"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, July 26, 2016

Scottsboro City Council Meeting - Patrick Stewart Receives Certificate of Election, July 25, 2016

Scottsboro City Council President Patrick Stewart receives Certificate of Election from Council President Pro-Tem Keith Smith, Stewart was unopposed. Photo by G. Morgan

Photo by G. Morgan

Photo by G. Morgan

It was announced that the parking lot across from the Post Office is now open. The Scottsboro downtown Redevelopment Authority purchased the property to expand parking in the downtown area.

Council Member Gary Stewart stated at last night's City Council Meeting that he had requested to see the plans for the Ball Field Renovation project but the Mayor had not provided him with the plans after several requests. Council Memeber Tony Wallingsford  indicated that he had trouble regarding disclosure of the plans. The change orders in the plans reflect an approximate $150,000+ increase in the $1.1 million budgeted amount for the project. 

Council Member Keith Smith also stated that he was informed of considerable cost increases in the Rec Com pool renovation project.

Wilson Street Tupelo Pike Property declared excess property which clears the way for the property to be donated to the Rescue Squad. The Squad indicated they did not need the property and it would be sold to raise funds for their move into the National Guard Armory. 

The State Guard has indicated they will close the Armory in October of this year. The Armory reverts back to the City of Scottsboro once the National Guard closes the facility. Preliminary plans have been made to allow the Rescue Squad to use of the Armory Facility.

Click on image for an expanded view.


Jackson County Commission, Regular Session, July 25,2016

Jackson County Commission, discussion about changes regarding the renovation of the Jackson County Park. Photo by G. Morgan

The death of Public Works employee Ira "Junior" Garner was announced. Mr. Garner passed on this past weekend.

Mr. Hodges' expresses appreciation of county employees.

Click on image for an expanded view.
Agenda Item 8, approximately $240,000 of the 2016 Business Privilege Tax was placed into the county's General Fund.


Sunday, July 24, 2016

Scottsboro Property Management Issues - Lack of Accountability

What other property management issues are lurking in secret about Scottsboro property demolition and the non-accountable property management actions of Scottsboro officials? Fair Use photo for non-profit news and commentary reporting, photo credit is unidentified.

                                         Council Agenda
Questions about poor city governance - lack of accountability relating to property demolition and approvals.

Wilson Street property donation to the Rescue Squad is on the agenda for Monday night's, July 25, 2016 city council meeting, item 3.

The Rescue Squad has not requested a donation, for money or property. Why is the property being donated to the Rescue Squad absent any request or acceptance from the squad of what seems to be Council Member Smith's mandated donation?

This property was taken into the inventory of Scottsboro's real property as dilapidated, public nuisance property, not approved by the city council for induction into our property inventory. Why? By city officials own admission, the property was not condemned.

Is it the City of Scottsboro's policy to accept nuisance, dilapidated property into its' inventory, then the citizens pay the cost of cleanup, demolition and costs to maintain the property with no council approval?

There has been no accounting for the cost of demolition or property maintenance of the Wilson Street Tupelo Pike property or the Willow Street property demolition on private property. Nor has there been any accountability of actions on the secret acquisition and sale of the boat. Why?

Search of North Alabama property demolition listings on the web for the area indicated demolition costs for similar properties such as the Willow Street property and maintenance could have been between $6000-$10000. Costs for the Wilson Street property could have been between $4500-$7500. There are no file indications, upon search, that there were any itemization of costs of the actual demolition or costs to maintain incured or approved for either property. Link to demolition site cost report: http://demolition.promatcher.com/cost/

Why are non-accountable city government officials allowed to continue to rip off the tax-payers of Scottsboro, Alabama without the city council taking action to inform the public of any action to improve poor management practices? Blog listing regarding these issues - http://arklite.blogspot.com/search/label/property%20management

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Scottsboro City Council Meeting Work Session - July 18, 2016 - Scottsboro Property Mismanagement Philosophy - Lack of Oversight

Scottsboro City Hall, where secrets are formulated facilitating poor governance. Not once has the demolition of  property outside of flood hazard mitigation, been approved by the Scottsboro City Council. Nor, has dilapidated property which has been declared a public nuisance, outside of flood hazard mitigation, been approved by the city council to be taken into the city inventory via a donation. In my opinion, Scottsboro's demonstrated practices of property management demonstrates a disregard for frugal and efficient management practices. The attempted justifications for mismanagement and what appears to be unlawful practices casts suspicion on the purposes of the misbehavior of some Scottsboro City Officials. The responsibility for oversight of Real Estate belonging to the City of  Scottsboro falls on the City Council. (photo by G. Morgan)

Scottsboro Property Listing
Many thanks to Scottsboro Mayor Melton Potter for volunteering to provide this property list for all properties owned by the City of Scottsboro, Alabama (Click on image for an expanded view.).

AGENDA of Work Session
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Outline Presentation by Garry Morgan regarding Funding of the Rescue Squad and Scottsboro Property Management Issues.
Click on image for an expanded view.

Council Member Smith's conduct toward citizens who do not support his position is that of demonstrated spitefulness, disrespect and untruthfulness.

Council Member Keith Smith, long term appointed political official as Police Chief of Scottsboro, now City Council Member. As he has reminded folks, 3 term elected official, bragging about it before the City Council and stating, "Never has this happened before." (photo by G. Morgan)

Declared public nuisance - Secret Condemnation and Demolition of dilapidated property, the Gross East Willow Street Property occurred sometime in 2014-2015, the demolition work was not approved by the City Council. There was no itemization or fixation of costs regarding the property demolition and city property maintenance estimated to be between $7500-$10,000. Statement of that problem - http://arklite.blogspot.com/2016/03/house-demolished-by-city-of-scottsboro.html
Fair Use Rights for Google Earth photo utilized for non-profit news reporting and commentary.

Declared public nuisance - Secretly donated, dilapidated property and its' demolition of the Tupelo Pike - Wilson Street Property, 2014-2015. The property intake of the dilapidated property nor demolition of the property was approved by the City Council. Estimated cost of demolition,$5000.00 Now the City Council wants to donate the property to the Jackson County Rescue Squad stating the property is worth maybe $2000.00 However, upon research the property values of similar cleared, level lots demonstrate a vlue of between $4500-$7500, http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-search/Scottsboro_AL/type-land/pg-2  Good luck to the rescue squad in their sale, if the donation occurs. They did not state they were willing or would take the property. At least you would think there would be some sort of willingness to accept the property presented to the City Council.
Fair Use Rights for Google Earth photo utilized for non-profit news reporting and commentary.

Requirements of Property Delapidated Property Demolition, Declarations, filings and Approvals may be found at http://codes.lp.findlaw.com/alcode/11/2/40/2  andprevious problems related to these issues may be found at, articles include links and references to the Code of Alabama 11-53B  http://arklite.blogspot.com/search/label/demolition%20on%20private%20property

Part 1

                                          VIDEO Part 2

VIDEO Segments reflecting comments of Mr. Smith and City Attorney related to excuses regarding the city's failure to follow law in regards to property management - demolition, acceptance of real estate into city ownership and funding the Rescue Squad. Never in their presentation did they actually address the issues I brought forward. At one point you can hear one of the council members tearing up paper. Rude, harassing, disrespectful, untruthful comments and actions pointed toward me for my suggestions and bringing forth problems and suggesting solutions originating from Mr. Smith.

Then there is the City Boat/Cabin-Cruiser Issue  involving the secret acquisition and sale of the boat without city council approval. A lack of city council approval for the acquisition and sale of property is a growing problem relating to the ignoring and disrespect for law in the City of Scottsboro. Link regarding the boat issue: http://arklite.blogspot.com/2016/06/the-boat-and-mayor-of-scottsboro-deep.html
This is a boat similar to the one sold for $3000.00, a 1979 Marinette Cabin Cruiser. Fair Use photo for non-profit news reporting and commentary, unknown contributor.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Jackson County Commission Work Session July 18, 2016 - "Problems with No Resolution," Poll Place Voter Identification Change Resolution, "E-Poll Book" Cyber Security Concern, Expense, Identity Theft Concerns

Jackson County Commission meets in the Board Room of the Jackson County Courthouse every Monday at 3:00PM. 1st and 3rd Mondays are Work Sessions, 2nd and 4th Mondays are Regular Sessions. Holidays result in moving the commission meeting dates. Dates of the Commission meetings are posted in the north side entrance foyer of the Courthouse. Photo by G. Morgan

Click on image for an expanded view.
The Jackson county Park portion of the agenda included discussion on the park renovation plans regarding the entrance-exit changes, design of the 9 cabins, new park office location, laundry room, bath house, playground. This section is not included in the video.

In other business it was stated that the following Boards have position openings needing filled: Jackson County Personnel Board, DHR Board, 911 Board, Jackson County Water Authority Board, Jackson-Marshall Mental Health Board, Mountain Lakes Tourism Board.

(Univ. of Conn. study)."
E-Poll Book I-pad device similar to the type which may be utilized if the system were to be implemented in Jackson County, Alabama. Photo by "UrbanCitizen.com"-Fair Use for non-profit news reporting and commentary.

There may be a change regarding checking identification of voters at polling. The driver's license electronic identification information may be utilized as voter identification if a resolution is passed. The project is called the Electronic Poll Books. 

During the next Regular Session a vote will occur whether to approve or not approve the resolution. The electronic Poll Book identification check before implementation may occur must be approved by the county commission. I-Pads will be utilized for this project. Which brings up the issue of identification security. HOW SECURE ARE THESE I-PADS CONTAINING ALL INFORMATION ON THE STATE DRIVERS LICENSE? This is an identified concern!

Identity theft and personal security concerns - This should not be approved unless there are assurances that the I-Pads and electronic system are secure from identity theft hackers. The basic outline of security measures must be made public. What happens when a registered voter does not have a state ID, e.g drivers license or state personal identification card, will they be turned away from the polls?
Link from the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) describing E-Poll Books: http://www.ncsl.org/research/elections-and-campaigns/electronic-pollbooks.aspx

From the NCSL site, there are definitive personal identification security concerns with this program.
"Things to Consider - Jurisdictions that consider using e-poll books should also evaluate the following issues:"
  • -->Costs for purchase and maintenance.
  • Challenge of training poll workers on a new technology.
  • -->Safeguards against a cyber attack.
  • -->Physical security of e-poll book equipment and the data it contains.
  • -->Potential for a mass malfunction of e-poll books, whether by chance or deliberate attack, leading some jurisdictions to keep a paper poll book on hand.
Resolution on Electronic Poll Books
Click on image to expand view.
Failure to address security concerns regarding hacking the I-Pads or any other device by remote means, This system is a hackers dream come true regarding identity theft. This issue is not discussed in this article which is indicative of a security failure in our "brave new word.". Concern about "bugs," and “We do not foresee any issues or concerns,” does not provide a definitive answer regarding cyber-security pitfalls  Link: http://lagniappemobile.com/officials-divided-new-voting-format-general-election/

Massive problems reported, 8 out of 10 voting places reported failures: http://www.mydaytondailynews.com/news/news/report-eight-of-10-polling-locations-had-problems/nphbD/

A comprehensive study by the University of Connecticut regarding E-Poll Books. Summary quote: "...research results show that certain key problems in the distributed systems landscape in general have no solutions,.." (This report is 1 year old.)  https://voter.engr.uconn.edu/voter/wp-content/uploads/2015-Seattle-4s.pdf

Jackson County Commissioners, Probate Judge, Citizens of Jackson County - without a dedicated Information Technology Specialist employed by the Jackson County Commission, either staff or contracted, it would not be prudent to implement an E-Poll Book system at this time. Again a quote from the University of Connecticut  study, there are problems which "have no solutions" at this time. In times of massive financial problems within the county, and if the state is not going to fund this problematic system, how are the citizens of Jackson county going to afford the E-Poll Book System? 


Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Scottsboro City Council, Work Session and Regular Session - Top Issues - Mr. Smith Wants to Donate City Real Estate, Fire Department Receives Grants for Emergency Equipment

Scottsboro City Hall, photo by G. Morgan

(Click on image for an expanded view.)


                    Press Release From Scottsboro Fire Department
                          (Click on image for an expanded view.)
"The Scottsboro Fire Department is pleased to announce we have been awarded an Assistance to Firefighters Grant in the amount of $163,850. This grant will be used to update and upgrade our EMS equipment. New 12-Lead Cardiac Monitors, Automated Compression Devices, Video Laryngoscopy, and Intraosseous Infushion equipment will be added to our first out engines, providing our citizens with some of the most advanced pre-hospital technology in Alabama."

                                    PROPERTY ISSUES

City Council Member Keith Smith has suggested that demolished property on Tupelo Pike be donated to the Rescue Squad. This brings up the issue of the proper disposition of demolished real estate property which has not been resolved. The city may not "just donate" property. (photo by G. Morgan)

. The Jackson County Rescue Squad is an admirable organization and does wonderful things for the community. This does not mean that laws of the state may be violated to satisfy public officials whims and nefarious motives such as has occurred with the boat (article link on the boat: http://arklite.blogspot.com/2016/06/the-boat-and-mayor-of-scottsboro-deep.html )   disposal and property abatement demolition.

Apparently the City of Scottsboro has several demolished real estate properties. The Laws of the state have much to say about demolished real property: "Section 11-53B-9 Sale of property upon default."
The point is this, real estate has value, a demolished property cost the citizens of Scottsboro, there is a fair market value of the real estate and there is the cost of demolition which must be added to the cost of the property. There are also several issues involving elected and appointed city officials intentionally violating the laws of the state regarding property abatement and the demolishing of property and the sale of property in the City of Scottsboro. 

 Fixing the costs of demolition have not been accomplished. Re: "Section 11-53B-5 Fixing of costs."
"Upon demolition or repair of the building or structure, the appropriate city official shall make a report to the governing body of the cost thereof, and the governing body shall adopt a resolution fixing the costs which it finds were reasonably incurred in the demolition or repair and assessing the same against the property..." This requirement has never been accomplished as long as I have attended city council meetings for 13 years. 

Fixing the misapplication of law and policy has also not been accomplished. The city council is responsible for the acquisition and disposal of the citizen's real property.

This is what should be accomplished immediately, it is a common sense approach and a solution to problems which pompous, misbehaving public officials within the city of Scottsboro have created.  
1) Identify all real estate property belonging to the City of Scottsboro and assess a "fair-market value" to all real estate property. 2) If the property is demolished property to abate a public nuisance, list the cost of demolition of the property on the property list. 3) When a person's property presents a public nuisance the laws of the state should be followed as to the proper procedures in abatement and if necessary, demolition of the property. It is not sensible to hold demolished property in the real property inventory of the City of Scottsboro as there is a insurance and upkeep cost to the demolished properties. 4) A fair property value should be listed and the cost of demolition assessed against the property. At that point, the property should be sold as soon as possible,

Never, ever should property be sold or given away belonging to the citizens of Scottsboro in violation of the Laws of the State of Alabama. When this occurs, responsible parties must be held accountable. Additionally, the City Council has no business in covering up any wrongful act by public officials particularly when it involves property, money and issues involving ordinances and policies involving personnel management. The Council and Mayor are responsible for keeping the citizens informed.

Unfortunately, misconduct and misapplication of public policy extends beyond failed property management and includes failed personnel management, sexual harassment, failed organizational communications and retaliatory conduct.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Jackson County Commission, Work Session and Regular Session July 11, 2016

Jackson County Courthouse South Side, photo by G. Morgan

Work Session Agenda
(Click on image for an expanded view.)


Regular Session Agenda
(Click on image for an expanded view)


Saturday, July 9, 2016

Scottsboro Board of Education Regular Session, Awards Ceremony, Alabama Education Association (AEA) Representative Presentation - Board President Dissents, Due to Open Ended Contract - July 7, 2016

Scottsboro Board of Education Photo, Page Administration Building, Fair Use for non-profit news reporting and commentary. 

Since the contract has no termination date attached, what is reasonable notice - 1 month, 1 year, 2 years or 5 years; was reasonable notice agreed upon by both parties? Bad move school board and you were told this in the dissenting opinion. Law Journal Review listed below regarding this issue.

School Board and State moves one step closer to fulfilling the ALEC ( Agenda of privatizing public schools. "Cashing in on Kids:" http://www.prwatch.org/news/2016/03/13054/cashing-kids-172-alec-education-bills-2015

 "ALEC is not a lobby; it is not a front group. It is much more powerful than that. Through the secretive meetings of the American Legislative Exchange Council, corporate lobbyists and state legislators vote as equals on ‘model bills’ to change our rights that often benefit the corporations’ bottom line at public expense. ALEC is a pay-to-play operation where corporations buy a seat and a vote on ‘task forces’ to advance their legislative wish lists and can get a tax break for donations, effectively passing these lobbying costs on to taxpayers."

(Click on image for an expanded view.)
The Appleton Contract was approved with one dissenting vote from Mr. Daryl Eustace, Board President, and a local attorney. Mr. Eustace pointed out that the contract did not have a specific ending date, it is an open ended contract with no specific term limitations. He also stated there are no checks and balances regarding this contract. 

Mr. Eustace had previously stated he believed the contract should be implemented on a limited basis, currently this is not the situation. The Board Superintendent stated the contract could be terminated at any time. However, this writer and observer does not believe that to be true. A termination of the contract in the middle of a school term would result in a curtailment of school services once contracting personnel were utilized to fill positions, also there are problems as described in the below article linked regarding open end contracts and their termination.
The School Board committed an error in my opinion, where are the high dollar Huntsville Attorneys?? The school board failed to listen to the advice of Mr. Eustace, who is a Scottsboro Attorney. This Florida Law Review Document expresses the concern regarding "MAINSTREAMING EMPLOYMENT CONTRACT LAW: THE COMMON LAW CASE FOR REASONABLE NOTICE OF TERMINATION - "...the idea that parties reserve the procedural
right to terminate [their relationship] without notice—is neither historically supported nor
legally correct."  Rachel Arnow-Richman,Mainstreaming Employment Contract Law: The Common Law Case for Reasonable Notice of Termination, 66 Fla.
L. Rev. 1513 (2015).

A Concerned Parents Letter
(Click on image for an expanded view.)


Part 1 - Opening and Awards

Part 2, Regular Session, AEA Representative Presentation, Business

Part 3, Regular Session, Business, Appleton contract approval

Friday, July 1, 2016

Scottsboro Bartender Awarded "In-the-Boro" Mixologist Extraordinaire Award

Gold at the end of the rainbow, good food, great drinks friendly people and authentic Mexican American cuisine. (photo by G.M.)
Update: Buena Vista Bar, Scottsboro - Rachel August 5, 2016, selfie by Rachel.
"Y'all come an visit!"

Skill, taste, appearance of refreshments, including personality of the bartender is the basis of the evaluation process. Of course, I have to enjoy the refreshments, personality of the bartender, and ambiance of the restaurant. Photo by G. Morgan

Mira, Mira - Rachel - voted Best Bartender in the City of Scottsboro - Mixologist Extraordinaire at the Buenavista Mexican Restaurant in Scottsboro, Alabama

Buenavista Mexican restaurant is noted for its local Cantina atmosphere and fine Latino dining, Mexican Style. Photo by Buenavista  Fair Use for non-profit news reporting and commentary. Menu and more info at http://www.buenavistacantina.com/index-scottsboro.php on Face Book at https://www.facebook.com/BuenavistaMexicanRestaurant/

Update Aug 5, 2016