JOSEPHINE COUNTY COMMISSIONERS RECEIVE "PETUNIA PORKER AWARD"
SO News Writer John Marshall
May 6, 2015
Grants Pass, Oregon. —As many of you know the levy is up for yet another vote. This is just shy of two years later when voters shot down the last attempt at passing a levy. This is the tenth attempt at a levy in 15 yrs yet the County Commissioners can’t get it passed, so this time the measure is being brought up by a citizens group and will still likely fail.
The citizens committee would be composed of non-elected persons accountable to no one -- not the public, not the Sheriff, not the Commissioners! If the levy passes, this committee will become LAW and may only be repealed by conducting another election.
Committee members are to be appointed by the same political action committee that is sponsoring this levy and will be biased accordingly. The "committee" currently has no sanctioned role and is not supported by the County Charter. This measure also requires an annual independent audit. Will the committee that is appointed by the PAC and accountable to no one choose the auditing firm from amongst their buddies?
Audits cost money -- perhaps $50,000 to $100,00 for a single audit. Where's this money supposed to come from? The county budget will have to provide for it. If this measure passes, this independent audit will become law and will be REQUIRED!
Some of the main obstacles according to Jeff Kropf, former state senator www.ocwf.org is trust, transparency, and accountability.
According to Mr. Kropf, “Voters in Josephine County are not dumb and they see this so called ‘citizens initiative’ as nothing more than creating a big slush fund for the commissioners, with no guarantees the money actually goes to public safety. The lack of transparency from the commission has created a stunning level of distrust amongst the citizens and I will be surprised if Measure 17-66 passes”.
Vivian Kirkpatick Pilger runs the Josephine County womens’ republican office and she agrees that trust, transparency, and accountability are sorely lacking in this county.
The levy is set at 1.46 per 1000 dollars assessed property value. So the median average home of $160,000 will see an approximate increase of 222 dollars per year. For the majority of families that’s just too expensive when most families are just scraping by in a jobless county. Most people I talked to are saying that’s just too much and we’re darn tired of telling them no. It has become clearly obvious that they don’t listen to their bosses. Former Oregon Republican Party President Art Robinson also spoke against measure 17-66 stressing that more accountability and openness is needed from the Commissioners.
According to Joseph Rice director of the local chapter of Oath Keepers, “We are not seeing a line item explanation of where this money would be spent”. Mr. Rice also said he would support the juvenile detention center to be reopened and more deputies put on the streets but without transparency and accountability he just won’t support it.
As irresponsible as these commissioners have been in the past, squandering unaccounted for monies, is it any wonder that the people have repeatedly and overwhelmingly voted no?
For instance, where did $522,000 dollars go that was supposed to be for Sheriff’s patrols? The only thing was known is that 28 hours per week are wasted that originally was allotted for patrols, yet there’s a shiny new stainless steel gas barbeque grill behind the police station, who paid for that? We can only assume it was the tax payer yet there they are, asking for more money to squander unaccountable to their bosses.
According to Mr. Rice, “other counties have passed similar smaller levies but the difference being the citizens were provided with line item explanations and accountability to see exactly where the money would be spent.”
This is how this BCC should be acting. Instead we have commissioners that act like we should just automatically trust the because they are established by God according to Pastor Dennis Webber. They obviously don’t understand that they are public servants, and the people are the boss and if they say no then they should stop repeating the requests.
The definition of crazy is when you repeat the same thing over and over again expecting to get a different result each time.
A couple of years back, the city was hurting for money yet, they went ahead with a beautification project on Rogue River Hwy which put in unneeded medians and trees that makes it hard now to get into some businesses. What was wrong with the two way center lane that had functioned just fine for many, many years?
When O&C money was available 10-20 yrs ago, most counties like Douglas County for instance, reinvested some of their monies and were not hurting for money later when the funds were cut and were still able to provide for essential services.
Not Josephine County they went on a spending spree like kids in a candy store and later complained to the voters they needed more money after the O&C money dried up.
If the BCC will show the citizens the CAFR report they will see the county is hoarding property that could be sold to new families and have plenty of money that could easily pay for essential service. Instead, they present a budget report that doesn’t show the counties holdings. It’s not unlike someone asking you for money but at the same time not showing you that their wallet has money in it.
A good point that Mr. Rice brought up is that the newly elected Sheriff Daniels doesn’t understand his job description or his duties as a Sheriff, so how are we to trust him to make the right decisions with our money?
Sheriff Daniels, a former city cop (not good for a sheriff’s position) had sent out a deputy to serve notice on the Sugar Pines mining operation when he should have been protecting the owners of Oregons’ longest continually running mine claimed in the 1870’s.
If he knew his job he would know that he’s supposed to protect property rights and not allow BLM free reign to make threats to burn down buildings on the property, or violate the county charter, local laws, and both state and federal constitutions. Do oaths mean anything anymore?
Recently, an incident happened at the mine where a couple of helicopters were flying around and landed up on the hill behind the mine. Since the Oath Keepers are assigned the security operation by the owners to protect the mine and the owners’ rights to due process, they were concerned it might be BLM trying to pull a fast one.
When Joseph Rice asked the Sheriff to accompany them up the hill to investigate the Sheriff replied, no I don’t want to go, I need to stay here and make some phone calls. That just sent anger and disgust through everybody’s minds that heard that.
When you have a Sheriff with jello for a backbone, doesn’t know his job, and doesn’t do his duty as Sheriff, how can anybody trust the man to do the right thing with more tax payers’ money?
Say what you will about Sheriff Gilbertson, but at least he came to public meetings, answered people's questions to the best of his ability, and defended their property rights. He kept the federal government from operating in this county and that’s something Sheriff Daniel does not do or understand.
The Sheriff of any county in the country is the most powerful law enforcement individual. He’s above even the governor and state elected servants because he's the only law enforcement person elected by the people. He has the ability to keep even the IRS from violating his constituent’s rights and not to mention the tyrannical BLM from land grabbing. No federal agency has any jurisdiction operating in any county without the express permission of the Sheriff. That is why the BLM needed deputy Stanton to accompany them to the mine to serve the papers.
Sheriff Daniels seems to do just whatever the federal government tells him. So we as citizens of this county lay vulnerable to the federal land grabbers and the untrustworthy, unaccountable politicians.
Both the Sheriff and deputy Stanton have clearly violated their oaths, and further more they have shown no courage or knowledge of the enormous job ahead of them, and that’s why there’s already talk of a recall of Sheriff Daniels. We should not wait for something else to happen due to incompetence. He’s a violation waiting to happen.
If he can’t do the job or understand his authority that we as citizens have granted to him then he needs to go find other work, and the levy needs to be voted down again. No transparency, no accountability, no trust, NO LEVY! It’s as simple as that!
NWV will reveal how your high paid public servants want to:
Put meters on your well to monitor your water consumption.
2- The power company (working with the government) will install (by force) a Smart Meter on your house so they can monitor your electric consumption.
3- Fine you for burning wood to heat your home for polluting the air
4- Charge you for every mile you drive your gasoline powered car.
5- Confiscate food storage from the people during a manufactured or natural crisis.
6 - Create a snitch society to turn your neighbor in for anything that the government deems inappropriate. (It's called, "See something say Something")
7- Create Community Oriented Policing.
All they need to accomplish this is your money and blind trust.
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Marshall is NWVs news writer for Josephine County