Tag Archives: VSEB

Our honest responses to HUD —George Rhynes and John Robinson

Received today. -jsq

September 26, 2012
George Boston Rhynes
5004 Oak Street
Valdosta, Georgia 31605
TO: U.S. Department of Housing
and Urban Development
Valdosta City Government
Valdosta Housing Authority
Valdosta Industrial Authority

The following is our honest responses to HUD and in response to the City of Valdosta’s 8th Year of responding to HUD CPMP Consolidated Annual Performance and Evaluation Report. This includes Narrative Responses to CAPER questions in relations to and with the Consolidated Planning Regulations and questions from the general public as highlighted on page 5, paragraph 1.

CITIZENS VIEW POINT AND RESPONSES: {GEORGE BOSTON RHYNES AND JOHN ROBNISON} after reviewing all previous CAPTER’S and the city’s responses to them, I commend the City of Valdosta for responding to HUD in an extremely professional manner on paper. One can see and feel the professional prowess involved in providing these answers the City of Valdosta has placed on paper over the city’s (long) historic past. However, when one looks deeper into the problems facing our beloved community, one will find the following to be as Paul Harvey would say the rest of——-the story!

GENERAL QUESTIONS: The City of Valdosta’s response on the issues remains the same as reported in many other CAPERS such as:

  • City attained the goal of:
  • # of homes was brought up to code.
  • Worked in conjunction with——
  • to train, resident information sessions were held that yielded nearly 30 attendees etc.
  • Staff continues to…., Overall, the city is pleased with the second Consolidated Plan Submission.
  • (3.a) The city hosted several Section 3 Information Sessions and will continue to provide more information to…. Work with local community and faith-based organizations to identify and address.
  • I could go on and on with these highly professional lines of what some see as solutions to the real problems in the City of Valdosta, Georgia. However there is another side and forgive me for not going through the complete CAPER in the above manner. I am sure your time is valuable; therefore I will cut through the chase and provide the following in response to the City of Valdosta RESPONSES. Not only to this CAPER but others we have read and taken into consideration:

A recent meeting held in the Valdosta City Annex about Community Housing etc. perhaps exemplifies

Continue reading

There is something you can do

Anybody who has tried to do much of anything around here has run into this phrase:

There’s nothing you can do.

I was reminded of that when I read this, from the Economist 12 May 2012, Hope springs a trap,

This hopelessness manifests itself in many ways. One is a sort of pathological conservatism, where people forgo even feasible things with potentially large benefits for fear of losing the little they already possess.

The article expands on that idea:

Development economists have long surmised that some very poor people may remain trapped in poverty because even the largest investments they are able to make, whether eating a few more calories or working a bit harder on their minuscule businesses, are too small to make a big difference. So getting out of poverty seems to require a quantum leap—vastly more food, a modern machine, or an employee to mind the shop. As a result, they often forgo even the small incremental investments of which they are capable: a bit more fertiliser, some more schooling or a small amount of saving.

It may seem that the article is about the poorest of people, but that “pathological conservatism” could as easily apply to the hopelessness many people seem to have about ever getting solar panels on their own roofs, or to attracting enough business to our area to employ our high school and college graduates, or that businesses will ever come to the south side.

Yet the point of the article is that field studies by MIT economist Esther Duflo show Continue reading

Ahead of schedule, under budget, and same officers again: Video Playlist @ VLCIA 2012-06-19

The Industrial Authority board at their 19 June 2012 meeting decided to renominate the same officers for another term at the 19 June 2012 Industrial Authority meeting. All their business park projects are ahead of schedule and under budget, although it seems odd to be cutting down trees to detain water. They’re under budget for the entire year, and next year’s budget is less than that for the the fiscal year just being completed. They have hired a website contractor, and they’ve already made extensive changes to their Valdosta Prospector website. The 100% VSEB native grass landscaping project is underway.

They meet again tonight.

Here’s the agenda. A few notes below on a few specific videos from last month’s meeting.

Here’s a video playlist:

Video Playlist
Regular Meeting, Valdosta-Lowndes County Industrial Authority (VLCIA),
Norman Bennett, Tom Call, Roy Copeland chairman, Mary Gooding, Jerry Jennett, Andrea Schruijer Executive Director, J. Stephen Gupton Attorney, Tom Davis CPA, Allan Ricketts Project ManagerS. Meghan Duke Public Relations & Marketing Manager, Lu Williams, Operations Manager,
Videos by John S. Quarterman for Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange (LAKE), Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia, 19 June 2012.


VSEB application is too long — John Robinson @ VCC 2012 02 23

John Robinson told the Valdosta City Council that he thought the application for the Valdosta Small Emerging Business (VSEB) Program was too long and complicated compared to the one-page application to do major construction work.

Here’s the video:

VSEB application is too long — John Robinson @ VCC 2012 02 23
VSEB, employment,
Regular Session, Valdosta City Council (VCC),
Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia, 23 February 2012.
Videos by George Boston Rhynes for K.V.C.I., the bostongbr on YouTube.


An Industrial Authority agenda with content! Including VSEB and land acreage!

Yesterday Andrea Schruijer promised to get an agenda for tomorrow’s 2PM Thursday 23 February 2012 Industrial Authority board meeting (101 N. Ashley Street) online. It’s there, and it has content! What it does not have is any mention of anything about Project Excel, or CCA, or the private prison, even though Ms. Schruijer told me yesterday to expect the board to say something about that. You can still express your opinion to them before then. And since this agenda says **TENTATIVE** maybe that item will get added before tomorrow afternoon.

Also missing is any item for the Strategic Planning RFP, even though that RFP says the board will review any responses received by their February board meeting.

What this agenda does have is numerous specific items under the usual broad headers such as Existing Industry/Project Report. So instead of listening to Col. Ricketts and trying to figure out what he’s talking about, you can see such things as “e-Snychronist® Existing Industry Retention and Expansion business information system (BIS)” in writing. You still don’t see names of the “five (5) Prospects” or the “three (3) companies that are developing expansion plans”. Maybe I buy the competitive information argument for the prospects, but I’m not so sure about the three expanding companies, especially if they’re already local. And considering the things VLCIA has tried to sneak in under cover of not mentioning competitive information, such as biomass and a private prison, I’m not sure I buy that argument at all.

Also on the plus side, the agenda includes an actual schedule for bids Continue reading

Small emerging businesses —Mr. Robinson @ VLCIA 19 July 2011

John Robinson congratulated Roy Copeland for accepting the position as chair of the Valdosta-Lowndes County Industrial Authority (VLCIA) and said:
We’re looking forward to working along with you guys, because we truly need the help now on the other side of the railroad track over there.

And we do believe that if everyone try to work together we can get something done.

Update: What the VDT said:

Received a thank you from John Robinson of the Black Businessmen’s Association during the Citizens to be Heard portion of the meeting for agreeing to work with small and emerging businesses, with the goal of removing the “social divide” in the city;

Here’s the video:

Small emerging businesses —Mr. Robinson @ VLCIA 19 July 2011
Regular Meeting, Valdosta-Lowndes County Industrial Authority (VLCIA),
Norman Bennett, Tom Call, Roy Copeland chairman, Mary Gooding, Jerry Jennett,
Andrea Schruijer Executive Director, J. Stephen Gupton attorney, Allan Ricketts Project Manager,
Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia, 19 July 2011.
Videos by John S. Quarterman for LAKE, the Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange.


The health of the community is way more important than the job —Leigh Touchton

Leigh Touchton, president of the Valdosta-Lowndes NAACP, says the local and state NAACP are opposed to the biomass plant because the community that is most affected is the minority community. She referred to her previous presentation of a letter from Dr. Robert D. Bullard.

She also brought up an incident with Brad Lofton and recommended that VLCIA hire an executive director who wouldn’t act like that.

And she said she deals with VSEB all the time:

I’ve taken men through there, I’ve signed them up.
She referred to me when she said that, so what I said before is appended after the video.

Here’s the video:

The health of the community is way more important than the job —Leigh Touchton
Regular Meeting, Valdosta-Lowndes County Industrial Authority (VLCIA),
Norman Bennett, Roy Copeland, Tom Call, Mary Gooding, Jerry Jennett chairman,
J. Stephen Gupton attorney, Allan Ricketts Acting Executive Director,
Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia, 17 May 2011.
Videos by John S. Quarterman for LAKE, the Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange.

What I actually recommended regarding VSEB, in response to a specific request from Leigh Touchton for recommendations, was maybe schedule a meeting with Roy Copeland to talk about VSEB and solar job opportunities: Continue reading

Economic opportunity and cooperation —John Robinson @ VCC 9 June 2011

Discussing the VSEB program, John Robinson remarked:
We need the council up here to show us interest in this program.
He recommended everybody work together, including city and county.

Here’s the video:

Economic opportunity and cooperation —John Robinson @ VCC 9 June 2011
Regular Meeting, Valdosta City Council (VCC),
Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia, 4 June 2011.
Videos by Barbara Stratton for LAKE, the Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange.


How to get public officials to respond to the citizens?

Leigh Touchton asked me,
Mr. Quarterman, what can we do, do we have to go to the state legislature to get a law passed to force these so-called public officials to answer questions and respond to the citizens?
First of all, my compliments to anyone such as Leigh Touchton who has been doing politics around here longer than me for asking my opinion, because that indicates they are pretty good at it and are probably asking many people their opinions.

My answer: carrots along with sticks, and shine some light! That all builds political capital, which will be needed for elections.

We need many people building a community doing many things. If I knew a simple answer that would change things magically overnight, I’d recommend it, but I don’t. I don’t even know if I know a long answer, but I’m pretty sure that any answer will require a community, because Continue reading

Dialog and VSEB —John Robinson

Mr. John Robinson pointed out that school board problems and biomass are not the only issues around here, and for example the south side of town needs money so people there can become more productive citizens. At the 21 April 2011 Valdosta City Council meeting, He specifically recommended getting Valdosta Small Emerging Business (VSEB) up and running.

Here’s the video:

Let us try to come together and find some method —John Robinson
Regular monthly meeting of the Valdosta City Council (VCC),
Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia, 21 April 2011,
Videos by George Boston Rhynes for LAKE, the Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange.

George Rhynes posted a complete transcript. Here are a few excerpts: Continue reading