- Eye on Media
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"A critical, independent and investigative press is the lifeblood of any democracy. The press must be free from state interference. It must have the economic strength to stand up to the blandishments of government officials. It must have sufficient independence from vested interests to be bold and inquiring without fear or favor. It must enjoy the protection of the constitution, so that it can protect our rights as citizens." Nelson Mandela 1918 - 2013
By Fred Kirby
The letter from Hauser or Coos Bay resident Jon Barton that was published in the World newspaper 14 March appears to be a thinly veiled endorsement of the County Commissioner candidacy of his friend and political appointee Fred Messerle. The letter also appears to be an intentional insult foisted upon the educated liberals of Coos County with Barton’s derogatory “chattering class” comment. Spiro Agnew with nattering nabobs of negativity Barton isn’t! As a whole, county Structure Committee chairman Barton’s letter brings us more unsubstantiated Structure Committee assertions. Barton argues unsuccessfully that it’s time to cut our county solid waste department losses. What losses? If only Barton and his two friends on the Structure Committee whose findings have been challenged by fellow committee members and by a cross section of the county citizens would offer to us fact, not opinion, perhaps we would be listening and such letters would be unnecessary.
Of course most would believe that Barton is wrong – the solid waste department is not an”egregious example of what is wrong with government”. All government? But, if Barton is correct, and he and his pals back peddled after they implied that the solid waste department workers were a bunch of druggies, the solid waste department manager should be gone long before this letter is published. The department head apparently disagrees with Barton’s assertions and has the facts to prove Barton wrong. I’m listening. Barton’s letter begs the questions; if the organization has been losing money for years, where has Messerle, Parry and Main been? Why hasn’t the solid waste department head, or department employees, or budget committee members, or commissioners, long ago informed the people – their employers – of this significant many year loss? What specifically is wrong with the facility? What qualifies Barton to make his assertions? What equipment is in a “terribly sad state”? Whose estimate is the “hundreds of thousands of dollars” to repair – the outside engineer hasn’t started his assessment yet? Where’s the beef?
As in the case of the Barton recommended county manager and staff at perhaps $400,000 annually – or more based on his Jackson County example – it’s time to provide substantiation and support for his arguments to the citizens of Coos County.
The views expressed do not necessarily reflect the opinions of MGx.