Tag Archives: exports

Clean Green Metro Florida by Brookings Institution

Amy Liu spoke about globalization last week in Orlando, Leaders will seize the clean economy about clean industries leading economic growth. Even though she was talking linear growth, her Metropolitan Policy Program at Brookings Institution has some interesting points that mesh with the exponential growth like compound interest Georgia can get on with in solar and wind power.

The Florida Economic Development Council 2013 FEDC Conference 26-28 June 2013 was the venue for Amy Liu’s A Globally Competitive Florida: Regional Opportunities in the Next Economy. To summarize her slides (which are in a format not easily linkable, she bashes Congress to motivate cities leading. In particular, Florida’s 20 metro ares have 61.75 of land area, 94.1% of population, and 95.9% of output. Nothing surprising there: cities are densely populated. Two of the biggest in Florida are in our Floridan Aquifer: Orlando and Jacksonville. (She didn’t mention the aquifer; I did.)

The national economic recovery is slow, the middle class has been hard-hit, and Florida is recovering faster, except on unemployment. The U.S. population is rapidly getting older and by 2050 53.7% will be minorities, each of which have very different educational achievements, and much of this is happening in metro areas.

Her solution is Continue reading

CCA has made second payment towards private prison –Col. Ricketts

Regarding the private prison that Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) wants to build in Lowndes County, at the 15 March 2011 VLCIA board meeting, Col. Ricketts gave an update, saying CCA had made a second payment as stipulated in the purchase and development agreement:

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.

The story continues in later posts.


Private prison “a major impact on the community” –Brad Lofton

Previously we asked if public objections caused VLCIA to change its tune about letting CCA build a private prison in Lowndes County, Georgia. OK, that was a rhetorical question: of course not!

Speaking at the Lake Park Chamber of Commerce annual dinner, 28 January 2011, Brad Lofton praised the private prison project:

“…we hope will be under construction in the next 18 months. It will be about $150 million dollar project; anywhere from 4 to 600 new jobs. A lot of communities in Georgia are built around state prisons. A hundred of those 400 will be post-secondary, nutritionalists, physicians, nurses, vocational rehab, so we’re proud of that project. You’ll start to hear a little bit more about that. There will be about 300 construction jobs over about a 24 month period, which will have a major impact on the community.”

Brad Lofton, Executive Director,
Valdosta-Lowndes County Industrial Authority (VLCIA),
speaking at the Lake Park Chamber of Commerce annual dinner,
Lake Park, Lowndes County, Georgia, 28 January 2011.
Videos by Gretchen Quarterman for LAKE, the Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange.

That was part of Lofton’s famous “jobs, jobs, jobs” speech. Lofton is gone now, but apparently VLCIA still plans the prison.

The story continues in later posts.


CCA private prison in Lowndes County?

What’s Project Excel? A private prison for Lowndes County, proposed by Corrections Corporation of America (CCA).

Back in August 2010 when the VDT first brought this story to light, I pointed out that CCA is the same company that lobbied heavily for Arizona’s new immigration law so CCA could get more customers. And I wondered what VLCIA thought about this? Silly question: of course they’re all for it! It’s “jobs, jobs, jobs” with them.

As of 21 December 2010, apparently things were still pretty tentative when Brad Lofton gave an update to the VLCIA board, claiming the CCA private prison would bring 600 jobs to Lowndes County, Georgia:

Regular monthly meeting, Valdosta-Lowndes County Industrial Authority, VLCIA,
Norman Bennett, Roy Copeland, Gary Minchew, Mary Gooding, Jerry Jennett chairman,
J. Stephen Gupton attorney, Brad Lofton Executive Director, Allan Ricketts Program Manager,
21 December 2010
Videos by John S. Quarterman for LAKE, the Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange.

Some public objection had surfaced by 20 January 2010, when Dr. Mark George remarked to the Valdosta City Council:

“I think we can do better than a generator that burns human waste. I think we can do better than a private prison and those are two things that we seem to be excited about as a community.”
Next, we’ll see if objections had any effect on the Industrial Authority.


Particulate matter is a killer. –Lisa Jackson, EPA, 17 March 2011

Listening to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson about EPA’s proposed new mercury rules, for me, the live feed on facebook did not work, but the one on whitehouse.gov did. A few quotes:
Particulate matter is a killer. We know it results in hundreds of thousands of deaths.

That matches some local concerns in Lowndes County.

How much of a killer? Continue reading

Where is the Wiregrass Solar plant?

Update 21 Feb 2011: Col. Ricketts confirms the groundbreaking is at 11:30 AM today on Water Plant Road; follow the signs from there to the construction site.
The groundbreaking for the Wiregrass Solar plant is Monday 21 February, rumor has it at 11:30AM, but where? My understanding is that the site is at the back of the City of Valdosta’s Mud Creek Wastewater Treatment property, which is

View Larger Map
on Water Plant Road off of GA 94 (New Statenville Highway) east of Inner Perimeter Road.

However, VLCIA’s land proposed for the Wiregrass Power LLC biomass plant is around the corner off of Inner Perimeter Road east of Deloach Road: It’s conceivable that VLCIA might hold the ceremony on its own property. See their map below: Continue reading

VLCIA on expansion of existing industry

Local industry for local jobs: feedback loops? At the 21 Dec 2010 board meeting, Brad Lofton and the VLCIA board talk about exanding local industry, namely PCA and AlphaProTech. Lofton says AlphaProTech will add 50 new jobs. Hm, 50 is more than 25 slated for the biomass plant. And nobody even has to trade AlphaProTech land for them to produce these jobs!

According to their website, AlphaProTech sells:

“protective apparel, infection control and extended care products in addition to a line of construction weatherization building products for the housing market.”
Hm, so if VLCIA promoted refitting local houses it would also be promoting AlphaProTech.

It’s interesting to hear Gary Minchew say regarding one company:

“we just don’t need to be the front man”

Video by John S. Quarterman for LAKE, the Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange.

Interesting that VLCIA is not willing to be the front man for local industry (as we’ve also seen in this response from Col. Ricketts), when VLCIA clearly is the front man for Sterling Energy and Wiregrass Power LLC, neither of which are from around here.


“no way shape or form” –Brad Lofton on Dr. Teaf

A week after Brad Lofton failed to produce evidence and offered to file Dr. Noll’s correspondence “in the appropriate file”, VLCIA has still not published the videos or slides from their 6 Dec 2010 event at the Rainwater Conference Center.

However, Brad Lofton and Col. Ricketts summarized that event for the VLCIA board at their recent board meeting, and they never presented any actual evidence there, either.

Brad Lofton said his toxicologist says the biomass plant in “no way shape or form” will cause health problems. Then he rattled off a long list of supporters of a Gainesville biomass plant. The rest of this post has videos of what he and Col. Ricketts said, plus screenshots of each of Dr. Teaf’s slides: see if you can find the details. Continue reading

“It is your responsibility to prove us wrong” –Dr. Noll to Mr. Lofton

Dr. Noll responds to Mr. Lofton’s email of 24 Dec 2010. -jsq
From: “Michael G. Noll”
To: “blofton@industrialauthority.com” <blofton@industrialauthority.com>, “Mary B. Gooding”, “Ricketts, Allan” <aricketts@industrialauthority.com>, “Copeland, Roy”, “‘John S. Quarterman'”, “Susan R. Wehling”, Kay Harris
Subject: RE: Wiregrass Power, LLC
Date: Fri, 24 Dec 2010 21:19:15 +0000

Hello Mr. Lofton.

You might remember that WACE handed out a “Myth vs. Fact” info sheet at the meeting. On it were clearly outlined major issues we have with your biomass project. I will only entertain the first three to refresh your memory, since they are the most important facts for our community:

Continue reading

A “center of innovation excellence for renewable and sustainable energy in Georgia”?

In a recent message, Brad Lofton wrote “we plan to move on now and focus our attention on new job and tax revenue creating projects.” OK, what are those projects?

Back in September Brad Lofton told me that VLCIA had (beyond whatever Wiregrass LLC is doing) “other renewable green energy projects”, which he then refused to describe.

When I asked about these projects at the 21 Dec 2010 VLCIA board meeting, board member Gary Minchew responded that VLCIA couldn’t talk about sensitive negotiations, but they didn’t want to be secretive. Earlier I had been talking to the fellow sitting to my left about his green energy project and whether VLCIA was going to move forward on it. He pointed out to the board that he and I were facebook friends and linked on LinkedIn. He’s sending me some information; more on that when I get it. Meanwhile, I wonder why the board wouldn’t talk about his project, and I remain dubious that VLCIA has any other “renewable green energy projects”.

In that same meeting, Col. Ricketts and Brad Lofton went on for some time about solar energy, saying they were answering citizen concerns.

As one of the people who has asked them most frequently about solar energy, I have to say Continue reading