Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Pedro's Revenge

Posted By on Wed, Jul 16, 2008 at 2:07 PM

In this week’s Scene, we explore the possibility of a lawsuit challenging the rezoning of public schools. To win, black leaders would need what lawyers call “a smoking gun” to show the decision-makers’ actual intent to discriminate against blacks. It's a nearly impossible standard to meet. But in this case, Pedro Garcia’s memos might just do the trick. By casting various public officials as in cahoots with the Chamber of Commerce in a secret conspiracy to yank black children out of white suburbia, Garcia doesn't leave much to a judge's imagination. If a discrimination lawsuit doesn’t work, there’s always those violations of the open meetings law that Garcia also describes in his memos. In meetings about whether to file the lawsuit, civil rights lawyer Larry Woods says one public official, whom he declined to name, is already telling potential plaintiffs about one seemingly illegal meeting. “He said, ‘Hey, I was there,’ and he named the six or seven business people who were there along with two school board members and another board member on the speakerphone, and it was real explicit the way this person described it to me,” Woods says.

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