When I Thought Lofton cared about the Citizens I sent this and other problem areas to him and he blacklisted me

The Carver School issue

Karin Fleischhaker-Griffin kashafly@gmail.com

Jul 20, 2018, 5:22 PM
to slofton

Nikki Williams and Council Woman Helen Miller Champion Citizen’s Rights

THE FLORIDA COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT BLOCK GRANT PROGRAM

The Florida Small Cities Community Development Block Grant Program is a competitive grant program that awards funds to eligible cities, counties, towns and villages. There are approximately 249 eligible communities in Florida. To be eligible for the Small Cities CDBG Program, a city must have a population under 50,000, and a county’s population must be under 200,000. The Program awards sub-grants in four categories:

  • Economic Development
  • Neighborhood Revitalization
  • Housing Rehabilitation, and
  • Commercial Revitalization.

WHY THE TOWN OFFICIALS FINALLY WISHES TO BUILD A COMMUNITY CENTER

Because the Town of White Springs has done nothing to assist those in the community; including dropping the after school program Councilwoman Helen Miller had worked so hard for with then Superintendent Tom Moffses, Councilman Willie Jefferson and Mayor Rhett Bullard have elected to secure a Community Development Block Grant to provide a Municipal Community Center near the old Carver School Area.  Note your sewer rates have not gone down nor the charges either and the fact that the after school program was dropped when we had the grant  by Tebo, Bullard and Jefferson is beyond the pale.

 

NIKKI WILLIAMS CHALLENGED THE GRANT WRITER AS WELL AS THE COUNCIL.  FORMER MAYOR MILLER CHALLENGED THE NOTIFICATION TO CITIZENS IN THE NEWSPAPER

FIRST THE ADMINISTRATIVE RULING FOR PUBLIC HEARING NUMBER ONE

  •  Prior to the Town submitting an application for funding, the Town was required to hold one public hearing to discuss the community needs. Public hearings must be properly noticed as discussed in 73C-23-0041, Florida Administrative Code.
  • Citizen participation is required.  At least one public hearing shall be held within the 12 month period prior to the date that the application cycle closes to obtain citizens’ views regading community development prior to an Application for funding being drafted.  This shall be known as the First Public Hearing.
  • A public notice shall be published in a local newspaper at least five days and no more than 20 days before the day of the hearing as defined in subsection 73C-23.0031(45) F.A.C. of this rule.
  • The public notice shall include the federal fiscal year (FFY) for which an application is being consider, the range of activities which may be undertaken with CDBG funding and the amount for which the community can apply.
  • The public hearing must be conducted by a member of the governing body of the applying local government or by a duly authorized employee of that local government at a time and location convenient to potential beneficiaries.
  • Citizens shall be allowed to comment at the hearing as required by 24CFR570475(a)(5) and the citizen input from this hearing should be considered when the application is being prepared.
  • The local government must document all citizen participation at the hearing.
  • If the documentation shows that the application was drafted prior to the First Public Hearing, the application shall be rejected.

FORMER MAYOR AND NOW COUNCIL WOMAN HELEN MILLER STIPULATED THAT PROPER PUBLIC NOTIFICATION HAD NOT BEEN PROVIDED TO THE PUBLIC.  THE GRANT WRITER AT THE BEHEST OF WHITE SPRINGS COUNCIL MEMBERS, SPECIFICALLY MAYOR  RHETT BULLARD ELECTED TO  ADVERTISE THE FIRST PUBLIC HEARING IN THE GAINESVILLE SUN.  

MRS. MILLER CONTACTED THE SUN AND WAS ADVISED THAT APPROXIMATELY 10 PAPERS ARE SOLD AND THERE ARE ONLY THREE SUBSCRIBERS TO THE GAINESVILLE SON FROM OUR ZIP CODE.  WE ARE AWARE OF TWO OF THE THREE SUBSCRIBERS AND THEY ARE NOT WITHIN THE CITY LIMITS OF WHITE SPRINGS.

MRS. MILLER ASKED WHY THE NOTIFICATION WAS NOT IN THE JASPER PAPER SINCE MORE PEOPLE IN THE AREA READ THE JASPER NEWS.  MAYOR BULLARD GAVE THE EXCUSE THAT THE JASPER NEWS ONLY PUBLISHES ONCE A WEEK AND THAT A LARGER CIRCULATION WAS REQUIRED.   MRS. MILLER CONTENDED THAT MORE PEOPLE SUBSCRIBE AND READ THE JASPER NEWS. IN MY OPINION MRS. MILLER WAS CORRECT. AS LONG AS THERE WAS A FIVE DAY NOTICE TO THE PUBLIC IT COULD HAVE BEEN PLACED IN THE JASPER NEWS WHETHER OR NOT SUCH NOTIFICATION WAS FIVE OR SIX DAYS.  PLUS JASPER NEWS CARRIES SOME NOTIFICATIONS ON THE INTERNET. 

  1. NIKKI WILLIAMS STATED THAT THE COUNCIL OBVIOUSLY WISHED TO KEEP THE INFORMATION FROM THE PUBLIC AND THAT THE MATTER WAS KEPT SECRETIVE.  SHE STATED THAT IT DOES NOT MATTER IF ONE MAKES A COMPLAINT OR WISHES SOMETHING OTHER THAN WHAT THE COUNCIL DECIDES BECAUSE THE COUNCIL DOES WHAT THEY WISH.

COUNCILMAN MACKENZIE STATED IT WAS NOT A SECRET AND THE GRANT WRITER AND MAYOR BULLARD STATED THEY WERE WITHIN THE RULES.  MAYOR BULLARD STIPULATED THAT THE CITIZENS HAVE KNOWN FOR A LONG TIME THAT IT WAS THE INTENT FOR THE COUNCIL TO PROVIDE A COMMUNITY CENTER.   Yet what I have heard through the years is the need for a community shelter from storms.  No one knows what this “Multi-purpose“ community center will provide; who will operate it; and whether it will assist only part or all of the community at this point since there was no community participation.

 

THE SECOND PUBLIC HEARING:

  • A second public hearing notice shall be published in a local newspaper at least five days prior to and no more than 20 days before the date of the second public hearing.  The notice shall include a summary of the draft application and the date, time and address of a public hearing on the draft application.
  • A description of the activities that will be undertaken with CDBG funding
  • A budget that lists the specific CDBG dollar amounts that will be allocated for each activity.
  • The National Objective that will be met by each activity, except administration and engineering
  • And for Neighborhood Revitalization, the specific locations of the proposed activities, including street names or road numbers.
  • The public hearing must be conducted by a member of the governing body of the applying local government or by a duly authorized employee of that local government at a time and location convenient to potential beneficiaries.
  • Citizens shall be allowed to comment at the hearing as required by 24 CFR 570.486(a)(5) and the citizen input from this hearing should be considered when the application is being prepared.  The local government must document all citizen participation at the hearing.  If the document shows that the application was drafted prior to the First Public Hearing, the application shall be rejected.
  • The notice shall also state where and when, other than at the public hearing a copy of the draft application will be available for citizen review and how citizens can submit written coments on the draft application.
  • Failure to include all of the required information in the public hearing notice shall result in the application being rejected as provided in Section 290.0475(6), F.S..
  • If the notice for the second public hearing is published before the first public hearing is conducted, the application shall be rejected.
  • The public hearing on the draft application must be conducted within the 12 month period prior to the date that the application cycle closes by a member of the governing body of the Applicant or by a duly authorized employee of that local government at a time and location convenient to potential beneficiaries.  This shall be known as the Second Public hearing.
  • Citizens shall be allowed to comment on the draft application at the hearing and the citizen input from this hearing should be considered before the application is finalized and submitted to the Department.   The local government must document all citizen participation at the hearing.
  • Copies of the public notices, affidavids of publication, certified minutes and sign-in sheetsspeaker cards for both public hearings shall be included in Part 9, Appendix D, of the Application for Funding Form SC-60, which is further described in paragraph (6)(a).
  • The application shall be rejected if the affidavit of publication or certified minutes for either public hearings are not provided by the end of the Completeness Period.
  • The Applicant may appoint a Citizen Advisory Task Force (CATF) to make recommendations on community needs prior to drafting an Application for funding….An Applicant can claim up to 10 points on the Application for Funding if it has an active CATF.
  • The CATF shall be comprised of at least five residents of the Applicant’s jurisdiction and at least 51% of the members must be from low-to moderate-income households.
  • No more than one employee of the Applicant can serve on the CATF, and no elected officials of the Applicant can serve as members of the task force.
  • The CATF shall conduct at least one meeting prior to an Application for Funding being drafted and prior to the notice for the second public hearing being published to discuss community needs and to provide recommendations to the local governing body.   The meeting shall be advertised in accordance with subsection 73C-23.0031(45), F.A.C. A minimum of 51% of the members must participate in the meeting.
  1. MACKENZIE STATED IN PRIOR MEETINGS THAT A CITIZEN’S ADVISORY TASK FORCE WAS NOT NECESSARY.THUS IT IS TRUE THAT THE COUNCIL MAKES ALL OF THE DECISIONS AND OBVIOUSLY PRINTS NOTICES IN NEWSPAPERS FOR WHICH THE COMMUNITY WILL NOT GET PROPER NOTICE.
  2. NIKKI WILLIAMS’ FAMILY HAS BEEN PROMINENT IN THE WHITE SPRINGS AREA.AND AT ONE TIME HER FATHER BERNARD WILLIAMS SOUGHT A GRANT TO FIX THE CARVER SCHOOOL WHICH HAS GREAT HISTORIC VALUE FOR THE TOWN OF WHITE SPRINGS.  YET THEN TOWN MANAGER ROBERT TOWNSEND SAID THE LAND WOULD BE USED FOR HOUSING.
  3. WILLIAMS COMPLAINED THAT THE CITIZENS WERE NEVER NOTIFIED BY PUBLIC NOTICES, BY INTERNET NOR WITHIN THE JASPER NEWS WHICH IS THE GREATEST AND MAJOR PUBLICATION IN OUR AREA, WHETHER OR NOT IS IS PUBLISHED ONLY ONCE A WEEK ON A THURSDAY.

MS WILLIAMS STATED THAT THE CARVER SCHOOL HAS GREAT IMPORTANCE TO THE CITIZENS OF WHITE SPRINGS AND VALUE, I MAY ADD, TO THE AFRICAN AMERICAN HERITAGE.

MAYOR BULLARD CONTENDED THAT THE CARVER SCHOOL HAD NOT BEEN ANNEXED TO THE TOWN OF WHITE SPRINGS AND THUS THE TOWN DID NOT OWN IT.  (Then why in 2019 did we have to get a reverter clause removed by the School Board and why were we looking for a CBDG which we received and in 2017 Stacy said The Town owned the property so they could do what they want with it, when we questioned its demolition – Who knew what and didn’t do anything about it but Lie) Yet you will recall that PCS provided the funds for a contractor to remove the Asbestos from that building with a donation I believe of approximately $13,000.  CARVER SCHOOL SHOULD BE CONSIDERED A HISTORIC BUILDING AND BE PLACED IN THE HISTORIC REGISTRY SO THAT THE TOWN CANNOT DEMOLISH IT AS THEIR INTENTION WAS.   BUT WHAT THE WRITER CANNOT UNDERSTAND IS WHY MONEY WAS PLACED IN THE SITE AND WHY A FORMER TOWN MANAGER REJECTED MR. BERNARD WILLIAMS GRANT TO REFURBISH THE SCHOOL WHEN THE TOWN HAD NO SUCH RIGHT.

BOTH MS. WILLIAMS AND FORMER MAYOR HELEN MILLER GAVE PASSIONATE AND LAWFUL REASONS WHY THE TOWN DID NOT SEE FIT TO PROVIDE PROPER NOTIFICATION TO THE CITIZENS.   AT ONE POINT, MAYOR BULLARD BECAME SO UPSET WITH MS. WILLIAMS STAND FOR THE CITIZENS’ RIGHTS THAT HE POUNDED HIS GAVEL AND TOLD HER SHE WAS OUT OF ORDER.  YET, THIS IS A PUBLIC HEARING AND I JUST BET, THERE WILL BE NO COMMENTS BY CITIZENS PROVIDED WITH THE APPLICATION.

  1. WILLIAMS STATED THAT THE SECOND NOTICE WAS IN THE LAKE CITY REPORTER, WHICH WAS AT LEAST MORE LOCAL THAN THE GAINESVILLE SUN.BUT AGAIN, THE MAJORITY OF PEOPLE TO WHOM THE GRANT WOULD BENEFIT THAT LIVE IN WHITE SPRINGS DO NOT SUBSCRIBE OR PURCHASE THE LAKE CITY REPORTER.,  THEY INSTEAD READ THE JASPER NEWS.
  2. WILLIAMS DID NOT KNOW OF THE SECOND NOTICE UNTIL SHE MET HER COUSIN FOR LUNCH IN LAKE CITY.HER COUSIN, RELATED ALSO TO COUNCILMAN WILLIE JEFFERSON, HAD A FOLDER OF ITEMS ABOUT WHITE SPRINGS WHICH WERE PUBLISHED IN THE LAKE STREET REPORTER.  THAT WAS HOW MS WILLIAMS WAS AWARE OF THE NOTICE.

THAN WITH MUCH AUDACITY, COUNCILMAN JEFFERSON, QUESTIONED MS. WILLIAMS AS TO WHETHER SHE APPRISED OTHERS OF THE NOTIFICATION.  UNDERSTAND THIS WAS NOT UP TO MS. WILLIAMS TO PROVIDE INFORMATION TO THOSE SHE COULD GET AHOLD OF EVEN THOUGH SHE DID WHAT SHE COULD UNDER A BUSY SCHEDULE.

IT IS EVIDENT THAT THE COUNCIL WHO COMPLAINED THAT EVERYONE SHOULD HAVE KNOWN ABOUT THE CDBG GRANT FOR A COMMUNITY CENTER DID NOT PROVIDE ANY INFORMATION IN THE 12 MONTH PERIOD. NOW THEY HAVE A GRANT WRITER WHO HAS RUSHED THIS THROUGH WITHOUT INPUT FROM THE COMMUNITY AND ONLY WITH FIVE DAY NOTICES IN NEWSPAPERS WHICH THE CITIZENS OF WHITE SPRINGS DO NOT SUBSCRIBE TO ON A REGULAR BASIS OR PURCHASE AT THE NEWS STAND.

THIS FIVE DAY NOTICE THING IS A SHAM WHEN IT IS STATED A FIVE DAY NOTICE BUT NO MORE THAN A 20 DAY NOTICE MAY BE PROVIDED.  THIS FIVE DAY NOTICE THAT THE GRANT WRITER SPOKE ABOUT ONLY PERTAINED TO THE TIME CONSTRAINTS BY THE COUNCIL.  AND OBVIOUSLY THE APPLICATION WAS COMPLETED PRIOR TO HEARINGS OR POSSIBLY THE DRAFT WHICH MADE THIS ENTIRE THING NULL AND VOID.

IF YOU READ ABOVE, THE CITIZENS HAVE A RIGHT TO PARTICIPATE AND IF THECITIZENS MAY NOT BE ABLE TO ATTEND A MEETING, THERE IS A DRAFT WHICH MUST BE AVAILABLE BY THE TOWN UNDER WHICH CITIZENS MAY MAKE COMMENTS.   THERE WAS NO DRAFT AT THE SECOND MEETING, INSTEAD THE GRANT WRITER ADVISED ABOUT THE  $600,000 GRANT THEY ARE SECURING AND FOR WHAT (THE COMMUNITY CENTER) AND GAVE SOME FIGURES RELATING TO ENGINEERING AND COSTS.

AS MS. WILLIAMS STATED WE ALREADY HAVE A COMMUNITY CENTER AND THERE ARE GREATER NEEDS BY THE PEOPLE.  BOTH SHE AND FORMER MAYOR MILLER STRESSED THAT THE PROPER NOTIFICATIONS INTHE PROPER NEWSPAPERS WERE NOT ADHERED TO.

MAYOR. BULLARD ENDED THE PUBLIC HEARING AFTER OTHER COMPLAINTS WERE HEARD AND THE COUNCIL WAS TO VOTE ON THE SECOND PUBLIC HEARING ACCEPTANCE.   FORMER MAYOR  AND COUNCILWOMAN HELEN MILLER STATED SHE WOULD HAVE TO ABSTAIN HER VOTE BECAUSE THE RULES WERE NOT FOLLOWED.

MAYOR BULLARD STATED THAT IF MRS. MILLER ABSTAINED, THE VOTE WOULD BE CONSIDERED AFFIRMATIVE PER ROBERTS RULES OF ORDER.  MRS. MILLER HAD REMOVED HERSELF FROM THE COUNCIL CHAIR.  AFTER MAYOR BULLARD STATED SUCH, MRS. MILLER REMOVED HERSELF FROM THE BUILDING UNTIL THE VOTE BY THE OTHER FOUR COUNCIL MEMBERS WAS MADE 4/0.

THE ACTUAL LAW MAYOR BULLARD USED AGAINST COUNCIL WOMAN MILLER,  RELATING TO ROBERTS RULES OF ORDER IS AS FOLLOWS:

Do abstention votes count?

The phrase “abstention votes” is an oxymoron, an abstention being a refusal to vote. To abstain means to refrain from voting, and, as a consequence, there can be no such thing as an “abstention vote.”

In the usual situation, where either a majority vote or a two-thirds vote is required, abstentions have absolutely no effect on the outcome of the vote since what is required is either a majority or two thirds of the votes cast. On the other hand, if the vote required is a majority or two thirds of the members present, or a majority or two thirds of the entire membership, an abstention will have the same effect as a “no” vote. Even in such a case, however, an abstention is not a vote and is not counted as a vote. [RONR (11th ed.), p. 400, ll. 7-12; p. 401, ll. 8-11; p. 403, ll. 13-24; see also p. 66 of RONRIB.]

WHO KNEW THAT RHETT BULLARD ACTUALLY KNOWS SOMETHING RELATING TO ROBERTS RULES OF ORDER, ESPECIALLY WHEN HE SAID A SMALL TOWN DID NOT HAVE TO ADHERE THAT THAT SECTION OF THE CHARTER OR COMPLY?

I COMMEND MS. WILLIAMS AND FORMER MAYOR MILLER FOR THEIR FIGHT AGAINST LAWLESNESS AND FOR THE RIGHTS OF THE CITIZENS.  IT IS IMPERATIVE THAT THE COUNCIL EXCEPT FOR MRS. MILLER PUSHED THIS THROUGH AT THE LAST MINUTE  WHILE NOT WISHING CITIZEN’S INPUT.

 

Karin for the blog

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