Category Archives: LCC 2011-11-07

Citizens at Lowndes County Commission 7 November 2011

Five citizens spoke up at the 7 November 2011 Lowndes County Commission Regular Session. Some got answers, some got excuses, and some got fingerpointing. And one illustrated how the Commission doesn’t follow its own rules.

  • George Boston Rhynes asked about Open record requests and jail deaths and got the same excuses he’s heard elsewhere: nobody seems to be responsible for supplying information to the public about what’s going on in the Lowndes County Jail.

  • John Robinson asked about Contracts on the south side related to Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and to Title III Section 3 of the HUD program and got a clarification from the Chairman that the county has no Title III projects.

  • John S. Quarterman asked the Commission to video meetings like the Lowndes Board of Education does, and got a slightly different excuse this time than the many previous times he’s made similar requests.

  • Matt Portwood asked the Commission or the individual Commissioners to state a position on school consolidation and was told they weren’t going to. The VDT printed that much the next morning, the morning of the election with the referendum on school consolidation. They did not print Chairman Paulk’s allusion to his already-known support for FVCS in opposing consolidation, but LAKE published a video with that on Election Day, and you can see it here.

  • Tony Daniels wanted to know How can we pursue happiness when we don’t even have a job? and had several recommendations for how the various local elected and appointed bodies could go about getting us more jobs. He also illustrated that the Commissions ordinance on Citizens Wishing to Be Heard is, as we’ve discovered on many previous occasions, merely guidelines at the whim of the Chairman.

Citizen participation!


How can we pursue happiness when we don’t even have a job? —Tony Daniels @ LCC 7 November 2011

George Rhynes’ video of the last two citizens speaking at the 7 November 2011 County Commission meeting has interesting closeups on the county staff while the Chairman was answering Matt Portwood. Then at 1:35 Tony Daniels answered the request for “any other business” by walking up to the podium and talking.

He cited life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness from the Declaration of Independence:

How can we pursue happiness when we don’t even have a job? I believe the city and county and Industrial Authority and the Chamber of Commerce need to work more together to create an atmosphere of trying to bring more industry inside the city. We have highways coming through Valdosta. I hope to see in the near future that the county and the city and the Industrial Authority and the Chamber of Commerce work like brothers and sisters. Because you know and I know that you are elected by the people of the people and for the people, and I’d like to see that…. Because we need more entrepeneurs, we need to see all governments in this area promote that….
I suspect the Chairman was asking the Commissioners whether they had any other business, but he wasn’t clear about that. I think what Tony Daniels had to say was important, and citizens should be able to say they have other business. However, since he had not signed up to speak before the meeting started, he was in violation of Rule #1 from the Commission’s hastilly adopted Policies and Procedures for Citizens Wishing to Be Heard:: Continue reading

Video meetings like Lowndes Board of Education? —John S. Quarterman @ LCC 7 November 2011

After apologizing for setting off a flash earlier, I recommended the county video their own meetings, so they wouldn’t have to depend on amateurs.
Lowndes County Board of Education had an open forum about school consolidation. and they had their own person videoing the whole thing, and it ended up on the web in a day or two, which means that everyone in the county could see what was going on….
Chairman Paulk:
We get enough of that for free.


I’ll send you a bill!
The Chairman nodded, so I’ll take that for approval of billing by LAKE.

Here’s the video: Continue reading

Contracts on the south side —John Robinson @ LCC 7 November 2011

John Robinson addressed the Lowndes County Commission about Title III Section 3 of the HUD program, also Title VI of the Civil Rights Act:
No person in the United States on the grounds of race or color or national origin shall be excluded….
He said he has filed a federal complaint against the city of Valdosta, and he wants the County Commission to know that.
….scrutinized for these special groups of people, people of power, instead of the people that’s needing the money.

Chairman Paulk clarified that the Martin Luther King project is totally a city project, and that the county has no Title III projects.

Here’s the video:

Regular Session, Lowndes County Commission (LCC),
Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia, 7 November 2011.
Videos by John S. Quarterman for LAKE, the Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange.


Open record requests and jail deaths —George Boston Rhynes

George Rhynes complimented Ashley Paulk for having provided information about people in jail when Paulk was Sheriff, and noted that unfortunately that had not been the case since. He asked if someone could point him to where he could get such information. Chairman Paulk reminded him that the Sheriff is a constitutional officer, and the Commission did not direct him. George Rhynes responded:
Everywhere I go, I hear that. I go to Brooks County, and they inform me of the same thing.
Chairman Paulk noted:
… by state law.
They agreed on that, and George said he thought nonetheless:
Seems like somebody in the state of Georgia would know how to get that information, if it is open.

George also said: Continue reading

And I feel like there’s somebody meddling in their affairs; I wish they wouldn’t have. —Ashley Paulk @ LCC 7 November 2011

As previously noted, Chairman Ashley Paulk last night told Matt Portwood he didn’t think the Lowndes County Commission should be meddling in school affairs. Here’s the part the VDT didn’t quote:
And I feel like there’s somebody meddling in their affairs; I wish they wouldn’t have.
That’s pretty interesting considering that Brittany D. McClure reported for the VDT 4 November 2011 that FVCS makes campaign contributions public:
Ashley Paulk, Lowndes County Commission chairman contributed $200
So it’s not like the public doesn’t already know Ashley Paulk’s opinion on this subject, and it seems he was reminding us of it: he contributed money to FVCS, a group actively lobbying to prevent the school consolidation promoted by CUEE.

Chairman Paulk also noted:

We do have county residents who live in the city.
Seems like he’s confusing two excuses for the Commissioners not speaking about school consolidation: Continue reading

School Consolidation: Chairman Ashley Paulk responds to Matt Portwood

The VDT this morning left out all the best parts of last night’s exchange between Matt Portwood and Lowndes County Commission Chairman Ashley Paulk. We’ll have the video up shortly so you can see for yourself.

The question:

“Reading the news, I found that both school boards and the City Council have come out with either a statement or a resoultion with their stance on school consolidation. I’m just curious why there hasn’t been a statement or resolution from you,” said Portwood.

The VDT’s version of the answer:

“Look at your tax notes. It says county taxes and school taxes,” replied Paulk. We’re two totally different entities than the county school system. I don’t feel like we should be meddling in their affairs. I don’t think the County Commission should be weighing in on the city issue. Commissioners agreed that this was their stance on the matter.”
More in a bit.


Double Lowndes County Commission tonight: Work 4:30 PM Regular 5:30 PM

Alcohol, rezoning, hospital, debt, and an election! Because Tuesday is Election Day, the Lowndes County Commission changed its regular meeting to Monday. Work sessions are usually Monday in the morning; today the Work Session is at 4:30 PM, just before the Regular Session at 5:30 PM. It’s a busy agenda, including two alcohol licenses, two rezonings, and an appointment to the Hospital Authority of Valdosta and Lowndes County (VLCHA); that’s the body that authorized South Georgia Medical Center (SGMC) buying Smith Northview Hospital, after which SGMC got the County Commission to have we the taxpayers guarantee $100 million in bonds for expansion. Hm, and “SGMC Revenue Certificates” is on this agenda, too.

Here’s the agenda:

327 N. Ashley Street – 2nd Floor
Continue reading