Category Archives: Law

U.S. House rules privatize records of sitting Congress members

I don’t think those words mean what they think they mean. “Official duty” and “personal property” generally are opposites, but the U.S. House this month defined them to be the same.

Proposed by Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy [R-CA-23], and passed 4:02 PM 3 January 2017 by a straight party-line vote, it’s H.Res.5 – Adopting rules for the One Hundred Fifteenth Congress.

“(b) Records created, generated, or received by the congressional office of a Member, Delegate, or the Resident Commissioner in the performance of official duties are exclusively the personal property of the individual Member, Delegate, or the Resident Commissioner and such Member, Delegate, or Resident Commissioner has control over such records.”.

Privatizing official records of Congress; what will they think of next? This is Continue reading

Pipelines companies don’t detect corrosion or stop explosions

A reminder of why to stop pipeline companies from burying investors’ money in the ground and get on with solar power: the pipeline that exploded in Texas last week was half owned by Spectra Energy, the pipeline company behind Sabal Trail, AIM, Penneast, and numerous other fracked methane invasions and behind thirty years of undetected corrosion resulting in leaks, explosions, property damage, and deaths. The pipeline company didn’t detect it and couldn’t even turn it off quickly. Want to bet that it, like Spectra’s Pennsylvania explosion last spring, was corrosion?

A very Texas report said “no people or cattle were injured” and also notice: “The fire is under control and will burn itself out.” Continue reading

Videos: Turnberry, Branham, Peterson Road Lift Station, and Commissioner Comments @ LCC 2016-12-13

24 minutes on REZ-2016-19 Turnberry at Thompson E-A to R-21 which changed to R-1 at the last minute, 14 minutes on Bill Branham’s REZ-2016-23 Copeland Road development, 4 on REZ-2016-24 Martin< 3 on REZ-2016-25 Cain’s Creekside RV Park, and 3 on the Peterson Road Lift Station Rehab, plus almost 5 minutes of Chairman and Commission Comments! Real discussion and revealing their opinions in public? What’s gotten into them? Did they see in advance the VDT’s Sunlight on the horizon?

Yet the Chairman said nobody could ask the audience to stand up on REZ-2016-19 Turnberry at Thompson and while they were waiting for the room to clear before the next item could start, Continue reading

Videos: Health appointment, 7 rezonings, abandonment, Soil Erosion, Wastewater, and alcohol @ LCC 2016-12-12

Bill Branham’s Copeland Road development got six minutes of discussion, the longest in yesterday morning’s Work Session, with others of the seven rezonings also getting discussion, plus, surprisingly, the proposed VOCA grant, because the outgoing DA spoke. They vote tonight at 5:30 PM. I would like to compliment the Commissioners on asking questions and having discussion in the Work Session. Even ever-silent Joyce Evans spoke up about the MIDS on-call bus system grant re-application.

They’re going to reappoint Dr. Randy Smith to the Board of Health. Chairman Bill Slaughter said: “Inside your packets you have a letter from Dr. Grove supporting Dr. Smith.”

But we the citizens, taxpayers, and recipients of health care didn’t get to see that letter. The Chairman went on to recommend Dr. Smith, and I thank him for making that recommendation in public where we could all see and hear it. Dr. Smith is probably a fine board member: that’s not the point. The point is if the public could see these things they might have useful input, not to mention it’s the public’s business the Commission is doing. Similarly Commissioners had a quarterly financial report “before you”, but the public couldn’t see it. If tiny Effingham County can publish its County Commission packets, mighty Lowndes County could to it, too.

Below are links to each of the LAKE videos, with Continue reading

Lowndes County Soil Erosion, Sedimentation and Pollution Control Ordinance @ LCC 2016-12-12

The soil and water ordinance on the agenda at the Lowndes County Commission this morning: PDF.

It looks to be, as usual, the minimum required by state law. For example, it mentions rivers only in reference to specific state laws, without naming any of the Withlacoochee, Little, Alapaha, or Alapahoochee Rivers. And its only mention of pipe is that owners of sections of small trout streams can pipe them through their property.

Thanks to Sabrina Denson for returning this document the same day as the request Gretchen made.

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Investigative reporting costs money, for open records requests, copying, web hosting, gasoline, and cameras, and with sufficient funds we can pay students to do further research. You can donate to LAKE today!

Health appointment, 7 rezonings, abandonment, Soil Erosion, Wastewater, and alcohol @ LCC 2016-12-12

Longest agenda in recent memory, for this morning’s Work Session and tomorrow evening’s Regular Session of the Lowndes County Commission.

For the rezonings, see also the LAKE videos of the preceding Planning Commission meeting. For the abandonment of unopened right of way on Avenue I, see the LAKE videos of last month’s Lowndes County Commission meeting.

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Investigative reporting costs money, for open records requests, copying, web hosting, gasoline, and cameras, and with sufficient funds we can pay students to do further research. You can donate to LAKE today!

LOWNDES COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
PROPOSED AGENDA
WORK SESSION, MONDAY, DECEMBER 12, 2016, 8:30 a.m.
REGULAR SESSION, TUESDAY, DECEMBER 13, 2016, 5:30 p.m.
327 N. Ashley Street – 2nd Floor

Continue reading

Service Delivery mismatch between cities and Lowndes County @ LCC 2016-11-29

photo: WALB TV Back in 1999, Lowndes County made AP news for being the only Georgia county to miss the deadline to file a service delivery plan and also not to file an extension. They finally came to an agreement in 2008 after a lot of wrangling, The tradition of local government disagreement about the 1997 HB 489 law requiring lack of duplication of tax-paid services continued tonight, with a Special Called Meeting. Caitlyn Chastain, WALBNews10, 11 November 2016, Valdosta and Lowndes Co. leaders miss deadline for SDS agreement,

Lowndes County leaders are holding a special meeting for citizens to talk about their newest proposal for the city on November 29th.

If I’m not mistaken, they only posted the agenda yesterday. But Gretchen is there with the LAKE video camera. Until they straigten this out, none of them can apply for federal or state grants. Last I heard, Continue reading

Video: Nydia Tisdale thanks her supporters

We asked Nydia Tisdale to say a few words about her recent legal situation, and here’s what she said.

See previous post for context of what she’s talking about, and of course Nydia’s website About Forsyth and her YouTube channel.

Continue reading

Visiting Nydia Tisdale

Update 2016-10-19: And we asked Nydia to speak directly through YouTube.

Here’s Nydia Tisdale with her picture on the front page of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Front page of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Gretchen and I dropped in on Nydia Sunday afternoon in Roswell, GA. Needless to say, we support Nydia. She usually doesn’t even provide commentary with her video reports, yet when videoing public meetings she’s repeatedly faced obstruction from people who don’t seem to know the First Amendment, nor even the Four Amendment, much less Georgia’s Open Meetings Law.

Chris Joyner, AJC, 6 October 2016, Ga. citizen journalist faces possible jail time, Continue reading

Public Hearing at private law firm for VSU bond to private LLC 2016-10-21

Why is a public hearing for VSU bonds being held at a private law firm? Part 1 Is there no parking at VSU for the public to hear about this $58,805,000 bond issue? There is free parking at the county palace for which we the people footed around $51 million in bonds.

For that matter, why are bonds for a public university being held by a private LLC? Why are they being issued to that private LLC by the shadowy South Regional Joint Development Authority, to which the Lowndes County Commission just appointed Commissioner Clay Griner this May, even though County Manager Joe Pritchard couldn’t tell Griner when that Authority meets?

Can’t the Lowndes County Commission provide this bond Public Hearing with a public place to meet?

In the Valdosta Daily Times yesterday, October 5th 2016, and not online anywhere I can find it, was this Public Notice. Gretchen scanned it, and I OCRed it and formatted the lists to make it more legible. Continue reading