy lifting. It would be much easier to keep the current government that is in place, but when that government no longer functions, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish that government and institute new government, "laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."

That is not my opinion. That is the essence of the Declaration of Independence; that the powers of the government is derived from the consent of the governed. The people of north Fulton worked within the system for a very long time. Now they have withdrawn their consent to be governed by Fulton County. And they feel that their only alternative is to create new cities and a new county.

Sadly, there are folks who still don't get it. They say the secession movement in Fulton County is about nothing but race. However, I suggest to those reading this that if you talk to the people who voted to create the new cities and are backing the move to re-create Milton County, race will be the last thing that enters that conversation.