WSB-TV2 Interview

Justin Farmer (WSB-TV2 Anchor)
The head of DeKalb NAACP says the DeKalb School Board needs to find a way to guarantee that black lawyers get a piece of the board’s multi-million dollar budget. This tells WSB-TV2’s investigative reporter, Richard Belcher, that in itself this is an admission that the black community is too dependent.
Richard Belcher (WSB-TV2 Investigative Reporter)
The DeKalb school system spent nearly $5 million dollars on legal fees this past school year. This year it will be substantially less but still a hefty $3 million dollars. And the district is about to select a new firm.
A long time civil rights figure says the black majority on the school board needs to make sure that black lawyers get a piece of that.
John Evans (President of NAACP DeKalb County Branch)
We have to take what we have and mandate that we want some black firms…
Belcher – The NAACP president used remarkably blunt language to call on the majority black school board to share the wealth.
Evans – The makeup of this board and the makeup of this county almost demands that we have good representation from black law firms.
Belcher – He was equally blunt today.
Evans – There is no need in having some power, influence, or whatever you want to call it, if you don’t use it.
Belcher – Evans told me the reason the board needs to guarantee black participation is that black firms can’t win the work in an open competition.
Black law firms cannot compete? Why is that?
Evans – No. We don’t have it. We’re not big enough. We don’t have the resources. We don’t have the numbers. It’s just pure and simple.
Belcher – But in the same interview today, Evans told me something he did not tell the school board, that black people need to “stop letting people do things for us all the time. It makes you more dependent.”
Evans – Foodstamps and vouchers and this and this and every time you look up it’s a grant or some CID. That’s all they’re doing, is doing the things for us.
Belcher – But isn’t this asking for something you might not win in open competition?
Evans – Yes.
Belcher – How does that help?
Evans – It helps somebody make some money for Christ’s sake.
Evans told me he believes he’ll win this fight, but a spokesman for the DeKalb School District emailed me this afternoon to tell me that DeKalb doesn’t have an Affirmative Action policy governing purchasing.
The school board is expected to consider the new legal contract with one single firm early next month.