Tag Archives: Valdosta Daily Times

Motorcade against CCA, 5PM Tuesday March 6th

Do you want to live in a prison colony? Help us say, CCA Go Away!

Join us 5PM Tuesday March 6th 2012 at the private prison site (Dasher-Johnson Road off US 84 at Inner Perimeter) for a motorcade by Valdosta City Hall to the Industrial Authority offices: for education and against the private prison.

When:5PM (rush hour) Tuesday March 6th
How:Cars, trucks, motorcycles, and bicycles
Who:Everybody is invited
What:Oppose the Private Prison
From:Proposed Private Prison Site
US 84 @ Inner Perimeter Road
(Staging on Dasher-Johnson Road next to US 84)
By way of:Valdosta City Hall
Valdosta City Council Work Session
Honk to say No CCA!
To:Industrial Authority Office
2110 N. Patterson Street
(Patterson at Park Avenue)
Bring a sign: No Private Prisons!
Contact: noprivateprisons@gmail.com
Winn Roberson, 229-630-2339, winnroberson@bellsouth.net
John S. Quarterman, 229-242-0102, politics@quarterman.org

on the web

View Larger Map


Winn Roberson read the newspaper Friday (February 24th) and realized the prison site was down the street from him, so the news finally sunk in. This motorcade was his idea to drive the point across to the Industrial Authority: we don’t want a private prison!

John S. Quarterman lives about as far away from the prison site as you can get in Lowndes County, but realizes it will affect everybody for many counties around. So let’s say CCA Go Away!


PS: If you can’t come, you can still sign the petition to the Industrial Authority, or write a letter to the editor, or…

CCA private prison VDT front page today

Former Sheriff Paulk luke-warm; Sheriff Prine completely opposed. Water and sewer, wetlands, federal funding: all hurdles, says Paulk. Sheriff’s Association also opposed, says Prine. More in the VDT article.

Lowndes County Sheriff Chris Prine has also shared his thoughts on the private prison industry:
“If I’m going to house an inmate and if I’m going to be responsible, I’d rather them be in my facility not a private prison,” said Prine. “If I’m going to be responsible for them I want them to be within my reach. the Sheriff’s Association feels the same way I do. I’d say the large majority of Sheriff’s feel the same way about this. I don’t want a private facility handling my prisoners.”
Here’s video of Sheriff Prine saying most of that a few weeks ago.

They also mentioned the petition and quoted me:

“If those signatures and calls are making any impression on the Authority they certainly don’t admit to it,” said Quarterman. “This is another Lofton (Brad Lofton, former Authority executive director) project. It’d be nice if the Industrial Authority represented the community they were located in.”
Do you want the Industrial Authority to notice? You can sign the the petition, or send VLCIA your own letter, or write a letter to the editor to the VDT, or….


This issue has a lot of peculiarities. —Barbara Stratton

Received today on Valdosta water project on county land, with no city or county approval. -jsq
This issue has a lot of peculiarities. The city engineer was quoted as saying he hoped Radney Plumbing, Inc. could be chosen for the project since the company had provided them a low price on similar work. Whatever happened to the bid procedure that is supposed to proceed any new construction activity regardless of personal preferences. Is this an impromptu public/private partnership where bidding gives way to cronyism? Oops, seems like I recently read that PPP’s were now being called beneficial corporations. Either way they are blatant fascism (mixing government & private business)& we don’t need them in Lowndes County. Under proper bidding procedures it would have been imposible for a contractor to have been given a go ahead by any mythical person. The project is expected to cost $132,000 of tax payer money & I think we deserve proper bid procedures to be certain we are getting maximum benefit from our expenditures.

I have no comment on the statement the pipe needed to be put in the ground so it would not go to waste other than I never new water/sewer pipe had a short expiraton date. Perhaps we should ask how so many feet of pipe were left over from another project since I’m sure 12″ pipe is not cheap. Does our project estimator need to sharpen his pencil?

It seems County Commission Chairman Paulk questions “the wisdom of spending that much taxpayer money without any prospect of income in the near future’. I’m glad someone is concerned about the taxpayers. Since it has been acknowledged we citizens have an interest in the obvious four way fiasco between city, county, private contractor & private landowners,I trust the VDT will continue to keep us informed of all the facts as they surface.

-Barbara Stratton

Map of traffic fatalities in Lowndes County related to paving and widening

What do you see when you zoom in on traffic fatalities in Lowndes County, Georgia? Lots of road deaths on roads recently paved, for one thing.

Simon Rogers wrote for the Guardian 22 November 2011, US road accident casualties: every one mapped across America

369,629 people died on America’s roads between 2001 and 2009. Following its analysis of UK casualties last week, transport data mapping experts ITO World have taken the official data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration – and produced this powerful map using OpenStreetMap. You can zoom around the map using the controls on the left or search for your town using the box on the right – and the key is on the top left. Each dot represents a life
The national view is very interesting, but let’s look at Lowndes County:

I don’t know what that adds up to, but it looks to me like a lot of dead people, and in just nine years, from 2001 to 2009. Far more dead people than killed by terrorism.

OK, but where are these fatalities happening? All over the county. Let’s zoom in on Hambrick Road: Continue reading

Marching for rights —Mario Bartoletti @ MLK Monument Occupy Valdosta

Mario Bartoletti stood up at the Martin Luther King Jr. Monument in Valdosta and said to Occupy Valdosta:
I’m just shy of 79 and I’ve been out here marching all the way today, and I’ll tell you why.
When I was your age, we were marching for civil rights. We made it. Now we’re marching for another kind of rights, and I guarantee we’re going to make it! I want you to promise, when you’re my age, you’re going to be leading a demonstration for those who march for those kinds of rights.

Here’s the video:

Marching for rights —Mario Bartoletti @ MLK Monument Occupy Valdosta
We are the 99%,
Marching to Occupy Valdosta, Occupy Valdosta,
Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia, 14 October 2011.
Videos by Gretchen Quarterman for LAKE, the Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange.


Marching to Occupy Valdosta 14 October 2011

Will someone pick up that sign? As you can see in the playlist, why yes, someone did!

More than 100 people (estimates ranged from 110 to 150) went Marching to Occupy Valdosta.

Tony Daniels and Freddie Richardson carry the Occupy Valdosta banner

They marched more than three miles from Drexel Park to Bank of America, where they noted BoA got bailed out and we got left out and recommended withdrawing your money. Then to MLK Park, where many people spoke on a variety of subjects ranging from stand together, to make the Industrial Authority be accounted, to vote No on School Consolidation on November 8th, to if MLK was alive he would be here today, to marching for rights for a lifetime, to no private prison, to tax the rich, and and of course come back here (MLK Park) tomorrow (Sat 15 Oct) at 11AM! Then to the VDT (where the Assistant Managing Editor was surprised by a cheer) and the Chamber (where the President didn’t care for a thesaurus lesson); more on all those stops later.

Marching to Occupy Valdosta, 14 October 2011:
Drexel Park, Bank of America, MLK Park, VDT, Chamber of Commerce.
Videos by Gretchen Quarterman and John S. Quarterman
for LAKE, the Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange.

Videos are still uploading, so check back later. I’ll also blog more about specific events along the way.


Private prisons unaccountable —ACLU

Found on the ACLU blog of rights.

Azadeh Shahshahani wrote for the AJC 11 June 2009, Private prisons for immigrants lack accountability, oversight

On March 11, a 39-year-old man held in detention at the Stewart Detention Center, a federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facility in southwest Georgia, died at a hospital in Columbus.
That’s in Lumpkin, west of Americus, south of Columbus.
To this day, the immediate cause of Roberto Martinez Medina’s death remains unclear (a press release pronounced the cause of death as “apparent natural causes”).

Last month, Leonard Odom, 37, died at the Wheeler County Correctional Facility in south-central Georgia.

That’s in Alamo, GA, between Macon, Tifton, and Savannah.
Both facilities are operated by Corrections Corp. of America, which has a contract with the Department of Homeland Security to operate the Stewart center and one with the Georgia Department of Corrections to operate the one in Wheeler County.
So, what happened? Continue reading

Proposed Lowndes County Budget published by LAKE —Gretchen Quarterman

Apparently there was a budget hearing last week that no one attended. I don’t see it on the county calendar.

We know it happened though because the paper reported on it.

The second budget hearing is scheduled for June 28 at 5:00pm and is on the Lowndes County web site calendar.

At the work session this morning, I asked Ms. Stephanie Black if she could e-mail me a copy of the budget and she said yes. Ms. Paige Dukes said that Ms. Black should not e-mail me the document, but I could look at a paper copy. A paper copy could be provided to me for $0.25 per page. I asked if there was an electronic copy and Ms. Dukes said that this document was not available in an electronic form.

Given that the document is neatly typed and clearly is generated from a spread sheet, I think that it is not true that this document is unavailable in an electronic format.

I asked if I could photograph it instead and Ms. Dukes said Continue reading

Lowndes County budget hearing today 5PM

That’s 5PM, before the usual 5:30 PM Lowndes County Commission regular session time, at 327 North Ashley Street. The county has published a public notice about this second hearing. It’s not clear they did that for the first budget hearing, which was last week. And the budget doesn’t include the T-SPLOST boondoggles Lowndes County is requesting.

VDT opined 23 June 2011, What We Think: Surviving, not thriving:

Lowndes County Commissioners held a budget hearing Tuesday to discuss the 2011-2012 fiscal year with citizens, only to have no citizens appear. The budget will be finalized at a public hearing Tuesday, June 28, prior to the regular commission meeting.

With all of the attention paid lately to officials and their expenses, you would think that the opportunity to learn how the county spends citizens’ tax dollars would have been an opportunity not to be missed. But missed it was.

After giving people in Valdosta a hard time for not showing up at their city’s budget hearing, I have to say: mea culpa. I wasn’t there.

However, I would ask: how were we supposed to know about it? Someone from LAKE has been at every regularly-scheduled Lowndes County Commission meeting in the recent past, videoing the whole meetings, and I must have missed the announcement of this recent budget hearing, which is also not on the county’s website calendar.

The VDT continues:

Maybe it’s because there’s nothing new about the county’s budget. It’s the same as it has been for several years — flat.

No increases in revenue are projected. No new positions, merit raises, cost of living increases, or significant purchases, again. Caps on assessments, the continuing lull in construction, and slow sales mean no new revenue is coming in. What is projected is enough to make ends meet, but there are no frills, no luxury items, not this year.

Oh, there are luxury items, they’re just not in the budget, because the county is asking we the taxpayers to pay through the proposed new T-SPLOST tax for That’s $24 million in new taxes they’re requesting for unnecessary road projects that will promote sprawl into far north Lowndes County and into Lanier County. Sprawl that will end up costing Lowndes County more than it can bring in in taxes from the sprawling developments.

And Lowndes County has tacked onto the end a request for $7.5 million for a bus system. Which would you rather have? A bus system that would promote the entire county’s economy, or five lanes on New Bethel to add to Lanier County sprawl?

Fortunately, T-SPLOST does publicize its hearings, the next of which will be 6 July 2011 in Nashville, Georgia.

The VDT concludes;

But for Lowndes to thrive, to make such a possibility come alive, it needs citizens willing to participate in the process. We need creative thinking and we need leaders willing to listen to the possibilities of new ideas.
Hear hear!

Stay tuned for what happens when a citizen tries to get involved in the Lowndes County budget process.


VLCIA hires Andrea Schuijer from Albany

According to David Rodock in the VDT today:
…a unanimous decision by board members to submit a formal offer to Andrea Schruijer for the position of executive director.

Absent from the meeting was board member Roy Copeland.

According to Steve Gupton, authority attorney, the three-year contract will include a salary of $100,000 per year. As with all its employees, the authority will pay seven percent into a retirement fund and 75 percent of health care insurance.

Schruijer, pending acceptance of the offer, will officially start employment on July 8.

She’s a former hotel marketing person, according to her LinkedIn account: Continue reading