In which we discover one candidate works for the City of Valdosta and opposes SPLOST. Candidates took questions directly from the audience and answered them, unlike at later candidate forums. Candidates from the smaller cities started their tradition of not showing up for forums outside their cities. Here’s the list of qualified candidates. See also the videos of the 30 Club forum 2013-10-21 and the videos of the AAUW forum 2013-10-15.Call to Order, Moment of Silence for Congress, Pledge, Approval of Minutes, Treasurer’s Report.
- Introduction by Gretchen Quarterman
Valdosta Mayor John Gayle
He noted that SPLOST VII was approved last year by every precinct in the City of Valdosta. He didn’t say that given that this is a city election year it’s very likely SPLOST will be approved by a majority of voters this year. He carefully distinguished SPLOST, LOST, and ESPLOST. He pointed out that if SPlOST fails, even with a MOST and property taxes raised to their maximum, Valdosta still wouldn’t have enough revenue to support all services and would have to make massive cuts.
- Part 2
- Sales Tax: Gretchen Quarterman clarified a point the Mayor raised.
- Part 1
- Robert Yost (Incumbent) was in Atlanta and couldn’t make it.
- Richard Miller Video.
- Joseph Wheeler Video.
- Vanassa Flucas (Incumbent) sent her regrets that she would be at a school board meeting and said she would try to come next month. Video.
- James Nelson was not present. Video.
Valdosta School Board District 3None of the candidates for the smaller cities appeared.
- All come –Gretchen Quarterman
- Direct questions either to a candidate or to a district –Gretchen Quarterman
Stop allowing permits for building in flood zones? Video.
Most candidates said they’d have to investigate what the permits were for. Richard Wheeler indicated people should take the risk if they wanted to. Only Richard Miller mentioned there are already regulations in place for that, and he’d have to seriously review any variances from them.
What will you do about flooding on Lee Street? Video.
John Hogan mentioned erosion and some other issues.
Alvin Payton Jr. mentioned a case where a holding pond solved similar issues (at Michael’s Deli); also impervious surfaces.
Richard Miller mentioned recent rainfall probably would cause problems elsewhere, too, and he would study that with the city engineer if elected.
Others also had thoughts.
Name two things to correct dropout rate in Valdosta schools? Video.
The school board candidates both had ideas about this.
Ways to cut costs for the taxpayers? Video.
Alvin Payton said the auditorium is a quality of life issue, and cutting costs would mean cutting services.
Channel 17 and Mathis Auditorium: cut back or not, why and why not?
Sandra Tooley said she’d have to check the income and benefits of Mathis Auditorium, and as for Channel 17 she had plans for that and it’s a benefit for the whole city, including jobs.
Junior Jackson also praised Channel 17 for getting information out, and said Mathis Auditorium provides jobs.
Continued in another video
John Hogan said thought we should keep both, and also look at ways to bring in more revenue.
Alvin Payton said he would definitely continue to support Channel 17. While Mathis Auditorium operates at a deficit, the city had just budgeted for renovations to help it provide services, and he supports that.
Joseph Wheeler thought the private sector can handle television and he thought Mathis Auditorium was just entertainment not needed.
Richard Miller thought both were assets and he was in favor of keeping them.
Calvin Graham noted Channel 17 is an outlet for older people, and we need to promote Mathis Auditorium and keep it.
Here’s a video playlist:
Videos of Candidates and Mayor Gayle about SPLOST
Monthly Meeting, Lowndes County Democratic Party (LCDP),
Gretchen Quarterman (Chair), Dennis Marks (Vice-Chair / Elections), Amanda Hall (Vice-Chair / Membership), Richard Saeger (Vice-Chair / Qualifying), Jerrell Anderson (Secretary), James J. Parker (Treasurer),
Videos by Gretchen Quarterman for Lowndes County Democratic Party (LCDP),
Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia, 9 September 2013.