We asked Nydia Tisdale to say a few words about her recent legal situation, and here’s what she said.Continue reading
Update 2016-10-19: And we asked Nydia to speak directly through YouTube.
Here’s Nydia Tisdale with her picture on the front page of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Gretchen and I dropped in on Nydia Sunday afternoon in Roswell, GA. Needless to say, we support Nydia. She usually doesn’t even provide commentary with her video reports, yet when videoing public meetings she’s repeatedly faced obstruction from people who don’t seem to know the First Amendment, nor even the Four Amendment, much less Georgia’s Open Meetings Law.
Sue the state? You’ll lose, because of sovereign immunity, unless HB 59 passes. Then you might be able to sue GA-DNR for circumventing permiting in allowing construction on the Georgia Coast, or if it should approve a compressor station in Albany, or if it should issue any other permits for the Sabal Trail fracked methane pipeline.
State agencies such as the Department of Natural Resources (GA-DNR), can use “letters of permission” to do things like make alterations to Georgia’s coast, and anyone suing to stop it runs up against sovereign immunity unless the issuing agency has expressly waived it. Now that may change with HB 59, “State tort claims; waiver of sovereign immunity for declatory judgment or injunctive relief; provide”. It has six co-sponsors, including Jay Powell, District 171, Camilla, Mitchell County, GA.
Here’s the key part: Continue reading
“She promptly sat down on the front row on the end where she would be right in their face and was making everybody uncomfortable.”
State Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens reportedly asked Nydia Tisdale “I don’t know why you’re videotaping” and was recorded moments later laughing as she yelled for help while a deputy forcibly ejected her from a political rally in front of Governor Nathan Deal and U.S. Senate candidate David Perdue.
Jim Galloway and Greg Bluestein wrote for the AJC yesterday, Videographer ousted from GOP event, and Sam Olens speaks up, that Attorney General Sam Olens was the only speaker at that rally to mention the incident later: Continue reading
At the county’s farewell reception for retiring Chairman Ashley Paulk Friday, Attorney General Sam Olens gave him something to hang on the wall, Paulk said a few words, County Manager Joe Pritchard read a letter from incoming Chairman Bill Slaughter, and Pritchard said a few words and gave Paulk a rocking chair, in which he declined to sit.
At some later date maybe I’ll post a retrospective about my neighbor Ashley Paulk, but for now I think the many posts in this blog will serve, and meanwhile I look forward to seeing what the new Commission will do with new Commissioners Demarcus Marshall (District 4), John Page (District 5), and new Chairman Bill Slaughter.
Here’s a video playlist:
Farewell Chairman Ashley Paulk, Lowndes County Commission (LCC),
Video by Gretchen Quarterman for Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange (LAKE),
Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia, 14 December 2012.
Pushers of the charter school amendment must be desperate! Blurring the line between public officials and private citizens, state Attorney General Sam Olens wrote:
Local school boards do not have the legal authority to expend funds or other resources to advocate or oppose the ratification of a constitutional amendment by the voters. They may not do this directly or indirectly through associations to which they may belong….
As Jim Galloway wrote yesterday for the AJC in Sam Olens orders local school boards to stay out of charter school fight,
That means organizations like the Georgia School Boards Association, and perhaps, the Georgia School Superintendents Association, would be barred from speaking out against the proposed constitutional amendment.
And would that include organizations like PAGE, which produced the slides that a local middle school teacher used last week? What about that teacher, or Dr. Troy Davis, speaking a few weeks earlier, both on their own time?
Olens’ letter would apply to what the VDT said was in the VBOE and LCBOE joint resolution, at least the part about “The resolution explicitly states that the boards are asking voters to not support the Constitutional Amendment relative to state charter schools.”
But what does Olens mean, duly elected local school boards don’t have authority to express opinions about educational matters that would directly affect the people who elected them?
Why has Sam Olens suddenly gotten religion about this now, after he was silent last year when both VBOE and LCBOE adopted resolutions against the school “unification” referendum? Where was he when both boards of education hosted numerous forums opposing consolidation?
Will he next be telling the Valdosta City Council it can’t pass a resolution opposing a referendum? What exactly is the difference between that elected body and an elected school board as far as expressing such an opinion? And all of those resolutions were non-binding opinions.
Will Sam Olens next be telling the VDT it can’t editorialize against the charter school amendment?
How desperate are the pushers of the charter school amendment?Continue reading
Kay Harris wrote for the VDT today, Georgia AG works to boost Sunshine Laws, quoting State Attorney General Sam Olens:
“The legislature has given the Attorney General’s office the jurisdiction to enforce the Open Records law and this bill will give us the tools to do so.”The bill ( Here’s HB 397 on the legislature’s website) includes some welcome requirements about meeting times and public records officers having to be posted on a body’s website, but builds in a huge loophole: Continue reading
Olens said the AG’s office receives an average of 400 complaints each year of Open Records violations by governmental entities in the state. The bill strengthens penalties and gives the AG more tools to use to prosecute violators.
Subsection 50-14-6 changes the fine for knowingly violating the law from $100 to $1,000 and allows the court to impose a civil penalty as well.
The bill also strengthens the guidelines for posting notices on websites and clarifies the rules for social events that may attract a quorum of officials. Also, destroying public records can be prosecuted as a felony.
Jim Galloway wrote for the AJC on 1 Sep 2011, Sam Olens, Mike Bowers at odds over change to Open Records Act,
At issue is House Bill 397, which was drafted by Olens and received its first public hearing at the state Capitol this week. One provision in the bill would prohibit those who file lawsuits against state or local governments from using the Open Records Act to obtain records for use in court.Bowers has successfully used open records to win a lawsuit on behalf of fired librarians. The proposed law would prevent such uses. Olens said:
“What we’re trying to do is incorporate past judicial decisions so we’re all on the same page,” Olens said. “When you’re suing the government, you should have no other advantage that you would when you’re suing a private party.”
The current Georgia sunshine law has two parts: open records and open meetings. Continue reading