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Tuesday, 26 April 2011

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Tim Carroll

Over the past four years, I have had a significant number of citizens contact me. Some with complaints, some with questions and yes...even some with compliments. I have never refused to meet with anyone. Some want to know what my position is on an issue. As a rule, especially on items that may come before council for a vote - I do not state a position. I choose to wait for the public hearing at which time all final arguements both for and against an item are stated and on the record.

Mrs. Noll contacted me directly this past week and we met and discussed the biomass issue. I have had others both in favor and against it contact me over the past year as well. In all, I have always tried to treat each one with respect. Listening and asking questions to make sure I understand their issues or position.

Mrs. Touchton, while I am sure you and I have a number of topics where we will agree, on this one you and I simply disagree. Until this item is brought forth on a city council agenda for action- I choose to reserve my vote until that time.

Let me add, I have cast around 800+ votes over the past 4 years. Some have made half the folks happy and the other half mad. There is no getting around it. So please do not assume that my decision to remain neutral means I am not willing or capable of casting a vote.

Respectfully,
Tim Carroll

Leigh Touchton

Thank you for posting your neutrality publicly.

Dr. King has a famous quote about those who remain neutral in times of great moral crisis.

This community is facing a medical atrocity, and the health of the black community will be most severely affected, but make no mistake, everyone in our county will be adversely affected. Babies will die of SIDS, children and elderly will die of asthma attacks, and elderly and those with lung disease will die of lung cancer and respiratory arrest.

You cannot claim ignorance on the medical issues associated with biomass, you have been educated on this subject a dozen times or more, and you have in your possession the very large portfolio of medical studies from American Cancer Society, American Lung Association, American Heart Association, numerous physician groups and numerous medical studies published in JAMA, NEJ, and other prestigious journals.

If you choose to remain neutral when faced with a moral crisis, then I pray that Dr. King's quotation will be made known to you so that you and your pastor may address it.

Shame on you.

Bobbi A Hancock

It is pretty scarey to see all the city and county government silent and asleep at the wheel on many issues including biomass. Maybe one day we'll get some folks up there who are not asleep.

Tim Carroll

Mrs. Touchton, it is very clear that you have cast the "net of shame" on anyone that has come out for biomass. Now you cast that same net on someone who choses to remain neutral at this time. The last time I checked, I have not said your actions are shameful. My memory of Dr. King is that of a man that always was respectful of differing opinions. When he attacked, he attacked an issue...not the person. Personal attacks against elected officials has become the norm today. On both sides. Let's choose to stay above this fray. Let's choose to respect differing positions on issues. I respect your position, please respect mine.

Michael Noll

Hello Mr. Carroll.

But what exactly IS your position, or for that matter the position of other city council members, in regard to the biomass issue?

For too long members of the City Council have been hiding behind a policy that supposedly does not allow them to respond during meetings (although at times they have) and then lack the courage or decency to respond before or after meetings with clear positions.

Instead we receive statements like “I am curious to see what the outcome will be” in regard to the biomass plant. As if you were watching a football game from the ranks and have forgotten that it is YOU who is actually a player in this game, as YOU have been elected to represent your constituency.

It is my believe that our democracy is in a bad shape because too many in our society consider it a spectator sport. But what on earth will happen to our democracy when politicians themselves have become spectators?

Regards, Michael G. Noll.

Karen Noll

Mr. Carroll,
I appreciate you meeting with me and discussing the biomass issue last week. Through our discussion it became clear that you would be glad when the biomass project died a natural death, likely due to economic issues out of our control. I , of course, will also be very glad to finally be assured that Wiregrass Biomass has pulled out and our community will no longer be at risk of poisoning it residents with this dirty industry.
That said, I and many in my group, are at a lose for what role our elected officials are playing in this 'decision'. The council is not acting to support the health of its constituents, and in not acting to protect, it leaves the state of the economy to 'take this leadership role'. I feel that the lack of leadership of the council and other elected officials has left the biomass issue in the hands of the citizens. I hope that we can move forward from here and decide to be more proactive when it comes to big issues of health, environment, industry, and use of resources in our community.
Sincerely,
Karen

Leigh Touchton

Mr. Carroll, if you choose to remain neutral and ignore your duty to stand up for community health, particularly the health of little babies, then you earn the shame. You have been repeatedly educated on this issue, it is now a moral issue. Dr. King said it best, you should study his words and his witness.

WACE tried to appeal to your intelligence and gave you clear, rational, obvious reasons to oppose the building of a biomass plant, and you chose to inform our members that you would not take a public stand because "half the votes you cast anger one group and half anger the other."

How many votes that you cast actually kill little babies? That is what a pro-biomass vote does and if you cast it, I shall continue to cast the shame. You've been told Valdosta has a black infant mortality rate twice as high as the white infant mortality rate. Have you seen a baby who died of SIDS? Have you been with families who lost a baby to SIDS? It is unacceptable for any public official at this point to try to justify their "neutrality" on this medical atrocity.

Yes, it was Mr. Carroll who said "he was waiting to see what the outcome would be" as if he, like Pontius Pilate, could wash his hands of public accountability for this medical atrocity. Valdosta is not served by public officials who shift responsibility, hide behind obfuscatory Council protocol designed to shield them from public accountablity, and I agree with Bobbi Hancock, we need leaders who are not afraid to lead.

Leigh Touchton

Also, Mr. Carroll, apparently you don't know very much about what Dr. King and other civil rights leaders did. They absolutely called out leaders who needed to be shamed for ignoring the pleas of a community which was disenfranchised and discriminated against.

You've been educated about the Southside community, you've been told it was given Environmental Justice status by the EPA, and yet you sit back and refuse to take a position publicly while decisions get made that further harm the health and lives of the people in that community. Dr. King called out those men. I'm calling out you, Mr. Wright, and Mr. Vickers.

Mr. Wright and Mr. Vickers would not be in their positions had it not been for the sacrifice of men like NAACP Field Secretary Medgar Evers, and yet Wright and Vickers have taken a public position contrary to the Valdosta NAACP as well as the Georgia NAACP.

Shame on all of you.

student

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.
Martin Luther King Jr., Strength to Love, 1963
US black civil rights leader & clergyman (1929 - 1968)

Tim Carroll

I appreciate all the passion each of you have on this issue. While I cannot say I have enjoyed many of these comments......being able to handle criticism comes with the office. So...I will respect that as well.

student

History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

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