Category Archives: Uncategorized

Council’s fourth attempt to unseat our Mayor fails

When Don Williams ran for Mayor of Lincoln City in 2014, we supported his plan to sell the Villages at Cascade Head, create better jobs through an Economic Development team,1 and create more affordable housing by streamlining our Planning Department.2 Voters liked his message too, electing him with 48 percent more votes.3

But  after Williams started asking smart questions, like why our City’s 2015 legal budget4 was 360 percent higher than Coos Bay’s,5 a city twice our size,6 our City Council’s response was swift and merciless.

First, Council filed secret ethics charges7 against Williams. But Williams was quickly exonerated in a unanimous 5-0 decision by the Ethics Commission.8

Failing that, Council hired lawyers to dig up dirt on Williams, but found nothing but legal bills totalling $112,121 from the seven law firms they’d hired.9

Failing that, Council then authorized10 City Attorney Richard Appicello to convince the Department of Justice to secretly investigate Williams and his supporters.11 But after a year, the DOJ dropped the case,12 blasting Appicello for failing to produce any of his promised “evidence”13 to back up his six criminal charges.14

Failing that, Council held nine secret executive session meetings,15 over ten months16, where their attorneys17 grilled Williams to coerce him to admit to something, anything, so Council could unseat him, or at least publicly humiliate him. Williams was never provided counsel, and was not even provided the alleged evidence against him, until nine months into the proceedings.18

And today, Council is again alleging Williams violated ethics laws.19 But the facts prove Williams, again, did nothing wrong.20 21
If he had, Council would have certainly filed ethics charges in a heartbeat.

Let’s hope Council has finally learned their lesson, and apologizes, but given their track record, it’s unlikely. Serial harassers need treatment, not given another chance to abuse.

The saddest part is how this discourages anyone from running for office, unless they are willing to toe the party line. Worse, it discourages us all from just speaking up at Council meetings, for fear of our Council’s wrath.

So what can you do? First, don’t give in to fear. And ignore news sources that engage in innuendo, and rumor mongering. Instead, seek out unbiased sources like the Newport News Times, and LincolnCityHomePage.com.

And most importantly, vote wisely next November. Our citizens need you now more than ever.

Ross Smith, Jerry Warner, Doug Wheldon

Editor’s Note: To register to vote, visit the DMV website. To update, or verify your voting information, visit the Secretary of State website.


1 Williams, Don, “Our economic troubles are driving away our younger citizens.” Sept. 27, 2014. link
2 Williams, Don, “A way to affordable housing.” Sept. 9, 2014. link
3 Lincoln County, Oregon, Official Election Results, General Election, Nov. 4, 2014. link
4 City of Lincoln City, 2014-2015 Proposed Budget, 59. link
5 City of Coos Bay, Approved Budget FY 2014/2015, 37. link
6 American FactFinder, United States Census Bureau. link
7 Sprague, Roger, Oregon Government Ethics Commission Complaint, Aug. 19, 2015. link
8 Friedman, Gordon, “Ethics complaint against Lincoln City mayor dismissed.” Statesman Journal, Oct. 28, 2015. link
9 Beasley, Rick, “Probe puts Lincoln City in spotlight.” Newport News Times, May 12, 2017, A1. link
10 Underhill, Dana, Letter to Linn Davis, Oregon State Bar, May 7, 2017, 6. link
11 Shimanek, Jodi, Special Agent, Oregon DOJ, Investigative Report, Dec. 11, 2015, 3. link
12 McCauley, Matthew, Sr. Assistant Attorney General, Oregon DOJ, letter to Lincoln County District Attorney, Michelle Branam, Sept. 28, 2016. link
13 Shimanek, Jodi, Special Agent, Oregon DOJ, Investigative Report, Feb. 17, 2016, 3. link
14 McCauley, Letter to Lincoln County District Attorney, Michelle Branam. link
15 Meeting Calendar, City of Lincoln City. link
16 Ibid.
17 Meeting attendees included City Attorney Richard Appicello, attorney Russell Poppe, Speer Hoyt, and attorney Ross Williamson, Speer Hoyt. Jens Schmidt, of Harrang, Long, Gary, Rudnick was involved, as well.
18 City Council Meeting, August 15, 2016, at 11:50 of the meeting. Watch https://youtu.be/KtOX1G7fgDo?t=11m50s.
19 Jeremy Ruark and Cassie Rudd, “New ethics concerns at city hall.” The News Guard, Nov. 15, 2017. link
20 Williams, Don, “To the People of Lincoln City,” Nov. 21, 2017. link
21 Patrick Alexander, President, Lincoln City Warming Shelter, email to Rick Beasley, Nov. 17, 2017. link

I Choose Builders

The following letter was submitted to The News Guard, and the Newport News Times. Neither chose to publish it this week.


I Choose Builders

… and let me tell you why.  Builders are hands-on visionaries.  They create a vision in their mind, in three dimension, design inner and outer spaces, and meld the pieces together to create a functional building. They meet deadlines and budgets, manage money, juggle subcontractors, coordinate all governmental regulations, risk their financial security, and they must finish on time and on budget to avoid interest penalties or financial loss. Builders work rain or shine; they do physical labor, and know what it takes to make things really work. Builders labor as many hours as it takes to get the job done. Builders are some of the most independent, talented, creative, and intelligent people on our planet.

Government employees work eight hour shifts within very strict limitations, rules, and protocol. They are masters at manipulating words, rules, policies, and regulations. Many live in cubicles for most of their working lives. Government employees are not risk takers and rarely risk their own money. They are guided by routine and rule-making. They think about restrictions and are great at constructing laws and policies with little understanding of the effect of those rules on the real world.

We need builders on our city council. They bring hands-on experience to the job.  They understand the stressors of independent business. They know how to build affordable housing and they know what government needs to do to help.

I vote for Doug Wheldon, Jim Davis, and James Scrutton. They will get the real job done.

Avette L. Gaiser
Lincoln City

We Need a Change of Direction

The following Letter to the Editor appeared in The News Guard, the Newport News Times, and on newslincolncounty.com on September 21, 2016:


We Need a Change of Direction

It’s time for a change of direction on Lincoln City’s council and planning commission. Our countywide housing crisis is not caused by vacation rental dwellings , but rather by strict lending requirements, increased regulations and more conservative appraisal practices. While property values nosedived between 2007 and 2014, property taxes have skyrocketed over 30 percent in the last 10 years. Many contractors refuse to do business here, due to burdensome regulations and an unyielding planning department.

We need city councilors and planning commissioners who’ve been in the trenches of development, and understand the building industry, the processes, and risks involved in creating housing. Government employees don’t understand the challenges, yet make the rules for those that do. They refuse to listen to developers willing to take the huge financial risks government workers would never consider in a million years.

It’s time for substantial change of experience and attitude on our city council. We need leaders with a working knowledge of private business, because piling on more and more regulations makes it next to impossible to get anything built in our town.

Our housing crisis can be solved by floating bonds to provide low-interest loans so builders can develop affordable housing. Our government also needs to provide tax incentives, lower systems development fees, streamline permitting, etc.

Now’s the time for a change. Council candidates Jim Davis (Ward 1), James Scrutton (Ward 2), and Doug Wheldon (Ward 3) are builders with over 100 years of combined experience. They can and will provide the change we need.

– Ross Smith, Lincoln City – 541.996.6232 – rasa7777@gmail.com

Why does the News Guard Censor posts?

Recently, Ross Smith attempted to submit the following comment to the News Guard’s article  “NEW FEE PROPOSED: Opportunity for public comment“:

First, our city attorney, Richard Appicello, writes a 315-page1 ethics complaint against Mayor Williams that contained 6 glaring falsehoods,2 yet our Mayor was exonerated 5-0.3 Next, Appicello alleges our Mayor and I are criminals,4,5,6 and pays an attorney over $25,000.00 to interrogate our Mayor’s supporters, yet they’ve found nothing.7 Then, Appicello doubles our fines to $2,200.00/day,8 at the same time taking away our right to issue citations,9 a right we’ve had since our City’s founding (perhaps because Councilor Noreikis had failed to pay for his business license for 9+ years, and feared being cited by a citizen).10 Now, Appicello wants to charge citizens $3,280.00 to submit an Initiative petition.11 As a hired gun, clearly Appicello is not working in the best interests of his client, the citizens of Lincoln City!

Rick Mark, the News Guard editor, refused to publish the comment, claiming he “doesn’t have the time or patience” to review the facts found below. This is the second time Mr. Mark has refused to publish an opinion piece, choosing instead to ignore the overwhelming facts.

Mr. Smith also attempted to post the message on the News Guard’s Facebook page, but the News Guard immediately removes it.

1 Letter from Ross Smith to Rick Mark, dated Feb. 8, 2016, p. 3, https://goo.gl/mCFKDz
2 Ibid., p. 4, https://goo.gl/mCFKDz
3 Ibid., p. 5, https://goo.gl/mCFKDz
4 Letter from Richard Appicello to OGEC Executive Director Ronald Bersin, dated Oct. 20, 2015, p. 3, https://goo.gl/JG4mE0, (“A criminal investigation concerning the actions of Mayor Don Williams and Mr. Ross Smith has been initiated”).
5 Larry Coonrod, “NEW DETAILS: Mayor’s conduct under review of ethics commission”, The News Guard, Sep. 10, 2015, http://goo.gl/z7zTF1, (“first-degree official misconduct”, i.e., ORS 162.415, is a criminal statute).
6 Ethics Complaint against Mayor Don Williams, dated Aug. 19, 2015, p. 2, https://goo.gl/7bFvpp, (ORS 162.415 is a criminal statute).
7 Rick Beasley, “Mayor and activist target of criminal investigation”, Newport News Times, Nov. 20, 2015, p. A2. http://goo.gl/iA6MQf [Subscription required].
8 Ordinance 2015-10, found on page 17, http://goo.gl/LiliRp.
9 Ibid., found on page 23, http://goo.gl/LiliRp.
10 Rick Beasley, “Citation issues arise”, Newport News Times, Aug. 21, 2015, p. A3. http://goo.gl/e5xCKX [Subscription required].
11 Ordinance 2016-12, found on page 146, http://goo.gl/vfJUrZ.