“The jewel of the South”, “a gem down here”, is what Scott James and Gretchen Quarterman agreed Lowndes County could be, starting with local government transparency and continuing with not waiting on Atlanta to build on local strengths such as South Georgia Medical Center and Wiregrass Tech.
Local policy issues include what would happen to us if we got 20 inches of rain like Pensacola just did? The county needs to be appropriately staffed and prepared for emergencies. The Army Corps of Engineers study on flooding will be presented at the next Valdosta City Council Work Session (5:30 PM May 6th at City Hall) with a public presentation afterwards (6:30 PM at City Hall Annex). Gretchen added that Ashley Tye will be giving a Lowndes County Emergency Management Continuity of Business Workshop 5:30-6:30 PM 5 May 2014 at the Lowndes County Administrative Building, 327 North Ashley Street, Valdosta.
Radio host Scott James noted,
In case nobody picked up on it, I just quizzed Gretchen and she is involved. She answered both very well.
Gretchen added that having things online for people who can’t go to the meetings because they’re at work would be very useful in getting more people engaged. Scott James advocated livestreaming videos of meetings, “or at least recorded and played back”. Gretchen recounted an anecdote about wishing she could have heard the recent Valdosta City Council meeting livestreamed.
Here’s the video:
Video of Gretchen on Scott James radio show 2014-05-01
Video by Gretchen Quarterman for Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange (LAKE),
Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia.
Scott James reminded everyone it’s a nonpartisan Special Election for Lowndes County Commission District 5, which will be decided on May 20th unless there’s a runoff. Gretchen agreed that local issues such as water, wastewater, and trash collection are nonpartisan.
The radio host, who could hardly talk, asked Gretchen why she was limping. Her answer:
I walked up to the gate at home and I picked up the paper at the fence and it said on the front that Kay Harris had quit the paper and I fell down.
Gretchen said she had attended the recent two-day budget sessions at the county, which were very useful in getting up to speed, since after the Special Election that would be one of the first things she’d have to vote on. Scott James elaborated that the other races would not be decided until November and their winners would not be taking part in that vote.
Another issue they discussed is that county (and school system) employees haven’t had raises in years, and some of them will start to leave if that doesn’t change. As Gretchen put it:
There’s a balance there. So you have to say what are the things that we really have to have, and what are the things can we do without…. It’s a matter of balancing the budget.
Scott James asked what was Gretchen’s A-number-one wishlist item:
I really think that people would have a lot more confidence in the government if it was transparent, and that’s at every level. And in order to make a change we have to start locally. Lowndes County can be a leader in Georgia. We don’t just have to follow along what all the other 158 counties do. We can lead. And that’s what I would like to see. I’d like to see us lead in transparency and confidence in our government.
Scott James agreed:
We could be the jewel of the South….
We’ve got to stop that Atlanta mindset. We’ve got to be so good they can’t deny we’re here.
It’s incumbent on us that are here to show that we can do it on our own.
They also agreed everybody needs to work together, such as on the Health Sciences Building. Gretchen talked about healthcare and both SGMC and Wiregrass Tech.
We can be a gem down here.
You can vote for Gretchen this week at the Board of Elections or at your polling place May 20th, for Lowndes County Commission District 5. See My Voter Page by the Georgia Secretary of State for your polling place and sample ballots. District 5 is on all three ballots: nonpartisan, Democratic, and Republican. It’s the last thing on each ballot, so keep reading until you see it.