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Stone: Protest won't find place in history like Montgomery

Gwinnett has no minority judges, no minority commission members and no minority school board members.

The county's legislative delegation includes two Hispanics, but the only black representative lives in DeKalb.

But a recent decision by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference to protest in the county over another issue could spur a more politically active minority community, political scientist Adam Stone said.

Stone said it's harder for minorities in Gwinnett to get elected because there aren't many "pockets of minority strength."

In other words, neighborhoods are more diverse, so there isn't one particular district that is more favorable to blacks than another.

While the location of the march is Gwinnett, the SCLC is promoting a national ban of the use of Taser guns.

Stone said relatives in California had even heard the news about Gwinnett's Taser case, but he didn't believe the location is as relevant politically.

Lawrenceville won't be remembered like Montgomery, the site of the civil rights bus boycott, or Selma, the site of the march over the Edmund Pettis Bridge, Stone said.

As a matter of fact, Stone said he didn't believe the protest would have any effect locally, where District Attorney Danny Porter is under fire for not prosecuting deputies who used the Taser on Frederick Williams in jail. Williams died later, some suspect because of the stun gun.

"That's interesting that we have a race issue in a suburban middle-class county," Stone said. "When people think of race issues, they look at DeKalb, Fulton and some other counties."

Stone said the protest could help the black community become more organized and help spur a move for more representation.

Earlier this year, the president of the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People called for a black to be named to the county's newest judgeship, but the issue was dropped in the aftermath of the Taser controversy.

Few expected to vote

Gwinnett's representatives could become more diverse this week.

Melvin Everson hopes to become one of the first black Republicans elected to the General Assembly in his second try for the House District 106 post.

That seat is up after Phyllis Miller resigned to take the judgeship mentioned earlier.

Everson is on the ballot, along with Warren Auld and Garry Rhodes.

All three are expected to be out this weekend knocking on doors.

Expectations for turnout are a quite low - with political scientist Stone and Elections Supervisor Lynn Ledford guessing no more than 5 percent of the voters will turn out.

"It doesn't even make the radar for people. It's very important for the candidates to go out and talk to their friends and neighbors," Stone said. "This is almost an old-fashioned, get-your-people-out kind of thing."

Political Notebook appears in the Thursday and Sunday editions of the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Staff Writer Dave Williams contributed to this report.

Camie Young can be reached via e-mail at camie.young@gwinnettdailypost.com.