Tag Archives: old boys

Why people don’t speak up: they owe their soul to the company store

Some of our elected officials wonder few people ever speak up around here. It’s simple: they owe their soul to the company store. If you don’t go along, you don’t get business.

As Tennessee Ernie Ford sang in that old Merle Travis song:

You load sixteen tons, what do you get
Another day older and deeper in debt
Saint Peter don’t you call me ’cause I can’t go
I owe my soul to the company store

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Valdosta’s Penn Station to be torn down –Alfred Willis @ VCC 2014-10-23

Received as a response to Outside corporation trumps Valdosta citizens about historical Nichols house? –Jim Parker @ VCC 2014-10-23. -jsq

The City Council’s deliberations on the 23rd had nothing to do with any construction project, but rather focused on the sale of a parcel — as Councilman Carroll’s message of the 25th accurately conveys. The Council’s vote was historic because it signified openly the supremacy of certain private property interests (specifically, those entailed in selling as a form of enjoyment) over civic cultural interests, at least within the municipality of Valdosta. In doing so it gave Valdosta’s citizens a peek behind a curtain that had remained drawn over historic preservation here since 1980. The construction of buildings, the demolition of buildings, the remodeling or moving of buildings, the maintenance and preservation of buildings, their sale and their purchase, their adaptive reuse — all of those processes are historical processes that turn on the resolution of conflicts among interests. Thus they all reveal structures of power and the machinations of powerful individuals and groups. How could they not?

The construction of the Nichols house in the early 1950s showed with a degree of clarity that probably no other Valdosta building of that time did, the identity, values, attitudes, and mode of operation of Valdosta’s leadership. Its demolition will Continue reading

What kind of local government body gives a private company “absolute discretion”?

Continuing my response to Barbara Stratton’s post: if public-private partnerships are the aspect of private prisons that you oppose, by all means oppose them for that. Did you catch this part in VLCIA’s recent response?
CCA has absolute discretion in issuing or withholding the NTP.
What kind of local government body gives a private company “absolute discretion” on whether to proceed with a project? What happened to those appointed officials’ own discretion as to the appropriateness of a project for the community? What if their due diligence turns up something unacceptable? For example, that CCA told Decatur County that both Lowndes and Decatur are getting a private prison (one state and one federal), so the guff CCA told VLCIA about Lowndes being the primary site was disingenuous at best. How about if CCA has already breached the contract by not supplying a required document? How about if VLCIA receives convincing arguments from the community that a private prison is a bad business deal?

Indeed, disaster capitalism or the shock doctrine is nothing like the capitalism Adam Smith recommended. The main point of the petition against CCA’s private prison in Lowndes County is that it’s a bad business deal: it wouldn’t save money; it wouldn’t increase employment; and it would be likely to close, leaving us all owing money.

Did the Valdosta City and Lowndes County elected governments appoint these people to abdicate their authority to a private company? Maybe they did, since those elected officials are in cahoots on this deal. CCA lauded them all for their support after VLCIA signed the contract with that “absolute discretion” language in it. Does that seem right to you?

Florida has just demonstrated that people of all parties can join together successfully to oppose prison privatization. Let’s do that right here in Lowndes County and stop the private prison!


The good old boy system, legalized, subsidized, & on steroids —Barbara Stratton

Received yesterday on CCA offers to buy prisons from 48 states. -jsq
As always, LAKE is doing a fantastic job of uncovering the shadows. However, please note there is a difference in capatalism & crony capitalism. Liberals have their fair share of the crony variety also AKA Soros & Monsanto, GM,etc. Free enterprise & capitalism is why our borders are being crossed legally & illegally, but crony capitalism will destroy us. If the government chooses to privatize there should be clear total delineation between them & the private business, not fascist public/private partnerships like CCA is courting. We need to resist P3s totally, but they are being welcomed with multi grant incentives & blessings of the Dept of Community Development & its Chamber of Commerce conduits. We are on the same team always for transparency in government & we can be on the same team against CCA if we focus on fighting the 3P concept.

Just a reminder, I used to work for CCA & I still love to see bad men in shackles (emphasis on bad). I don’t share most of what I call simplistic liberal views on prison reform, but I am certainly with you against crony capitalism especially the public/private partnership variety. As I’ve said before they are just the good old boy system, legalized, subsidized, & on steroids.

-Barbara Stratton


Thanks for the compliments, and we’re going to get you carrying a camera yet…. See next post for the rest of my response.


John Fretti resigned as mayor Tuesday, or, Roy Taylor got his way

Doubtless everyone knows this already, since the VDT and others have covered it well, including his guilty plea, the VDT’s call for him to resign, and his resignation. Here is John Fretti’s press release announcing his resignation. It seems appropriate that he sent it to News Talk 105.9 FM, where he so frequently appeared.

Personally, I thought he was not all that bad as mayor, even though he never did anything I asked him to. Given that I don’t even live in Valdosta, there is of course no reason that he should have, and he was always courteous when I appeared before the Valdosta City Council or met him elsewhere. Yes, I am well aware of many of the downsides, many of which I have written about in this blog, and Valdosta can do better.

If Valdosta is going to do better, somebody better needs to run. That’s why at the moment I’d prefer to write about the open race for mayor: qualifying is still open today and tomorrow (see next post).

I will say that whoever wins I hope will have less of this attitude:

“If they don’t say they’re against it, they’re for it.”
I think all citizens, but especially elected officials, should be willing to say what they’re for.

If people around here are too frightened to do so, then we’ve got a much bigger problem than who is mayor of Valdosta.


Why biomass will never cleanly end —jsq

In Harrisburg, PA, same size as Valdosta, in a county of similar size, a trash incinerator bit the dust once, but got revived anyway, and will now probably only go away because: Harrisburg, PA loses solvency and trust over incinerator. There are many parallels here, especially the old boy network. However, the main point I want to draw everyone’s attention to at the moment is that although local activists may have gotten that incinerator closed down once, it came back anyway.

Why? Because their local old boys thought it would make money, and Continue reading