Runaround —Leigh Touchton

Leigh Touchton responded to Valdosta Mayor John Fretti’s response to her previous post. -jsq
Happy Birthday, Mayor Fretti, and thank you for posting publicly.

However, I wish you would stop trying to pass Mayor and Council’s portion of responsibility for the biomass incinerator to the Industrial Authority. I delivered a letter to Mayor and Council Thursday night outlining 10 reasons your Utilities Director can legitimately give when he (hopefully) follows Mayor and Council’s recommendation to refuse to sell gray water to the proposed biomass incinerator. I and many other citizens are tired of the run-around and the shifting of responsibility for this “biomess” from one public official or group to another.

A councilmember told me that Council would never vote

on selling gray water but that the Utilities Director, Henry Hicks, now has the say-so on whether the gray water gets sold. Is he going to do as Brad Lofton did? By that I mean, is he going to sell the incinerator the gray water and then resign and move his family to a less polluted community? (Mr. Hicks, I mean no disrespect, but apparently your employers are making you the focal point for this decision and telling me that it’s all up to you.) It is hard to believe that an employee of this city is now being publicly described by at least one Council member as the decision-maker as to whether gray water gets sold to the plant. No one else on Council told me any differently when I brought it to their attention Thursday night, not one of them chose to address it during Council Comments.

It is my understanding that selling gray water for purposes of incinerator cooling has never been done in Valdosta before, that the concentrated toxic slurry leftover from that vaporization process has never been processed by the Mud Creek Wastewater Treatment plant before, and that no one has provided an impact study on the facility’s infrastructure to see if this slurry would be safe for the plant. I don’t want our City to have to spend millions to repair degraded machinery as a side-effect of this decision. The amount of money the City might realize from the sale of the gray water might be miniscule compaired to the repair costs resulting from this decision. Penny wise is pound foolish.

I thank you for your courtesy when Dr. Noll comes to CTBH, I wish that you had exhibited this same courtesy six years ago to the SCLC and NAACP. It will be six years May 5 since you arrested 15 of us, including all the officers in both organizations, for asking to rename a park. A street got renamed Thursday night and no one had to go to jail, so that’s progress.

I thank you for your invitation at the end of CTBH for people to leave if they choose. We are cognizant that we often pack the room and make it difficult for people to get in and out of the pews when they need to proceed with their own agenda items, and we are respectful of all citizens who wish to participate in their own government. I wish the Tea Party were as respectful of us and our children to tell their president Roy Taylor to govern himself accordingly, I was astonished at him yelling “and she’s really attractive too” to the young mother whose child won an award Thursday night. Perhaps if the Tea Party cannot appeal to Mr. Taylor’s sense of propriety, then Council might be called upon to insist that he show the proper respect to other citizens at Council meetings. There were children present. I don’t want my daughter thinking that her City Council tolerates outbursts that are sexist, all the women in that room, and many if not most of the men, were insulted.

Thank you for your attention to these issues, and for your courtesy to us at CTBH.

She also posted several more comments, which you can see here and here. -jsq

2 thoughts on “Runaround —Leigh Touchton

  1. Proflowerchild

    Hats off to your efforts! I am a resident of Georgia, and this is the first i have heard of this. Maybe this is all happening on the local level. If this is or becomes a state issue, how can others help?

  2. Leigh Touchton

    State legislature could enact legislation banning biomass, but one of the easiest ways IMO to change the dynamic state-wide would be to change the monopoly that Georgia Power has on regulations. Most other Southern states’ solar industries are not hamstrung by state laws that prevent them from building large arrays. The solar group that built a small array here (Hanna Solar) told me they could easily have built one ten times as large, but that Georgia Power has a stranglehold on the state regulatory agency and solar is denied full participation in the energy marketplace in Georgia. This contrasts vividly with what is going on with solar industry in Florida and most other southern states.

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