- Eye on Media
By Fred Kirby
Recently hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Coos County citizens received a well circulated e-mail “Advocacy Alert” message marked URGENT! that was over the name “Jon Barton Concerned Citizen – Unaffiliated”. Mine had been forwarded. The message appears to be legit and The World probably received at least one copy.
The message thrust is to persuade citizens to reject the efforts of the organization Americans for Responsive Responsible Representative Government (ARRRG) to place their proposed county charter before the voters in November; and, to get a Barton advocated county ordinance that creates an office of county administrator on the ballot.
Isn’t “Unaffiliated” (means not attached to any organization) in fact chairman of the SCDC Board of Directors, co–chairman of the county politically appointed “Structure Committee”, co-founder of the deep pockets Political Action Committee (PAC) known as Coos County Alliance for Progress, and President of FONSI; all organizations, and all proponents of a county administrator (the ARRRG charter prohibits an administrator).
Is the message misleading? Has the county Board of Commissioners really “crafted a far more sensible measure” than ARRRG? Let the voters decide. Commissioner Parry authored an ordinance. Main is opposed and flip flopper Messerle is a supporter – this week. There has been no support forthcoming for the message statement that adopting the Parry ordinance would be cost “neutral” or generate “higher quality service”. Either proposal may result in huge unanticipated costs. The Parry ordinance is not “the same as almost every other government agency and virtually every private sector enterprise”. Can anyone identify a democratic government with a Board of Directors and CEO? We are asked not to “let the radical fringe” and not “let a handful of radicals hijack our county”. Sounds like the pot calling the kettle black.
Commissioners, please don’t fear your constituents; place both proposed measures on the ballot. Coos County citizen voters are not stupid! Citizens will demand in depth verifiable cost analysis before voting yes. Neither the ordinance nor the charter is perfect. Both the ordinance and charter would require significant amendment. Some voters may approve or reject both. Let the majority, not the few, decide how the people will be governed.
And commissioner candidates – please answer the voters now – if the Parry authored ordinance is adopted, will you agree to work full time for zero salary or benefits?