Tag Archives: Leigh Touchton

School consolidation report: can cause irreversible damage

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.

Craig Howley, Jerry Johnson, Jennifer Petrie wrote 1 February 2011, Consolidation of Schools and Districts: What the Research Says and What it Means:

…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.
Isn’t such irreversible damage what Rev. Floyd Rose got Mrs. Ruth Council to admit?
Rev. Rose: “…we were told about the world, where we came from, how we got here.”

Mrs. Council: “I think we did receive a better education.”
They are referring to black schools before desegregation in the 1960s.

Rev. Floyd Rose is president of the local SCLC, and here is a statement by Leigh Touchton, president of the local NAACP: Continue reading

The health of the community is way more important than the job —Leigh Touchton

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.

Here’s 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.

What I actually recommended regarding VSEB, in response to a specific request from Leigh Touchton for recommendations, was maybe schedule a meeting with Roy Copeland to talk about VSEB and solar job opportunities: Continue reading

How to get public officials to respond to the citizens?

Leigh Touchton asked me,
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

Citizens are entitled to hear where their elected officials stand —Leigh Touchton

This comment from Leigh Touchton came in today on “Because it would be monitored. -jsq
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, proposed incinerator.

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,

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Consolidation won’t be the magic bullet —Leigh Touchton

This comment by Leigh Touchton, President, Valdosta-Lowndes NAACP, came in last night on “I don’t see a separation”. -jsq
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.

-Leigh Touchton

Well Councilman Yost certainly believes Councilmen should give their opinion —Leigh Touchton

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 opinion

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Who’s for What at the VLCIA

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

NAACP boycotting Arizona —Leigh Touchton

This came in as a comment yesterday on Georgia first to copy Arizona anti-immigrant bill. -jsq
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.


-Leigh Touchton

A quote from that article. -jsq
“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.”

Listening and asking questions to make sure I understand —Tim Carroll

This came in as a comment Tuesday evening on Walk out into the audience. -jsq
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

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Runaround —Leigh Touchton

Leigh Touchton responded to Valdosta Mayor John Fretti’s response to her previous post. -jsq
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

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