Category Archives: VLCIA 2012-02-23

Videos @ VLCIA 2012 02 23

Here are videos of the February 2012 Industrial Authority meeting. Apologies for the poor sound. The room turned out to have very echoey acoustics, and no placement of the camera seemed to alleviate that. Also it’s in three chunks, the first of them quite long. In the interests of moving along and catching up on posting videos of recent meetings, we’re going to leave it like that for now. Here’s the agenda.

Here’s a playlist:

Norman Bennett, Tom Call, Roy Copeland chairman, Mary Gooding, Jerry Jennett,
Andrea Schruijer Executive Director, J. Stephen Gupton attorney, Allan Ricketts Project Manager,
Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia, 23 February 2012.
Video by John S. Quarterman for Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange (LAKE).


Valdosta Mayor and Council are implicated in the private prison —John S. Quarterman @ VCC 2012 02 23

Valdosta City Council and Mayor, who may not have been following the private prison issue, now know about it and are aware that they are all implicated in the private prison decision, due to events at the Industrial Authority board meeting and the Valdosta City Council meeting, both Thursday 23 February 2012.

After remarking that I’d rather be talking about the additional solar panels recently installed on my farm workshop up here in the north end of the county, I recapped the case against a private prison and referred the Valdosta City Council to my LTE in the VDT of that morning (Thursday 23 February 2012). I remarked that I was disappointed the Industrial Authority hadn’t done anything to stop the prison at its meeting earlier that same day. Since they might be wondering what all this had to do with them, I pointed out that, if I could use the word, they were all implicated as mayor and council in the private prison decision because Jay Hollis, CCA’s Manager of Site Acquisition, in his Valdosta-Lowndes County, GA / CCA Partnership: Prepared Remarks of August 2010, lavishly praised the Lowndes County Commission and Chairman and the Valdosta City Council and mayor. Although the mayor was different now, and maybe some of the council, nonetheless it was the same offices of council and mayor, still implicated. I asked for their opinions on that subject. Per their custom, they did not offer any at that time. So, maybe we’ll hear from them later. Or maybe the Industrial Authority board will hear from them….

Here’s the video:

Valdosta Mayor and Council are implicated in the private prison —John S. Quarterman @ VCC 2012 02 23
VSEB, employment,
Regular Session, Valdosta City Council (VCC),
Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia, 23 February 2012.
Videos by George Boston Rhynes for K.V.C.I., the bostongbr on YouTube.


Crickets, or what the Industrial Authority didn’t say about the private prison

Silence speaks volumes. Your tax-supported Industrial Authority wants a private prison in Lowndes County, Georgia.

After Tuesday’s conversation with VLCIA Executive Director Andrea Schruijer, I went to Thursday’s Industrial Authority board meeting expecting to hear something from the board about the private prison. What I heard:


The only thing a board member said about it was Chairman Roy Copeland reminding me that the board didn’t answer questions in Citizens Wishing to be Heard.

Earlier, Col. Rickets did say that the current contract with CCA for the private prison expires March 13th, and that meanwhile CCA can either request a third extension or CCA could send a Notice to Proceed (NTP) to VLCIA before March 13th. Remember, CCA has, according to the contract, CCA has

“absolute discretion”
for issuing that NTP.

Col. Ricketts added that in staff’s discussions with CCA, CCA had indicated they were mulling it over internally, and VLCIA should “stand by” for CCA’s next move.

That’s right, your local Industrial Authority, whose staff and land purchases are funded by your tax dollars, should stand by waiting for a private prison company to tell them what to do.

And the Industrial Authority board’s silence is an answer: they said nothing different from their previous vote for the contract to bring in this private prison; nothing different from their previous acceptance of the first and second option extensions; and nothing in objection to what Col. Ricketts said.

So your tax-supported Industrial Authority wants a private prison in Lowndes County, Georgia.

Do you want that? Do you want a private prison with fewer guards per prisoner Continue reading

LTE: Tell the Industrial Authority No private prison —John S. Quarterman

My LTE in the VDT today. -jsq
Industrial Authority Executive Director Andrea Schruijer told me to expect their board to say something at their 2PM Thursday board meeting about the private prison Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) wants to build on US 84 at Perimeter Road. If they don’t give CCA another extension, the contract expires March 13th.

There’s still time to contact them, (229) 259-9972. Or go to their board meeting at 101 North Ashley Street, 2PM Thursday February 23rd.

A private prison would not increase employment in Lowndes County. It would not even save the state money. And it would have high risk of closing after or even before it opened, because of escapes and inmate disturbances, and most importantly because the state and federal governments can no longer afford to incarcerate so many people. That would leave us and the state holding the bag for any investment in building it.

Outsourcing public justice for private profit at taxpayer expense is not only bad business, we the taxpayers can’t afford to pay for it while public education is under increasing budgetary pressure.

As members of the local community, we do not wish to live in a private prison colony, with the attendant risks of inmate violence and escape, and the accompanying public opprobrium that would drive away the knowledge-based workers we claim to be trying to attract.

Finally, public justice should not be a matter of private profit.

John S. Quarterman
lives in Lowndes County

You may recognize the wording from the petition. You can always write your own letter with your own reasons.


Industrial Authority Retreat 2012 02 23

The Valdosta-Lowndes County Industrial Authority is having a retreat 9AM-2PM today. They have a facilitator, who is going through what looks like the usual facilitated procedures. She claims to be camera-shy, but Chairman Roy Copeland tells me he wants the Industrial Authority to be transparent and to be seen as transparent.

Here the facilitator is getting the board and staff to answer some initial questions.

Valdosta-Lowndes County Industrial Authority Retreat, 101 N Ashley St., Valdosta, GA
Pictures and videos by John S. Quarterman for LAKE, the Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange, 23 February 2012.

After they gave individual answers, they broke into groups each including board and staff: Continue reading

An Industrial Authority agenda with content! Including VSEB and land acreage!

Yesterday Andrea Schruijer promised to get an agenda for tomorrow’s 2PM Thursday 23 February 2012 Industrial Authority board meeting (101 N. Ashley Street) online. It’s there, and it has content! What it does not have is any mention of anything about Project Excel, or CCA, or the private prison, even though Ms. Schruijer told me yesterday to expect the board to say something about that. You can still express your opinion to them before then. And since this agenda says **TENTATIVE** maybe that item will get added before tomorrow afternoon.

Also missing is any item for the Strategic Planning RFP, even though that RFP says the board will review any responses received by their February board meeting.

What this agenda does have is numerous specific items under the usual broad headers such as Existing Industry/Project Report. So instead of listening to Col. Ricketts and trying to figure out what he’s talking about, you can see such things as “e-Snychronist┬« Existing Industry Retention and Expansion business information system (BIS)” in writing. You still don’t see names of the “five (5) Prospects” or the “three (3) companies that are developing expansion plans”. Maybe I buy the competitive information argument for the prospects, but I’m not so sure about the three expanding companies, especially if they’re already local. And considering the things VLCIA has tried to sneak in under cover of not mentioning competitive information, such as biomass and a private prison, I’m not sure I buy that argument at all.

Also on the plus side, the agenda includes an actual schedule for bids Continue reading

Still time to contact VLCIA board before tomorrow’s private prison decision

We learned yesterday from Valdosta-Lowndes County Industrial Authority (VLCIA) Executive Director Andrea Schruijer that we can expect an opinion from the VLCIA board at tomorrow’s 2PM board meeting about Project Excel, the CCA private prison whose contract expires March 13th unless VLCIA gives it a third extension, which they haven’t so far.

Roy Copeland
Roy Copeland
Tom Call
Tom Call
Mary B. Gooding
Mary Gooding
Norman Bennett
Norman Bennett
Jerry Jennett
Jerry Jennett,

It’s not too late to express your opinion to this tax-funded (1 mil of your property taxes + SPLOST funds, for around $3 million a year) appointed board. Follow this link for contact information for the VLCIA board. Or sign the petition online and your signature gets emailed directly to VLCIA Executive Director Andrea Schruijer.


News about CCA’s private prison Project Excel expected at Thursday’s VLCIA board meeting

Thursday’s Industrial Authority retreat and board meeting are both open meetings, which the public can attend. And at the 2PM board meeting apparently there will be news about Project Excel, CCA’s private prison.

VLCIA Executive Director Andrea Schruijer clarified on the telephone just now that Thursday’s 9AM-2PM board retreat is an open meeting; the public can attend. She said the agenda was made by the facilitator, and she had not seen it. The purpose of the retreat is for board members to talk about their experiences and roles as board members. The retreat is not for discussing specific projects.

Regarding the 2PM board meeting Thursday, she said she thought the agenda was on VLCIA’s web pages. When we looked and found it wasn’t there, she said apparently there was some confusion due to the rescheduling of the meeting, and the agenda would be there soon.

I asked her whether the Project Excel Project Excel, the CCA private prison, she said the Preliminary Specifications ( see section 1.6.1) had been received. She said they had been received, and they were simply a site diagram, a copy of which was hanging on VLCIA’s office wall. From discussion with her, it appears to be this site plan: Continue reading

Request for Bid: 2012 Strategic Plan Process –VLCIA

Found on the Valdosta-Lowndes County Industrial Authority (VLCIA) Meeting Schedule web page as Request for Bid: 2012 Strategic Plan Process. Retrieved 21 February 2012. Here’s an archived copy on the LAKE website.

The RFP says

The board will entertain proposals at the regularly scheduled meeting in February. Please email proposals to the following no later than 12:00 p.m. on March 16, 2012:
I asked Andrea Schruijer about those two dates just now on the telephone. She said they would look at any proposals they have received by the time of Thursday’s board meeting, but they would not vote on them then. Their March board meeting is scheduled for 20 March 2012, which is after the March 16th due date.


Two VLCIA meetings Thursday: retreat and board 2012 02 23

This month’s cancelled Industrial Authority board meeting has been rescheduled. Not the usual date, not the usual time, not the usual place:
Notice: The Valdosta-Lowndes County Industrial Authority Regular Meeting has been rescheduled for the month of February. The meeting date will be Thursday, February 23, 2011, 2:00 P.M. at 101 N Ashley Street.

Notice of the Valdosta-Lowndes County Industrial Authority Board Retreat, Thursday, February 23, 2012, 9:00 AM- 2:00 PM at 101 N Ashley Street.
Since I’m familiar with that location as the old closed pawn shop, I called VLCIA’s new PR person, Meghan Duke, for clarification. I congratulated her on her recent appointment, and repeated what I’ve been saying for some time now, that VLCIA does many good things most people don’t know about and with some PR maybe we would. She said she was working on educating the public.

About the meeting location, she told me Continue reading