Wednesday, March 21, 2012

GPATS likes to spend your money

On Monday, Greenville Occupiers attended the GPATS (Greenville-Pickens Area Transportation Study) meeting at County Square in Greenville, South Carolina. The only good thing I can say about it: they had donuts.




Ostensibly, we had come to support Joel Ann Chandler, the woman whose business (Mauldin Open Air Market) is currently under attack by the South Carolina Department of Transportation.

SC-DOT (under the auspices of the mysterious GPATS) is currently engaging in a naked land-grab scheme, attempting to steal a goodly section of her already-small parking lot, using Eminent Domain. The time and money spent on all these hearings (where Joel Ann always has supporters present) seems to be no object; they appear determined to go forward. And yet, they invariably table her specific concerns until the next meeting.

It seems they prefer to grab someone's property when the victim isn't sitting right there; it unnerves them to steal it while the public is looking.

Joel Ann has repeatedly attempted to find out what's going on and why they want her property so badly. Various movers and shakers are buying up the property around Mauldin High School (across from Joel Ann's market), and future subdivisions are in the works. Obviously, this whole land-grab scheme is crucial to these plans, and the sacred TURN LANE (which will shave off most of her parking lot) will be necessary for traffic management after the subdivisions are built. But right now, the extra lane is unnecessary. Thus, they are planning on taking significant areas of her property in PREPARATION for what the money-men have planned for the neighborhood. It is NOT about what's going on with the traffic-flow right now.

WHO, then, IN PARTICULAR, is agitating for the turn lane, and why won't they name themselves? And what connections might they have to the individuals sitting on the GPATS board?

In short, why is GPATS doing the dirty work of the real estate interests who expect to make money off the subdivisions? Do they serve the people, who love Joel Ann's market that has sold local produce to the community since forever (the land has been in her family since the 20s)... or do they serve the special interests (real estate, banks, lawyers, construction companies, property owners) that expect to make money off the future subdivisions?

Well, that is certainly an interesting question, in light of the meeting. I had never been to one of these, so it was educational.

GPATS has lots of projects going. LOTS. And some of them are fairly obvious to me. Fairforest Way, for instance, is the home of the local UPS hub. It is also the main road leading to Cavalier Drive, home of Christ Church Episcopal School, where the affluent kids of Greenville are educated. Thus, Fairforest Way rates a big road project. Our tax money is therefore paying to maintain a main thoroughfare for wealthy private-school kids and staggeringly-wealthy private-industry. How many of Greenville's citizens will this road actually serve? Is this ethical? And still another project will insure ICAR has good access roads, since of course we all know Clemson's partners in this endeavor, Microsoft and BMW, can't afford to build their own. (Link to GPATS pdf file detailing these projects)

At left: David Thomas, glad-handing the citizenry at the GPATS meeting.


Besides that, all of these roads-projects have hefty price-tags--millions of dollars earmarked--with little discussion. In fact, make that NO discussion. There was no itemized list of costs presented to this board, packed with Republicans and chaired by Head Teabagger, State Senator David Thomas, a shyster-politician who thoroughly believes in living off the beneficent state.

I thought Republicans didn't believe in squandering taxpayers' money? (No, I have never believed that either, but that is the okeydoke they put out.) So, how about an itemized list, detailing exactly where these millions of greenbacks are going, and an explanation of why THESE particular road-projects have been given precedent over others in poorer neighborhoods? Did they submit these projects to a public bidding process, to insure the cheapest bid? Who knows? GPATS works in secret... the board is composed of many elected officials, but how did they get appointed to GPATS? We counted about two dozen board-members, all white men, with one black woman and one white woman, period. (Now, who decided on THAT?) There are plenty of elected officials they could have asked to be on the GPATS who aren't white males, but perhaps they don't know any? How is one for selected for the GPATS board?

Who decided this board was the Alpha and Omega of the roads projects in Greenville County? How did this rather shadowy group of politicians get put in charge of millions of dollars, as well as the power to steal a private-business-owner's property? Most local citizens I have talked to, did not realize GPATS was calling the shots instead of the SC Department of Transportation.

Yes, this is the way politics in the South works, mysteriously and behind-the-scenes, by way of the Old Bubba Network.

And it sucks.

~*~

During the meeting, my Consigliere rose and made some rather forceful public comments about the demographics of the GPATS board not matching up with the demographics of Greenville County. He wasn't too popular.

We also listened to a rich woman's lawyer talk about saving her property from one such intrusive road-project, by installing a "modern roundabout," and we then watched a little video about the roundabouts, which keep traffic moving and save energy and so on. GPATS board member Jim Burns immediately said it was a good idea... and by my calculations (noting the map where this rich woman's property is), I figured out that Burns is her County Council representative, so he knows which side his bread is buttered on, as my grandmother used to say.

Can we trust this process, coming from a board with no electoral oversight? (Chaired by a man who famously says one thing and does another?)

I realized, this ongoing abuse of Joel Ann is merely the tip of the iceberg, and GPATS, responsible for allocating millions of dollars, has plenty to answer for.

Like, who are they? Who decides which projects get priority? How does one get on the GPATS board? Is there a bidding process? If not, how do they decide which companies get these plum contracts?

We can start there.

~*~

We will be discussing GPATS and other interesting local politics on my radio show Saturday morning, so stay tuned. WFIS radio, 9-10am, 1600AM and/or 94.9FM in upstate SC. To listen via your phone: 724-444-7444, Call ID: 112747#

We would especially like to hear from GPATS board members, as well as folks who have had dealings with them, up close and personal. TELL US ABOUT IT! Studio phone line: 864-228-WFIS which is also 864-228-9347.

And please support the Mauldin Open Air Market, where last year I met the legendary Country Earl! They have the very best, fresh, locally-grown peanuts in town.

16 comments:

thene said...

I guess the next step is to do what the teabaggers do; get an occupier elected to the board.

West said...

Wow, both sides can agree on the overreaching government. Then this person goes and insults the Tea Party people. See, it blows my mind. You People want free birth control- hey stupid, wake up and realize a government large enough to mandate free birth control is large enough to take your property.

Conseglieri said...

West, you seem hell bent of being provocative. I suppose that's OK, but why you gotta call me stupid? Requiring an employer to offer a full range of medical coverage for their employees is not the same as taking someone's home and business away from them. As you say, we agree on this one...why weren't you there to stand up for Joel Ann? Daisy and I were there. Double A was there. Were you there also?

DaisyDeadhead said...

West, next insult ("stupid") and I ban you for good, okay? Tired of messing around w/you.

How about this: The Tea Party is fucking rude, even after we give them chance after chance to stop and links explaining netiquette. Hopeless, rude AND stupid.

bryce said...

yr 2 nice, d. ida banned dumb ass weeks ago.

West said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
DaisyDeadhead said...

West, I didn't see an apology in your rant, so its the trap door, sorry. I will not be called stupid and allow that to stand. Get a clue. Save it for the wife.

Anonymous said...

Daisy, Fairforest Road.....paid for by federal money, not county money. You did not pay for it anymore than some guy in Alaska paid for it. UPS and heaven forbid a school with kids that are going to excel in life don't deserve a road? I don't drive down many roads.....why did they build them then? that's a terrible arguement.

Throwing insults at people takes away any credibility you may have. It's the you verse us view that is ruining this country. It's not the Republicans ruining this country any more than the Democrats. And I have to agree with West.....if the government is large enough to force a private employer to do something (in his case provide free conception) then it is large enough to take stuff from a private employer (part of a parking lot). If you believe it's ok for the government to force you to do something don't be shocked when they take something away, thinking it can't happen is just naive.

As far as the white boys club on that panel....these are elected officials. Did you take a look at the elected officials of GC compared to the dynamics of the citizens....just because a percentage of the population is one ethnicity or gender doesn't mean that's going to corrrelate into the percentage of elected officials....so if you're mad that the majority of elected officials are white males, don't be mad at them, be mad at the electorate. Also, why does race/gender matter in this case? you're throwing in racial and sexist tones by bringing in something completely unrelated to anything. And, believe it or not, most things are not about race, this is a prime example of a situation that was not based on race or gender.

DaisyDeadhead said...

Dear Anonymous,

First of all, points off for not having the guts to leave your name. This renders everything you say suspect, since you won't stand by it. You are likely a GPATS hack, or maybe one of their affluent wives with ample time on your hands.

"Anonymous" means you are a coward and I really dislike cowards.

1) I pay federal taxes, so yes, that IS my money... although of course I realize it is true that red states take more federal money than blue states.

2) "Kids that are going to excel"? Are you suggesting kids in PUBLIC school do not also excel? Ah, a proud elitist, huh? Another reason I don't have to listen to you.

3) It's the you verse us view that is ruining this country

Um, no, its the Tea Party and their fellow travelers who do things like deny climate change (hastening the death of the PLANET) and freely give the country away to the 1%, who are ruining the country... AND their dumb, cowardly, elitist apologists, like you.

If you truly care about the country, I expect to see you out with Occupy on Sunday (Coffee and Main Streets), 2pm.

If you aren't out there, shut up.

4) It's not the Republicans ruining this country any more than the Democrats.

I see you are also illiterate too.

Making sure billions of people have NO health care and eventually riot and wreak havoc over it?

Is not good for the country, idiot.

5) if the government is large enough to force a private employer to do something (in his case provide free conception)

And you say *I* am naive? THE CATHOLIC CHURCH IS ONE OF THE RICHEST ORGANIZATIONS (actually, countries, since Vatican City has the status of a separate nation) IN THE ENTIRE WORLD. This is a political act, pure and simple. Providing free contraception (not "free conception" you illiterate ass) is a mere drop in the bucket with their millions... they give away 4 billion in Third World Charity alone... you think they can't change health insurance premiums with a simple checkmark? No, this is about Catholic doctrine. They can afford it fine... they certainly want to employ droves of women of reproductive age (cheaply) to clean the bishop's toilets, then they can provide health care for all of them too.

BTW, are you a Protestant? Can I ask why you are defending an organization that doubts your salvation and/or the validity of your Christianity? More illiteracy?

6) As far as the white boys club on that panel....these are elected officials

I believe I said that, didn't I?

And so are Lillian Brock Flemming, Jil Littlejohn, Susan Reynolds, Gaye Sprague, Amy Doyle, to name only a few. Why are they not on GPATS? Who does the inviting?

Apparently, for all your clueless fulminating, you obviously don't know the answer either.

7) Did you take a look at the elected officials of GC compared to the dynamics of the citizens....just because a percentage of the population is one ethnicity or gender doesn't mean that's going to corrrelate into the percentage of elected officials.

I guess you don't know the several-century history of South Carolina repressing black people's voting rights, as well as Nikki Haley's newest attempts to limit African-Americans voting?

Illiterate AND stupid, huh?

2b continued

DaisyDeadhead said...

Reply to cowardly anonymous, continued:

It doesn't 'correlate' due to the staggering history of racism in SC, of course. Are you defending this sordid history? (Did you approve of lynching too?)

If you aren't racist, we will see you tomorrow at the rally in Cleveland Park, about Trayvon Martin's murder. If you can't show up, again, please shut up.

8) just because a percentage of the population is one ethnicity or gender doesn't mean that's going to corrrelate into the percentage of elected officials..

It does in less racist and less repressive places, like where I come from. I do not expect a southern-racism apologist and illiterate to understand the difference between representative democracy and oligarchy.

Maybe you should look it up.

9) Also, why does race/gender matter in this case?

Because it ALWAYS matters, of course. How stupid ARE you?

If the GPATS board was all black, you people would be howling to high heaven... of course that NEVER happens in upstate SC, does it? (I wonder why?) Why is it a given that one race (which just happens to be the historically oppressive one) will have higher representation?

Do you know what "democracy" means?

10) you're throwing in racial and sexist tones by bringing in something completely unrelated to anything.

If black people are excluded from GPATS, AND their neighborhoods are notably excluded from the roads projects, you really don't see the correlation?

Dumb as dirt, all of them. See how inferior private schools are? Obviously, you attended one and swallowed it all.

My radio show is tomorrow morning, 9am, WFIS radio, 1600AM... give me a call and I can insult you on the air too. :) The pleasure will be all mine!

Anonymous said...

Daisy,

I would like to start off by aplogizing for a couple things. I'm sorry I didn't give my name, it's Frank. I'm also sorry I didn't take the time to run my comment by an editor to catch all the typos I may have had. (spoiler alert, I'm not going to this time either)

I don't work for any sort of public institution. I am not married to anyone who does. I attended a public school. I am originally from the north. I am not Catholic.

It seems you feel a road to UPS or to a private school is not justified. What makes a road justified to you? Are there no roads to the public school or through poverty stricken areas? I believe there are, so why shouldn't this road exist? Also, UPS and the parents of those students pay more in taxes than you do, but they don't deserve a road? And I'm not insinuating kids from public schools can't do great things in life (I have no compalints) but to say kids in private school doesn't deserve a road....come on.

I will not be out with Occupy since I don't believe they are good for the country. I know you think I'm wrong with that thought, but unlike you, I believe you are entitled to have differing thoughts than me.

Were people dying on the streets due to no healthcare when Bush was president (and no I'm not saying Bush was a great president)? Cause that's what I keep hearing but I for the life of me can't remember that. The healthcare industry is screwed up. The AHA is NOT helping the costs. It was a poorly put together piece of legislation that was rushed through for purely political reasons. It will hurt, not help the majority of Americans. Something needed to change, but this wasn't it. It does absolutely nothing to address the cost of healthcare.

Not once did I imply the Catholic church couldn't afford to give any healthcare. They have money, we all know it, nobody's saying they're poor. The point is they are being forced to do something against their religious beliefs. Them not offering something as part of their healthcare plan does not mean it isn't still available. This is still a somewhat free country, don't like how you're employer is treating you, get a new job! Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying their doctrine is right or wrong, I'm simply saying forcing them into something they don't believe IS wrong. I am also not saying I agree or disagree with providing free contraception, all I'm saying is it should be up to the employer. If an employer doesn't offer it and it's a very unpopular item, something amazing will happen, people won't work there and they'll change the rules. People like to make money, if that's hurting the bottom line, they'll be quick to change their tune. The biggest thing to remember, if the government can force their will on one institution and force them to do something against their beliefs, they can do it to you also. Everytime the government gives someone something they take it from someone else.

Your basis for if someone is worthly of being on the panel is strictly based on their ethnicity or gender? I guess you're right, everything in your life is based soley on that. Comparing lynching to not having enough minorities on a panel is really disrespectful to the individuals that went through the lynchings.

You realize the shooter in Trayvon Martin's murder is a Cuban right? Oh yeah, he's also being charged now.

I am amazed that although I did not attack you at all personally in my first post, the closest I came was saying you may be naive, you make personal attacks against me several times in your reply and you repeated went off on tangets like that was somehow proving I was wrong. you made several assumptions about me and every one of them is incorrect

DaisyDeadhead said...

Anonymous:

It seems you feel a road to UPS or to a private school is not justified. What makes a road justified to you?

A study showing where the heaviest traffic is, the most accidents; the usual process when deciding on a new traffic light, for instance.

Are there no roads to the public school or through poverty stricken areas?

I did not see any of these on the GPATS list of projects, which was my whole point. There is the link in the post to the list of projects and you are welcome to correct me if I am wrong. (I notice you are not arguing this point)

Shitty roads exist, yes. Why a buncha shiny new roads out in the affluent suburbs, while West Greenville languishes with potholes and bad intersections?

Do you have an answer to that?

Perhaps if some Latinos (there wasn't a single one) and blacks (only one) -- the people who actually live in these neighborhoods -- were on the GPATS board, there might be some road projects in their neck of the woods? Why do you regard this as such a radical statement? It seems totally obvious to me. As it is, they have no representation. Do you agree?

Why don't you believe in representative democracy?

Also, UPS and the parents of those students pay more in taxes than you do, but they don't deserve a road?

How do you know this? You know absolutely nothing about me, sir.

UPS made in excess of 12 billion in profits last year, and paid about 4 million in taxes. If you think this is fair, we really have nothing else to say to each other.

In addition, they took all their call centers (PS: in case you do not follow this blog, THAT WAS MY JOB!) to India and Philippines, and do not even keep those thousands of jobs in the USA, for which I believe they should be PENALIZED.

At the very least, they can certainly afford to build their own goddamn road.

but unlike you, I believe you are entitled to have differing thoughts than me.

Of course you are "entitled" to your opinion, but you are NOT "entitled" to clutter up my blog with it, if I don't like it.

Like they say: GYODB

Were people dying on the streets due to no healthcare when Bush was president

Of course. But more to the point: BigPharm and hospital costs tripled or quadrupled (depending upon your source) under his watch. People who could afford doctors in 1999 cannot afford them now. Less and less health insurance is even being offered to workers. If you are over 50, they can refuse you outright and then you have no choice AT ALL. (Have you been turned down for health insurance lately?)

The richest country in the world does not have to let people die of kidney infections, you know?

Perhaps you should watch the documentary "Sick around the world"--which Occupy offered and we had a discussion afterward.

2b continued

DaisyDeadhead said...

Reply to Anon/Frank continued:

The point is they are being forced to do something against their religious beliefs.

Can you explain to me how Viagra for single men and gay men is not ALSO against their religious beliefs? Why is that covered by their insurance? A married man, under Catholic doctrine, would have need for such things... but single men and gay men and any man who asks, gets Viagra and Cialis and it is covered. My understanding of Catholic doctrine is that all sexuality outside of matrimony is morally wrong, so why aren't they complaining about NOT COVERING this too?

Further, Viagra and Cialis are VERY PRICEY and birth control pills are extremely cheap by comparison. You'd think they'd complain about the expensive thing, but no.

Excuse me, but this is about SEXISM and the fact that men can do whatever they want, and THAT is the Catholic Church in all its glory. Otherwise, could you explain the discrepancy in their moral compass?

I call bullshit on this argument, until I get an answer... Bill O'Reilly has my favorite answer so far: "Viagra treats a medical condition!"--well, duh. This medical condition should not be an issue under Catholic doctrine, UNLESS YOU ARE MARRIED. And right now, being married is not a litmus test for who gets Viagra. As far as I know, they don't even ask men that.

So much for religious freedom and all of that bullshit. Sounds nice, but scratch the surface and its just some crap to put out to snow the already-snowed Tea Partiers, who believe whatever they are told, like obedient little androids.

people won't work there and they'll change the rules.

People won't work for the church? Like all those immigrants who clean the toilets? Oh yeah, they can just go get another job!

You are naive. The Church is loaded, and part of that money is MINE and MY FAMILY's, and I therefore have the right to criticize them as much as I want, just as I do the govt that takes my money and makes endless wars with it.

The biggest thing to remember, if the government can force their will on one institution and force them to do something against their beliefs, they can do it to you also.

"How many divisions does the Pope have?"--Stalin.

If the USA challenges the Catholic Church, the USA will lose, as the USSR did. Luckily the US govt is craven and accommodationist and has never challenged the Vatican, in fact, they even give them their own ambassador, which we pay for.

You do not know how the Church works, and you are extremely naive.

Your basis for if someone is worthly of being on the panel is strictly based on their ethnicity or gender?

Do you know what "representative democracy" is? You have no problem with a white council supposedly representing an area with 52% women and 31% blacks and 8% Latinos? White men "know best"--is that what I understand you to say?

I am talking about a council representing the citizenry. They are NOT demographically representing the citizenry. I am sure none come from the neighborhoods that were overlooked, and of course there is a connection. Do you really think there isn't? You think the fact that roads-projects are in white areas has NOTHING TO DO with the fact that its white people making the decisions?

Again, if you are this naive, we have nothing to say to each other.

Comparing lynching to not having enough minorities on a panel

Reading comprehension, its a good thing.

I compared YOUR DEFENSE to DEFENDING LYNCHING, not the panel itself.

You realize the shooter in Trayvon Martin's murder is a Cuban right? Oh yeah, he's also being charged now.

Florida's Cubans are usually good Republicans, aren't they? ;)

No, George Zimmerman has NOT been charged with the murder of Trayvon Martin. I guess you get your news from Faux News, huh?

Maybe you should try some real news?

2b continued

DaisyDeadhead said...

Last installment of reply to Anon/Frank:

you make personal attacks against me several times in your reply and you repeated went off on tangets like that was somehow proving I was wrong.

In the past 5 years, I have been trolled by white supremacists and gun nuts and lesbian separatists and everything in between. If you leave an arrogant anonymous comment, preaching to me about things you (obviously) have no knowledge of, I will set you straight.

Like they say: GYODB.

I am tired of being nice to people who repeatedly show their asses, so that may be why I come out swinging.

Also, to serve notice on the conservatives: you'd better know your stuff if you come here. My blog, my rules. No more Mister Nice Guy, etc.

Have a nice day.

Conseglieri said...

In my mind roads which serve primarily a private interest should be paid for my those private interests. If UPS had to pay for a road which serves their needs they would be more likely to locate near existing well established roads, cutting back on sprawl. This would certainly apply to roads built to allow the development of suburban housing, like the area where I live. I think you're bending over backward to accommodate Republican themes Frank.

Listen, the contraception is NOT...read that..NOT FREE! It is paid for with health insurance premiums! It's a matter of a MEDICALLY VALID and NECESSARY medication being the PRIVATE BUSINESS of a patient and doctor...NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS. Sorry for YELLING but it does NOT seem to be sinking in.

This is Daisy's blog. Her place. Her space. If she says "Don't disparage unions" or "Don't spout Republican talking points" or "Don't use rude language"...that's her business. Her space, her place. If you think she's wrong about that, write any attack you care to on YOUR blog and link here so others can see...but don't expect to crap all over her floor and nothing gets done about it.

jovan b. said...

That's the way SCDOT does it: steal someone's land, but let Barnwell County get away with installing illegal street name signs (I call the signs illegal because the signs in Barnwell County are all uppercase) SEVEN MONTHS after the adaptation of the new MUTCD, which explicitly FORBIDS the use of all uppercase signs on street names (Sections 2A.13, 2D.05, and 2D.43).