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"COMMISSIONERS REPORT"
JOSEPHINE COUNTY, OREGON
SEPTEMBER 2007

 

 


By Commissioner, Jim Raffenburg

September 25, 2007

NewsWithViews.com

 

To bypass September Commissioners Report and go straight to Commissioner Raffenburg's comments click here.

This months “Commissioners Report” will begin with the “The Facts.” I hope you’ll also take the time to read my “Commentary” at the end of the Report because it is particularly important this month.

I want to clarify one thing I did not make clear in last months edition.

The monthly document generated for my review to write this report is called the “Monthly Meeting Summary.” It is a public document that anyone can review or purchase. If you want to review or purchase a copy, come into the Commissioners Office and ask for the “The Monthly Meeting Summary” and you will have everything you need to review for yourself, who said and did what inside County government.

If this “Monthly Meeting Summary” was not available, you would have to go through hundreds of pages of agendas, records and minutes each month before you would even know what to look or ask for.

The Facts

Weekly Business Session Actions

In August, 2007, No Ordinances, four Orders, six Resolutions, two Inter-governmental Agreement and five Contracts/Amendments/Grants/Understandings were approved by the Board of Commissioners:

Ordinances: None

Board Orders:

1) Order No. 2007-042, in the matter of authorizing a land use agreement between Josephine County and Colin and Nona Clark, dba Lake Selmac Resort and for a land use agreement for a boat concession at Lake Selmac Park. Passed 8/1/07
2) Order No. 2007-045, in the matter of a transfer of jurisdiction over portions of Hanby Lane, a County road, to the City of Cave Junction. Passed 8/8/07
3) Order No. 2007-044, in the matter of designation of a Newspaper for publication of the Annual Tax Foreclosure List. Passed 8/8/07
4) Order No. 2007-043, in the matter of designating County owned real property as Parks and Recreational Areas. Passed 8/15/07

Board Resolutions:

1) Resolution No. 2007-045R, in the matter of an appointment to the Local Alcohol and Drug Planning Committee. Passed 8/1/07
2) Resolution No. 2007-046R, in the matter of an appointment to the Commission on Children and Families. Passed 8/1/07
3) Resolution No. 2007-047R, in the matter of a Re-appointment to the Urban Area Planning Commission. Passed 8/1/07
4) Resolution No. 2007-049R, in the matter of an appointment to the Local Public safety Coordinating Council. Passed 8/15/07
5) Resolution No. 2007-050R, in the matter of appointments to the Library Board of Trustees. Passed 8/15/07
6) Resolution No. 2007-051R, in the matter of the Federal Transit Administration, Transportation Electronic Award and Management (TEAM) and delegation of signature authority. Passed 8/29/07

Inter-governmental Agreements:

1) Amendment No. 1 to DHS Agreement #121015, between Jo Co and the Oregon Dept. of Human Services fro the financing of Public Health Services for 2007/2008 Passed 8/22/07
2) Inter-governmental Agreement No. JOS0709, with the Oregon Commission of Children and Families for Healthy Start Programs Medicaid Administrative Activities for Fiscal Year 2007/2009. Revenue to the County: $13,500. Passed 8/29/07

Contracts/Amendments/Grants:

1) Amendment No. 2 to Grant Agreement No. 1-H79-TL16542-01, with Portland State University for the “Bridges to Success Program”; Term: 7/1/07 through 6/30/08; Cost to the County: $79,956. Passed 8/1/07
2) Grant Agreement with Options for Southern Oregon, for the implementation of the Bridges Program, for Case Management Services for the Homeless. Term: 7/1/07 through 6/30/08; Cost to the County: $245,413. Passed 8/1/07
3) Grant Agreement with Choices Counseling Center, for implementation of the Bridges Program Case Management Services for the Homeless. Term: 7/1/07 through 6/30/08 cost to the County: $45,000. Passed 8/8/07
4) Memorandum of Understanding with Options for Southern Oregon, for the transfer of Mental health Funds. Passed 8/8/07
5) Contract for Personal Services, with Options for Southern Oregon for continuation of receiving Mental Health Assessment and case Evaluation Services for Corrections Offenders. Term: 8/1/07 through 6/30/09; Cost to the County: $135,500. Passed 8/29/07

County Administration Meeting Actions and Discussion

Administrative Actions:

1) Adoption of standardized County Airport hanger leases. Approved by Board on 8/3
2) Request from the Public Works Division Manager Brandes, to approve the purchase of two ten yard dump trucks and 2 ten yard transfer trailers for the Road and Bridges Program. Truck and transfers are replacements for vehicles that are beyond their service life. Total cost estimated at $388,880. Approved by Board on 8/3
3) Request from COO Hill, to approve a 2.7% Cost of Living Adjustment for non-union employees. Non-union employees have not had a COLA since January 2005. Approved by Board on 8/3
4) Request from Commissioner Raffenburg, to approve the cost of his participating in the September Washington, D.C. Fly-in by local government leaders from across the country, to lobby Congress to reauthorize the Safety-Net revenues paid under Public Law 106-393; approximate cost is $2,500. Approved by the Board on 8/3 (See “Note” in Commentary later in this Report).
5) Request from COO Hill, to fill 1 full-time position in the Sheriffs Office and 2 part-time positions in Community Corrections. Approved by the Board on 8/7
6) Request from COO Hill, to fill 1 full-time position in the Public Health Division and 1 part-time position in the District Attorney’s Office. Approved by the Board on 8/21.
7) Request from COO Hill, to have Commissioner Ellis sign the Justice Building room lease with State Representative Ron Mauer as Liaison Commissioner for Public Safety. Approved by the Board on 8/21
8) Request from CommissionerToler, to approve an Amendment with to the contract with RVTV to begin providing streaming video of Commissioner and Planning Commission meetings on a delayed basis, over the internet. Also request was authorization to purchase set furniture for the new monthly Commissioner talk shows that will also be provided under this Amendment to the contract. Cost of streaming videos is $220 per month. Cost of the furniture is not to exceed $1,000. Cost of producing the monthly talk show was not listed in the minutes but can be found in “Amendment 1” to this Contract. Approved by the Board on 8/21
9) Request from CFO Padgett, to allow her negotiate to extend for one year the existing contract with the County’s General Liability insurance Agent of Record, Bernie Gillespie. Cost not to exceed a 3% increase over existing contract fee of $21,000. Approved by Board on 8/21
10) Request from CFO Padgett, for Board authorization to Treasurer to disperse $814,311 in County controlled State DHS money held in Fund 290 as stipulated in Board Order 2007-036A-O, as final disbursement to JBH. Approved by Board on 8/21
11) Request from COO Hill, to reinstate a full-time vehicle service worker position in the Fleet Program to compensate for additional work due to Sheriff’s Office vehicle use maintenance requirements. Approved by Board on 8/24
12) Request from CFO Padgett, to reinstate a full-time IT position to compensate for additional work needed to support the Sheriff’s Office. Approved by Board on 8/24
13) Request from CFO Padgett, to update the Fleet Fund with extra money from the Public Safety Fund due to errors in the Sheriff’s budget figures. Requires Budget adjustments. Approved by Board on 8/24
14) Request from Public Works Manager Brandes, to adjust the speed limit on 10th Street to 30 MPH/install new signs. ODOT approved. Approved by Board on 8/24
15) Request from COO Hill, to fill 1 part-time bus driver position with County Transit and to fill the new Personnel Manager position, which replaces the eliminated, higher paid, Human Resource Officer position. Approved by Board on 8/24
16) Request from COO Hill, to have Board approve new draft parking lot agreement with the City of Grants Pass regarding the common parking lot between the City Building and the Justice Building, creating more parking spaces for citizens. Approved by Board on 8/24
17) Request from the District Attorney, to increase a part-time Victim’s Assistance position to full-time and also start a new person in this position at a higher than normal starting wage rate. No Board action was taken on 8/31
18) Request from COO Hill, to fill two full time positions, one in the Communications Program and one in the IT Program. Minutes do not reflect any Board action on this request on 8/31
19) Request from Surveyor, for Board approval of the Final Plat for the Autumn Crest sub-division, Phases II and III. Approved by Board on 8/31

Administrative Discussions:

On 8/3, COO Hill and CFO Padgett discussed recruiting problems in the Planning Program. Discussion ranged from the reasons for this problem to possible options to resolve. Part of the problem is the City of Grants Pass is recruiting County employees and can pay higher wages, but the unstable nature of County funding is a major reason as well. No final decisions were made.

On 8/7, COO Hill and CFO Padgett followed-up with the discussion about the recruiting problems in the Planning Program. The Program is down to one Planner Two and if he leaves only the Manager will be left. The Board directed COO Hill to work with the Manager of the Program to develop a recruiting plan and report back to the Board ASAP.

On 8/7, Sheriff Gilbertson, COO Hill, CFO Padgett, discussed where the Emergency Management Program should report, to the BCC as required by law or to the Sheriff, as permitted by a 1979 delegation of authority from the BCC. The Sheriff wants to keep the Program under his control. Commissioner Raffenburg believes the program should report directly to the COO because more than half of the responsibilities of the Program have nothing to do with law enforcement. Commissioner Ellis reversed his previous position, now saying he thinks the Sheriff should keep it. Commissioner Raffenburg pointed out that the Commissioners are the responsible Emergency Managers under State Law and are consistently left out of the loop by the Sheriff’s Office on Emergency issues. Sara Rubrict, the Sheriff’s Emergency Manager said she’d be glad to copy the Board with her State reports. Commissioner Raffenburg said she needed to change her mindset and report through the Sheriff to the Board instead of through the Sheriff to the State. No decisions were made and as a result, without two Commissioners who want to make a change, the status quo continues.

On 8/21, potential for leasing County Property at the IV Airport to create a private Smokejumper Museum, lengthy discussion including issues of potential rent credits for extra maintenance work, parking issues and general future of the airport. Commissioner Raffenburg wants to preserve the ability to upgrade the Airport for commercial operations to stimulate economic growth in the Illinois Valley. Commissioner Toler wants to look at other economic models.

Board of Commissioner General Discussion and Actions:

The Board meets each Monday at 8:30 A.M. for general discussion and possible action on noticed issues. This month, due to overlapping vacations, the Board met only twice, on 8/20 and on 8/27.

On 8/2:
1) Commissioner Toler, moved to sign the Final Plat for the Bannister Creek Planned Community Sub-division. Motion Passed 3-0.
2) The Board Discussed: the Emergency Food and Shelter Board; applications for an open position on the Bikeways Advisory committee; a request for a vehicle maximum mileage waiver from AMR. No actions taken.
3) Commissioner Toler, announced he was starting a Renewable Energy Task Force.

On 8/27:
1) Commissioner Toler briefed the Board that he had talked with the group of private citizens calling themselves the Library Steering Committee, about a $300,000 matching grant to this same group to see if they could get the Library reopened. Commissioner Raffenburg questioned a letter wherein Commissioner Toler says the “Board had committed” to the $300,000 matching grant. Commissioner Raffenburg wanted to know when this commitment had occurred? Toler responded that what he actually meant was more like “Board members had agreed” not “the Board.” The question remains, when? It’s not in the Minutes of any noticed meeting I can find.
2) The Board approved a letter of support to BLM regarding an Environmental Assessment Alternate for the Overlooks of the Rogue River on Merlin-Galice Road. Approved by the Board.
3) The Board approved the Final Plats for the Joshua Heights and Autumn Crest (Phases II and III) Sub-divisions.
4) The Board directed Staff to begin advertising to fill openings on the Regional investment Board.
5) The Board approved supporting the City of Grants Pass’ Public Records request from ODOT for technical data about the studies ODOT based their PDT and CAC recommendations on the Hwy.199 Alternatives.

Legal Counsel Meetings

The Board of Commissioners meets with County Legal Counsel on Thursdays at 9:00 A.M. I do not include summaries of these meetings in this report, but the minutes are included in “The Monthly Meeting Summary.”

August Commentary

The month of August was generally a quiet one for County government. All three Commissioners took some time off. Most of what happened was routine.

From my perspective, the most important development this month occurred on August 9th, when the Bureau of Land Management released their new Western Oregon Plan Revision (WOPR). The finalized version of this Plan (set for next August) will form the basis for how our 2.2 million acres of O&C timber resource lands are managed for the next twenty years.

This three volume, 1700 page document will likely affect everyone in Josephine County more than any other single governmental action, at any level of government, for years to come. It is long and difficult to read, but if you do not pay attention to what is happening with this important issue, you are hurting yourself now and into the foreseeable future.

The “WOPR” has three alternatives, developed after four years of careful study, at a cost of millions of federal dollars, reflecting the most modern and up-to-date science regarding what would really happen to various endangered species, under each Alternative, should it be selected as “the Plan” to manage the O&C lands.

Under Alternative 1, there would be a slight increase in the allowable cutting of timber, with new revenues that would replace about 35% of the lost Safety-Net revenues.

Under Alternative 2, there would be a significant increase in the allowable cutting of timber, with new revenues that would replace about 93% of the lost Safety-Net revenues.

Under Alternative 3, there would be no increase in the allowable cutting of timber and there would be no replacement any lost Safety-Net revenues.


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There is one thing that all three Alternatives have in common: the BLM can now say with certainty, under each Alternative, there would be no significant harm caused to any endangered species living on these lands. They can say that because they now have performed the scientific research that proves it.

The negative, angry response by the Environmentalist Industry to this new management plan in the news media clearly shows that a new “cold war” is already underway. Your future will be affected either positively or negatively, depending on which side in this cold war eventually prevails.

The issue really boils down to politics, and that is where the cold war is being fought right now. This Commentary is part of that “cold war.”

Dave Toler’s 9/16/07 article in the “Oregonian” and his 9/19/07 Guest Opinion in the “Grants Pass Daily Courier” newspapers are also part of that “cold war” effort.

What is interesting about these two nearly identical articles is that Toler deleted his pledge to support even a diminished version of Alternative 1 in his “Oregonian” article. Apparently his “pledge” on that point was meant only for local consumption. Why would that be?

At stake is what you believe the truth is about this issue.

Dave Toler wants you to believe that the days of timber harvesting are over. He says that “Congress will never allow harvesting again” and that the “Courts decisions…were conclusive” on that issue.

Commissioner Toler, like all the other radical environmentalists he represents, is desperate for you to take the mental leap from expecting the federal government to enforce its own laws (the 1937 O&C Act, requires these lands to be managed for timber revenue production), to accepting that “it‘s all over” and now you just have to pay higher general property taxes, pay new special district taxes and then of course, pay new sales taxes. Commissioner Toler has stated repeatedly this is his “vision and plan” for your future. [E-mail Toler]

I strongly disagree with him.

Here’s a little history for you.

In the early 1990’s, the Clinton Administration convinced the timber industry and the Environmentalists to accept “Northwest Forest Plan,” which was supposed to assure at least some level of future timber harvests “in our time.”

Just like the ill fated 1938 statement by British Prime Minister Chamberlain when he returned to Britain from Munich, Germany, where he waved a paper in the air as he proclaimed, “Peace ‘in our time’,” the Northwest Forest Plan survived about as long as the treaty Hitler had signed in Munich, promising not to invade his neighbors. Germany invaded Czechoslovakia a few months later and Poland a year after that, turning the cold war of the 1930’s into World War Two. Hitler never intended to honor the Munich Pact in the first place. He was just buying time.

As soon as the BLM tried to sell a timber contract under the guidelines of the Northwest Forest Plan, the Environmentalists Industry sued to stop it. Clearly, the Environmentalists never intended to honor the Northwest Forest Plan in the first place. Their standard operating procedure is to “buy time” by fighting any BLM sale that requires real timber harvesting on our timber lands. I know that’s their bottom line because they have told me so in person.

Dave Toler has said his (local) pledge of support for (a watered down version of) the WOPR’s Alternative 1 is angering his supporters. Perhaps they should read his “other Portland area pledge” where his support for even that tiny amount of logging is missing. Maybe that would help them feel better.

One thing that is absolutely certain however, if Alternative 1 is the selected Plan, your taxes will go up or you will have no public services. And remember, it matters not to any endangered species which Alternative is selected as the final management Plan, because the spotted owl and its fellow listed species will be protected, the watersheds will be protected, and the trees themselves will continue to grow, under all of the Alternatives.

What is really endangered here is your money and whether you will get to keep any of it in the future.

Oh, there is one other thing that will become “endangered” if the BLM actually does cut timber again and proves it can be done without harming the environment. All those millions of dollars in contributions to all those Environmentalist organizations that make up the Environmentalist Industry would stop. And that would require a lot of people to find real jobs.

But there is a skilled labor shortage, right? Then again, maybe that might not be much help to them after all.

Note: (From August Administrative Actions, Request from Commissioner Raffenburg, on 8/3, to approve his participating in the September Washington, D.C. Fly-in).

Commissioner Toler challenged me on whether I was the best person to go on this trip, saying my pessimism regarding the possibility of success disqualified me, in his opinion.

When you send someone to secure something of great importance, you should send someone who believes in what they are doing.

I believe, with every fiber in my body, that the federal government has a legal and moral obligation to harvest our timber and share the revenues with us. Failing that, they must pay us a compensation revenue, like the Safety-Net, or they must allow those lands to be returned to the tax rolls, so enough people are paying property taxes to make them affordable to everyone.

Dave Toler does not share those beliefs. Should we have sent Dave instead?

Dave has made his beliefs abundantly clear. His opposition to the WOPR in general and to its Alternative 2 in particular, proves he will never support any financially viable harvesting of timber. By opposing my going to Washington, D.C. to secure the Safety-Net money and his stated opposition to the continued membership of Josephine County in the Association of O&C Counties, he wants to sever all of our legal rights to that timber revenue, forever.

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And because Dave Toler does not believe in harvesting any timber, ever again, he really believes that you should pay for supporting his beliefs with higher taxes. [E-mail Toler]

That’s what is truly at stake in this new “Cold War.” I hope you are paying attention.

Thank you all for taking the time to read this report.

Jim Raffenburg

© 2007 Jim Raffenburg - All Rights Reserved

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Commissioner Jim Raffenburg is serving in his first term as Josephine County Commissioner (Oregon). He was elected in November, 2004. He is married and lives with his wife in the North Valley area. Jim served eight years as either Chair or Vice-Chair of the Josephine County Rural Planning Commission and served two years as a Josephine County reserve Deputy Sheriff. He is a trained, Court mediator. Previous work experience is in both the private and public sectors. He has worked in heavy, commercial construction and construction management most of his life, including serving as Construction Administrator for NASA.

E-Mail: jraffenburg@co.josephine.or.us

Web site:
www.co.josephine.or.us, then click on the County Commissioners, then Jim Raffenburg


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I hope this report will be viewed by the public as a positive step forward and as a representative example of the openness in which government should regularly operate and communicate with those they serve.