Tag Archives: responsibility

Japan or south Georgia?

How is our local landfill like Fukushima? No, not radiation: nobody seems to be responsible.

Colin P. A. Jones wrote for The Japan Times 16 September 2013, Fukushima and the right to responsible government,

Rather, the means of holding a member responsible for bad judgments are internalized as part of the rules and discipline governing the hierarchy to which they belong, with mechanisms for outsiders to assert responsibility — to assert rights — being minimized and neutralized whenever possible.

Sure, it’s not exactly the same. Our local governments live in fear they’ll get sued (or so they claim), and even sheriffs and judges occasionally get convicted around here. But it’s quite difficult to get local elected officials to take their responsibility to the people as seriously as “we’ve invested too much in that to stop now” where “we” means the local government or more frequently a developer.

And privatizing the landfills and now trash collection is not that dissimilar to the Japanese government keeping TEPCO afloat so they have an unaccountable scapegoat for Fukushima. Locally, nobody seems to even know, much less care, that the landfill is Continue reading

Sabal Trail natural gas pipeline letters to Lowndes County

No letters from Lowndes County back to Sabal Trail were included in the open records response of last week, so should we conclude the county has not authorized surveys on any of its properties? The request to Lowndes County was for correspondence with Sabal Trail Transmission LLC about the proposed natural gas pipeline from Anniston, Alabama to Orlando, Florida, and the response included survey authorization forms for a list of parcels owned by Lowndes County, plus assorted descriptions and maps with very little detail. Sabal Trail still didn’t have a contract with Florida Power and Light, yet expected:

“Field survey work is scheduled to begin in September 2013.”

It looks like Sabal Trail sent letters about a bunch of parcels and then more about another one later. First they sent an introduction 19 June 2013 listing parcels 0146A-074-A, 0171 178, 0172 119, 0204 001, including a map. This appears to be the same map we’ve seen before posted by various news media:

[Map: 36" Greenfield Pipeline Approx. 465 Miles]
Map: 36" Greenfield Pipeline Approx. 465 Miles

Then they sent a letter 22 June 2013 with a survey authorization form for the same parcels. Then they sent separate letters 25 June 2013 for parcels 0146A-074-A, 0171 178, and 0172 119, 0204 001.

Also on 25 June 2013 Lowndes County Chairman Bill Slaughter informed us:

Lowndes County does not benefit from this proposal and has no responsibility for the approval other than that of a property owner potentially impacted by the proposed route as any other property owner in Lowndes County would be.

Apparently Sabal Trail thought of another one, because a few weeks later they sent a cover letter 15 July 2013 for Parcels 0098 003, 0098 004 with a slightly more detailed map, followed a few days later by a survey authorization form 19 July 2013.

[Map of Options A and B]
Map of Options A and B

Scans of all these letters are on the LAKE website.


Lowndes County takes no responsibility for the pipeline –Bill Slaughter @ LCC 2013-06-25

You’re on your own if that pipeline company wants your property; the county government chooses to stay completely out of it, so said Lowndes County Chairman Bill Slaughter at the 25 June Regular Session of the Lowndes County Commission.

He read a prepared statement about a proposed natural gas pipeline. Why the county couldn’t put it on their website as a press release is mysterious. I’ve added the links:

Lowndes County has been contacted by representatives of McKenna, Long, Aldridge law firm of Atlanta regarding a proposed project expected to impact property owners of Lowndes County. Spectra Energy Company and its subsidiary, Sabal Trail Transmissions LLC anticipates construction of a 465 mile interstate natural gas pipeline from Anniston, Alabama extending through Georgia and coming through Lowndes County, terminating in Orlando, Florida.

This project is for the benefit of and is the responsibility of Florida Power and Light. Lowndes County has been Continue reading

There are no private schools in Finland: the opposite of Atlanta-imposed charter schools

Privatizing isn’t the answer, rote tests are irrelevant, and competition doesn’t help win. Those are a few of the lessons Finland learned that made its schools world leaders in education. So why would we consider letting Atlanta force privatized charter schools on us?

Anu Partanen wrote for the Atlantic 29 December 2011, What Americans Keep Ignoring About Finland’s School Success

“Oh,” he mentioned at one point, “and there are no private schools in Finland.”

Pasi Sahlberg, director of the Finnish Ministry of Education’s Center for International Mobility and author of the new book Finnish Lessons: What Can the World Learn from Educational Change in Finland, said that offhand while talking at a private school in New York. Nobody seemed to pay much attention. Maybe we should.

He also noted Finland has no standardized tests until the equivalent of high school graduation, and they don’t have any particular system for accountability for teachers or administrators.

“Accountability is something that is left when responsibility has been subtracted.”

So why do teachers and administrators in Finland so successfully take that responsibility?

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It is time to finally put the pieces of a larger energy puzzle together —Michael Noll

Seen today on the WACE facebook page: an online comment the VDT declined to let appear. It was on Natural gas use expanding; station planned for Valdosta by Kay Harris, VDT, 22 July 2012. -jsq

There are some major problems with this article, but let’s first begin with the points one can agree with:

Mr. Putnam is correct when he says that natural gas is a much cleaner source of energy than coal and oil. It is also true that natural gas is a “bridge fuel” which can buy us time to develop new technologies. However, here are the points that are missing (or were glanced over) simply because we are, again, looking for a quick fix to our dependence on foreign oil, while doing little to address issues that really matter:

  1. Neither Mr. Putnam nor the VDT seem to fully understand or recognize the environmental damage fracking does. This new technology is not only responsible for our nation’s current natural gas surplus, but also comes at an enormous price to both people and the environment.
  2. Time and again we are talking about the need to become independent of foreign oil, yet little attention is paid to the need to conserve. Instead we continue to ‘live it up” and consume more energy per capita than any other western nation. If you are addicted to a “drug” (as in an overly consumptive lifestyle) hopping from marijuana to heroin won’t help your general problem.

It is time to finally put the pieces of a larger energy puzzle together because at the end of the day natural gas, too, is a finite source. But how will we ever get there when a) entities like Southern Company (i.e. Georgia Power) refuse to embrace truly clean sources of energy production like solar and wind, when b) people like Mr. Putnam and papers like the VDT only present a one-sided view of an important and complex issue, and when c) we, the consumers, refuse to accept our responsibilities in this whole mess as if we had a God given right to be wasteful?

-Michael Noll

Gretchen Quarterman is running for Lowndes County Chairman

In case you haven’t heard, one of the LAKE crew, Gretchen Quarterman, is running for Chairman of the Lowndes County Commission. Today she’s at the Spirit of America Celebration at Valdosta Mall (next to Buffalo Wild Wing). As you can see, she’s been practicing.

Here’s her campaign website and her facebook campaign page. According to the VDT, 8 May 2012,

“Anyone who is entrusted with the resources of another human being or thing, you have to be a good steward of tax money, air, and water. They are entrusted to us and need to be handled with responsibility.”

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