Something is very wrong in the Land of Cotton



Dr. Robert Bullard
Environmental Justice Movement Founder

Friday, April 30, 2010

The Rape of Appalachia Politics

(Click on title for link)
Great piece from Vanity Fair.

The Plundering of Appalachia:

There is a video on the site that you must watch.

We do not completely agree with the global warming angle due to current news reports calling the validity of the scientists information on it into question.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Don't Poop On My Tomatoes and Tell Me It's "Fertilizer" Mr. Bradley

Stephen Bradley at it again....

Commission Endorses Biosolids Fertilizer Bills
TimesDaily Florence
By Russ Corey
Staff Writer
Published: Monday, March 30, 2009 at 3:30 a.m.
COLBERT COUNTY - Colbert County commissioners approve of two Senate bills proposed by a Franklin County legislator that would allow Colbert and Franklin residents to vote on whether or not they want treated human waste applied to farm fields as a substitute fertilizer.

The bills were introduced by Sen. Roger Bedford, D-Russellville, who represents portions of Franklin and Colbert counties.

Senate Bills 462 and 463 would amend the Alabama Constitution to severely regulate or prohibit the application of treated human waste or biosolids on farm fields as fertilizer or soil supplement if the public votes against its use.

"What we're trying to do is get rid of the New York waste that's being spread on the cropland of Alabama,"
Bedford said.

While they had been used in small quantities in north Alabama for years, biosolids became a major issue in 2007 when Texas-based Synagro constructed a biosolid production facility on Crockett Lane near Leighton in rural Colbert County.

County commissioners passed a resolution endorsing the bill.

The facility treats sewage sludge, including human waste, that is brought into Colbert County by rail car through the Port of Florence.

The plant is in Commissioner Roger Creekmore's district. He said he gets calls from residents concerned about the smell and possible health and environmental concerns.

"I'm getting phone calls, and I'm getting them weekly," Creekmore said. "It's not so much the plant itself, it's the biosolid fertilizer that is being dispersed on fields throughout my district, and the adjoining landowners are calling to complain."

Franklin County Commissioner Stratt Byers represents the east end of Franklin County and gets his share of calls as well.

"I've had lots of calls about it,"
Byers said. "In the east end of the county, it's been spread pretty heavy."

While farmers in both counties have used the biosolid material as a fertilizer substitute, Byers said the majority of the people who call him would prefer that it not be used.

Like Creekmore, Byers said the biggest concern in Franklin County is the possible health and environmental impact the use of biosolids could have in the future.

"We're trying to do what we can to protect our residents from any future environmental issues or health issues that might arise," Byers said. "This is one way of doing it."

He said the Franklin County Commission has not taken any action as far as endorsing Bedford's bill.

The bill simply states that it proposes a constitutional amendment that would allow residents of Colbert and Franklin counties to decide by a yes or no vote if they want biosolids used as a fertilizer substitute.

Bedford said if the bills could not outright ban the use of biosolids as a substitute fertilizer, he hopes they could regulate it to the point it would no longer be profitable for the company to do business in Alabama.

Bedford said he would be surprised if the residents of Colbert and Franklin counties did not vote to stop the use of biosolids in their counties.

"What I like about it is the people of Colbert County will have an opportunity to vote," Creekmore said.

Bedford said the Franklin County bill has yet to be signed out of the local legislative committee. Once it is, it must also be voted on by the Senate and House.

Since they are seeking a constitutional amendment, neither bill will require the governor's signature, Bedford said.

Steve Bradley, a spokesman for Synagro in Alabama, did not address the legislation specifically, but said the company is strictly regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency and also falls under the oversight of the Alabama Department of Environmental Management. Synagro also has developed management guidelines for its product with assistance from the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries.

"We recognize that this issue has drawn a lot of attention,"
Bradley said. "We know it's an emotional issue; we understand that."

He said the company has a history of cooperating with any organization scrutinizing its practices and has been responsive to community concerns.

"It's a fact of life that this material is produced," he said. "You can either incinerate it, landfill it or you can make productive use out of it through the production of biosolids."
#            #             #

This time the environmental vampire was repelled.Synagro closed this business down in 2009 after numerous complaints.

Synagro Leaves Area
Published: Sunday, July 12, 2009

Synagro's Leighton facility has stopped processing sewage sludge, including human waste shipped to the Shoals from New York City.

Many Tennessee Valley residents probably considered it insulting to take human waste from New York City and spread it across the beautiful Tennessee Valley where we live, work and play.
Beyond complaints about stench and concerns about the environment and clean drinking water, the practice included a psychological factor that is too vulgar to adequately be described on the pages of a family newspaper.

Perhaps the closest we can come is to say: "We don't want your stuff."

So we can celebrate the closing of a viable business in our community, despite needing more jobs in a troubled economy. And we can celebrate the success of citizens who complained, and government representatives who listened and acted.

Synagro, a name that has become synonymous with controversy in several north Alabama counties, closed its Leighton facility on Crockett Lane in rural Colbert County where it processed sewage sludge.

"They are gone," said County Commissioner Roger Creekmore. "The gates are locked, the office trailers are gone, the trucks are gone."

And so are the fears and complaints.

Synagro is shipping the smelly stuff to another community in another state after the uproar it experienced in north Alabama. This includes a lawsuit filed against the company in Franklin County and bills approved by the state Legislature that would let residents in Colbert, Franklin and Lawrence counties vote on whether they wanted biosolids distributed in their counties.

A company spokesman, Stephen Bradley, said Synagro always adhered to federal, state and local laws and regulations.

But residents who lived near the facility complained of foul odors and those living near farmland where the biosolid material was distributed were concerned with the possibility of ground water contamination. On the other hand, some farmers liked the cheaper alternative to fertilizer. Most likely they believed it smelled like money.

Anyone who has driven out west knows this country contains regions of wide open spaces with few inhabitants. If New York City can't handle its waste, perhaps it can find better hospitality in a more sparsely populated area than the Shoals.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Former Massey miner Jeffrey Harris tells Congress: ‘People shouldn’t have to work like that’

(Click on title for story, from Coal Tattoo, story by Ken Ward, Jr.)
April 27, 2010 Capitol Hill Senate Hearings

Where this man works now also sends a royalty stream to NRP.

Let us hope he will not become another statistic.

He is testifying before Congress on how bad it was at Massey.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Tennessee cleanup sends coal ash, anxiety, to Alabama site

(Click on title for link)
Thursday April 15, 2010
They told this community there would be no reason to be concerned when they proposed doing this. Where have we heard that before?

"The transfer of the ash 327 miles from Tennessee to the mostly black community of Uniontown is partly a story about how people are faring at the receiving end. Federal environmental justice policy requires that low-income and minority communities aren't burdened with out-sized environmental risks."

Read what the residents have to say about that in Uniontown, Alabama.

Why is this happening? Once again "profit for the county and state over people." This tune is becoming far too familiar....

"The state environmental agency, which oversees the landfill, and Perry County, whose commissioners approved it, get a fee for the ash dumped there. The county expects to take in more than $3 million for county roads, schools and other needs."

That agency would be ADEM and there's that same old line about "money for roads and schools" AGAIN.

Where the hell is the EPA for this state??????

Monday, April 26, 2010

Breaking News--Massey NRP ties story picked up nationally

(Click on title for story link)
We covered this angle on this site on April 13, 2010 and raised the questions regarding additional culpability of NRP with the Massey tragedy.

This was submitted to the Seminal (FireDogLake) with accompanying documentary evidence, including the SEC filings for their consideration.

We are pleased to learn they wrote a story on it and are asking the same questions of additional culpability.

From bnet NRP:
We lease coal reserves to experienced mine operators under long-term leases that grant the operators the right to mine our coal reserves in exchange for royalty payments. We do not operate any mines. In managing our properties, we actively work with our lessees to develop efficient methods to exploit our reserves and to maximize production from our properties.
NY Times story of the contrast between two mines: One follows the rules, one doesn't. The contrast of the way the two mines operate in this story is compelling.

It illustrates the difference between the safe way and the "Massey way." And the NRP way.

Just because you own the land, as NRP does in the Massey case, it does not absolve you of responsibility. Especially when you receive a production-based royalty stream from the mine.

"Produce at any cost...." 29 men dead.

Worker safety and environmental regulations are not profit centers. Aggressive production, short cuts and the arrogance of Massey and NRP are what created this tragedy. It's not the only one. And it won't be the last either.

We hope Mr. Vecellio has a bit of a restless evening.

*April 26, 2010 State Journal WV:
Massey Board Director Bobby Inman called allegations that the company put profits over safety a "big lie." He blamed such sentiment on plaintiffs’ lawyers and leaders of the United Mine Workers union and AFL-CIO. The UMW announced April 26 that it would help investigating the blast.

Massey is facing a shareholder lawsuit stemming from the explosion, as well as wrongful death litigation and mounting scrutiny from regulators.

“The calls for resignation are coming from those who hold 2 percent of total shares and it has received disproportionate coverage from the media,” Inman said. “The last thing we want to do in the middle of a crisis is switch leadership. We have an obligation to stockholders and employees to fill orders and fulfill contracts, so a change is not in the cards at this time.”

The first senate hearings occur today April 27 and it is reported on the news this morning that Massey will NOT be in attendance.

Their arrogance is palpable....

Leapin' Larry Throws a Bone

How the SWMA fiasco happened courtesy of Stephen Bradley & BARD.

It seems anywhere Bradley goes controversy and corruption are right there with his presence.

Click on post title for article and scroll down to "RIP Regional Correction"

The writer hits the nail on the head when he writes how Langford succeeded in distracting more attention from this SWMA issue. Bradley and WRQ are doing the same thing here in Vincent on many levels; DISTRACTING ATTENTION FROM THE REAL STORY & ISSUES.

At the time this happened these members sat on the JeffCo Commission:

President: Larry "Let's do something" Lanford (convicted of multiple corruption charges, IN PRISON) He was "doing something" alright and got caught.

Mary Miller Buckelew: the ring leader for BARD & Bradley (convicted of multiple corruption charges. She should have gone to prison, but got three years probation.)

Gary White: (convicted of multiple corruption charges, UPDATE March 2010: In December, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated White's 2008 convictions on conspiracy and bribery, and returned the case to U.S. District Court in Birmingham for sentencing. No sentencing date has been set.) Mr White is "whining" he cannot afford a lawyer. We have no sympathy for him and hope he winds up as Langford's bunk mate where he belongs.

Sheila Smoot:Other than being a news reporter, there wasn't much else on her resume that qualified her to be a County Commissioner.

Bettye "oh so fine" Collins: she's had enough and is retiring.

3 of the 5 original "players" are convicted crooks.

We would relish deja vu to come around and replace these names with the Vincent and Shelby County officials we strongly suspect of the same type of corruption in this quarry proposal.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Sometimes Silence is the Lie

Published Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The council needs to be more open to citizens, Cobb said. (Cobb was a mayoral candidate)

"The government is probably not as responsive as it needs to be," he said.

Ernest Kidd said he would try to bring volunteer services to Vincent’s senior citizens. He also said that the well being of Vincent’s schools is of the highest priority.

"I will go down to the Shelby County school board and fight for our schools," he said.

(Really Mr. Kidd? But it is fine that these kids you are such a staunch supporter of will have to attend school 4500 ft. from this large quarry?
*Mr. Kidd came around to our residence in his bid for Mayor and continually said "he wanted to keep Vincent small." What changed your mind Mr. Kidd? Money?)

McAllister said his primary goal is to bring in revenue and increase business opportunities in the town.

“As we all know, it takes money to run a city, and we’re short of it,” he said.
He also said he wanted to increase communication between the townspeople and the council.

Since McAllister is retired, he said he’d be a full-time mayor who keeps his door open.

(Read on to see what a study in contradiction this man is....)

Published Tuesday, August 26, 2008

As to the future, McAllister said, "We've got to do some business development, economic development to get our revenue up."

He also said, "I'm going to work with my contacts at the state level to see if we can get some things to help our revenues."

He said those contacts were friends he could contact to let them know "Vincent exits."

(We would love to know who those "friends" are Mayor.)

Published Monday, October 27, 2008

"I felt like I’ve got the time to devote to the mayor’s office. I’m retired. I’m going to be a full-time mayor," he said. "I’ll be here if people want to see me."

He definitely wants to see them.
(Except when they want to question him about the quarry and what he knew.)

McAllister identifies himself as a people person who’s looking forward to hearing citizens’ ideas about Vincent.

"I’m not an office person. I don’t stay in an office. I’m a people person," he said.

"As small towns go, revenue is a prime concern. We want to bring in business," he said. "Naturally, we want to increase and grow. We want to see our downtown be able to prosper and become what it was at one time."

McAllister plans to work with the industrial development board to look at prospective businesses that could come to Vincent, hopefully bringing jobs for residents. He said he’d like to see an employer bring 200 jobs to the area.
(My, what a convenient number he just happens to "come up with.")

Eventually, McAllister wants Vincent to be well-known — and not just in Shelby County.

"We want the people from the county level, to the state level, to the federal level to know Vincent exists," he said.

(Here we go with that "Vincent exists" again...)

Published Friday, August 28, 2009

McAllister also reminded the crowd of the town’s campaign to buy new lights for the Christmas tree.
(Excuse us, but didn't the Vincent Historical Society do that all on their own and donate the money to the Town?)

Published Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Bridgette Jordan-Smith, a Vincent council member, confirmed she was part of a meeting with representatives of a company wanting to develop a quarry in Vincent, but would not comment further.

When asked whether she signed any kind of confidentiality agreement involving the issue, she refused to answer the question.

"I do not have any comment for the public and I am not going to answer any more of your questions," she said.

(The usual attitude from the convicted thief masquerading as a decent person. Tell us Ms. Smith, why does your husband keep writing bad checks to a local business? That is against the law in just in case neither of you knew.)

Repeated attempts to contact by phone Mayor Ray McAllister and council members Johnny Edwards, Larry King and Ralph Kimble were unsuccessful.
(Par for the course with all but Kimble.)

Council member Mary Lee Reynolds said she only knows that a lot of Vincent land has been bought up, but said she does not "officially" know anything about a proposal of a quarry in Vincent. She said she has not signed any confidentiality agreement.
(Mary Lee Reynolds has already "shown herself" by "working for WRQ" covered previously in this blog.)

Vincent town attorney Corey Moore confirmed at least some members of the town council and the zoning board met within the last month, individually or in small groups, in unpublicized meetings with attorneys representing the Vecellio Group of West Palm Beach, Fla. There were no meetings with the entire council present, Moore said.

Moore said no member of the council has signed any confidentiality agreement with the Vecellio Group.

(CYA mode in full throttle.)

(Enter the environmental vampire himself...)

Stephen Bradley of Stephen Bradley and Associates, a public affairs firm, said he represents the "entity that is bringing an economic development project to Vincent." He said the meetings took place on March 31.

"We had 15 or 16 people involved in the meetings. It was impossible to get everybody's calendar coordinated to meet at one particular time," he said. "The meetings were held at several times throughout the day."

Bradley said it was essential for the meetings to remain unpublicized because the possible project is a “very significant economic development project for Vincent.

Vecellio Group representative Rob Fowler, an environmental lawyer with Birmingham-based law firm Balch and Bingham, assured people that the company is using some of the best available mining technology, including state-of-the-art dust control systems.

"You hear people yelling and screaming about the dust, but we're capturing the dust," he said.
(Environmental lawyer? Anti-environmental is more like it. His history speaks for itself. What Mr. Fowler truly relishes is accusing anyone who opposes him as screechy, fear-mongering, no-growth zealots, etc.)

Published Thursday, May 7, 2009

A number of other community residents are frustrated by the lack of information available about the plans for the quarry.

They have tried repeatedly to get information from McAllister and members of the Town Council, but to no avail.

"All the mayor can say is, "I don’t know anything" but he obviously does because he’s been meeting with these people. He admitted to me that he has been meeting with them, but said he doesn’t know any details. The mayor hasn’t done anything but be evasive."
(Please see page at bottom of blog body; "Land sales to mysterious companies.")

McAllister has refused to return repeated phone messages left for him in an attempt to get his comments.
(But he is "a people person"...)

Vincent Town Attorney, Corey Moore, confirmed for the Shelby County Reporter on Wednesday that the Vecellio Group of West Palm Beach, Fla., has purchased more than 1,000 acres in Vincent over the last several years. Moore also confirmed that McAllister, members of the Town Council and members of Vincent’s zoning board met individually or in small groups with lawyers representing Vecellio.

Those meetings all took place on the same day, March 31.

"We elected the mayor and council members to represent us, and for them to go behind our backs and hold secret meetings is corruption. What are they trying to hide from us?"

Alabama’s open meeting laws require that municipal bodies give notice to the public before meeting, even when the body will simply deliberate matters it expects to come before the body at a later date and time. A town council is considered to be in a meeting when it has a quorum, or a simple majority of its voting members present.

Dennis Bailey, an attorney who represents the Alabama Press Association and its members, said the issue of serial meetings, like these, has not yet been litigated in Alabama courts.

A serial meeting is one in which a government body holds a series of meetings with small groups of the governing body, rather than as a whole, to discuss a public issue in private with the intent of avoiding a quorum.

He said courts in other states have decided that serial meetings are, indeed, in violation of those states’ open meetings laws.

"The position of the Alabama Press Association is that these serial meetings are in violation of the Alabama’s open meetings act and with the appropriate case we intend to litigate," Bailey said.

Published May 8, 2009

Mayor Ray McAllister said the Town Council regrets not being able to talk to citizens about the project.

"As Mayor, and on behalf of the Town Council, I want to say that we regret the delay in announcing this project," he said. "It was certainly not our intent to delay the announcement, but officials from White Rock asked for extra time to work out engineering and other details before the project could be announced."

In the press release, McAllister said that the rock quarry was originally supposed to be announced sooner. He said if it had been announced when originally intended, Vincent citizens would already have information about the project.

(And the citizens having information about the project is a bad thing because? Mr. Fowler & Mr. Bradley already alluded to that in the press by saying they would encountered "opposition from the citizens." You bet your Dixie cups you would have!)

Published Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Company representative Rob Fowler, fielded questions from those in the crowd, including Vincent citizen Mickey Kitchens "If you don't get the zoning permits, what will you do with the property?" asked citizen Ed Bartlett.

"I don't know. It's our property, so I imagine we'll hang on to it," Fowler replied.

Fowler especially attracted a small crowd through much of the meeting, with citizens directing their questions — or complaints — to him; "My property value is going down, and you can say what you want to about that," said resident Mickey Kitchens.
(The obvious question in this is why did they buy all of this land, investing millions of dollars and they did not have the required permits or "approval" of the officials? Because the "fix" has been in from the start.)

Council member Ralph Kimble, who has publicly stated his position against the quarry, said he wouldn't change his mind.

"You cannot put a dollar figure on quality of life," he said. "What they do here will affect that. I don't care what they say."

Well said, Mr. Kimble.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Florida Trend Magazine - Florida's Building Costs - Concrete - from Florida Trend, Florida's Source For Business News

Florida Trend Magazine - Florida's Building Costs - Concrete - from Florida Trend, Florida's Source For Business News

White Rock Quarries (click link for story)

Posted using ShareThis

U.S. District Court Judge William Hoeveler was clearly disturbed by regulators’ stewardship of the Lake Belt. “This court has never seen a federal agency respond so indifferently to clear evidence of significant environmental risks,” he wrote.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Massey Coal's Don Blankenship Shows his Hand

What happens when money and power influences everyone, including judges.

Sources in West Virginia say; "Don Blankenship is not going anywhere, he has made so much money for the stockholders and industry, they will never get rid of him." When asked about the safety issues and long list of violations, there was no discernible empathy for either: "People choose to work there, the families are being paid a lot of money for what happened" was all that was offered in response.

This was from a media source who could be described as simply a realist, but the apparent lack of concern was surprising and palpable.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Bham News Editorial April 2010 ADEMs" New Head"

OUR VIEW: Alabama's new environmental chief should have nowhere to go but up after his predecessor's troubled reign, but stay tuned

By Birmingham News editorial board
April 21, 2010, 5:40AM

A state board's pick to be Alabama's top environmental regulator ought to be feeling pretty confident, for the most part, about his new job. Talk about an easy act to follow.

Lance LeFleur, who was named Friday as the director of the Alabama Department of Environmental Management, succeeds Trey Glenn, who had a knack for making the wrong kind of headlines.

That doesn't mean LeFleur won't face challenges of his own. He seems to understand that. "I don't go in with any illusions," he told News reporter Thomas Spencer.

Good. Because the agency LeFleur will lead has had issues that go beyond Glenn. In particular, ADEM has a reputation for being too cozy with the companies it is supposed to regulate. Among other things, environmentalists have asked federal regulators to take over enforcement of water pollution laws, saying ADEM is unable or unwilling to do the job.

One current concern on that front: The ADEM board's chairwoman is the top lobbyist for the Business Council of Alabama, whose members include a number of companies the state agency is supposed to regulate. The chairwoman, Anita Archie, did not attend the meeting at which LeFleur was hired. But her competing and, we believe, conflicting roles could put LeFleur in awkward positions as well.

Further lowering expectations, LeFleur was the choice of Gov. Bob Riley -- LeFleur's wife is Riley's executive assistant -- and the governor has not been a friend to those who want to see ADEM take a stronger stance on protecting the environment.

Riley described LeFleur as an innovator in recycling and waste-to-energy initiatives, and said he has "the right background, knowledge and high-level experience to lead ADEM forward." While LeFleur indeed has 20 years experience running a recycling business, it is not yet certain whether that prepared him for a large bureaucracy such as ADEM. LeFleur's Materials Recovery Corp. employed 10 people; ADEM employs 600.

So, as LeFleur readily acknowledges, there will be challenges.

But this much he has going for him from day one: He is not Trey Glenn. Though Glenn was cleared of criminal wrongdoing, his conduct while seeking the ADEM job became the subject of an ethics investigation. After he won the position, he forfeited credibility by accepting a baseball outing from Alabama Power Co., whose pollution ADEM is supposed to regulate. Glenn also bought a $2.4 million airplane the agency probably didn't need and surely couldn't afford. Worse, he tried for a while to keep the public in the dark about its use.

We don't know whether LeFleur was the best person for the job. But when we look back at Glenn's time at the agency, we do get a sense of hope. LeFleur should have nowhere to go but up.

Kudos to Mr. Blalock for reporting on this.

There is still the issue of Scott Phillips at the EMC and his profiting from the JeffCo SWMA incident. ADEM is going to do what the EMC and big business tells them to do as they have always done, no matter who is heading it.

Mr. Blalock says to "stay tuned" on this story, but that is what the real problem is with ADEM; when you turn off the TV it is still on the same channel when you turn it back on again.

Both agencies are wholly rife with corruption, unduly influenced and in need of major reform for any real changes to be effective for Alabama's citizens.

*Also see the new link to right on PACs under Bham News Editorials April 2010; "No change on PACs until voters demand it"

Monday, April 19, 2010

Why Does a Lobbyist PR Firm Hire Another Lobbyist PR Firm to Lobby For Them?

We were tipped off to this story by citizens who noticed it while researching information via the web. Just another example of the "Mules" carrying on their bad, or should we say, BARD traditions of using minorities to further their destructive agenda?

On the 2010 registered lobbyists list from the Alabama Ethics Commission website, there are two lobbyist entries that caught someone's attention:

Jones Group, LLC The
111 Washington Avenue
Montgomery, AL 36104

Their clients from the PDF file on record AEC:

Abbott Laboratories, Inc.
Alabama Alliance of Boys & Girls Clubs, Inc.
Alabama Gamefowl Breeders Association
Alabama State Employees Association
Alabama State University
Alabama Cable Telecommunications Association
John Guthrie, Jr. and Associates
Greene Track Incorporated
Community Action Association of Alabama
City of Montgomery
Community Education Centers, Inc.
Community Care Network, Inc.
LKQ Corporation
Stephen Bradley & Associates, LLC
South University
Tuskegee University
Tom Coker & Associates
P. Michael Cole, L.L.C.
Maynard, Cooper & Gale, PC
Pfizer Inc.
Perry Uniontown Ventures 1, LLC (Owners of the dump site where the coal ash from the TVA Spill is being sent to. Guy McCullough, Bradley's partner is their PR man.)

In checking on this group by visiting their web page, they are solely minority owned and operated and appear to be involved in some worthy monority causes and issues.

Except for two; Stephen Bradley & Associates and Perry County Ventures.

We have been told phone calls were made to the Jones Group and were not returned when the issue was raised about Mr. Bradley's history and current endeavors in Shelby County, Alabama. The callers wanted to know why, a minority owned firm would lobby for a "well to do" Caucasian firm, that is pushing for a large quarry in Vincent that will have a huge impact on Vincent's minority population.

An adverse effect for those people is putting it mildly. That has been covered previously in this blog.

Did Mr. Bradley hire this firm as a "voice" to the black communities he seeks to invade with his client's companies? Or did he hire this firm to act as a go between to black leaders and lawmakers to help "get them on board" with his client's interests?

This is one of the problems in Alabama that minority residents face and the press will not touch--the selling out to big business by strong minority groups and black politicians who claim to represent the best interests of "their people." We see this with the SCLC (Calvin Woods New South Coalition), Tuskegee Institute, Artur Davis, Albert Turner, Jr. in Perrytown, Sheila Smoot, Larry Langford, William Bell and a long list of others.

The lure of money and power is strong and the Big Mules have learned that the very people they once oppressed are valuable allies in pushing their agenda into minority areas through faces that are much more familiar to these communities than the faces of the Big Mules.

History tells us that the "Mules" tactics have never been in the best interest of minority groups and we suspect once again it is profit over people that rules the day.

Reader decide.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Show Me the Money

This entry will address the year 2007 and a very large amount of money, almost one million dollars, that was contributed to Bradley PACs which he then "expended" and did not specifically itemize as to where and who it went to.

Since mid to late 2006 with firmer indicators in 2007, is the time frame we feel the quarry was being "quietly discussed", (also when all of the current Shelby County Commissioners and some of the Vincent officials were beginning their runs for office for the 2008 election cycle), those candidates would begin to amass their campaign "war chests" in mid 2006 through 2008.

Birmingham was also readying for elections in this time frame and the strong possibility of "undue influence", in the form of campaign contributions and "other considerations" for city & county officials is well documented through the Al. Com stories on the SWMA issue. Some of those are linked on this site.

These reports show money being contributed and expended at a much higher rate than any other years in Mr. Bradley's direct PACs. Why is that?

Did any of this money wind up in his personal accounts? Some of the PACs he is involved in show money being transferred into a "new loan account". What is that account used for?

The other question is who contributed these large sums of money to Bradley's PACs? As is the case with the expenditures, the contributor list is limited to only a few entries.

The following is a list of some of Stephen Bradley's direct PACs and the activity documented through the Secretary of State open records:

Annual Reports 1/31/2007

Form 1 Statement: 185,400.00 contributions
10,000.00 other sources
213,205.00 total expenditures
Form 5 Itemized Expenditures: 7.675.00

205,530.00 unaccounted for, non-itemized

Form 1 Statement: 189,475.00 contributions
198,955.00 total expenditures
Form 5 Itemized Expenditures: 13,000.00

176,475.00 unaccounted for, non-itemized

VPAC (contributed to Al LaPierre MASSEY PAC)
Form 1 Statement: 255,550.00 contributions
1,000.00 other sources
282,404.00 total expenditures
Form 5: Itemized Expenditures: 14,250.00

268,154.00 unaccounted for, non-itemized


Form 1 Statement: 162,500.00
186,155.00 total expenditures
Form 5: Itemized Expenditures: 20,075.00

165,080.00 unaccounted for, non-itemized

Form 1 Statement: 191,200.00
199,555.00 total expenditures
Form 5: Itemized Expenditures: 18,075.00

173,125.00 unaccounted for, non itemized

A total of 988,364.00 is unaccounted for. Where did almost one million dollars go? Who did it go to?

Some of these PACs did have beginning balances that are not figured here because the amounts were low and not significant to greatly affect the unaccounted for figures.

The Campaign Finance Reform Act does require itemization of all sources and recipients, but the Secretary of State's office is asleep at the switch and does not apply the law. It has become a "clearing house" rather than an effective agency and must be changed.

Shelby County Commissioners running (and elected) for office 2008:

District 1: Corley Ellis
District 2: Tommy Edwards
District 3: Jon Parker
District 4: Daniel Acker
District 5: Joel Bearden
District 6: Larry Dillard
District 7: Lindsey Allison
District 8: Rick Shepard
District 9: Robbie Hayes

Vincent Mayor and City Council 2008 candidates (and elected) 2008:

Ray McAllister: Mayor
Bridgette Jordan-Smith: City Council
Ernest Kidd: ran for Mayor, then City Council
Larry King: City Council

The remaining 2 were already in place according to our sources.
*(If this in error please report).

We challenge every one of these officials to release their complete campaign records, fully itemized, to the public. Your *meeting records and official notes would be interesting to see as well.
*This request was made of Shelby County Planner Kristen Goddard through the FOIA, she released sketchy and selective records in our opinion, that showed only two meetings with Fowler & Bradley. Requests for the same records of Alex Dudchock, Joel Bearden and Corley Ellis have yet to be answered. The Vincent officials have been equally unresponsive to formal FOIA requests.

We also challenge Mr. Bradley to account for all of this money and the recipients as he was required to do by law but failed to do.

* Note: Al LaPierre as the readers may know, was involved in the corruption of Larry Langford. He received 48 months in prison from his role in the scandal.

Enter another "player" tied to all of these men; Malcolm Pirnie, who "steered" a million dollar plus lucrative contract to his friend at the EMC, Scott Phillips (who serves on the board of the EMC which oversees ADEM), in the Jefferson County SWMA incident, which BARD & Bradley played a large role in.
(See the links to right; "JeffCo Will Stay Out of SWMA" & "Petition to Remove ADEMs Water Permitting Authority")

*From one of the above two articles: "The plan calls for Jefferson County to outsource the actual testing and monitoring procedures. The city of Birmingham, one of several municipalities to leave SWMA in recent months, contracted with environmental engineering firm Malcolm Pirnie to train its workers to test and monitor storm water and construction run-off and report results to the Alabama Department of Environmental Management. Malcolm Pirnie’s Director of International Operations, Scott Phillips, serves on the Alabama Environmental Management Commission, which oversees ADEM".

Additional link and note reader's comments on BARD involvement following the story: 
Archiblog 2008 

ADEM & the EMC are Vincent's last line of defense in stopping the quarry.

When you consider all the different pieces of this puzzle, and how they fit together in the overall picture, one can begin to see why we are very concerned about the process of this quarry in Vincent, because of who is involved in it and the controversial history that follows them.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Locked and Loaded On Harpersville

From the March 9, 2010 Draft on Vincent Hills Quarry:

4. The plan calls for the transformation of portions of County Road 85 and County Road 62 into truck routes. This will require approval by the Shelby County Commission. Prior to seeking Commission approval, detailed engineering drawings for the proposed truck routes will be required. Said drawings shall include all upgrades to the existing road system required by the County Engineer. If the rezoning is approved, the County’s requirements will be provided after a detailed infrastructure evaluation by the Highway Department. All costs associated with this development (evaluation, design, construction…etc.) will be at the developer’s expense.

5. The proposed development plan will transform existing county roads to truck routes which access U.S. 280 (a state-maintained route). Future submittals must include intersection improvements required by ALDOT in regard to the proposed truck routes.

At a recent Harpersville City Council meeting a proposal by ALDOT to repave and improve Highway 76 was read. Highway 76 is not in disrepair now, so why redo it?

Does it have anything to with the Vincent quarry?

Looking at the maps, Highway 85 runs through Creswell, crosses Highway 280 and intersects with Highway 76. That route bypasses the busy intersection of Highways 280 & 231 and allows for faster, less traveled access to Highway 231/25 down to the Wilsonville RR depot & the Alabama Power plant.


2 private landowners have spoken on the condition of anonymity that they have been approached by "mysterious figures" in the last year, to purchase their large tracts of land in Harpersville. They say mysterious because the inquirers were not very talkative regarding their intentions as to what they wanted the land for.

Where has this happened before?

Harpersville is sitting on a lot of limestone and if Vincent becomes a mining town the mining companies will not stop at Vincent.

As they have done with other areas of Shelby County where quarries are located, they will be looking to expand their mining operations and locations. The maps show that quarries in this county have situated themselves on BOTH SIDES of major state highways. Mr. Bradley has Martin Marietta Aggregates, who operates on the other end of the county, as his client and expect him to continue to push for his client's interests.

Columbiana has targeted the "eastern section of the county" in their 2007 Industrial & Economic Board Press Release (linked to the right and page at the end of blog).

Be warned and be concerned about what is happening in Vincent, Harpersville. You may be next despite your existing ordinances.

If Bradley & BARD could get to Jefferson County/Birmingham and disrupt their city policies and procedures on the level they did, in favor of their own, they are emboldened to do the same to another community.

The bought and paid for politicians and the Shelby County power brokers will help them do it.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A Connection of the West Virginia Coal Mine Tragedy and Vecellio?

We ask that the reader make their own conclusion on the meaning of this information. The issue is presented because corporate policies come from the top and trickle down to all entities below.

No accusation is made towards any of the "Decision Makers" of NRP personally, but the articles suggest the attitude of "production by any means" is severely flawed and usually ends in tragedy as it did in West Virginia.

At the very least shouldn't NRP step out and make a statement?
Did NRP know of the continued safety violations of Massey? It seems hard to believe they did not.
If they did, what was their response to the Massey Energy BOD to address them, if any?

Where does the fault lie, solely with Massey CEO Don Blankenship (as most, if not all of it should) or is he pushed from up higher beyond the Massey Energy BOD to bring in a higher percentage of royalty payments per the lease agreement with NRP?

Does it give the citizens of Vincent cause to be concerned? Will the parent company Vecellio also push WRQ to produce at any cost?

Reader decide.

Links to the right.

(There is an issue of a Vecellio subsidiary and a Palm Beach tragedy that begs some of these same questions and many others. More on that at a later date....patterns are emerging).

Free Your Mind and the Rest Will Follow

We have already shown you how the "New Mules" called BARD and the "Big Mule Coalition" tie together. Now we are going to take that a step further and use history to give you another perspective to look at the issue with. If you will free your mind and contemplate it, the rest will follow.

Something occurred in Alabama after the War Between the States and continued up until the 1940s that was known as "Slavery By Another Name." A book has been written on it with the same title, and worth reading to fully understand Alabama's early industrial historic attitude towards human rights; there were none. (Links to the right)

"New Slavery" was the forcing of blacks into industrial servitude, which demanded a cheap and continuous labor force to work the mills and factories. Any digression that could even be considered a crime was enough to have them forced into these factories to pay off their debts; whatever the fine was as well as the paying off the sheriffs fees and any witnesses against them. Many did not survive their sentence and died within a month or two.

Some of these companies were part of the "Big Mule Coalition" and have roots in today's "New Mules":

US Steel was by far one of the worst offenders in the book.

US Steel is a BARD member today.

One could argue that with such a long and scurrilous reputation for taking advantage of a particular group of people, as the "Big Mules" did, that those long standing ingrained philosophies are no different with the "New Mules"; they have just taken another form.

The twenty first century and current human rights attitudes would not allow such atrocities to happen in the present, but it is replaced by another type of new slavery committed by the "New Mules" in the form of coercion of political figures through bribery, pushing their way into communities and the forcing those citizens live with their environmental assaults and/or dangers. Some do not survive those sentences either, but most of them die years after.

There are two black members of the official city boards who have done nothing to help their own, and turned a deaf ear to the concerns of the folks on the River Loop, despite their pleas for help. One is related to the families there. They appear to be actively campaigning for the quarry at every step. Why? What is the difference between those actions now and the actions of the masters from the past?

This quarry is being placed contiguous to the River Loop residents and their church. Most of these residents, as it already been reported, are black. No one, it seems is thinking about their human rights in present day Alabama, certainly not Stephen Bradley and company.

One form of servitude replaces another in the name of profit at any cost.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Fish Or Cut Bait

Most Southerners know this expression well and have heard it often from their older relatives who knew the importance of "doing what needs doing" no matter how hard the chore may be.

Fish or cut bait means to "make a choice about what you intend to do" or "either get to work in a productive manner or get out of the way and let someone else do what needs to be done."

This election year we need to "fish or cut bait" folks.

Particularly with our situation here in Vincent and the apparent "tone deafness" of our local Senators and Representatives who seem more interested in their own political hides than those of their citizens.

Take the time to visit the Secretary of State website and see who contributes to your representatives. Those records are open records and available to anyone who wants to browse them. If you don't know how to do that, send this site an email and instructions will be posted.

Break out of the two party mindset and do not assume a "D" or "R" beside their name is going to be what you really want from them despite your political inclinations. See what they have done, look at their records, follow the money on their contributors/PAC list and hold them accountable.
(*PAC definitions and contributors are also on the Secretary Of State website. Contact this site if you need help with that too. We are working on compiling that information, but it takes time).

On the Alabama Legislature home page, you can put in your zip code and find your local Senators and Representatives easily; many have home phone numbers listed and can be interrupted in the middle of "Sunday laundry" to talk with you.

They work for you and should be available to you, and they are if you make the effort, remember that.

Be respectful and to the point as you would to anyone that you wanted to listen to you, don't put them off with a barrage of complaints delivered in an angry, impatient tone. Think of how you would want to be spoken to and act accordingly. You catch more bees with flowers and since you are calling them at home, you have to temper your approach. That said, let them know you realize the power of your vote and that you will exercise that right when you fill out the ballot.

A secret; emails are not the most effective way to reach them. Letters and phone calls are by far the most effective means of getting their attention.

Nothing changes without a strong desire to effect change. If you want things to be different, then you as a citizen, must decide, if you are going to fish or cut bait.

*Please familiarize yourself with the "18 plus one" rule under the "Big Mule" Coalition links to the right located within the Encyclopedia of Alabama article. It illustrates how bad influences "buy" our politicians and the importance of holding politicians accountable and exercising your vote and voice during election cycles.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Lyin' Eyes Part Deux

In this section we are going to back up a bit and describe the atmosphere, as well as go deeper into officials publicly condoning unlawful behavior by one of their own, and the "mysterious appearance" of a great deal money in the city budget.

Before the meeting, a young man arrived, wearing the orange quarry hat, to stand in line at City Hall for the meeting. We asked him if he was from Vincent as none of us recognized him. He said "No" and that he had lived in Talladega and was now in Sylacauga. We then asked him why a Vincent Council meeting was of interest to him, to which he replied, "I'm coming for the job fair."

Job Fair? We have heard that one before and know it is one of the "tactics" used by WRQ to get bodies in Vincent from other areas as a false show of support for the quarry. They promise folks dinner and whatever else they can think of, to get them to come to Vincent, wear a yes quarry t-shirt, hold a sign and pack public meetings so the citizens of Vincent cannot attend their own meetings.

We asked this young man, "Who told you it was a job fair?", he pointed over to the quarry office, where Kathy Copeland (quarry spokesperson) just happened to be standing outside, and he said, "The lady over there, that lady who is in the office there told me it was a job fair."

We told him she did not tell him the truth and would he go look at the notice on the door of City Hall and see what tonight was really about. He did and then went back to the waiting car of the person who drove him up there and they left.

This happens all the time and the numbers of these "trucked in supporters" has dwindled of late probably because word has gotten around that they are being used by the quarry folks. Times are hard and to waste time and money on gas to get to Vincent is not something they can keep doing continually.

It is especially despicable that the quarry folks seem to take advantage of and use people who are poor and in real need of employment as a means to an end for them. Kind of reminds us of the "Big Mule" coalition tactics.

6:00, the doors open to City Hall and the clerk, Joy Marler, passes out numbers on slips of paper as to who would enter the meeting room, and who would have to sit in the overflow room (court room), because the fire code for capacity was being enforced for the first time in a year.

*Note on Mrs. Marler:
A substitute reader was requested for Mr. Frederick Kidd's presentation to the council due to a family emergency, which is reasonable and understandable. Mr. Kidd was going to read the declaration submitted by the Evangel Temple Pastor against the quarry. The substitute reader was requested to be Kim Riggins, a wonderful lady and well-liked by the community.
Mrs. Marler, presumptuously assumed authority to allow this reasonable request was up to her and said "NO" when it was made. The Mayor overrode her allowed it as well he should. The reader should know the requesting parties were black and the Evangel Temple is one of our black churches.
You decide if race was an issue or it was simply Mrs. Marler's attempt to be non accommodating to the opposition against the quarry.

It should also be noted that speakers in favor of the quarry dwindled from five to one: the other four either stepped forward and relinquished their time or left the meeting and did not exercise their time.

Those who sat in the meeting room were unable to sit in the closest seats because "reserved" had been placed on them. One set of seats closest to the council table had been reserved for Jim Hurley, WRQ president and Robert Fowler (BARD lobbyist and WRQ attorney).

When this was questioned by some of the citizens as to why these two had been given reserve seats and not to the other large company in town who opposes the quarry, the Mayor said; "We gave them those seats in case they had something to say about what is presented here tonight, they should be able to respond to what is said here."

Isn't that accommodating of him? He doesn't extend the same "courtesy" to the other business in Vincent that has been here a very long time and supplied residents with over 200 good jobs, but these "outsiders" get a front row seat?

As the Council and Mayor were at the table and before the meeting officially commenced, Council member Ralph Kimble had the city finance sheet in his hands and began questioning the Mayor about the 101,000.00 discrepancy in the city budget and where it came from.

The Mayor said the city had a money market account and the market "Had been up lately." Mr. Kimble said; "That much? I still don't understand why this says 101,000.00 is what we have in the budget, is there an itemized list of the money?" The Mayor them offered; (appearing to the observers to be making it up as he went along) "No. Well, now you know you have sales tax and business license fees in there too, it's all in there, that's part of it too you know."

He wanted that questioning to be over and went on to start the meeting. It is interesting that there was no itemization of the budget and a fair question would be why not and are they required by law to do so?

Something had occurred regarding Zoning Board member Don Driggers (who is also on the Industrial Board, the same people serve on different boards, why is that?) that had some citizens up in arms for good reason that has the entire town calling for "the barn to be cleared" and recall started against the city council and the Mayor.

Mr. Driggers applied for rezoning on a small piece of land for a nursery business in a recent Zoning Board workshop. Zoning was approved, but no site plan was ever presented, no business license had been issued before he opened the business, and he had failed to correct the issue of safe egress and ingress with the driveway into the business which fronts state Highway 231.

A recent purchase had been made for plants that included a receipt in which no tax was reflected. What normally costs a dollar or less in many places for a doggone pack of petunias costs three dollars at Mr. Driggers business. Good grief....

It is rumored heavily in town by folks that know Mr. Driggers well, that the only reason he opened this business is to benefit from the quarry needing landscape material for their berms. Unless "special treatment" is given to Mr. Driggers yet again, it was overheard in public that the quarry can only buy from "certified nurserymen/landscapers", which Mr. Driggers is not.

It is our understanding that when Mr. Driggers was told that by the planners involved with the quarry that he reacted as if he had been punched in the stomach, and got all twisted and flapped up about it like rusty tin on an old house in an ill wind.

If this is true, the rumor, which we do not claim it is, then it goes along with all the rest of them trying to profit from their official positions from this quarry.

Without a business license, there is no EIN number and proper reporting to the state of Alabama on any tax collected from sales. A huge violation of federal and state laws, people go to jail for this as well they should. Had it been a regular citizen I am sure there would have been consequences, but since it was Mr. Driggers and he is "one their own" this is what happened next:

1. Mary Lee Reynolds moved that Mr. Driggers be granted a business license immediately.

2. City Attorney, Corey Moore told Mrs. Reynolds within earshot of the closest seats, but quietly enough that he probably didn't think anyone was paying attention, that; "We could just give him a business license" when Mrs. Reynolds asked him; "Can't we just do that, give him a business license?"

So there you have it. Our city "leaders" at work, condoning violations of the law, administering no penalties and giving cover to Mr. Driggers unlawful behavior.

This brought about loud protesting from the meeting room, especially in response to Ann Gibbons' words of protest, which ended with thundering applause from both rooms.

Demands are being STRONGLY made by an overwhelming majority of citizens for the immediate resignations of Mrs, Reynolds, Mr. Driggers and city attorney Corey Moore.

The looks on the officials faces was priceless, but still that same aloof attitude of "I do not care, I am above the laws of this state as a city official and can do whatever I want" was as thick as red clay on the soles of farm boots.

This is why the observation has been made that the officials run this city as if it were their own private business rather than a municipality and subject to prescribed laws and ethics as well as the citizens wishes.

The question has been raised by one astute thinker that perhaps the city has already issued a business license to WRQ, before the city council vote, and that is where the "mysterious money" has come from.

It is an excellent question and the city has so far refused requests for the records and a reasonable explanation.

The question was also raised as to why the same people serve on so many boards.

Another excellent question that deserves a reasonable explanation to the citizens of Vincent.

When the meeting ended, Mrs Jordan-Smith was surrounded by Jim Hurley, Stephen Bradley and Rob Fowler like bees buzzing on crimson clover. They were all laughing and exchanging pleasantries and saying how glad they all were to see each other.

They walked out into the night smiling and laughing as if they were all "old friends." Mrs. Jordan-Smith bid them goodnight with; "It was so good to see all of you!"
Mrs. Gibbons who was standing nearby said; "Well, hello Bridgette, aren't you glad to see me too?" Mrs. Smith responded with a curt, "NO" and walked away from one of her own citizens in favor of the "terrible trios" company as they left.

Is it any wonder to you readers and observers of this situation, why WE are hotter than two dollar pistols here in Vincent?

It is past time for some trips to the woodshed to commence and justice to come riding into this town on the white horse called accountability.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Write No Evil, Link No Evil, Post No Evil

The Shelby County Reporter just jumped the proverbial shark.

They have chosen to purposefully suppress all comments on certain recent news stories with high comment logs and factual, previously published media linked stories containing revealing and damaging information on what exactly may be going on in Vincent, Alabama considering the "players" involved.

It seems that the closer we get to "the real truth" of this quarry situation the more "big nerves" we are striking.

THE PUBLIC HAS A RIGHT TO KNOW and no media organization should ever be in the business of willfully suppressing information the citizens it serves need to know on serious issues with real consequences.

Clearly, they do not serve all the people of Shelby County with unbiased and honest reporting for their citizens, and are now actively engaged in dissuading comment on the contentious issues they write about in regard to the Vincent quarry.

The supposed "champion voice for the community" which the Editor, Tim Prince, so proudly pronounced the SCR would be when he was installed as Editor has now become the "champion of the special interests community".

This newspaper has now gone from reading material to premium birdcage liner.

**addendum**the Terms of Service for posting have also been rewritten in the past week in such restrictive and sweeping terms that anything said could fall under "their new violation of terms".


The Newspaper is "threatening" under "we reserve the right" to expose the poster's identity, any IP address(s) and any other information we have on you if you violate our Terms of Service.

Expose it to whom exactly?

I presume they intend to just hand you over to the quarry lawyers and quarry people so they can do whatever it is they decide to.

What if any of those people were not scrupulous and something bad were to happen? I am not accusing them of that behavior or trying to be a conspiracy theorist, but stranger things have happened over a lot less and we are talking about powerful individuals and entities with hundreds of millions of dollars in potential profit from this operation.

The newspaper is acting in a dangerous and reckless manner including that language and by stating they would resort to such a violation of a person's privacy.

This is not a CIA agent outing that may have a bearing on national security, these are everyday people from a small town just trying to expose important public information and exercise their right to free speech.


It is absolutely reprehensible and a public demand should immediately be made that they drop this "threat" from the Terms of Service, as well as truthfully disclose any violations of privacy THAT MAY HAVE ALREADY OCCURRED in detail to any other party, PUBLICLY.

An additional clause "declares" anything you post from the public domain (links, etc.) in their forum is a declaration by you that you are claiming the original material to be yours and therefore open to copyright infringement.

Furthermore, they warn you of the "prohibited use" of multiple user names and if you have signed up using incorrect information then you are also "subject to violation" of the Terms of Service.

These are only small parts of "their recently revised Terms of Service", which appear to be written by the attorneys for the quarry, with Bradley's influence all over it, in a heavy handed attempt to dissuade all comments on any of the newspapers stories about the quarry, that do not follow the Communistic style restrictions now placed on any individual poster.

It's enough to make Hugo Chavez proud isn't it?

Welcome to the RED county of Alabama, in which a town that was formerly Vincent, is now Cuba, Alabama.

You Can't Hide Your Lyin' Eyes

• A liar is uncomfortable facing his questioner/accuser and may turn his head or body away or look down to avoid direct eye contact.
• A liar might unconsciously place objects (book, coffee cup, papers, appear to be writing etc.) between themselves and you.

From: "How to Detect Lies"

At our recent city council meeting, both were on display from our Mayor who appeared to be looking to White Rock Quarries president Jim Hurley for "reassurances" when valid points were made regarding the detriments of the proposed quarry.

In two of the allowed five minute presentations made by the opposition to the quarry, after 33 of these "reassurance seeking glances" we stopped counting. Once he figured out he was being watched so intently, he shifted to downward glances, taking up his pen and "reading" whatever was in front of him and a nervous facial tick replaced the sideways glances when he did look at the speaker.

His body language said enough to write a novel.

The rest of the council was just as interesting to

Council member Bridgette Jordan-Smith was on her Blackberry the entire time Anne Gibbons, a retired lawyer and class act of a lady, was speaking and did not bother to look up once, that is until the timer went off and Mrs. Gibbons speaking time had ended. Mrs. Gibbons has a lawsuit filed against the Zoning board for violations of their ordinances as well she should.

When Jo Mudd, another former lawyer, was speaking about property values and the mathematical models used to obtain them by experts, Ms. Smith made a weak attempt to dismiss them in calling them "academic" by selectively choosing one of the six forms of the adjective application of the word that suited her.

She wanted to appear smarter than she actually is and clearly did not have a full understanding of the material covered in English 101. Perhaps she missed that lesson or was distracted and daydreaming of her next theft of property scheme instead of paying attention to the instructor.
(She was convicted twice of theft, one a felony that was plead down to a misdemeanor which allowed her to run for City Council).

Not the kind of person that should have access to money belonging to the community, especially as "sketchy" as the record keeping is here in Vincent.

Alabama theft of property law is contained in Alabama Code § 13A-8-2. Theft of property -- Definition.

A person commits the crime of theft of property if he or she:

(1) Knowingly obtains or exerts unauthorized control over the property of another, with intent to deprive the owner of his or her property;

(2) Knowingly obtains by deception control over the property of another, with intent to deprive the owner of his or her property;

(3) Knowingly obtains or exerts control over property in the custody of a law enforcement agency which was explicitly represented to the person by an agent of the law enforcement agency as being stolen; or

(4) Knowingly obtains or exerts unauthorized control over any donated item left on the property of a charitable organization or in a drop box or trailer, or within 30 feet of a drop box or trailer, belonging to a charitable organization.

The state of Alabama has to prove three elements to convict a person of theft of property.

* that the defendant knowingly obtained the property of others
* defendant obtained that property by deception
* and defendant intended to deprive the others of their property
Note: Even if a record is expunged, it is still traceable through court records as to why it was expunged.

She is one of three council members that have publicly said they would vote their district citizens wishes. Most of her district is against it, but she publicly says they are for it.

Council person Mary Lee Reynolds, Mary Lee, Mary Lee, where to start with you.....this self appointed Queen of Vincent is a real piece of work. She spends 90% of her council meeting time actually looking the other way when anyone, including experts in their professional fields, says anything in opposition to the quarry. The look on her face resembles one who has sucked on far too many lemons. She makes no attempts to hide her disgust and disdain for anything other than what she believes.

She has been actively involved with the so called "Friends of Vincent" an opposition group to oppose annexation of Vincent into the neighboring community of Harpersville. That town has a no blasting ordinance on their books and the quarry would be a non starter with that ordinance in place. Vincent claimed to be setting the same ordinance up in their December 2008 recorded minutes, but it was never mentioned again after that one city council meeting.

Annexation into Harpersville would mean all the city officials would be out of a job and Vincent would have its first black Mayor in its history.

Mary Lee has read the "Friends of Vincent" petition twice now in public, the first time she specifically asked that it be off the record, the second time she did not. She was seen being congratulated in public, by WRQ lawyer Rob Fowler who told her: "Thanks for all your hard work on the No Annexation signs, we really appreciate it." (What does he mean when he says "we"?) To which she replied; "Oh it wasn't just me, folks from the church (that would be the Baptist church downtown that is the heart of money and power in the community as well as the church Mayor McCallister attends) helped too."

She would not attend her own district citizens meeting to address and listen to their concerns about the quarry because it was held in a church (to accommodate all the citizens who attended) and against her Southern Baptist beliefs. WRQ atty. Rob Fowler defended her by accusing her district citizens of wanting to hold "a political rally in a church rather than a district meeting."

I am sure he is attendance every Sunday at his local church and a leader in the church for christian values based on his behavior in Vincent.

Council person Johnny Edwards comes to these meetings looking like he just got off the bass boat from Lake Martin; dressed in a fishing t-shirt, blue jeans and a baseball cap. His casual appearance as a council member, in city meetings solidifies his casual attitude towards the quarry; he will go whichever way the bobber above the "lure" drifts.

Mr. Edwards spends most of his council meeting time looking down at "papers", but is not as egregious as Mayor McCallister in that regard.

He has publicly stated he would vote his district citizens wishes on the quarry, which is an overwhelming majority against. We do not have any reason to believe he will be a man of his word on that public statement.

Council person Larry King has a strong case for conflict of interest with this quarry and should recuse himself. He has been the operations manager for Nomis Seismographs for 17 years, which is the exclusive distributor for Saul Seismic who has been hired by WRQ.

He is one of two council members that actually look at speakers from both sides when they are addressing the officials.

He is the third and last council member that has said publicly he will vote his district citizens wishes and almost all are against.

Since he stands to gain financially from his official position, we doubt that he will do what he says and be a man of his word.

Council person Ralph Kimble is the only member opposed to the quarry. He tries every meeting to hold the rest of the officials accountable in different areas and is thwarted every time.

He proposes reasonable requests such as; to have the meetings held in venues where all the citizens can attend and hear what is being said.

Silence from his fellow members and "motion failed" is becoming the familiar tune.

At this last meeting, he proposed a delay in voting on the quarry and the Mayor, who thought he was talking low enough to not be heard, was overheard saying; "I am tired of this." One can only imagine what he was tired of since he already refused an area vote by the citizens on the quarry saying; "It will only delay things."

They are ready to get "their bonus" and move on, much like Robbie Greene did. (See the Long Hot Summer of 2007 posting).

There is more to the meeting and other shenanigans that were out in full view that night that will be covered in another post soon.

This will include discussion on the 101,000.00 discrepancy in favor of the city that "just magically appeared" in the recent budget.

We are watching them like hawks looking for the twitch of a mouse in tall grass.

Someone should because none of you have any respect for the laws of Alabama or your citizens.

Part II coming soon.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Because I am "the Emperor French" That's Why

Contribution records as of April 2010

Mr French, in looking at your political contributors, it is no wonder why you have refused to acknowledge the citizens of Vincent, who you are supposed to represent in this district.

Our many phone calls to you and numerous letters you have received from us asking for your assistance in stopping this quarry have gone unanswered and ignored. The same goes for the entire local delegation. SILENCE.

You and some of your other cohorts are in the pocket of BARD and Stephen Bradley.

HIGHLAND PAC (Bradley's direct PAC)
VPAC (Bradley's direct PAC)
ALA BIZ PAC (Bradley's direct PAC)
HORIZON PAC (Bradley's direct PAC)
SOUND ECONOMY PAC (PAC to PAC transfers from Bradley PACS & BARD)
ENPAC (PAC to PAC transfers from Bradley PACS & BARD)

list to be continued....

Mr. French, isn't it you on the CBS 42 story and video linked here on this blog; "PAC TO PAC Transfers" saying this is a problem in Alabama and cannot get voted out of the Senate? You are a member of that same Senate aren't you?

On the other link regarding "Shelby County Legislators 2009, Some Contributions", Al.com link to the right, you and your buddies are listed with a lot of PAC money that came from PAC to PAC transfers.

How is it you are the recipient of PAC to PAC transfers (and who they tie to that is against us), but you are against PAC to PAC transfers when it is convenient for you to get "good" press from it?

It is no wonder you have not responded to your Vincent citizens pleas for help in stopping this quarry.

Clearly you are for sale and influenced, not by your Vincent voters, who helped put you in office I might add, to REPRESENT US, but by outsiders and big business that can give you the big bucks to help your bid for re-election.

In 2008 you voted "NO" on a bill banning PAC to PAC transfers. (link to right under PACS Twists & Turns)
Senator Hank Erwin, represents Shelby County, vote "NO"
Senator Jabo Waggoner, represents Shelby County, vote "NO"

All three of you in particular, who sit on the Shelby County Local Delegation, have remained SILENT to your Vincent citizens requests for meetings, letters and phone calls made specifically to the three of you.

It is time for you to go Mr. French and take your partners with you.

You sir are a "poster child" for what is wrong with Alabama politics.

Monday, April 5, 2010

The Long Hot Summer of 2007

In the heat of another sweltering Alabama summer mysterious things began to happen in Vincent, Alabama that would change it forever.

Strangers began to appear on the doorsteps of friends and neighbors offering unusually large sums of money for their farms.

In the beginning of this, with mostly familiar country folk in the parts, these strangers were not welcomed upon their unannounced arrivals and intent to have what had always been these people's homes for most of them. They were raised on the land, so were their parents and so on. Those ties run deep and are not quick to unbind themselves. Folks were leery of these outsiders and their "ideas."

"What are you going to do with it if I sell it to you?" was the question in their minds and on their lips. The answers were vague and short; "Agricultural purposes, I will give you twice or more what it is worth."

Money is in short supply around these parts and what these strangers were offering was too tempting to close the gate on, even if it did seem "not quite right" and out of keeping with everyday life in this small rural town.

Many of these land owners thought if it stayed agricultural, it wouldn't be so bad to sell their land, after all that was what they said wasn't it? "Agricultural purposes." Which to them meant, soybeans, corn, cotton and possibly timber.

That made the guilt of selling "home" a bit easier. So did the big money and snake oil sales talk by the outsiders.

When they made their way around to the Greene place it was a different story.

Robbie Green enjoyed a position on the local Zoning Board and was likely privy to inside information on who these strangers were. They were not strangers at all, but anticipated arrivals and appearing to act shrewd, she held out on them hoping they would "sweeten" their offer for her place and her Father who lived close by.

It worked better than a ten dollar bill in a dollar game and paid off with the highest price for any of the land sold.

No sooner had the ink dried on the checks, she resigned her position on the Zoning Board, gathered up Papa, who had a nice fat check himself in the deal, waved goodbye to her brother in law, who was soon to be the next Mayor and lit out for another county.

Questions and suspicion followed her like her own shadow. She proclaimed her innocence to everyone and defended herself with a predictable stance; "I didn't know what they were going to do with my land, and we weren't the first to sell you know. I made them a high price and I didn't really think they were going to take me up on it."

Nobody ever bought that load of fertilizer, not for a minute they didn't. Most folks here who have been around fertilizer all their life and seen it scattered on fields far and wide, here, there and over yonder said that was the biggest load of it they will ever see.

It's the beginning of another long hot summer, again, now in 2010 and getting hotter every day that rolls by here in small town Alabama.

PAC to PAC - "Money Laundering" in Alabama!

PAC to PAC - "Money Laundering" in Alabama!

Posted using ShareThis

Sunday, April 4, 2010

What Did They Have To Hide? SCR Opinion piece on Alabama's Sunshine Law regarding the Vincent officials

What did they have to hide?

Published Tuesday, May 12, 2009

It’s unclear if Vincent’s mayor, town council or zoning board members violated Alabama’s open meetings law. It’s also unclear why those officials did business in unpublicized meetings.

It is apparent, however, that they violated the trust of every Vincent citizen when they agreed to meet on March 31, individually or in groups of less than a quorum, with representatives of the company proposing to locate a lime quarry in Vincent.

We don’t know what went on at those meetings, and that’s the problem. If those meetings were innocent, why not present the information at a town council or zoning board meeting? After all, by the time the meeting took place, the Vecellio Group had completed the vast majority of its purchases of land, which total more than 1,000 acres in Vincent.

The citizens of Vincent are left to wonder, what, if anything, did council members and zoning board members and the mayor agree to in private that they couldn’t or wouldn’t agree to in front of their constituency?

Alabama’s open meetings law is referred to as the Sunshine Law for a reason. Alabama’s residents are best served when the sun shines brightly on every aspect of the workings of government.

Regardless of citizens’ opinions about a quarry locating in Vincent, a shadow has been cast over the project because of the secrecy involved. It will be tough work indeed for Vincent’s mayor, council and zoning board members to win back the trust of the people they were elected to serve.

We Say is the opinion of the Shelby County Reporter editorial board.

This is the only article they have published that has been factual and unbiased on this issue. Since this was published, they have become more of an advocate for the quarry than for the citizens of Vincent.

The ones who attended were also made to sign a confidentiality agreement. Why was that asked for and what did it contain? The paper never reported on that either. *Note on the accompanying link at the end of this post how Council member Bridgette Jordan-Smith does not want to "answer anymore of your questions" when she is asked about the quarry.

They also left out the fact that the land purchases were done through 5 Delaware FLLC shell companies under the guise of "bio fuel operations".

So much for fair and accurate reporting in Shelby County, Alabama.

*Please see link to the right; "Quarry May Be In Vincent's Future"

No Benefit For Vincent & Why

We live in unique geology in most of Shelby County, karst terrain that is made up of limestone, dolomite and shale that is intertwined with underground springs and rivers.

Vincent relies on ground wells, literally Mother Earth, for its city water supply.

Our farmland is beautiful and rich as a result of this geology and is prone to sinkholes as well because of it.

The underground springs and rivers hold up our farmlands and keep our entire area from becoming one giant sinkhole, such as what happened in Dry Valley, Montevallo, Alabama in 1972 (49 miles from Vincent) as the result of massive dewatering from a nearby quarry.

The largest sinkhole in US history occurred there measuring 425 ft. across and over 150 ft. deep.

It was even named the "Golly Hole" by the man who found it and "December Giant" by geologists that came and studied it.

Withdrawing massive amounts of groundwater in this type of terrain results in increased sinkholes and greater subsidience (earth movement/collapse) because the land no longer has the support the groundwater provides.

4000 sinkholes have formed in this county from mining and massive dewatering since the 1970s according to the USGS. 1700 additional sinkholes have been recorded in the same Alabaster/Calera/Montevallo area within 2 miles of mining operations.

Shelby County is referred to as the "sinkhole capital of Alabama" for good reason.

This is a problem in an area that already has the risk of sinkholes because:
1. The Colonial pipeline running through it that supplies the eastern seaboard
2. Gas and petroleum lines running through the quarry property
3. Close proximity to the Coosa River (a major waterway), within a mile of the quarry property
4. Proximity to our schools, Elementary 4500 ft., Middle/High approx. 6000 ft.
5. A thrust fault line running slightly to the west of Vincent
6. Spring Creek an untested (by the EPA or ADEM) tributary of the Coosa River very close to the quarry property
7. Excavation to exceed 400 ft. in depth, well below our water table and the depth of the nearby river
8. Reliance of residents on the river loop and surrounding areas on wells
9. Lack of a city sewer system and the great number of septic tanks

The cone of depression (COD) will widen as the quarry goes deeper during operations and will cause wells to foul and or go dry as most wells in this area do not exceed 150 ft. Septic tanks are at risk of rupture from sinkholes, subsidience and perhaps blasting shock waves.

As the COD widens, all water will be pulled towards the quarry and put it at real danger of pulling the river in on it. The flood plain area is contiguous to the property. If they do pull the river in on them, it could be catastrophic depending far down they have gone and how much area would flood before it could be contained to some extent.

This city is not capable of inspecting and enforcing the quarry, no one has the expertise and knowledge to know what to look for. The county is under EPA federal audit for it's non compliance in storm water management.
2009 EPA 34 page document link within article from Alabama River Alliance website and appears at the right:

In the NY Times link at right, all of Shelby Counties' water inspection reporting seems to "cease" in 2006.

The county is not doing their job, ADEM is not doing their job, the EMC who oversees ADEM has failed to supervise and the EPA is also "asleep at the wheel".

Theoretically, we feel we have no oversight with this issue.

This is a very large quarry at 886 acres and with that comes heavy machinery and trucks, diesel storage tanks (no one has mentioned them in any proposals), chemicals used in quarrying operations (also no mention if those and what they are) and the accompanying businesses that are always with quarries such as:
1. Lime production plants
2. Cement Plants
3. Asphalt plants
4. Construction and steel fabricators

In our county, these industries are located with almost every operating quarry and Chemical Lime, Carmeuse Lime and Lafarge North America are persistent and notorious violators according to the EPA records. Carmeuse and LaFarge merged earlier this year into one entity.

Carmeuse and Chemical Lime are Stephen Bradley's clients. Martin Marietta Aggregates is also a client of Mr. Bradley's and operates two quarries in this county.

White Rock Quarries is saying they will ship "95% of the product by rail". Those rail lines run within a few hundred yards of our schools, an added insult to the children of our area.

The quarry claims it will use "wet suppression systems for all operations and trucks entering and leaving the site" to control the dust. What happens when that dust dries or it rains? It runs off into our groundwater or is carried into the air by winds.

They first proposed 40 ft. berms surrounding the site, then lowered it to 20ft. on two sides. The Alabama Industrial Board mining reclamation section states; a "minimum of 50 ft. berms surrounding the site will be maintained throughout the operational period of any quarry".

Why would they "lower" the berm height on two sides? Is it an effort to make it so inhabitable for the River Loop residents that they will want to leave?

The River Loop population is predominantly black. Is this the same tactic used by the "Big Mules" in Alabama previously to take advantage of economically depressed areas comprised of mostly minority residents?

See the links at right on Black Belt "Big Mule" Coalition and "New Mules" keep kick alive in Alabama (Bard and big business carry on bad tradition in Alabama).

Alabama does not need to return to the times of yesterday, but it seems they have through BARD and corruptible politicians.

This quarry marched into town promising:
1. 125 jobs (well below the average workforce of any existing Alabama quarry)
2. Money to our schools (it will go to the county and be distributed, not directly to Vincent schools)
3. 10,000,000 in tax revenue (again to be distributed by the county, not directly to Vincent)
4. New rec center and bleachers to the Elementary school (perhaps to give them a better view of the "beautiful, modern quarry" right on top of them and get them out of the dust?)
5. A new senior center (we have a good one now, but you have got to get the older population on board don't you?)
6. Promises of being a "good neighbor" (straight out of the BARD "handbook")

Who really benefits from this quarry?
1. The county "power players" that are working behind the scenes from Columbiana
2. Alabama Power (also a BARD member and heavy polluter under EPA scrutiny) and other industries such as Chemical Lime, Bowater (Gaston) Steam Plant, etc. that rely on "scrubbers" to reduce their sulfuric emissions. Limestone and Dolomite are used in this process. The dirty little secret is the scrubbers do nothing to remove mercury and arsenic that is also a by product of their coal process.
3. Local officials that can have access to large sums of money from the quarry who already "keep" and "sporadically record" meetings and accounting.

Vincent will not benefit, it will be destroyed.

It will gain national notoriety if this quarry comes in for all the wrong reasons.

No one, it seems, is listening.....