Talk to my chairman —VLCIA board members

Yesterday I wrote that we were left with hearsay through Ashley Paulk and people he talked to about what the Industrial Authority is up to, and I had left telephone messages with all five VLCIA board members. So far, three out of five have called me back.

Roy Copeland referred me to VLCIA Chairman Jerry Jennett for an update about the present status of the biomass plant.

He also had many good things to say about the activism in the community, including this:

Because people in the community are concerned, that makes us better. And sometimes there are good things that come out of disagreement.
This opinion is not new from him: he told me many of the same positive things about activism months ago after a VLCIA board meeting. We discussed that there were other things VLCIA does that were worth supporting.

He also said he is in favor of putting the minutes online, and he hopes that that will be put up for a vote soon.

Norman Bennett said he never saw the letter asking for the extension. He said his understanding is Wiregrass Power withdrew their letter asking for an extension. So when the deadline comes June 1st, if it’s not extended, the project ends. He reiterated that he didn’t see the letter. He said:

The ball’s in their court, and if they don’t even ask for an extension, it’s over and done with.
He also offered to get together with me next week to discuss various topics (I agreed). He remarked:
There are a lot of things we can do as a community to move things forward collectively.
He said he is interested in bringing in good solid industry that has upsides and few downsides.

Mary Gooding was very congenial, and on the subject of the biomass plant said:

Talk to my chairman.
She agreed that we might get together soon to discuss some other matters.

Tom Call has not called back. (Is VLCIA ever going to put a picture of Tom Call on its website? This is the fourth month he’s been on the VLCIA board.)

Chairman Jerry Jennett was in a board meeting of his company when I called, and has not yet called back.

We’ll see what the official VLCIA position is when Chairman Jennett calls me back.


6 thoughts on “Talk to my chairman —VLCIA board members

  1. Leigh Touchton

    Talk to my chairman? Mr. Quarterman, do you know which government body (City Council or County Commission?) appointed Ms. Mary Gooding?

  2. Bobbi A Hancock

    In high school, my accounting teacher always told me “silence is golden so shut up and get rich!” Maybe that’s what passing the buck to the chairman and no repsonse at all means. We should be used to this by now. Wouldnt be the first time the VCLIA has placed its values on money and not the citizens of our community.

  3. Bobbi A Hancock

    When a resolute young fellow steps up to the great bully, the world, and takes him boldly by the beard, he is often surprised to find it comes off in his hand, and that it was only tied on to scare away the timid adventurers.
    – Ralph Waldo Emerson

  4. Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange

    Leigh Touchton’s question sounds like it would be easy to answer (and for Mary Gooding it is: she’s a county appointee), but several of the VLCIA board appointments are results of protracted contorversy and negotiations between the City of Valdosta and the Lowndes County Commission. More on that in later posts. -jsq

  5. George Boston Rhynes

    April 28, 2011
    I was at the last LOWNDES COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS MEETING when Chairman Ashley Paulk shared information about the Biomass Project extension being denied and the alleged secrecy surrounding keeping the general public ignorant.
    “Because certain people won’t share with you and I think it’s unfair. We were approached about three weeks ago, Mr. (Joe) Pritchard (County Manager) was, by the Industrial Authority, and we were tentatively asked to make a move to ask that they not extend the contract.” (Chairman Paulk!)
    Chairman Paulk words prove that there is an apparent pattern and practice in our community to keep the general public deaf; dumb, and bind to what happens in our beloved community on several fronts. Therefore, citizen cannot make intelligent decision based on facts from public meetings due in part to our local television, newspaper and radio stations along with some elected officials that seems to be following the Old Valdosta City Charter of 1860 mentality.
    This was a charter displayed in Valdosta City Hall in 2004. It was reluctantly removed from after I asked repeatedly that it be removed.
    The Valdosta Daily Times asked a question if the council would remove the charter. However after it was removed the TIMES NEVER published where this DISGRACEFUL CHARTER was removed to. This Charter read:
    So, I agree with Chairman Ashley Paulk “keeping this information away from Dr. Noll and the general public was unfair.” But I will go a step farther and say that withholding information from the tax paying public could very well bankrupt both levels of local government by lawsuits due to citizen eyes being opened even without a local free press that will do investigative reporting.
    Moreover if this now proven pattern and practice of keeping citizens ignorant continues here in South Georgia it will eventually destroy our economy along with the news media outlets that fails to keep the general public fully informed on vital issues. It is obvious that little to no investigative reporting is being done except by the citizens that love this community too much to see it travel backwards.
    I commend Dr. Noll, members of Wiregrass Activists for Clean Energy along with Local Civil Rights Organizations for taking a strong stand on behalf of our children, elderly and the “Economically Oppressed” citizens to breathe clean air live healthy and productive lives here in Valdosta Georgia.
    Moreover Pastor Manning of New Life Ministries also played an important role along with her congregations. As they took their ministries beyond the four walls of a material structure and comforts zone to show love outside of themselves by helping people that refused to help themselves.
    Too often we complain about Whites not understanding the poor and “Economically Oppressed” people in our community. However the proposed Biomass Plant coming into the low income community united citizens across the spectrum to get involved to make a statement of life over death.
    However, I was extremely disappointed in Blacks that live in the area, send their children to the schools and attend churches in the proposed area but just sat while others fought on their behalf.
    It is my prayer and hope through work and dedication that the religious community will wake-up and break off the spell of the Leviathan. And realize that our ancestors gave every ounce of life and breath to preserve this great nation for all Americans. Therefore it is our duty to love and respect our neighbors as we would want them to love and respect us.
    In addition, our local editor has refused to meet with citizens on behalf of the “Economically Oppressed” citizens in our community. But they still need money and jobs on the South Side of the railroad racks of economic and social divide. Just having public meetings and having them publicized will not put food on their table, provide pampers for their babies or provide money for the “Economically Oppressed” to pay their utility bills.
    Therefore we cannot simply bury our heads in the sand like the legend concerning the Ostrich Bird and pretend there is no problem. Yes, we have many problems in our community but the “Economically Oppressed” also needs jobs, equal opportunity in acquiring and benefiting from local contracts and federal dollars that comes into our community and access to a news media that will hear their cries and not be pushed to the side. God bless everybody equally!
    Retired United States Armed Forces Military Veteran
    A concerned citizen and Co- Supporter of the Economically Oppressed
    Valdosta, Georgia

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