Tag Archives: Sonny Vickers

Transparency in Valdosta (or not): Impediments to Fair Housing @ VCC 2012 04 05

The Valdosta City Council has apparently heard of transparency, but seems unclear on how to go about it, judging by this housing analysis issue.

David Rodock wrote for the VDT Sunday, Valdosta’s quality of life: Disagreement over how to fix the issues,

In early April, Valdosta City Council members voted almost unanimously to approve the submission of a plan to HUD that would address socio-economic problems for citizens — except for District 1 council member James Wright.

“I felt as if we didn’t have enough time to review the document,” said Wright, as the 100 page document was not provided until the day before the vote.

The document in question is the “Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing” and was prepared by a Texas firm, J-QUAD Planning Group. The study is required of any city that receives funds directly under the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program though the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which Valdosta became eligible for in 2004.

According to the minutes of the 5 April 2012 Valdosta City Council meeting, Council Wright wanted to delay voting on the document because there was a lot of public interest in it. Mayor Gayle pointed out it was simply a pro-forma analysis required by HUD, and not a plan. Council Vickers said they could form a committee to make a plan. But the council didn’t seem to include formation of such a committee in the motion to accept the analysis that finally passed.

So Council Wright has moved ahead on his own:

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FVCS Final Meeting 15 November 2011

Former electoral opponents met Tuesday as FVCS held its final meeting, with Rusty Griffin, Vice-Chair of CUEE, watching at the MLK Monument as Sam Allen, President of Friends of Valdosta Schools (FVCS) announced the dissolution of FVCS.

Sam Allen, as he has before, called for reconciliation of opponents on the recent school consolidation referendum, and support of the two school systems, financially and otherwise.

In addition to FVCS regulars such as JC Cunningham, Chamber Chair Tom Gooding was there, as were current Valdosta Mayor Sonny Vickers and Mayor-Elect John Gayle, plus re-elected Valdosta City Council At-Large Ben Norton. Valdosta School Superintendent Cason was there. I didn’t see Lowndes Superintendent Smith, although various members of Continue reading

For the second week in a row, protesters picket outside the Chamber of Commerce —WCTV

The news media might as well make Valdosta a regular weekend stop for demonstrations. -jsq

Greg Gullberg wrote for WCTV 22 October 2011, ‘Vote No’ For Consolidation March,

For the second week in a row, protesters picket outside the Chamber of Commerce to the tune of: ‘No Consolidation’.

But unlike the occupy movement, this rally has one message; one voice.

They say: ‘Vote No’…..

But what does Valdosta’s first black mayor say about it?

“Just Vote No,” the Mayor chants from a podium.

Mayor Sonny Vickers is one of the strongest opponents of the consolidation plan. “The group that’s pushing this has no authority. No kind of plan to tell us anything. Because they are not on the board. So they cannot tell us anything specific about what’s going to happen,” says Mayor Vickers.

Sonny Vickers, Mayor of Valdosta?

A usually-reliable source says Sonny Vickers will be appointed interim Mayor of Valdosta tomorrow by the Valdosta City Council at its 5:30 PM 8 September meeting.

Since he’s running unopposed for City Council District 3, Sonny Vickers can resign from that post, get appointed mayor, and get re-elected as Council 3 in November.

This is the same method used in 2003 when former Mayor James H. Rainwater died before the election. Council appointed David Sumner interim mayor. According to the VDT 31 August 2011:

At that time, Councilman David Sumner assumed the role of mayor, but had to resign his council seat to do so. He had already qualified to rerun for his seat in the November 2003 election, was re-elected to his seat and stepped down as mayor at the end of 2003, re-assuming his duties as a newly elected councilman at the beginning of 2004.

If they don’t appoint Vickers interim mayor tomorrow, the Valdosta City Council will probably appoint somebody else. According to the VDT today:

Vickers is among those being considered for appointment by council, along with Dexter Sharper and David Sumner, who are also former council members. Vickers pointed out that he did not submit his name for consideration, but rather it was mentioned in conversations with other council members.
We’ll see.

In the November election, one of Brooks D. Bivins, John Gayle, or Gary Minchew will be elected mayor (unless of course there’s a runoff).

-jsq

School consolidation ordinance introduction @ VCC 25 August 2011

Valdosta City Council began a protracted debate about a school consolidation referendum, starting with Mayor Fretti, Attorney Talley, and Council Sonny Vickers.

Mayor Fretti introduced the topic.

Here’s Part 1 of 2:


School consolidation ordinance introduction @ VCC 25 August 2011 Part 1 of 2:
Regular Session, Valdosta City Council (LCC),
Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia, 25 August 2011.
Videos by Gretchen Quarterman for LAKE, the Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange.

Attorney Talley announced that enough registered voters petitioned for the referendum. He also read from a Georgia Supreme Court case that indicated that the council more or less had to approve the referendum.

Sonny Vickers asked what would happen if council did not approve it. Continue reading

Many ways Valdosta can stop biomass

VDT says Only city can stop biomass. Well, maybe not only, but they could, by some of the things VDT suggested.

There are other things Valdosta could do, such as what the VSU Faculty Senate did: pass a resolution opposing biomass. Remember, the mayor of Gretna, Florida did that. If little old Gretna can do it, TitleTown USA can do it!

The Valdosta City Council could also hold an ethics investigation of their own appointees to the Valdosta-Lowndes County Industrial Authority, on the topic of why those appointees are in favor of a project with demonstrated health hazards to the community.

Short of that, Valdosta could demand transparency from VLCIA: Continue reading

Only city can stop biomass —VDT

VLCIA has once again passed the buck on biomass, and the Valdosta City Council could pick it up and finally deal with it.

VDT editorial yesterday: after the

In a recent Valdosta council meeting, longtime councilman Sonny Vickers asked if there was any way to put the biomass issue to rest once and for all. The good news, Councilman Vickers, is that there is and it’s all in the city’s hands.

The Industrial Authority signed an agreement with Wiregrass Power LLC which allows the company to purchase the land from the Authority and proceed with the project on its own. Although the Authority hasn’t yet voted on the issue, it appears that they don’t have a choice and may be compelled to honor the agreement.

Compelled? Give me a break! VLCIA has an attorney, and one of its board members is an attorney. If they can’t find a way to break a land purchase contract because conditions have changed, they need new legal counsel.

Why didn’t they discuss that in their yet another special called meeting Thursday morning, in which they apparently discussed that offer from Sterling Planet to buy the proposed biomass plant site?

VDT continued:

And once the land is purchased, as long as the company complies with existing zoning laws, there is not a way to prevent the plant from being built.

Oh, but there is.

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Citizens are entitled to hear where their elected officials stand —Leigh Touchton

This comment from Leigh Touchton came in today on “Because it would be monitored. -jsq
Two weeks ago I delivered the official NAACP letter to all City Council members (and Mayor Fretti) asking for a written response as to their position on biomass and selling reclaimed water to the Wiregrass, LLC, proposed incinerator.

No response. Not one.

I have heard that at least two Council members refuse to do so because “it might be used against them.”

Citizens are entitled to hear where their elected officials stand on these issues. At least Councilmen Vickers, Wright, and Yost have stated publicly that they support biomass, even though black infants are already dying in Valdosta at a rate twice as high as white infants. According to Mr. Wright,

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To Speak or Not To Speak @ VCC 21 April 2011

Can Council members answer in Citizens to Be Heard, or can’t they? One did; another says she can’t.

In Council Comments at the end of the 21 April 2011 Valdosta City Council meeting, Sonny Vickers talked about bids.

Then Deidra White said she would attend any meeting where she could hear and reply to citizens’ concerns, but she can can’t say anything about Citizens to be Heard because there’s a Council policy.

That’s interesting, considering that in the previous Valdosta City Council meeting, in Citizens to be Heard, Council Sonny Vickers responded to Dr. Mark George saying that he had already told everyone that he was for the biomass plant. Does this mean that Council supporters of the biomass plant can speak Continue reading