Tag Archives: citizens

Corporate power comes home –Jim Parker

Letter to the Editor in the Valdosta Daily Times yesterday. -jsq

How is it that one foreign corporation, that has just come into existence to do this project, can have greater power than all of the thousands of citizens affected, and their elected governments?

No, I’m not talking about the Keystone XL pipeline, but he issues are the same. This one wants to run a 36-inch gas pipeline through a number of states and counties, including Lowndes, affecting thousands of landowners. It’s known as Sabal Trail Transmission, LLC, and is the unholy offspring of Spectra Energy Corp. and NextEra Energy.

How can one foreign corporation (they’re from out of state), have so much power vis-avis the thousands of landowners and citizens of Lowndes County, that the citizens must give up a hundred-foot-wide swath of their land, along with the depreciation of their property values, not to mention their personal safety, and allow this pipeline to come through? The gas is not even for use in Lowndes County, or even the State of Georgia. However, the general feeling is we have to give in to the corporation’s demands. County Commission Chairman Bill Slaughter is quoted as saying, “There’s nothing we can do.”

Does anyone else see the problem here? Continue reading

Valdosta Offers 5th Annual Government 101 for Citizens

Received today, with this note.

FYI—this is now open to any residents of Lowndes County, not just City of Valdosta. Please spread the word. It is a great way to learn a LOT more about your local government.

Tim Carroll
Councilman District 5
City of Valdosta

Here’s the application. Continue reading

Make available packets Commisioners see? —Gretchen Quarterman @ LCC 2013-01-08

Gretchen Quarterman thanked and congratulated Commission members at the 8 January 2013 Lowndes County Commission Regular Session.

Then she reminded them she ran on a platform of transparency, and she asked them to make Commission packets available to the public, and move CWTBH to the beginning of the meeting so citizens can comment before the commissioners vote.

Here’s the video:

Make available packets Commisioners see? —Gretchen Quarterman
Regular Session, Lowndes County Commission (LCC),
Video by Gretchen Quarterman for Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange (LAKE), Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia, 8 January 2013.


The trash issue: what was decided? —Gretchen Quarterman @ LCC 2012-04-24

Lowndes County unincorporated area residents may or may not be forced to buy curbside trash pickup, or something, sometime, but the county isn’t answering questions about that.

In Citizens Wishing to Be Heard at the 24 April 2012 Lowndes County Commission Regular Session, Gretchen Quarterman wanted to know what had been decided at the retreat or elsewhere about the trash question. Will we have to get curbside pickup? Did the county look to see what surrounding counties do? Might the county survey citizens for their opinions? Could we have a special garbage tax district for those who wanted to use the current trash deposit areas, similar to the special lighting tax districts the county has repeatedly approved? She got no answers to any of her questions other than Commissioner Joyce Evans shaking her head at that last one.

So we don’t know what the county has decided, if anything, nor when they will decide it, nor how they are collecting citizen input (if at all).


Farmers and other people own most of Germany’s reneable energy production

Power companies aren’t the only possible owners of solar power farms, and centralized isn’t the only power distribution model. In Germany, most renewable energy production is owned by people, not power companies.

Matthew McDermott wrote for Treehugger 6 January 2011, Over Half of Germany’s Renewable Energy Owned By Citizens & Farmers, Not Utility Companies

Germany’s promotion of renewable energy rightly gets singled out for its effectiveness, most often by me as an example of how to do things well versus the fits and starts method of promotion common in the US. Over at Wind-Works, Paul Gipe points out another interesting facet of the German renewable energy saga: 51% of all renewable energy in Germany is owned by individual citizens or farms, totaling $100 billion worth of private investment in clean energy.

Breaking that down into solar power and wind power, 50% of Germany’s solar PV is owned by individuals and farms, while 54% of its wind power is held by the same groups.

Not only is that more distributed, but it also may be a faster way to get solar deployed:
In total there’s roughly 17 GW of solar PV installed in Germany—versus roughly 3.6 GW in the US (based on SEIA’s figures for new installations though the third quarter of 2011 plus the 2.6 GW installed going into the year).

Remember, Germany now produces slightly over 20% of all its electricity from renewable sources.

Nothing prevents Georgia Power or Colquitt Electric or any of the other power companies operating in Georgia from leading the solar pack. For example, power companies concerned that solar doesn’t produce at night could still deploy solar peak load generation, thus dispensing with natural gas peak load generation.

While the power companies are not leading, private organizations such as Tabby Solar, founded by a pair of doctors, are forging ahead anyway.


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!


Ashley Paulk’s Greatest Hits!

No, not every intemperate outburst! We can’t be everywhere. Just the outstanding ones from the podium as chairman in County Commission meetings.

Ashley Paulk is code enforcement

Citizens were opposing a rezoning on Old Pine Road, 8 June 2010. A Mr. Mulligan of Bemiss Road wanted to know who does code enforcement. Chairman Paulk responded:
You’re looking at him. Me.

I locked up some of my best friends!

While he was interrogating Dr. Noll 12 January 2011 who had the temerity to come to invite the Commission to a meeting, Ashley Paulk remarked:
“I was the sheriff sixteen years; I locked up some of my best friends; that’s the way I operate.”
This was shortly after he said: Continue reading

Deaf, dumb, and blind –George Boston Rhynes

A comment Monday on Budget Hearing wrapup: no questions were entertained from citizens -jsq:
Soon the people of South Georgia Will see that the old 1860 Valdosta City Chater Mentality is still in force but has been extended to all citiens. That is to keep all citizens deaf; dumb; and blind to what is really going on in South Georgia. But in the end truth, right and equal justice will most certainly win in the end as history always records! http://kvci.blogspot.com

-George Boston Rhynes

Submissions Policy

LAKE welcomes submissions!

Submission Methods

Please send submissions for On the LAKE Front
the blog of LAKE, the Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange,
  • by email to lakesubmissions@gmail.com
    or to information@l-a-k-e.org (yes, the dashes are part of that address).
  • or as a comment on a recent LAKE blog post.
    LAKE may choose any comment to promote to a main post.
Feel free to comment on the LAKE facebook page, but we currently only promote blog comments to blog posts.

Submission Format

This is a blog posted in HTML on the web. Submissions should be plain text inline in the body of the email message or blog comment.

What Not to Submit

Our mail stacks are as big as your mail stacks, so help us out by sending us material close to ready to post.

No Word, please, unless it is an official government document.

No PDF unless it is an official government document or a published report.

Convert It

If you do send a non-text format, if at all possible also convert it to plain text and send us that, too. Always send a summary, plus what you think is interesting or important about the document.

You may use HTML markup to indicate emphasis, headers, images, videos, etc.

We like pictures and videos. Please put them on the web and send us links to them.

If you have pictures or videos you don’t know how to get on the web, please send us a note to information@l-a-k-e.org with a request to discuss.

There are no length limits on submissions, but we (and our readers) do get bored with wordiness and repetition.

Submission Content

Content relevant to Lowndes County, Georgia or the surrounding area is preferred.

We especially seek reports on government bodies and other meetings. There are five cities and the county government in Lowndes County, and two school systems plus at least twenty appointed boards, and of course similar organizations in the surrounding area. All of them are of interest. Go, take notes, take pictures, take videos, send us some!

Opinions are good; facts are better. This is a blog, so every post has opinions. But we try to back up opinions with evidence.

If you have documentation, please send a link to it online, or a citation for where to find it, or a description, or the name of someone or some organization that has it, or the document itself. If you send a non-text document, see Convert It. We’re all owls in this together.

Editorial Policy

LAKE reserves complete discretion to select, edit, and annotate submissions, and to delete blog or facebook comments that are spam or personal attacks, or for any other reason whatever.

Comments on the LAKE blog or facebook page are not necessarily endorsed by LAKE, even if we promote them to be main blog posts. Most blog posts by LAKE people are not necessarily endorsed by LAKE, either. Chronic readers will have noted that we don’t even agree among ourselves on a number of issues and often criticize each other. Remember, the purpose of LAKE is transparency and dialog. The only posts that are endorsed by LAKE as an organization are those few that say by someone “for LAKE”.

Remember LAKE’s motto:

Citizen dialog for transparent process
Comments and posts on this blog are part of that process.

We look forward to your comments and reports!

About On the LAKE Front

LAKE welcomes your submissions to its blog,
On the LAKE Front!

LAKE is the Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange. Our motto:

Citizen dialog for transparent process

LAKE is just curious citizens; a small core group and a larger loosely connected group of associates. We are the media, and you can be, too!

See our submissions policy.