Tag Archives: Expansion

Videos @ Joint Governments 2012 03 29

Here are videos of the entire “first annual Valdosta-Lowndes Governmental Leadership Meeting” that was held 6:30 PM 29 March 2012 in the Lowndes High School Lecture Hall. Here’s the announcement.

The meeting was introduced by Dr. Steve Smith, Superintendent, Lowndes County Schools. Lowndes County Schools had a written position statement, with everything from a broad variety of test scores and other metrics to specific examples of existing collaborations such as loaning busses to the Valdosta School System for away sporting events.

Dr. Smith clarified that:

This is not a community forum, it is not an open dialogue.
He told me before the meeting started that he was concerned that if they opened it up to questions from the audience it would take all night and it had been hard enough to get the various elected officials to show up at all without expecting them to stay for that. I didn’t see but maybe a dozen non-elected audience members, so I wonder whether that really would have happened, but I applaud the various governments for collaborating at all. He did say if you had a question you could write it down and hand it to a member of your elected government or school board. He also indicated that committees might form, not that evening, but perhaps growing out of that evening’s meeting. He reiterated this meeting was for brainstorming among the elected officials.

The elected officials included Valdosta Schools Superintendent and many VBOE members, Lowndes School Superintendent and Superintendent-elect and many LCBOE members, Valdosta Mayor, City Manager, and many city council members, and Lowndes County Manager, Clerk, and voting commissioners, but not the Chairman.

Wes Taylor, Lowndes High School Principal & Lowndes County Schools Superintendent Elect talked about finances.

Valdosta Mayor John Gayle said we’re regional now (regional hospital, regional university, etc.). He talked about how Troup County went about landing the Kia plant, which had to do with each governmental entity taking a role and collaborating. (It had nothing to do with school consolidation.)

VBOE member Vanassa Flucas said they try to put everything related to their schools on their website, in an effort of transparency for parents and students. Plus:

We noticed that since we put our strategic plan on our website approximately three years ago, it was very well received. It was very heartening; people could find the information that they wanted.
Imagine that! Continue reading

They come to school hungry; they come to school homeless — Bill Cason @ Joint Governments 2012 03 29

Breaking from the agenda of the first annual Valdosta-Lowndes Governmental Leadership Meeting, Valdosta School Superintendent Bill Cason rose above tactics and talked about vision and the root of the matter: poverty.

Supt. Cason started talking about teenage pregnancy and drug use, and then got to the heart of the matter:

They come to school hungry; they come to school homeless. Last year we identified more than 200 homeless kids in our school district. We can talk about all of these other things, but until we can address those as a group, every public entity in this room, is willing to get together as a team and address those issues, we forgot the most important thing we deal with, that is our students.


They will be the future leaders of this community. And if you want to see Valdosta take a backwards slide, then let this problem run as it is and you will see. I’ve seen it before in other communities, and I’m seeing it here now. This is not something we can wait on; it has to be done now. So if we want to really be serious about what we’re talking about tonight, educating our children, having a viable community, having a good community, having recreational facilities everybody can use, then you need to begin to address these problems not only with our mouths, but with our money and with our resources. And until you do this, then we’re going backwards.

Poverty is the root of the matter. It’s great that the local goverments and school boards are talking, and they can tinker around the edges all they want, but until they get serious about poverty in our community, educational improvements and the future of the community will be severely limited.




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

Wiregrass Technical College @ VLCIA 15 March 2011

Wiregrass Technical College wants to expand onto some land owned by the Industrial Authority, using SPLOST funds.

Chairman Jerry Jennett:

The point is they’re landlocked.

And so what you want to do is you want to take what your tract is now and have the ability to expand your building in the future. You want to move your training facility now and….

More transcription after the video:

Regular monthly meeting, Valdosta-Lowndes County Industrial Authority, VLCIA,
Norman Bennett, Roy Copeland, Tom Call, Mary Gooding, Jerry Jennett chairman,
J. Stephen Gupton attorney, Brad Lofton Executive Director,
Allan Ricketts Program Manager, 15 March 2011.
Videos by John S. Quarterman for LAKE, the Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange.

Roy Copeland: Continue reading

County Commission Expansion

2009-08-08--superdistricts On May 12, the Valdosta Daily Times (VDT) published Expansion No Go: No additional commissioners this year. About that, John S. Quarterman sent this letter to the editor (LTE) yesterday:
I see by the VDT that the current County Commission’s plan to expand the commission by adding two super districts failed in the legislature on a technicality. This pause provides useful time to see if there might be a different strategy. It’s already 2010, and census data for redistricting should be available in spring of next year. That will take a lot of the guesswork out of redistricting.

While the voters said last year they were for commission expansion, it is not clear that people actually favor super districts, since no other option was on the ballot. Each current district has more people than the total population of several nearby counties. This makes commissioner elections needlessly expensive and less representative of the variety within Lowndes County. It’s never been clear to me how adding two larger districts solves that most basic problem, when there are other options available.

Lowndes County could use more commissioners, and the current Commission made a good try at that. Soon it will be the turn of a new Commission to try again.

John S. Quarterman is running for County Commission, District 2.

The VDT responded:
The editor has reviewed your letter. She did not approve your letter because as a candidate for office, we cannot run a letter to the editor from you as it is considered campaigning and we would have to give equal opportunities to the other candidates as well.
Indeed he is, see www.JSQ4LCC.com. And as readers of On the LAKE Front are aware, he is also one of the founders of LAKE.

We understand the VDT has space constraints because it is primarily on paper. However, LAKE is online, and LAKE welcomes statements on this subject from any and all candidates. Send them in, and LAKE will post them, just like this one. Online, please: no paper, no fax. So lengths will be comparable, please keep it to 250 words, like a VDT LTE. Send a picture of yourself if you want to.

Against Lowndes County Commission Expansion: Dennis Marks

Image by flickr user wiccked
Here is one person’s opinion on the current expansion plan for the Lowndes County Commission. LAKE is also making available a web page and an OpenOffice version of this statement.

LAKE will be happy to post other opinions on either side as part of citizen dialog for transparent process.

Vote NO on Expansion Referendum

Voters in Lowndes County are being asked in a referendum to vote YES or NO on expansion of the Lowndes County Board of Commissioners by the addition of two super-districts:
Shall the governing authority of Lowndes County be changed to a six-member board of commissioners to be composed of a nonvoting chairperson and five voting district commissioners, three of whom shall represent the existing three districts created by dividing Lowndes County into three districts and two of whom shall represent additional districts to be created by dividing Lowndes County into two districts which shall overlay the three existing districts?

Here is my explanation of why I am voting NO and why I think you should vote NO too.

Continue reading