Tag Archives: Tom Gooding

Library open records request 2012-10-26

The most-organized open records response ever! Well, that we’ve asked for, anyway. Sure, sometimes local government bodies deliver a three-ring binder of papers. Sometimes they deliver a CD. Sometimes they deliver on a USB stick. Nobody ever delivered all of the above. OK, I brought the USB stick and the scanner (not pictured), but look at that CD lying on top of the really thick binder: the CD contains everything that’s in the binder, and that saved us a lot of scanning time.

Thank you, Kelly Lenz, Patrick Spurlock, and Tom Gooding!

It will take a bit of time to process all this information; stay tuned.

Kelly Lenz, Library Director, Tom Gooding, Attorney

Kelly Lenz, Library Director, Tom Gooding, Attorney
Left to right: an extra item, the four architect presentations, the “bible” of what the new library should be (the thick binder and the CD), and agendas, minutes, and board packets (the other two binders).
Picture by Gretchen Quarterman for Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange (LAKE),
at South Georgia Regional Library, Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia, 26 October 2012.

I know of at least one open records request somewhere else that, two years later and counting, Continue reading

Local state legislative delegation at the Country Club

At the State Legislative Luncheon at the Country Club yesterday, sponsored by the Rotary Club and the Chamber of Commerce, I found it more interesting what the legislators didn’t mention than what they did.

Frequent attendees told me the audience was much larger than in previous years, and one attributed that to the recent school consolidation referendum. Sitting side by side were Chamber Chair Tom Gooding and FVCS President Sam Allen.

Jeff Hanson introduced the legislators. He’s the Chair of the Chamber’s Government Affairs Council (GAC). He said they are seeking more participants. Hm, they have an Energy and Environment Policy Committee that’s chaired by someone from Georgia Power….

Tim Golden announced that the local delegation’s highest priority was to get $32 million for a Health Science Center for VSU. VSU Interim President Dr. Levy was there, as was former president “Dr. Z” as Tim Golden called him.

I was just talking to someone from SGMC in the food line about how it would be nice if the Industrial Authority would promote healthcare industries more. It’s good that the legislators are doing that, although it’s not clear that there are not other things that should be even higher priority.

Tim Golden also wants to remove a sales tax Continue reading

How about as a first step the Chamber pledge… —Jim Parker

Received today on Why the Chamber Supports Unification. -jsq
So true, John. There was no meat in the whole letter. The last line sums it up, “We BELIEVE…” yada, yada, yada. Faith based thinking might fly in religious institutions, but in the education of our children, we have a pretty good handle on what is needed. Deferring to those trained and with years of experience in the education of our children, who have brought countless facts to the discussion, none of which the Chamber can or has bothered to refute, I will go along with both Boards of Education and vote NO to consolidation.

I did note that Mr Gooding offered to “combine our resources and our efforts and work together as a community to transform two average school systems…” Since he used the first person plural “our,”

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Schools serving children in poverty well —Karen Noll

Received yesterday. -jsq
From: Karen Noll
To: chamber@valdostachamber.com
Cc: [many other people]

Dear Mr. Gooding and Chamber of Commerce,

In response to your most recent correspondence, I dare say many ask why the Chamber has such a single focus on an unproven plan with little or no supporting data. Yet again your answers to the many questions about the reasons that the Chamber is acting in this manner are insufficient and demonstrate quite clearly that you are steadfastly working to undermine the very community you claim to support.

Maybe it is my academic background, but I will use data to support my assertions and hopefully rectify some of the misinformation that has been so disruptive to this community, a discussion of a very important issue: the education of our children.

According to the Chamber’s own study, education ranked

12th out of 16 factors in importance to businesses coming to our community. The Chamber’s own survey revealed that a low crime rate and the business friendliness of the local agencies were most important to businesses in 2009.

Our community sadly hosts a large population of children living in poverty, and education is the best avenue to future success. For this reason, I am very pleased to report that our economically disadvantaged students in Valdosta City Schools met or exceeded the expected CRCT scores for the district last year. This is no small feat and we have some very dedicated educators to thank for this achievement.

Furthermore, research shows that “larger district size has been shown to be negatively associated with the achievement of impoverished students” ( Howley, C. 1996). This means that the fantastic achievements of our most disadvantaged students will be reversed in a larger district and all of the hard work of VCS educators will be lost in order to create, as you claim, “one great public school system”.

Two years ago the city school district asked Chamber members to provide input on their Strategic Improvement Plan through an online survey. Only 5.2% of responses came from Chamber members. Valdosta City Schools encouraged input from all stakeholders, yet these Chamber members in large part did not respond. Now the Chamber claims to have THE solution for the schools they had no time for when asked for feedback.

Research consistently shows that bigger does not mean better in education. So, ‘combining our resources’ does not bring more money, better educational outcomes, or cost savings. According to the Lowndes County Board of Education consolidation would put a number of teachers out of work. That would mean fewer customers in local businesses and less tax revenue. In other words, school consolidation would negatively impact our local economy and its businesses.

The Chamber is acting irresponsibly toward this community and the children served by the Valdosta City Schools. I am again appalled by the callousness of this organization, the petty name calling and repeated misinformation. It is crystal clear that CUEE and the Chamber are not interested in what is best for our children.

As a positive and strong community we will rise above the bad apple that misbehaves and move forward because it is the right thing to do, and we will continue to model appropriate behavior to our children. At the same time, we as a community must remember the lesson we have learned today: ‘greed can blind’. We are called to reach out to and to help those in need. We will continue to work together as a community and work toward the brightest future for our children.

Thank you, Mr. Gooding, for reminding us again of the path we are called to take.

Vote No for our children!!

My best wishes to you,
Karen Noll

Why the Chamber Supports Unification —Tom Gooding, Chairman, VLCoC

My opinion is appended. -jsq
Date: Wed, 2 Nov 2011 11:17:00 -0400 (EDT)
From: Tom Gooding <chamber@valdostachamber.com>
Subject: Why the Chamber Supports Unification

Dear Chamber Members:

Some ask why the Chamber supports school system unification, instead of focusing on poverty. The answer is very simple: The Chamber’s mission is to build a strong and healthy community, resulting in job opportunities for our citizens, which addresses poverty. Improving public education is the single most important thing we can do to build a strong community, grow jobs, and reduce poverty.

Valdosta’s business community consistently ranks

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