"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, April 27, 2017

Jackson County Commission Regular Session 4-25-17

Jackson County Courthouse, south side photo by G.Morgan


Mr Sisk and Mr. Guffey were absent.

Agenda Item 2-approved


Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Scottsboro City Council Meeting, Regular Session April 24, 2017

Scottsboro City Hall - photo by G. Morgan




Scottsboro Board of Education Work Session April 20, 2017 - Staffing Issues and Superintendent Selection

Scottsboro Schools, Page Administration Center 
Photo by Scottsboro Schools, Fair-Use rights for non-profit news and commentary

Thursday was a work session for the Scottsboro Board of Education. Similar to the Boards other work sessions they can be long, this one was approximately 3 hours. Important issues were covered such as Superintendent selection discussion, the current Superintendent Dr.Sandra Spivey, will be leaving in a couple of months, and schools staffing requirements. Related article from the Clarion, April 12, 2017: http://www.theclarion.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=10916:sboe-to-search-for-new-superintendent-&catid=42:clarion-rotation-stories&Itemid=142

Dr. Spivey commented that the Scottsboro Schools system has been loosing student enrollments at approximately 50 per year and that this has been ongoing for several years. The loss in enrollment will result in a teacher loss within the school system in the upcoming year. 

The below videos will speak for themselves. During the Staffing segment there was a heated discussion about issues which I elaborate on in a short video. Regarding the superintendent selection process, there appears to be a transparency issue regarding the publishing of all candidates for the superintendent position. I inquired to Mrs Thompson, School Board President about the issue after the meeting. Currently there is no intention to release all applicants for the job to the public. There is also a question of whether the final selectees will be interviewed in public prior to the boards choice. 

Another concern is the organizational process regarding the agenda. The Superintendent of Scottsboro's Schools is not a school board member and should not be establishing the agenda, that is a job for the School Board President. The President and the Superintendent should discuss matters which would be placed on the board's agenda, but never should the Superintendent establish the Agenda, in my opinion, as this compromises the purpose of the School Board's President and the organization function of the board as to checks and balances function of the governmental entity. 

UPDATE 8-25-17: After further consideration and thought, this writer thinks it is important to offer forth my further thoughts and information gained on this matter based on my leadership experiences,  training, political involvement in community,and discussions with knowledgeable individuals about Alabama school boards within this state and area

The problems and their solutions involving the Scottsboro Board of Education are the sole responsibility of the Scottsboro Board of Education; they, the School Board, are the RESPONSIBLE authority as to school board matters, the buck stops with the school board regarding Scottsboro Schools as to policy, budget and rules of the school board. The electorate is responsible to be knowledgeable about the character and experience of those they elect to school board office.

It is unfair to the Scottsboro Schools Superintendent for the school board's to attempt to PASS OFF its RESPONSIBILITY onto the school's superintendent. It is important to remember, RESPONSIBILITY may not be delegated. Dr. Sandra Spivey has demonstrated a strong leadership style which local citizens I think are not familiar, personally I am impressed with her leadership style and capabilities. Further, because of a lack of leadership training and experience many on the school board, past and present, are ill equipped to deal with her very capable leadership abilities. The Scottsboro Schools Superintendent is accountable to the Scottsboro School Board. The problem and question, is the school board capable of managing and leading the school system as to budget, policy and the superintendent? The superintendent is responsible for the day to day operations of the schools and reporting to the school board, which includes keeping the board informed on all issues which may affect the schools operations. This includes advising and making recommendations to the school board on important issues

AASB, Alabama Association of School Boards - Hidden Agendas
In discussions with individuals and a lack of past replies from the AASB on issues, there appears to be a problem with their facilitation of transparency and the conduct of meetings to include citizen input. It was good to see the long standing citizen input session was brought back into the process of the Scottsboro School Board, no thanks to the AASB's bureaucratic position. There is a concern that the AASB's influence is a direct threat to transparency, open elections and the operation of the Scottsboro School Board for the citizens of Scottsboro, Alabama.

My recommendation is that the school board, its President, and the superintendent should think twice before allowing an inordinate amount of influence from the AASB and their hidden/secret agendas. Examples: facilitating squashing of  transparency, no citizen input to the school board, elected board officials replaced by appointed officials, and the AASB's facilitation of regional legal support of school boards by large corporate law practices.

 On the AASB web site there ( http://www.alabamaschoolboards.org/ ) is the appearance of nothing but support, I'm sure they facilitate this support function. However, when there is an effort to remove citizen input, squash transparency, remove elected officials via supporting appointed school board members, along with supporting corporate regional legal services instead of local attorneys, there appears to be a degree of inordinate influences via a hidden agenda within the political mechanisms of the AASB. It is my opinion they are not supportive of the community, but embrace the position of a political action committee supporting no accountability to the electorate in regards to school boards. 

After considerable thought, observations and discussions the over reliance on the AASB's hidden agenda regarding school board management is creating problems for the citizens of Scottsboro, Alabama as to schools management.

Click on image for an expanded view.


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

April 17, 2017 Jackson County Commission Work Session, Citizen Presentation - Justice for Stacy UPDATE: Justice for Stacy - April 21, 2017

North Side Jackson County Courthouse photo by G. Morgan

UPDATE: Justice for Stacy - April 21, 2017 - The autopsy results for Stacy Sullivan have been released. The investigation is closed, because of concerns for the family, the cause of death and contributing factors will not be released by this writer. 

On or about April 21, 2016  Ms. Stacy Sullivan's death is still unresolved due to dysfunctional state leadership which has failed to place sensible priorities on important law enforcement critical areas, specifically Forensic Sciences. 

There will be a candlelight vigil for Stacy at the north entrance of the courthouse on Friday, April 21 at 6 PM. 

Interview with Judy Nichols Hayes at the Jackson County Commission
Scottsboro, Alabama; sister of Stacy Sullivan; "A Scottsboro woman’s death is still unsolved a year later due to long wait for forensics report." http://whnt.com/2017/04/13/a-scottsboro-womans-death-is-still-unsolved-a-year-later-due-to-long-wait-for-forensics-report/ Over one year waiting for autopsy results, family suffers, politicians make excuses. Presentation to Jackson County Commission and Sheriff. Yes politicians you are responsible, as you are the representatives of the people of Jackson County Alabama. Times 12- It has been stated there are 12 unresolved probable murders in Alabama due to the State Forensic Lab budget cuts/failures. 


Commission Meeting Video

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Scottsboro City Council Regular Session April 10, 2017

Scottsboro City Hall photo by G. Morgan



Jackson County Commission Regular Session April 10, 2017

South Side Jackson County Courthouse, photo by G. Morgan
As a reminder, renovation around the square is scheduled to begin on April 17, 2017 at the southeast corner, the east side will be renovated first.



Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Cancellation of Scottsboro Downtown Market Event Associated with Protest of Sheriffs Department Officer Involved Shooting in Pisgah, Alabama; Release of Officer Shooting Video, Allegations of Davis's Family Suggests Failure to Secure Evidence, Coverup?? - UPDATES (1215 4-5-17) (4-11-17): Chief Deputy Rocky Harnen Provides Information, (4-11-17) New Video

Facebook cropped photo of Alex Davis, Fair Use for non-profit news reporting.

According to various news reports 18 year old Alex Davis, a Pisgah High School Student, was shot and killed by a Jackson County Sheriff's Deputy in Pisgah, Alabama on February 7, 2017 after responding to a "fight call" on County Road 60. 

 Al.com news reported the deputy responding found a man bleeding from "a hammer blow to the head." The responding officer attempted to subdue Davis by using non-lethal force via a "stun gun" to subdue Mr. Davis. It was reported the non-lethal force was not successful, "the deputy then "fired his gun." http://www.al.com/news/huntsville/index.ssf/2017/02/high_school_student_killed_by.html

WHNT-TV Huntsville, Al. News report stated - "According to the Sheriff’s Office, Davis came at the deputy with a board. The deputy asked him to stop repeatedly. He also tried to subdue the teenager with his stun gun twice. Investigators say Davis was able to regain strength and pull the electrodes off him to pursue the deputy again. That’s when the deputy shot Davis, who died at the scene." http://whnt.com/2017/02/07/1-person-killed-following-deputy-involved-shooting-in-pisgah/
(UPDATE) Chief Deputy Harnen stated to me in the phone conversation that the deputy involved in the shooting had expended all of his taser cartridges in the attempt to subdue Davis with non-lethal force. 

WRCB-TV Chattanooga, Tn. "The NBC affiliate in Huntsville, WAFF 48 News, spoke with the young man's bus driver. Melissa Morgan said he was very friendly and a good friend...Neighbors learning about the shooting are questioning why someone had to die." http://www.wrcbtv.com/story/34454946/pisgah-hs-student-shot-killed-by-jackson-county-deputy

UPDATE: 12:15 PM Wednesday April 5, 2017 - Phone Conversation From Chief Deputy Rocky Harnen of the Jackson County Sheriffs Department
Chief Deputy Rocky Harnen, Jackson County Sheriffs Department. (Photo by Jackson County Sheriffs Department - Fair Use for non-profit news reporting and commentary.)

Not All is Apparent in the Video Released

Chief Deputy Harnen stated: The board displayed by the concerned relative in the below video is not the board which the suspect utilized to strike the auto or threaten the officer - "That board is in the possession of the ABI (Alabama Bureau of Investigation) as evidence. There were several boards in the yard area."

Chief Deputy Harnen also stated in regards to the video shown in the links: "The video displayed is not the entire video, there is more, hours." I asked, "how much of the video did you watch?" Chief Harnen's reply, "I watched about 30 minutes." Chief Harnen mentioned there were different angles. I asked: "Were there more than one camera?" His reply, "yes."

March 27, 2017 Video Surfaces

WZDX - Huntsville, Alabama and RocketCity.Com reports on March 27, 2017 that a video surfaces in the officer involved shooting. "The Jackson County DA took the case to a grand jury where evidence was presented. That jury decided against indicting the deputy. Davis' biological mother, Mandy Carrasco is now speaking out and showed video of the encounter between Davis and the deputy."  http://www.rocketcitynow.com/news/exclusive-video-from-officer-involved-shooting-in-jackson-co/681520288?utm_medium=social&utm_source=WZDX_Huntsville

Home Security Video of the shooting displays disturbing revelations. (Update} But as the Chief Deputy points out above, the entire video is not shown.  http://www.clipsyndicate.com/video/play/6847151

(Update} It is important to point out that the deputy was cleared of any wrong doing by the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency's investigations division. There has been no release of forensic information regarding toxicology testing of Mr. Davis. 

UPDATE - April 11, 2017 Jackson County Commission - J.J. Hicks Speaks to County Commission, New Video, Not Seen, Released By Permission.

April 4, 2017 Downtown Scottsboro Reports on Weekend Market - Cancelling the Market Due to Protest About the Officer Involved Shooting

(Fair use of public Facebook photo of ad for non-profit news reporting and commentary)

"Downtown Scottsboro regrets to announce the postponement of Market on the Square on April 8th. We have been made aware of a planned protest to be held on The Courthouse Square on this same date. In an abundance of caution, we feel it is in the best interest of our vendors and our community to postpone Market until further notice. As soon as that date is determined, we will let everyone know.
 All vendor fees will be returned ASAP by U.S. mail."
"Thank you for your understanding and your continued support." 

Quite a few people had a comment about the cancellation of the Scottsboro Downtown Market event, including myself. Several postings were censored/removed.

My initial comment to questions regarding permits for a protest - Answer to the question asked: "There is no requirement to have a permit to protest. I have discussed the right of protest with county and city public officials and protested on the square and in front of city hall regarding political issues. Here are some basic rules. 1) Protesters may not be armed; 2) Protestors may protest on public property but may not interfere with the rights of others as to egress or regress into or out of buildings or obstruct the flow of traffic. 3) Protesting does not mean inciting riots or facilitating violence. 4) Communications of threats is against the law. 5) Laws apply anywhere including a protest, it is not against the law to express speech. The cancellation of the market is typical of those who have a right wing agenda facilitating fear regarding the rights of citizens. To say protestors will be violent is a ridiculous, assuming statement. The protesters have achieved one of their goals, bring attention to what they believe is a problem. The smart thing to do would have been to hold the market and have the Sheriff and a representative of the DA's office present to discuss the situation with the protestors and hold a press conference. Act smart, not ridiculous by demonstrating fear to our nations most time honored traditions."

It was also revealed that the Sheriff's Department had not been contacted by the Downtown Scottsboro group to determine if there was a security problem or to ascertain the Sheriffs thoughts about security.  

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Sickness - City and County Government Meeting Reports for Monday April 3, 2017

Photo by G. Morgan with with wood bear.

Went to the ER at Highlands Saturday with terrible whooping cough and upper respiratory infection symptoms. I'll be going to my family physician to determine a more definitive diagnosis regarding pertussis, whooping cough, the cough has grown severe enough to make me sick. Pertussis in adults. http://www.healthline.com/health/new-baby-vaccination-guide/pertussis-in-adults-signs-symptoms#overview1

Folks - for those which follow my reports and videos within, I will not be videoing and reporting on this Monday's county and city government meetings.

It is interesting to note that "whooping cough," pertussis, is on the rise in our nation. CDC report on the disease - https://www.cdc.gov/pertussis/about/causes-transmission.html Pertussis is a reportable disease.