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Hide & seek with City of Cumming Mayor Henry Ford Gravitt

Posted: May 16th, 2012, 12:04 am
by Nydia Tisdale
SPLOST VII Jail/Courthouse Project Team meeting April 25, 2012 – Video stills by Nydia Tisdale

Gravitt convincing SPLOST VII Project Team to use local good-ole-boy banks for funding.

Gravitt hides behind hand.

Gravitt peeks out.

F O R D ' S — F A I L U R E !

Posted: May 16th, 2012, 9:16 am
by Relentless
Back in my early teens, after school often I would hit the backwoods of Vidalia, Ga. hunting. One afternoon I came upon a rabid red fox in the bushes. The fox lunged in my direction. Bad move! I unloaded my 22 rifle into him, reloaded and filled the fox with lead again, just to make sure. He was so full of lead that when I bent over to pick him up from the ground, I could hardly lift him. But, I made it home with the fox and had prevented the spread of rabies that day. My mother was proud.

Last night, the mayor and city council were presented with a negotiable non-binding and fair water agreement approved by all four voting county commissioners. The mayor and council rejected it without consideration, as they have with other binding and non-binding proposals lately. Little did they know that this was a test to see how they would reply to a very generous offer from the county. This proposal was open-ended, and could have been modified and amended by the city, then returned to the county for discussion. But, the city failed the test. Their response revealed that they are not an honest broker in the water negotiations.

Therefore, when this lack of any effort on the city's part to even attempt to reach a reasonable agreement lands on the bench before a judge, it will be just like that rabid fox. The fox will be so full of lead that it will fall into the abyss from the judge's bench. The threat of spreading rabies will be over. And, the fox will only have himself to blame for lunging in the wrong direction. Though my mother has long passed, I believe that she would be proud that the rabid fox is no longer a threat.

Cameras allowed at Cumming City Council meeting

Posted: May 16th, 2012, 9:20 am
by Nydia Tisdale
Cameras allowed at Cumming City Council meeting

Fox 5 News
By Justin Gray
May 15, 2012 10:45 PM

CUMMING, Ga. - A woman kicked out of a local city council meeting for trying to videotape it was back on Tuesday with her camera rolling.

Last month, Nydia Tisdale was thrown out of the Cumming City Council chambers by Mayor Henry Gravitt for trying to tape the public meeting.

Since then, Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens stepped in to make sure that the state's Sunshine Laws, which allow videotaped recordings of public meetings, were enforced.

A new policy for recording meetings was posted on the wall at the Cumming City Council meeting. An area blocked was off for camera equipment

"I think all of that attention definitely made them realize that what they did was not right," said Tisdale.

"Basically we've allowed cameras all along. We just didn't want the aisles with tripods and all this kind of thing, Nothings changed," said Gravitt.

But things certainly have changed since the last conversation FOX 5's Justin Gray had with Gravitt. During that interview, Gravitt indicated there may be "gray area" in the state's Sunshine Laws.

But on Tuesday, Nydia Tisdale's camera was allowed along with any other.

"It's complying with what the attorney general says needs to be done," said Gravitt.

The attorney general's office said their investigation is still underway.

According to the state's Sunshine Law, "Every state, county or municipal department, agency, board, bureau, commission or authority must allow anyone in their meetings….The law applies to every city, county or regional authority, including development and hospital authorities and many more. A meeting is defined as a prior arrangement where there is a quorum of members of a governing body or agency or of any committee of its members and public business is discussed or presented."


Fox 5 News reporter Justin Gray

Posted: May 17th, 2012, 9:25 am
by Nydia Tisdale

Justin Gray‏@grayjustin
Video at 10 of what looks like a violation of state sunshine laws. A woman & her camera physically removed from a local city council mtg
9:43 PM - 18 Apr 12

Justin Gray‏@grayjustin
lots of talk about my story last night on woman kicked out of a city council mtg for recording it. Hear from the Mayor who did it tonight.
7:54 PM - 19 Apr 12

Justin Gray‏@grayjustin
We were 1st to report on Cumming mayor not allowing camera in public mtg. Now after pressure from Attorney General we're back to see result
7:51 PM - 15 May 12

Chris Shattuck‏@ChrisShattuck
@grayjustin I swear these random officials have no idea about the concept of Open Meetings law.
8:35 PM - 15 May 12

Justin Gray‏@grayjustin
@ChrisShattuck we made sure at least in the city of cumming they know now
9:27 PM - 15 May 12

Visual and sound recording shall be permitted

Posted: May 18th, 2012, 8:50 pm
by Nydia Tisdale
House Bill 397 — Open Meetings Act — signed April 17, 2012

O.C.G.A. § 50-14-1(c). The public at all times shall be afforded access to meetings declared open to the public pursuant to subsection (b) of this Code section. Visual and sound recording during open meetings shall be permitted.

O.C.G.A. § 50-14-6. Any person knowingly and willfully conducting or participating in a meeting in violation of this chapter shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction shall be punished by a fine not to exceed $1,000.00. Alternatively, a civil penalty may be imposed by the court in any civil action brought pursuant to this chapter against any person who negligently violates the terms of this chapter in an amount not to exceed $1,000.00 for the first violation. A civil penalty or criminal fine not to exceed $2,500.00 per violation may be imposed for each additional violation that the violator commits within a 12 month period from the date that the first penalty or fine was imposed. It shall be a defense to any criminal action under this Code section that a person has acted in good faith in his or her actions.

City of Cumming Council Special Called 05/22/12

Posted: May 21st, 2012, 1:40 pm
by Nydia Tisdale
Tuesday May 22, 2012 – 10:00 AM

Pursuant to Section 10 of the Charter of the City of Cumming, Georgia, Notice is hereby given of a Special Called meeting of the Mayor and Council of the City of Cumming, Georgia which meeting shall be held at 10:00 AM on Tuesday, May 22, 2012, in the Council Chambers on the Third Floor of City Hall which is located at 100 Main Street, Cumming, Georgia 30040.

The purpose of the Special Called Meeting is to consider a proposal between Forsyth County and the City of Cumming for the provision of water services.
H. Ford Gravitt, Mayor

Meeting Called to Order
H. Ford Gravitt, Mayor
I. Consideration of a proposal for the provision of water services between the City of Cumming, Georgia and Forsyth County, Georgia.
II. Adjournment.

Mayor: AG wanting to know if we're having illegal meetin'

Posted: May 23rd, 2012, 5:00 am
by Nydia Tisdale

City of Cumming Council Special Called meeting May 22, 2012

00:00 Pre-meeting
02:25 Special Called meeting
12:20 Cell phone rings and Mayor Gravitt states, "I apologize.
"Attorney General wanting to know if we're having an illegal meetin'."
14:28 Adjournment
15:00 Post-meeting
16:56 Mayor Henry Ford Gravitt
18:24 Jack Gleason
26:06 Brant Meadows
26:10 Judson Meadows
27:15 Agenda & Public Notice

Mayor Henry Ford Gravitt,
City Attorney Dana Miles, Police Chief Casey Tatum,
Councilmen Quincy Holton, Ralph Perry (absent), Rupert Sexton, Lewis Ledbetter, John Pugh,
City Manager Gerald Blackburn, Asst. Manager Steve Bennett,
Clerk Jeff Honea,

Forsyth County Commission Chairman Jim Boff,
Commissioners Brian Tam, Pete Amos


Posted: May 23rd, 2012, 8:07 pm
by David Milum
"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

That is the version most school children have recited verbatim since 1954. The last changes were made in 1954 but today I have just learned from watching Nydioes that Cumming, Ga. Mayor Ford Gravitt has changed it again! Here goes....

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, individual, with liberty and justice for all."

Perhaps his version more applicably connects to not caring all that much what the County thinks or does. "It's my individual water and if you don't like the way I dole it out go dig a well of your own." lol

I believe that I like Ford's version much just fits like a glove hereabouts yall.

Cumming Mayor H. Ford Gravitt: I pledge the flag of the USA

Posted: May 23rd, 2012, 9:50 pm
by Nydia Tisdale
Last week, Mayor Gravitt recited: "I pledge the flag of the United States of America...." rather than "I pledge allegiance to the flag...."

His words change with the wind that waves the flag.

They don't have elections in Cumming any more

Posted: May 24th, 2012, 12:27 am
by David Milum
Nydia Tisdale wrote:Last week, Mayor Gravitt recited: "I pledge the flag of the United States of America...." rather than "I pledge allegiance to the flag...."

His words change with the wind that waves the flag.
When you're the Mayor you get to change things like that you know. Next it will be The United Steaks of America. "I pledge allegiance to this big ole juicy steak I am about to partake of."

I think Ford is on to something here yall. He's got my vote.....wait they don't have elections in Cumming any more do they? SHUCKS!

City of Cumming Mayor Henry Ford Gravitt — SR 828

Posted: May 29th, 2012, 7:10 pm
by Nydia Tisdale
Senate Resolution 828
Senators Jack Murphy of the 27th
and Chip Pearson of the 51st
January 14, 2010
10 LC 94 1757


Recognizing and commending the Cumming City Council and Mayor Ford Gravitt; and for other purposes.

WHEREAS, the City of Cumming has a long history and tradition of talented and dedicated leaders, including Mayor Ford Gravitt and members of the Cumming City Council; and

WHEREAS, after serving on the Cumming City Council for four years, Mayor Gravitt took the oath of office as mayor on January 1, 1971; and

WHEREAS, the City Council has a wealth of experience with members having served the City of Cumming for decades, including Quincy Holton for 41 years, Rupert Sexton and Lewis Ledbetter for 39 years, Ralph Perry for 31 years, and John D. Pugh for 18 years; and

WHEREAS, the Cummings Fairgrounds were established in 1995 and host several annual events, including the Cumming Fair and Festival, an 11 day extravaganza with over 125,000 attendees; and

WHEREAS, in 1999, the city acquired the Cumming 1923 Historic School which was named to the National Register of Historic Places and provides a historic tour of Old Cumming through photographs, annuals, and historic artifacts; and

WHEREAS, in October, 2002, the City of Cumming dedicated a beautiful new 50,000 square foot city hall that was acquired with no outstanding debt; and

WHEREAS, over the past several years, the city has completed various projects that have improved water quality and efficiency for Cumming residents, including the expansion of a water reclamation facility, the completion of an elevated water tank, and the construction of a new water intake facility; and

WHEREAS, for the past 25 years, the City of Cumming has not assessed property taxes, making it the only chartered municipal government in this state to provide high quality services with no property taxes and stand debt free; and

WHEREAS, it is evident that the City of Cumming has prospered and become a model city of efficient government, and the diligent work of the city councilmembers and the mayor is worthy of recognition.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE SENATE that the members of this body commend the mayor of the City of Cumming and the city councilmembers on their selfless, effective, and dedicated public service.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Secretary of the Senate is authorized and directed to transmit an appropriate copy of this resolution to Mayor Ford Gravitt and the City of Cumming City Council.

Congratulations to Law Day honorees

Posted: May 29th, 2012, 7:15 pm
by Nydia Tisdale
Congratulations to Law Day honorees

Letter to the editor
May 20, 2012

On behalf of the State Bar of Georgia, I offer congratulations to Cumming Mayor H. Ford Gravitt and Forsyth County Commissioners Pete Amos, Patrick Bell, Jim Boff, Todd Levent and Brian Tam on receiving the 2012 Liberty Bell Award, presented by the Forsyth County Bar Association during its annual celebration of Law Day.

Also in observance of Law Day, North Forsyth High School teacher Kathy Vail, director of the county’s Mock Trial program, received the Richard S. “Stan” Gault Memorial Trophy, and Bar members announced the creation of the Kathy Vail Mock Trial Scholarship.

Silver City Elementary School fifth grader Sophie Ferrugia received the Partners in Education award for poster design, and Anna Cathryn Finch and David Bishop received the Richard B. Neville Jr. Memorial Scholarship.

I want to commend Forsyth County Superior Court Chief Judge Jeffrey S. Bagley, who presented the awards, and all of the members who contributed to the observance of Law Day, which featured a keynote address by Georgia Supreme Court Justice Harold Melton. Law Day is intended to enhance public awareness of the importance of the rule of law and the judicial branch of government.

Successful programs such as these are an inspiration to all Georgia lawyers as we seek to fulfill both our duty to help others and our high calling as stewards of the justice system. Congratulations to the Forsyth County Bar Association on an outstanding 2012 Law Day observance.

Kenneth L. Shigley
President, State Bar of Georgia

Commenting not available.

COMMENTS on Open Meetings "law"

Posted: May 29th, 2012, 11:33 pm
by Hal Schneider
Do you mean like the Open Meetings "law"?

Cumming's chain reaction
by MAD JAX » Wed May 30, 2012 9:50 am
Ah yes, here's 'nother clear-cut-case of where Ones initial action set-forth a chain-reaction, the outcome of which will be found greater than summing Its parts...

Let us make Lemoncello from the Lemons then, shall we?

For his actions to date the Good Mayor of Cumming (GMC) has likely done more to advance the public's awareness and intent of "Sunshine Laws" than both the Governor and State Legislature combined...

Approaching as much as Nydia Tisdale herself over the last two years, I'd say!

Convoluted thinking
by Hal Schneider » Wed May 30, 2012 12:25 pm
Now that is some seriously convoluted thinking there, Jack!

Re: Convoluted thinking
by David Milum » Wed May 30, 2012 3:43 pm
I came mighty close to staggering til I fell down reading that, too, Hal.

California dreaming
by Nydia Tisdale » Wed May 30, 2012 5:19 pm
Cut Jack some slack since he's from California.


Re: California dreaming
by David Milum » Wed May 30, 2012 5:36 pm
We're just having some fun with Jack.

First Amendment rights

Posted: June 1st, 2012, 12:00 pm
by Nydia Tisdale
'First Amendment rights can be terminated': When cops, cameras don't mix
By Bob Sullivan
June 1, 2012

The video is chilling, but it's also a sign of the times.

"Your First Amendment rights can be terminated," yells the Chicago police officer, caught on video right before arresting two journalists outside a Chicago hospital. One, an NBC News photographer, was led away in handcuffs essentially for taking pictures in a public place. He was released only minutes later, but the damage was done. Chicago cops suffered an embarrassing "caught on tape" moment, and civil rights experts who say cops are unfairly cracking down on citizens with cameras had their iconic moment.

~ ~ ~

The most celebrated case involves Simon Glik, who in 2007 filmed police arresting a homeless man near Boston Commons. Glick was arrested and charged with violating the state's wiretapping law. His case was dismissed, but he then brought a federal civil rights lawsuit against the city. In August 2011, the First U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the First Circuit ruled unanimously in his favor.

"That decision is 24 pages of pure gold," Osterreicher said. "The judges talked about the right to record in public. They said the First Amendment right is self-evident. They took judicial notice of the fact that news is as likely to come from someone with a cellphone as anyone. And they talked about the fact that police officers … should expect to be recorded when out in public."

In March of this year, Boston paid Glik $170,000 to settle the suit.


City of Boston settled suit for $170,000.00

Posted: June 1st, 2012, 12:30 pm
by Nydia Tisdale
United States Court of Appeals
For the First Circuit
No. 10-1764

Plaintiff, Appellee,
JOHN CUNNIFFE, in his individual capacity; PETER J. SAVALIS, in
his individual capacity; JEROME HALL-BREWSTER, in his individual
capacity; CITY OF BOSTON,
Defendants, Appellants.

LIPEZ, Circuit Judge. Simon Glik was arrested for using his cell phone's digital video camera to film several police officers arresting a young man on the Boston Common. The charges against Glik, which included violation of Massachusetts's wiretap statute and two other state-law offenses, were subsequently judged baseless and were dismissed. Glik then brought this suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, claiming that his arrest for filming the officers constituted a violation of his rights under the First and Fourth Amendments.

In this interlocutory appeal, the defendant police officers challenge an order of the district court denying them qualified immunity on Glik's constitutional claims. We conclude, based on the facts alleged, that Glik was exercising clearly established First Amendment rights in filming the officers in a public space, and that his clearly-established Fourth Amendment rights were violated by his arrest without probable cause. We therefore affirm.