Tag Archives: petition

Ways to fix the trash problem

I commend Commissioner John Page for his op-ed in the VDT today, attempting to do what no other Commissioner has tried: to explain the trash issue. Indeed, like him, most of the people I talked to while campaigning for Gretchen were for keeping the waste collection centers open, and of those the vast majority were willing to pay more, which is the main reason the previous Commission made a big mistake in closing those centers. Unfortunately his letter seems to indicate nothing can be done. Well, here are some things that can be done.

Let the contract lapse.

Commissioner Joyce Evans insisted on the contract with the sole provider being only for one year. Let it lapse after that year!

Publish the contract.

What’s in the contract? How do we even know it’s for only one year? The new Commission already had to do over a decision of the previous Commission (remove license fee from Sunday alcohol sales) because the ordinance written up afterwards wasn’t what they thought they passed. Publish the contract and let everyone see!

Publish an accounting for the waste collection sites.

Commissioner Page wrote:
The county was losing hundreds of thousands of dollars each year because the fees for the permits were not bringing in enough money to fully fund the sites.
How do we know that? Continue reading

Petition the Commission: Provide solid waste and recycling collection centers

Seen today; I’ve added some links. Yesterday I also saw (and signed) a paper version. -jsq

Lowndes County Commission: Provide solid waste and recycling collection centers.

Petition by
April Huntley
Naylor, GA

The County is responsible for protecting the health and safety of the public. They have made decisions to close all the county dump sites and license one out of state waste collection company with little, if any public input. There is concern among citizens of more trash being on roadways, more expense on their part, being forced to pay for a service the county should provide and not having choice in collection companies which may put small business owners out of business while backing a large out of state company.

To:
Joyce Evans, District # 1 Commissioner
Richard Raines, District # 2 Commissioner
Crawford Powell, District # 3 Commissioner
Demarcus Marshall, District # 4 Commissioner
John Page, District # 5 Commissioner
Bill Slaughter, County Commission Chairman

Provide solid waste and recycling collection centers.

Sincerely,
[Your name]

Private companies are not subject to sunshine laws —VDT

The VDT reminds us of an important distinction in yesterday’s editorial, Citizens entitled to open government,
All governmental entities supported by tax dollars are subject to the laws. Private companies are not.
As the VDT knows better than anybody else around here, getting informaiton out of Valdosta State Prison or the Georgia Department of Correcions (GDOC) is very hard. The VDT has been trying to find out what’s going on at Valdosta State Prison for years now, and getting the runaround and hitting stone walls.

Florida has a law that says private prison operators have to comply with Continue reading

Help pass GA Senate Bill 401 to facilitate distributed power cogeneration

SB 401 intends to modernize Georgia law to make distributed power generation easier. You can help.

Drs Sidney Smith and Pat Godbey not only have started Tabby Power, which sells solar power directly to customers. They also have an outfit called Lower Rates for Customers, which is about generating solar power in one place and selling it in another. There are various legal impediments to doing that.

Charlie Harper wrote for the Courier-Herald and Peach Pundit 9 February 2012, A Little Sunshine On A Battle To Expand Renewable Energy,

Essentially, customers with solar panels meter not only power coming into their house from the existing grid, but also the amount of power returned to the grid. The generating company — Georgia Power in most of the state — is required to buy surplus power back based on their state granted regulated monopoly status. Currently, projects are limited in size to 10 Kw for residential customers and 100 Kw for business customers. SB 401 removes these caps.

More intricate details of the bill provide for private ownership of these systems, as opposed to current law which requires the owner of the property to also own the attached grids. This will allow for manufacturers of solar grids or interested third parties to enter into financing or lease agreements which pay for the systems long term out of cost savings for the customer. By allowing for these arrangements, many customers can access these systems with no money up front, as opposed to the high initial capital costs which would take years to recover.

Here are the details and text of SB 401. It has six cosponsors:
  1. Carter, Buddy 1st
  2. Chance, Ronnie 16th
  3. Carter, Jason 42nd
  4. Williams, Tommie 19th
  5. Rogers, Chip 21st
  6. Stoner, Doug 6th
We’ve seen Doug Stoner before, at last June’s Southern Solar Summit, talking about renewable energy. It looks like he and others are actually trying to do something about it.

You can help, by signing this petition.

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Decatur County newspaper wants more prisoners who compete with local wo rkers

The Decatur County newspaper brags about prisoners competing with free labor, while helping try to attract another prison.

Brennan Leathers wrote for the Post-Searchlight 3 January 2010, Walls going up at new ag building,

Work on Decatur County’s new agricultural office building is quickly progressing, with interior walls being put up and the installation of a roof soon to follow.

Decatur County Prison inmates with carpentry and construction experience were working hard last Friday, putting up the interior walls inside the 9,724-square-foot building under construction near the Cloud Agricultural Building off Vada Road.

Which means some local workers with carpentry and construction experience were not working on that project.

Do we want a private prison in Lowndes County so more prisoners can compete with local workers here, too? If you don’t think so, remember CCA says community opposition can impede private prison site selection. Here’s a petition urging the Valdosta-Lowndes County Industrial Authority to stop the CCA private prison.

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How to end the epidemic of incarceration

There are historical reasons for why we lock up so many people, some going back a century or more, and some starting in 1980 and 2001. Knowing what they are (and what they are not) lets us see what we can do to end the epidemic of incarceration that is damaging education and agriculture in Georgia.

Adam Gopnik wrote for the New Yorker dated 30 January 2012, The Caging of America: Why do we lock up so many people?

More than half of all black men without a high-school diploma go to prison at some time in their lives. Mass incarceration on a scale almost unexampled in human history is a fundamental fact of our country today—perhaps the fundamental fact, as slavery was the fundamental fact of 1850. In truth, there are more black men in the grip of the criminal-justice system—in prison, on probation, or on parole—than were in slavery then.
In Georgia, 1 in 13 of all adults is in jail, prison, probation, or parole: highest in the country (1 in 31 nationwide). Georgia is only number 4 in adults in prison, but we’re continuing to lock more people up, so we may get to number 1 on that, too.
Over all, there are now more people under “correctional supervision” in America—more than six million—than were in the Gulag Archipelago under Stalin at its height. That city of the confined and the controlled, Lockuptown, is now the second largest in the United States.

The accelerating rate of incarceration over the past few decades is just as startling as the number of people jailed: in 1980, there were about two hundred and twenty people incarcerated for every hundred thousand Americans; by 2010, the number had more than tripled, to seven hundred and thirty-one. No other country even approaches that. In the past two decades, the money that states spend on prisons has risen at six times the rate of spending on higher education.

And we can’t afford that, especially not when we’re cutting school budgets. That graph of education vs. incarceration spending is for California. Somebody should do a similar graph for Georgia.

The article does get into why we lock up so many people: Continue reading

No Private Prison Petition

Most people I talk to about the proposed private prison in Lowndes County Georgia have never heard of it, and many of them want to know where they can find out more. Linked from the front page of the LAKE website is the letter to the Industrial Authority people are signing, which in turn has links to an online petition and a large amount of background material.

Feel free to use any of this as pointers to research for writing your own letter, of course.

We don’t need a private prison in Lowndes County, Georgia. Spend those tax dollars on rehabilitation and education instead.

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5.a. Vote to put school consolidation referendum on ballot —Tim Carroll @ VCC 25 August 2011

Council Carroll made a motion to put the referendum on the ballot and Council White seconded. Yost, White, Norton, and Carroll voted for. Wright and Vickers voted against.

The mayor then pointed out voters will have had to be registered for six months to vote on this referendum in November, so if someone registered tomorrow, they couldn’t vote in November. (It’s not clear that this is actually true, but it is what he said.)

They all had more to say later in Council Comments.

Here’s the video:


5.a. Vote to put school consolidation referendum on ballot —Tim Carroll @ VCC 25 August 2011
petition, education, referendum,
Regular Session, Valdosta City Council (LCC),
Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia, 25 August 2011.
Videos by Gretchen Quarterman for LAKE, the Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange.

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5.a. This seems forced —Mayor John Fretti @ VCC 25 August 2011

First they voted on stopping debate on the motion on the floor (to deny putting the referendum for school consolidation on the ballot). White and Norton voted against stopping debate.

Then they voted on the motion to deny. Council White agonized over whether they were doing anything illegal. They split evenly 3 to 3: Wright, White, and Vickers for denying, and Yost, Norton, and Carroll against.

Since it was a tie, the Mayor got to vote. First he made a statement, which included:

It started out in the least inclusive manner.

This seems forced to people who don’t want the city school system and to a city school system which doesn’t want to cope with these people right now. And that’s unfair.
He suggested the legislature should handle it.

After all that, he voted against the motion to deny, so the motion failed.

Here’s the video:


5.a. This seems forced —Mayor John Fretti @ VCC 25 August 2011
petition, education, referendum,
Regular Session, Valdosta City Council (LCC),
Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia, 25 August 2011.
Videos by Gretchen Quarterman for LAKE, the Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange.

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5.a. There is no plan … we just don’t know —Sonny Vickers @ VCC 25 August 2011

Council Vickers said there was no plan for how to do school consolidation, and so he was against the referendum, and he called for a vote on his motion to deny the referendum.

He said that if we were going to consolidate school systems, the two school boards should sit down and make a plan.

But in this case, there is no plan.

We just don’t know.

Too much is unknown.
He called for a vote on his motion to deny the referendum.

Here’s the video:


5.a. There is no plan … we just don’t know –Sonny Vickers @ VCC 25 August 2011
petition, education, referendum,
Regular Session, Valdosta City Council (LCC),
Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia, 25 August 2011.
Videos by Gretchen Quarterman for LAKE, the Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange.

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