"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."


Friday, January 31, 2014

Content Control - "Potter’s integrity shouldn’t be questioned," says local publisher.

Brad Shurett the Publisher of Scottsboro and Jackson County's Daily Sentinel stated, quote: "Potter’s integrity shouldn’t be questioned - Everyone is entitled to an opinion. Freedom of speech is one of the cornerstones on which this country was founded, even if that opinion is unfounded and based on rumors and bits and pieces of the truth – see Garry Morgan’s column from yesterday as an example...Again, everyone is entitled to an opinion. However, it would be much more beneficial if people relied more on fact and less on rumors and water cooler gossip when forming those opinions." (It would be "more beneficial" if Shurett knew what he was talking about.) Link to Shurett's column: http://thedailysentinel.com/columns/brad_shurett/article_1dcc1fe0-850b-11e3-aa66-001a4bcf887a.html  I can't give a link to my column, the publisher did not publish it on the online version. It was available in last Thursday's Daily Sentinel dated Jan. 23, 2014. To make a long story short my article was about, "...city leadership at the elected level failing to improve Scottsboro’s Employee Performance Evaluation System."

Shurett the Publisher writes about "freedom of speech" while actually censoring content about local government problems.

I wrote a rebuttal to Shuretts' opinion article as part of my weekly contractual installment.  Shurett censored my article and violated the terms of our contract.

Here is the article which was supposed to be published on January 30, 2014 -

A repeat from last Thursday’s column lead off paragraph and a reply to Mr. Shurett’s Friday column: “The City of Scottsboro has a problem with its performance appraisal system. This reoccurring historical problem is based on city leadership at the elected level failing to improve Scottsboro’s Performance Employee Evaluation System.” This comment is an opinion based on years of education and experience, it is not a rumor.
 A question of integrity, the City of Scottsboro’s Integrity concerning a fair and honest system of performance evaluations for each employee is questionable. That is not a rumor, it is an opinion.

Scottsboro does not have a system in place that utilizes an objective, measurable, performance appraisal system; it is a subjective, opinion based performance appraisal system. Every personnel problem coming before Scottsboro’s Personnel Board in the last 10 years, where a public meeting has been held that I have witnessed, has been the result of no contractual, objective performance appraisal standards.  This paragraph is not a rumor; it is both fact and opinion

Are our elected officials responsible for the integrity of an effective, objective system of performance standards?  YES.  Our elected officials must insure that all employees are accountable by the implementation of a fair and equitable set of objective, measurable performance standards.  That is not a rumor, that is a system of professional, accountable government.
As long as Scottsboro’s City Leadership are not working toward a modern system of objective, measurable, contractual performance standards the taxpayers have a liability. That is my opinion based on years of management education and experience, not a rumor.

It is also not a rumor but a fact that Scottsboro’s Street Department has been embroiled in numerous problems. Some of those problems have resulted in numerous personnel policy and law violations by city employees.
The Mayors integrity is not in question, there is a question of whether this historical problem will continue and Mayor Potter will take action to correct this deficiency in our city’s personnel management process. There is good reason for the citizens to be concerned – lawsuits from past and current employees, continuing problems in the Street Department, and a deficient personnel management appraisal system;  not rumors – concern, facts and opinion.
Garry Morgan
  Brad Shurett, the Publisher of the Daily Sentinel, claims what I had written was based on rumor and gossip - he is wrong.

Update: Censorship continues - this article's link and story was removed from al.com's Scottsboro Forum; it has been reposted on 02/02/14 at 9:37 PM, post # 9056.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Jackson County Commission Meeting at North Jackson High School, Stevenson, Alabama; Jackson County Discretionary Fund Meeting

Monday was a busy schedule for the Jackson County Commission. First up was the Discretionary Funds meeting at the Legislative Delegation office at 10AM.

In the afternoon was the Jackson County Commission Meeting and Public Hearing at the North Jackson High School.


Short Video of Public Hearing - Summary

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Jackson County Commission Meeting on January 21, 2014, Work Session

Tuesday was a work session of the Jackson County Commission. Citizens spoke concerning employee insurance benefits and the Legislative Delegation using citizen's money for their office use.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Scottsboro City Council Meeting, Regular Session, January 13, 2014

Next Meeting of the Scottsboro City Council will be a combined Work Session & Regular Meeting will be January 27, 2014; Jan. 20th is Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday. Mayor to get new "Mayor Mo-bill."
New Mayors Vehicle to cost over $31K with trade-in of the current Mayoral Ride.
Not the Mayors ride, but a picture of the 2014 Chevy-Suburban CEO Model.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Scottsboro Street Department Makes Mess at North Sauty Creek and Here's Your Chainsaw but Where's the Critter?

Scottsboro, Al., -  North Sauty Creek Wildlife Management area TVA Shoreline encroachment, harassing wildlife and leaving a mess by the Scottsboro Street Department. TVA Corporate Public Relations commented that TVA happened by the scene and ask the Street Department what they were doing. A witness reported they saw the Street Department employees throw rocks at a raccoon up a tree. Apparently the raccoon would not exit the shoreline tree. Someone then made the decision to cut the tree. The raccoon and tree fell into the water according to the witness. Animal's fate is unknown.
TVA officials at the scene reported the city employees left a chainsaw on the scene, TVA officials assisted Scottsboro in recovering the chain saw. A TVA official  also commented that the city should be responsible for area remediation.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Monday, January 6, 2014

Scottsboro City Council Work Session, January 6, 2014



Jackson County Discretionary Fund Meeting - Jackson County Alabama Legislative Delegation

Alabama State Senator Shad McGill serves as Chairman of the Jackson County Discretionary Fund Committee. (photos by G. Morgan)
The Jackson County Legislative Delegation has the following fund balances: Delegation Office Account - $86,393.00; Discretionary Fund Account- $830,446.65 as of today's date.
All requests for funds were tabled until "the Discretionary Fund Budget" could be reviewed. However, by a 4 to 2 vote it was approved that $225,000 be taken from the Discretionary Fund for the Legislative Delegation's office space. Revenue Commissioner Ron Crawford and Commissioner Stacey Ledwell voted against the $225,000 "loan," as described by Mr. Johnson and Mr. McGill to be transferred from the Discretionary Fund to the Delegation office fund. Please watch the video for more on this issue.
Sen. McGill describes Jackson County Commission involvement in Laurel St. building purchase, "County commission suggested the purchase of the building..."

WAFF News Story: http://www.waff.com/story/24377621/jackson-co-delegation-approves-new-move-project  Previous WAFF story: http://www.waff.com/story/24234183/plans-for-jackson-co-delegation-move-on-hold

Sunday, January 5, 2014

The Nuclear Industry Is Not Your Friend

LADIES AND GENTLEMAN, THE NUCLEAR INDUSTRY IS NOT YOUR FRIEND IN ANY WAY FORM OR FASHION. THE SECURITY IMPLICATIONS OF THEIR ACTIVITIES AND CONDUCT, IN MY OPINION, ARE A THREAT TO THE SECURITY OF OUR NATION. It appears the nuclear industry and the regulator are carrying forth programs which are designed to untruthfully present risks and safety reports regarding nuclear reactors. The nuclear industry harasses, intimidates and threatens with bodily injury, and the livelihood of those who report safety violations. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission fails to hold accountable nuclear industry corporations and operators. Below I submit to you the evidence which supports my conclusion as reflected by the information below.

This information has numerous links. To grasp the full implications of the failure of our nuclear regulator and the security threat to our nation, please take the time to read, listen and/or watch the videos linked. Without significant change this could be the end result:

Disinformation is intentional for the purpose of misinforming, misleading and providing an avenue to discredit groups and create confusion. It is propaganda, or as the Russians call it, "maskirovka." It is an intentional program of misinformation initiated by the nuclear industry. "Pandora's Promise" is an example of the NEI's propaganda program. Op-Ed by Ralph Cavanaugh on Pandora's Promisehttp://www.cnn.com/2013/11/06/opinion/pandora-nuclear-energy-opinion-cavanagh-cochran/

It should be obvious that the nuclear industry via NEI, Nuclear Energy Institute, is currently spending millions of dollars in a massive public relations campaign. NEI's PR campaigns are directed by this person - J. Scott Peterson,  http://www.nei.org/About-NEI/Governance-Leadership/J-Scott-Peterson  "He is a member of the board of directors for the Public Affairs Council and NucNet, an international nuclear energy news organization, and serves on the advisory committee for the Clean and Safe Energy Coalition (CASE). He also is a member of the National Press Club."
Nuc Net  http://www.nucnet.org/about-nucnet 
Nuclear Industry PR in schools http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Nuclear_Industry_PR_in_Schools

>Cyber Attacks<
The nuclear industry is also carrying forth cyber attacks on anti-nuclear groups. Guard your computer equipment that you may carry with you. Do not utilize any public network without a purchased anti-virus program protecting your equipment. Do not assume that Apple Computers or Android phones are protected by internal security software; there have been compromises of Apple Computer and Android Phone Systems.
November cyber attacks in Japan http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2013/11/10/national/anti-nuclear-civic-groups-targeted-in-large-scale-cyber-attacks/#.UshVpbCA3rc

BEST-MATRR has suffered 7 cyber attacks in 5 years. The total cost in equipment destruction and loss of research data is in excess of $6,000.00. Attempts to enter computer systems by Federal contractors employed by the NRC is ongoing. Complaints have been filed but have proved to be useless to date.

>Threats, Dirty Tricks and Social Control<
Beware of those bearing gifts in disguise. If you think the nuclear industry or the regulators should be trusted, think again. http://www.humanecologyreview.org/pastissues/her162/mixetal.pdf
"Social control tactics are specific behaviors enacted by social control agents intended to impede activists’ fulfillment of movement tasks. Tactics are aimed at the activist both directly and indirectly. Direct tactics target three aspects of the activist’s life: his/her body, his/her livelihood, and his/her social status. Tactics aimed at the activist’s body intend bodily harm; those aimed at the activist’s livelihood intend income reductions; and tactics aimed at the activist’s social status intend loss of prestige from peers. Indirect social control tactics aim at the activist’s social status, intending loss of prestige from the public by destroying the activist’s credibility and persuading the public to dismiss grievances and tolerate the repression of the movement." (note figure 1 pg 181 of the above report link, PDF pg 10 Figure 1. Schematic of Forms of Repression and Tactics of Social Control)

>Whistleblower Threats and Harassment <

 " U.S. Harassment of Nuclear Scientists, Nuclear Plant Workers and Grassroots Anti-Nuclear Activists" http://www.questia.com/library/journal/1G1-82007565/u-s-harassment-of-nuclear-scientists-nuclear-plant 
 NRC admitted that it has stripped whistleblower protection -
Whistleblower stories - http://youtu.be/Lv_-Gc9PPKs  and http://youtu.be/IQEnzugHfu0 Browns Ferry - http://blog.al.com/wire/2013/07/browns_ferry.html   Whistleblowers - featuring Dave Lochbaum and Arnie Gunderson ; "...NRC does not fix problems...NRC Inspector General, NRC taking bribes from employer... NRC intentionally botched inspections." http://youtu.be/EHwDS84UN1Y 

>NRC, Failure to Regulate<
Three former members of the NRC's Office of the Inspector General charge that the independent watchdog no longer challenges the industry. "...the [NRC] has become reluctant to probe anything that could become controversial or raise difficult questions for the NRC...They don't want to do anything... everything just seems to die."
To close to industry - http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/08/business/energy-environment/08nrc.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

>The Growing Threat - Fuel Pools, Regulator, Safety Culture<
Over packed cooling pools http://www.ucsusa.org/publications/catalyst/su-13-the-growing-threat-of-nuclear-waste.html  "One major problem is that today’s U.S. nuclear operators routinely store spent fuel in pools at a much higher density than they were designed to hold. That increases the risk in two ways. First, it increases the chance that the spent fuel will overheat, burn, and release radiation into the environment if cooling is lost due to a terrorist attack or accident. More spent fuel in a pool results in closer spacing between spent fuel bundles, reducing cooling and increasing the chance of fire spreading between the bundles. Second, high density of fuel rods in cooling pools will increase the consequences of an accident if the fuel overheats. More fuel in the pool means it could release more radioactivity." http://www.ucsusa.org/publications/ask/2013/spentfuel.html

Preventing Nuclear Meltdown: Assessing Regulatory Failure in Japan and the United States -  Regulatory failure occurs when the regulatory system is deeply flawed – such as when it over- or under-regulates or when the regulatory design is based on “old science”. Regulatory failure also happens when agencies inadequately fulfill their oversight, supervisory and enforcement functions. http://www.brookings.edu/research/opinions/2011/04/01-nuclear-meltdown-kaufmann

Safety culture problems industry wide, fuel cycle and nuclear facilities:
Independent Oversight Assessment of Nuclear Safety Culture at the Los Alamos National Laboratory Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement Project   "Some elements of fear of retaliation were identified in some groups as inhibiting the identification of problems. Negative perceptions around feeling free to challenge management decisions and believing that constructive criticism is not encouraged may be contributing to the behavior." http://www.dnfsb.gov/sites/default/files/Board%20Activities/Letters/2012/ltr_20121212_20916.pdf

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Enforcement and Oversight (Independent Oversight), within the Office of Health, Safety and Security (HSS), conducted an independent assessment of nuclear safety culture1 and management of nuclear safety concerns at the DOE Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant (WTP).
"...there is a definite unwillingness and uncertainty among employees about the ability to openly challenge management decisions. There are definite perceptions that there is not an environment conducive to raising concerns or where management wants or willingly listens to concerns. Most employees also believe that constructive criticism is not encouraged." http://energy.gov/sites/prod/files/hss/Enforcement%20and%20Oversight/Oversight/docs/reports/semevals/Final_Hanford_WTP-Report_Jan%202012.pdf

"It's evident the NRC is capable of being an effective watchdog," said Dave Lochbaum, director of UCS's Nuclear Safety Project and author of the report. "But too often the agency does not live up to its potential, and we are still finding significant problems at nuclear plants that could trigger a serious accident.Many of the near-misses last year involved problems that were festering for years, if not decades," he added. "That means that the plant owners' testing and inspection regime is broken. Nothing is going to change unless the NRC requires plant owners to fix it." http://www.cnn.com/2013/03/08/us/nrc-nuclear-report/  "NRC's lax oversight "reflects a poor safety culture," including a disconnect between the agency's workforce and its senior management, with managers tending to downplay safety problems and react negatively when workers point them out." http://www.ucsusa.org/nuclear_power/nuclear_power_risk/safety/nrc-and-nuclear-power-safety-annual.html
> Summary<
One incident in itself does not indicate a regulatory failure, corruption or compromised safety culture. However, when placing together all the pieces of the puzzle the picture becomes clear. There is evidence, as presented, that the U.S. nuclear industry and the regulator, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, have intentionally, for the purpose of financial gain, compromised U.S. citizen health and welfare in violation of Federal Law. This is a historical, long standing problem which has serious implications for the security of the United States. The saga of failed oversight, neglect, threats, harassment and criminal acts continue to this day.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Jackson County Commission Meeting, Dec. 30, 2013

Monday, December 30, 2013 was a Regular Session of the Jackson County Commission.
There were several important issues discussed, see agenda below. Local bank loans were discussed to fund the "ATRIP" transportation projects, cost share projects. Jackson County will need to fund $2.25 million in transportation construction costs. County Park Sewer Project will cost $251K.

Public Hearings: County Road 96 issue, TVA has requested part of CR96 to be vacated. A Public Hearing will be held on January 27, 2014 at the North Jackson High School Lunch Room at 5PM.
The Vicious Animal Control Ordinance Public Hearing will be held at the Jackson County Courthouse on February 24, 2014 at 5PM