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Monday, 02 April 2012


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Barbara Stratton

There are many injustices of socialism and redistribution of wealth (or garbage) and I'm glad to see you recognize this in the shifting of illegal dumping costs to landowners. I am also glad to see that at least the county is talking about privatization and not public/private partnerships (so far). When Hahira almost succeeded in placing a regional waste transfer station on city owned property I was concerned that the county was complacent in this because the Lowndes Board of Commissioners November 2007 meeting minutes showed they agreed to rezone the property for the purpose of the transfer station against the recommendations of the county planner, Jason Davenport. That rezoning action replaced a DRI (Development of Regional Impact) request for waste transfer station rezoning so it was easy to assume the county and possibly the region had a mutual agenda for the transfer station. During a recent discussion on the dangers of regional government with Valdosta mayor, Larry Hanson, I asked if the transfer station was a regional interest. He assured me the City of Valdosta had no knowledge and no interest in that transfer station prior to articles in the Valdosta Daily Times. I've not had an opportunity to discuss the possibility of mutual agenda with the county and if it comes up again in the future I am assuming proper procedures will be followed which mandate public meetings and input into the planning before a third DRI is entered, not after.

I worked a contract for the IT of a Pensacola, FL software company that had waste management software contracts all over the US. It was my job to be the first line public relations person for incoming tech support calls. I developed a good working relationship with owners and managers of various waste management companies and as is my habit I got all the information I could from them while mutually satisfying their tech support needs. I am well aware of the highly lucrative nature of waste management businesses as well as the often times overly aggressive nature of their management. It would be a good idea to keep transparency a high priority when we citizens observe government inter-relations with waste management private businesses and public/private partnerships should be absolute taboo.

The City of Valdosta seems to do well with in-house waste management services. Perhaps other cities as well as the county should seek their advice rather than heading deeper into privatization. If privatization is chosen it should be a complete division with no public/private partnership bleed over and no other avenues for crony capitalism or conflict of interest influences.

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