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Republicans speak out against divisive commentary

CONYERS -- Members of the Rockdale Republican Party weighed in Thursday against an opinion piece that drew criticism from Democrats in January.

Several members of the local GOP spoke out at the Rockdale Board of Elections and Voter Registration meeting Thursday, some calling for the resignation of member Jonny Brown, the Republican representative on the board. In November Brown wrote a guest editorial titled "The Little White Plane," which was posted on the news website of Edward C. Tracey at www.edwardctracey.com. In the posting, Brown compares Rockdale County to a "little white plane" that is painted with more black paint over time. Brown draws a direct comparison to changing demographics and the election of more black officials in Rockdale County and concludes the piece with the plane being hijacked by "left wing liberals" and crashing.

Diane Davis, who has been active in the local Republican Party, said she was distressed by the local party, partly because the party leadership had not spoken out against Brown's posting.

"I am one of those people who have not spoken out ... ." Davis said. "But I want you to know that I'm ashamed of myself for not speaking out. There has been nothing but silence from the leadership of my party. They have not spoken to the content of Mr. Brown's article.

"I personally don't want to be painted with the same brush Mr. Brown painted his plane with. I don't see myself that way, and I don't know anybody who knows me who sees me that way."

Ian Caraway, who said he was speaking only on behalf of himself, called Brown's actions "a scar on the county and the Republican Party."

He called on Brown to resign; failing that, he said the party should take appropriate action.

"Mr. Brown should resign, and if he refuses, his party should have the moral courage to challenge his presence on this board," he said.

Caraway said Republican candidates reached out to every constituency in Rockdale during the campaign season, which created a feeling of inclusiveness among voters. That goodwill could have continued, despite the elections losses, if not for "Mr. Brown's poor behavior."

"Mr. Brown has departed, in my view, from what we were campaigning for and what the candidates were campaigning for," Caraway said.

Shauna Jaynes also spoke out against Brown's commentary, saying that Brown should step down.

"I am a Republican in this county, and I am deeply hurt and saddened by the lack of respect shown by the leaders of the party when it comes to this letter," she said.

The Republican Party had no response Thursday other than its initial reaction in January stating that Brown's commentary was his personal opinion and that Brown was not speaking for the party.

Lynn Brown, who is a vice chairman in the Republican Party and Jonny Brown's wife, read the same statement from party chairman Don Williamson that she read at the Board of Elections meeting in January. "We do not subscribe to the group or herd mentality and maintain that if Mr. Brown wants to state a personal opinion, that is not speaking for the Republican Party in any manner, shape or form," the statement read in part.

At the January Board of Elections meeting, the Democratic Party also called for Brown's resignation. At that meeting, Doreen Williams, chairman of the local Democratic Party, issued a statement calling Brown's commentary racist and stating that Democratic elected officials are under the same obligation as Republicans to protect Rockdale County and will be held accountable by the public.

The Rockdale Board of Elections is made up of three members -- one nominated by the Republican Party, one by the Democratic Party and one named at-large by the two other members. Brown was named to the board in November 2011 after the Republican and Democratic members could not agree on the at-large member. Those two members, one of whom was Brown's wife, were removed from the board by then-Superior Court Judge Sidney Nation.

Jonny Brown was then named to the board by the Republicans, and Caycie Dix was selected by the Democratic Party. She later resigned to run for Probate Court judge. The Democrats replaced her with Karen James. William Todd now serves as the at-large member of the board.

Comments

Back2reality 1 year, 9 months ago

If it was a democrat who painted the caddy (plane) BLACK this wouldnt be a story. Whats good for the goose is good for the gander.... Stand tall through it all. Now, lets get back to reality.

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Elmo 1 year, 9 months ago

It isn't a "story" anyway, it's a political statement from local hacks who feel compelled by PC to prove how inclusive they can be.

A rapper does a record about killing cops and "whitey", and he gets a Grammy. This guy does a parable using an airplane as an example of the affect the demographic shift has caused, and he gets fired.

How dare he have an opinion in this "new" Amerika.

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Elmo 1 year, 9 months ago

With all the decisiveness from our current president the county-level establishment republicans are feigning incredulity over a man exercising his right of free speech?

It's little wonder that conservatives are deserting the GOP In droves with a gaggle of county-level Karl Roves trying to deny the the same rights as the democrats do.

Just another example of the chicken hearted PC crowd kow-towing to the rhetoric of political correctness.

The airplane parable is based on the truth...something both the GOP and the democrats seem to avoid like the plague.

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Elizabeth_Allen 1 year, 9 months ago

Elmo, you must be from Sesame Street or some other land of make believe, to compare principled grassroots Republicans in Rockdale County and surrounding areas to Karl Rove. It is the duty of grassroots conservative Republicans to speak out against corrupt authoritarian regimes that hide behind the 1st Amendment, when it is convenient for them and ignore, suppress, and outright deny the 1st Amendment when it is dissent to one of the "leadership"'s decrees. An illegal "merit system" (in conflict with GA GOP rules), not to mention the violations of Call & state laws at the recent MPM. Did the gentleman that Jonny Brown spoke to in a nasty tone and called the deputy over to have him escorted out not have 1st Amendment rights during your party's MPM, just as much as you claim Jonny Brown to have? Why was this gentleman's 1st Amendment rights not protected by your regime, when all he did was bring up the fact that the "merit system" being used by the party was against GA GOP rules during an MPM?

Karl Rove, for those that don't know, leaked a story to the New York Times, stating he was creating a new PAC (his other PACs had a 2% return on investment - better than the Rockdale GOP's ROI, but still abysmal results), his new PAC is being created to get involved in Republican primaries throughout America in 2014 and Rove said he is in a civil war with grassroots conservative Republicans. Rove then tried to backtrack (on the story he leaked to the NYT) and stated, oh no I don't want a civil war with the grassroots or TEA Party.

If we are doing comparisons, Karl Rove is very similar to the Rockdale GOP leadership in the last election cycle - all talk, little action, and no results!

No one is disputing that Jonny Brown has the 1st Amendment right to spew his racially divisive language - that is a given. But as an appointed official by the Rockdale GOP to the Board of Elections, he has the right to say anything he chooses but is also accountable for his words to the citizens he represents. That's not PC, that's just common sense!

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Elmo 1 year, 9 months ago

Thank you, Mrs. Rove...you made my point.

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Elizabeth_Allen 1 year, 9 months ago

Thank you Elmo (Don)... you made my point as well. The only mini-Karl Rove within this district is contained within leadership in Rockdale & Newton County GOP's. You can say what you like but the people see right through it.

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Elizabeth_Allen 1 year, 9 months ago

You made my point. The only mini-Karl Roves within our area can be found within Rockdale/Newton GOP leadership. You can say anything you choose but the people are seeing right through it.

I ask you once more...

Why does Jonny Brown have 1st Amendment rights and the gentleman at the Rockdale MPM that Jonny Brown spoke to very rudely and called a deputy over to remove him, only because the gentleman spoke out against the broken GA GOP rules ("merit/point system") being utilized by the party - he does not have 1st Amendment rights? Should both not have 1st Amendment rights - or is it only the person who uses racially divisive language that the Rockdale County GOP defends?

Also, the gentleman at MPM was not an elected/appointed official - he was/is a private citizen participating in the MPM. Jonny Brown, on the other hand is an appointed member to the BOE - representing the GOP of Rockdale County, therefore his words are covered under the 1st Amendment (that is not in dispute) but as someone who chooses to be in the public eye - he has the RESPONSIBILITY to answer to the people he serves. If he does not want to answer to the people, then he is more than welcome to step down and return to life as a private citizen.

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Elmo 1 year, 9 months ago

Answer to the people HE serves? Really?

I don't see anyone demanding answers but the cowardly lions that make up the elitist arm of the local GOP.

Other than serving as a vehicle to demonstrate their immaculate diversity, the only comments I see are coming from the leadership, who dares to suppose what, and what is not, offensive to the rank and file. Without the people, your committees are little more than publicity-seeking, mutual admiration societies, at best.

Credibility is a terrible thing to waste.

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Elizabeth_Allen 1 year, 9 months ago

The Board of Elections is in place to serve the people of Rockdale County, just ask Judge Sidney Nation and review his ruling removing the wife of the current GOP appointee to the board.

Apparently, you have twisted who the elite are and who the grassroots are involved in this issue. The elite = the top two of Rockdale GOP's leadership (+ their spouses) from what I have been told and what I have witnessed since this controversy began. The grassroots = a very representative cross section of the Big Tent of the GOP, that still believe in the principles the party was founded upon, including speaking out against language that is being used to cause racial division. Speaking out against language that is more reflective of the Democrat party's belief in the collective, over the Republican party's belief in the individual. Just look to the GOP's history to see that our party was created by abolitionists from the Democrat and Whig parties.

Well you are right about two things - 1st - credibility is a terrible thing to waste. The "elites" are compromised of Rockdale GOP leadership, which has tarnished and removed any credibility the Rockdale GOP had worked hard to establish for decades! And 2nd - "Without the people, your committees are little more than publicity-seeking, mutual admiration societies, at best." - if you are referring to the foolish behavior by those in leadership to push away help, not go into the community, and have a party composed of cliquish authoritarian/totalitarian type rule - then you are right. The people speaking out against this are the exact opposite of this - they/we believe that the party should be in the community, active and involved year round - not begging for votes within the small anemic party that the current leadership has caused to exist by their inaction, support of posts like the "little white plane", and poor strategy choices.

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roots 1 year, 9 months ago

People, get out your dictionary or go online and look up the meaning of a RACIST, then do the the same thing for the meaning of PREJUDICE.

What you will discover is that very, very few people are true Racist. You will discover that almost all of us are in some ways Prejudice.

It's easy to spot the difference in people after being around them a short period of time no matter what Color, Race, Ethnic Orientation, Religious Belief or Age.

Learn the definition of words and the Education will Empower you and open your "Minds Eye" to UNDERSTANDING AND KNOWLEDGE.

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AnnaMae 1 year, 9 months ago

I question why Diane Davis and others are speaking out now. Where was she and her gang when Garvin Haynes was causing problems on the Board of Elections and the RWR? With his comments, emails and phone calls to Ms. Prescott and Mr. Wick and others over the past year . From what has been reported (http://www.rockdalecitizen.com/news/2...) and leaked out he is just as inflammatory. Where was the outrage? Since he is a Democrat, and the Democrats kept quite, why was there not a call for the Democrat party to ask Mr. Haynes to step down. Where was your outrage? So one has to question which is more damaging to the party, an article or the people in the same party speaking out.

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EarlyBird 1 year, 9 months ago

Why such an uproar. It's pretty much a true story.

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Elmo 1 year, 9 months ago

But once the democrats called for Brown's resignation, the GOPe folded like a cheap suit.

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1ayk 1 year, 9 months ago

Incompetence is where you find it. It has no color. Rockdale has it full share now. Anyone who challenges it is called racist and that is what brings out predudice. Look up incompetence and compare to the elected officials of the last election. Matches up pretty well!

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ClaytonBigsby 1 year, 9 months ago

Do these folks think that their embrace of political correctness is going to pay dividends at the next election? We just saw how elections go around here now, and that was before the airplane "parable" was published. Why not support Mr. Brown's right to free speech? That seems more in line with Republican values than demanding his head on a platter in the name of political correctness. There was very little indignation locally over Oz Nesbitt's diatribe on Facbook that even caught the attention of the Atlanta media. Republicans seem eager to "eat of their own" in this case, and that's sad. Stay strong and defend the man's righ tto express himself. It's not like a wave of democrats are going to vote GOP next time just because Davis, Caraway, etc want to make sure they're not called "racist", a word which seems a more feared appellation than "pedophile" these days, for crying out loud.

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Outcry 1 year, 9 months ago

yes, we all have the right to free speech. however, you have to realize that whenever you publish literature such as the "the little white plane", it's going to have a heavy affect on people. the writer gave his own opinon which he has the right to do, but not all republicans feel that way, and coming from a party that does not have a good track record of connecting to minority groups, that was simply wasn't a good look. having the right to express yourself comes with a certain level of responsibility, and we all seem to foreget that. your words don't just end on paper.

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Elmo 1 year, 9 months ago

I wasn't aware that it was "The Little White Plane" by "the Republican Party"...I was under the impression that a private individual wrote it.

The super-sensitive GOP must be adopting their own genre of tribalism to replace their once proudly held individual responsibility plank.

The Alinsky book - "Rules For Radicals" is turning the whole country upside down, and nary a peep about it from the GOP. It's also a book "affecting people".

Here's an observation as to why the GOP is losing all of its elections, you're deserting conservatives and their principles in order to "be liked" by the media and the opposition, ergo, conservatives are staying home on Election Day.

Why these RINO's (Republican In Name Only) don't just go ahead and switch to the democrat party is a mystery.

Finally, can you name one book that was NOT written to affect people? Usually if I don't like a book, I stop reading it and choose another...not go public in a coordinated effort to excoriate the author.

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SandraC 1 year, 9 months ago

It is a Republican Party issue because a. Mr. Brown is the Republican member of the Board of elections b. The husband of the Co Chairman of the Republican party who has already been kicked off of the Board of Elections c. It is my understanding when checking into the origin of release, 'The Little White Plane' was originally released at the regular Republican meeting.

Bad behavior by the democrats does not excuse bad behavior by the republicans. All representatives of each party should be careful of what they say publically in a diverse community such as Rockdale. This is not the wild west.

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Elmo 1 year, 9 months ago

So...except for Mr. Brown's little book, the GOP would have won the last election, in a landslide, right?

The Rockdale GOP Elite have deemed it so, to hell with the rank and file?

Maybe we out here in voter land should all go down and re-register as Independents, or Conservatives, so we could further promote our belief in freedom of speech, and association.

You're right, this isn't the "wild west", but it's not Russia either.

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SandraC 1 year, 9 months ago

It's not about 1st amendment rights, it's about elected officials maintaining a higher standard. It's also about someones ability to make good decisions, and that's where it feels like Mr. Brown has failed. As far as Mr. Nesbitt's comments, I totally agree with the commenter who said they were outrageous. The difference is that Mr. Brown is a party appointee and Mr. Nesbitt is elected by his constiuents. I would like to see both resign but the scenarios are different.

I registered to vote as soon as I moved here 6 years ago. Coming from a state that does register by party, I was surprised to realize that in Georgia there is no party registration.

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Elmo 1 year, 9 months ago

I see the state you're from doesn't understand metaphors either. But you're the typical interloper, people from other states and counties have been coming here for 50 years trying to remake Rockdale into their image, so what's new.

So that being said, it begs the question, whose "standard" is it that we should "maintaine"? You? A six-year resident?

If we little ol' southerner s are so far beneath your standards, well, Delta is ready when you are!

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NitetimeinDaytime 1 year, 9 months ago

As I've said before. He should resign (as should anyone in PUBLIC OFFICE should if they made similar comments). The issue is not that he has an opinion, the issue is that he broadcast that opinion, to the the public, a public he serves. The GOP is right in their actions. I wonder if some of you would be so supportive of this guy if he said the same backwards rhetoric about women. Maybe so.

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Elmo 1 year, 9 months ago

"The issue is not that he has an opinion, the issue is that he broadcast that opinion, to the the public, a public he serves."

Well that statement just about sums up the liberal mentality...like, it's not a problem unless you call someone else's attention to it?

Public he serves? It's already been said that he is NOT ELECTED, he is APPOINTED". The problem is that he made his opinion known to the non-elected masters that APPOINTED him.

Then you decided to throw in a strawman scenario by trying a "what if" situation regarding rhetoric about women. Typical liberal tripe...what next, he's starving kids and taking away grandma's social security?

Actually, he should just quit the board, and then write a book on how backwards IT is.

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NitetimeinDaytime 1 year, 9 months ago

"Well that statement just about sums up the liberal mentality...like, it's not a problem unless you call someone else's attention to it?"

Nope, not what I said. What I said was that if you serve the public in any capacity, you need to be careful to keep your backwards, racists opinions to yourself or suffer the consequences. I can only imagine what he says behind closed doors.

And maybe he should quit and write a 'backwards thinking' book. He seems to be the expert.

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Elmo 1 year, 9 months ago

So, you want to condemn the man for what you "imagine" he says ."behind closed doors"? Sort of judgmental, aren't you? Is that the profile you have established for him?

Maybe he should be jailed for daring to have thoughts and ideas different from your own. How dare him rely on the same constitution that protects you in slamming him.

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NitetimeinDaytime 1 year, 9 months ago

How is saying he needs to step down "condemnation"? I just believe he should no longer serve in this capacity for Rockdale County. Nowhere in my posts have I said that he should be anything other than asked to step down or step down on his own.

I do not believe the issue is the right to free speech. The issue is that this man's position requires that he have integrity and in turn he wrote a letter in a public forum that was disrespectful, insulting, and in bad taste. Therefore, goodbye integrity.

And yes, if he thought it was okay to write this letter and post it - one can infer that in casual conversations he has expressed similar ideas......

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Elmo 1 year, 9 months ago

Oh, I see...you believe that in order to attain a "position" in life one should abdicate their right to free speech. Interesting how you cherry pick the individuals allowed to be protected by the first amendment.

But, maybe he's saying something YOU don't want to hear, and you're resorting to the only remedy many can come up with when losing the debate...playing the race card.

How pathetic.

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NitetimeinDaytime 1 year, 9 months ago

Yeah, so we're just going to agree to disagree here. And just for the record, I didn't play any race card....Mr. Brown did.

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Elmo 1 year, 9 months ago

Then, why don't you sue him?

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