“I think people would be more interested in government if they could see it going on,” said Gretchen Quarterman, candidate for Chairman of the Lowndes County Commission, on the Chris Beckham drive-time radio show 11 October 2012, 105.9, WVGA. Here’s video of that interview, followed by some excerpts.
A few excerpts:
Our county government does a lot of stuff really great… but one of the things they don’t do very well don’t advertise themselves; not very transparent; they don’t say what a great job they’re doing; so I thought we could improve in that area.
The County Commission a couple of years ago had two different studies commissioned about growth and planning, and one of them was… growth close to existing services. The county already has an urban service area, like how far the water line goes, how far the sewer line goes. And that growth should be infilled, and not expand outside of that area, because that saves resources in terms of how far you have to send the sheriff, how far the school bus has to go. And they also gave an average house price, what it costs in terms of property taxes to support the services that are sent to them, to a development. So I would say close in to existing services is the way to go.
We need to actively seek out manufacturing jobs,
so that we have something that people can do, like Dublin, Georgia did, and Norcross, where they got solar manufacturers to come to their community. They now make something that they send away and they do it over and over. We need to do something like that here.
We need to expand the hospital, and we’re doing some of that now. But we need to become a health-care destination. And rather than our citizens going to Gainesville or Columbus for specialized things, we need to have those services here.
And with the moving of the library and the auditorium, that does offer the opportunity for the hospital to expand, and to partner with VSU and the new healthcare training, we can then train therapists and nurses and become even maybe a teaching hospital where doctors that are training somewhere could do their internships here; that would be great!
The most direct thing the County Commission does about that is they appoint people to boards and authorities. So they appoint people to the Industrial Authority, or to Parks and Recreation.
Parks and Recreation is another place where we’re bringing people into our community as with baseball tournaments. We could do something similar if we had soccer fields. So if we build some soccer fields and have a soccer tournament, we have great weather here, so we should really be taking advantage of that. And we’re TitleTown, so we’re already sports-focussed, so we can do things like that.
And that’s why we have the distribution centers here, because we have great access.
It’s not really a surprise, but the thing that’s really enjoyable is how nice people are. When I talk to them they are really so kind, so encouraging, so appreciative of the fact that people will run for office. That’s really wonderful; I like that!
Democrats are about making sure that everybody fares equally, that we’re helping everybody.
In our community, too, we have the five cities and the county. Everybody who lives in the city also lives in the county, but there are who live in the county in the unincorporated areas, and we need to really think about our community as a whole. How can we help our whole community. How can we help our metropolitan area, too, because we work closely with Brooks, and Lanier, and Cook Counties, so we have a lot of synergy with them, and we need to think about our whole area.
One of the things that’s in my mind lacking right now is the meetings are extraordinarily brief and there’s not a lot of questions or discussions in the meeting. And as chairman I think that people don’t come to the meeting because they’re there for 6 or 8 or 10 minutes and they just feel like that “why should I spend ten minutes when they’re not even going to discuss anything”. And I think people would be more interested in coming to the meetings and in government if they could see it going on.
Chris Beckham: Of course there was a decision made with the trash issue, which I know you’ve probably heard a lot about now?
Not as much as I would have liked. But I did hear quite a lot about it, yes.
Trash disposal, that’s really a safety issue, too, because we don’t want to have trash piling up on the side of the road, or people not disposing correctly of their trash, and it becoming unsanitary conditions, and yet we want it to be affordable so that people feel like they’re getting good service for their money.
Upcoming events mentioned by Chris Beckham:
- 8:30-11:30 AM 27 October KLVB Make a difference Day
- 8 AM – 5 PM 15-26 October Early Voting, at the Board of Elections, 2808 N. Oak St., Valdosta
- 7PM Thursday 18 October Candidates Forum, Rainwater Conference Center, Valdosta
- all day Tuesday 6 November Election Day at your polling place for your precinct