Here are LAKE videos of the candidates forum at the Rainwater Conference Center organized by the Valdosta-Lowndes County Chamber of Commerce. In the one remaining County Commission race, for District 3, Tom Hochschild made opposition to the Sabal Trail pipeline a platform plank, while Mark Wisenbaker mentioned his opposition to the county’s lawsuit against local business Deep South Sanitation (DSS). We know Hochschild is opposed to that lawsuit and Wisenbaker is opposed to that pipeline, so we may get some change on the County Commission in January. Cary Scarborough of DSS was at this forum, as were many pipeline opponents. Bikram Mohanty wins special mention for best use of the VSU students Hochschild brought.Continue reading
Update 2014-10-21: Fixed year in title, and LAKE videos are posted.
Tuesday is the annual Chamber Meet the Candidates event. Usually there’s not much chance to ask them questions and see them answer in front of everybody, but at least you get to hear them speak.
Oddly the Chamber did not list which candidates will be there, but Valdosta CEO did:
Event Name: State Legislative Lunch Event Type(s): Chamber Calendar
Continue reading Description: A luncheon featuring a program presented by State Legislators on issues on top for the upcoming State Legislative Session. Tickets are $15 for Chamber members and $20 for non-members. Seating is limited!
Alvin Payton (Valdosta Mayor Pro Tem and City Council District 4) asked:
What is your view or your stance on this current minimum wage law being increased to livable wages?This was at the Chamber Federal Legislative Lunch with Rep. Austin Scott (R GA-08) yesterday.
Answer from Rep. Scott: Continue reading
Education at Wiregrass Tech, startup competition and awards by Guardian Bank, and more! Chamber president Tim Jones invited me to the quarterly luncheon of the Valdosta-Lowndes County Chamber of Commerce, held 18 December 2012 at the Rainwater Conference Center. I counted about 70 people there, and only maybe a dozen were Chamber board and staff, so that was a very well-attended meeting.
“Strong education systems are the heart of economic development.”
He congratulated VSU on the recent football win, as well as the various other local school systems, government bodies, and businesses, and proceeded to give an overview of what Wiregrass Tech is and what it does, which includes everything from automobile repair to computer science; from adult education for high school equivalency to advanced courses, in the eleven counties it serves, through the campuses in Valdosta, Fitzgerald, and Adel, as well as at Moody AFB and online overseas. He noted that changes in the HOPE scholarship and economic improvement had decreased enrollment, but Wiregrass Tech still has a large student body and is adding programs, such as in nursing and respiratory therapy. Plus a 97.5% placement rate.
Also in the plans is an Allied Health Education building 100,000 square foot facility that would cost about $20 million, for which Wiregrass Tech will be approaching the Georgia General Assembly in the next few years. Dr. Perrin invited feedback and requested assistance, both financially and in getting the word out about what Wiregrass Tech can do.
Tim Jones remarked that he was also on the board of the Wiregrass Tech Foundation which was in a fundraising drive, so anybody who wanted to donate could see him. (And it turns out you can also donate online.)
Here’s a video playlist of the entire meeting, followed by a few notes.Continue reading
Received today (yes, I’m a Chamber member). -jsq
From: “Tim Jones, Chairman of the Board ” <email@example.com>
Date: Tue, 11 Dec 2012 12:47:01 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Alert: Chamber needs your help to protect Moody!
Dear Chamber Member,
Our Chamber recognizes the $448 million economic impact Moody Air Force Base has on our regional economy each year. We meet with Air Force officials at the Pentagon annually and ask them, “What else can our community do to protect MAFB from the next BRAC?” The answer, every year: prevent encroachment, and the best way to do that is by protecting the Military Activity Zone (MAZ).
Today (Tuesday, Dec. 11) at the Lowndes County Board of Commissioners meeting there are two agenda items that could put Moody at risk.
Spot zoning for a proposed densely settled subdivision in the MAZ is an invitation to other developments and inherently sets a precedent. It’s a very slippery slope. How will the County tell the next one “no”?
The second agenda item would change the zoning ordinance to allow even more densely settled neighborhoods in the MAZ.
One of the reasons we’ve been able to keep MAFB here
for more than 70 years is because MAFB can be utilized for a number of types of missions, largely because of the protected activity zone. Both agenda items, if passed, could increase encroachment into the MAZ and could very well limit MAFB’s future mission possibilities.
The Planning Commission voted unanimously to deny this subdivision, and to deny the proposed changes to the MAZ that would allow more dense residential development. The County Commission should vote to deny, too.
The Chamber’s GAC Executive Committee voted unanimously to oppose actions that allow encroachment and weaken the MAZ. The Chamber encourages our members to contact our County Commission members to let them know how you feel about protecting MAFB. The Chamber encourages our members to attend the County Commission meeting at the Dec. 11 meeting at 5:30 p.m. at the Administation Building.
Please respond to this email to share your thoughts.
Tim Jones, Chairman of the Board
Valdosta-Lowndes County Chamber of Commerce
I added the links above. All that Tim Jones said, plus Crawford Powell’s discovery that the proposed subdivision would be a fire code violation, plus according to Forbes Valdosta MSA housing prices are still dropping, so do we even need any more housing, anyway?
No questions and no mention of Moody AFB at the Legislative Luncheon at the Legislative Luncheon at Wiregrass Technical College Wednesday by the Chamber of Commerce and the three Rotary Clubs. State Sen. Tim Golden R-08, and State Rep. Ellis Black R-174 plus incoming State Rep. Dexter Sharper D-177 spoke (Reps. Amy Carter R-175 and Jason Shaw R-176 were not present). But they didn’t answer any questions. The organizers didn’t even take questions on cards from the 75 or so people in the room. It’s nice they’re going around to all the organizations and talking to them, but it might be more helpful if they listened to the concerns of their constituents all at once. Lowndes County Commissioners Joyce Evans and Richard Raines were there, but they did not speak, and none of the state legislative delegation said anything about Moody Air Force Base encroachment, unlike Houston County where their state rep. helped organize “$7.5 million to help resolve the encroachment issue affecting Robins Air Force Base.”
Ron Borders on behalf of the Chamber’s Governmental Affairs Council (GAC) did invite people to a Members to the Heard session Monday 7 January 2012 at Valdosta City Hall Annex Multi-Purpose Room. Waiting a month to provide feedback to legislators through the Chamber does seem a tad indirect. Overall, it would be nice if the legislators would at least actually listen to (even if they don’t want to answer) questions and concerns from citizens without those citizens having go go through some filtering system (ie chamber legislative affairs or county commissioner). With a room full of 75 or more people, wouldn’t it be refreshing for elected officials to say “We can’t necessarily answer all your questions today, but we would like to know what they are. Please come to the microphone and ask your question or state your concern”. Citizens Wishing to be Heard in the County Commission meetings is not really the same as having a session dedicated to listening to citizens’ concerns.
The Chamber’s pre-announcment of this meeting said:
The Chamber’s Government Affairs Council will present its top business issues to elected officials.
Yet though the GAC the previous day in a contentious meeting voted to oppose encroachment on Moody Air Force Base, he said not a word about that at the Legislative Luncheon.
Update 4:40 PM 5 October 2012: Toma Hawk has supplied a third viewpoint.
|Ron Borders, Introduction|
Solicitor General:Continue reading
The Chamber is holding a T-SPLOST event tonight. According to the announcement:
Make Sense of the 1 Cent Tax and know before you vote. Valdosta Lowndes Industrial Authority to host TSPLOST, LOST and SPLOST Forum for Young Professionals providing an opportunity for an informative discussion regarding the upcoming referendum.TSPLOST Referendum
Presenters at the forum will be Mayor John Gayle (City of Valdosta), Larry Hanson-City Manager (City of Valdosta), Andrea Schruijer (Valdosta Lowndes Industrial Authority) and Caitlyn Cooper (ConnectGeorgia).
At this forum YPs are encouraged to exchange and share ideas, questions and concerns about the legislation above. Leave more informed as a knowledgeable voter regarding the upcoming referendum on July 31. Please join other YPs in a supportive setting to listen, learn and voice your opinions.
123 N. Patterson Street.
Valdosta, Ga 31601
TIME:5:30 to 6:30 p.m.
Click here to RSVP or call 229-247-8100
*Drinks and menu items available
Of these speakers, Mayor Gayle is famously for T-SPLOST, Larry Hanson previously appeared to be against it. I don't know Andrea Schruijer's position on T-SPLOST. ConnectGeorgia is pro-T-SPLOST, so presumably Caitlyn Cooper is, too. So this is likely to be a pro-T-SPLOST forum.
In any case, remember T-SPLOST is on the primary ballot for 31 July 2012, and early voting has already started, so you can vote on it today.