This week another man learned a lesson about spending money on a business venture before finding out if it’s allowed, Josephine County Commissioners voted to stall new hemp-growing licenses and Commissioners got a lesson in what can and can’t be done for people with mental health issues. Also, Commissioner Herman Baertschiger said Oregon gets 80 percent of its electricity from coal (it doesn’t) and allowing people to self-qualify for a program that might keep their home from catching fire is allowing for equity which he says he “has a personal problem with.” Meanwhile, Commissioner Darin Fowler declared pandemic divisiveness “could really only be from the devil.”
During a land use hearing Monday, March 7, a man who spent more than $100,000 setting up for a legal cannabis grow on his property discovered he can’t grow there after all. William Kennon, who bought 35 acres off Monument Drive, was appealing a Planning Department decision not to allow the legal grow because his application didn’t provide documents to show it had been a continuous use since being grandfathered in. Kennon’s property is in a rural residential zone that only allowed marijuana cultivation if it had been there as an unbroken use before the zoning designation. Kennon, who had licenses for medical marijuana, said he let those licenses lapse while he was waiting for a recreational marijuana permit. Without proof he had been consistently using the land for marijuana cultivation, the land reverted to rural residential. Kennon said he had no idea the land would revert over a technicality or he would have kept up the medical marijuana licenses.
“This land has a long history as the previous tenant grew medical marijuana here and I put in a $50,000 power upgrade and spent another $60 grand for greenhouses,” he said.
Commissioners were sympathetic to Kennon’s dilemma, but in the end said they had to uphold the County’s ordinance and voted not to overturn the Planning Director’s decision, based on the same statute. That meeting was adjourned after 1 hour and 18 minutes.
At Tuesday’s Legal Counsel Update, Commissioners approved an emergency declaration that, according to new legislation, SB 1564, will allow the state Department of Agriculture to suspend new licenses for hemp growing. All licenses approved up to this point will be allowed, but no new ones will be issued until the state of emergency brought about by the proliferation of illegal cannabis grows, often hidden on hemp farms, is brought under control.
Commissioner Dan DeYoung was concerned about a power shift from the board’s authority to act during the emergency to Emergency Management or some other entity, but County Counsel Wally Hicks assured him this act only concerned the suspension of hemp permits and was piggy-backed on their previous emergency declaration regarding illegal cannabis grows.
Fowler said this allowed for access to an “extra tool in the toolbox,” and all agreed to move the matter to Wednesday’s Business Session for a vote.
What started as a routine contract renewal during Wednesday’s Weekly Business Session ended up being an education for Commissioners about what Options for Southern Oregon does and its challenges relating to helping the homeless. Karla McCafferty, on Zoom to facilitate the grant renewal for Options, said the grants from the state are for two parts of their service: mental health services, the majority of which are outpatient, and their Centers for Excellence focusing on supportive education and employment.
She was asked by Commissioners if the state still has “beds” for mental patients.
McCafferty: “There are still a number of different types of mental health facilities in the state. There’s still a couple of state hospitals, but they’re very full. We’ve really struggled in the state. Well, first we dropped the number of state hospital beds that we’ve had for psychiatric illness over the last 10 to 15 years with more focus on community. At the same time some of the challenges for people have gotten more complex. A lot of the folks that we work with have both mental health issues and substance abuse issues and in our community we provide both outpatient, so that may be coming to a clinic or telehealth and also services directly in the community. And one of them would be this community treatment team that works with the higher acuity folks, folks with severe and persistent mental illness who are kind of bumping up against the criminal justice system. They may be using the emergency room a lot and the focus is to work with folks and try to get them moving further along in recovery and more independent and avoiding the use of those services. And we also have residential treatment. We actually have quite a bit of residential treatment for the size of our community, and the residential treatment that we operate is available throughout the state with statewide resources, so they’re open to people across the state, but it’s only natural that we would look towards people in our own community, to try to keep people in our own community in those residential placements as well, so we have two facilities that are secure in the county and one non-secure facility and also a number of adult foster care programs for people with mental illness, so it’s a range. And then we contract out for residential, in-patient for children. We don’t do that directly but we contract with other providers locally and around the state for that. So, it’s a range. For people who are able to have clinic based service we have what’s called open access at our clinics at Hillside over by the First Community Bank on Harbeck and our children’s services are over on Ramsey and we have what’s called open access. People can walk in anytime we’re open and request to see someone for an assessment and treatment plan they can get connected to. And then we have outreach as well. Some of those teams track the people we’re working with, the numbers of incidents they’re having, like hitting emergency rooms or being arrested.
We also work over at Corrections. We have staff placed with Probation, Corrections and Parole who can get people seen more quickly on-site. We work with Juvenile Justice, we have staff in schools, Head Start programs, things like that. And a variety of medical clinics as well.
DeYoung asked if her agency is making any progress with homeless people who have mental health issues. She said a lot of those you see are people Options is working with or have worked with but there are many challenges to working with the homeless.
McCafferty: “ We face a number of challenges in the work we do and one is the housing situation so it doesn’t matter how much treatment and support we give people if they don’t have a place to live they are going to be limited in how much they can engage and how much progress they can make. Just being homeless is pretty anxiety producing as it is and these people face more risk of physical abuse, criminal activity, crimes potentially either doing them to survive or being more likely a victim of crime. So a lot of those folks we have worked with and are working with. What’s interesting with mental illness it’s certainly very treatable but for some folks it’s a long term situation. And like any kind of illness they’ll be periods of time when they’re doing better, then there’ll be periods of time when that illness kind of comes up again and they’re struggling more. And then we have the challenges of substance abuse on top of that, like we do for a lot of folks with significant mental illness. They try to do things to make them feel better and sometimes taking drugs makes them feel better or at least calms some of those feelings down. One of the challenges, to be honest with you, and it’s not just us it’s a problem across the United States. We have laws in place and things that help us with people who are a danger to themselves or others, but the substance use can often make people so they’re not in a place where they’re making good decisions either. And we can treat that, but regardless there has to be a level of engagement on that on the part of that individual to participate as well so we can move people through our treatment system and work with them around their drug use and mental illness and move them through the system so maybe they can move to a non-secure place, then we can help them find housing in the community and work and education, but there’s going to be times when people struggle again or struggle with their substance abuse. And that kind of starts that cycle all over again. But housing is a huge issue for a lot of our folks and we have relationships with landlords that are friendly with the people we work with, felony friendly landlords, but that is an issue and ongoing support for people is an issue too. Some folks benefit from having some level of support and check-in over periods of time and some of the system is set up to want us to move people off like it’s been three days, you’re better, so on you go and for some of the folks with significant challenges it doesn’t work that well. They need some levels of support ongoing and that is a little more challenging to do.
DeYoung thanked McCafferty and said he learned a lot from her answer to his question. He also asked her if they work with veterans.
“We work closely with veterans services work and have staff trained particularly, in post-traumatic stress disorder and military culture to understand the framework they come from,” she said.
They don’t get funding from the Veteran’s Administration for this but do bill veterans’ insurance for this service, she said after DeYoung asked if the VA provided money for this.
Baertschiger said years ago the State of Oregon decided to go the outpatient route to keep mental health patients in their communities but at some point that decision may have to be reevaluated.
“There are times you get to a place where there’s just no place to go,” he said. “And that’s what we need to work on in the State of Oregon. Whether we reevaluate the in-patient model again to some extent to meet some of those needs when local communities become where they just simply can’t handle the amount of folks who are not (benefiting from an outpatient situation) is something to take into consideration.”
Commissioners approved the “pass-through” grants later during the meeting.
Next up Wednesday was Emergency Coordinator Emily Ring’s simple request for a work agreement that would provide teen workers through the Northwest Youth Corps, in cooperation with Firewise, to help low income and elderly people provide defensible space around their homes turned into a philosophical discussion about equity. She had given Commissioners a presentation on this program a few weeks ago.
The Josephine County Defensible Space Project, Ring said, funded through a grant, provides teen workers trained to clear property for people who can’t afford to have this done and who are elderly or have disabilities preventing them from doing this themselves. She said people will be asked to “self-assess” on an application whether they qualify for this program since she doesn’t have the administrative capability to assess each application in her office. She can, however, determine if they own the property they want cleaned of brush.
This set off Baertschiger, who somehow considered the concept of self-assessment on the application some kind of “equity” plot. “What’s the point with self-attest if we don’t check up on them? Where’s the fairness in that?” he asked. “It just bothers me. It goes down the same old narrative of equity over equality and I just have a personal problem with that. That’s where government concentrates, on the output and not the input and this is a country of equality and that sort of mindset is equity. I guess I have a personal problem with it.”
Ring jumped in with a concession, saying she would be happy to just leave the self-assess part off the application and just prioritize those she knows have the most need.
“I’m absolutely open to hearing different ways to do it and if you feel strongly about it and it means not moving forward with this project I’m open to hearing that too. You guys make the decisions. “The point of the self-attest was, in fact, to make it as accessible as possible and to make this project viable. But I’m absolutely open to hearing ideas about what you think might work better,” said Ring.
“Well, I personally, I think we should concentrate on areas that need to be treated and prioritize the ones that need to be treated most and that’s in there but maybe we should stay just withing that realm,” said Baertschiger.
“I can do that. I can take that whole self-attest out if you feel like it. We have not publicized this. There’s still room to do that and simply say the only criteria is you live in these highest risk communities and we did have that conversation. I’m totally comfortable with that. If you would prefer that,” said Ring.
DeYoung said he liked the program but asked “where are these kids coming from?” He asked if this program was like the old Job Corps where they took inner city kids who needed jobs and sent them out to do work. He also said he wondered how many kids would “raise their hand” to go out and work.
Ring told him this program has been on-going for many years and the crews are already formed, have adult leaders and are ready to go where needed.
Fowler didn’t say a word during the discussion, but all three Commissioners later approved the work agreement without saying it had to be adjusted.
There were only two callers during the Public Comments section of the meeting. Judy and Craig Hinkel called in to complain that their local media has a civic responsibility to publish their letters and meeting notices, then went on to call the FDA a criminal conspiracy, claimed the Pfizer COVID vaccine caused 24,000 deaths, that vaccinating children should be stopped and ended with a couple of select Bible quotes. Commissioners reminded the Hinkels that starting next week they will be back in the Ann Basker Auditorium but they will still have a Zoom component if the Hinkels don’t want to drive from O’Brien for their thee minute comments.
During their review of Public Comments DeYoung said he wondered if the COVID vaccines came with a disclaimer like the pills he sees advertised on television. He said in his opinion if vaccines are mandated, they should be required to have a disclaimer.
Fowler used this part of the agenda to editorialize about the pandemic…”As we finally declare this pandemic over we’re gonna struggle with truth of what happened. Political science truth that has been hidden. We’ll see what does to our country, whether people start moving from one party to another because of what happened. But I know it’s broken up families, it’s made friends not talk to each other for years. It’s really been divisive and so it could really only be from the devil. Because I read that big thick book and I know what happens at the end and it’s not pretty. And we just saw some not pretty the last couple of years. And it really wasn’t the virus it was the government’s response to the virus that was so damaging. And now the government’s trying to force a recovery on what they did and try and throw more money at it and so it’s been painful to watch. Really painful. And I hope we get some nuggets of truth over the next few months. I guess we’ll see.”
Baertschiger had no comment and as Chair, returned to the business of approving the consent agenda and formally approving all the items they discussed earlier. The Weekly Business Session lasted an hour and 21 minutes.
Thursday May 10, during the Board’s Administrative Workshop, Transit Director Scott Chancey asked the board to approve the purchase of two more electric busses for the county. The County already has two electric busses purchased several years ago. Commissioners asked why he wasn’t looking at diesel busses. Chancey said the ODOT (Oregon Department of Transportation) grant paying for the busses only allowed for the purchase of electric busses. Baertschiger said that was ironic since “they say well, you know Josephine County we got electric…we’re helping the climate change and everything when 80 percent of our electricity comes from coal power plants.” (Note: Oregon gets most of its power from hydraulic generation and natural gas, with only 2.8 percent from coal https://stacker.com/stories/3356/states-producing-most-electricity-coal )
Chancey said based on his experience with the two electric busses the county now owns, the electric busses are far less expensive and gave a long explanation to the board based on his calculations.
Chancey: “What I found out over the last two years fell in line as expected. When we ordered first two there were a few unknowns like cost per mile and what’s the actual savings and what’s the maintenance cost. An electric vehicle has approximately 40 percent less moving parts. So what does that entail in terms of reduction in our operating expense? If you look at our budget proposed for upcoming fiscal year the electric busses are budgeted at $2.02 per mile and the diesel buses are budgeted for $1.45 per mile. So looking at that it would be stated the electric is costing more per mile than the diesel, which is true, but there’s some explanations for that which backs my recommendation to continue with this purchase order.
The biggest one is the expense in the budget is based on the aggregate cost of those electric vehicles from last year and with the electric technology we’ve found out a few things about. The biggest one is in the beginning you’re going to have a higher maintenance cost and the biggest driver of that maintenance cost is education and training for your employees, maintenance staff specifically. So what’s driving our maintenance cost to put it to the $2.02 a mile is essentially parts that were needed and the cost of labor, so on both of the busses we lost battery cells since 2019. On one of them we lost more than one battery cell. And by battery cells, all the batteries are not just in one contained unit. There’s 12 individual battery packs. And cumulatively those battery packs contain about 37,000 lithium ion batteries. So across those 12 packs they all need to be functioning correctly or the bus doesn’t move. The manufacturer, once we realized that was broken, actually came and fixed our battery packs. It was pretty labor intensive. We didn’t have to pay for it but we did have to pay for our own staff. So there’s some accumulation of costs there. The other thing that we’ve done or learned is we’ve had to replace the 24 volt battery systems in both busses several times. So there’s some large driving factors in terms of what our expenses were.
But if you look at those expenses over the last six months this pretty much plays out for my recommendation. One of the vehicles, the quarterly average maintenance cost which doesn’t include fuel, it just includes parts and labor associated with those repairs, on one of the electric busses, we paid $579 for the quarter. That’s a three month accumulation of expenses. And this is an average over the last six months. If you compare that to the diesel bus average over that same time period, the diesel bus average per quarter is $2,348 in expenses. So, that in itself tells me that once we’ve gone through the initial expense and learning curve of the electric busses, yes, the parts and labor associated with that is paying off. Now will it continue to pay off over the life cycle of these vehicles which is 12 years? It’s an unknown. Will the batteries last 12 years? Again, unknown. There are some transit agencies that are at that 12 year mark right now and they’ve experienced the same thing that we’ve seen in terms of cost reduction and their batteries are still functional. So, is that going to be the same experience we have? I don’t know. Based on the trends of what’s going on I can probably say yes.
Now if you notice when I was talking about maintenance expense I didn’t talk about fuel. To do a comparison between fuel you have to convert the electricity to essentially a milage or something, so conservatively we are using about, on an electric bus, we are getting about 2.1 kilowatt hours, we’re spending about 2.1 kilowatt hours per mile driven. The miles per gallon of the diesel bus we get about 5.9 miles per gallon. So if you take the kilowatt hour per mile from the electric bus and you times it by the amount of fuel spent per mile on the diesel bus you can kind of get an equivalent. So with that said, basically, on the current prices it looks like we’re operating the electric busses at about $1.85 gallon equivalent to diesel which is around $4 plus dollars a gallon. So based on the fuel expense and what we’re seeing it pays off there as well. Now granted there’s some factors involved such as is the cost of electricity gonna be stable, is the cost of diesel gonna go up, is the cost of diesel going to go down? What is the life cycle of these vehicles, is it truly 12 years or are we going to run into some other problem? I don’t see anything ahead that would make me present a recommendation to not go this route, but with that said my opinion is fuel diversification in your transit fleet is extremely important.
So while I’m making the recommendation to buy two more electric vehicles to bring our total to four, I would stop it there. I would not go beyond these four vehicles given the current conditions. Now if something came up and the technology came down in price, if something happened and you couldn’t get diesel vehicles, it might make me change my mind but I don’t see any of that happening so therefore I would probably maintain this. It takes I think 10 vehicles to operate the fixed route/commuter route fleet. If this purchase is made, four of those vehicles will be electric and six of those will be diesel. I feel pretty confident with that fuel mix. I feel extremely confident in the prices of our maintenance and fuel continuing on the path that they are and will continue. And as you can see the cost between a diesel and an electric vehicle is significant. The cost between these electric vehicles and what we bought in 2009 is almost $100,000 more. But with that said, the battery pack is bigger and the engine is more efficient so I think with these vehicles we’re going to see an even greater efficiency in terms of kilowatt hour per mile which is gonna be an additional cost savings. So the difference that I look at is the difference in the match requirement per vehicle. Can I recover that? Which I can confidently say yes based on the projections that we have. And that’s over a 12 year period. And the other question is will we recuperate the overall cost of the vehicle? Now granted 98 percent of that is through a grant. Still, it’s an expense and those are taxpayer dollars so that has to be looked at. So I think the projections that we’re on it does show the electric vehicle will produce enough cost savings to offset the difference in price between the diesel vehicle and an electric vehicle.
And then the last thing I’d like to say is, again to reiterate, these funds can’t be used for anything else but electric vehicles. Yes, by design. Now we did purchase two diesel vehicles, which we desperately needed in November but those funds came from the payroll tax dollars that the county receives as well as a conversion of some of our CARES Act money that had already been awarded to us. Those funds will be altered to allow us to buy a diesel vehicle vs putting them into operations. That’s an allowable amendment so we’re going to do it. The odds for us getting funds for diesel vehicles is very low unfortunately. Everyone’s competing for the same pot of money. Luckily we are kind of out ahead of the game. But that’s just kinda where it’s at. These vehicles, once they’re purchased, I think I have three more cutaways or the smaller vehicles that are beyond their useful life that still will need to be replaced. So once we get through the diesel vehicles, this purchase order and I have an application I think will be awarded for two more large vehicles that will not be electric then I think we’re well on our way and that only leaves me three more. So, at that point we’ll see where I can get the funds from. Eventually.”
Baertschiger said he appreciated that Chancey didn’t get caught up with “the environmental aspect” and concentrated what was the best value. Chancey said whereas some transit agencies are going 100 percent electric by the year 2040, he said they may not be thinking about the logistics of putting in enough chargers to accommodate those busses and the room they’ll need to carve out of their parking lots for those.
The only other discussion Thursday was about changing some job descriptions requested by Human Resource Director JJ Scofield. The Commission’s only question regarding that was if the departments making the requests had it in their budgets to do that. Scofield said they did.
Adjourning the meeting, Baertschiger’s only comment was “Well, the newspaper will be short a page tomorrow.”
Thursday’s meeting lasted 40 minutes.
The Herman and Bill Show
KMED March 8 2022
After griping about bike lanes and how all urban planners should be sent to Moscow, complaining about care for the homeless, and how the explosion of crime in Oregon is all the Democrats’ fault for not holding people accountable, Josephine County Commissioner repeated his claim that electric busses in Oregon are ironically running off coal.
“I look out my window and these are half-a-million dollar busses and we’re charging them with electricity that’s produced by coal. So scratch your head about that one,” he said.
Bill – that’s what I’ve been saying the last couple of years here. But weren’t you on the board when that was approved? The electric bus plan? For Josephine County transit?
Herman – Well yea. That all comes from state money. laughing…you don’t really have a lot of latitude. You’d be surprised how many decisions have been taken away from local government by the state and the feds. Absolutely amazes me.
Bill – Yeah, as a postscript to the state legislative session I would have to agree. And I was talking yesterday with Rep. Kim Wallen about that one state bill which ended up passing, which has essentially eliminated the ability for local school boards to fire their superintendent without cause. You’d have to wait at least a year or so. I don’t think this works really well, it’s a good no here Herman on the ability for locals to reform their government schools. Which is why I say you just have to leave it. I don’t think there’s any other way around it. what do you think?
Herman – It’s absolutely insane. The superintendent works at the pleasure of the school board. It’s just that simple. The school board is the policy part of that equation and if the superintendent is not within the constraints of the policy of the school board they should be able to terminate him. Now they can’t. (Herman didn’t mention that school superintendents have contracts and those are very expensive for a district to buy out)
Bill – Now you are a former state senator and you were in there during the walkout. Do you think things got so bad in this particular session that members of the Republican caucus should have walked out in either the House or the Senate? I mean do you think that it should have been done in retrospect when you look back to what happened?
Herman – Well, you know, I don’t know what the dynamics, they’re so complicated it’s like playing five chess games at the same time. Um, do you have the caucus members? What is the Democrats doin’ to bribe your caucus members? So I’m not in that loop so I don’t know what the dynamics are so I probably can’t even comment on that, you know. Simply because I don’t know. But it’s definitely a tool, but you know at the end of the day when you look at Oregon I don’t know who the Democrats think are going to pay the bills. I mean they’re chasing Intel outta here. I would assume that when Phil Knight isn’t around Nike takes a leave. We have really no aerospace industries with exception of a small Boeing plant in Gresham. We have no military bases which is always good for a state (Note: there is a military base in Klamath Falls), no defense contractors, um we really don’t, we have no automobile makers to speak of….
Bill interrupts – We do have marijuana and hemp though.
Herman – Oh yeah and if you think you’re gonna run the state on taxes from marijuana and pizza restaurants, I don’t know where they’re gonna get the money? The economy in Oregon, if you go back in history, look what a powerhouse during WWII and after WWII Portland was. What a powerhouse of manufacturing. It’s all gone. Gone.
Bill – And of course you can’t cut a tree either. Or fish.
Herman – They neutered the timber industry. And look what they just did to agriculture, you know, with this overtime for agriculture. I don’t know how you compete on the world market when your inputs are considerably higher than somebody else’s. So I don’t know. I don’t know where they’re gonna get their money in the state but I guess we’ll see.
Bill – Yeah, yeah. There’ll be some kind of plan I imagine but I’m not real impressed with the plans here so far. Speaking of the marijuana and the pot though, is there any additional news on what might be with the state plan to get some law enforcement money to Josephine and/or Jackson County. It’s grant stream funding there and some of the concerns I had is it looked like it was more about taking care of the illegal aliens and the trafficking problem rather than the actual law enforcement issues that need the money here in Southern Oregon. Any thoughts there from Josephine County perspective?
Herman – Well all the money goes through an agency that everybody applies for grants.
Bill – Has Josephine County applied for a grant for this or is it still too new?
Herman – It’s still too new.
Bill – OK
Herman – They gotta go over this and that and it’s a Community Justice Commission that is gonna do all that which is run by all Democrats. The scary part is those grants have always been pretty much set aside for law enforcement agencies but now they expanded the base of people that can apply for those grants to humanitarian organizations and…..
Bill interrupts – Oh so it used to mostly go to law enforcement but now will be divvied up between law enforcement and essentially kind of like what Lutheran Services does around the country to relocate illegal aliens and things like that. Right? That kind of thing?
Herman – Absolutely. So I don’t know how much money law enforcement’s gonna get. I don’t know. You know, you keep havin’ people say ‘oh they’re gonna get five million, they’re gonna get six,’ but we have no idea what we’re gonna get. So, I hope it’s five or six but then there’s strings attached to that. We can’t use that money to hire new deputies…
Bill interrupts – You could use it for overtime couldn’t you?
Herman – Yeah, and also the cleanup afterwards, but you know, we need more bodies Bill. That’s what we need. That’s what we’re lacking. That’s what everybody’s sayin’ from the sheriff right down to the deputies. When I’m talkin’ to deputies I go ‘what can I do to help you with this problem’ and its always more bodies. We need more bodies.
Bill – So is that why you think a law enforcement district is a good idea or not? I know you ended up voting to get that on the ballot.
Herman – No I didn’t vote to put a law enforcement district on the ballot. I just brought up that is just one idea….
Bill interrupts – Oh I’m sorry pardon me pardon me You’re right.
Herman – You know we gotta figure out somethin’ and it’s the citizen’s decision. I mean it’s not the county commissioners’ decision. Taxation has always been, in my view, a decision of the citizens. That’s why I always used to vote against taxes at the legislature because I think citizens need to vote taxes on themselves, not elected officials. That’s just kinda how I think, so…..
Bill interrupts – And by the way, at least you don’t have to put up with a recall. That didn’t work out so well last week. I know that broke later last week.
Herman – Yeah
Bill – Now then, let me just shift gears with you if you don’t mind here and maybe with your ORP (Oregon Republican Party) vice-chair hat on. OK? What happens here as we shift from the COVID crisis, obviously over. And I have to tell you Putin has probably done more to cure COVID than just about anything else has last couple of years here Herman.
Herman – Your spot on, I mean you know the Democrats are really struggling with COVID. It was like hanging a burning tire around their necks and when you talk to people…I was in Seattle here the last few days and you know they’re all masked up and everything but in those friendly conversations I was always amazed at how many people brought up that the vaccines didn’t work as well as they were told. So with all the breakthrough cases and you know you got the Queen of England getting em and all these celebrities getting’ COVID and you think, well obviously they’re fully vaccinated and obviously they’re sequestered, you know, away from anybody, how in the hell’d they git it? So, um, people are talking about that. I’m not sayin’ vaccines didn’t work, I think they did but they didn’t work as good as, say the measles vaccine. OK?
Bill – Yeah you took a measles vaccine that meant you didn’t get measles. That wasn’t the case with the SARS COVID 2 vaccine.
Herman – Right, and a lotta places, you know, hospitals are approaching 50 percent of the people in the hospitals are fully vaccinated and I kinda got into an interesting conversation with a liberal-minded friend and I asked him about that and they said well yes vaccine isn’t 100 percent but you won’t git it as bad and I said well if you won’t git it as bad why are they in the hospital? So…..(Note: There have been 35,424 COVID-19 vaccine breakthrough cases in Oregon. Of those, 4.4% have been hospitalized and 1% have died) .https://www.kgw.com/article/news/health/coronavirus/oregon-80-adult-vaccination/283-4d1fd6b7-266e-4bea-85dc-12500a2dae0e
Bill – Yeah but you see that’s sort of a hypothetical, what we’ve been told for a number of months now here, well it’ll be less of a case alright. Well I know a lotta people who didn’t seem to have lesser of a case. I don’t know. But it’s all anecdotal at this point but now just in time though for another election cycle you can pivot away from COVID and it’s going to be on Ukraine and Russa and that’s maybe foreign affairs. How do you see that playing out in electoral politics, being the Oregon Republican Party vice chair. Whataya think there Herman?
Herman – Well the Ukraine is just going to shadow out COVID. In 60 days you won’t know what COVID is even if it’s still in the community. It’ll just be there. Um, I don’t want to get into why Putin attacked Ukraine and all those politics because you have to watch the news and everything. Their only tellin’ us what they want us to know. We don’t really know what…
Bill interrupts – And frankly it’s above our pay grade, all of our pay grade here, you know listening. We can have an opinion, don’t get me wrong, but I’m just sayin…really.
Herman – But politically it’s obvious what the strategy they’re going to use is they’re gonna blame Putin, they’re gonna villainize Putin and they should, I mean invading another country’s not a real good thing to do. But they’re gonna villainize him and high gas prices is gonna be Putin, um high energy costs, high food, high automobile. I mean just lookin at last year almost a 50 percent increase in fuel, 45 percent increase in used cars and our inflation, they say it’s about 7 ½ percent but it’s really not, it’s more like 12 or 13 percent because they don’t consider energy or food when they give ya the inflation rate.
Bill – And they also don’t really, in my opinion, put the cost of housing appropriately into inflation. I don’t think they really put that in there. It’s almost like it’s downscaled or they weight it downward. It’s a lot higher in this state than people might think.
Herman – Oh yeah. It is. It’s much higher than what people think and so they’re gonna blame all that on Putin. Putin, Putin, Putin, Putin. You’re gonna hear Putin so many times you’re gonna dream about Putin I think. And then when we usher in the ’23 campaign cycle, whoever’s the Republican candidate, they’re gonna do whatever they can to tie that candidate to Putin.
Bill – To tie the Republican to Putin then. Alright?
Herman – Yeah. The Republican.
Bill – That’s really interesting because the fact of the matter is it seems there was more Democratic involvement with the Russagate scandals of a few years ago. Don’t you think?
Herman – That doesn’t matter. It’s always ‘it’s not my fault it’s somebody else’s.’ That’s how the Democrat Party works.
Bill – Well OK. So the truth in the American Way doesn’t matter if it’s about the quest for power. All right Herman.
Herman – And yeah, you know, it’s gonna be interesting. You notice we’re not hearing a lot about the convoy back in Washington DC and there’s like 20,000 trucks back there. And we’re not hearing about it so they have the ability to suppress. They have the ability to embellish the news and they ability to suppress it. Pretty powerful Bill. It really is.
Bill – That’s also why I say you’ll probably be more informed if you’re not watching the mainstream for much of anything these days. I’m serious. And I have to tell you, you even find out how the COVID propaganda was bought and paid for on all the national networks including the Foxes, including the Newsmaxes and people were encouraged not to dig into any alternative stories about the COVID too. It’s been a real psychological op on the people these last couple of years Herman.
Herman – Well look what they did to Commissioner DeYoung and myself. We’re not anti-vaccine. We always encourage people to have a conversation with their medical provider.
Bill – But you were bad people because you weren’t willing to be vaccine salesman. That’s essentially what a lot of the people going after you in the recall were trying to do.
Herman – Well and we ask good hard questions and we told them when Asante came over and met with us in an open meeting we told them we would have questions for them and you know, when I’m reading these papers from a virologist from Belgium and another one from Oxford, another one from Harvard that is contrary to what they’re saying, I asked Dr Nelson of Asante, I asked him do I disregard what these people that are viral ologists (sic) are saying and he looked at me and he said why would you listen to someone from Belgium?
Bill You trying to tell me Belgium doesn’t have good medical people? Really?
Herman – Well in the back of my mind and I didn’t say it in the meeting, but back in my mind I’m thinkin these are people that are viral ologists and one of em’s a Nobel Peace Prize winner from his work he did on the AIDS virus and I’m thinking to myself these are all viral ologists and Dr Nelson is a proctologist. You know, I mean I just wanted to ask a question and I was demonized for just asking questions. But you know that’s what you do at the Senate. You ask a lot of questions cause you’re trying to get down to what is really the truth. But in Josephine County the Democrat Party doesn’t want me askin’ any questions.
Bill- Do you think though, over time, your stance on the COVID-19 situation will be vindicated and will be more vindicated as time goes on? Even if it is due to the silence you hear coming out of many of those party members?
At this point the recording ended.