The Board of Commissioners discussed three very important issues at the county commissioners meeting on January 17th, of 2012.
The importance of each issue comes from the lingering stench of behind the scenes political shenanigans that is going to haunt the commissioners on their upcoming stent down campaign trail.
The first issue on the agenda was the Bandon Resolution to increase the maximum indebtedness of Bandon's Urban Renewal Agency in area #1.
The BOC expected a large public turnout and it was the reason they decided to meet in the Owen Building. The audience took up every seat in the room and they were anxious to get through the agenda.
The Board opened the issue up for discussion and the Mayor of Bandon was the first to speak. She defended Urban Renewal by using another city's success story. After stating her reasons for wanting to increase debt, she then excused herself, because she had to run off to work.
Up next was one of the many opponents of Urban Renewal. The debate went back and forth for about an hour with 25 people testifying. The final tally was 11 for, and 14 against, but every single person who testified in favor of the resolution, in one way or another, benefited from the proceeds of this agency. All the people who testified in opposition appeared to be the average citizen.
In the end, public opinion did not matter to the BOC, because they voted 2 to 1 to pass this bad egg. Commissioner Main was the lone holdout and the only board member concerned with the county's budget. The other two commissioners, Messerle and Parry, displayed complete lack of judgment and supported this $30,000 drain from county funds until the year 2033.
It was a late agenda item, but the second issue to hit the fan had developed over the preliminary findings of the Structural Committee.
The Committee has no real authority and only serves in an advisory capacity. Commissioner Messerle and Parry assembled this local dream team of supposed economic experts in the absence of Commissioner Main and there are many in the community who are suspicious of their intentions.
The Board listened to the testimony from the Co-Chairs of this committee, John Barton and Al Petit. It is very important to remember their names, because they are going to play a pivotal part in how the county is going to conduct business in the future. More importantly, if the citizens of the county fail to keep this committee in check, we will find ourselves saddled with a County Czar.
These two new bureaucrats prattled on about the need for structural change in some administrative procedures in county policy, and then they played off the study as the voice of the county employees. The BOC put off any further action on this issue until a future date.
The third and most controversial issue to rear its ugly head was the plans by the USF&WS to expand The Bandon Marsh. Several citizens spoke up in opposition to this federal land grab. One after another the people expressed their outrage to this intrusion into our county.
The BOC referred to a resolution passed in 2005, meant to protect the county from the federal government taking anymore property off the tax roll. However, many of the people in attendance did not believe that resolution was specific enough and lacked consequence. Also, any new resolution has to express the counties desires not to participate in any Environmental Assessment of the planned expansion area. These amendments of protection were stipulated in the letter the Port of Bandon sent to the USF&WS.
Studies on the environment are notoriously exaggerated. The Service will overstate the need for conservation thus bolstering their argument to increase the wildlife habitat---all to the determent to the locals. Once they perform this study it is a sure fire guarantee the Service will find an endangered species that has to be saved.
The BOC wanted to discuss the issue more thoroughly and decided not to make any decisions. Commissioner Main was ready to act and adamant about protecting the property owners of Coos County, but the other two commissioners seemed hesitant to make any stand against the expansion.
Parry spoke almost glowingly about the work the USF&WS has done in the area and the need for more of this type of environmentalism. The BOC decided to study this issue a little more closely until making any decision. In other words, Messerle and Parry kicked that can a little further down the road of indecision.
Now you can see why these issues are going to be back to bite the commissioners when they least expect it, so I hope you all are being vigilant in your duties to keep these politicians accountable.
"Rob Taylor was the original organizer of the TEA Parties in Coos County and is currently an independent activist working to promote the rights of the individual."