"A popular government without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy; or, perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power knowledge gives."


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Jackson County Commission

Click on image for an expanded view of agenda with remarks.The Jackson county Commission adjourned into a 17 minute Executive Session. When the meeting was reconvened a vote was taken to appoint Mr. John Porter as Co-Council with Mr. "Rocky" Watson of Ft. Payne as the Attorneys representing The Jackson County Commission in the case involving the Jackson County Park. Issues involving the Jackson County Park and the current law suit. http://arklite.blogspot.com/search/label/Jackson%20County%20Park

Previously the Jackson County Commission allegedly violated aspects of the Open Meetings law while involved in disputes over the hiring of a County Engineer while in mediation sessions at Mr. Watson's office in Dekalb County. Decissions were announced after the fact in the Commission Meeting regarding changes in Jackson County's Personnel Policy. Alabama's Open Meeting's Law was moved from the Criminal Law into the Civil Law in 2005.

Scottsboro City Council Meeting

Click on image for an expanded view. There was no Old Business.

Last weeks work session link referencing this weeks decisions. http://arklite.blogspot.com/2010/11/scottsboro-city-council-work-session.html

The old Police Station located between Redstone Federal Credit Union and Kentucky Fried Chicken was not sold at last weeks auction. Previous auction listing of property with property appraisal amount. http://arklite.blogspot.com/2010/05/scottsboro-city-council-meeting.html

Board Appointments: Recreation Advisory- Mark Pepper, Ms. McCrary made an appoint but was inaudible; Abatement Board- Gail Duffey, Lindsey Garner, Kelley Goodowens; Airport Advisory Board- Rudder Williams, Jimmy Sandlin, Bud Henager. Appointments are pending from Mr. Hodges

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Goose Pond Colony Board Reports Serious Financial Losses

The Goose Pond Colony--Scottsboro Parks and Recreation Board.

Board Chairman and General Manager divulge bleak financial news at last nights board meeting.

Last night the Goose Pond Colony Park Board met and disclosed very sobering news. The Plantation Point Golf Course is creating a serious financial problem which may result in the loss of Goose Pond Colony, Plantation Point is a money looser. Plantation Point will have to be closed, sold or leased or there may not be a Goose Pond Colony for anyone to enjoy.
At Monday's Scottsboro City Council Work Session a presentation was presented by the Plantation Point homeowners representative. http://arklite.blogspot.com/2010/11/scottsboro-city-council-work-session.html Related Story from the Daily Sentinel. "Council vows to support Plantation Point homeowners:" http://thedailysentinel.com/news/article_7629c91e-f1c8-11df-a8a3-001cc4c002e0.html
Questions arise. The question now is will the city council take responsibility for a failed Goose Pond Colony in their support of the home owners? Will the City Council back off and stop with the political posturing and realize the facts of the situation?" It would seem some Scottsboro Council members are catering to "special interests" to make themselves look good at the expense of the City as a whole. This would not be the first time this has occurred, such as with the old Goose Pond Aluminum Plant Industrial Site.
Here are the loss figures for Plantation Point since 2007. 2007-$221,576; 2008- $157,579; 2009- $234,086; 2010- $269,728; 2011 projected loss-$346,581 Total 5 year loss with the projected 2011 figures is in excess of $1.2 million.
It was reported total repairs and updates needed to Goose Pond Colony is near $3 million.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Scottsboro City Council Work Session

Goose Pond Colony's new web site: http://www.goosepond.org/

Work session highlights. 1) Mike Ferry representing the homeowners at Plantation Point made a presentation concerning plans to sell the Plantation Point Golf course.

Main points of Mr. Ferry's presentation: A) October 6 homeowners were made aware that the Goose Pond Colony (GPC) Board, City Parks and Recreation Board, was planning to sell the Plantation Point Golf course.

B) It was pointed out that members of the Scottsboro City Council, Mayor and representatives of the park board met in secret to discuss the issues on 3 different occasions. It was confirmed by the City Council President, Mr. Hodges, the Mayor, Council Member Smith and Mr. Bagget, GPC Board President, the group met in secret involving this issue.

The current Open Meeting Laws of the State of Alabama exempts all Real Property transactions of a government body from disclosure until after the fact. Facts reveal, as disclosed in last nights meeting, the person that sold the Golf Course to the City is the one involved in the plans to lease or buy back the property. Councilman Smith stated he had serious concerns over the entire issue.

Any real property negotiations in this issue could be conducted in secret out of the public eye. The City Park and Recreation Board (GPC Board) is a seperate corporate authority protected and created by the Laws of the State of Alabama. The city of Scottsboro may appoint board members but that is the extent of the city's involvement into this matter.

The serious problems arising from this issue are established conflicts of interest. The First National Bank of Scottsboro holds the loan on GPC which includes Plantation Point. The GPC Board Chair is an Officer of the Bank. The City Council serves as a guarantor of the loans to GPC. The individual or one of the group of individuals the Plantation Point property was purchased is the same individual which is attempting to repurchase the property or gain a lease for the property. The property may not be sold less than fair market value upon submission of an appraisal from a licensed real estate appraiser.

C) Mr. Ferry stated the contracts for the homes sold around the Plantation Point Golf course were sold as "Golf Course Homes."

D) Mr. Ferry stated he was informed the property would be leased and utilized for agricultural use. (My Note: The property in question is in the city Limits of Scottsboro and falls under the zoning of Scottsboro. The changing of any property usage must be approved by the Planning and Zoning Board.)

E) Residents want to be part of the solution but residents are diametrically opposed to the closing of the Golf Course. Mr. Ferry also requested that a resident be appointed to the GPC Board.

F) The home owners of Plantation Point requested a pledge of support from the city council. They requested the following from the city council (1) Prevent Closing of the Plantation Point Golf Course. (2) Insure that Plantation Point Operates as a Golf course. (3) Insure residents of the Plantation Point area are on the GPC Board.

Members of the City council commented they do not want act hastily on this matter. Mr. Smith stated he was not in favor of selling or leasing the Plantation Point property.

The Goose pond Colony web site: http://www.goosepond.org/
Back to the council outline. 2) Judge Don Word made presentation on updating 3 ordinances so that the City Magistrate has the option of accepting guilty pleas and the violator paying a fine prior to a court resolution. The 3 ordinances to be updated were the Noise Ordinace, Window Tint Ordinance and the Move Over Ordinace. 3) Discussion on updating court costs due to the State of Alabama raising costs. The Court fees will be raised by $21.00. Mr. Kennamer, City Attorney, stated the large majority of the court costs goes to the state. 4) Mr. Rick Wheeler, City Finance Director, outlined updates in the City Business License structure. The city will be adding 5 license areas to the local Business License requirements, they are a) Refrigeration contractor, b) Lawn Mowing Services, c) Moving services, d) Consulting Services, e) Automotive Detailing. 5) Police Chief Dawe gave presentation on update of Scottsboro's Radio communication system. The current system is an analog system and it will be required by the FCC that all communications systems operate with narrow band widths by 2013. The City of Scottsboro will be all digital upon upgrade. This will include all radio equipment within the city. The analog system will be maintained as a backup and communications point of contact for older systems in the area. The new update involves 234 radios and 3 repeaters. The total cost was reported to be $180,000. However, a contractor has stated they will offer a trade in if a contract can be completed prior to December 31, 2010. The deal offered was each radio will be given a $150.00 trade in allowance for a total trade in of approximately $35,000 taken off of the $180K total cost. 6) The City Clerk announced the annual State Department of Transportation Airport Improvement Grant. The improvement grant is a cost share grant of which the city's share would be $63,331.00 if approved.
The City Council Administrative committee met with the entire council after the regular council meeting to discuss the proposed "Texting Ordinance." A "Distracted Drivers" ordinance appears to be the way the city is going. There will be specific definitions within the ordinance to describe a distracted driver. Driving distractions may be anything from food consumption to texting or many other distractions. The key is the unsafe operations of a motor vehicle witnessed by a Peace Officer, an example would be weaving or erratic driving.

Monday, November 15, 2010

TVA Nuclear--Our Childrens, Grandchildren and Great Granchildren's Future?

Is this to be the legacy we leave future citizens of Scottsboro and the Tennessee River Valley? http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/transport-environment/clyde-contaminated-by-radioactive-leak-from-nuclear-plant-1.1068103.
Nuclear power is not clean, it is not safe, it is not cheap and it has killed and sickened tens of thousands. There is a better way thru energy efficiency-conservation, hydroelectric projects, improvement of dam generation fleets antiquated equipment, biomass projects, natural gas combined cycle, wind and solar.
The TVA knows nuclear power is not necessary and knows the risks, has alternative plans but caters to nuclear corporate puppet politicians and the nuclear industry. Nuclear power is about bottom line profit of giant corporations such as Westinghouse, General Electric, Toshiba, Babcock & Wilcox. It is not about providing you the citizen with safe, clean and economical electrical power.
In the Southeast TVA power is rated #4 in cost to providers. Their debt has grown, knocking on the door of $27 billion dollars. If TVA continues with their nuclear options the cost of power will continue to increase dramatically.
The problem locally is TVA Executives have violated law (under investigation) and taken shortcuts in the building of Bellefonte. TVA Public Relations persons have come to Scottsboro and presented untruthful information to the citizens of Scottsboro. The local political gentry show no courage and acquiesce to TVA's demands and deceit. Local politicians had rather support lies and deceive the citizens of Scottsboro and Jackson County than raise questions about the TVA's plans, all for a non-approved project where the TVA has falsely promised employment for thousands of local citizens.
Just remember Republicans, Lowell Barron was a strong supporter of the Bellefonte Nuclear Power Plant. If you support nuclear power you support Democrat left wing liberals like our President who has received millions form the nuclear industry in support of his campaign, you also support massive debt plus government sponsored socialism.
To find out more about nuclear power, its hazards and solutions for our energy future go to http://www.matrr.org/ http://www.bredl.org/ http://www.cleanenergy.org/

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Allegations/Complaints from Scottsboro Street Department Employees--2009 Storm Damage

Letter from the Alabama Attorney Generals Office. (Click on image for an expanded view.)
Original complaint document to the Alabama Attorney General, Alabama Emergency Management Agency, the Mayor of Scottsboro and City Council President based on allegations made by employees of the Scottsboro Street Department.
Troubles within the Scottsboro Street Department have been occuring for some period of time. Communications and management dilemmas have been a historical problem within this department. The following report does not place blame but is an expose that describes issues that the citizens of Scottsboro should be aware.
This summer allegations of wrongful conduct and/or alleged criminal activity were brought forth by the City of Scottsboro Street Department employees allegedly involving Street Department Supervisory employee(s).
Street Department employees brought forward allegations to me in person that alleged criminal activity had occurred within the department, the employees stated they felt they could not come forward as they were afraid of retaliation that could include termination. Since governmental employees were making allegations to me of wrongful conduct, I informed the employees I would turn over the allegations made by them to the Alabama Attorney Generals Office and the Mayor of Scottsboro. I also informed the employees I would not disclose their names unless ordered to do so by law enforcement in an official investigation or as ordered by a judge.
The Alabama AG has refused to investigate the complaints unless the Street Department employees make formal complaints directly to the State Attorney General, per letter shown above. The employees making the initial complaint were informed of the reply from the State Attorney General.
The allegations involved practices and FEMA reimbursement related to the April 2009 storm damage and cleanup. An investigation was initiated by the Scottsboro Police Department per request from the Mayor's Office to insure there were no abusive practices or malfeasance.
An outcome of the investigation was requested from Mayor Potter on Monday November 8, 2010. I inquired if the employee allegations were founded or unfounded and offered an opportunity for the Mayor to make a comment concerning this alleged incident? Mayor Potter had no reply but deferred comment to the City Attorney, Mr. Steve Kennamer for a reply. Mr Kennamer replied in the Mayor's presence-- "We [City of Scottsboro] have forwarded the case to the Alabama Attorney General for investigation ." Neither the Mayor nor the City Attorney had any further comment concerning the allegations by Street Department employees.
The Attorney Generals Office has informed me, via the letter displayed, they will not investigate unless the Street Department employees file an official complaint. The Mayor has been provided a copy of the letter displayed above from the Alabama Attorney Generals office.
UPDATE--Nov. 12, 2010-Information was received that several Street Department employees and at least one previous Scottsboro Police Department employee were interviewed in the course of the investigation. Further disclosures revealed during the initial interview process the street department supervisor was present during the initial interviews. This could be interpreted as a very questionable and negative step in the investigation as the presence of the department supervisor would serve as intimidation and cause a reluctance of employees to disclose information. In subsequent days the interview process was conducted without the presence of the department supervisor. The Scottsboro Mayor will not disclose if the allegations by employees were founded or unfounded. A Scottsboro City Official has informed me the city has not been reimbursed for the 2009 storm cleanup operation.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Jackson County Commission

Senator McGill at the Jackson County Commission meeting. Senator McGill commented on his first experiance in Montgomery, "very humbling, like a 12 year old's first trip to Disney World." http://thedailysentinel.com/news/article_5ba94d3e-e918-11df-922e-001cc4c002e0.html
Senator Shadrack McGill delivered the invocation at today's Jackson County Commission meeting after an introduction by Chairperson Sadie Bias..

Jackson County Commission Meeting Agenda. (click on image for expanded view)

Reference item F under new business. After the meeting I inquired of Ms. Bias, Chairperson Jackson County Commission how the money appropriated to the Chamber of Commerce would be utilized. Apparently a feasibility study is necessary for a new business prospect which is looking to move into our area. She suggested I call Mr. Bailey at the Chamber of Commerce for more information. According to Ms. Bias the Legislative Delegation will be contributing a similar amount for this study. The Mayor of Scottsboro commented there had been no decision made concerning their portion of a feasibility study.

Scottsboro City Council Meeting

The Scottsboro City Council and Mayor, Attorney and clerk. From left to right, Mayor Potter, Council Member Gary Spears ( Mr. Spears is absent on every other Monday due to pursuing his doctorate degree.), Council Member Thermon Bell, City Clerk Cathy O'Shields, City Council President Matthew Hodges, City Attorney Steve Kennamer, Council Member Carol McCrary, Council Member Keith Smith.
New Business item 1) Rules were set aside and the Recovery Zone Economic Development Bond issue was approved. Mayor Potter and Mr. Larry Ward of Morgan Keegan, Birmingham, finalize the Recovery Zone, RZED, $6.5 million loan for the City of Scottsboro's Service Road extension project on John T. Reid Parkway. 45% of the bonds interest will be payed by the U.S Government. Mr Ward highlighted Scottsboro's Bond rating was responsible for the 3.42% interest rate Scottsboro RZED Bond issues. More info on RZED bonds: http://www.occ.treas.gov/static/community-affairs/community-developments-investments/spring10/articles/bond/cde10spring04.htm

Item 5 on the council's agenda was the City Council Committee assignments. There will be an Administrative Committee meeting after next Mondays Council meeting, Nov. 15, 2010 in the Conference room area. It has been my experiance the administrative meetings usually involve all council members.
City Council Outline: 1) RZED Bond issue, see picture above with story. 2) Commercial Development Authority Board appointment to finish the term of Janet Sage ending in March 2011, Patrick Stewart was appointed by Mr. Bell. 3) Annual one time pay raise for city employees approved, full time-$150, part time $75, temporary $50. 4) Solid Waste Authority bid openings for truck awarded to Tractor and Equipment of Decatur, Al. for $153,920. 2 bidders did not meet bid specifications. 5) Council member committee assignment list, see above picture.

Friday, November 5, 2010

TVA plans to spend $160 million on towers--Bellefonte Gross Waste & Abuse

Bellefonte Nuclear Power Plant-Stories of Waste and Abuse
Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant.

Gross Waste and Abuse at Bellefonte reported to TVA IG. Violation of Federal Law, Title 31 U.S. Code, Anti Deficiency Act prohibits the Federal government from making purchases without approval or appropriations. There is no approval to build or construct the Bellefonte Nuclear Power Plant from either the TVA Board or The Nuclear Regulatory Commission. If the plant is to be built all laws, policies and proceedures will be followed in order to protect the public.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Republicans Win District 8 Senate Seat--Historical Event

Republican Shadrack McGill 20,596 votes.
Update: Nov. 3, 2010 story, Daily Sentinel http://thedailysentinel.com/news/article_ac7d4ca6-e710-11df-bc08-001cc4c03286.html
Democrat Incumbent Lowell Barron 20,013.
History breaking event, Republican elected to the District 8 Senate Seat, a very inexperienced Republican. The Jackson County Citizens will now live with their choice in this election.. This is the first Republican Senator since Reconstruction.
In the western part of the county, Wayne Johnson, Republican defeats Buth Taylor Democrat.
Now we shall see if the Republicans were all hot air concerning reforms such as Ethics and PAC to PAC transfers. What will the new Republicans do with Jackson County's TVA in lieu of tax money?

New Scottsboro City Council Seated

Mayor Potter makes the Introductory announcement for the Swearing-In Ceremony of the new City Council members.
Municipal Judge Don Word swears in Ms. Carol McCrary, Place 3, Ms. McCrary's mother holds the Bible for the ceremony.

Judge Don Word administers the Oath of Office to Mr. Keith Smith Place 4, Mrs. Smith holds the Bible for the ceremony.

Mr. Matthew Hodges, Place 5 receives the Oath of Office from Judge Word, Mrs. Hodges holds the Bible for her husband.

The Scottsboro City Council seated prior to the election of a President. Mr. Steve Kennamer, City Attorney, served as interim council president. Mr. Matthew Hodges was re-elected as President and Mr. Thermon Bell was elected as Council President Pro-Tem.
The first order of business after the election of officers was adjournment of the Induction Meeting. A work session was held after the Induction meeting.
Work Session: The Tree Commission presented a plan to the City Council to build a "Mayors Park" in the City Park. Cherry Trees and a plaque was proposed to be erected honoring Scottsboro Mayors since Mayor Lonnie Crawford. The Tree Commission stated the work will be accomplished by contractors costing the City $1905.00 . It was stated a vote of the council would not be necessary since the money was already budgeted. All on the council stated they did not have any problem with the "Mayors Park" being built. Formal approval of construction for this project at City Park was not acquired in any open, regular City Council meeting. This meeting was not a regular meeting, it was a work session.