- Eye on Media
Another year of fun filled snarky news commentary and analysis is almost over and this December marks the second consecutive month that MGx has reached over 20,000 global visitors. Most visitors are from the US and 1% are classified as "addicts" and 35% as "regulars" by Quantcast. Almost 450 regulars are Oregon residents from Portland to Salem to Ashland to Brookings.
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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
It is getting to where you need to wear protective gear, including a flak jacket, when daring to ask the commission a question. Having no response to an email sent to both Parry and Messerle regarding a luncheon between the pair and two city managers, Matt Winkel and Terence O’Connor I asked them to explain it at the meeting. When two commissioners form a quorum and the public is not notified there is valid reason for concern about whether the pair are discussing county business, solid waste matters perhaps.
Parry was in his usual “best defense is an offense” mode and when I asked what the nature of their business was he answered by asking me if I was going to start following them around. When I explained that Oregon government ethics rules argue that elected officials should avoid even the appearance of impropriety and that two commissioners had formed a quorum and were meeting with two other public officials Parry launched into a long explanation.
According to Parry, it was election day and he and Messerle were so exhausted after a “long” BOC meeting they decided to step out to Bandon and the Port O’ Call for lunch. Bob Main, who was not present at yesterday’s meeting, would have joined them except for his busy schedule. The pair arrived coincidentally at the same time as Bandon city manager Matt Winkel and North Bend city manager Terence O’Connor and decided to make it a foursome. Parry, falling back on his favorite topic, then asked me if I wanted to hear details of the fishing lures they discussed and told me he had talked all about it on his radio show which I have never heard. In the end I cut him off and simply asked if they were discussing any county business during this lunch and the reply was no. Throughout, Messerle just sat silently and stared at me letting Parry do all the dancing.
That Parry and Messerle are both so insensitive to the public’s perception of impropriety is disturbing enough and it is equally troubling that taxpaying citizens can’t ask a simple question and receive a simple answer. Many people volunteer time out of their day because they care about the county and like me have witnessed and lived the consequences of public complacency. Parry wastes a lot of other people’s time when he slips into what I imagine is his most sincere radio voice and begins his long winded and frequently rude monologs. Nevertheless, now you have his explanation of their Bandon power lunch.
There was plenty of other contention yesterday as well. Hard of hearing citizen Bob Arnold frequently sparred with the soft spoken and microphone shy county sounsel, Oubonh White. White didn’t handle it very well and started sparring back with flippant remarks and occasionally almost yelling into the microphone.