Is Dave Morgan, the editor of News Lincoln County, just careless, or is he deliberately publishing falsehoods, in a feeble attempt to influence the voters?
His latest blunder is his September 9, 2016 piece, titled “Political office hopefuls file and start running.” Dave falsely claims that James Scrutton, a candidate for Lincoln City Council in Ward 2, is a “local realtor and VRD [vacation rental] owner.” Scrutton is a retired builder, and has never been a realtor, or owned, or operated, a vacation rental.
Dave screws up again claiming that Doug Wheldon, a candidate for Lincoln City Council in Ward 3, is a “VRD [vacation rental] owner” as well. Wheldon has never owned, or operated a VRD. He owns a 5-unit inn, in a commercial zone, and the city considers his inn a motel, and not a vacation rental. Wheldon is a successful home builder, with a clear vision on how to build affordable workforce housing.
Running against affordable home builder Jim Davis in Ward 1 is Diana Hinton.
While Dave got it right that Diana Hinton, and Riley Hoagland, serve on the Planning Commission, he neglected to tell you that they were both illegally appointed to the Planning Commission, through a Good-Old-Boys back-room deal.
You see, since 1984, our laws (LCMC 2.08.030.B) require that “all [planning commission] vacancies will be filled following an open application process. The process will include public notice by the city of the vacancy and request for applications. Following receipt of applications the city council will invite each applicant to be interviewed at the next regular meeting of the city council. Members shall be appointed by the city council following the interviews.”
Well, public interviews haven’t been done in years, if ever. Hinton and Hoagland were interviewed secretly. In fact, Hinton recently asked the Council to keep the interviews secret! Imagine a City Council candidate instructing the Council to break its own laws.
The story relates to a civil investigation instigated by City Attorney Richard Appicello, because severalcitizens respectfully testified on June 8, 2015 that Mr. Appicello had misadvised the Council on numerous occasions.
Mr. Appciello’s personal vendetta against our Mayor involves not one, but three, separate witch-hunts he’s now instigated:
Between June 22, 2015, and August 10, 2015, Mr. Appicello drafted a 315-page ethics complaint against our Mayor, without receiving prior authorization from the City Council to do so. On October 23, 2015, the Oregon Government Ethics Commission (OGEC) dismissed the complaint in a unanimous 5-0 vote, claiming that Mr. Appicello was an “instigator” in the affair. Mr. Appicello included at least 5 material falsehoods in the complaint, thereby violating Rule 8.2(a) of the Oregon Rules of Professional Conduct (ORPC) that require all lawyers be truthful to judges.
On August 24, 2015, in an illegally held executive session, Mr. Appicello instructed the City Council to issue a blank check to conduct a civil investigation of our Mayor,. Yet, Mr. Appicello refuses to answer any questions on what his allegations against our Mayor are.
On September 22, 2015, Mr. Appicello attempted to slander our Mayor in the eyes of OGEC, by telling Executive Director Ronald that Mayor Williams, and one of Mayor Williams supporters, private citizen Ross Smith, were criminals. This was done without prior authorization from his client, the city council. This act violated ORPC Rule 3.5(b), by having ex parte communications with a judge.
On, or before October 20, 2015, Mr. Appicello asked the Oregon Department of Justice to launch a criminal investigation of Mayor Williams and Ross Smith. Mr. Appicello’s presumably false allegations remain secret, as no one will confirm or deny that an investigation has been going on for over 11 months now.
So, here are the facts: the motion that the city council passed on August 24, 2015, to hire private attorney, Russell Poppe, was to “authorize the Council President to execute a contract for investigation and prosecution services to examine the Mayor’s conduct relative to the City Charter, [City] ordinance and [City Council] rules, and present such to the City Council.” See https://youtu.be/CXKmk2WJKVA?t=56s.
Therefore, Mr. Poppe was not authorized to investigate criminal conduct, and according to Mr. Poppe, the Oregon Department of Justice, instructed Mr. Poppe to suspend his investigation of our Mayor for over six months, while they concluded a criminal investigation of their own, which may involve investigating Mr. Appicello.
Therefore, the story’s claim that Mr. Poppe’s investigation was a “criminal investigation” is false.
[Update: the false allegations against the Mayor in the News Lincoln County were corrected without identifying the corrections, or an apology. -ed].
The following letter to the editor appeared in both the online and print versions of the February 10, 2016 Newport News Times. The letter was also submitted to the News Guard in time for publication, but editor Rick Mark stated the paper will not publish it, claiming her letter was “accusatory” and “libelous”, even after he received overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
End the Witch Hunt of Mayor Williams
Has the Lincoln City City Council brought shame upon our city by secretly filing ethics charges and launching a secret investigation of Mayor Don Williams, holding years of illegal secret meetings, and giving taxpayer-financed 10-year, 0 percent interest loans to secret borrowers?
Council is supposed to represent their constituents and strive for honesty, integrity and transparency, but our council chooses to keep us all in the dark. Why?
Councilor Roger Sprague is still fuming he lost the mayor’s race by a 47 percent margin and remains hell-bent on removing Williams from office. Sprague secretly filed a 315-page ethics complaint against Williams, containing at least four glaring falsehoods, yet our mayor was still exonerated 5-0 by the ethics commission. Undeterred, Sprague then convinced council to launch a secret criminal investigation of Williams, costing taxpayers at least $18,000 so far.
City officials, including Councilor Kip Ward, have publicly stated Williams has “violated council rules and statutes,” but they refuse to answer any questions about their ridiculous six-month witch hunt.
In August, council publicly admitted they’ve held illegal secret meetings to crackdown on homeowners, by finally enforcing a 26-year-old neverused law. Yet after a year of meetings, council still can’t figure out how.
And when Councilor Wes Ryan had the common sense to suggest suspending enforcement until 2017, council voted him down, with Councilor Dick Anderson claiming they needed to keep their “leverage.” Does Anderson think he works for the mob?
And last week we discovered our city’s been giving taxpayer-financed, 0 percent interest loans to private interests for years, and even our city councilors can’t find out who’s borrowing the money. Why such secrecy? Without the facts, how can we trust the city is treating all applicants fairly and not rewarding supporters or denying detractors?
UPDATE: As only registered voters can sign the Initiative petition, please register to vote by visiting https://goo.gl/4a8mky, or to verify/update your voter registration, please visit https://goo.gl/a7UPxW. You can also register (or update) your voter registration, by downloading the Voter Registration Card SEL500.pdf, printing it out, signing it, and mailing it to:
Lincoln County Clerk
225 W Olive St, Rm 201 (map/directions)
Newport OR 97365-3811
Once you receive your Voter Notification Card in the mail, you can then sign the Initiative petition.
The text of the Initiative is based very closely on the current Newport Ordinance 14.25. It is only 7 pages long (versus the 35 pages that Lincoln City now has). It’s simple, and easy to understand, and has been working in Newport for over three years now, without any issues.
1. Kids under three years are not counted in the maximum overnight occupancy limit.
2. The maximum overnight occupancy limit in mixed-use and commercial zones is determined by the Uniform Fire Code.
3. An allowance is made for steps or ladders for windows in pre-1974 construction (and was borrowed directly from LCMC 5.14.060.B.4.b.i.D..
On Monday, December 21, 2015, a second ballot Initiative, titled “Let’s Adopt Sensible B&B and Vacation Rental Rules!!” (note the explanation points) was submitted to Lincoln City. We should have 13 days to collect signatures for this Initiative. It differs from the Dec. 17th Initiative by adding:
1. The maximum overnight occupancy limit is the current square-footage based occupancy limit found in LCMC 5.14.060.B.4.a..
2. Limiting B&Bs and vacation rentals to just 10% of the total housing stock in Lincoln City, as defined by the US census.
3. Adds an insurance component, taken from LCMC 5.14.060.B.7.a.iv..
4. Adds required security/enforcement, see 17.80.055.E.6.
5. Adds required education, see 17.80.055.E.7.
6. Staircases, taken from LCMC 5.14.060.B.4.b.ii..
7. No tripping hazards, taken from LCMC 5.14.060.B.7.a.viii..
8. Illuminated or reflective house numbers, taken from LCMC 5.14.060.B.7.a.x..
Here is a transcript of Ross Smith’s speech at the 11/23/15 Lincoln City City Council meeting:
Honorable Mayor and Councilors,
Thank you for your service. Everything I’m about to say tonight comes from public records and is available on tsole.org.
Three days before the [Oregon Government] Ethics Commission met to review the ethics complaint that our City Attorney, Richard Appicello, drafted against Mayor [Don] Williams, he wrote the Commission, and told them our Mayor was under a criminal investigation. Now, our city attorney wasn’t authorized to do this, and I won’t speculate on his motives, but suffice it is to say that the definition of Official Misconduct in the First Degree (ORS 162.415) is an unauthorized exercise of authority with the intent to harm another.
And it seems that no one took the time to proofread the 315-page ethics complaint, because it has at least one pretty glaring falsehood in it. And the Ethics Commission relied on this falsehood in their report, so I’m not sure what the legal consequences of that are, but the Commission’s lawyers are looking into it.
All we know right now is that our city attorney claims I’ve criminally threatened the City, in a public records request I sent in on September 16th.
I’ve given you all copies of that request, and as you can see, there’s nothing even remotely threatening in it. Labeling it as a criminal threat is certainly beyond the pale.
Given that, and the falsehood our city attorney placed in the ethics complaint, we all better start checking his “facts” very carefully, or we could all end up paying a very heavy price for it, down the road.
And how many other investigations has our city attorney launched? Do you guys know? Is he even required to tell you? Perhaps he’s launched investigations against each of you? But I guess there’s no way to find out, ‘cause they’re secret, right? Maybe that’s why you seem so beholden to him, you’re as afraid of him as the rest of us.
Since we seem so keen on starting investigations, why stop at me?
Let’s start an investigation into if the City issued nine illegal citations against our citizens in the last three years, some for over 168-thousand dollars.
And let’s find out if you guys are actually following our city attorney’s advice and discussing anything you want in your private executive sessions, as he claimed you could when he first started in 2013. Because that can’t be legal, can it?
Then, let’s delve into if Pam Lind, a senior Planner with the Tribe, was maliciously prosecuted when she was slapped with over 26-thousand dollars in fines, and then coerced her into giving up her vacation rental license, all while her husband lay dying of cancer.
Oh, and speaking of losing a vacation rental, do you recall your staff telling us that we’ve had an increase of 85 new vacation rentals in the last four years? You know what the truth is? We’ve lost 23 units. So why did your staff feel the need to overstate by 108 units? Maybe it’s because some of those 23 homeowners have suffered the same injustices as Pam Lind?
Here’s another one: Did you know that this past August, the list of our vacation rentals was requested of the city, and our attorney denied the request with an81-page response? Yet a senior official from our Planning department recently gave the VRD list to a private individual, who was told to keep it confidential. That should certainly be looked into, right?
And finally, let’s investigate if it was proper that our Mayor and Councilor Davis were kept from participating in deliberations on the VR zones.
OK, that’s eight investigations so far. and there’s at least four more regarding our city attorney, and 12 more involving others that would be good grist for the mill.
So, if your intention is to turn our once peaceful town into a police state, then you’re doing an excellentjob, as no one’s ever gonna want to speak up against you ever again, for fear of being labeled a criminal or becoming the subject of a secret investigation.
And no one’s ever gonna want to publicly support our Mayor ever again, for fear of being caught up in your dragnet.
[The timer went off at this point, and Ross closed with:]
Thank you for listening and your service.
[The following was prepared, but not read]
Now you can label me a bully, or a liar, or a criminal, or turn off my water, or even throw me in jail, but I will not be silenced. I will always stand up for what is right, and speak truth to power.
So I’ve spoken up, and put my neck on the line. Now it’s your turn to act. It’s time for you to protect our citizens from this insanity. It’s time for you to wrest back control of this City, so Mr. Chandler can do his job. All it takes is for you to pass just one simple motion.
If you don’t do something about this, tonight, then you should all be ashamed of yourselves, for this is not how our founding fathers envisioned our government.
So what’s it gonna be? Are you gonna move to drop these unfounded witch hunts against our citizens, or would you rather silence your critics with intimidation and arrest?