Howard McKire, Clewiston, Florida
Alan Hoover, Plessis NY
Doris Cooper, Lake Butler, Florida
Mike Johnson, Jasper, Florida
Charles Edwards, White Springs, Florida
I’ll tell you in a minute but first some history is in order. In the July 2014 Council meeting Pam is quoted as saying that the AVERAGE Sewer and Water Bill for the Town of White Springs was $44.45. This seemed ridiculously low to me since mine is over $85.00 and we use less than 3000 gallons a month of water. So, under Florida Statute 119, I asked for five bills that were lower than Pam’s average of $44.45. After a month of her bickering that she didn’t have to turn over the requested bills and 15, count them, 15 secondary 119 requests for the information with state statute, Government in the Sunshine Manual quotes, case law quotes and downright pleading she finally DID HER JOB and turned over the requested documents.
The five people listed above used less than, a lot less than, 1000 gallons minimum. In fact two of them used no water at all. And their water bills averaged, for the five of them the minimum of $66.62. Now to be fair to Pam, we must “back out” the garbage fee, of $21.13 giving us a balance of $45.49 per person for the five people listed above.
Please note that this figure, $45.49 is ABOVE what Pam says is the AVERAGE for all users. If the lowest user is higher than the average the average must be above $44.45. It is simple math and it, the statement on the minutes given to the Council, is a BOLD FACED LIE. But what would one expect? The town as a whole wouldn’t know and most importantly wouldn’t tell the truth even if they knew it.
And it took me 15 identical requests in a month to get this information. What a crock of bull hockey. You want to know why I file so many 119 requests. This is the classic reason. Joe Griffin
The purpose of the Woman’s Club is over and done with. In time it will become a total eyesore of the community.
And how does town management decide that you can recruit members of the Volunteer Fire Department when the town literally steals CONTIBUTIONS to the Fire Department for the General Fund. Wash my mouth out with soap but Andrew Greene is right. Joe Griffin
From the August 19th Budget Meeting:
Fire Department – The largest cut was in capital outlay because the entire fire department budget operated off it for the past few years. Now it is gone and there is no carry over like in the past. Bill would like to see an increase in membership for the department. Mayor Miller stated the contributions should be included in the budget as a revenue. Andrew explained why it should not be included in the budget, but the council disagreed.
I guess I just do not understand a Town that thinks so poorly of its Fire Department. The worse thing which happened was when the Town became involved with the Fire Department in the first place and that was to take money from them because they were short in the General Fund.
Does the Town not realize the importance of a strong Fire Department? How are we to get volunteers if the Town Council won’t do anything for its fire fighters? We need maintenance money for our fire trucks and payments to the firefighters who help protect us. The council and especially the Mayor has spent money recklessly for their personal prestige and personal gain. What on earth are you thinking? Plus the town receives $17,000 a year from Hamilton County for our fire suppression services. What do you use that for councilpersons?
I thought it was bad when the Mayor bickered about $80 to pay our firefighter. I couldn’t believe she was so “blonde” that she did not understand. But I believe she understood well. While our Fire Department did what they had to keep our rating so that all of us did not have to pay a couple of hundred bucks a month more on insurance, we have a council that has no understanding of its true importance.
Any additional money which is made by the Fire Department should stay in a special fund for the fire department. We would be happy to contribute in many ways to help the fire department as would others in this town. But I’ll be damned if I would help the greedy officials of the town with any money or assistance. We love our fire department and it saddens us that the Town officials are officially thieves.
I have never been as angry at our stupid council members as I am today. You have true heroes who are willing to save our lives and protect our property and you don’t allow them to keep contributions to have other volunteers by helping them with schooling and uniforms.
You, our council members, are not only dimwitted about what is necessary in our small town but are unbelievably ignorant of how a town should be run. Yes, Mayor, spend our citizens money on FLOW so you can get your photo ops but to help build our fire department, you obviously couldn’t give a damn. I think you are really sad and now I believe Madame Mayor, what others have told me. Your biggest job in life was to be an Administrative Assistant, where most of us had valued jobs such as officers of companies, managers and high-end salespeople. You need to meet the needs of the people and at that you really do not give a damned.
You, Madame Mayor and Vice-Mayor McKenzie only care about who will kiss your butt next and frankly this is getting old. Do the town a favor and resign. Our town would better be run by the county. You have done nothing to help our town!
First the good news. William Lawrence, the town manager, proposed a budget that is $250,000 less than last year’s budget. Now the bad news. What that means is that we, as a town lead by a tax and spend Council (Democrats all) wasted a quarter of a million dollars last year, money that wasn’t needed to be spent. But the “spend happy” Mayor and Vice Mayor coupled with the “go along get along” rest of the Council allowed it to happen. And this year, the Council could have left the increase in last year’s budget and LOWERED the sewer bills. But NO, the Sewer rate stays higher than the average family can afford. So much for looking out for the citizens.
And lest we forget, this is not the first time a quarter of a million dollars has been wasted by this Mayor and Vice Mayor. See the sidewalk to nowhere and the park that no one uses. AND then the amphitheater project, another quarter of a million dollar boondoggle, that didn’t do anything for the town. But the voters have allegedly spoken and this is what we get. Shame on us. Some of us have tried only to have the election stole right out from underneath the nose of the citizens. Joe Griffin….
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
Right to petition
“To petition the government for a redress of grievances” means that citizens can ask for changes in the government. They can do this by collecting signatures and sending them to their elected representatives; they can write, call or e-mail their elected representatives; they can support groups that lobby the government.
Freedom of the press
A free press means we can get information from many different sources. The government cannot control what is printed in newspapers and books, broadcast on TV or radio or offered online. Citizens can request time on television to respond to views with which they disagree; they may write letters to newspaper editors and hope those letters will be printed for others to see. They can pass out leaflets that give their opinions. They can have their own Web pages and offer their opinions to others through the many means made available by the Internet.
Regardless of what some civil servant says, the Constitution, both of the Federal and the State, say other wise. Joe
For fifteen years council members have ignored Joe E. Griffin’s Citizen’s complaints (some 100) as having no merit, including calling his 119 requests frivolous. The council members would rather work in the darkness than to follow the State’s Sunshine laws. What even the attorneys for the Town have stated is that the Town is above reproach and that no one has the right to question the council. These council members for years have not realized that they are to serve the citizens….all of the citizens, including Joe E. Griffin.
What is interesting are the comments now that past council members did not do these things to Griffin on purpose. In other words they did not do it to hurt him and others stipulate they did not understand what Griffin was asking. This being the case, it makes me wonder why they did not inquire as to what Griffin was stating rather than just making everything without merit or frivolous; thereby, dismissing any and all suits against the town as being without merit.
But there is one man who apparently understood what Griffin was doing. Even if the Council people did not get the jest of these complaints and lawsuits, one man, perhaps the most intelligent but devious of them all, knew it all boiled down to 119’s, Sunshine Laws and Citizen’s complaints, the rights of a citizen to redress the government. That man is Ed Robert A. Miller. Apparently no other council persons could fathom what Joe E. Griffin was doing, but he did. I say he is “devious” because his five letters to the sewer and water recipients made it quite clear that he did not feel Griffin should question the council either. The laws were made by those of the Town and they surely did not have to follow the State Laws. For abiding by the laws or for requesting documents under the law, Mr. Miller, along with his wife and all council members seem to feel everything was harassment and it is sad that even a state official currently believes them whereas the rest of the State wishes its laws abided by.
So there you have it! The Town of White Springs does not feel any of its Citizens have rights. The council persons when elected become deity that one should adore and never question. CITIZENS OF WHITE SPRINGS, IT IS TIME TO TAKE OUR TOWN BACK AND WE THE GRIFFINS ARE IN YOUR COURT TO FIGHT THE FIGHT TO GET YOUR RIGHTS BACK. JUST SIT BACK AND SEE.
With the Jasper Newspaper there are no distinguishing characteristics as to whether the paper is liberal or conservative. Possibly, the Jasper News may be liberal in a sense that not all facts are printed. Instead it has become the White Springs News.
Have you ever noticed that it prints only those articles that enhance the Mayor and Town officials of White Springs? For instance, when the Mayor promised that she would no longer spend money without council approval, the paper did not show that it was even brought up. However, taking down the New Hope Food Bank had full details because that was the Mayor wielding her power against Richard Marshall who dared to bring it up in a council meeting.
When everything gets squared up regarding Joe Griffin and me, I really don’t know what the Jasper News will have to report. Currently there are backlashes by the Griffins for real criminal behavior against them by the Town but one does not hear a peep from the Jasper News. In fact, the current ASA did not even know the last article on Griffin was published. It is so sad that the mayor will be losing her favorite ASA come September 1st. This is the only town I have ever seen which gives credit to one man “which they say has ruined White Springs” for trying to have the rights of our citizens acknowledged. And the Jasper news just loves to bash the Griffins at the behest of Walter McKenzie and Helen and Robert A. Miller. The Jasper news also has not acknowledged the fact that there has been a complaint of election fraud which the Department of State found legal sufficiency.
When ABC New was given Joe’s information at the time of arrest, the reporter also secured Joe’s side of the story. Although the reporter aired it on the early news it was removed immediately because our town officials could not have Joe Griffin’s side of the story aired. After all, the Jasper News is one sided and one sided only. That side is what the Mayor and the other officials of White Springs desire. I just don’t know why it is not called the White Springs News?
I am also including an article I wrote a few years back called Newspapers the dying breed. What happens to the Jasper News if all these officials who do not like their citizens questioning them, are found guilty and have to change their ways by following the law and ending corruption? What happens when Joe Griffin or Karin Griffin are no longer targets? Well this is what should happen.
There should be honest reporting about all the Hamilton County News and politics. Perhaps even the Jasper people would put in more ads in their paper since it no longer is the White Springs News. There should be information about elementary and high school achievements and sports. These are the reasons parents purchase papers. There may even be segments of Jasper, Jennings, White Springs, and other town information where people may write in and have their articles published, such as “We had a party for Tom Jones, who is leaving for the Military”; “Sue and Matt Rivers announce the arrival of their son, Josh”. And if someone visited someone in the hospital or came from out of town, the people in each respective town would look forward to knowing what their fellow neighbors are doing. Not just the criminals. There may be other articles relating to what the State is doing for Juveniles and what improvements and activities are transpiring. Thank God for the Hamilton County Chamber of Commerce without which no one would know what is happening in Jasper.
I don’t know what future the Jasper News will have when White Springs may finally have to obey the laws, but it should be interesting because until that time comes, we may as well call it Miller’s White Springs, News.
Has the Newspaper industry shot itself in the foot?
NEWSPAPERS, THE DYING BREED?
The baby boomers and most of the generation X love their newspapers. One looks toward a cup of coffee or tea and enjoying the newspapers, in the comfort of one’s home. So why is this industry dying? One cites this as due to the economy in general. But is this really the case?
Yes, there are the usual decisions not to purchase a paper. “I just don’t read them and it just pile up.” “I have an eye disease and I have had to cancel my subscription.” I am allergic to newspaper print.” “ I hate to recycle.” “ I live in an apartment complex and the papers are placed in front and others steal my paper.” “I live in a gated community where all the papers are placed at the gate and are stolen.” “I don’t want to kill trees.” “I get my news online or by television only.” And last but not least “The papers are too liberal or the editorials do not speak the truth.”
Since it is suggested that we go green, let’s first discuss the on-line situation. There are now two on-line versions. There is the version that is free on the internet, which although is a fragment of the actual newspaper, in this economy it is the one most read. It does not matter that one can get cookies attached to their computer because of the advertisements which support the free internet news. Most feel it is free. Although the free on-line version advertises the type of circulation to be provided, the articles shown are usually those which are the heavy hitters in the news. Instead of placing the entire story on-line, take hint from the insurance industry, where if you wish to secure the full article, you need to subscribe to the on-line or paper version of the insurance news site or you will only get a portion of the news. So newspapers, if you are in the business of selling your product, then why place the full story on the internet. Choose only that which acts as an enticement so that someone will buy your newspaper. Why would anyone want to purchase something if the majority of the news breaking stories are on-line? (unless it is the Jasper New and the reporter is helping the Mayor to discredit a candidate running for council)
The second type of on-line version of most newspapers relates to an exact replica of the actual print edition which you may access directly under the Newspaper’s site. You can maneuver the paper replica to choose the page you wish to look at, you may open up an article with a click of a mouse into a full sized screen where you may change the fonts for easier reading. Some of these editions translate up to 40 different languages so if you or family members may not read English, and you own a computer, you are able to read the news in the language of choice. Some e-editions keep archives for a month while others provide them for twelve months back. The search vehicle is easy to use and will bring forth all such back articles. All articles may be e-mailed and for the businessperson who travels here or abroad, as long as you have an access to the computer, you may input your code to retrieve the latest edition of the newspaper. For those who feel they are killing trees, this is the real deal. And especially if you live in remote areas of the mountains, as long as you have an ISDN line of some sort or access to the internet, you can receive your news without the worry of a delivery boy or walking two miles to your mailbox if snowmobiles are not available. .
Yet it is amazing that when the electronic edition of the newspaper is offered to one citing they receive their news on-line, the answer is still “No!” It is usually followed by, “I get enough news on the free internet. Why would I pay for a newspaper on-line?” There you have it. Think like an insurance person, newspapers, if you wish for your circulations to go up, whether in paper form or on the internet. Less is more when your circulation grows.
So Newspaper Companies, let’s shoot ourselves in the foot some more. Publishers have let go of its editors because they are cutting costs. But what has happened as a result? The newspapers are becoming smaller and are utilizing such articles as those from United Press International, rather than providing good articles from research. It used to be that one purchased the paper because they were fond of a specific writer’s editorials and could not wait for the next paper so that they could see what would be written the next day. It was like having a soap opera unfold or similar to reading your favorite comic strip. I guarantee that without the old and new writers providing special articles to the public, there is definitely not a reason to buy your newspaper. After all, the TV has more because they actually employ writers for their commentators to bring forth the news on wire in new light.
With that said, there seems to be a bias in the news. Every newspaper is concerned about government intervention or provocation if articles do not match that of what is considered liberal today. If one states this is not the case, let’s look at the ACORN situation. It has to become overwhelmingly blatant for the true news to come out. Everyone has first amendment rights, so why are the newspapers so reluctant to print the news accurately? Many who purchased newspapers previously and consistently for more than 20 years because they enjoyed the news are reluctant to again receive circulation. They will then cite the newspaper as being a “Liberal Rags” among other names not too fond. They advise they hope that their departure will take notice on the newspaper so that the truth will prevail in reporting. I do not have to go further on this because each knows what is being printed and why. But take notice, you have a duty to print accurate news stories.
I must also question why National and State News publications no longer include trader information. Without Stock Market information, businesspersons and those who are retired will drop your newspaper in a heartbeat and order the Wall Street Journal or other publication which includes trader information.
Let’s next look into the smaller newspapers of communities which may have been purchased by a larger newspaper syndicate. Again, where are the reporters and where is the logic behind such reporting. Prior to such mergers, you may have found older residents who loved their newspaper because it included news and events about all in the community. Now these papers are including less about the community they sell to and are including outside community news to fill in the gaps of the paper, along with real estate deals and bankruptcies. Parents of school children are perplexed because the newspaper may include the grade school news in one paper and not include the high school, which is found in some other newspaper. Therefore, they have no choice but to buy one or two, taking a pick of which is more important. But with this inaccuracy or logic of placing all things in one community under one paper and the community news of another in another paper, these syndicates have raised the price of their circulation so that it become unaffordable to most in this economy.
And I say, newspapers syndicates, if your content remained top notch as the content of some of the smaller community papers who are self-owned and operated, price would not be the issue. But if your paper does not contain the news your subscribers would expect about their community, then why would you assume they would pay for something they have no enjoyment in reading? This is pretty cut and dry. Yet, are there any editors or writers who have the ability and logic to place articles of the community in respective newspapers and not include outlying areas of no interest to the specific community receiving your circulation? Or have they been laid off or retired because you felt their salaries would reduce your cost?
There is nothing wrong about purchasing more than one paper, but make the paper interesting enough about community events and news so that someone will wish to purchase the paper. After all, if you enjoy something, you may not live without it no matter what the price. But if it is not something you totally enjoy, then it is the first thing that goes away in a penny pinching economy.
So what is left that is still good, coupons. But not all people have the need for coupons even if they can save money. Or, coupons are forgotten when one stops at the store. Yet the manufacturers are doing an excellent job in printing better coupons which may be used by the average consumer to save money on his or her groceries.
All newspapers make money on advertising, but when the economy is in the condition in which it is, the internet is used more frequently than placing ads in a newspaper. This is highly due to the fact that the advertising costs have increased overall while businesses are cutting back. Therefore, the internet has been the key, even in classified ads. Yet for the job seeker, the classified ads are minimal in the newspapers as compared to the internet. And the internet becomes very impersonal as there may be two-thousand applicants for every single job. Therefore if a resume is not the best of the best with a cover letter, you will not have an opportunity to have a meeting with anyone who will know that you have the correct temperament for the position available. And businesses still site the cost of advertising as the main reason they are no longer placing ads in the newspaper.
Let’s bring up delivery for a moment. Delivery is now undertaken by independent contractors who may deliver more than one newspaper to the area. One cannot imagine the number of complaints of these delivery people, stemming from throwing papers under a car, on a roof, in the snow, breaking trees and potted plants, and even non-deliveries to the appropriate places. Sometimes, all papers are left at the end of a block and not delivered at all. So, before a Newspaper considers hiring an independent contractor, consider that the independent contractor must deliver the papers in the manner required or the contract will be lost. If the independent contractor cannot handle the employees to deliver the papers as required, then either the employees should be dropped or the contractor.
There are so many subscribers who cite unbelievable information about their deliveries, some of which will never purchase a newspaper again. And, if the newspaper does not have an electronic edition, then, no purchase will be made. Yet, those who utilize computers on a daily basis do not wish to read their news on-line. They are frankly tired of looking into a screen and one cannot blame them.
As to newspapers being stolen, apartment buildings and gated communities need to operate as condominiums do. The delivery person, in most cases is allowed access to the buildings to deliver the papers inside the building and hang them on the door or at least place them in front of the door. There is still security because the person who delivers the papers must sign in and out. Or the delivery person is given a key for access into the building, which he or she is totally entrusted.
The Newspaper billing and circulation departments likewise need to provide customer service. When one goes to a retail store, one expects great service from the associate or otherwise complaints are made, which usually result in repercussions for the associate. Why is the Newspaper exempt from this same service? When a person contacts the Newspaper office to delay a paper for a week to a month, there should be no deliveries made during the time of suspension. Many have had burglaries because papers were delivered after they have suspended delivery. Needless to say, these people will never have another delivery made.
It is interesting as well that the billing departments keep sending statements for newspapers which have been cancelled or suspended or which have been delivered to the wrong premises. Those who receive collections on papers which have been cancelled, when they otherwise pay their bills, will never purchase your newspaper again. So consider having competent billing and circulation departments where records are maintained and iterated to your delivery personnel, whether independent or not.
As to maintaining a “Green” environment, I am all for it. But understand we continually utilize wood products for our businesses and our homes. Newspapers are recycled as well. But let’s look into this further. Does one realize that there will be no new tree growth if older or dead trees are not removed or cut down? The National Forest Service also provides permits so that those who utilize fireplace wood may remove certain marked dead trees.
Newspapers, if you do not look back historically to those things which sold your newspaper to begin with, then you will definitely end up as a dying breed to the dismay of those who truly enjoy their early morning newspaper with a cup of Joe.
Fire Department – Chief Stith reported that one student had to drop out of class because he got a jo. We are still in compliance with ISO. He incentives for the volunteers is working out well. The ISO report was received and we were rated a 7/7X Steve told the Council this was good but of course, we do need some improvements. Extending the water system and buying pieces of equipment are ways to improve the rating, but he has not had the time to really look into it further. We currently have 4 certified members, but always need more