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What’s Next?

That’s the question on everyone’s mind, now that Josephine County Commissioners have attacked everything from the Grants Pass Daily Courier, a fire district, standards in non-district areas, the Pipe Fork project, the Library, and their most recent effort – defunding 4H and the Master Gardeners programs. They voted on Friday, June 28, to zero out the tax supporting Oregon State University Extension Programs in Josephine County. Commissioner Dan DeYoung, who voted against the move, said this was like draining the swimming pool so no one else could use it because you didn’t like the way one instructor taught your kid to swim.

Commissioner Herman Baertschiger has until January 2025 to do further damage to the fabric of the county. West has two more years. What else do they intend to attack now? Public Health? In May of 2021 Baertschiger said on the Bill Meyer Show “Maybe we should give our health department back to the state,” and pointed to Curry County which had the state take over theirs after staff left.

Guess who the state looked to for providing Public Health services for Curry County? Josephine County Public Health Director Mike Weber who has a contract with that county. Commissioners are currently looking at deep cuts in his budget hitting the most vulnerable people in the county. They are literally talking about getting rid of the WIC (Women Infants and Children) supplemental nutrition program. It just happens that Weber has filed a complaint with a state agency about the Commissioners although the complaint hasn’t been revealed.

If taking food out of the mouths of babies and children isn’t enough, Baertschiger and West could take it away from puppies and kittens as well. Since the animal shelter levy failed, another opportunity arises for the county’s disparaging duo to hurt another category of folks…animal lovers.

At Friday’s budget hearings the meeting room at Anne Basker Auditorium was again filled mostly with people urging Commissioners not to zero out their budget for another year. They said the Commissioners should listen to the people who want the OSU Extension programs like 4H and Master Gardeners to continue. It was recommended that the budget be restored for a year and the tax issue put on the November ballot.

Baertschiger tried to counter the argument that a majority of the county wants the tax restored.  He said he totaled up all the people who spoke in favor of the tax and all the emails he got and it only came to .003 percent of county residents. The usual suspects, numbering far fewer than .003 percent, were present to demand the defunding of the OSU Extension programs, based on the contention that drag queens are infiltrating 4H and the program is godless. Those speaking on behalf of the OSU programs said they had no idea where the drag queen allegations come from.

Commissioners were in support of putting the small tax back on the ballot, saying after 28 years it’s time to see if the public still wants to fund these programs, given how they’ve been infiltrated by heathens. West and Baertschiger were sticking to their story that they favored defunding because OSU Extension Services had insulted them by not providing detailed budget reports at the last minute, even though they had access to that information in quarterly reports.

Apparently they didn’t want the minutes of the meeting to reflect their concerns about drag queens influencing children in Josephine County but all the Commissioners admitted viewing provocateur Mike Pelfrey’s video of trans people undressing. They did not share the link to the video to provide evidence of the truth of their concerns, however. One lady spoke about looking for the video but finding only one associated with an OSU Pride event the New York Post, a right-wing tabloid. If that was what they were talking about, it certainly wasn’t part of 4H, she said.

Finance Officer Sandy Novak revealed 4H and Master Gardeners still have $632,800 left in tax money that hasn’t been spent. That money has to stay in the tax account because that’s what it was raised for, she said. West mumbled about having the money go back to the taxpayers but Novak said there are legal questions to be answered regarding that fund.

After the meeting one person there reported that Pelfrey went around in the foyer with his nose in the air, sniffing and saying, “Smell that? Smells like winning!”

Is that what this is about? Winning another notch on the belts of the culture warriors? Making the “elites” cry? More people need to get involved to counter this attitude or Josephine County will be stripped dry. First place to start is getting people elected to the Board who will really listen to constituents instead of pushing them in circles till they cry.