October 26 Tuesday Meeting with Grants PassJosephine County Commissioners had a captive audience Tuesday for grievance-airing while representatives from the Grants Pass City Council sat patiently waiting for something…anything resembling a real discussion. Their October 26 joint meeting began with City Manager Aaron Cubic asking when construction on the new transit building in town would start. Commission Chair Dan DeYoung said because they decided against installing two Portland Loos as restrooms for the facility, they had to adjust the building plans to accommodate one unisex restroom accessible from the outside.
“What will this do to your timeline for construction?” asked Cubic.
“I probably can’t answer that,” said DeYoung.
Commissioner Darin Fowler asked if he missed a meeting, since he thought they had decided against putting a restroom in the building. He said he thought he voted for the portable loos. DeYoung said they had a discussion and he suggested just putting in a unisex restroom accessible with a key. Fowler said he was sure he voted against that but shrugged and moved on.
The next topic of discussion was the city’s planning commission. City Counselor DJ Faszer wanted the county representative dropped from their Urban Area Planning Commission since all they did was talk about zoning within the city. Commissioners agreed with Fowler who said he didn’t have strong feelings either way,
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The following discussions involved Grants Pass Mayor Sara Bristol’s efforts to get a share of the $530,000 COVID vaccine promotion money and her request to use a fairgrounds building for a warming shelter. Both topics unleashed commissioners’ grievances which were aired while city representatives, including City Manager Aaron Cubic, Councilor Brian DeLaGrange, Council President DJ Faszer and Councilor Valerie Lovelace sat patiently through lengthy lectures. Only a transcript of their direct comments does this exchange justice…….
Bristol…I sent you an email of a proposal to work on vaccine promotion in the community. I just sent an hour or so ago, I apologized for that. It involves three different parts. One would be a marketing campaign. One section would be working with local medical providers and have them increase their outreach to their own constituents and the third part would be an increase in the vaccination promotion or rather incentive funds. I sent you an email. I kept it kind of general. I don’t really know if there’s a process or what process there is. What is currently being done by the county regarding the vaccine promotion outside of what we discussed last month? I have heard a few of your ads on the radio so that’s been good but I’m not entirely sure what other platforms are being used.
DeYoung…Ok…we have four mailers. I haven’t seen any in my mailbox but we approved the mailers last week. There were some changes in there. There was one part of the mailer said it was confidential…now come on that really sets people on edge cause it’s not confidential you gotta show a vax card when you get on an airplane, you gotta show a vax card to be employed anymore in part of Josephine County so it is by no means confidential. I clarified that with our Public Health director and he said if you get vaccinated at the Public Health Department that information is confidential. They don’t give out any medical information from the county health department…make sure that is specified from the county health department cause it certainly isn’t from anybody else. You gotta show that vax card…start hanging it around your neck like an ID card…in the city or the county that’s not confidential so they did change that but I think it’s getting ready to go out. We’ve also bought home test kits that was not purchased with this money as it wasn’t allowed. We’re going to put those out in the outer reaches so if somebody comes home sick with a cough, headache, fever and can’t get to town to get tested from Cave Junction or Williams. The Department of Administrative Services wouldn’t let us buy home test kits with the $538,000 because they’re not recorded so there’s no documentation of cases…why is that so important? Is money changing hands because of recording? So, if a kid comes home sick dad won’t go to work. Surprised we couldn’t use the money for that. I just talked to Dan Mancuso and he’s doing some ads in the IV news.
Fowler….I appreciate you putting the framework. I’m not going to have my name associated with any vaccine promotion so you can count me out. If you want to come up with a program and give us the receipt I’m open for that but I’m not going to do any promoting on your behalf. I’m done. What we’ve done so far is all I’m gonna do.
Commissioner Herman Baertschiger…We’ve saturated the news, put it on YouTube and are advertising in 21 locations. And I think we’re to the point, and I know you’re going to disagree Mayor, but I’m pretty confident people, when it comes to vaccination in Josephine County, they’ve made their decision. Sure, there might be a few left but I tell you what that was an eye opener at the fairgrounds when we had 15 thousand people at the fairgrounds walk right passed the vaccination booth. We only had 49 vaccines so that tells me….and I am never…..I am NOT in support of giving people $25 or even close to being in support of giving people $100. YOU. DON’T. PAY. OFF. PEOPLE. That’s coercion. I’m sorry and what’s to stop somebody from gitten vaccinated a couple times? What’s stopping somebody going one place and get vaccinated then go to another place and get vaccinated and you have $200? So I’m worried some of that could go on too so….I’m sorry I’m not gonna pay people to change their behavior.
Deyoung…..I’m lookin’ at it from a different wrinkle but I’m sure it’s come across everybody’s mind the natural antibodies, immunity. I know with the uptick in cases we had all those people came otta there with the antibodies. Natural immunity. And so when you add vaccine to natural immunity is that a good thing? To me I don’t know the science of it. I’m not a scientist. I’m not a doctor so that’s why we’ve always said, you know here in my camp anyway, you get ahold of your doctor and you discuss it with them.
Bristol…..Well I just find it interesting that it was Commissioner Fowler who encouraged me last month to apply for the funds and said you were actually waiting for me to submit a proposal and now that I have you declare that you’re hardly even going to look at it and just systematically reject it. Fowler tries to interrupt but Bristol continues….I want to know what process there is and whether all these funds have been spent. I know that you have been taking some action with the $538,000, which you initially rejected and only accepted after I asked for it, so I’m glad you have been participating in this but I would like to remind you our community’s only 50 percent vaccinated. We actually have had more deaths earlier this summer in this high period since I first asked for help with these funds than we did the entire previous year and so if there are funds on the table and our community being only half vaccinated I would like to do more to encourage those people so we can take advantage of this.
DeYoung…Can you clarify that statement that there’s more deaths this year than last year?
Bristol…Absolutely. There were more deaths in six weeks late this summer. There were over 100 deaths in July and August was absolutely the worst peak that we’ve seen and we may have more coming in. We just need this to go away for our businesses, for our children. My son missed his entire senior year last year at home. You know it’s been devastating for local businesses and restaurants and now everybody’s having the secondary issue of having trouble finding workers and so to ignore this problem doesn’t really make it go away. It’s just dragging it out.
Baertschiger interrupts…whoa, whoa, whoa…nobody’s ignoring this problem. DeYoung chimes in as well.
Baertschiger…..You’re not gonna get away with saying that. We are every day working on this but you have to also remember that in the State of Oregon we in Southern Oregon, in both Josephine and Jackson counties, have the highest density of medical freedom folks anywhere else in the state. Ok. And I’ve had a lot of experience, a lot of interaction, a lot a testimony with those people at the capitol over other vaccinations. I’m simply saying I don’t think you’re gonna get those folks vaccinated. I don’t think if you gave em a $10,000. They’re willing to quit their jobs. And that’s what we’re seeing. We’ve lost 38 OSP officers, we’ve lost hundreds of fire fighters and others. We’ve lost hundreds of local nurses and doctors. That’s how strongly they feel, that’s a reality. They do not think like you think Mayor. You have to acknowledge there are groups of people that don’t think like you. There are groups of people that don’t think like me. Ok..that’s just a reality.
Bristol…I do acknowledge that.
Baertschiger…so yeah, that’s what we face. that’s the reality we’re faced with and you’re not gonna change that. I just …when I had conversations with the governor I said we’re gonna get somewhere around 50 percent because that’s what our polling said on other vaccinations especially when it comes to vaccinating children. So my prior experience I understood that. And it’s kinda interesting when you talk about politics people say well its conservatives that ain’t getting vaccinated. That’s not true. This is an issue that you get people on both sides that come together. I guarantee you the people that are against vaccinations in Ashland are not conservative. So, it’s a very interesting issue that I’ve had a lotta experience with in my government days and it’s just a reality. Now I think what we’re doin’ we’ll even go pick up people if they need a ride to get vaccinated so DON’T SAY, Please do not say that we’re ignoring this issue.
Fowler…just want to say I’m always going to end up on the side of choice and freedom What I said I don’t know if you didn’t hear me or I didn’t say it clearly enough when I stated it that I’mnot going to do any promotion. You’re setting that framework like we’re supposed to do something. I’m not up to that. You can have some money to do what you guys want to do in the city but we’re…I’m not going to have any part of that. I’m done promoting vaccines in fact now I don’t even tell you to ask your doctor cause you cannot trust your doctor anymore they’re threatening his license they’re threatening his livelihood so I don’t know if I’d even trust your doctor and I wouldn’t suggest that’s where you get your information from. Now the government’s in between you and your doctor which is completely unamerican. So we I won’t do any promotion for you but the money we got that’s available to you to do what you would like with it.
Brian DeLaGrange…hasn’t said anything but he has a slight smile on his face listening to this exchange.
DeYoung…brushing himself off after eating chips or something…Something I want to clarify. The reason you said we wanted the money after you wanted it that’s not…we had money left over from the CARES Act and Commissioner Baertschiger brought that out…said why do we need another $538,000 of taxpayer money. It’s not just money that grows on trees, it’s your money my money everybody else’s money in the state of Oregon. Why did we need $538,000 when we still had CARES….CARES Act money available. That’s gone away now, that’s all been sunsetted, but one of the things is thinking about it from the governor’s standpoint I knew darn well the governor was not going to let you have that money. Why? I don’t know how many incorporated cities there are in the state of Oregon there are but if she gave it to you she gotta give it to everybody else. Her idea of consolidation….she’s got 36 counties so I’m going to put it in the hands of the counties and let the counties distribute it. That’s what she said. I mean that’s what she’s thinkin’….I’m sure because it’s a logistics thing for the governor. Not cutting you out because you’re the city of Grants Pass and Commissioner Fowler I don’t know whether we…I’d have to look into whether the five-thirty-eight…because I thought OK this is what you can use if for. Now I’m findin’ there’s rules to that so I want to talk to our finance director to get the actual rules of the road if we can, if the City of Grants Pass does the promotion and gives us the receipt can we reimburse them? Can we take money out of that five-thirty-eight and reimburse them? I don’t know that that’s possible so Mayor please don’t go out there and do a huge campaign, you know, off by yourself then I gotta tell ya no. I’d rather get you an answer on that first ok? If you don’t mind?
Bristol….Yes I would appreciate that . I’ve been asking for several months now I’d appreciate knowing how much money is available and what the process is. And I’m absolutely willing to work with the Public Health Department or the county. We don’t want to do anything on our own. That’s what I’m asking for. I understand you’ve done some radio ads, newspaper ads and the mailers but I just don’t know what is actually available. If you have it all taken care of then that’s one thing but I guess we want to keep trying.
DeYoung..I think it’s a legitimate ask to find out exactly what the five-thirty-eight….to begin with, how much we’ve spent, how much is left and what it’s been spent on. That’s a good ask and I’ll get you that information through our finance director.
DeYoung…Are we all done on that one? And I fully agree, I don’t know what the vaccine count is lately we used to get it day to day. I think we need to be really careful about how many people have died from COVID. I’ve had four of my friends that have passed away in the Asante system and then I’ve had people that were in the Asante system where they could not get therapeutics or allowed to have therapeutics given to them so they checked out of the Asante system, took the therapeutics and left…and are alive today. So I don’t think when we had our conversation with the doctors from Asante about two months ago we asked about therapeutics and we asked are you using therapeutics and they said yes and we asked what they are and they wouldn’t tell us. Cause I don’t know what they are. I guess it’s none of my business and we have it thrown in our face that we are killing people and thrown in our face that the blood of my brother is on your hands Commissioner DeYoung. I’m going to push back just a little bit once in a while because when you mentioned that there was a hundred deaths and that was from COVID in one month, I think, or was that 100 deaths total? Was that from COVID?
Bristol.…Yes, nodding, covid related, yes.
DeYoung…COVID related. Ok.
Baertschiger is waving his hand around interrupting…Mr Chair and lets you know we just put out Josephine County…..just put out a press release today. Josephine county now has a total of 209 COVID 19 related deaths. Of those patients, 208 died from complications related to COVID, one died of COVID so the definition of COVID-related, that usually refers to people who have underlying medical conditions who have contracted COVID that umm, you can say, I guess the layman’s terminology is the straw that broke the camel’s back and that’s very important to look at those definitions because, uh I think they’re getting misconstrued. So that’s how many since…this is almost two years and when you look at mortality rates. Has anybody looked at Josephine County mortality rates over the last ten years? I am thankful. I am so thankful. We have not seen a big increase in mortalities. The first time that I sat in a meeting with the governor I thought we were really going to have a catastrophic problem. I am so thankful that didn’t materialize. And I appreciate everybody that’s watching everybody’s health that that didn’t happen. Cause I look at those mortality rates and I’m so thankful we didn’t increase. In fact, up until, up until October we were way under at 2.8 deaths a day, which was under our average over the last 10 years. And then we had that horrible spike in August and September that kind of got us back to our average mortality rate. But I appreciate everybody in Josephine County that has worked on this issue and done to minimize the impact of COVID…it seems to have helped.
DeYoung……at 209 divided by 18 months since this started comes out to 11 per month and our average mortality rate in Josephine County is somewhere around 3 and a half people per day….3.5 people per day or around 90 a month so, um if 209 of these died with complications…and we could dink with numbers all day long Mayor and it doesn’t make any difference. Those folks are gone and they’re not here and I feel sorry for the people left behind and uh, but you know, like I say, you could say we’re callous about it, we’re not, but we get letters, uh, uh, I get some really hateful stuff here, and I don’t deserve it neither my fellow commissioners neither do you as the Mayor or the City Manager or DJ or anybody else, even Brian DeLaGrange doesn’t deserve some of the hate mail that comes through just because we step up and serve the community so I get pretty harsh when it comes down to we’re not doin’ our job.
Baertschiger interrupting…I don’t wanna say, talking in those numbers, I am not tryin’ to diminish the effects of covid (DeYoung interjecting “Not at all”) at all, I’m just sayin’ I am thankful those numbers aren’t any higher because the very first estimates that I seen back in February and March 2020 knocked me outta my chair and I am just thankful it didn’t even get close to that. That…I really am, cause those first estimates out of the Oregon Health Authority I’m gonna tell you Mayor was a shocker…an absolute shocker and I’m so glad we didn’t even come close to that.
DeYoung …I think the front page of the paper said that we would have like 2500 deaths in the next two months or something I went holy cow and I don’t know if they got that from Oregon Health Authority… from somebody…but it never even came close to that thank God.
Bristol tries to reply but DeYoung talks over her….DeYoung…Mayor I’ll make sure you get this information so that you can move forward and if we can answer any questions. I’m curious if we can reimburse you for any program you come up with as the city of grants pass
Bristol…I think you can probably pay for it directly through the county. I just need perimeters. You say you heard some…you’ve gotten some feedback at least on certain things that can or can’t be done with the funds but I’ve never seen sort of guidelines
DeYoung interrupts…I want you to get all of that on your doorstep. I have a question for you. Do you know how many people out of the population of…not of Josephine County but of the City of Grants Pass…what percentage of your population’s been vaccinated?
Bristol…I don’t know…
DeYoung…Ok that..be curious..to see if we’re.. if the county wide… if we’re doing better as a whole or maybe 62 percent of people live inside the City of Grants Pass aren’t getting vaccinated. I don’t know. So, but let’s just go to work on this.
Warming Center discussion
Bristol…as you know we’ve been working on setting up a homeless campground and unfortunately that’s taking a little longer than we expected and we’re thinking we won’t get that going until sometime in the spring so given we have winter coming up, days already cold and wet, we’re looking for opportunities for a temporary warming center…I know county owns multiple buildings out at the fairgrounds and so I was wondering if you would be willing to consider…or we could talk to the Fair Board perhaps, about using any of the fairgrounds buildings either day or night. One of the problems we had with the warming center that was in place a couple of years back was the people staying there overnight didn’t have a place to go during the day so it’s advisable to have one place for people to go during the day and then a different place for people to go overnight so that they’re not loitering or causing issues outside. Two years ago, you know, there were a number of people just waiting outside the building to get into the evening shelter, so I guess that’s the ask. So, if you’re familiar with any buildings around town that might be a good location as well as the fairgrounds how to go about….
DeYoung interrupts…Baertschiger waves his hand around frantically trying to speak…DeYoung let me yeah, Commissioner Baertschiger.
Baertschiger…I’m the liaison to the fairgrounds! I think we gotta git Tamra (Fairgrounds Director Tamra Martin) in this conversation. I mean we have all those users out at the fairgrounds and different events and everything and you just said people don’t want people loitering. I don’t know what I think we simply have to get Tamra in the conversation.
Fowler…Yeah…I’m a hard no on the fairgrounds. Absolutely not. And no, we don’t have any extra buildings or properties so you guys need to solve your own problem.
DeYoung…I think last time I talked to Tamra….she keeps a pretty tight schedule out there as to having those buildings leased out for various events and sometimes its full all week and sometimes there’s buildings that aren’t. In other words, there isn’t just one building we can carve out, I don’t think, but I will talk to Tamra about it as liaison and if it needs to go to the Fair Board it can…I do have, and I’ll just throw this out to ya, if you like it you like it if you don’t that’s fine but we keep looking for solutions and this is a probable solution. Where you have, I guess we call it the Gentry McKinney property as you go across 6th street bridge (Caveman Bridge) on the righthand side, that Gentry McKinney property is in the city park system, because it has two holes for Frisbee golf…Commissioner Fowler you played down there..
(Note: Gentry McKinney was put in prison in 1991 for laundering mob money in Grants Pass)
Fowler…Yeah I don’t know…I had to retire.
DeYoung…Two or three Frisbee golf holes on that side (to the west of the Caveman Bridge) but I think what needs to happen you got people livin’ over there right now. You got people living in Riverside Park ..you really can’t throw them out you can’t ask them to leave but I would suggest take that to the west of Sixth Street and make that dedicated to the homeless. On the south end of that property there’s a level deck up there like where a building used to have been or whatever and put up one of those tents. You can rent those tents like a the Good Samaritan people did at the outbreak in Central Park (New York). They’re big white plastic tents with a metal frame and whatnot. There are companies that will come set that up for ya…they’re heated, they’re cooled, you could get power next door at the thrift store and work with PPL to hang a meter on there, so you can still follow your mandate from whoever, so they won’t be in the park making people uncomfortable. Put a fence along the sidewalk…come across I don’t even look over there. Maybe dedicate tents….they can go to the bus stop down the street so it gives access. Certainly a solution, but I want you to take a look at that. It can be done just like that. Put fence along the trailer court if they complain. People over in River Park Terrace complain because they see the homeless right off their verandas. They don’t like that. You could cut down underbrush. Just trying to find a place within your purview.
Fowler…I would respectfully disagree. Riverside Park is our welcome mat so I’m thinking the industrial area by Spaulding Industrial park or off of Foundry Lane…..we gotta get this unsightliness off our welcome mat…..
DeYoung interrupting…I’m just thinking through the winter to get em through cause winter’s here.
Fowler…it’s not our job to provide warming centers. It’s very interesting that the judge has told you you have to. You can tell we live in Oregon. Because if people want to live outside the norms of society and live in the cracks and try to get away with not participating I’m all for letting them move somewhere else. We don’t make a welcome mat for them. We don’t build a building for them and you guys were unfortunately leveraged by the judge so now you gotta fix your problem uh…
Bristol inserting herself…I’ll remind you that it wasn’t us guys. You were the mayor at the time that lawsuit happened.
Fowler…laughing…heh heh no, check your history. No I wasn’t. DeYoung…there was a mayor in between ya…Fowler…nice try. (Courier: the federal lawsuit was filed in October 2018. Fowler was mayor. He was elected to the commission in November of 2018. He took office in January of 2019)
DJ Faszer…I’m going to get into this a little bit so everyone knows what my position is about. Whereas Commissioner DeYoung, I appreciate you assisting in finding a solution I’m categorically opposed to using those kinds of public parklands particularly Riverside Park for social services. That idea has been fielded….
DeYoung interrupts Your park’s being used for it right now DJ! Your park’s being used and you can’t kick em out of Riverside Park the judge told you that.
Faszer.…Sir, the difference is we have an injunction that says they have to generally be allowed to camp in the park. What I’m categorically opposed to is going outside that injunction in approving a building for a specific social service use. That’s going outside the injunction. We’ve been advised by our litigation attorney not to pursue those kinds of things anticipating the danger of further litigation in doing so. I also agree that I don’t believe it is government’s position to be funding and spearheading buildings for social services. The city council and board…we are not a social service board. We are representatives and wards of taxpayers’ money and I don’t think that’s an appropriate expenditure. However, our position should be facilitating and encouraging a discussion with social service organizations that are here to reduce barriers to keep the conversation going to help the people in the community who need it. I’m not denying there’s people out there with a problem. What I’m categorically opposed to is being the board that is the driving force behind it. Especially including using taxpayer’s money to do so.
DeLaGrange…Thanks Dan. You and I don’t agree very often but if we can’t find another solution I’m definitely inclined to pursue that option for 90 days to get us through the winter. So I’m glad to see at least one decent solution coming from the board. Thank you.
DeYoung…this is strictly temporary…if we all look outside its winter. It’s not going to get any warmer so if you need something fast, that is an option. So it’s just an option. I have broached this subject with Tamara Martin our Fairgrounds Director and I think her schedule is such that “can I have a wedding reception with a homeless camp right next door in the building? No.” So it limits her ability to rent those properties. The fairgrounds is trying to become, in fact they’re almost there, become self-sufficient. But they’re not asking for general support at any time and I honor that. I honor her decision on that matter. I think it’s worthy of putting on the agenda for the Fair Board to have a discussion on it. I’ll bring that up to see if Tamra would put it on the Fair Board’s agenda if she sees fit. I’m not opposed to that. But I don’t see anything happening out there and while we’re talking about it, people are still cold. People are still hungry. Some of them don’t want our help and I think we need to recognize it that they don’t want our help. When you ask em hey you want to become part of society they say hey I’ve already checked that box long ago. I’m doing just fine the way I am. Yeah I’m cold in the morning but I’m used to it. And I know there’s a lot of people that don’t want to be that way. There are a lot of people that need our help. I think the churches are doing a fantastic job of screening that and also we have a 60,000 square foot of Department of Human Services up at the north end of town. Boy, if they can’t handle that homeless problem I don’t know who can. They’ve got the money. We don’t.
Faszer…if I can add to that, there are establishments out there, you have DHS, there’s Foundry village that the city’s assisted with, a great example. City facilitated by reducing barrios, also Gospel Rescue Mission. Their maximum occupancy has been 50 percent the last few months. They have beds, food, shelter and they’re not approaching half. They have services not utilized. Where’s the disconnect here?
Baertschiger….They have rules. People do not want to obey the rules. Example….a former employee’s mother called me saying her son was homeless. I picked him up, got room at Gospel Mission. He didn’t make it one day. What else can you do?
DeYoung….a lot started when the state got out of mental health business and pushing hard on drug addiction. Too big a problem. Whoever closed the state system down dumped on counties and cities. People say like this is everywhere. No. It is not. Commissioner Baertschiger just got back Wyoming, Montana, Utah and Idaho….
Baertschiger…Yeah and not much of this problem at all even in the cities
DeYoung….Nope. I went from Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee and on into North Carolina. I saw one guy sleeping on a park bench. And that was at the Oklahoma City bombing site. He didn’t have a backpack and they use shopping carts for groceries. Amazing. It is not like this across America. Don’t let anybody tell you that. It’s like this along I-5 (DeYoung tells his long story about how there are no homeless in Canyonville because there are no social services there). We need pay attention to what really are the facts. How’s the drug thing working out for ya? (DeYoung then tells a long story about how drug dealers used to work out in the bushes by his business).
Fowler (who often does other things during DeYoung’s monologues) said he got an answer from Scott Chancy over at transit. He said it will be about 60 days until shovels are in the ground on the transit building.
Fire issues on Dollar Mountain.
Valarie Lovelace, who had been looking at her phone a good part of the discussion, brought up ire issues on Dollar Mountain. She said residents had concerns about transients starting warming fires out there that could escalate and she wanted to know what the county is doing about transients on the property they own. DeYoung argued a bit about owning any property out there and said hobo camps have been in that area for years. Baertschiger wanted to see a map of what exactly the county owns in the area. Fowler said the county owns a sliver of property behind the cemetery. DeLaGrange pointed out the area is covered by the sheriff, not city police. It wasn’t clear if the discussion will continue.
Along with the consent calendar, a restroom renovation at Lake Selmac was approved by Josephine County Commissioners Wednesday, October 27 during a short meeting with Public Comments taking up the most time.
The restroom project on Mallard Loop at the lake, will provide a shower accessed from the outside and include wheelchair access. The $245,000 project will be funded by a grant from the Land and Water Conservation Fund and parks funds.
Guenter Ambron and the Hinkles, Judy and Craig, called in to repeat their anti-vax messages. Ambron said his Illinois Valley group has been watching “Plandemic” a debunked “documentary” series touting the “hidden agenda behind COVID-19” popular with conspiracy theorists. The Hinkles got into religion, saying attacking the “truth” attacks God and repeated QAnon conspiracies about pedophiles in the highest levels of government. Craig Hinkle read a statement about education that was his usual muddled nonsense about mask mandates in school and the perils of COVID vaccines.
Holli Morton, who seems to be a regular caller now, called with concerns about the code enforcement ordinance passed last week. She called it multifaceted and asked how this “huge increase in manpower” will be funded. “Are we expecting a levy molestation of county citizens?” she asked commissioners. She also said she went to the commissioners’ office to review the complaints of citizens that commissioners mentioned last week. It wasn’t clear if she wanted to see complaints for or against the ordinance, however. “I didn’t get to see those and I want to see those so I will be coming in again and I would appreciate the opportunity to review those.”
Commissioner Darin Fowler led the responses to the comments by saying he appreciates citizen’s concerns. Commissioner Herman Baertschiger advised people to watch a YouTube video called “Uncommon Knowledge” from the conservative Hoover Institution. It plays on Fox Nation as well. Baertschiger said it reflects on an interesting perspective. Commission Chair Dan DeYoung complained about the county only getting 3% of cannabis taxes that go to the state. He apparently understood what Craig Hinkle had to say because he told him he was “right on.” DeYoung repeated his questioning of mandates because he doesn’t know which branch of government approved them, then promised to show Morton the complaints she wants to see.
During Commissioner Herman Baertschiger’s call into KMED Radio’s Bill Meyer Show he continued to insist the mortality rate in Josephine County didn’t go up during COVID, discussed the same old themes regarding COVID vaccinations and criticized those who criticized state Rep. Lily Morgan for signing a letter saying the Biden election was corrupt. Host Bill Meyer said the corruption was the fault of mail-in ballots and said he was against mail-in ballots, even in Oregon. He said he thinks mail-in ballots are a plot to keep Democrats in power. Baertschiger didn’t come out against mail-in voting, but did say if corruption is discovered here he will be against it. Bill said he’s against it because it’s hard to confirm who’s voting by mail. When asked about the code ordinance the commission passed last week, Baertschiger said “property rights are very sensitive.” He agreed with Meyer that even marijuana growers have property rights and said he hopes the new ordinance doesn’t adversely affect anyone.