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Adventures in Contrived Allegation Land

Snellville mayor falsely alleges racism.

(Part 1 of what’s sure to be a multi-part series.)

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream of a nation in which people are not judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. For almost fifty years, countless people have tried to make that noble dream a reality. Unfortunately, a disturbing number of ethically challenged people have dishonored that dream by distorting its principles to further their personal agendas. These distortions are commonly perpetuated by a practice known as “playing the race card”.

Rather than dealing with the true issues at hand, people who play the race card seek to trump all the other figurative cards in the deck of human relations. And so it was, at the November 12, 2012 meeting of the Snellville City Council, when Kelly Kautz (mayor) played the race card in an apparent attempt to label other council members as racists. Although neither race nor ethnicity had ever been mentioned before in connection with a nomination, Kautz specified the race of only two of her 11 nominations that evening; she identified both nominees as African-American.

Her comments have left citizens and other Council members scratching their respective heads, wondering what prompted her inappropriate comments. It appears to me that the comments were just part of a procedural ambush, planned to discredit other Council members while attempting to position herself as a champion of diversity.

Kautz was already aware that one candidate would not be approved because he had failed to submit an application. Prior to his race being known or announced, Kautz stated that she was proceeding with his nomination in spite of objections about the nominee’s failure to submit an application.  The matter could have been easily resolved by simply withdrawing the nomination and resubmitting it after the appropriate application had been filed. But that procedure wouldn’t have fit Kautz’s apparent ambush plan.

The second nominee that Kautz identified as being African-American does not live in the city and works in Atlanta. The position for which he was nominated is the city’s representative on the Evermore Community Improvement District’s board of directors. Questions about the applicant’s suitability for the position had absolutely nothing to do with race and everything to do with the fact that he has absolutely no stake in the city. Further, from conversations with the applicant, it appeared that his primary reason for applying was to form a business alliance amongst the companies along the Highway 78 corridor. An overwhelming majority of those businesses are outside the city limits.

But announcing a nominee’s race was only one part of what appears to be Kautz’s plan for the evening. As specified in the city’s Code of Ordinances, a motion must be made and seconded before a vote on a nomination is taken. (For at least the last 12 years, that’s the way it has always been done in Snellville.) Kautz attempted to circumvent that procedure, citing Roberts Rules of Order. However, the City Attorney advised her that the Code of Ordinance takes precedence and that a motion and a second are required.

That begs the question as to why Kautz attempted to change procedures. In my opinion, it has to do with trying to force a vote that could later be marketed as racially motivated. Instead, neither nomination came to a vote because there was no second to the original motions. That outcome doesn’t work particularly well when someone is trying to paint a picture of racism.

All forms of racism and ethnic prejudice are repugnant. And in my opinion, the most offensive type is wherein one person’s race is used by another as a platform for self-promoting political posturing.

Snellville’s population is indeed diverse, and as such, members of the city’s boards, committees and commissions should be as diverse as the citizen population they serve. However, the best way to achieve that is to first aggressively solicit applications. To assure that the best interests of all our citizens are served, applicants should be nominated based on their qualifications and willingness to serve. And when the time comes, I can assure you that all applicants will be confirmed based on the content of their character, not the color of their skin.

Note:

My apologies to anyone who finds the term “African-American” objectionable or offensive. It is used herein to preserve the accuracy of the comments made by Kautz during the Council meeting.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Kenneth Stepp November 21, 2012 at 01:11 AM
If Mr Emanuel and Crystal Huskey would give me permission, I'd love to repost this on my sites. I may change the title a bit for clarity.
Dave Emanuel November 21, 2012 at 02:45 AM
You certainly have my permission. As I stated in my addition to the original Patch article, "I find Kautz’s allegations of racism as insulting as they are false, and equally unfortunate, they are all too typical of her mode of operation." The citizens of Snellville deserve honest and forthright representation but unfortunately, many citizens don't realize what they're getting. By reposting, you'll make more people aware of shenanigans like the one described above, and hopefully that will help create greater transparency.
Kenneth Stepp November 21, 2012 at 01:57 PM
Mr Emanuel. As a member of a family with a proud history abolitionism, I found her comments repugnant. My family gave up their wealth, land, freedom, and in many cases their lives fighting the ugliest racism America has ever seen. To see someone using the "race card" for political gain is the ugliest form of racism in our times. Don't get me wrong. Many politicians do. Jesse, Al, and their minions use it frequently for personal gain. Watching a self important, self indulgent, spoiled, irresponsible, unreliable, undependable, unbelievable person like Mayor Kautz use it is just awful. But this is what we expect out of the "Out Of Order" queen of Snellville. She represents what is still broken in your city. Elected leaders of the past, that took more than they gave from your city, that could never win another election is who your mayor is there for, not the voters. When I started looking into Snellville politics I knew no one. I began my investigation when George Anderson was hired to damage Mr Witts reputation. Who donated to his "nonprofit" so Mr Anderson would attack Mr Witts. I will expose them soon. Mr Witts, it turns out is great. He loves Snellville and will do whatever it takes to make it a better place, including enduring these lying attacks, even spending his own money and talents on projects. Mayor Kautz and her band of old ideas, politically spent, takers, appear to be in the middle of it. Sorry for the rant. This kind of self centered leadership frustrates me.
David Brown November 21, 2012 at 09:17 PM
Kenneth, I have served nine years on the Board of Appeals. For many of those years, I was the only you know what on Snellville's boards and commissions.:) Please forgive me for supporting more diversity on our boards and commissions. I desire to see our boards and commissions look more like Snellville. I'm sorry that you view that as "playing the race card". I don't see it that way at all. Well, enjoy your Thanksgiving. I will enjoy mine, especially since it is also my 32nd wedding anniversary.
Kenneth Stepp November 21, 2012 at 09:30 PM
David You may want to look at this without a bias. Not one person, especially me, wants anything but diversity. Rules have to be followed. One person had never filled out an application, the other didn't live in Snellville. These are facts that cannot be overlooked. There were councilmen that brought up the fact that these rules had to be followed. And Mayor Kautz brought up the "Race Card" when the merely insisted the rules be followed. Nothing about race should have ever come up. By diversity you mean that the boards and committees should look like the citizenry of Snellville. Can we start with them at least being citizens of the city? Calling them racist because they wanted things done legally was what is wrong with race relations in America today. Crying racism where none exists should insult anyone that actually cares about the subject. The ones that use the race card as a tool are the problem, not the solution.
Jerome Williams November 26, 2012 at 05:00 PM
She do bad stuff again. I keep sayin this Kautz woman is bad and she keep doing bad stuff. I know what she trying I done had that pulled on me before.

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