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"COMMISSIONER REPORT"
JOSEPHINE COUNTY, OREGON
JANUARY 2008

 


By Commissioner, Jim Raffenburg

February 6, 2008

NewsWithViews.com

Introduction

Hello again everyone. Last month I explained why this Report would no longer offer a detailed listing of the Board of Commissioners decisions or actions. The Board is now offering the audio recordings of the Board of Commissioner’s meetings online, in an MP3 format. The Josephine County website.

I hope you take the time to listen.

Commentary

There are two topics I want to talk about this month. First, I want to explain in more detail about what is going on in the Commissioner’s Office. Second, I want to offer my opinion on a much broader and much more important topic that affects all of us: The Environmentalist Industry.

1) The Commissioners Office

I reported last month that Commissioners Toler and Ellis had decided to replace our open Chief Operating Officer position with the new position of Chief Administrative Officer.

I opposed that decision.

I’m glad to report that Commissioner Ellis decided to reverse his original position and voted with me to leave this position vacant. Commissioner Toler was visibly upset by this decision, which is not surprising since he is politically committed to the concept of replacing elected management of county government with appointed management.

For now, each Commissioner will be assigned the Chief Operating Officer’s management duties and authorities for the areas of county government that they were liaison to previously. This will save nearly $150,000 per year. I want to publicly commend and thank Commissioner Ellis for making this sound, fiscally responsible decision.

For the record, here are the areas each commissioner is now responsible for managing:

Dave Toler:
Public Health Division (including one Mental Health employee)
Parks Program
Commission on Children and Families

Dwight Ellis:
Juvenile Justice Division
Community Corrections (Adult) Division

Jim Raffenburg:
Public Works Division
Facilities Division
Planning Program
Building and Safety Program
Forestry Program
Airports Program
Fairgrounds
Property Management Program

As already noted, Commissioner Toler was not happy with this fiscally responsible decision and in a January 23, 2008 newspaper article, he lashed out, falsely claiming the current management efforts are not working, saying the Board of Commissioners is “micro-managing every little decision”.

The next day, Commissioner Toler then held an “emergency” press conference inside the Courthouse to not only reaffirm his commitment to replacing the open position, but to affirm his dedication to installing a county manger form of government. In this press conference, Toler said, “the Board is frustrated” with the current management situation.

Chair Toler’s statement is simply false.

I was in Salem on county business on Wednesday and Thursday that week and I checked with Commissioner Ellis on Friday to see if the Board (Toler and Ellis) had taken a position saying the “Board” was frustrated with the current situation. Commissioner Ellis told me no and said he was not frustrated. Since I was not part of any such conversation, it is clear that the “Board” is not frustrated.

This is a very important point and it goes right to the core of my reason for not supporting Dave Toler being made Chair of the Board of Commissioners. He has now used his position as Chair to mislead the public to promote his personal political agenda for changing county government. In my opinion he has abused his position as Chair.

Last year, Commissioner Ellis and I had to warn Dave twice to stop saying things like “the Board feels this way….” when speaking to the public and the press, when in fact it was only Dave who felt that way. This latest episode of misleading the public shows that Dave’s behavior has not changed and that he is not willing to be constrained by the requirements of his position as Chair.

The issue here is not that Dave Toler Commissioner cannot say these things. He can.

But Dave Toler, Chair cannot. The position of Chair can only speak for the Board after the Board has taken a position on an issue. In this instance, the Board has not done so.

Dave has also gone to great pains trying to distinguish between the words “govern” and “manage.” Dave continuously says the Board needs to “govern” instead of “manage” county programs.

My dictionary defines “govern” as “to administer” and it defines “manage” as “…to conduct; guide; administer” (Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary). Why would anyone try to make such an unfounded distinction?

For Dave to draw such a distinction between these two words, when no such distinction exists in fact, leads one to think there is some unspoken agenda at work.

To be fair, all politicians have political agendas. My agenda is to maintain as small an organization of county government as is practical, and to provide only those services desired by the People, at a cost that is also affordable by the People.

By self-admission, one of Dave Toler’s political agendas is to change the face of county government. Again, in my opinion, based upon what I have seen and heard, Dave seems to want to separate the concepts off “governing” and “managing” because he is not comfortable with a government “decision making” structure that is directly accountable to the people.

The day-to-day decisions of government bureaucracy have direct impacts on peoples lives and by giving direct control of that decision making authority to any appointed position is contrary to the very principles of self-government.

2) The Environmentalist Industry

There was a time when working hard at skilled labor earned a family wage paycheck.
There was a time when utilizing abundant, renewable resources was just common sense.
There was a time when reason was the predominant factor in managing modern life.
There was a time when Americans could work out their differences in ways that allowed everyone to feel they were part of the solution.
Those days appear to be gone.

What happened?

I’m a boomer. I grew-up in the 1960’s. It was an era of doubt, fear and anger. I, along with most of my peers, went on to adulthood and got over these feelings. Others in my generation covered-up the doubt, fear and anger with music and drugs.

Instead of getting over those feelings, they gave into them and became immersed in a counter-culture that was a ripe recruiting ground for alternative political philosophies, ranging from Nihilism to Socialism/Marxism to Anarchy, all of which played into and cultivated those strong emotions.

Many of the people who experimented with alternative political philosophies became the leaders of the modern Environmentalist Industry. In Europe, during the late 1960’s, the Green Movement was birthed from the Communist and Socialist parties of Norway and West Germany, initially as an anti-American movement. It was supported by the Soviet Union, and it’s leaders simply exchanged red banners for green ones.

I’m not saying that all environmentalists are Communists or Socialists, just pointing out that the initial leadership of this movement was such, and that the current anti-private property rights agenda of the Green Movement is hard to distinguish from the agenda of its founders.

By 1980, the (Green) Environmentalist Industry had become firmly established in the United States and was strong enough to begin to cause real change in our region.

For the past twenty-eight years, the Environmentalist Industry has quietly grown stronger and more organized. Today they are a political force to be reckoned with. In fact, their strategy of negotiate and then litigate has served them well. With the Northwest Forest Plan, facilitated by President Clinton in 1993, the leadership of a vast array of environmental organizations agreed to and signed off on a plan that would again allow some timber harvests, reduced by seventy-five percent from what had been in the 1980’s. Those harvests never happened.

The timber industry and local governments had entered those Northwest Forest Plan talks with an open mind, assuming their reasonable approach and willingness to compromise would be met with the same level of commitment and good faith from the Green Environmentalist Industry. They were wrong.

The first time the BLM tried to put a timber sale up for bid under the Northwest Forest Plan, they were sued (by “other” environmentalists). That is their game. They posture as “reasonable” people when it advances their agenda. Then they sue when they cannot get you to voluntarily give them everything they wanted during the negotiation process. By virtue of their past actions, they cannot be seen as anything even approaching reasonable.

There is a reason for their behavior. They have a long-term agenda for this country, a political agenda that is grounded in the alternative political philosophies of their initial Norwegian and German founders. Their leadership today is comprised of professional political organizers who specialize in careful planning to make it appear that “average” people are “spontaneously” rising in protest on this or that issue.

The Green Environmentalist Industry is a political movement with a grim determination to revolutionize this country’s political structure and the way we live as a people.

This movement’s political agenda is not compatible with the existing political system of basic freedoms we Americans cherish. Our freedoms are “natural” freedoms, which exist outside of any government ability to grant or decree. They cannot be restricted or taken away by any government authority, legitimate or not, because they are endowed to us by our Creator. They can only be suppressed or abandoned by human action or inaction.

The Green Agenda is to convince you to “voluntarily” abandon as many freedoms as they can, in the name of the environment. They will then suppress whatever freedom is left, by removing your ability to influence your own political future. This would be done by eliminating representative government at the local level, and replacing that representative government with appointed “managers” who are not accountable to the electorate.

Sound familiar?

Now you know why I am so opposed to Commissioner Dave Toler’s Agenda.

Dave is a former organizer for the Social Justice Alliance and he presumably still supports SJA ideals.

Those ideals include a core philosophy that claims “the root of all injustice is caused by the accumulation of (private) wealth”, and that the “cure” is the “redistribution of that wealth”. This is not a new philosophy. It has been around for 150 years. Norwegian and German Green/Reds know it very well. So do the Russians, Chinese, East Europeans and Cubans. It is a great tragedy that more Americans do not recognize it for what it is.

I promised to tell you the truth even when it hurts. For some of you, this information will hurt, but I pray you listen. If you do not, the real pain we all experience in the future may be vastly worse for all of us who do not want our private wealth “redistributed”.

Once again, thank you for taking the time to read this Report.

Jim Raffenburg

P.S.: I’m adding a footnote to this Report because of the nature of the subject matter.

This Report needed to be blunt. The casual reader might think my language regarding a fellow commissioner is too strong. Under normal circumstances, it would be. But these are not “normal” times, for this county or for this country. As an elected representative of the People, it is my job to keep you informed on issues I believe will affect your future.

It is my belief, based upon personal observation and experience that the very principles of our Republic are under a subversive assault from adherents of an alien political philosophy. The assault has been gradual, but relentless.

While our State and National Constitutions guarantee religious and political freedom, even for those who wish to destroy those very same freedoms, there is no obligation for the rest of us to sit back and watch as social change agents actively try to dismantle our freedoms because we are afraid of “infringing” on their political rights to believe what they do. They are free to believe anything they want to, but once they “take action” to infringe on the freedoms of others, they cross a very important line, violating the social contract at the very core of our society.

State and National Constitutions are not mutual suicide pacts.

Those who want to dismantle our freedoms will never openly say that is what they want to do, because they know they would not succeed if they did. Instead, they chip away at the fringes, so we do not recognize the threat as a threat, until the very system of government itself crumbles due to neglect and/or internal stress.

There is no alternative for the average citizen other than to take a stand for what they believe is their vital self-interest.

No elected official, in any elected office, can preserve your freedoms.

Only you can do that.

Elected officials can only protect those freedoms by avoiding any official action that infringes on them. When that avoidance is not enough, then it is the obligation of those elected officials who respect their office and their duties as public servants, to warn the People of the threat to individual Liberty. It is then up to the People to respond.

This Report is such a warning. I cannot say it any plainer than that.

© 2008 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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Those who want to dismantle our freedoms will never openly say that is what they want to do, because they know they would not succeed if they did. Instead, they chip away at the fringes, so we do not recognize the threat as a threat, until the very system of government itself crumbles due to neglect and/or internal stress.