Tag Archives: open records

Videos: Pipeline, Tourism + KLVB appointments + flowers @ LCC 2014-12-09

The vote was unanimous for the resolution against the Sabal Trail pipeline at the Lowndes County Commission Tuesday, to be followed tonight by the Valdosta City Council voting on their resolution of support for Lowndes County against Sabal Trail, including an additional clause about protecting our drinking water in the Floridan Aquifer. This follows a long string of county and city resolutions against that unnecessary, destructive, and hazardous pipeline boondoggle.

Speaking of boondoggles, Continue reading

Board packet: Trash, Pipeline, Tourism + KLVB appointments @ LCC 2014-12-08

The text of the Resolution Opposing the Sabal Trail Pipeline, the Commission meeting schedule, the budget calendar, and the proposed sign for the G. Robert Carter Law Enforcement Complex, plus maps for all those special tax lighting districts and details of budget and requests, all in the board packet for the 8 December 2014 Work Session and the 9 December 2014 Regular Session of the Lowndes County Commission.

The County Clerk once again provided this packet only on paper and only in black and white. The request to the County Clerk asked for electronic copy, but once again she chose not to honor that part of the request.

There’s no change in that after the Open Government Symposium of 21 November 2014. Also, this request was sent shortly after the previous Commission meeting, and with more than three weeks notice the county only made this latest packet available at 4:35 PM the Friday before the meeting, when they close at 5PM.

-jsq

Videos: Trash, Pipeline, Tourism + KLVB appointments @ LCC 2014-12-08

Who could have foreseen that ADS wants a rate hike? The Resolution against the Sabal Trail pipeline they already sent to FERC is on the agenda for voting along with everything else tomorrow, 5:30 PM, Tuesday 9 December 2014. Congratulations again in advance for doing that!

Update 2014-12-09: board packet.

Staff wants to rename the Sheriff’s complex for former Sheriff and former Comissioner G. Robert Carter. And a bunch of appointments, contracts, calendars, and special tax lighting districts. in a very full agenda. Other county commissions, such as Thomas County, list potential appointees in their agenda. If Lowndes County did that, we wouldn’t have to google to figure out how to spell names of appointees. And without this LAKE video, you wouldn’t know who was being considered, unless you skipped work to go to that 8:30 AM Work Session.

Here’s the agenda. The videos are below in the order events transpired, followed by a video playlist.

Continue reading

Pipeline resolution, Trash report, Tourism + KLVB appointments @ LCC 2014-12-08

The Resolution against the Sabal Trail pipeline they already sent to FERC is on the agenda for voting. Congratulations in advance for doing that!

Advanced Disposal is back to report on their trash disposal. Did they turn in their required written report this time? How about that recycling? ADS’ Steve Edwards scheduled to report is the same who couldn’t forsee any further acquisitions before they bought three more companies. And a bunch of appointments, contracts, calendars, etc. in a very full agenda.

Shortly after the previous Commission meeting, almost a month ago, I filed an open records request for the board packet. Today at 4:35PM I got a call saying it’s ready. It takes me 30 minutes to get there. They close at 5PM.

Here’s the agenda.

LOWNDES COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
PROPOSED AGENDA
WORK SESSION, MONDAY, DECEMBER 8, 2014, 8:30 a.m.
REGULAR SESSION, TUESDAY, DECEMBER 9, 2014, 5:30 p.m.
327 N. Ashley Street — 2nd Floor
Continue reading

LAKE in the VDT @ LCC 2014-11-21

300x169 VDT videographer, Gretchen with the LAKE camera, Chairman Slaughter, County Clerk, in Open Government Symposium, by John S. Quarterman, 21 November 2014 First time ever the VDT mentioned LAKE, so far as I can recall. And we’ll see if the new VDT editor’s honeyed approach works this time with the Lowndes County Commission.

Joe Adgie, VDT, 23 November 2014, Watchdogs use open government laws to the fullest,

Not everyone at the Open Government Symposium on Friday were affiliated with a government.

Some of them, like John and Gretchen Quarterman, serve as watchdogs for the government. These watchdogs attend the open, public meetings held by governing bodies, acquire the documents and records of these meetings and other governmental affairs, and serve to make sure our local governments behave like they should.

The Quartermans run the Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange (LAKE), a repository of Continue reading

The Case of the Six Missing Screams: Nydia Tisdale’s video edited by sheriff’s office?

It looks like the “public” Pumpkin Farm Republican campaign rally headlined by Gov. Nathan Deal not only caused a citizen journalist to be roughed up and evicted, and her camera taken, apparently the local law edited her video recording to remove the sound of her screams.

Jim Galloway wrote 22 September 2014, The Case of the Six Missing Screams,

You’ll remember Tisdale as the citizen-journalist from Roswell who was arrested in August at a GOP rally at a pumpkin farm in Dawsonville for pointing a video recorder at candidates. Which is what she does.

In front of the top of the GOP ticket, including Gov. Nathan Deal, Tisdale was grabbed — then roughed up. Her camera was Continue reading

VDT Open Government Symposium: in Macon?

Yay open government symposium! But why in Macon, why not in Valdosta, if it’s organized by the new VDT editor? Sure, Macon is the geographic center of the state, but it’s only about an hour from Atlanta, and one thing most people in Atlanta don’t understand is how big Georgia is, so asking them to drive four hours to Valdosta would be educational for them. And if the VDT is so interested in government transparency, why doesn’t it investigate the county’s lawsuit against local business Deep South Sanitation at the expense of the local taxpayers that benefits nobody but “exclusive franchise” ADS and its investors in New York City? Why is the VDT’s front page story that gave a platform for Spectra’s Andrea Grover no longer online, especially now that the Sabal Trail deadline she announced has been busted? Let’s see the VDT lead the way. Here’s a first test: Gretchen is going to Macon with the LAKE video camera. Will the VDT let her video?

Unsigned article, VDT, 11 October 2014, VDT leading way in open government, Continue reading

When are the two Budget Public Hearings? –John S. Quarterman @ LCC 2014-05-27

We can’t see the draft budget before the Public Hearings, said the Chairman, answering my question after the Lowndes County Commission Regular Session of 27 May 2014.

When are the 2 Budget Public Hearings? CWTBH --John S. Quarterman

Video. After congratulating the Chairman on recognizing the poll workers, Crawford Powell for recusing himself on an appointment of himself, and the Commission for the recent Budget Sessions, I asked:

  1. When are the two Public Hearings required by state law before adoption of the budget?
  2. When is the second Budget Session mentioned in the Budget Session held earlier that same day?
  3. Where is the draft budget on the county’s website so the public can see it before the public hearings?

Chairman Bill Slaughter’s answers to me after the meeting adjourned: Continue reading

Transparency in government is essential to the public trust –VDT

VDT editorial yesterday, Violating public trust,

Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens successfully fought for and implemented changes to the state’s Open Records law, believing that transparency in government is essential to the public trust. The law passed in 2012 states, “The General Assembly finds and declares that the strong public policy of this state is in favor of open government; that open government is essential to a free, open, and democratic society; and that public access to public records should be encouraged to foster confidence in government and so that the public can evaluate the expenditure of public funds and the efficient and proper functioning of its institutions.”

The VDT asked for records from the Lowndes County school system and didn’t get them. Their experience sounds quite similar to many LAKE has had with the county government in particular, with records not being provided in the statutory three days, and sometimes not even an excuse or a list of what might eventually be available.

That plus failure to make even agendas for the Planning Commission available in a timely fashion so citizens can see whether they need to attend (somebody explain to me the expense of agendas; clearly I don’t understand this Internet suff), and even in response to open records requests returning paper when the documents are obviously composed in electronic formats, agendas for County Commission meetings that are just plain incorrect, resulting in people taking time off from work to show up unnecessarily for a Sabal Trail pipeline item that didn’t happen, a public hearing that wasn’t listed as such on the agenda, a secretive retreat “work session”, and not even being clear about what tax dollars for SPLOST would go for. That’s not even all; just a sample of county government lack of transparency.

And it’s not just the County Commission. Look at Continue reading

Transparency not a problem –Bill Slaughter @ VLMPO 2013-10-23

Defining away another problem, like he already did Internet access, Lowndes County Chairman Bill Slaughter said:

I can’t honestly just buy into the real problem of transparency in this community.

This was after numerous people in the room at the VLMPO Open House on Common Community Vision at Mildred Hunter 23 October 2013 expressed concerns about needs to video local government meetings and put them online, and to make various processes more open.

Regarding videoing, Slaughter trotted out former Valdosta Mayor John Fretti’s old chestnut about allegedly in cities where meetings are televised citizens grandstand and the meetings drag on forever. Nevermind that there are numerous ways to do it, such as putting videos on the web and not simulcasting, and in places like Tallahassee that do both not many citizens usually show up. The people I’ve seen grandstanding consistently at local government meetings around here are Continue reading