The Six Degrees of Separation theory extrapolates the idea that each person is only six degrees from the introduction to everyone else. In Coos County politics, it would be more like one or two degrees of separation.
Commissioner Messerle is a good case in point.
Recently, he had to make an important decision about Bandon’s Urban Renewal Agency and he voted in favor of increasing the amount of their debt and extending it to 2033. Going against the protests of several citizens, the commissioner said, “He didn’t want to punish Bandon.”
Then he went on to explain how he did not think it was right for the county to tell the city of Bandon how to spend their money. Even though $30,000 a year of the Bandon Urban Renewal Agency’s budget comes from the county and even more comes from the other overlapping taxing districts.
Here is where the line starts to blur and the degrees of separation move slightly closer together.
The Mayor of Bandon, who was the strongest supporter of the Bandon Urban Renewal Agency, also serves as a board member of that agency. Never being an underachiever, she simultaneously is on the board of the
quasi-private/public South Coast Development Council (SCDC).
The county’s Urban Renewal Agencies and the members of this council seem to intersect on several levels.
Their intertwining connections thread throughout the county entangling with some of the most politically and financially influential people.
As an example, Jon Barton is the Chair of SCDC. He also serves on the newly formed Structural Committee created by the County Board of Commissioners. He is on the board of another nongovernmental organization the Friends of New and Sustainable Industry or (FONSI).
Both SCDC& FONSI exist to exploit the accesses of public funding through many different sources using the guise of bringing business to town. SCDC has tried to facilitate business loans between business owners and the Coos Bay Urban Renewal Agency and the North Bay Urban Renewal Agency.
At one point the Coos Bay URA appeased its strained relation with SCDC by paying the organization $15,625 for services provided in 2008-2009. The controversies over this issue contributed to the termination of one of Coos Bay’s former city managers.
As Chair of SCDC, Jon Barton was highly active in replacing Ron Opitz. Opitz had been in the Executive Director position since 2003, but after he passed away in 2009, Barton had a hand in hiring Sandra Geiser-Messerle, who just happens to be the wife of County Commissioner Fred Messerle and that is where the degrees suddenly connect.
Coincidently, serving as one of Jon Barton’s Co-Chair of the Structural Committee is Al Pettit, who owns Highway 101 Harley-Davidson. Well, recently Mr. Pettit received $6,325 in matching funds from the Coos
Bay Urban Renewal Agency’s façade grant program.
I believe that grant and his wife’s occupation in the capacity of her position in the SCDC organization is the real reason why Commissioner Messerle voted to support Bandon’s Urban Renewal Agency.
If the commissioner voted against The Bandon Resolution he would have been figuratively voting against all of the Urban Renewal Agencies in the county. That decision would fly in the face of his many supporters. His wife, the members of the Structural Committee and South Coast Development Council have many ties to the commissioner and all of these participants partially support themselves on the tax dollars provided by these
Political cronyism and bureaucratic incest does not just happen in the corridors of Washington D.C., it happens right here in our own backyard too. Every day the national headlines tell the tale of more government corruption and “Crony Capitalism.”
Mussolini referred to the practice of government involvement in capitalism as corporatism. When these nongovernmental organizations or NGO’s start melding with government bureaucracies and politicians, what follows is at the least, the appearance of impropriety, and at the worst, felonious corruption.
“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.”
Three Campaign Issues for 2012