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

More untruths at NewsLincolnCounty.com

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.

An archived version of the News Lincoln County article is available here.

Newslincolncounty.com gets the facts wrong… again.

Yesterday, News Lincoln County got the facts wrong in a story titled “Criminal investigation report on Lincoln City Mayor Don Williams still under wraps” as the investigation wasn’t criminal.

The story relates to a civil investigation instigated by City Attorney Richard Appicello, because several citizens 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:

  1. 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.
  2.  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.
  3.  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.
  4.  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].

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.