Hot off the Press
Josephine County Sheriff Dave Daniel, running for his second term, introduced himself at the October meeting of the Josephine County Democrats and said he was glad to see a strong, growing Democratic Party in the county because it is important that all voices here be heard. He introduced his wife, an elementary school teacher who brought in campaign signs, and said she was an important part of his mission and his team. He said he doesn’t normally campaign in uniform, but he’d just come over from his office.
Daniel grew up in Portland, graduated from OSU with a BS in Speech Communications and began his law enforcement career with the Grants Pass Department of Public Safety in 1995. Three years later he was hired by the Oregon State Police as resident Trooper in Wheeler and Gilliam counties. Daniel, his wife and two children decided to go back to Grants Pass three years later and Daniel was again hired by the GPDPS where he held many positions, from traffic officer to SWAT Team instructor. In 2014 he ran for sheriff, he said, because the sheriff’s department was barely hanging on and he had ideas to improve it. Since taking office, Daniel said the department has been steadily improving, with a big boost in May from the jail levy that passed. He said he isn’t a fan of taxes but the levy has helped him make desperately needed improvements to the department. The ability to utilize all the beds in the jail to actually lock up criminals instead of handing them a citation is starting to bring order back into communities, he said. Daniel’s handouts show bookings went from 2,679 in 2012-13 to 5,209 in 2017-18 and he expects to see that grow as more officers are put in place. In addition, he was able to restore a position in his records department, so if you call, you get a real person instead of an answering machine.
From the floor, Daniel was praised by people on evacuation notice during the fires as being honest and helpful about possible evacuations. He said he has worked hard to bring back trust and transparency to the department. On homelessness, Daniel explained there are two types of homeless, those who want to be there and those who don’t. It is hard to do anything about those who are just wanderers, he said, but homeless people who are there because of drugs, alcohol, mental health issues, and those who might be camping out because they are priced out of housing, should be helped. Daniel said he has worked with Gov. Kate Brown to secure a $1.5 million grant to combat the drug problem in Josephine County. Regarding collaboration with local schools, Daniel said he recently funded on-site officers for three schools, who will not only provide security but help students view law enforcement as a resource.
“We’ve lost a generation because we had no law enforcement and we’re seeing the ramifications of that,” Daniel said. “We’ve got to start over now.”
When the levy passed, Daniel ended the contract with ICE to provide beds for illegals. He said those housed in the jail were, no doubt arrested for criminal activity, but they were not local and taking up needed space.
“We have a low population of illegals, and we don’t need to be housing them for other places,” he said.
When asked if he was concerned about growing right-wing groups, such as the Oath Keepers/Liberty Watch, known to take law into their own hands occasionally, Daniel said his job is Conservator of the Peace so he works with everyone to make sure “once the pot starts to boil it doesn’t overflow.
The Independent Party of Oregon endorses Democrat Jamie McLeod-Skinner over Independent candidate Mark Roberts. https://www.bendbulletin.com/localstate/6518265-151/independent-party-backs-democrat-over-its-nominee-in
I interviewed Darin Fowler for the Illinois Valley News. Here it is, below:
What is your vision for the future of JoCo law enforcement and how do you anticipate funding that vision?
Fowler proposed a three-legged funding strategy, stating that “every effort should be made to fully fund the Josephine County Criminal Justice system in order to keep every citizen safe. This includes all aspects of criminal justice including 24-hour patrols, full-time detectives, jail services, and operation of the youth detention facility.”
He stated that alternative funding to an increase in property taxes includes a local cannabis production tax on commercial grow operations, fighting for a greater share of the state’s dispensary tax, and the need to continue work on the lawsuit that multiple Oregon counties, including Josephine, have undertaken against the federal government to seize back full logging rights of the O&C lands.
But when pressed, Fowler agreed that none of the proposed funding sources are wholly within the county’s power.
For instance, the county is already taxing dispensaries at the maximum allowed by state law: three percent.
“We’re already getting that three percent off of dispensaries and it’s not very much,” said Fowler. “But that’s only at the dispensaries. The thing I’m talking about is at the source: the farming of the cannabis.”
State law as it stands, does not allow counties to tax cannabis production, only the retail end of the industry. Counties like Josephine where marijuana production is a large part of the local economy as opposed to the retail end of the industry, have been lobbying the state legislature to allow local taxation of recreational marijuana grows.
“[Commissioner] Dan DeYoung .. has a proposal at the state level,” said Fowler. “It didn’t make it through the state legislature this year, but probably will, yes or no, next year. That’s the one I put a lot of stock in. They [cannabis growers] need to be taxed just like a regular business and not think they have a golden goose and can just come and make money off of us.”
Fowler added that, although there are no guarantees, there seemed to be an initial promising reaction by legislators.
“I think if we’re going to fund more [above the current level of law enforcement funding] we’re going to find it from the state or federal government. I don’t think we have to go to the property owners. They’re already tired.”
What are your specific proposals for encouraging economic growth and job creation in the rural areas of the county?
Fowler stated that economic growth and job creation can be encouraged by improving both of our county’s airports and its industrial parks and building a motel/resort to cater to those wanting to visit the Illinois Valley. He added that there is ample property to create additional biking, hiking, and horseback riding trails, and suggested the county could enhance Page Mountain Sno-Park, our county’s only snow recreation area.
Fowler also suggested working with local businesses to develop internship/apprenticeship programs.
“Too many of our young people feel they have to leave Josephine County in order to embark upon a career that earns a living wage. ”
He added that there needs to be a change in attitude among county officials from putting up barriers to local business to helping them, whether through tax breaks or giving them a break on permit fees or charges for new infrastructure.
“But,” he said, “I don’t think we need to create new opportunities for new businesses until we come alongside existing businesses and make sure they can do the things they want to do to create jobs.”
What role do you see the marijuana industry playing in rural economic development and job creation?
“Long-term careers in the market will be few,” said Fowler. “But other businesses could benefit from the success of the industry.”
“I would actually like to see many of these marijuana businesses turn to the growing of hemp, a much more versatile and useful product,” he added.
What is your position on the zoning issue with respect to both medical and recreational marijuana farming?
Fowler stated he is against commercial grows in Rural-Residential-zoned lots, and would allow them only on farmland-zoned properties. He cited Jackson County as a model. In 2016 Jackson County passed an ordinance that allows commercial grows only on farm or forest land.
Jackson County defines commercial grows as more than ten plants.
In what specific ways, such as regulatory, public infrastructure and finance, do you see the county supporting the development of affordable housing, especially multi-family housing?
“I cannot overstress the importance of our need to do whatever we can to encourage the building of multi-family and low income housing,” Fowler said. He also said he supports the approval of the Lincoln Meadows project in Grants Pass, a proposed 52-unit low income, multi-family housing development that has been stalled due to neighborhood opposition.
Fowler added that incentivizing property redevelopment by reducing or eliminating permit fees and infrastructure charges would encourage individual developers and property development companies to create more housing opportunities.
With respect to development of multi-family development in rural Josephine County, Fowler pointed out that state land use regulations would probably prohibit higher density development except in or near the two incorporated cities of Grants Pass and Cave Junction.
What are some tools the county is either making use of now or can make use of in the future to ameliorate the homelessness problem?
Fowler distinguished homelessness from vagrancy and transiency. “I think homelessness is more of a temporary thing, where people are by circumstance pushed out of their existing place.” He noted that there are a lot of help agencies for such people, when they have a desire to “pick themselves up and move forward,” He listed United Community Action Network (UCAN), Dorcas Community Services, Gospel Rescue Mission and Josephine County Salvation Army as examples, and reiterated the need for affordable housing development.
But he added that the others, “who have found the cracks in our society and live outside the lines” should be encouraged to “move along to Eugene or Portland.”
Fowler stated that the veteran who is struggling with problems such as addiction and PTSD and may be living in a tent out in the woods is a special case. He characterized such cases as “tweeners,” between vagrancy and homelessness, and noted that the Veterans Administration has the primary responsibility in such cases, as the county does not have the resources.
He suggested the county can encourage vagrants and transients to leave by passing an ordinance against panhandling vehicle drivers and by clearing illegal camps.
Same question as above, but with respect to the meth and opioid addiction problem?
“Josephine County has taken positive steps in dealing with this problem by providing treatment programs, opening a methadone clinic and the Sobering Center, and awareness campaigns to prevent accidental access,” Fowler said. “However, increasing our funding to the criminal justice system, including law enforcement, is equally important to eradicate these problems.”
What is your position on the lawsuit Josephine County has joined with respect to logging on the O&C lands?
Fowler characterized the O&C land use/logging lawsuit as of vital importance. “Not only has the federal government done an extremely poor job of properly maintaining our forest lands, they have taken away nearly all of our rights as a state to responsibly log those lands. We must continue to press the federal government to release our public lands, or at the very least to restart the O&C payments from the original agreements. ”
This is well worth the 2 minutes and 15 seconds to watch. Numerous local physicians tell why they are voting for Jamie McLeod -Skinner.
It was fright-night for progressives at Liberty Watch’s candidate’s forum Sept 13. About 70 or 80 people seated in the Home Arts building at the Josephine County Fairgrounds reacted with amens and muffled cheers as the candidates for sheriff and commissioner told how they support Measure 105 calling for the repeal of Oregon’s 30-year-old Sanctuary Statute, how anyone coming to the county to take people’s guns would be met by a “wall of sheriff’s deputies,” how cutting down trees and opening up mining on public lands will restore the county’s budget, and how Pacific Power is trying to invade people’s privacy, fry their brains, catch fire and raise their power bills with Smart Meters.
If you ask someone in a Liberty Watch t-shirt what their organization is they’ll tell you it’s a 501c3 non-profit just doing projects to help people and finding wheelchairs for the needy elderly and children. However, the Rural Organizing Project pegs this as a right-wing activist group cultivating good relations with elected officials in order to promote their pro-gun and no-new-taxes stands, and trying to win over the public with community service.
In front of this group, candidates tried to out-right each other with fealty to the U.S. Constitution, to guns, property rights, distrust of immigrants, the government, rural vs city resentments, distain for taxes, and conspiracy theories about Smart Meters. They also competed for who was the longest Josephine County resident and who understands the county’s outback better.
The meeting was moderated by a man in a black suit who said he was from radio station 99.3 which translates to KMED, a favorite of those who like an all-day right-wing talk format. He asked such provocative questions as “what will you do about night patrols using current resources, are you a Constitutional sheriff, what would you do if “they” came after firearms in Josephine County, what are you going to do about the ‘let it burn’ attitude of forest officials, and what can you do to stop Smart Meters?”
Jonathan Knapp, challenging incumbent Dave Daniels, presented rural Josephine County as a lawless place at night, where criminals come out from under rocks to sell drugs and commit mayhem because the county doesn’t have the resources to put “butts in the seat” of patrol vehicles after dark. Daniels said with his budget everything suffers and priorities have to painfully be made. Then the candidates turned to the jail, with Knapp saying there is no truth to the rumor he advocated closing the jail, but he did suggest perhaps Grants Pass Police could run it. Daniels took that on, saying the county does have an obligation to house and provide for the people it arrests.
Both Knapp and Daniels assured the audience they were Constitutional Sheriffs because they believed in upholding the U.S. Constitution. Knapp emphasized the Constitution is the law of the land which trumps state law and city code. Both candidates agreed they would stand up to anyone coming to take people’s guns. Knapp said gun-confiscators would be met with a “line of sheriff’s deputies” while Daniels recited parts of the Second Amendment and said of his department, “we pump out as many gun licenses as we can.”
Commissioner candidates were excited about having an administration in Washington D.C. that Josephine County might benefit from. Candidate Ron Smith was fired up by his base as he hammered on his favorite theme: Trees, trees, trees. Mining. Trees, trees, trees! The county’s resources sustained it for 80 years, he said, and can do it for another 80 if we get back to using them. Smith didn’t mention anything about sustainable harvesting, and touted his involvement in protesting National Monuments in Josephine County forests.
Candidate Darin Fowler, currently Mayor of Grants Pass, said timber isn’t the only asset in the county and thought should be given to getting more out of cannabis and vineyards. While both candidates had similar long family and community involvement Josephine County, neither got down to any concrete solutions for affordable housing, homelessness, drug addiction, and those pesky Smart Meters. Somewhere in there, the candidate’s feelings about fires and smoke got lost.
The housing discussion veered into a debate about the city annexing people who didn’t want to be annexed because taxes are so much higher in Grants Pass than in the county, then shut down when accusations of selective annexation surfaced. But the candidates did find a subject they could agree on: the high cost of housing isn’t the main cause of homelessness. It’s a nationwide problem caused by meth and heroin, said Smith. Fowler said Grants Pass makes an effort to keep the homeless from being a nuisance downtown by creating a food area around St. Vincent’s on Seventh Street and discouraging them from hanging around businesses.
“But are we really helping by giving them handouts?” he asked.
Fowler pointed out the city has a sobering center that works. Smith said a good crackdown on drug dealers now and then might put a dent in the problem. On the Smart meters, Smith said there are a lot of things commissioners have no control over but they can be a “bully pulpit” for the people’s concerns. Fowler, an electrical contractor, said the commissioners weren’t paying enough attention to people’s concerns and got “blindsided,” which led to misunderstandings.
Smith closed with his theme of cutting trees for prosperity and said only he has a real understanding of the county because he won’t be yet another city council member on the board of commissioners. Fowler said his occupation and community work has taken him into the far reaches of the county and his experience has taught him how to get along with all kinds of people.
“Yes, I am a Constitutional Sheriff because I believe a sheriff has to follow the Constitution,” was Jonathan Knapp’s answer to the first question he got at the Josephine County Democrats’ Sept. 11 meeting in Grants Pass.
Knapp didn’t say he was a member of the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association (CSPOA), however. CSPOA is a group that believes sheriffs are the highest executive authority in the county and therefore constitutionally empowered to be able to keep federal agents out of the county as a method of saving it from being overrun by the federal government. Much of its philosophy is drawn from the old Posse Comitatus movement of the 1970s. But Knapp has been endorsed by a previous Josephine County sheriff who adhered to that philosophy, Gil Gilbertson. Gilbertson was defeated by Dave Daniel, the current incumbent sheriff Knapp is running against. Knapp also worked for the infamous Joe Arpaio in Maracopa County, Arizona, but he says during the 18 years he was there Knapp says he only saw him “eight or ten times.”
“Everyone has had to work for someone they didn’t always agree with,” he said.
Would you enforce Oregon State Law? Knapp said as sheriff he would take an oath of office to do that.
“My sole responsibility is to uphold the law,” he said.
Knapp introduced himself by saying he grew up in Josephine County, attended Grants Pass and Hidden Valley high schools, graduating from there in 1979. After that he was a fire department Chaplin in McMinnville, was in the US Air Force 1980-84, moved on to Arizona where he worked for the Salvation Army and Bed Bath and Beyond, then the Maracopa County Sheriff’s department until 2017.
“I always talked about moving home (Josephine County) to retire, but I’m only 57 with a lot of experience so I’m running for sheriff to put that to good use,” he said.
On taxes Knapp said without the passage of the levy the sheriff’s department wouldn’t have any patrol, but acknowledged the levy was for the jail when that was pointed out. He was thankful the levy for the jail passed although he thinks it was more money than needed.
He said he could run the Josephine County Sheriff’s Department far more efficiently using the “one riot, one ranger” method of sending just one deputy out to handle a crime scene. The exceptions would be domestic violence calls or “shots fired” calls. He said much of the routine work taking up deputies’ time could be done by volunteers, answering phones, responding to non-emergency calls, doing vacation watches, helping with traffic accidents, and transporting arrested people to the jail from places like Cave Junction so the deputy there could stay on patrol. He would also organize a reserve posse.
“In Maracopa we had 2,000 volunteers,” he said.
If O&C funds increase, Knapp said he would ask for $375,000 for three more deputies and put them in the schools for security.
Knapp says it’s hard to tell if the county’s crime rate has gone up or down because the crime rate is based only on reported crimes. A lot isn’t recorded because no one has time to do it, he said, so crime rates get skewed.
Illinois Valley is currently on contract, paying for services they don’t totally get, and Knapp vowed to fix that.
Answering the last question, Knapp said “yes I did sue Joe Arpaio.” You can find that story on my website http://knappforsheriff.com/frequently-asked-questions/ .
Logging will save Josephine County, according to Ron Smith, vying for a seat on the Board of Commissioners against Darin Fowler, currently Grants Pass City Council mayor. Smith spoke at the Sept. 11 meeting of the Josephine County Democrats in Grants Pass. Introducing himself, Smith, a Republican, said he was glad to be talking to Democrats because there are a lot of things we can collaborate on to make the community better.
Smith reminded about 30 people at the meeting that his “family’s been in Josephine County 100 years.” Smith, a supervisor at Western Signs Systems, organized an effort to defeat the 1.2 million-acre Siskiyou Wild Rivers National Monument and was involved in the Klamath Falls water dispute. He is currently the overseer of the Fruitdale Grange.
“This summer’s smoke really hurt tourism here,” he said, and advocated bringing everyone “to the table” to talk about forest management.
Smith said it is a waste to let our forests burn up when we could be harvesting the timber and using the money to fully fund the sheriff’s department. We can be good stewards of the forest and still use its resources to provide for the county. More taxes just burden property owners who only occupy about 8.7 percent of the land in the county, he said, so the only other solution to county money problems is to develop its resources.
Questions about using timber harvesting for fire suppression and as a solution to Josephine County’s monetary problems bubbled up from listeners. One woman said she heard nothing about the ravages of climate change and how our forests have changed because of a torrential rain/drought cycle. Replanting burned areas is difficult because of this, and simply harvesting smaller trees won’t work without a lot of prescribed burning as well.
Smith said we have to take care of the forests as if they were our own gardens, but that doesn’t mean we still can’t use the timber. Better than letting it burn, he said.
Smith acknowledged housing is a big problem in Josephine County. He spoke of one Grants Pass apartment complex that was bought by a California development corporation. Overnight the rents went from $750 to $1400 a month, he said. According to Smith more apartments would provide more competition so this wouldn’t happen but too many state and local regulations inhibit this.
Homelessness is not necessarily caused by a lack of housing, however. He said meth and heroin addiction that cause mental health problems are the root cause. He was asked if he was for locking up addicts as opposed to providing resources for treatment. He said he favored treatment and would “gladly” fund that, but pushers and drug dealers should be locked up.
On jobs, again Smith said Josephine County’s timber and minerals could be accessed more to provide work for people and tax revenue for the county. He said right now we get most of our minerals for cell phones from the Congo under slave labor. We have minerals here so we should be using those instead, he said.
“Shame on us, we should be mining our own minerals. We can go to the moon and to the bottom of the ocean but we can’t mine our own minerals,” he said. “Write down everything that doesn’t start with a hole in the ground – we need our resources.”
Kevin Marr, who is on the Three Rivers School Board, asked Smith why he hasn’t said anything about school funding. Good schools should be a priority, he said, because they help mitigate poverty and homelessness. Schools can be the key to a thriving community, yet the “no new taxes” mantra has hurt schools to the point where they had to close three days last year for lack of funding.
“We want services here but don’t want to pay for them,” Flynn said. “We need to support public education.”
Smith didn’t appear have an answer to the schools question but was saved by the “time’s up” signal.
Who is Samuel Patten?
Eugene, Oregon–Art Robinson’s deeper connections to illegal activity were revealed in a photo of political operative W. Samuel Patten and Robinson at his home in Cave Junction, Oregon in 2014.
As part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, Samuel Patten pled guilty on Friday to working as an unregistered foreign agent for Ukraine and funneling $50,000 of illegal foreign money to Donald Trump’s presidential inaugural committee. Additionally, prosecutors argue that Patten’s business partner, a Russian national, has ties to Russian intelligence.
Patten worked in Oregon in 2014 for Cambridge Analytica, the corrupt political data company that illegally harvested data from 50 million Facebook users and interfered with elections around the world. The company admitted to, “effectively managing Robinson’s (2014) campaign in its entirety” and Robinson was Cambridge Analytica’s first federal political client.
Patten posted a photo on his personal Facebook page with Art Robinson in 2014 at Robinson’s home in Cave Junction, Oregon.
In March 2018, The Washington Post and Willamette Week interviewed Robinson about his engagement with Cambridge Analytica. Robinson did not disclose his relationship to Samuel Patten.
Cambridge Analytica is partly owned by hedge fund billionaire and right-wing political extremist Robert Mercer. Mercer first began meddling in Oregon elections in 2010 when he funded a super PAC aimed at electing Art Robinson and attacking Congressman Peter DeFazio. DeFazio was the first Member of Congress to be attacked by a Wall Street-backed super PAC. Since then, the Mercer family has spent $1.7 million on Robinson’s failed congressional campaigns.
Mercer also funds Robinson’s institute, the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine, which Robinson runs from his sheep farm in Cave Junction, Oregon. Since 2005, Mercer has given Robinson’s institute $1.77 million dollars including a $150,000 donation at the start of 2018.
Robinson is making a fifth attempt at Oregon’s 4th Congressional District. Oregon voters deserve to know the extent of Robinson’s relationship to Samuel Patten, Robert Mercer, and work with Cambridge Analytica.