Life in the Valley of Riches

Losing sucks, I’m not going to lie. But, the sting only lasts a few days and then it’s time to move forward.
What really disturbs me is the low voter turnout. I spoke to many young adults in the community that had no plans to vote. Others are upset and disgusted with the nonsense in Washington and the behavior of both parties. So much that they sat this election out.
While I understand not wanting to participate in the national elections, why skip out on the local? Local elections have a direct impact on everyday life in the Valley, unlike national elections. Regardless of what you believe, fuel prices have nothing to do with the president; it’s supply and demand, period.
Local politics, however, have a direct impact on the residents. Decisions such as land use, parks and many other issues.
One issue is when the county commissioners gave away the gun club which was valued over $1,000,000 yet won’t sell the Pipe Fork timber tract to the residents of Williams for the price they originally agreed on. Then they sold the Flying Lark building and 3.5 acres of property it sits on valued around $24,000,000 for $9,000,000 to River Valley Church. Go figure.
The commissioners also set the budget for each department and have the final say on who gets what of the General Fund dollars.
For example, this year they have cut the sheriff’s funds largely due in part to the Law Enforcement District. They say they never promised more funding during the election cycle when it passed. As an appointed Budget Committee member, when I pressed the issue at the May 15 Budget Hearing, I was told it was a political decision. Yes, budget Officer Novak said that. Commissioner Baertschiger stated anyone was welcome to find the money.
Needless to say, Sheriff Daniel was not happy and plans to make a case to get more.
Jay Meredith, former finance director for the city of Grants Pass, presented a proposal at the May 22 budget hearing. The sheriff does not have his budget slot until June 4, and likely the final budget hearing.
I have promised to vote no on any budget that does not increase services from the sheriff. That said, I am only one vote out of six.
Time will tell.
Thank you for picking up this week’s paper. Enjoy! ~djm