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Let’s All Have a Picnic! 
The Lane County Commissioners Plan to Go On a Taxpayer Funded 'Retreat',
In Order to Lean How to Get Along Better.

You’ve Got to Be Kidding Me!
- by Scott Rohter, June 2011

Our Lane County Commissioners would like to go on a little, paid working vacation together, in order to learn how to get along better with each other!  I guess they want to learn how to let their ‘inner child’ come out!  What a cockamamie idea!  It sounds like something a liberal would suggest, something that might occur at Breitenbush, during the hot summer months!  But Noooo!  This wonderful proposal comes from our own conservative chairman of the Board of Commissioners, the affable Faye Stewart!  He thinks it would be a good idea to help them learn how to work together, and to learn to get over their differences.  We are right in the middle of an ideological struggle over the future of Lane County, and I don’t want them learning how to get over their differences! Do you? 

First of all, if the voters of Lane County wanted our County Commissioners to be all cozy with each other, and like-minded on issues, then we would have chosen a form of government that had only one County Commissioner, not five!  We want you commissioners to respectfully disagree with each other, and to be able to argue your positions effectively in public!  In private, we don’t want you meeting together at all, to work on public business!  Weren’t you just sued for doing that?  Didn’t that just cost the taxpayers of Lane County $700,000!  (Thank you Ellie Dumdi for sticking us with the bill!)  You don’t have to like each other, or go on a picnic together in order to learn how to take a position on the issues, and to argue effectively on behalf of your position!  Our entire community is divided between liberals, ‘progressives,’ and conservatives, and as a reflection of the population of this county, our Board of Commissioners should also be deeply divided!  If it wasn’t, then it wouldn’t be normal!  If we are to ever get over our deep divisions, it falls upon thinkers and writers, such as myself and others, to tip the balance and sway the electorate in one way or the other! Until that happens we need to carry on as best we can in our representative democracy, with or without a general consensus!

I would not think of partying with a group of liberals or ‘progressives,’ because I would have almost nothing in common with them!  You guys don’t need to party together, or go on a picnic together, or learn how to get along better, or even learn how to get over your differences!  You need to learn how to live with them!  You just need to continue to be respectful of one another, while continuing to accurately represent your constituents.  So please just ‘Nix’ this silly idea of a Commissioner’s picnic! 

Right now, the three conservative leaning members of the Board of Commissioners seem to like the idea of going on a retreat!  The only holdouts so far, are the two ‘progressive’ Commissioners, Handy and Sorenson.  I can’t imagine why!  Maybe they don’t want to be cooped up for a weekend with conservatives that they don’t like, and whose ideas they can’t stand!  Maybe they figured out what the other three Commissioners should already know!  They don’t want to party together with people whose political ideas they have nothing in common with!

So I guess for right now, the residents of Lane County are safe from any further violations of the Oregon Public Meetings Law!  But old habits apparently die hard, ...so if Handy and Sorenson eventually give in to the idea of going on a retreat with the other three Commissioners, or even if Sid Leiken, Jay Bozievich, and Faye Stewart decide to go on a picnic together without the other two schlemiels, I hope they have cameras ready and members of the general public present to watch and record everything that is going on!  Three County Commissioners constitutes a quorum, and as such, any NON-PUBLIC meetings of three or more County Commissioners is an automatic violation of the Oregon Public Meetings Law!  Haven’t you guys learned anything yet? The tax payers of Lane County can't afford any more of these kind of mistakes!!! 

"The truth, the political truth, and nothing but the political truth.
A journalist has no better friend than the truth."
- Scott Rohter

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