County Commissioners WEEK OF JULY 12-JULY 16, 2021
Josephine County Commissioners’ July 14 Business Meeting featured people who actually wanted to pay a tax and a range of dramatis personae who used public comment time to repeat oft told tales even though Commission Chair Dan DeYoung said repetition wasn’t allowed.
Three property owners in the county, including Kevin Marr who owns Hotel Del Rogue, asked to be included in the Josephine County Library District so they could start paying the library levy keeping the library afloat. Library Director Kate Lasky said people with property not contiguous to the district can petition to pay the levy which allows them to use the library without fees and vote for District board members. Lasky said the inclusion of Marr’s property is “substantial” and expressed gratitude to those volunteering to pay a tax. Commissioners approved of their inclusion in the district unanimously.
Other business included the approval of a three-year contract with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, which includes about 200 county employees or about 40 percent of the county workforce. The contract raises wages two to three-and-a-half cents and reduces some steps between ranges among other bargained items.
At the beginning of the Public Comment portion of the meeting, DeYoung read the rules which stipulate that people remain in control of themselves and that they avoid “irrelevant repetitious comments.” As far as misinformation, the Commissioners said they didn’t have the expertise to judge the merits of what gets said during Public Comments.
First up was Judy Hinkle who repeated her anti-COVID vaccine message, citing a few new internet sources to avoid being accused of repetitiousness. She then added a new accusation: the Illinois Valley newspaper and the Josephine County Democrats have been lying about and slandering her cause and urged the Commission to pass the resolution submitted several weeks ago. Greg Hinkle also weighed in on everything from the ineffectiveness of masks to communists and Nazis and preventing another lockdown. Mr. Hinkle dug up another piece of internet information that claims COVID vaccines have the same thing in them as the drugs used for executions, but he didn’t say what that might be. Guenter Ambron showed up to inform the Commission that Dr. Anthony Fauci is subject to a revealing dossier and says this news has been all over Fox New’s Laura Ingraham, Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson shows.
Mark Seligman was up next claiming the Commission censors him and condemned a snide remark made by Commissioner Herman Baertschiger during the July 10 meeting regarding the use of hand sanitizer in the jail. Seligman took offense to Baertschiger’s saying giving hand sanitizer to inmates was like giving it to people boarding trains to Nazi death camps. “How dare you, I’m a Jew,” he said. Baertschiger made no effort to defend or apologize for his remark. Seligman also brought up the safety and effectiveness of COVID vaccines, adding that they are responsible for allowing our county and state to re-open. He called out the Commissioners claim of not wanting censorship when they have continuously brushed him off and censored his remarks in the past because they don’t like what he has to say.
Judy Ahrens stepped up after Seligman, and basically gave a report of Republican activities including a rally at Grants Pass High School in support of the two educators fired by the District 7 Grants Pass School District, but she didn’t know exactly when this would occur. She also informed the Commission they were scrutinizing children’s books “to see how bad this really is” and will share their findings with the Commission.
Another Illinois Valley resident, David Darnell complained about Sen. Ron Wyden’s efforts to put certain watershed areas into land preserves. He advocated having the county map all the lands included in the designated areas and notifying every property owner who might be affected. His sentiments were echoed rather inarticulately by Leo Goodman who went on to mumble about how doctors are being forbidden to use COVID “cures” like hydroxychloroquine and Ivermectin, how COVID vaccinations and restrictions were against the Constitution and how people who haven’t been vaccinated have hardly been affected by COVID. He continued rambling in a random manner until he finally got in his three minutes of free speech.
Katherine Austin, another Commission regular, complained about a billboard in town pushing vaccines, bribes to get people vaccinated, the door-to-door effort to get people vaccinated, the trans agenda, the weaponization of tech, people being branded with QR codes and how she’s been attacked by Democrats. She also wanted to know why the Commission hasn’t taken action on the proclamation they submitted.
When it was the Commissioners’ turn to comment, Commissioner Darin Fowler thanked all the Illinois Valley people for attending and said it was a good thing they weren’t on YouTube anymore as they would surely have been censored. Apparently, in responding to complaints, the county is aiding and abetting the dreaded COVID vaccinations. He said the county was given $500,000 to help get people in Josephine County vaccinated but they haven’t used any of it to promote vaccinations. He said the gift cards provided to people getting vaccinated aren’t coming from county funds but from some other source of money he didn’t, or couldn’t name. After hearing some of the anti-COVID vaxxers ask why the county hasn’t acted on some anti-COVID vax resolution they submitted weeks ago, Fowler replied that it’s hard to do a “preemptive” resolution because they don’t know yet all the evils it will have to cover. He reiterated his claim that the COVID crisis never involved any discussion or debate concerning the taking away of people’s freedoms and hoped people learned from the crisis. Fowler went on with his predictable rant about Sen. Wyden’s watershed legislation, saying it was progressing through some “weird and wonky” process. “We’ve been doing some things, organizing rallies” but he lamented the outcome seems to be “predetermined.”
Commissioner Herman Baertschiger praised those coming all the way from Illinois Valley to express their views, and began his comments like he often does…saying he’s scratching his head about something. He said he believes in medical freedom and is interested in knowing just how much pharmaceutical companies are making off the vaccine. He also complained that liability was waived in order to get the vaccines out and advised those who spoke during public comment time to “keep doing what you’re doing.” Baertschiger also took the opportunity to complain about Sen. Wyden’s watershed proposals, Mr. Seiglmn’s inaccurate rants and praised Judy Ahrens for showing up even though she is a very busy person.
DeYoung went on his usual lengthy diatribe, starting with Seligman’s long history of bugging him and how he came close to violating public comment rules with his rant about Commissioners censoring him. DeYoung, apparently feeling the need to address everything said during public comments, went on for a large amount of time about everything that was said, occasionally digressing about something he heard at lunch with someone and how he spoke with Wyden’s staff but nothing they said made sense to him, while not making much sense about what the topic of conversation was. He then related how upset he was about an email he received accusing him of “having blood on his hands” for not doing more to stop COVID, then proceeded to be indignant about how people looked down their noses at him when he didn’t wear a mask somewhere even though he’s fully vaccinated. To demonstrate to those present how he agrees that COVID isn’t as serious a plague as made out to be, he threw out statistics he found somewhere about how every day nine people in Josephine County die of something. He actually said if you pile all the people who died of COVID on one side of a gym and people who just died on the other side…then he lost his train of thought, or visualized what he was saying and stopped saying it and concluded by noting the average age of COVID death was 80 and indicated even though he’s not that far from 80 people in their 80s just up and die anyway, indicating COVID is only something old people worry about. During his disjointed soliloquy, he slipped in a question about President Biden’s cognitive abilities and mumbled that YouTube should ban him for being senile, then feeling obligated to say something about the resolution the anti-COVID vaxxers submitted weeks ago, he said the Commission was waiting to refine their “target.”
The Commissioners also had the opportunity to bring up what they’ve been up to during the week during the “Matters From the Commissioners” segment of the agenda. Fowler announced Illinois Valley would be having a COVID vaccination clinic at the park the coming weekend, then couched that by saying “don’t let anyone accuse us of shying away from announcing vaccines.” He said he reviewed plans for the old Bank of America building in Grants Pass and went to a Bikeways and Walkways Committee meeting where landowners expressed unhappiness with people creeping along the river in front of their property, leaving trash and getting belligerent about being told to quiet down. The Rogue was developed years ago with a lot of private property and that would be hard to change now, he said. People do have narrow access to the river along the waterfront, but property owners are complaining of encroachment.
The consent calendar was approved, with a brief discussion about the appointments made to the committee tasked with updating the county charter. DeYoung said members need to remain “apolitical” and come up with recommendations that reflect the citizens in the county. However, DeYoung said although they held three seats on the committee open for citizens of Grants Pass, so far none have applied. He said the committee will get started anyway but encouraged Grants Pass people to sign up. This will be a two-year process.
July 15, 2021 – Agenda
July 15, 2021 – Recording not available
Sheriff Dave Daniel made a case for spending some of Josephine County’s American Rescue Act money on a new evidence facility. He told Commissioners the current evidence room has been broken into twice in the last year and items have disappeared completely. He is advocating for a metal building with a concrete slab, about 14,000 square feet with room for a couple of offices, interview rooms, a sally port for unloading evidence and possibly a workout room. It would serve the county for the next 40 years, he said. The cost would be about $2.7 million. Commissioners took the request under consideration but did say it meets the criteria of doing something people can point to in 20 years and say that’s what our ARA money was used for. The sheriff’s office doesn’t have any of these things now, basically operating out of the jail, he said.
Other items under discussion were fairly routine contracts and a request for $5,000 from the Illinois Valley Chamber of Commerce for help with its Concerts in the Park event. The money, which would come out of the economic development fund, is needed, a Chamber letter said, because memberships are down and can’t cover the cost of putting on the event. Commissioners said they weren’t opposed to giving the money but asked that someone from the Chamber to appear and further explain the situation.
After contemplating acquiring a badly needed new evidence facility with ARA money, Commissioners said they were shocked after reading in the Daily Courier how many businesses got COVID rescue funds. Commissioner Dan DeYoung complained we’ll never get back to normal as long as the government keeps handing out money. Commissioner Darin Fowler said unless we get a change of “regime” during the mid-terms the government will continue to print and hand out money, then griped about the proposed infrastructure bill and said the checks now going out for children should require recipients to show receipts for child care and other child-related expenses. Commissioner Herman Baertschiger warned of increasing inflation, while Fowler said the government is telling us what to believe about that.
In matters from Commissioners, Baertschiger complained about an increase in mosquitoes in the county. Commissioners blamed hemp farms. The mosquito discussion left them in a jovial mood so they all had a chuckle over some YouTube report that said a George Floyd mural on the side of a building was struck by lightning. “Wow, Somebody is looking aren’t they,” said DeYoung implying that God struck the mural because it was offensive.
Relating to public comment given by Judy Hinkle (9:18 in the video of the meeting), she reported that the vaccine was “specifically designed to kill and cripple” and that over 6000 deaths have been attributed to COVID vaccines.
The CDC’s website says, ‘Reports of adverse events to VAERS following vaccination, including deaths, do not necessarily mean that a vaccine caused a health problem. This is because the U.S. FDA requires healthcare providers to report any death after a COVID-19 vaccination to VAERS, even if it’s unclear whether the vaccine was the cause.