Alabaster council lacks best interest of citizens
Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 29, 2003
The Alabaster City Council cares little about its citizens. If you’ve been following the land-grab saga in the papers and on the TV news, you see that the city council is deep into the pocket of business.
The council has no qualms about rezoning property and throwing citizens into the street.
It’s the &uot;build a Wal-mart, create prosperity&uot; formula that is destroying hospitable areas of the country like the plague.
And the city council has the nerve to publicly call citizens unwilling to bend to their herd mentality of city building.
Over the last year I have been trying to get the council’s help with a noise problem. I addressed Councilman Mike Sherwood by e-mail and by phone.
I addressed them all at the city council meeting. They told me they would check into it. I spent days going door to door getting a petition signed to add legitimacy to my concern. The council did nothing.
Once I confronted Councilman Sherwood with an e-mail of what I think was a well-deserved dose of criticism, he had this to say to me, also by e-mail, and I quote, &uot;Rednecks usually don’t hide behind the cowardness [sic] of an e-mail, they confront me with at least a phone call; just because something doesn’t go your way doesn’t mean nothing was done about it; it means you were not right.
&uot;Didn’t your mommy teach you not to be so arrogant. Any other problems you may have, let me know, I’ll try to address them one at a time unless you show the same disrespect as your last communication, in which case don’t waste your time or mine.&uot;
Arrogant? Greedy? Because we want a peaceful place to live? It seems to me that the city council suffers from the &uot;pot calling the kettle black&uot; syndrome.
Alabaster could be a nicer place for all, if we had some creative minds running it who would listen and think outside the box.
Prisoner healthcare choice more evidence
Alabama state government has, once again, proven itself sorely lacking when called upon to perform sound fiscal responsibility.
The most recent example is the issue of inmate healthcare for state prisoners.
The State Corrections Commissioner, a member of the governor’s cabinet, has chosen a Tennessee company over an Alabama firm for providing this service.
That is not necessarily objectionable, provided that this decision saves the state money. However, that is not the case.
The three-year contract awarded to Prison Health Services of Brentwood, Tenn., will cost the state, just on the base bid, an additional $7.7 million.
Add to that figure the &uot;shared cost&uot; clause for instances when services exceed specified levels of an estimated $2 to $ 4 million per year, the three-year impact is at least another $6 million.
Furthermore, there is economic impact with the loss of Alabama jobs in favor of jobs to our neighboring state of Tennessee.
In addition to the fiscal questions this decision raises, we must also ask ourselves another question. Even if the argument could be made that the additional $13.7 million is justifiable based on &uot;additional services or benefit provided,&uot; do we really want to elevate the already reasonable, adequate and certain healthcare available to prisoners in this state?
While certainly not advocating any form of mistreatment of state prisoners, I curiously have to wonder why, in the midst of state financial crisis, there is a need to &uot;upgrade&uot; prisoner medical and healthcare.
This is especially troubling when the care currently provided for prisoners, totally at taxpayer expense, exceeds the quality and availability of care available to many law-abiding, tax-burdened Alabamians.
Can we really, in light of threats to kick our elderly out of nursing homes, fire thousands of school teachers and state troopers and cut out extracurricular activities in public schools, afford to throw away $13.7 million?
It is no wonder the people of this state responded with a resounding &uot;NO&uot; when asked to support Amendment One with its increased taxation and government spending.
Vandiver VFD should be questioned
How can a fire department control a civic center and share the same board?
Does this fire department do audits?
Has this audit been filed in Montgomery?
Can a fire department hold a meeting without notifying all person in their coverage? Can the moderator of this meeting deny motions to table the tearing down of a 100-year-old historical building?
We do not recall any election of this moderator who has self-elected himself to represent this community.
Did the Vandiver Fire department deliberately cover up the fact that we would still receive a park even if we kept the old schoolhouse for renovation?
Were we misinformed at this &uot;shotgun&uot; community meeting about the funds and who would be paid for construction?
Did the Fire Department sell several loads of community dirt? Did the fire department sell the schoolhouse for one dollar to be torn down? Who gave the order to tear the building down?
Were these construction bids advertised in the paper and are they available for public record?
What reason did the county give for refusing to attend this meeting? What reason does the county have to build a park in the middle of a community where they &uot;don’t want to get in Vandiver politics?&uot;
Did the Vandiver Fire Department hold a meeting the night before their &uot;special meeting&uot;? Did they notify the public of this meeting?
Demand to see the Vandiver Volunteer Fire financial records and Civic Center, along with county and state records at Alex Dudchock’s office in Columbiana. This is your right under the &uot;sunshine law.
They have to show them. Then contact the governor’s office for help.
Wake up, people, get the tire tracks off your back and demand answers.