Posted by NCF912Project
February 27, 2014
by: Sharon Higgins
The Suwannee County Commission voted 5-0 on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 to begin phasing in non-emergency transport between hospitals and nursing homes/hospitals. This was broached at the budget workshops last August; that plan would have been to take the whole operation over at an initial start-up cost to the taxpayers. The money wasn’t in the budget to put this in place at that time. This transport service is currently being done by Century Ambulance, a private company. This issue was NOT on Tuesday’s agenda, nor was it added to the agenda as an “additional agenda item”. There are many questions and problems that are associated with this decision:
- Why does the Commission think that this is a good way to conduct business? Why was it not put on the agenda so that the public would have prior knowledge and the ability to speak for or against it? What was the hurry to vote on it that night instead of bringing it back at the next commission meeting?
- After all the millions that we are spending (and borrowing to spend) at the Catalyst Site so that we can bring jobs to this county, we are now going into an endeavor that can conceivably put people in the private sector out of work! The comment was made that the EMS department would use part-time people with no benefits to do this service; the company who is doing it now hires full-time and they have benefits. It is my understanding that there are at least 12 people who currently work for Century in Suwannee County. They have been in Suwannee County for 24 years, are a member of the Suwannee Chamber of Commerce and also sponsor many charitable events. They also pay property taxes on the building/land that they own in Suwannee County.
- Since the taxpayers are the bottom line in this endeavor, will they receive any break in the price if they need this transport service? If they aren’t able to pay in a timely manner, is Suwannee County going to turn them over to a collection agency?
- If this non-emergency transport doesn’t bring in the money that they think, and in fact loses money, will the taxpayers be on the hook for that? (of course we will!) It was commented that the hope is that the revenues coming in will free up some of the general revenue money that funds EMS and those monies can go back to the county for other county projects. Notice that it isn’t to save the taxpayers’ money and possibly lower our taxes!
- Two areas in Florida were mentioned as already doing this inter-facility transport. I’m not sure about the Nature Coast EMS, but Alachua County residents pay extremely high property taxes. I know several people who work in Alachua County but live in outlying counties because they either cannot pay the taxes or don’t want to. If this is such a good thing for Alachua County, why haven’t their taxes gone down?
Government should not be in the business of taking over jobs/services that private companies are doing. We have a large county and a lot of area to cover and I’m well aware of how hard it is to do. As far as I can tell our Fire/EMS department is doing a good job with the duties they have now, but…if they are having trouble making ends meet and need to bring more revenue in, maybe we should look at privatizing it. Columbia County did that several years ago and as far as I can tell it seems to be working.
I have a real problem with the county going into a business to make money; government should only be doing the things that can’t be done feasibly by the private sector. Our problem in all areas of government today is that it is doing too many things that it shouldn’t be doing. I am extremely disappointed with the County Commission for making such a big decision in a way that invites a lot of suspicion on how this came about. I ask everyone who is concerned about this to please contact their commissioner and discuss it with them. This is a good lesson that we all should be paying more attention to what all branches of our governments are doing. Take the time to find out what is going on and give your input. Tell them that you expect decisions such as this to be put on the agenda so that plenty of notice can be given for people to give their input. The Suwannee County Commission meets at 6:00 p.m. on the first and third Tuesdays at the Judicial Annex Building located at 218 Parshley Street Southwest in Live Oak. The next meeting will be held on Tuesday, March 4th.
by: Sharon Higgins
Posted by NCF912Project
The State Board of Education held a meeting in Orlando on Tuesday, February 18, 2014. Many anti-Common Core activists went to voice their concerns with the implementation of Common Core. I am including several links to articles regarding this meeting along with an update on the nation-wide endeavor. At the present time both the Commissioner of Education and the Board of Education are appointed positions; there is a move to try to change this back to them being elected positions.
- The Florida Stop Common Core Coalition Statement
- Truth in American Education
- Stop Common Core in Florida
We need to continue to let our state Senator and State Representative know our wishes on this issue. Senator Dean’s contact info is in the article above; Representative Porter’s is:
Posted by NCF912Project
This message is going exclusively to the Florida Tenth Amendment Center followers and activists. The importance of this message cannot be understated. Please encourage every Floridian you know to take action…
Starting today we have invested in our Liberty Lobbyist, John Hallman of Liberty First, so he can deliver an essential package of information to each Florida Senator’s office. The message of this package is simple, “The Second Amendment Preservation Act, the most significant state legislation protecting the Second Amendment in the history of Florida.”
A Senate sponsor is needed immediately so we can use resources to push this legislation all the way to the governor’s desk. Can you help?
Let your Senator know to expect John Hallman’s package:
- 1NEW: Let your Senator know that John Hallman will be visiting them with information on the Florida Second Amendment Preservation Act at http://FLTAC.org/action/LFN-FLSAPA
- Tell your Senator to sponsor the 2nd Amendment Preservation Act at http://FLTAC.org/2aActNow
- Using our tools at the link above, make a quick phone call to your State Senator asking them to Sponsor & File the Companion Bill for HB 733.
- Share with your friends, family and anyone that must support the Second Amendment.
Senator Charles Dean’s contact information:
Florida Tenth Amendment Center: http://florida.tenthamendmentcenter.com/
Posted by NCF912Project
Although the issue was NOT on the agenda, nor was it added as an additional item, the Suwannee County Commission voted 5-0 on Tuesday, February 18th to begin phasing in non-emergency transport between hospitals and nursing homes/hospitals. This had been broached last August in a budget workshop; that plan would have been to take the whole operation over at one time. There was at least a $500,000 start-up and the money was not available at that time; so the issue was not discussed publicly again until Tuesday night.
This involves taking jobs away from the private sector and raises many questions: Why was this not an agenda item? What was the hurry to vote on it that night instead of bringing it back at a later commission meeting? We have spent millions of dollars at the Catalyst Site in order to entice private industry to this county and then we turn around and do something like this? How do we justify taking jobs away from the private sector while actively spending money to bring jobs in? They have decided that they are going to make a pile of money on this endeavor; but….what happens if they don’t? Will the taxpayers have to foot the bills?
Our problem in all areas of government today is that it is doing too many things that it shouldn’t be doing! I am extremely disappointed in our County Commission for making such a big decision in a way that invites a lot of suspicion on how this came about!
If you are concerned about this too, please contact your commissioner and discuss it with him. This is a good lesson on how we all should be paying more attention to what all branches of our governments are doing! The Suwannee Democrat will be doing an article on this issue in the near future. Please stay up on this issue and others that the Commission is considering. This is an election year and it may be time for some changes to be made!
Posted by NCF912Project
By: Pam Hess
Are you like me and suffering from brain overload? There is so much “stuff” going on it is hard to think about it all. We have personal stuff going on in our lives, we have less money at our disposal, and a government that is falling down around our ears. Now is not the time to get overwhelmed and shut down! Now is the time to STAND UP and DO SOMETHING
Most Americans are fighting a normal bias…they think nothing bad can happen in America just because it hasn’t happened in their life time. For that I say Thank God and in the next breath I ask Him for wisdom in what will happen in my lifetime or at least in my children’s life time.
For sure the biggest threat to America right now is our economy. We cannot continue to spend money like it was water.
An economic collapse will happen; it is a matter of when. So what can you do? First thing you need to do is have provisions to take care of your family.
What would you do if I told you a Category 5 hurricane was guaranteed to hit Florida where you live this summer? There is no government help coming. What would you do? Make a list of items you would need for your family for one month. Get those provisions. Now work on two months.
Think you can’t afford it? Do you have cable? Cell phone? Do you eat out several times a week? I love my cable, cell phone and eating out as much as anyone BUT once that hurricane hits you will not have them anyway. And you will have no food for you and your family either. Can you look in your children’s eyes while they cry for food? I know I couldn’t. As the old saying goes “Plan for the worse and hope for the best.”
Next on the To Do list: GET INVOLVED with an organization that is fighting for less government. There are Tea Parties in almost every community. The Tea Party is the only group trying to hold the government accountable. There is strength in numbers and WE NEED YOU! Many of the Tea Party groups will be joining the Concerned Veterans for America in a phone bank calling veterans in multiple states encouraging them to get involved and to make sure their vote counts in November. If this is something you can help with please let me know. I will add your name to a list and will notify you when you can help. Can you afford not to help? Too many American’s have sat on their butts for too long and complained without putting any action behind it. How has that worked for us? Just as I thought. Make a commitment to spend at least 1 hour per week helping fight this run away government. Start today!
Posted by NCF912Project
Ms. Sharon Higgins,
I am writing to you in response to your letter of December 8, 2013.
It appears that your definition of “lack of response” and mine are very different. I have been nothing, if not responsive to the members of the Tea Party over the years. I have met with the members numerous times and have attended numerous of the Tea Party’s events as well and we fully agree on most issues. That is responsive. It seems that your definition of “responsive” is for another person to agree fully and completely with every opinion you hold on every issue.
As you, yourself mentioned in your letter, I met personally with you and your friend to discuss your opinions on the Common Core issue. I felt we had a very open discussion where all of us were free to express our opinions on the issue. I told you at the time, and I have since restated this many times in a number of public venues DIRECTLY to your group and to John Lacquey, as has Koby over the phone , that rather than the approach of HB 25, I was in favor of the Governor’s and the Speaker’s approach to the issue, which is to utilize not Common Core, per se, but those standards that work for our schools and our students and refuse to participate in any of the Federal requests or mandates for Common Core. The House’s goal is to craft a set of Florida standards which may include some of the same BENCHMARKS that can be found in Common Core. That does not equate to my being a “supporter” of Common Core, which I also stated in our one-on-one meeting. However, you promptly misrepresented my stance to the local talk radio station in Lake City in what I can only surmise to be an attempt to force me to cave in to every aspect of your demands. It would seem that you have no ability to compromise, only to insist on complete surrender to ALL of your demands. Further, considering the number of times I have responded to your and John Lacquey’s calls and public questions in regard to HB 25 publicly, I cannot possibly see how you can claim not to know where I stand on the issue.
You stated that you wished to remind me that I was elected to go to Tallahassee and represent the wishes of my constituents, and that is exactly what I am doing. You are presuming that your opinion represents the viewpoint of the majority of the constituents in this district. In reality, the only people I have heard from asking me to support HB 25 is your immediate group that has attended the numerous public events where I HAVE stated which approach I support. I have inquired of teachers, parents, administrators, Superintendents, parents and general public and though you may be unhappy with the results, the number of those asked, favor having standards that can translate from or to other school systems both within and without of the state of Florida.
For you to make a sweeping generalization and characterize me as one who acts like a “master” rather than a “public servant” simply because I don’t agree with each and every opinion you espouse, smacks of the common Liberal politics of character assassination in an attempt to bully and manipulate another into caving to your opinion in order to prevent their reputation from being smeared. As Conservatives, I would have expected more of you, and if you are speaking on behalf of your organization, the organization as well.
In conclusion, contrary to your assertion, I do respond to my constituents. That doesn’t mean that we will agree 100% on every issue, but my door has always been open to the Constituents of this District. My mind is open to all options as to the best method for doing what is right for the people of District 10. In fact I have changed my opinion on a number of topics over the years when additional information has led me to do so. I may not adhere to your dogma on this particular topic, but you are the one who is being unfair in condemning my entire service to the folks of this District because I don’t bow to your total and unwavering demand on one issue.
Finally, Ms. Higgins, the number of times I have discussed this issue with either you, John Lacquey or Tea Party members in general, at various forums, is now beyond my recollection. Though we may agree that the total Common Core approach is not exactly right for Florida, we obviously fundamentally disagree on the method of changing the State standards to encompass what is best for the students of this State. I believe we have debated this issue past the point of any useful discussion; therefore it is my intention that this will be my final dialogue with you on this matter.
Rep. Elizabeth Porter
Posted by NCF912Project
I wrote a letter to Florida House of Representatives Elizabeth Porter voicing my concern that she isn’t paying attention to her constituents when they contact her. I mailed it to her and then several days later sent it in to the newspapers and The Suwannee Democrat printed it.
Read my letter to Representative Porter below or view it as a PDF here and feel free to share it:
I am writing to you to voice my concern about your lack of response to many of your constituents.
Many people in your district are concerned about the implementation of the Common Core Standards in Florida’s schools. I, and a friend of mine, sat down with you and gave you valid reasons, along with documentation, for our concerns. A short time later a letter was sent to you signed by at least five local tea party leaders (representing several thousand people) asking you to co-sponsor HB 25 in the next session. HB 25 will effectively pause the implementation of Common Core, and give the citizens of Florida time to learn more about Common Core and its implications. As of this date we have not had a written response explaining why you will or won’t co-sponsor this legislation.
Recently at a local REC (Republican Executive Committee) meeting they did a “first reading” of a resolution against Common Core. Shortly after that you spoke for a few minutes and then took questions. It became apparent that you have made up your mind on this issue and don’t seem to care what your constituents think.
I would like to remind you that you were elected to go to Tallahassee and represent the wishes of your constituents within the confines of the state and federal constitutions, according to the oath that you took. Many people who are elected seem to think that they are our leaders rather than our representatives. Many candidates tell us that they are going to be a “public servant”; but then once elected act more like they are our masters!
In conclusion, I would like to ask that you do respond to your constituents who take the time to contact you. Have an open mind so that when information is brought to you, you can evaluate it in a fair manner. Be prepared to change your opinion on an issue if your constituents are asking you to do that! Let us know how you stand so that we can make our decisions from there.
Posted by NCF912Project
The Liberty Amendment
By Archie Jones, PhD
No fundamental provision of the Constitution or the Bill of Rights is more neglected today — or more thoroughly violated — than the Tenth Amendment. One can see its violation in the teaching of American history and civics, legal theory, and what passes for “Constitutional Law,” as well as in the everyday functioning and typical media analysis of American politics and government. Our Constitution — as the very words of the Tenth Amendment make clear — was intended to be a document of delegated powers. The states that formed and ratified the Constitution were free and independent, having the characteristics of nations. As Raoul Berger stated after surveying the scholarly controversy about whether the nation or the states came first:
There is a big push for an Article V Convention today – the thinking is that we can make new amendments that our elected representatives will actually pay attention to? What about the dangers associated with “opening this can of worms”? Do we have the answer already at our fingertips?
Feel free to leave your comments!
Posted by NCF912Project
In response to blog posts:
In the last newsletter there was an article about some changes that have been proposed for Suwannee County’s Land Development Regulations in regard to the Catalyst Site. I received an answer to that article and am printing it below: (if you weren’t able to read the last newsletter, you can go to the North Central Florida TEA Party website.
Attn: Suwannee County Residents
I am one of the small, but very vocal group attending the Commission meetings in Suwannee County that is opposed to the Proposed Bio Waste Incinerator in Live Oak. I am not a supporter of the EPA which was portrayed in the article as to be the authority in Medical Waste Incineration. Please read the following attached articles from an incident involving a Bio Waste Incinerator in North Salt Lake City, UT:
And the following will even make it to Columbia county and beyond on the prevailing westerly blowing wind from Suwannee county:
Incineration produces fly ash and bottom ash just as is the case when coal is combusted. The total amount of ash produced by municipal solid waste incineration ranges from 4 to 10% by volume and 15–20% by weight of the original quantity of waste, and the fly ash amounts to about 10–20% of the total ash. The fly ash, by far, constitutes more of a potential health hazard than does the bottom ash because the fly ash often contain high concentrations of heavy metals such as lead, cadmium, copper and zinc as well as small amounts of dioxins and furans. The bottom ash seldom contain significant levels of heavy metals. In testing over the past decade, no ash from an incineration plant in the USA has ever been determined to be a hazardous waste. At present although some historic samples tested by the incinerator operators’ group would meet the being ecotoxic criteria at present the EA say “we have agreed” to regard incinerator bottom ash as “non-hazardous” until the testing programme is complete.
Posted by NCF912Project
This was written by Sharon Higgins to the Editor of the Suwannee Democrat
I am writing in regard to the ongoing issue in Suwannee County regarding the Catalyst Site.
My family moved here in 1975 and I guess if there is one thing I have heard over and over from the people in this county, it is the concern about the lack of good jobs for themselves and their children. We all recognize that there is a need for local government and we have to be able to pay for it. When discussions were being held about the Catalyst Site, I had great concerns about whether we should be in the business of setting up a place for businesses to come to (as a county); as well as the amount of money that the taxpayers were going to have to be responsible for as the project moved forward. But…it has moved forward and many people have put in many hours to try to make this happen here.
We need to realize that there will always be a give and take; we are not going to find the “perfect” industries to be at the catalyst site; they may not be out there at all. Many of the “green” industries have proven to not be successful as business ventures even with tremendous amounts of taxpayer subsidies. Many of the “green” industries are not as environmentally friendly as they may appear on the surface; further research many times will show that even though the end produces an “environmentally friendly” product, the method to get there does not necessarily do the same.
The recent uproar over the “possibility” of a Bio Waste Incinerator coming to Suwannee County has led to recent calls for draconian changes to our Comprehensive Plan via our Land Development Regulations. To give you an example of what the group who is behind this would like to see added to the regulations, this is an excerpt from an addition they would like added to LDR’s under the section “Prohibited Uses and Structures”:
“Any other uses or structures not specifically, provisionally, or by reasonable implication permitted herein. Any use which is potentially dangerous, noxious, or offensive to neighboring uses in the district or to those who pass on public ways by reason of smoke, odor, noise, glare, fumes, gas, vibration, threat of fire or explosion, emission of particulate matter, interference with radio or television reception, radiation, or likely for other reasons to be incompatible with the character of the district.”
I ask everyone to read this one clause very carefully and decide whether or not any industry that might be interested in our Catalyst Site would be able to meet these restrictions! Any industries that come will be heavily regulated by our own safeguards, the Florida DEP, the EPA, etc. etc. If memory serves me correctly, all of these safeguards have been put into place because environmental groups have lobbied extensively for them but now it seems that they don’t think the regulations can protect us! Many people have been adversely affected by regulations that go way beyond “protection” and step all over our constitutionally-protected rights. There has to be a balance in situations like this!
Our County Commissioners have taken a lot of heat over this issue. I have always found each of them receptive to my concerns when I call or contact them. Please remember that the citizens elected these men to do a job (and many of us told them that we wanted them to bring jobs into our county!) There are ways to approach them and “redress grievances” if we have them. But, berating them, demonizing them, etc. is not the way to get things done. Put yourself in their place—would you want their job? Look at what we pay them and how much time they put in on all the duties associated with being a county commissioner and see if that is something you would be willing to do.
Finally, I implore everyone who reads this to do your own research! Don’t take my word for anything, don’t take anyone else’s! Come to an educated reason for why you feel the way you do and then contact your county commissioner and let him know what you think. The Commission meets the first and third Tuesdays at 6 p.m. at the Judicial Annex building in Live Oak. Come and participate in your local government. But…do your homework before you come—find out what is going to be on the agenda, and understand that this is a meeting that has to follow certain guidelines in order for the items on the agenda to be taken care of. Be courteous enough to let others speak, even if you don’t agree with them!
Also see the previous post on “Attn: Suwannee County Residents“