"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."


Thursday, June 30, 2011

Scottsboro City Council - First Monday 4th of July Weekend

This weekend will be First Monday, stop by and visit with the vendors and enjoy this weekends festivities. Don't miss the concert and fireworks at Goose Pond Colony Amphitheater on Monday, 4th of July. God Bless America and stay safe.
The agenda of the Scottsboro City Council with notes, click on the agenda for an expanded view.

Jackson County Commission

Monday, Jan. 27, 2011 the Jackson County Commission held a regular meeting. Big news, there was no Executive Session. Below you will find the agenda with my notes, click on image for an expanded view.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Town Hall Meeting with U.S. Representative Mo Brooks, or as some may call it, Bash President Obama Republican Rally

 Scottsboro Mayor Melton Potter introduces 5th District Congressman Mo Brooks, Republican from Huntsville.
 Congressman Brooks stated he was a Fiscal Conservative and believes our nation will be subservient to China if the debt situation does not change. He stated we are supplying China with the means to destroy us by virtue of our debt payment to them.
 Congressman Brooks assessment of our financial plight was right and wrong. He was right, our debt is the problem, his figures are correct. He was wrong on blaming our financial crisis on the Democrats and President Obama. There are solutions, Brooks did not have them. His solution was to create dissension and division in support of the Republican Party. At the bottom of the page I list the solution to our problems. Our debt problem is related to our growing energy crisis and problems. Washington politicians, Brooks included, have no meaningful solutions.
Congressman Brooks ranted on for most of the meeting about how our economy was crashing and if the Democrats continued on with their programs such as health care and socialism we would surely be subservient to the Chinese. The crowd of about 50, including 5 staffers, applauded loudly in sync with Brooks as he continued on with periodic episodes of Obama bashing mixed with economic doom and gloom.
 Brooks blamed most of our problems concerning the Southwest Asian Wars on the current administration. He failed to mention any Republican responsibility related to the current war,  instead he took the road of 'blame the Democrats and Obama.'

The Congressman did not realize or failed to mention it was the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000 of the 106th Congress, a Republican Congress ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/106th_United_States_Congress ), which allowed the Mortgage crisis and economic downturn which began about 2006, culminating in a financial meltdown in 2008 under President Bush, it was President Bush who began the TARP program bailouts.
 2011's 30 year outlook according to Mr. Brooks. When the TVA debt situation was brought forward his tune changed from a devout Fiscal Conservative to a devout Republican Socialist. Telling all how nuclear power and the TVA was going to save us from an era with no power. Sheer pro-nuclear propaganda right out of the nuclear lobby's play book.
 Congressman Brooks stated the Democrats and President Obama's Health Care Plans and other entitlement programs are breaking the United States. The crowd of mostly over 65-80%, continued to applaud loudly, apparently not realizing their Social Security and Medicare would come to a halt if the radical Republicans had their way. As the crowd applauded with fervor to the Obama bashing, I decided to boo the festivities, as there was entirely to much President Obama and Democrat bashing. Although I do not agree with all of our President's policies, he is our President. To base ones political policy and platform on bashing Democrats and President Obama does not produce results, it produces  division of the populace. Brooks' political strategy utilizes the principles of ideological propaganda as a communicative technique.
When asked about Bellefonte the Congressman stated he supported nuclear power. He told the crowd of Republican supporters the shutting down of coal facilities, due to the environmentalists and the EPA, nuclear power must be brought on line. Not true pointed out Ms. Gretel Johnston of Scottsboro, Ms. Johnston told how Energy Efficiency technology could produce the power needed. Brooks replied, "Oh, you mean the efficient energy light bulbs." Ms. Johnston explained some of  the Energy Efficiency measures which would supply over 300,000 jobs in the Southeast, including Jackson County, if a serious plan was implemented.

I informed the Congressman about TVA's tremendous debt to which I was heckled by a Chamber of Commerce staff member and a Goose Pond Colony staff member, obviously they were Republicans not interested in facts and attempted to interrupt my presentation. When the Congressman was asked if he supported TVA socialism and extending TVA's $30 billion dollar debt limit his reply was maybe, maybe not, depends on how it was worded by those asking. Apparently the Congressman is not as Fiscally Conservative as his presentation appears.

TVA's Financials: "TVA- SEC Form 10-Q Quarterly Report May 3, 2011, page 49, debt- $24.125 billion; interest on debt- $25.832 billion; long term total obligations including debt, interest on debt, fuel contracts, leases and power commitments $68.868 billion dollars." Total debt and debt interest- $49.9 billion!  http://investor.shareholder.com/tva/secfiling.cfm?filingID=1376986-11-36

Turn about is fair play, but not in the eyes of the Scottsboro Police who were there to obviously keep in line any comments against Brooks and the Republican extremist ideology. When a Republican supporter decided to bash Ms. Johnston and myself for our presentation, I spoke up in protest. The Police Chief, came over and stated to me, "don't interrupt, wait until you are recognized to speak." However, the Police Chief said nothing to the hecklers from the Chamber of Commerce and Goose Pond Colony who attempted to interrupt my presentation.

The town hall meeting was informative, informing true listeners of how far right wing the Neu Republikans have moved. Real solutions to the debt crisis are not in the Republicans political strategy book. Bash Democrats and our President was the outcome of the meeting.for the explicit purpose of rallying additional Republican support.

Solutions:  Jobs, put Americans to work, stop the political deceit and pandering, it is dividing our nation. Political bickering and name calling does not support solutions but supports the political party, we need solutions not furtherance of individual and party political agendas. A comprehensive Sustainable Energy Plan for the United States is the tool for resolving many of the problems facing our nation. It will bring jobs and secure our energy future from dependance on foreign energy sources which have led us into wars costing thousands of American lives and trillions of dollars.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Goose Pond Colony-Parks and Recreation Board

The Goose Pond Colony Parks and Recreation Board met Tuesday at 4:30 PM. Daily Sentinel's coverage of the meeting: http://thedailysentinel.com/news/article_24672d64-9d18-11e0-b8ed-001cc4c002e0.html

Agenda and my notes pictured above, click on image for an expanded view.

Several important issues were discussed at the Tuesday meeting including the status of Goose Pond's Plantation Course.
The bottom line, "rates must be raised." The Plantation Goose Pond Course will be open Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The course will be closed Monday thru Thursday. The Board President Mike Baggett commented membership rates and fees must change to increase revenue. Mr. Baggett urged citizens not to play the blame game, work together to make the best of the situation.  The goal was stated, "keep a low impact on homeowners, keep property rates up." Comment: This is a problem, never should a municipal government entity be involved in homeowner property sales and direct involvement in home property values by virtue of a golf course mortgage. Maybe the city should purchase other property and maintain the sewer, water and streets. If they do it for influential citizens residing on a golf course why not poor citizens living in poor communities? There was an offer from a private citizen to purchase the failing golf course, the city refused to release the mortgage, some making allegations of ethics violations.  

Citizens, it is not the purpose of any government entity to "keep property rates up." This is another throwback of government sponsored socialism and dependance on government for personal and business solutions. Goose Pond Colony is a governmental entity, as a governmental entity why is it displaying preference to this specific area's residents? This creates all sorts of possible claims of discrimination involving financially depressed areas of Scottsboro due to social status and race.

The Scottsboro City Council has also expressed the same concerns for homeowners at the Plantation Goose Pond Course. The City Council of Scottsboro has used the mortgage on Plantation Point, which they hold, as a tool for manipulating the business decisions of the Goose Pond Colony Board.

Several citizens spoke in support of keeping the course a public entity and several spoke in support of the sale. Council Member Keith Smith was present and addressed several citizen comments.

Mr. Smith stated he pays for his golf play. Mr. Smith has expressed several ethics concerns relative to the proposed sale of the course and offer made by Mr. Croft. Mr. Smith also expressed concerns relative to the loan costs of Goose Pond Colony Loans when the Goose Pond Colony Board President is an officer of the First National Bank. Comment: Are these real ethics or legal problems or not? If they are problems they should be investigated, if they are not then this is just more political posturing in a state historically void of ethics.

Several years previous in order to save Goose Pond Colony from Bankruptcy and the City of Scottsboro either taking over the facility or defaulting on the loans, the City Financial Director was placed on the Goose Pond Colony Board  as Chairman by a previous City Council in violation of state law. The move was successful, the facility was saved from a sure failure.

Prior to the City's Financial Director managing the board several years previous, it was discovered property, goods and services were being given away or stolen. The incidents were reported but not prosecuted. The State Attorney General's Office commented, "we would need to have someone on tape stealing before we could prosecute."

Increasing business costs: The business statements reflect an increase in costs of operation due to many factors. Wages have increased by 23.7% since 2006; 2006 wage payments were $866,000, 2010 wage payments were $1,129,000. It was suggested by citizens that advertising was needed. Mr Baggett commented we cannot afford additional advertising, stating we (Goose Pond Colony) spend approximately $14,000 currently for annual advertising. The current financial statement dated May 31, 2011 states current advertising cost expenditures at $18,987, last years total advertising costs were $21,967.00. currently the board has overspent their advertising budget by 13.56% according to GPC financial documents.

There are advertising agreements for trade of services, the Huntsville Havoc, Stars and Hammers Sports Teams are involved in the agreements according to the Golf Course Manager. The sports teams mentioned play golf for free in turn the teams advertise for GPC in or on various mediums. The Goose Pond Board and the City Council of Scottsboro receive free services at GPC; city employees receive 30% discount according to statements made by the GPC Board

Total Revenues Year to Date are $1,857,869; total expenditures, variable and fixed year to date are $1,987,759; this reflects a current cash loss of $129,890 at 6 months into the calendar year. Depreciation expenses are listed as $207,597. Cash loss plus depreciation expense reflects a total of $337,487 six  month loss for mid year 2011. This reflects a 528.69% loss increase over last year at this time.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Town Hall Meeting, Congressman Mo Brooks

There will be a Town Hall Meeting with U.S. Representative Mo Brooks, Republican from Huntsville, Al., at the Jackson county Senior Center (Entrance of the Jackson County Park on the right.), Monday June 27, 2011 from 7PM till 8PM. Google maps link: Google Maps link: Jackson County Park
2302 County Park Rd, Scottsboro, AL

Mr. Brooks commented in the Daily Sentinel, ""The town hall is a question and answer session where District 5 residents can ask questions about legislation and federal issues that are important to them," Brooks said. "The discussion is driven by what folks are interested in talking about, so I hope that a lot of people will come out to this town hall."" Link: http://thedailysentinel.com/news/article_e580a48a-9c55-11e0-a974-001cc4c03286.html

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Jackson County Commission - Jackson County Park, Pre-Construction Conference Jackson County Park Re-Build Project

 Before and after photos of the Jackson County Park. The picture below is after cleanup as a result of the 2009 Spring storm which devastated the County Park. Over 2 years and a change in the basic park operation the rebuild start date is tentatively scheduled to start on July 18th, lasting 120 days, if all goes well should be finished by November 15, 2011.

Today at 9AM the Jackson County Commission met in a "Pre-Construction Conference" concerning the rebuild of the Jackson County Park. All contractors were present and represented. Ladd Environmental Consultants are representing Jackson County as the contract consultant, K.W. Rains Associates General Contractor, Scottsboro Electric Power Board, electrical contractor, TVA was present-Guntersville Property Management Office, Jackson County EMA, the Jackson County Engineer, a quorum of the Commission, County Attorney, County Administrator and the press were present. Notice was not posted on the official Jackson County Bulletin Board, several issues were discussed which are expected to be brought forward at future dates before the vJackson County Commission meetings, including tornado debris cleanup and payments related to the County Park contract.

Jackson County  Chairperson Sadie Bias and contractors sign the Jackson County Park Camp Ground Re-Build Contract.It has been estimated the park has lost in excess of $100K annually as a result of the destroyed campground.
Plans for the Jackson County Park Campground rebuild.

There was concern expressed about sensitive archaeological areas, the contractors emphatically stated there would be no sensitive archaeological areas which would be disturbed in this project.

Previous Jackson County Park postings on this blog. http://arklite.blogspot.com/search/label/Jackson%20County%20Park

Scottsboro City Council Meeting

 Mr. Bell and Ms. McCrary were absent from last nights City Council work session.

3 items on the agenda as listed. 1) Discussion of Police Department surplus property, 5 police vehicles are to be declared excess property at next council meeting, to be sold on govdeals.com. 2) Renewal of Enterprise Zone classification for Lozier Inc. discussion. 3) Equipment discussion for Solid Waste, old equipment has been sold, a pickup truck is to be purchased by the bidding process.

Mayors Report: 1) Mayor discussed expansion of parking lot and removal of walls within the old police department, there is an interested party for leasing of the building. 2) The Mayor reported the Splash Park was hit by lightning disabling the computer equipment at the Splash Park. The Mayor reported repair persons would probably repair the facility Tuesday, June 21, 2011. It was interesting to note a recent poll on The Daily Sentinel's web site reflected 53% of persons would never or seldom use the Splash Park: "never use the park -36%, or seldom use the park - 17%. 47% frequently use the Splash Park. 3) Planning Commission will have the first of several Public Hearings concerning the new Zoning Law on June 23, 2011 at 5:30 PM.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Bellefonte is a "Nuclear Zombie"

Art work by Edwin Vazquez displayed in an Article by Dr. Christian Parenti in "The Nation" http://www.thenation.com/article/zombie-nuke-plants?page=full

NEI Notes: TVA is committed to completing Alabama reactor , at what costs? Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League's Science Director Lou Zeller comments in the New York Times.

"'Right now,' said Eric T. Beaumont, a nuclear expert and partner in Copia Capital, a private investment firm in Chicago, 'it doesn't seem like the most prudent use of money.'”

“'They should definitely be doing something different,'” said Louis A. Zeller, science director for the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League, a regional advocacy group. He likes to call Bellefonte 'the zombie reactor' because it is neither dead nor alive.'"

"Mr. Zeller and other skeptics say that beyond the obvious challenges the nuclear industry faces, the Bellefonte 1 project has inescapable flaws. The reactor is too expensive and too antiquated, they contend, and it lies in an earthquake zone."

"CRAZY" "'Mr. Beaumont, the industry analyst, said that “based on cost, I absolutely think you can say it’s crazy.' But that assessment might change over time, he allowed."

"WE JUST KNOW WHEN WE GET THERE" (Comment by TVA's CEO Tom Kilgore) “I can’t forecast out 8 or 10 years,” Mr. Kilgore said, but “we just know when we get there, Bellefonte 1 is a good economic proposition.” Knowing "when we get there" will have cost the TVA's rate payers $8-9 billion dollars for Bellefonte Unit 1 if complete. A "when we get there" management style has resulted in TVA's massive debt. TVA has estimated it will cost approximately $4-$4.5 billion to complete the Bellefonte project. Costs do not consider radioactive hazardous waste storage, decommissioning the nuclear reactor site and special security for the nuclear site, costing additional billions of dollars. Which relates to higher electrical rates for area business and citizens.

TVA's debt is prohibitive of further expensive nuclear construction. TVA's management failures have cost U.S. Taxpayers and TVA Rate Payers dearly, 3 other TVA mothballed nuclear projects, Hartsville, Yellow Creek, and the Clinch River Breeder Reactor have resulted in massive TVA debt, an example of "we just know when we get there" management philosophy. TVA's current debt is approximately $25 billion, the interest on their debt is approximately $23 billion. Congress has established a $30 billion debt ceiling for the TVA.

Read about a better way. http://bestcleanenergy.blogspot.com/

An example of a better way ( GE Combined Solar - Wind - New Technology CCG Plant) http://www.technologyreview.com/energy/37715/ and a big solution if combined with hydro pumped storage energy sites, such as Raccoon Mt. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raccoon_Mountain_Pumped-Storage_Plant

Regressive antiquated technology is risky for the citizens of the TVA region. TVA must set leadership examples utilizing sustainable energy and energy efficiency solutions for our 21st century future. 

BEST/MATRR, a local chapter of the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League.
We are environmental stewards, join us in our mission and journey
to protect our air, land and water by visiting: http://www.matrr.org

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Scottsboro City Council

 From Left to Right: City Attorney Steve Kennamer, Council Member McCrary and Council Member Smith
Left to Right: Mayor Potter, Council Member Speers, Council Member Bell, City Clerk Ms. O'Shields, City Council President Hodges.

Tonight was a regular council meeting, the big topic, the release of the Plantation Point mortgage. A unanimous vote, 5-0 to not release the mortgage, Plantation Point will not be sold. The next Goose Pond Colony Board meeting will be next Tuesday, June 21 at 5PM at the Goose Pond Colony Clubhouse on Ed Hembree Drive. Daily Sentinel News Story: http://thedailysentinel.com/news/article_3bfd7ab8-96c5-11e0-97d0-001cc4c002e0.html

City Council Agenda, click on image for an expanded view.

Annual Sales Tax Holiday, article from the Clarion: 

Jackson County Commission Meeting

Today was a regular session of the Jackson County Commission. Today's big topic before the commission was the Legislative Delegation's new local act as it applies to the TVA-in-lieu-of-tax distribution. Daily Sentinel Article http://thedailysentinel.com/news/article_28c5cc8e-93c3-11e0-bccd-001cc4c03286.html Todays Jackson County Commission Agenda, click on image for an expanded view.

The County Attorney, Mr. John Porter, expressed a serious concern over the new local act regarding the distribution of Jackson County's 26% share of the TVA-in-lieu-of-tax. The problem apparently rests in the wording of the new law. Mr. Porter recommended the Commission follow the new law, not all commissioners were anxious to do so. The county will continue with their legal action concerning the TVA-in-lieu-of-tax local act. According to the attorney the 26% going into the General Fund will also be governed by the Legislative Delegation's appointees. The 26%  makes up 37% of the County Commission's General Fund.

The Jackson County Commission's General Fund has $2,679,036.25 in its General Fund account as of June 10, 2011.

The following is the budget document indicating cuts for the upcoming 2012 Fiscal Year. Document provided by the Jackson County Commission as a result of a Records Disclosure Request. The document displays a $2.94 million budget shortage, this was specifically addressed today by the County Attorney. The County Attorney indicated the law suit against the Legislative Delegation will continue.

Item links from Clarion and Daily Sentinel Sentinel on issue: Clarion- http://www.theclarion.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1944:governor-signs-tva-in-lieu-bill-county-attorney-recommends-law-suit&catid=42:clarion-rotation-stories&Itemid=142  Daily Sentinel-  http://thedailysentinel.com/news/article_71ff2378-96c5-11e0-8c74-001cc4c002e0.html
 Click on image for an expanded view.
TVA-in-lieu-of-tax distribution to the Jackson County Commission. Click on image for an expanded view.

Previous Daily Sentinel Article on the TVA-in-lieu-of-tax issue issue: http://thedailysentinel.com/news/article_8307ed30-7bc7-11e0-bb2e-001cc4c03286.html
Clarion's Article index on the issue: http://www.theclarion.org/index.php?searchword=tva+in+lieu+of+tax&ordering=newest&searchphrase=all&option=com_search

Item G on the agenda, Sales Tax Holiday, article from the Clarion: http://www.theclarion.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1939:sales-tax-holiday&catid=55:news&Itemid=143

Item I on the agenda, debris removal, articles from the Daily Sentinel:  http://thedailysentinel.com/news/article_c7a0abc6-9797-11e0-a423-001cc4c002e0.html  http://thedailysentinel.com/news/article_df3c2a44-9616-11e0-a8b0-001cc4c03286.html

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Vultures Gather at TVA's Nuclear Money Sinkhole

On a bright and sunny spring morning on June the 2nd, 2011, the Turkey Vultures gather at the Bellefonte Nuclear sinkhole. This nuclear plant is located on non-stable Karst Terrain. Could the vultures be waiting on the TVA financial collapse? TVA debt, $25 billion with a Congressional mandated $30 billion cap, not counting the approximate $23 billion interest on their bond debt, TVA would not survive in private business. Bellefonte has not been approved for operation by the TVA Board but the TVA continues to pour hundreds of millions of dollars into the plant.

Nuclear Power is not the answer, learn more at http://www.matrr.org/

Part 1 of a 2 part article from the Daily Sentinel:

 Morganton, NC AP News Report on Bellefonte  http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/T/TN_TVA_BELLEFONTE_TOUR_NCOL-?SITE=NCMOR&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT

al.com article from Huntsville Times:  http://blog.al.com/breaking/2011/06/bellefonte_nuclear_plant_may_b.html


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Scottsboro City Council Meeting for May 23, 2011

Monday, 30 May was Memorial Day, there was no City Council Meeting. The next Scottsboro City Council Work Session will be on June 6, 2011.

May 23, 2011 City Council meeting outline: 1) The City of Scottsboro 2002 Bond issue debt was refinanced at 2.87%. Total amount of the 2002 Bond debt was $5,230,000 Daily Sentinel article: http://thedailysentinel.com/news/article_c7bbdb6a-8650-11e0-8a75-001cc4c002e0.html 2) Sewer Rehab project approved for the Scottsboro Industrial Park. DRN Utilities of Tuscaloosa was awarded the $497,270.00 low bid for the project. 3) Matching funds of $57,673.00 for rural public transportation was approved. 4) Jason Phillipe was approved for the Scottsboro Industrial Development Board. 5) Jeanine Arnold was reappointed to the Zoning Board of Adjustment; 3 positions on the Zoning Board of Adjustment  are open, contact Mrs Cathy O'Shields, City of Scottsboro - 256-574-3100.

Mayors Report:  Soccer Field work continues; Splash Park Ribbon Cutting scheduled for June 2, 2011 at 9AM,  Daily Sentinel article- http://thedailysentinel.com/news/article_8c52048a-8bca-11e0-91f5-001cc4c03286.html  Scottsboro City School System last student day is today, Tuesday, June 1, 2011; East Maple St. Flood update, grant request has been sent to FEMA, awaiting approval.