People ask me: why do the NAACP and the SCLC oppose school consolidation?
Well, here’s some recent research that backs up their position, followed
by their positions.
My summary: because it caused great damage last time, and this time would be no different.
…the review of research evidence detailed in this brief suggests that
a century of consolidation has already produced most of the efficiencies
obtainable. Research also suggests that impoverished regions in particular
often benefit from smaller schools and districts, and they can suffer
irreversible damage if consolidation occurs.
Leigh Touchton, president of the Valdosta-Lowndes NAACP,
says the local and state NAACP are opposed to the biomass plant
because the community that is most affected is the minority community.
She referred to her previous presentation of a letter from
Dr. Robert D. Bullard.
She also brought up an incident with Brad Lofton and recommended
that VLCIA hire an executive director who wouldn’t act like that.
And she said she deals with VSEB all the time:
I’ve taken men through there, I’ve signed them up.
She referred to me when she said that, so what I said before
is appended after the video.
The health of the community is way more important than the job —Leigh Touchton
Regular Meeting, Valdosta-Lowndes County Industrial Authority (VLCIA),
Norman Bennett, Roy Copeland, Tom Call, Mary Gooding, Jerry Jennett chairman,
J. Stephen Gupton attorney, Allan Ricketts Acting Executive Director,
Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia, 17 May 2011.
Videos by John S. Quarterman for LAKE, the Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange.
Mr. Quarterman, what can we do, do we have to go to the state legislature
to get a law passed to force these so-called public officials to answer
questions and respond to the citizens?
First of all, my compliments to anyone such as Leigh Touchton
who has been doing politics around here longer than me for asking
my opinion, because that indicates they are pretty good at it
and are probably asking many people their opinions.
My answer: carrots along with sticks, and shine some light!
That all builds political capital, which will be needed for elections.
We need many people building a community doing many things.
If I knew a simple answer that would change things magically overnight,
I’d recommend it, but I don’t.
I don’t even know if I know a long answer, but I’m pretty sure that
any answer will require a community, because
Continue reading →
Two weeks ago I delivered the official NAACP letter to all City Council
members (and Mayor Fretti) asking for a written response as to their
position on biomass and selling reclaimed water to the Wiregrass, LLC,
No response. Not one.
I have heard that at least two Council members refuse to do so because
“it might be used against them.”
Citizens are entitled to hear where their elected officials stand on
these issues. At least Councilmen Vickers, Wright, and Yost have stated
publicly that they support biomass, even though black infants are already
dying in Valdosta at a rate twice as high as white infants. According
to Mr. Wright,
What NAACP has advocated for is cultural competency from our teachers,
this is not necessarily a black or white issue. Often it’s more a matter
of class than race; for example, far too many middle class teachers
expect middle class behavior from children who are living in poverty
and this is an unfair expectation. There are also deep-seated issues
regarding black males that cultural competency won’t address: namely,
that many black teenaged males don’t see any benefit to a high school
education because so many of their family members cannot find work here
in Valdosta. What’s the point to an education if one is still shut out
of most successful careers?
Consolidation won’t be the magic bullet that solves these problems,
there aren’t even any CUEE representatives speaking to these issues. To
most of our members, we think these issues will get worse rather than
better if the two systems were to merge.
From Valdosta City Council minutes on their webpage. I was told point blank
by Mr. Carroll that he would not deliver his opinion on biomass (or anything
else apparently) until the moment he casts his vote. -Leigh Touchton
Councilman Yost stated that Mr. Rhynes asked some good questions earlier
about the proposed Travel Ordinance and a mountain has been made out of a
mole hill on that subject. The reporter that usually covers the Council
meetings did call Councilman Eunice and that was reported in the newspaper.
She was asked by Councilman Eunice to call other Council persons to give
their view on the Ordinance and what happened at that meeting. She stated
that everyone was on their way to Savannah to attend the Conference.
Councilman Eunice was also on his way to Savannah when she called.
Councilman Yost stated that if she had asked then he would have given her
his opinion; however, now that Mr. Rhynes has asked he would give his
I don’t like to publish hearsay, but since the Industrial Authority
won’t talk, that’s what I’ve got.
According to Leigh Touchton, Ashley Paulk told her Tuesday night:
He said that Jerry Jennett took the biomass vote off the agenda at last
Industrial Authority meeting (April 19) even though Mary Gooding and
Roy Copeland wanted the vote to be taken ( a vote that was to oppose an
extension of the biomass contract since the biomass incinerator had not
met timeline benchmarks like having a buyer, etc). He said that Allan
Ricketts, Industrial Authority attorney Steve Gupton, and Jerry Jennett
went up to Atlanta to meet with Wiregrass officials and that’s when he
(Chairman Paulk) got a call telling him all this and he said he wouldn’t
keep quiet about it. He said the three men asked Wiregrass LLC officials
to rescind their letter asking VLCIA for an extension on their contract
and to substitute a new letter saying they were withdrawing their request
for extension (or not going forward to ask for extension).
This is in addition to what you can see him
on video saying during the meeting.
More after this picture of the cast of characters:
Continue reading →
Thank you for posting this, Mr. Quarterman. The NAACP is one of the
groups boycotting Arizona over its anti-Hispanic “immigration” law
(which really does nothing except racially profile American citizens
who happen to have brown skin.)
More on the NAACP boycott of Arizona can be found here.
“We are joining this lawsuit because the Arizona law is out of step with
American values of fairness and equality,” said Benjamin Todd Jealous,
President and Chief Executive Officer of the NAACP. “It encourages
racial profiling and is unconstitutional. African Americans know all
too well the insidious effects of racial profiling.”
Over the past four years, I have had a significant number of citizens
contact me. Some with complaints, some with questions and yes…even some
with compliments. I have never refused to meet with anyone. Some want
to know what my position is on an issue. As a rule, especially on items
that may come before council for a vote – I do not state a position. I
choose to wait for the public hearing at which time all final arguements
both for and against an item are stated and on the record.
Mrs. Noll contacted me directly this past week and we met and discussed
Happy Birthday, Mayor Fretti, and thank you for posting publicly.
However, I wish you would stop trying to pass Mayor and Council’s
portion of responsibility for the biomass incinerator to the Industrial
Authority. I delivered a letter to Mayor and Council Thursday night
outlining 10 reasons your Utilities Director can legitimately give when he
(hopefully) follows Mayor and Council’s recommendation to refuse to sell
gray water to the proposed biomass incinerator. I and many other citizens
are tired of the run-around and the shifting of responsibility for this
“biomess” from one public official or group to another.
A councilmember told me that Council would never vote