What will you do? —John S. Quarterman @ VCC 7 April 2011

I wanted to know what the council and the protesters will do when the biomass plant is canceled. I still want to know: what will you do?

Here’s the video, followed by my points.

What will you do? —John S. Quarterman @ VCC 7 April 2011
Regular monthly meeting of the Valdosta City Council (VCC),
Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia, 7 April 2011,
Videos by Gretchen Quarterman for LAKE, the Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange.

Before I started, the mayor noted that many people needed to go to an event at 7PM (he didn’t name it, but it was the 100 Black Men Annual Dinner.) He offered to proceed with scheduled business and re-open Citizens to be Heard at the end of the meeting. Nobody objected. I had already waited until nobody else seemed to want to speak.

My points:

  • As I’ve suggested before consider recording these sessions and putting them on YouTube. At least five video cameras here today indicate some interest in that from the public.
  • This meeting is so entertaining Frank Barnas is here in person!
  • To the people who have come, I applaud your spirit of activism, your spirit of participation your spirit of community. And I hope that perhaps the council might say that.
  • I spelled shovel for the mayor, while reminding him he helped at the Wiregrass Solar groundbreaking. One way he helped was by keeping the protesters there from being arrested by him and the police chief not sticking to the letter of the law about permits. Instead, they not only didn’t arrest anybody, they didn’t even fine anybody. This is an example of how the Valdosta City Council:
    You are elected representatives of the people,
    you are not law enforcement officers,
    you are not contract enforcement officers.
  • The mayor of Gretna, Florida put out a proclamation, after Adage said they were not going to build a biomass plant, saying there would be no biomass plant.
    The city of Valdosta, the Azalea City, TitleTown, the great city of Valdosta, with the elected officials elected to represent the people, could make such a proclamation before, instead of waiting for somebody else to make the decision for them.
    The Gretna plant wasn’t built because nobody wanted to buy the power from it. Electricity in Georgia is probably even cheaper than in Florida. And just like back in April 2010, today nobody wants to buy the power from the proposed Wiregrass Power LLC biomass plant. So that plant will never be built. So there is no political risk in saying you are against it.
  • To those in the audience whom I just complimented:
    What I want to know is; don’t stop what you’re doing, but what will you do when it’s all over and the plant is cancelled? I hope you will continue your activism, your participation and your community, because there are so many things that need to be done around here. For example do you know the Industrial Authority wants to build a private prison right here in Lowndes County? There are positive things, too, like local agriculture, which I happen to know Council member James Wright is interested in. And there are plenty of other things.
    Elected officials can do their jobs better if the community helps them.
And LAKE can do its job better if people send in notes, transcriptions, etc. of their points so we can post them along with their videos. For that matter, if you stand up and speak to a government body, their minutes are likely to say “so-and-so spoke”. Unless you also hand them a written version of what you want to say, which will end up in the public record where anybody can see it via open records request.