Tag Archives: Chamber of Commerce

I’m super-excited about the whole broadband thing —Gretchen Quarterman @ VLCIA 2013-02-19

And now a word from the only person in the room at the the Industrial Authority 19 February 2013 with actual experience in bringing Internet broadband access to new areas, invisible behind the camera but clearly audible, Gretchen Quarterman:

I’m super-excited about the whole broadband thing, because you know that’s near and dear to our heart, and our background.

But please be very careful about the buill that’s before the legislature that will prohibit municipal Internets. Right now the legislature is trying to take off the table muncipal Internets. And I think that a municipal Internet would be a really great solution here. So let your legislator know that’s a bad idea; they shouldn’t take that off the table from us.

That’s HB 282, in opposition to which Amy Henderson of Georgia Municipal Association said:

Broadband is economic development.

Gretchen continued:

At the Chamber’s annual meeting when a local speaker stood up she talked about the that’s doing really well right now is agriculture and I’m pleased to announce that the South Georgia Growing Local Conference will be here in January of 2014 the last weekend, a Friday and Saturday. It’s an equivalent of the Georgia Organics big conference that they have in Atlanta. Except that it’s for south Georgia local growers, farmers, homesteaders. We just were in Reidsville this last January and Lowndes County is going to have it next year.

And the whole series of South Georgia Growing Local Conferences (this will be the fourth) has been organized largely online, in yet another use of Internet access for economic development, in this case sustainable local development.

OK, one more: Rotary Clubs need broadband.


WSJ misunderstands why T-SPLOST was defeated

Inaccurate labelling is the reason T-SPLOST was defeated, along with Atlanta is not all of Georgia, but the Wall Street Journal doesn’t understand that.

Cameron McWhirter wrote for the Wall Street Journal 1 August 2012, Tea Party Ties Up Tax to Ease Atlanta Traffic

ATLANTA—Money and heavyweight endorsements don’t secure an election — especially when you propose higher taxes in a deeply conservative state with a robust tea-party movement.

A plan for a transportation sales tax was endorsed by Georgia’s Republican governor and the Democratic mayor of the state’s largest city. It was backed by the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce and the area’s top businesses. It was pushed by top political consultants funded by more than $8 million in corporate and other donations.

Those against the plan were a loose coalition of tea-party activists, some environmentalists and a local branch of the NAACP. Their total raised? About $15,000.

But David slew Goliath.

That’s lazy reporting. Those “some environmentalists” included the Georgia Sierra Club, an organization which reportedly has more members than the state Democratic Party. And that’s just in Atlanta.

Opponents in our region included Democrat Ashley Paulk, who was on the T-SPLOST executive committee and is the current Chairman of the Lowndes County Commission, Democrat Gretchen Quarterman, who is the Chairman of the Lowndes County Democratic Party (LCDP) and is running for Chairman of the Lowndes County Commission, as well as Nolen Cox, Chairman of the Lowndes County Republican Party (LCRP), and Roy Taylor, LRCP First Vice Chair and well-known Tea Party activist, along with a wide range of other opponents.

Look at the difference between that Region 11 T-SPLOST vote map and this map of the Atlanta Metro T-SPLOST vote. Atlanta metro is clearly centered around Atlanta. Region 11 isn’t an economic region: the vote was split right down the middle between No on the east and west and Yes in between.

Region 11 throws together three population centers: Lowndes, Tift, and Ware Counties, with their largest cities Valdosta, Tifton, and Waycross. Lowndes and Tift are at least connected by I-75, and they and most of the ones around them voted against (Ben Hill, Turner, Berrien, Cook, Lanier, Echols, and Brooks). Ware County and all the counties east of it (Pierce, Brantley, and Charlton) voted against. In between there’s a complete barrier of counties that voted for T-SPLOST (Irwin, Coffee, Bacon, Atkinson, and Clinch). Those No counties completely separate the eastern Ware County group from the western Lowndes-Tift group.

The perception around here is that T-SPLOST was made up to affect metro Atlanta, and the rest of the regions were Continue reading

T-SPLOST trust problem

There’s a bigger T-SPLOST trust problem than Jim Galloway wrote about in the AJC on 30 June 2012, in Trust and the transportation sales tax,

But there is a larger unease growing, at least within the DeKalb and Fulton county political communities. As Republicans finally turn their heads toward the need for a regional transportation solution, some African-American lawmakers and other elected officials worry that their role in a transit system that they have managed for better than three decades is about to be lessened — or largely subverted.

Galloway went into great detail as to why there’s a lack of trust between those and other groups in metro Atlanta about T-SPLOST. David Pendered examined similar political fissures 28 May 2012 in the SaportaReport.

Neither Galloway nor Pendered mentioned a bigger lack of trust on the part of the rest of the state: Continue reading

Media flap over Lowndes grading

Interesting timing, the Chamber deciding to pay off CUEE’s debts from pushing school consolidation, followed shortly by a media campaign to discredit the Lowndes School System.
17 January 2012:
Chamber of Commerce board decides to repay CUEE’s outstanding vendor debts in exchange for owning CUEE’s education document.
3 February 2012:
Maureen Downey blogged for the AJC, No zeros in school any longer. But aren’t there well deserved zeros? Despite admitting that the Lowndes school grading policy is a common practice in many systems and is intended to make sure students actually learn, she ends with this spin:
But aren’t there well deserved zeros?

I would argue that middle school teachers have some students who simply don’t do the work. They get it; they just don’t do it. The Lowndes policy calls for multiple interventions for obdurate students, but wouldn’t a zero make an important statement?

How else do adolescents learn that there are consequences for failure to comply with assignments? In the classroom, it is a zero. In the workplace, it is termination.

3 February 2012:
Lowndes School System Superintendent Dr. Steve Smith explained Lowndes grading policies, including this bit:
The Lowndes County Schools recently released grading guidelines for parents to clarify what has been our current practice on reporting of grades and to reaffirm our commitment to mastery learning by all students. For the past year and a half, our practice in grades 3-8 has been….
The point being that this is not a new policy.
Continue reading

So much for CUEE and the Chamber being separate organizations

The Valdosta-Lowndes County Chamber of Commerce chose to pour more money into CUEE, purchasing CUEE’s only concrete work product.

According to the Minutes of the Valdosta-Lowndes County Chamber Board of Directors meeting held Tuesday, January 17, 2012, 8 – 9:30 a.m. at Country Inn & Suites:

Consider Finance Committee recommendation regarding acquisition of Education Framework: Clinton Beeland made a motion that the Chamber Board provide $30,000 towards the repayment of debt incurred by the Committee for a Referendum on School System Unification with local business vendors. In return for this consideration, the Chamber is to receive the ownership rights to and the future use of the professional publication entitled “An Education Framework”. Carl Holley seconded. After a thorough discussion, motion carried unanimously.
I wonder what was said in that “thorough discussion”? Maybe which local vendors Chamber members’ dues are subsidizing by paying off CUEE’s debts? Maybe who owns those vendors, and what their relations might be to the CUEE or Chamber boards?

Anything more substantial than Chamber or CUEE people said in the meeting at VSU 20 October 2011 in which that “framework” was never actually presented to a group invited in the middle of the night?

“Future use”, eh? So outspending 10 to 1 yet losing the school consolidation election 4 to 1 didn’t give the Chamber pause, any more than the Chamber paid any attention to the copious evidence that consolidation is a bad idea that makes education worse.

Instead of pouring more money down the CUEE rathole, I think Jim Parker had a good idea for the Chamber:

How about as a first step the Chamber pledge an equivalent amount of money it and its members have spent on CUEE to the Boards of Education yearly, to be used as the teachers see fit?
I’m sure the two school boards could use $150,000 each for their teachers.

How about it, Chamber? Want to show some leadership?


Local state legislative delegation at the Country Club

At the State Legislative Luncheon at the Country Club yesterday, sponsored by the Rotary Club and the Chamber of Commerce, I found it more interesting what the legislators didn’t mention than what they did.

Frequent attendees told me the audience was much larger than in previous years, and one attributed that to the recent school consolidation referendum. Sitting side by side were Chamber Chair Tom Gooding and FVCS President Sam Allen.

Jeff Hanson introduced the legislators. He’s the Chair of the Chamber’s Government Affairs Council (GAC). He said they are seeking more participants. Hm, they have an Energy and Environment Policy Committee that’s chaired by someone from Georgia Power….

Tim Golden announced that the local delegation’s highest priority was to get $32 million for a Health Science Center for VSU. VSU Interim President Dr. Levy was there, as was former president “Dr. Z” as Tim Golden called him.

I was just talking to someone from SGMC in the food line about how it would be nice if the Industrial Authority would promote healthcare industries more. It’s good that the legislators are doing that, although it’s not clear that there are not other things that should be even higher priority.

Tim Golden also wants to remove a sales tax Continue reading

Jerome Tucker honored at Civic Roundtable

The Civic Roundtable honored Jerome Tucker for some of the many things he has done for Lowndes County and south Georgia. And as usual he hit the nail on the head.

Dawn Castro wrote for the VDT yesterday:

“We do have one of the best communities,” Tucker said. “The toughest part of me standing before you is knowing how much better we could be if all the little groups would work together.”
He also said:
“I am still blessed to have my dad with me,” Tucker began. “He always asks me, ‘Where have you been?’ and ‘Did you do any good?’
Here are a few good things Jerome Tucker has done recently: Continue reading

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

I’m glad GBR spoke up for Sam Allen. —Barbara Stratton

Received today on Truth really needs no defense! -jsq
I’m glad GBR spoke up for Sam Allen. The VDT article falsely stated that he had changed his mind about VDT support between Tuesday night & Wednesday when he spoke at the news release. I was standing beside Sam when he complemented one reporter after she interviewed him following the election returns at the Bd of Elections Tuesday night. The compliments were for her individual professionalism only as he stated to her that he appreciated that she always put exactly what he said in the paper. I agreed with his statements & complimented her also, because I have observed her professionalism in other venues & it is a refreshing change for some of the VDT reporting heritage.

Sam’s Wednesday comments about the VDT not providing balanced

Continue reading

People say we don’t talk —Sam Allen 8 Nov 2011

Sam Allen demonstrates Valdosta City and Lowndes County School Boards cooperate, right there at the Board of Elections last night. As he said, a 4 to 1 victory against 10 to 1 financial odds proves grassroots organizing works.
It’s OK, to be beat. But to be beat by a one-armed man….

Here’s the video:

People say we don’t talk —Sam Allen 8 Nov 2011
Victory Celebration,
Vote No for Consolidation, Friends of Valdosta City Schools (FVCS),
Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia, 8 Nov 2011.
Videos by George Boston Rhynes for K.V.C.I., the bostongbr on YouTube.