Tag Archives: participation

Citizens at Lowndes County Commission 7 November 2011

Five citizens spoke up at the 7 November 2011 Lowndes County Commission Regular Session. Some got answers, some got excuses, and some got fingerpointing. And one illustrated how the Commission doesn’t follow its own rules.

  • George Boston Rhynes asked about Open record requests and jail deaths and got the same excuses he’s heard elsewhere: nobody seems to be responsible for supplying information to the public about what’s going on in the Lowndes County Jail.

  • John Robinson asked about Contracts on the south side related to Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and to Title III Section 3 of the HUD program and got a clarification from the Chairman that the county has no Title III projects.

  • John S. Quarterman asked the Commission to video meetings like the Lowndes Board of Education does, and got a slightly different excuse this time than the many previous times he’s made similar requests.

  • Matt Portwood asked the Commission or the individual Commissioners to state a position on school consolidation and was told they weren’t going to. The VDT printed that much the next morning, the morning of the election with the referendum on school consolidation. They did not print Chairman Paulk’s allusion to his already-known support for FVCS in opposing consolidation, but LAKE published a video with that on Election Day, and you can see it here.

  • Tony Daniels wanted to know How can we pursue happiness when we don’t even have a job? and had several recommendations for how the various local elected and appointed bodies could go about getting us more jobs. He also illustrated that the Commissions ordinance on Citizens Wishing to Be Heard is, as we’ve discovered on many previous occasions, merely guidelines at the whim of the Chairman.

Citizen participation!


June LAKE meeting: The owl in Valdosta

The owl lights in Valdosta Tuesday evening.
What: Monthly LAKE Meeting
When: 5:30 PM, Tuesday 7 May 2011
Where: El Cazador
1600 North Ashley Street
Valdosta, GA 31602
(229) 333-0554
That’s the old Margarita’s at the corner of College Street. They’re open until 10PM.

Help cover animals, food, water, transportation, incarceration, solar energy, biomass, and regular local government meetings: you never know when news will be made!

If you follow the LAKE blog, On the LAKE Front, which you can also see through the LAKE facebook page, you know what we cover, from the animal shelter to private prisons to gardening to schools, all of which turn out to be related. What else do you want to investigate? You can be LAKE, too! Continue reading

May LAKE meeting: The owl in Lake Park

Continuing to fly around the county, the owl lights in Lake Park Tuesday evening: Monthly LAKE Meeting
When: 6 PM, Tuesday 3 May 2011
Where: Sonny’s Real Pit Bar-B-Q
1088 Lakes Boulevard
Lake Park, GA 31636-3013
(229) 559-0052
That’s on Lakes Blvd at exit 5 off of I-75. They’re open until 9PM.

However, at 7PM the Lake Park City Council meets. We can go see a city council that talks to its people during its meetings!

Help cover food, water, transportation, incarceration, solar energy, biomass, and regular local government meetings: you never know when news will be made!

If you follow the LAKE blog, On the LAKE Front, which you can also see through the LAKE facebook page, you know what we cover, from protesters to private prisons to gardening to schools, all of which turn out to be related. What else do you want to investigate? You can be LAKE, too! Continue reading

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the blog of LAKE, the Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange,
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Comments on the LAKE blog or facebook page are not necessarily endorsed by LAKE, even if we promote them to be main blog posts. Most blog posts by LAKE people are not necessarily endorsed by LAKE, either. Chronic readers will have noted that we don’t even agree among ourselves on a number of issues and often criticize each other. Remember, the purpose of LAKE is transparency and dialog. The only posts that are endorsed by LAKE as an organization are those few that say by someone “for LAKE”.

Remember LAKE’s motto:

Citizen dialog for transparent process
Comments and posts on this blog are part of that process.

We look forward to your comments and reports!

About On the LAKE Front

LAKE welcomes your submissions to its blog,
On the LAKE Front!

LAKE is the Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange. Our motto:

Citizen dialog for transparent process

LAKE is just curious citizens; a small core group and a larger loosely connected group of associates. We are the media, and you can be, too!

See our submissions policy.

What will you do? —John S. Quarterman @ VCC 7 April 2011

I wanted to know what the council and the protesters will do when the biomass plant is canceled. I still want to know: what will you do?

Here’s the video, followed by my points.

What will you do? —John S. Quarterman @ VCC 7 April 2011
Regular monthly meeting of the Valdosta City Council (VCC),
Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia, 7 April 2011,
Videos by Gretchen Quarterman for LAKE, the Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange.

Before I started, the mayor noted that many people needed to go to an event at 7PM (he didn’t name it, but it was the 100 Black Men Annual Dinner.) He offered to proceed with scheduled business and re-open Citizens to be Heard at the end of the meeting. Nobody objected. I had already waited until nobody else seemed to want to speak.

My points: Continue reading

Communities watching boards

Susan Hall Hardy says that in most places industrial authority executives don’t interact with their communities. Well, paraphrasing what Yakov Smirnoff used to say, in Lowndes County, community interact with officials!

Here is her comment from 15 March 2011 on this blog:

Not to be rude, although honesty is very often perceived that way these days, but, the industrial authority executives rarely thank their communities. In the six states I’m most familiar with, these fellows see themselves as beholden only to their employers. After all, they work with their directors, elected officials, a few bankers and city/county department heads. Rarely do they come in direct contact with the average voter, employee or homeowner, although all those people often pay a large part of their salaries and office operating expenses. Despite the public funding, these groups are usually tight lipped about how they do business and rarely provide the public with records or audits. We’ve all put up with that manner of doing business for so long we now see it as just that — the way you do business. We’d never accept that from a nonprofit organization, a charity group or most elected officials. Shame on us all.
Susan, you’re helping by reading, and you’re helping more by posting. Many local officials have noticed LAKE and this blog because they know people read it.

Anyone who wants to help still more, you, too, can go to a meeting. The Industrial Authority is a good one to attend, but I hear the Tree Commission isn’t trying as hard to enforce things, and does anybody know anything the Hospital Authority does? The Airport Authority? Continue reading

Beliefs are good, but facts are better –John S. Quarterman @ VLCIA, 15 March 2011

First I praised the completion of the Wiregrass Solar LLC plant in Valdosta. Then I complimented Brad Lofton on finding his new job and hoped he’d be happy in Myrtle Beach. Then I praised the VDT for its editorial recommending using this opportunity to consult the councils of the various municipalities and the County Commission, and in particular that one way to produce unity in the community as G. Norman Bennett had previously advocated, would be to find out what the community wants VLCIA to do.
I understand the point about beliefs. But it’s not all about just the beliefs of just the people on the board. It’s also about things like is there enough water, and do we want businesses that soak up a lot of water, like Ben Copeland said at the Lake Park Chamber of Commerce. Beliefs are good, but facts are better. Thank you.

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


Unity or Participation? Norman Bennett v. Meredith Ellis

First Norman Bennett explained that the problem was that the community needed to unite behind the VLCIA so investors wouldn’t be scared away (no video of that; sorry). Then Meredith Ellis, who wasn’t even signed up to speak, begged to differ: Continue reading