County Commissioners Week of 11/8

At Tuesday’s Legal Meeting, the Commissioners once again delayed discussion of implementing minimum standards for private fire departments (impacting the areas of the County not included in a Fire District or Grants Pass), this time for 2 months. That will bring us to a total of over 20 months delay since the Fire Protection Committee instituted by the Commissioners first proposed them. Commissioner Fowler requested the delay to allow this issue to marinate for a while as there are communications that they are not privy to taking place and that he did not want to change the trajectory of them so he suggested they delay the discussion for a month or two.  He wanted to let the conversation mature. Note: since the Commissioners are not discussing the standards, who is? And wouldn’t this be the Commissioners influencing these discussions by their delay?

Now, the Wednesday public meeting.

Josephine County Commissioners reviewed the powers during a declared emergency with Emergency Management Director Emily Ring. They are contemplating a declaration because both Jackson and Douglas counties have declared emergencies to help combat the proliferation of illegal cannabis grows and they don’t want to be “the weakest link.”

Without recognizing the irony of having complained for months about Governor Kate Brown’s emergency powers, Commissioners learned that without public input they could establish a curfew, stop and question people, prohibit or limit public gatherings, barricade streets at access points, invoke a mandatory evacuation, close taverns and bars, prohibit the sale of alcoholic beverages or other substances controlled by OLCC (Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission) throughout a designated emergency area, activate mutual aid agreements, suspend standard procurement in contracting procedures, redirect funds for emergency use and other things relating to the protection of life or property. They can also direct the sheriff to issue closure orders for access on roads and waterways and prohibit people from entering or remaining in a closed area.

For months Commissioners have been complaining the Governor’s orders haven’t come through the legislature or judicial branches of government, at times calling these orders illegitimate. They discovered Tuesday they have the power to do the same thing.

Commissioner Herman Baertschiger said if they did this they’d certainly get attention “and I know the three individuals who’d be targeted.”

After a meandering discussion about which emergency powers to invoke and how that would work to get help from state and federal resources, Commissioners directed Commissioner Darin Fowler to work with Ring to come up with a draft emergency declaration based on what the other two counties have done and tailored to Josephine County’s needs. They also wanted Finance Director Sandy Novak in on the process after a discussion about revenue the county gets from marijuana.

During Wednesday’s Business Session, Commissioners caught hell from some of their strongest supporters who are now ready to recall DeYoung and Fowler for voting for that “socialist Constitution-violating” code enforcement ordinance. Apparently, Ordinance 2021-002 is part of a vast conspiracy to kill off 95 percent of the population and create a one-world government…https://bigthink.com/health/agenda-21-a-wild-conspiracy-theory-reignited-by-coronavirus/ At least that’s apparent to Judy and Craig Hinkle and Catherine Austin.  These people regularly call in to Weekly Business Session Zoom meetings to promote COVID anti-vax conspiracy theories and bask in the Commissioners’ praise. However, the Commission’s latest move to reign in illegal cannabis activity in the county by giving the planning department’s code enforcers the power to cite unpermitted structures and impose hefty fines until they are abated has them stirred up over perceived violations of the US Constitution. Judy Hinkle demanded the Commissioners “repeal immediately any law infringing on our Constitutional rights” and accused them of conspiring with the “extreme overreach that’s part of the Agenda 21 takeover plan.”

Craig Hinkle said, “It looks like you’ve turned against taxpayers of this county and they’re the only ones going to be harmed by this.” He said code enforcers will now go after the guy with a temporary extension cord across his lawn to the chicken house. “Dan and Darin…you guys may be coming up for recall really soon and anybody who’s a landowner in the county will be willfully signing, so you have a nice day!”

Catherine Austin, talking fast so she could get every one of her many accusations across during her allotted three minutes, said the ordinance harms the financially disadvantaged, will do nothing about commercial organized crime operations and fuels divisiveness between neighbors at a time when tensions between citizens are at an all-time high. She accused Commissioners of not letting the people vote on the ordinance because it wouldn’t pass and struck them with the ultimate insult, “You are no better than Governor Kate Brown mandating from her position of power without the consent of the people.” Austin went on to say this is the most egregious encroachment on residents of the county she’s ever seen and government overreach that needs to be legally challenged. She asked Commissioners “Who will be responsible when a code enforcer is injured or killed trespassing on private property? Many rural residents have guard dogs and firearms.”

“This is also an infringement of the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution and more in alignment with Agenda 21 and sustainable development goals of world government which are transforming private property rights into fascist government control. I support the recall effort of Commissioners DeYoung and Fowler. You have shown your true colors as wolves in sheep’s clothing,” she added.

American Mineral Research spokesman Jay Meredith squeezed in a comment after Austin’s rant, giving Commissioners time to think about their responses to the Hinkles and Austin, since Meredith is fairly predictable. Meredith thanked Commissioners for their support, especially DeYoung who testified in front of a Congressional committee this week defending AMR’s mineral probes and objecting to any legislation locking more land away from extraction. Meredith requested time on a future agenda for a presentation about the process AMR goes through to develop resources and repeated his claim that public lands can be used as a resource to generate revenue for law enforcement in the county.

Fowler was the first to take on the speakers who want to recall him. He said they must have missed the meetings where code enforcement was discussed because “we aren’t going after the guy with a cord to his chicken coop,” As for the recall, “People talk recall like they talk about the weather. If you want to recall over one issue that’s pretty petty. I think you have to have a pattern of malfeasance, illegal activity, or something that goes against what people are asking for and I don’t think that threshold’s been met here.”

Before the anti-ordinance people got on the Zoom line, Guenter Ambron, the self-appointed COVID researcher from Cave Junction, said he had another load of studies supporting his anti-vax views to send to the board. Fowler spun off Ambron’s comments to once again denounce Oregon’s mandates and accused the government of not following the science.

Commissioner Herman Baertschiger didn’t have much to say other than “quite honestly I think only time and history is going to tell us exactly what happened” regarding COVID. Baertschiger voted against the code enforcement ordinance, saying he wanted it to go to a vote in May. DeYoung and Fowler have said they are not against the measure going to the voters but want it on the November 2022 ballot, after a summer trial to see if it works in limiting illegal cannabis grows.

DeYoung waited until last to refute every point the anti-ordinance people brought up during a lengthy and rambling speech, saying the ordinance was gone over by the Republican Party and state Sen. Art Robinson who couldn’t be pleased no matter what Commissioners did. He said they built several safeguards into the ordinance, such as a sunset clause and annual review requirement and he and Fowler had no problem with the measure going to ballot. If the people gather enough signatures to put it on the ballot for May, then so be it, he said. It will either be rejected, with consequences such as a summer of even more illegal grows or approved and allowed to be used as another tool to combat the biggest “invasion” this county has ever seen.

As far as the recall, DeYoung asked “Well, if you recall us, what happens with the next group of people?”

“As far as the Hinkles go, we walked on water until last week and now it’s a recall. That’s pretty strong language. So, if everything doesn’t go your way you can recall? You know what that is? Due process, which is what you get if cited by a code enforcer,” he said.

“So, if the majority of the people in Josephine County don’t like what we’ve done over the last four years for myself and two for Commissioner Fowler, we’re gone. Simple as that. I go back to being mild mannered Clark Kent and I’m OK with that. I love this job, I love this county and you can’t tell me I don’t,” he said.

DeYoung, who said he doesn’t take the Grants Pass Daily Courier anymore because it makes the board look bad, but reads it daily at the Courthouse, took issue with state Sen. Brian Boquist, I-Dallas, who’s newsletter was quoted in a Nov. 9 editorial as saying, “the ordinance recently passed by two county commissioners resembles King George’s writs of assistance.” Both Boquist and Robinson (who represents a good portion of Josephine County), rescinded their Republican registration and became Independents after statehouse Republicans cooperated with Democrats on certain legislation.

“They’re calling the ordinance a socialist ordinance and called me a liberal,” said DeYoung. “I’m not a liberal. I consider myself to be a conservative. That doesn’t mean I’m against liberals. I have a lot of liberal friends that make perfectly good sense to be quite honest. I think we all make perfectly good sense when we step back and take a look at it.”

DeYoung chided Robinson for saying he wanted the Commission to postpone a decision on the ordinance for a month because he wanted to suggest changes but then never came back during the month it was postponed.

“We put this off for a month because Sen. Robinson came in my office and said, ‘could you put this off for a month so we can look it all over and make changes to it.’ I did! But that was not enough. Did he come in and make changes? NO! We made changes voluntarily. Mr. Robinson may have gone over to legal but he never sat foot in my office again. And he was the one who was going to come in with some ideas. Also a member of the Republican Party. I still haven’t seen that other than they say it’s overstepping the bounds of the Constitution. I ask where in the Constitution? It’s like the Bible. I want to know the book, the chapter and the verse…. Lay it in front of me cause I’m not the smartest person in this world I guarantee that,” said DeYoung.

He said Baertschiger’s no vote on the ordinance added fuel to the fire “but he’s not against the ordinance, he just wants it to go to a vote.”

Regardless of whether the ordinance is repealed by voters or is allowed to stand, DeYoung said “nothing is going to fix this problem overnight. Not all the money for the sheriff or any of us, this is bigger than any of us has ever seen.”

In other business this week, Commissioners approved two airport grants from the FAA’s ARPA funding. One is for $32,000 for the Illinois Valley Airport and the other from the same source for $59,000 goes to the Grants Pass Airport. The money can be used for operations, personnel, cleaning services and combatting the spread of pathogens, according to Airports Manager Jason Davis.

Commissioners also approved software, installation and maintenance that will put the Josephine County Sheriff’s Department and Grants Pass Police on the same dispatch system to make it easier to communicate during emergencies. They will be using ARPA funds for this project.


Bill Meyer Show Nov 9

Before Josephine County Commissioner Herman Baertschiger called in to conservative talk radio KMED’s Bill Meyer Show Mark Seligman called in to announce he is running to replace Commissioner Darin Fowler when his term is up next year. He said Fowler has endangered his constituents by his defiance of state vaccine and mask mandates and refusal to heed medical experts. Other than having mandates and vaccine passports during a disaster, Seligman, identifying himself as an Independent, says he goes along with Republicans’ views of property rights.
“I support what Art Robinson is doing,” he said, regarding the code enforcement ordinance Commission Chair Dan DeYoung and Fowler voted for. Robinson is trying to gather enough signatures to get the measure on the May ballot where he believes it will fail.

Meyer used his talk-show baiting techniques to get Seligman riled, then they had a shouting match over whether or not vaccinated people still spread the virus. Meyer accused Seligman of hypocrisy over his support of mandates for vaccines but not rules for property owners. Seligman got confused and just said he’s only for mandates during emergencies.

During Baertschiger’s call, he said municipalities shouldn’t be able to sell water for grow site use and said if the federal government legalized marijuana that would get rid of the cartel problem. He and Meyer also talked about redistricting, saying Democrats are pushing the limits of the law but will probably get away with what they’re doing since they’ve packed the courts, then concluded COVID restrictions are just a way for Democrats to maintain control in the state and no one listens to points of view that dispute the effectiveness of vaccines or masks in fighting the pandemic. Baertschiger once again touted the work of a former Greenpeace scientist who disputes climate change. Dr. Patrick Moore, whose work is highly disputed by more well-known climate scientists, is a hero according to Baertschiger. “I’ve been following this guy since college, read all his books. This guy just has a common sense approach,” he said.

Baertschiger said he knows the difference between how liberals and conservatives think because he invited Moore to a hearing in the state senate and all the Democrats left the room.

Meyer said if you look back at history the planet “gets warm and gets cool” but people don’t take the time to look at that, all they see are the headlines. He claimed that because we solved pollution, the bureaucracy left in place wanted to stay relevant so they invented global warming as something to solve.

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