Any clod can have the facts; having opinions is an art.
All that I say is, examine, inquire.
Look into the nature of things. Search out the grounds of your opinions,
the for and against. Know why you believe, understand what you believe,
and possess a reason for the faith that is in you.
"Take my money and take my shit. Don't want my shit, don't take my money."
Liars, Tyrants and Snollygosters
A couple of years ago. the mayor's wife posted an unfounded, and ungrounded, story regarding the (at the time) city engineer overseeing a joint project for Dayton and Lafayette (who share water resources). The story was called the Fox in the Henhouse.
Ironically, the current mayor (Chris Heisler), Councilor Chris Pagella, Councilor Chris Harper (when he was Chair of the Water Committee) and Preston Polasek, City Administrator are the foxes in our henhouse.
On multiple occasions, one or more of these people have violated:
Oregon Revised Statutes
The City Charter
State law puts it on the city attorney to prosecute these violations. But the mayor signed a contract with the city attorney that says the attorney is only allowed to take direction from the mayor and the city administrator.
He is not allowed to prosecute these people unless these people tell him to.
We have councilors who vote to benefit themselves, benefit their friends and no one to guard the nest.
There is nothing you can do about it.
And this is where you picked to live.
For a very long time, I have expended energy trying to get some kind of compliance at local levels. What I have learned is that city and county elected officials are not legally accountable to anyone but themselves.
At a recent Lafayette council meeting, I listened as the mayor Heisler, while ruling his fiefdom, tried to justify a recent elections /charter law violation by city staff. A law violation that allowed his friends, Chris Pagella and Tim Hamel to be candidates for an office they had not collected enough signatures for. In Heisler's great and deep knowledge of the city charter, a charter he took an oath to read and uphold, he 'quoted' using words the city charter does not contain. The words sounded convenient for his position, but weren't what the charter states. Not uncommon for him.
In the vein of focusing energy in the most efficient place, I have decided to focus my energy in making the situation better for all Oregonians that have become victims of their own elected officials.
Click the icon above to sign the petition at Change.org to help promote this effort. It doesn't cost you anything, and you can decide (or not) to have your information published or stay anonymous.
I challenge elected officials, and potential ones, to sign the petition to provide accountability to citizens.
Admin Assist Melanie Maben tells DA record not available then it miraculously appears
Is she stupid or a liar?
On September 18, 2012 Melanie advised that the first part of the August 23rd meeting was not available - technical difficulties, first part of the video is missing, blah, blah, blah. The previous week, she had said pretty much the same thing to the DA.
I advised her that I wanted the 1st part of the meeting, so I wouldn't be paying the $5.00 to get a partial. I then advised her, as far as I was concerned, the matter was closed.
So, imagine my surprise this am when Linda Lyon sent me a link to a completely new website with the full video online. I don't know who owns the site, since they have cowardly masked ownership. But, it is someone who has access to files at city hall.
This video was uploaded on September 17th - the day before Melanie sent the email to me saying she didn't have the complete record.
So far, she has not been able to bring the city in compliance with the charter for meeting minutes, violated the charter to make sure two candidates made the ballot, violated election law by not completing the petitions in a legal fashion and all without repercussion. Must be nice.
How many people want this job? Bonus - she got a raise in July - before she even had a year of employment with the city. I guess that's how one guarantees they make the ballot.
Why does the law apply to some and not others?
be easier if you knew who has to follow the rules, and who doesn’t? Or
when it is supposed to apply to some and not others?
Five years ago, Chris Heisler and friends were all about compliance with the law. I have numerous pieces of correspondence with them asking about all kinds of flim-flam at the city level. Many more statements about how a shadow government should be created, with each person on the council receiving one of his ‘people’ to encourage lawfulness and integrity.
Here we are with him facing his third term, and he has not only succeeded in a shadow government, but the activities at city hall feel much more antagonistic and flagrant in violations. Just two years ago, he clamored for all council emails to be published online. Now, under his “proper oversight’. We don’t have those emails and many more documents are disappearing from the public purview.
At a recent meeting, his wife, Mary Heisler, began a rant about my publishing lies on my website. It was followed with me providing documentation regarding the very subject she went off on. (Watch the video at youtube here.)
This week, I filed an election complaint regarding the activities of the city elections clerk, Melanie Maben. The complaint was only in regards to her activities. But, Mary has now made the whole situation about Chris. Decide what you want about that particular, consistent behavior.
The election documents filed by the potential candidates contained multiple irregularities, both in violation of our city charter and the Oregon election law. But, they are just laws. And people can’t be expected to follow laws, right? I mean, if you are driver, and your responsibility as a driver says to not drive drunk, you aren’t supposed to know that. And if you take an oath, a promise if you will, to abide by the law, and you fail to do so, bummer for those that trusted you?
I have been advised by a councilor that they are required to take an oath attesting to the fact that they not only read the charter, but will follow it and Oregon State Law. But, if that doesn’t get followed, apparently, I am supposed to look the other way. I mean, they do...
More than $60,000.00 of water and sewer money has been transferred to the general fund, a violation of the State Charter on illegal taxation and the bond and loan documents. But, I’m supposed to just ignore that, too, right? And meeting without posting an agenda? How about the blocking of videotaping meetings? Or contracting jobs about without going to public bid or even an RFP? It's all supposed to just slide right by...
I won’t apologize for drawing attention to violations of the law. It is not my decision to drag in the high priced law firm in an effort to block what people have the right to know. If there are punishments to be meted out, that is done from the agency involved, when available. Most of the violations that have taken place here are on the citizen to enforce. Many more on the city attorney, who has refused to enforce them. My advice to the city, if they want to save the taxpayers money on legal fees
STOP BREAKING THE LAW!
meantime, it isn’t personal, its business. So, if you have an 'in' with
Heisler and crew, can you find out what laws they are planning on
following? Because I keep coming across something they are working on and
keep finding the cheats and shortcuts they take.
I respect how hard I work for my dollar more than just to look the other way.
I just wish they did, too.
Most of current council assured to continue their seats in November
The county clerk's office advises these are our city candidates for the upcoming election. With no real competition, the incumbents are sure to continue. No matter, even the new ones are on the current team.
Although, I do find it interesting the Councilor Leah Harper has decided to swap seats with hubby, Chris. He gets my vote. Once he is in office, you will see why.
Mayor Candidate (Vote for One)
Incumbent Chris Heisler
2 Year Councilor (Vote for Two)
Incumbent G. Doug Cook
Incumbent Mark Joy
4 Year Councilor (Vote for Three)
Incumbent Chris Pagella
Incumbent Marie L. Sproul
Heisler and council approve budget transfers that may void bond and loan agreements
The City of Lafayette is currently bound by a number of bond and loan agreements for our water and sewer systems. The payments residents make on utilities are put into a separate fund, as required by the agreements. These payments have a lien on them, through these agreements, that are held by the bond holders and loan agencies. Essentially, the people the city owes money to owns the money being collected until the debt is paid. Collateral, if you will.
The Lafayette city council has authorized transfers (through the budget and elsewhere) moving $60,000.00 plus into the general fund to pay for things like flower baskets and portraits for the council room. They also authorized the "free" services last December and again for this December. The free services also violate the terms of the agreements.
Violating the terms of the bonds and loan may create a default of the agreements and may be subject to cancellation, forcing immediate re-payment.
All of the parties involved - the State of Oregon Audit Division, Eric Niedermeyer (the agent for the bonds) and the City of Dayton have all been advised.
The City of Portland recently released an audit outlining their concerns regarding these same issues that are happening there. The direct concern is that if money is being collected for a service, spending it on something else would be considered an illegal tax. That would be a violation of the State of Oregon Constitution.
While the different agencies process their investigations, it begs the statement: If they can afford to spend it on flowers, then they are, obviously, collecting more that what is needed.
More to come as the matters unfold.
Lafayette City Hall experiencing 'Technical Difficulties'
Amazing. So, I contact the city to get the full video of the meeting from last night (we left, well, because we have a life) and they don't have the video available...so I ask for the audio cd. They are experiencing 'technical difficulties' and there is no audio...So, I ask for the hieroglyphics. Still waiting to hear back...
Such a ridiculous situation since the overlay project was being reviewed for the contract signing. So, now, instead of getting the words from the horses (mouth?), we get Melanie Maben's (assistant city administrator) personal view of the conversation, when / if she gets to it. (see below)
Yet another of those perspectives.
Brouhaha, Hubbub, Uproar at Council Meeting over Charter Violation
You would have thought it would have been taken in stride, especially when I already told the council about the missing meeting minutes (in May, 2012 and direct email). The minutes were from last summer - three separate meetings. I advised the council in May. But, his majesty, Chris Heisler, advised he doesn't listen when I talk - so there ya go.
It was a beauty statement.
Special Meeting minutes are required, by Charter, to be presented to the council at the next regular meeting. Even though they are over a year old - still nothing. No matter that Preston refers to everything that doesn't happen on the 2nd Thursday as Special - his problem, not ours.
Anyway, Heisler appears shocked and appalled that Preston dares challenge the authority of the great and powerful Oz (uh, Heisler).
After all, he's already told him to get it done, right?
Well, Preston has been shining me on, and now he's been exposed as shining the council on. One of a long line. Maybe they just aren't Special enough.
I've been told I may expect them sometime in October.
Lafayette City Council Meeting
Lafayette City Hall - Thursday, 8/23/2012 6:30pm
Public attendance encourages distribution of knowledge.
Some items of interest:
The hiring of two consultant firms to decide best how to tell residents to vote for a fire taxing district.
The audit results to locate the $1.2 million that Chris Heisler stated was never accounted for (but never existed). Bonus - hiring the same firm to do our 'independent' audit this year.
Awarding the street overlay project - even though the bid documents state that Lafayette has no authority to do so.
Prayer time for the council to receive wisdom.
Hope to see you there.
Lafayette City turns over authority of Street Overlay 2012 to the City of Amity
According to the bid documents for the street overlay project of 2012, the city has handed authority for the decision making process over to the City of Amity and their council.
While the paperwork refers to Lafayette in some areas, there is an addendum that changes the definition of city to mean City of Amity. In fact, the addendum changes all references to city anything to the City of Amity authority.
How does that happen? Well, given the number of typos throughout the document, my guess is no one read it before publishing.
Updated: July 17, 2012
Linda Lyon has contacted her attorney, Casey Pence (Robertson) of Kivel & Howard LLP. Linda's attorney has advised me that if I do not remove either all of Linda's information or just the information Linda wrote about her family (I'm not really sure - the attorney said one thing and then said everything so who knows?), Linda will have no option other than to seek her legal remedies. Apparently, her attorney didn't bother to remind her that I also have legal remedies to explore. But, generally, I am not a litigious person. Don't those people that always say" I'm gonna call my lawyer" just irritate to no end?
Anyway, I am weighing my options. I have spent the time and effort responding to Ms. Pence advising of the evidence involved, and the factually incorrect information she provided in her letter. In the meantime, while I decide, I have taken it down. Drama is not a world I enjoy living in, while other might. If it does come back, there will not be an entry on the Voices page from Linda.
I have spent way more time dealing with Ms. Lyon than I want to endure, even after numerous requests to her to stop contacting me. I have posted what she asked, even though her statements were inaccurate. But, I have refused to redact information she regretted writing. I even received an email from her saying she was happy with things. And, then she calls out the big dogs.
Do I give in out of fatigue, which is why I explained to Linda that most people give in to her? Or do I stand my ground and prove a point? Haven't decided yet. Have a very busy couple weeks ahead of me, so might just have to wait to make any big decisions. In the mean time, the letter from the attorney, my response and all the rest of the emails that Linda has sent will get posted, as well as some very interesting facts regarding city finances and the efforts to make things 'beautiful' to a handful of people.
Posted: June 17, 2012
Matthew 6 - New International Version (NIV)
“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
On Thursday, June 14th, 2012, I made an official objection to the prayer at the Lafayette City Council Meeting. I was allowed to read my objection, and then Dax Garlinghouse, from Lafayette Community Church, was allowed to proceed with the prayer.
This practice was requested by Councilor Leah Harper at the March 8, 2012 Council Meeting. Apparently, she did not feel walking the walk of a Christian was enough for her personally, so she needed a forum in which to advertise her belief system. As the council follows each others wishes without question, no one objected. One caveat – Councilor Pagella asked staff to prepare a procedure for implementation. This was not presented to the council prior the invocation beginning in April and has not been presented since.
The April meeting was videotaped by the city, and they forgot to turn on the sound. So, unfortunately, I am not able to provide you with the verbiage that was used. I videotaped the next two meetings, so those are available at the link below. All three of these invocations have been presented by Protestant ministers. Even though official records show that more than 50% of Lafayette's residents do not identify with any / or a specific religious doctrine.
Below, I have shown the text of my objection. There are reports that I have stated other items, but, as you can hear in the video and read below, those reports are just more inaccurate statements meant to invoke hostility.
You are not required to add to the objection given in order for the matter to proceed. The official objection has been made. If you choose to voice your opinion, either way, please feel free to let me now. I will post any opinions, offered to me directly, here on this site.
So far, the fallout has been minimal. A snarky article and Darrell getting signed up for a Sabbath reminder via text. I have contacted the organization that provides that service, advising them they are being manipulated by someone violating the ID Theft law. Interestingly, that may prosecutable as a hate crime, since it involves a religious organization. Looking forward to seeing how that proceeds.
As a side note, very few things irritate me more than inaccurate and / or poorly written journalism. But, given the fact that many people simply refuse to educate themselves in critical thinking skills, it seems to have permeated our environment. It only takes two words to educate yourself - “PROVE IT”. And, for the sake of openness, people need to stop being cowards and put their names to their statements. Columnist Leonard Pitts, Jr. states – 'Own what you know'.
Video of May 24th, 2012 Lafayette City Council Invocation
Video of June 14th, 2012 Lafayette City Council Invocation
The text of my objection:
287 Canyon View Drive
For many people, their basis of religion, or lack thereof, is a very personal choice. That is why it is not a staple of the business environment. I can't imagine any person requiring the pronouncement of a certain religious doctrine being required at their place of work. Yet, that is the circumstance you have chosen to place the employees of Lafayette and the citizens who attempt to be present.
On March 8, 2012, Councilor Pagella asked staff to prepare a procedure for the invocation. That procedure was not provided to the council prior to the implementation of the invocation ceremony.
The council meeting is a business meeting of the city. The invocation is not related to the business of the city.
The invocation is not inclusive, as only one belief system is being represented at each meeting.
The practice might deter someone from attending the meeting, applying for employment or from seeking office. It could exclude employees from providing support to the council during the meeting, due to their own personal value system. It could also work to provide a system of discrimination or a claim of a hostile work environment if the employee objected to the practice.
For these reasons, I would like to officially register my objection to the practice of an invocation at the Lafayette City Council Meeting.
Water / Sewer Rates
The base water / sewer rate in Lafayette is $84.00 a month. If you move here, you will not realize anything less than that.
For the two of us, it is around $110.00 a month. We don't have a yard that we water. We just shower daily and do laundry a couple times a week. I should be able to tell you what rate I actually pay, like on a power bill, but the city won't tell us that. They only send a bill for the total amount - no breakdown of charges.
If you want to know why it is so high, then now you know why this website is here. This all started with the question of: Why so much?
With so much debt already repaid, and instead of charging realistic prices month to month, the current council decided the residents would get a rebate month last December. They have voted to do this again this December.
Many residents received an $84.00 credit, as they conserve the resources. Councilor Leah Harper received a credit of $147.60. In fact, not a single councilor (or Preston Polasek, the city administrator) received just the base rate credit; all received a higher amount than many of the residents here.
Preston Polasek, the current City Administrator, was hired in December, 2010 at a starting salary of $70,000.00. The mayor increased that amount without prior council approval.
Preston now makes almost $84,000.00 a year and has added additional weeks of PTO and severance pay.
The current council didn't like a previous city administrator because they felt she did not listen to them, as citizens, and did not follow the law or charter.
Preston Polasek has violated the city charter and failed to carry out direction from the council.
He gets a raise.
The current council has had payroll jump from $565,000 to $828,000 during their short time in office.
We have 9 employees. Think about that.
The Lafayette City Charter states a council seat may be vacated when a councilor misses 60 days of council business. The council says that following the charter should be a priority.
After reviewing records since January, 2009, I found that we have four council members, that during their term(s), have missed 60 or more days. (There may be more, but not all minutes have been presented to the council.)
|Council Member||Dates Absent||Total Days|
|Mayor Heisler||11/11/11 to 1/12/12||71 days|
|Councilor Pagella||3/12/10 to 5/12/10||60 days|
|12/1/10 to 2/9/11||71 days|
|Councilor Sproul||2/10/12 to 4/12/12||62 days|
|Councilor Smith||8/26/11 to 10/27/11||61days|
|12/9/11 to 2/9/12||61 days|
|2/24/12 to 4/30/12||65 days|
Instead of decorating the council room with aspects of our community, the current council has decided they want portraits of George Washington and Gilbert du Motier, marquis de Lafayette.
The portraits have a $4,000.00 starting cost.
Gilbert du Motier, marquis de Lafayette was a French ex-patriot who fled France because of an arrest warrant issued after he ordered that protestors be fired upon. The protesters wanted bread and opposed the waste of the French government.
This man is the hero of many on the current council. But, these same council members are violating laws to continue prayer at the council meeting. The following is especially fitting.
If the liberties of the American people are ever destroyed, they will fall by the hands of the clergy.
Marquis de Lafayette
Posted: April 22, 2012
Why they call it Laughie-ette – And why you should care
Five and a half years ago, Darrell was elected Mayor. Three months into his term, after asking a series of questions, and finding violations of law and charter that your other elected representatives had no intention of coming clean on or beginning to follow, he resigned. Who needs this, right? Can't fix it with a muzzle on. This decision was met with a wide variety of supporters, including the Heisler minions and the council at the time. I think Diane Rinks may have even thrown a party – since she didn't really understand what it meant for him to sit on the other side.
He was then contacted by a man named Paul Knobel. Paul gave the impression that he represented Senator Gary George. That turned out to kind of be true - I give it a five on the truth-o-meter.
Darrell met with Paul at Paul's request. At the time, Darrell had support from a group that named themselves the Concerned Citizens of Lafayette and they were included in that meeting. (If you need background on all that drama, please feel free to stop by and he will explain it all. That group includes the Heisler's and Harper's.) One of the topics that Paul Knobel discussed that got Darrell's attention was information is control. And that those folks that control the public documents hold all the cards. Because if you don't have the paperwork, you can't prove that its wrong. Paul also explained how public entities should be privatized, but more about that later.
So, Darrell has worked for five years to get access to those public documents. Some of the city employees have fought so hard to keep information from the public, (you know, THOSE PEOPLE) they have even broken laws and spent thousands of your dollars to keep it from happening.
When Heisler and his fans ran for office, that was even one of their platforms – ACCESS TO INFORMATION. Unfortunately for you, they only meant access for themselves. As an aside, it was also to lower water / sewer rates after Heisler's claim that the city is charging $600,000.00 a year too much – but after the election, he forgot that he told people that and has made zero effort to remember it. In fact, if you show him the paper where he stated it, he claims you are 'speculating'. His word of the day for over a year.
Another of Paul Knobel's grand ideas: privatize government. While it doesn't, necessarily, mean to get rid of the current employees or the union, that can happen. What it means is send everything out to bid. Projects and jobs. Make people come to you and give you their best price. There are companies that provide support staff for cities (and for much cheaper than we have going on right now). This philosophy comes from Mayor Stephen Goldsmith. In fact, Paul's recommended reading list included Resurrecting Urban America by Mr. Goldsmith. Now, while I read it, I don't think anyone else in the Heisler crew did. They may have scanned the chapter headings, but that's about it.
So, here we are now. Paul has come along for the ride guiding the Heisler / Harper sailboat. Instead of actually doing the research to find the waste going on to encourage the conversation of how to get more bang for our buck, Paul Knobel and the current council has been helping the city to find ways to waste. At first, I was surprised that current city administrator Preston Polasek would be so chummy with Paul, given what Paul's value system included. But, now that Preston has received two VERY LARGE raises in the 1 year, 5 months that he has been here (including numerous other perks), it has become apparent that Preston may do anything to ensure his prosperity. What Preston doesn't realize is that his job is on Paul's to do list, too. But, not quite yet as Paul needs Preston to sign off on all these little tasks.
Just a couple of items that Paul has sucked Preston into wasting money on, only to be able to use it against him in the near future:
The video taping project at city hall. Paul Knobel had Preston to spend thousands of dollars to setup video taping and live video feed of the council meetings. This included equipment and software that we only spent a few hundred dollars on. Are we geniuses? No. Paul showed Darrell the process and how to do it for such a low cost. And, since we host the videos on our $18.00 a month website, we control the content – so the viewer doesn't have to deal with ads screaming at them like you have when you watch the city's version on Ustream. (My favorite was for porn – had me rolling on the floor with laughter.) Paul didn't give Preston that wisdom because that wouldn't have accomplished the waste factor.
The next project? The council is in the process of acquiring portraits of George Washington and Gilbert du Motier, marquis de Lafayette. The price of this project? $4,000.00. Money they say they will fund raise for and then cover any additional monies not donated by the community. A community already stressed for money will now have to cover the costs of these ridiculous projects instead of reaping the benefits of paying off the loans.
I want you to think of the irony that the current sitting council wants to hang a portrait of a man who ordered the National Guard to fire upon protestors of the government. People who were willing to die, and did, to fight for their rights – our council wants to idolize a man who ordered them killed. And they are going to use your money to do it. Isn't that just the ultimate 'screw you' to the citizens here?
There is a name for this mentality that is tossed around with public employees and public officials. Its called OPM (Other People's Money). This would be your money.
I want you to remember these projects that the council is so convinced that they need to spend money on and what it says about their value system. I think that pretty much sums up why people here laugh, ask “really?, get mad, then give up. This does not happen without your permission. The lack of presence at city hall gives them all the permission they need.
Congratulations to Paul Knobel. You wanted to watch them dance, and now they are. And, congrats to Preston, who appears he will do someone's bidding for a buck, no matter how wasteful it is.
Posted: April 1, 2012
Live in Lafayette or looking to move here?
Here are some relevant things for you to know…
If you have ever been the victim of taggers here – which happens quite often – and had the city send you one of those compliance notices that advises it is on you to remove any graffiti within 30 days, in the city property they bought from a foreclosure. Then they burned it down. It was called a ‘burn to learn’. Except when have you ever seen a house fire where holes were pre-punched into the roof to control the situation? This is the third one I have observed (the first was right across the street from this – it also took a very long time to get cleaned up – no worries about civic pride here but heaven forbid you paint your house a color the council hates). In two of the circumstances, it was city property. Once it was done for a private owner so he didn’t have to deal with demolition costs.
This property was burned several weeks ago, yet still sits here. Just like this. So, the city has the attitude – do what we say, not what we do. Its been this way for a very long time, but has become increasingly worse with the current folks in charge.
And what did the fire department learn from this experiment? Apparently, not much.
Posted: February 7, 2011
Hypocrisy Runs Rampant in Lafayette
Sent to council 4/3/2011
A number of things have occurred over the last few weeks have given me pause regarding our issues in Lafayette.
While Heisler continues to poke fun at anyone's idea that isn't his own, and then after consideration, makes it his own, I started thinking about why things are the way they are. I have been working off the assumption there was respect given to, and for, the positions the council holds. I have sorted through the conversations that have occurred and it finally dawned on me: they are more concerned about the title than the responsibility that goes with it.
Recently, the council rules were brought up for consideration. Darrell volunteered to join this conversation, amid the snickering from several members of the council. He suggested tools in place that actually punish council members for not following the rules. He was met with everything from 'that's what recall is for' all the way to 'it isn't our responsibility to know the rules or the laws that govern what we do, we're volunteers'. So, I thought: Really? State law says it is. The charter says it is. The oath of office says it is.
That got me to thinking about how they don't take their positions seriously. They have no clue as to what citizens expect from the council and they don't care. They get their council books and they get tossed by the wayside and then they wait to get told what to do, with those instructions varying at each fork in the road.
Then, I realized, because they don't take their positions seriously, neither does anyone else. They sit and pontificate each of the vast amounts of air within their brains for hours on end and no one follows any of their instructions. The council directs staff, and then one does anything. So, while they spend their efforts spewing forth their wisdom, it gets dropped like a spare M & M. Business that seemed important at the time rarely comes back up to get finalized. Preston sends follow up information to the council, but doesn't make it readily available for others to see.
So, here are a few things that have come up in the last few weeks that I realized:
We have paid the city administrator for the last few months, with zero record that his final contract was ever approved by the council. Heisler told me to listen to the meetings. I'm deaf, explained that to him for the umpteenth time and told him I read the approved minutes. There is nothing in there. So, unless there was some unposted, undocumented action, that's what I got. I offer him the opportunity to tell me when it was approved. But, since he doesn't feel me worthy to respond to, that's not likely to happen. It's also interesting to note that he started on December 30th. With the 31st being a holiday, he worked a single day and was entitled to a month's worth of PTO - 13.33 hours.
The council approved a contract for the work at Perkins Park that was in violation of the city contracting rules. The contract was signed with a company that was neither licensed or insured to do the work. The state says too bad for us. I didn't even realize all the ins and outs of this until I was asked by a general contractor why the project didn't go out to bid. So, I found out for them.
The council has now authorized the city administrator to sign checks. So, now he can authorize the supplier, approve the payment, enter the payment and sign the payment. Not best accounting practices in any industry, much less a government one. Keep in mind, all of the members of the council proclaim themselves to be professionals.
The council has directed staff on numerous occasions to start loading public documents on the website. None of this has been done. So, while the mayor continues to laugh at citizens, staff is laughing at him.
Staff was directed to list contact information for the city. Yet the website still has no mention of who our city administrator is. But, I guess it doesn't really matter since no one on the council knew how to say his name. (its Preston Polasek – sounds kind of like Vlassic – like the pickle company).
Recently, I attended a training my company provided in helping to get rid of waste within an organization. Waste is any unnecessary process that doesn't add value to a product. There were two items of special note I took from that training.
1. Clutter casts doubt. How can an organization deliver a quality product if they are in disarray? So, when you go into city hall, especially the council room, think about that. Look around.
2. A restroom is a tell tale symptom of whether management values its employees or employees value their space. Again, think of the restroom at city hall and make that observation.
When Darrell first became elected as Mayor 4 – ½ years ago, he advocated for better business practices. He sat down and looked at each check and signed it only after asking questions about the expense. In one case, he refused to pay a bill to a heating company because it was to re-work something that should have been covered by a warranty. Heisler signs checks during the council meeting. He doesn't ask any questions and he can't answer any either.
There is no current year financial information regarding expenses at the city website. I finally had to make a records request for the year to date budget, just to find out how much is being spent. Still haven't received any kind of response to the request. But, given how things have been going, worse in the last few months, it will probably end up at the District Attorney's office, just to get a response. After listening all year about this, that and the other thing will be addressed at budget, Preston has decided the budget committee only needs two meetings. So, it will be interesting to see how all these conversations are going to happen in the total four hours allotted, as budget meetings only go until 8:30. Maybe he plans on the meetings being all nighters. He's changed so many other things that have worked up to now and hasn't addressed anything that was broken. We are more in the dark regarding finances now than when we started. We just have more questions.
If you elected these people in the hopes they would represent you for the overall good of the community, follow the laws and rules that govern their positions and ask good, honest questions, I report you will be sorely disappointed.
Many have chosen to be a councilor in title only, and assume no ethic because it is an unpaid position.
It took me a long time to realize this. But, it explains why people don't come to meetings. Because they already realized what it took me so long to do: You can talk to these people, but they are going to vote their own way, with very little representation going on. They feel they are the only ones with all of the relevant information to make an informed decision and have no intent in sharing their logic. Four years ago, Heisler was all about getting information into the hands of the residents. Turns out, he only meant a small group of residents. As long as he knows what the papers say, not that he reads them, mind you, he's a happy camper.
There is currently a council position open. Trevor Higby resigned as, apparently, he has plans to move his family out of state. I can't help but wonder if he didn't run as a placeholder position – not really interested in serving, but wanting to make sure that Heisler had an opportunity to put another of his friends in. Matt Smith suggested looking at people who were voted for and didn't get elected. In this case, Stephen Long would be the next obvious choice. Heisler has stated he won't appoint anyone that would mess with his idea of what the council should look like. So, go voters! He's just going to do what he wants anyway.
So, enjoy spring. Keep your yards up so the weed nazis don't come get you. And keep letting people know what you don't have access to. Maybe it will help someone else before they make the mistake of moving here. Because as long as they don't take their position seriously, the council will not really change anything. As soon as they took their seats, all the puff about making a difference went right out the window. They get what they give.
Again, thank you for your time. Let me know if you no longer wish to receive this information. Check out Lafayette Oregon Group at facebook. Twitter feeds coming soon.
Hypocrisy can afford to be magnificent in its promises, for never intending to go beyond promise, it costs nothing.
Posted: February 7, 2010
Instead of access, we get blown off
Sent to council 2/7/2010
As we continue to push for public = online access for documents, the city continues their mission of sarcastic, wasteful behavior.
For the last several months, the council (mostly Marie Sproul) has been pushing the city to hire more staff to maintain parks. (we already bill out 128 hours of maintenance staff a month.) In the age of other cities making cuts and streamlining processes to get the best value for a buck, Lafayette continues to refuse to account for the money it is already spending. Everything from hiring new employees without ever providing the requested time audit, to leaving vehicles running for more than an hour while working on a project. What part of public employee (as in public employee retirement system) do they not get?
So, in whatever mindset they live in, they sent a city worker to clean the street on Canyon View. Keep in mind, instead of having a street cleaner do it so the job was done correctly, they sent a guy with a blower. Did he clean everything? Nope. Just in front of our house. Did he clean anything? Well, he moved a lot of dirt around – mostly all over the surface of my car. So, is this how you want city time spent? Feel free to entertain yourself with the video at the link at the bottom of this note.
I pay $10.00 a month for our websites – all of them included. The city is spending thousands of dollars a year for theirs. Does it have documents? No. In fact, I was told by staff they are spending all of this money and all they have is 1gb of space. Which means that they will never be able to store documents in any meaningful fashion. We will have to continue to keep ours out there. At the rate of progress of the current mentality, we will never be able to take our site down. Because the city will never be able to provide a valuable resource for records.
The charter states the council must adopt rules. The rules state these must be reviewed at the 1st meeting of each odd numbered year. But they didn't. They've put it off for at least a month. So, what's the ramifications of this? Absolutely nothing. They get to police themselves. Mayor Heisler likes to write on his website about the fox controlling the hen house. I'd say that his thoughts of creating a shadow government is spot on. Because under his leadership, he has escalated the behavior that he was so ready to criticize to a whole 'nother level.
Trevor Higby has submitted a 40+ page document that creates a strategic plan for the city. They will be spending time later this month reviewing it and editing it before passing. This plan creates even more committees than we already have. Because, apparently, his thought is it would be okay to hire more people so all of these meeting minutes can be typed, and all the research can be done for these committees. And, I guess he has some cache of volunteers – all that agree with the mayor politically, because he already said he won't appoint anyone who doesn't. For some reason, I thought Trevor said he was fiscally conservative. But, he isn't. We already have a plan for the city. And as soon as we can get the council to start following what has already been laid out, instead of putting everything off until they forget it again, it doesn't really matter what they say their goals are. Their only apparent goal is for them to keep that spotlight on the ever present monologue they keep spewing.
Its funny. I'm deaf, yet they don't listen. So, while I thought I was going to be able to get back to my yard work and cleaning my deck, this council - some through active participation, others through mere acquiescence – is not going to provide any more information to citizens than any council of the past. In fact, we made more headway in access before Heisler became mayor.
Over the next few weeks, I will be putting together summaries of where your funds are going. Stay tuned as we head into budget season, where the appointed committee members make an effort at responsibility, the council makes their own direction via contact with CA Preston Polasek, continues to ignore any meaningful input from citizens, and passes what they want come June. Keep up with the observations at Angela's Alerts.
As Darrell likes to say, you can change the people. But, until you change the rules, nothing is going to change.
Have a great week. Many meetings are coming up the next few weeks. Be sure to stay in touch with what goes on in Lafayette. Remember, folks get the government they deserve. With those around the world fighting to get rights, its sad that when we have that right and we don't do anything with it.
Link to video
Email to Council 1/29/2011.
Yet they still have a budget transfer scheduled to pay for a new person on the 2/10/2011 budget without ever having this conversation. Do you think the city is already spending 128 hours a month taking care of the six parks which is what they are billing out? Keep in mind that a couple of years ago, they hired a full time employee with the only purpose to be parks maintenance.
Darrell asked me to put together some numbers for him regarding salary being paid out to maintain parks. When he saw the numbers, he felt that you should be apprised as well. I believe my numbers are right, but I did this before I finished my coffee so please let me know if you see any corrections that need to be made.
The city currently bills out (based on the proposed budget, as there is no approved or year to date budget available on the city website. It is my recollection that no changes were made to salary other than Jim's raise - after the budget was approved - for all his extra responsibilities, so the amount would actually be a little higher), we currently spend 37,748 on salaries for parks. This does not include PTO, PERS, medical, dental, etc. benefits.
Link: http://www.lafayetteoregon.org/Public Records/Budget Information/Budget 2010-11/ Pages 8 and 40
Since we have six parks in town (Terry, Perkins, Commons, F Tract, Community Pride & Veteran's), and given their size, here is a breakdown of what could be going on. I think the hours listed are really high, but I am being generous.
Terry - 6 hours
Veterans - 4 hours
Perkins - 6 hours
Commons - 6 hours
Community Pride - 4 hours
F Tract - 4 hours
It still only comes to 30 hours a week. That's a week. So, that is a little more or less, depending on the month, 120 hours a month. A breakdown of salaries for parks is (discounting the CA salary, which is geared towards grants, management, RFP's, accounting, etc) based on 160 hours per month:
Public Works Foreman - 10% of salary is billed to parks (4 hours)
Sewer Plant Operator - 5% of salary is billed to parks (2 hours)
Utility 1 - 40% of salary is billed to parks (16 hours)
Utility 2 - 25% of salary is billed to parks (10 hours)
Total of 32 hours a week is billed to parks. That's 128 hours a month. So, more than what would be reasonably required given that winter months require very little care, and summer months, realistically, would not require what is listed above each week.
The only employee contract I have is located here (but, I am sure the terminology has not changed):
http://www.lafayetteoregon.org/Public Records/Contracts/Lafayette Union Employee Contract.pdf
Unless you can justify to the union, and make the employee exempt, you still would have to provide additional compensation beyond salary.
It would be interesting to have someone assemble the number of hours that get billed into each bucket. But, more importantly before any more staff is added, one should be able to account for the time being spent. Because I can tell you 128 hours a month is not being spent at the parks, which is currently how it is billed now. And the fact that a person was added, with the express duty of maintaining the parks, and is now being billed to other duties, is not honest government.
Email sent to CA Polasek with cc to Council 1/24/2011.
Recently, I was advised staff had been instructed to expend energy totaling certain topics from the attorney bills. Knowing how labor intensive it is, I did it. I know how much time I spent. I would be interested to know how much of Laurie's time was spent.
It would be my hope that staff time could go towards items that benefit citizens as a whole. For example: finally providing the breakdown of our water payments and what goes toward: debt, future projects and current expenses. Or getting documents online. Or providing the vehicle audits. Or a myriad of other items that have gone unresolved over the years as staff was too busy to complete.
As a side note, all of these attorney bills were on my website. Free of charge. Councilor Harper and Mayor Heisler could certainly of done this footwork themselves. I work during the week, but I note that Leah Harper has time to be involved in these issues. I am missing several months of bills. I paid for most of what is here, before they became part of the council packet at citizen request. The time period I am missing is during a time period the Heisler's and Harper's were Concerned Citizens of Lafayette, prior to becoming Concerned Citizens of whatever they are now. If you would like to provide the missing time periods - free of charge, I will complete the project.
Anyway, I am sure this effort will do nothing but provide for more insults to be tossed, but it is interesting to note that city hall staff is now starting 'files' on people. I wonder if it is on everyone who has incurred costs or only me.
I had actually moved on towards the work at the state. But, given what seemed to be such an important topic for Councilor Harper and Mayor Heisler, it appeared that my services were warranted. And, after reviewing all of this history, I now have become concerned regarding a number of unresolved matters. All items that had been filed as never going to happen. So, I guess I will become involved directly again.
Welcome to Lafayette. Just as an FYI. The new version of the Attorney General's Public Records and Meeting manual was released last Friday. The entire manual is online for free or you can get one for $25.00. Its quite informative regarding the required format for meeting notices and information.
Thank you for your time.
Posted: December 16, 2010
Do we make a Difference?
It's been said that people get the government they deserve. In Lafayette, that statement has never been more true. A large number of people who are never involved made a decision to burden the ones that are.
As long as a person like Chris Heisler can be re-elected, it says to me that people really are not paying attention or really don't care. He has now made it a joke about 'his backdoor deals'. He thinks it is funny that he gets away with so much. And the people of Lafayette let him. Here is a sample of some of the crap he has pulled on you:
He doesn't sign all the checks like the charter says. He lets someone else do it and then claims he doesn't know what gets spent.
He promises you that the city is overcharging for water, but then does absolutely nothing about it.
He makes secret agreements for employee PTO outside of what is allowed, authorized or recognized in the employee handbook. Keep in mind, only for the employees that get him documents quietly.
He enters into contracts with a city administrator, and then never brings the contract to the council for them to approve.
He allows his wife free access into private areas into city hall, reviewing information that is meant for someone else.
He uses the attorney to check on his decisions that are his private doings, not that as a city representative and without authorization from the council.
Instead of moving forward on $600.00 training, he authorized over $7,000.00 on the attorney to prevent the training requirement.
He pushed for a recall of people who disagreed with him.
When the seats became open, he refused to fill those seats because the people who volunteered did not publicly support him.
During the recall effort three years ago, he secretly worked with then council members to have Chris Pagella appointed to a seat, promising a cancellation of the effort, even though he wasn't in charge of the recall effort.
He has violated the council rules in several areas.
He starts meetings before the appointed time in hopes to keep people from getting access to all the information.
He blocked the videotaping of public meeting.
He authorized payment to the attorney after the attorney gave advice to violate meeting quorum requirements.
These are just a few of the issues that he has been behind and / or responsible for.
While we have, on a regular basis, people thank us for our effort; it doesn't feel like it makes a difference.
If you feel like we do, then send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
If we get responses, we will continue to assist. If not, then we don't. Up to you. Always has been. Always will be.
Choose to be responsible for what happens here.
FYI - Shitbird - term used in the military to describe those that try to get away with as much as possible by doing as little as possible. Consistently shoot their mouths off.
Posted: December 9, 2010
Happenings in Lafayette
As this is the Christmas season, I will try and keep it light until after the holidays.
Photos with Santa
Help feed the hungry and take home a picture of your visit with Santa!
Cookies, Coffee & Cider provided to everyone
Saturday, December 18, 2010
4:00pm – 6:00pm
On The Way Cafe
395 3rd Street
Suggested donation of five non-perishable food items to benefit St. Barnabas Soup Kitchen
Flyer at www.lafayetteoregon.org
Toy Drive for the Fire Department
The fire department is collecting toys until the 14th. New, unwrapped donations can be dropped off at city hall.
If your family (or a family you know) is having a tough time this year, this could be a help. Applications to be considered as a recipient must be received by the 10th and can be picked up at city hall as well.
Reward for information on the sign burning
Hard as I tried, I couldn't get anyone in town to donate anything to a reward fund to find out who burned the sign. I even contacted all the mayor's supporters, and no one would cough up a dime so we could open a Crime Stoppers fund. I've heard all the theories, but nothing with proof.
So, this is what I got. If you know who did it, contact the YCSO and tell them what you know. They will let me know (if you choose) and in return, I will make you a home cooked dinner of pot roast with all the trimmings.
Watch your local government
I know its boring, tiring, irritating and all the other adjectives out there. But, as our local government plans their agenda over the next few months, it is becoming increasingly important they know people are paying attention to what is going on.
Chris Heisler stated more than once the city is overcharging $600,000.00 a year in utilities, yet has done nothing to stop it and refuses to provide information to those that have asked for it. He signed a contract with the city administrator, then refused to bring it to council for approval, as required by law. Yet Chris is still signing his checks each month. In Bell, California, they call that fraud. In Lafayette, its business as usual.
Councilor Leah Harper has stated publicly that she is concerned regarding the expenditures the mayor authorizes. Yet, the checks are still signed. And the more questions she asks, the more the mayor shuts her down and tells her this isn't the time for that. The auditors have expressed concern that the city has no checks and balances in place, yet the money keeps coming in and going out with no plans for a forensic audit. So, pay attention, ask questions and expect answers.
Recently the mayor sent a letter to each of us, using our dollars to do it, making claims against people here. Be critical in your thinking. While Chris Heisler is slapping his friends on the back, he touts Chris Harper, Chair of the Water Board, as an expert. Heisler uses Harper's employment with the Army Corps of Engineers as a basis for this expert opinion. Chris Harper is a purchasing contractor for the Corps. He is not an engineer with them. The Corps has no interest, one way or another in our projects, and does not back Harper in his endeavors here. And while Chris Harper is licensed as an engineer in California from years ago, he is not licensed, or legally allowed to practice as, an engineer in Oregon. If you see him do this, or claim to be an engineer here, let me know. The state has a very specific process he must follow and a complaint system is in place.
Be careful what you believe from this mayor. He has stated more than once you have to pick a side in order to get information from him or be allowed to have a conversation. I don't know if that's the tactic he uses to sell people cars in his professional life, but its not really a way of thinking that promotes professional conduct or a sense of community. Since he has been mayor, there is less access to accurate information, things are more chaotic (as they can't seem to finish any chore on the list) and they accept no responsibility for any of their actions. He has blocked access to basic liberties that our constitution allows. If this is how bad it is now, can you imagine after another two year. (As a side note, if you voted for him, I'd really like to know why.)
As the new year transitions, we are putting the finishing touches on the expanded website. LafayetteOregon.org will transition to the new page. After getting so many complaints about 'my sign' on 99 (that belongs to the mayor) and the lie filled stories on 'my website' (to find out they were at the mayors page), we decided we needed a clean break from the mayors site. Since the ambition is to have a source for citizens everywhere, Darrell opened www.clearintentions.info. Check it out. To get to just Lafayette information, click on the Links at the top of the page. Eventually, each city will have its own section and each of the individual domains will go away.
Well, just a few of my thoughts. We wish you health and happiness. Hope to see you on the 18th for Santa visits.
Each time a person stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, these ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.
- Robert F. Kennedy
Emailed on December 6, 2010
Posted: October 31, 2010
We have made a conscious decision to not bug Becky Stern-Doll on election night. I figured she would have enough people calling her.
When she puts on the link for the election results, we will add that link to our front page. You will need to have Adobe Acrobat (at least Reader) to view the results.
If you have any issues viewing the results, or just want to know who won without all the rigmarole, just give Darrell a call at 503-857-2555. Glee will be on, so you'll have to wait until a commercial for a call back.
Have a great week.
Water Committee Update
Last night, the water board met. A special guest was invited - Denny Muchmore from Westech Engineering. Denny came in and explained that the all the water being plenty and the reservoir being large enough, and Dayton 'stealing' our water was a bunch of hoo ha. He explained that we aren't really at requirements for fire flows. Fire flows actually have state mandated requirements. So, because a neighborhood can turn on their faucets does not make water plentiful.
Further, Jim Anderson finally stood up for his experience and told Chris Harper, the mayors designee as chair of the committee, basically that he felt that if he spoke something that chair Harper didn't want to hear, anything against what was being rallied around town, then Harper was just going to tell Jim to be quiet - again.
So, the committee got formed. No mission or goals put in place. Going is a painful experience. And what has been discovered is the mayor gave inaccurate information, again.
So, my question? Do we continue to keep him around for shear entertainment as we watch everything he says go into the tanker? Or do we decide we are going to start over, again.
Einstein defined Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
So, is that what we do? We keep him there, with his friends? Because we fear the fit (or, in his case, the recall)? Or do we stand up for ourselves and decide enough is enough.
Its your decision to make. Its my decision to air the videos that show you what's going on. I'm not here to tell you what to do. But, at some point, you cannot continue to leave it to others to take responsibility for the choice that is yours to make.
The video will be up by tomorrow. I encourage you to watch as much as you can stand. And then contact Heisler and ask him - what up, dude? Cause this is totally different than the spiel of yesterday. For some additional thoughts, visit Dean Rhodes' page at:
Its well worth the read. I'm sure the Heisler's story will look tremendously different. Also, if that weren't enough information for you, Denny advised the council that if they keep asking him to look at ideas that he feels are bad for the city, he will quit us. So, there ya go.
Have a great week. Remember to vote your heart.
Update to information regarding sign burning in Lafayette
Upon receipt of an email from Captain Ken Summers, I wanted to give people an update on the event.
Personally, I don't care what someone's motivation was, the act is so abhorrent to me, I cannot stand by and do nothing, no matter my feelings for the candidate.
Someone set fire to Chris Heisler's candidate sign on Abbey Road sometime between Saturday night and Sunday morning. Deputy Shane Rice took the report regarding the burned sign. The police case number is 10-3563. The property owner is Michal K. Klein of 5470 NE Abbey Road. She is also the complainant on the report.
At 10:00 pm, the sign was reportedly intact. At 3:38 am, someone saw the sign burning and, apparently, reported it. No one was seen in the area by the witness to the burned sign.
The Jim Weidner signs were not stolen, but were pulled up and thrown on the ground some distance away. Again, the signs were not stolen.
Potential charges include Reckless Burning, 3rd Degree Theft, and Criminal Mischief. These are all misdemeanor crimes. All have fines and jail time associated with a conviction.
The case is still open and active, but with no evidence such as tire tracks, footprints or anyone seen at the site, it seems a very difficult case to close.
I am in the process of trying to make contact with the Oregon Crime Stopper's program. If we can setup a fund through them, people would be allowed to contribute so we can assist, as a community, to solving this crime. While the expense of the sign may be small, the act is one of potential future escalation. I feel it would be in everyone's best interest to discover both the person(s) involved and the motivation behind the crime. Do not send any money to me. Once this is organized, I will provide the contact information for Crime Stoppers, where the money will go directly.
Please check back soon as I am able to get the arrangements made. I know that you will help this community heal.
Open Letter to Chris & Mary Heisler
Mayor and Mary Heisler
You have chosen to use your website to make artificial statements regarding a number of people. I am posting this in the event you actually read our site, as you have stated in a number of emails – all public record – that you don't read emails from me and that no one else should either.
When you were the Concerned Citizens of Lafayette, you held meetings to organize people to work towards your ideals of what Lafayette should look like. While I supported the idea of forming a consortium of citizens to work to a general cause, I began to balk when I saw behavior that was just as exclusionary as what we previously had. You said you wanted to create a shadow government. And you did. What I told you is I wanted to see a group that could model behavior that one would like to see from their representatives. I remember the day Mary had a fit because Don Leard got a copy of your meeting agenda and gave it to Diane. I remember the day you asked me to talk about something not on the agenda, because Alisha Kashka was present, and you didn't want her going to tell Diane the true nature of what the conversation was. I remember all of the money you collected from people, including the town hall meeting, and have not been able to account for the funds to this date.
I have watched as you have taken a matter of responsibility and turned it into a personal ragefest. While we continue to expect our officials to be accountable for their actions, I have listened to twenty ways of Tuesday why Chris is not responsible for the violation of any laws, rules or charter requirements.
So, since you want to continue to report on items completely out of the context of what reality proves, I will address them here. I am quite certain you will not understand any of this, but having posted this information, along with the supporting documentation, I will be allowed to focus on what is really important in life. The bigger picture with the upcoming legislation, and getting my house in order.
Chris' work email posting
Mary made this information public. In an email to Justin Boone, Mary advised (does anyone ever to get to find out why Mary is responding to your emails? I have several from people that she does that for you.)
To: Justin Boone
Subject: Re: Friday Mtg
Date: Thursday, January 07, 2010 7:44:45 PM
Hi Justin! This is Mary Heisler. Hope all is going well your first week. I'm sure Chris
told you, but he doesn't check this email but once a week, since he's on the road all
the time. (I check it to make sure there's nothing urgent.) Residents & committee
members call him at home or his cell, and Trena and others all have his cell if they
ever need to reach him quickly.
I thought you should have his work email which he checks a couple times a day.
He's not given this to anyone else, so please don't pass it on.
I do declare I hope ya'll are settlin' in fine on 12th street. Tell Jessica I say hi! I am
fittin' to get together with ya'll again soon.
When I discovered that she had done this, your email at work was public. And, since it was apparent you were using this to conduct city business, I contacted AutoTrader to ask them to provide the city – not me – a copy of your emails as they related to the city. As far as I know, they still have not done this. So, congrats, Chris. You work for a company that is willing to back you at the expense of the residents of Lafayette. I also note that you have not provided the city with those emails either. What happened to all that transparency you promised? Guess it only applies when you want information, not when someone else wants it.
Referring to your young daughter
I'm sure you will remember this. The email I sent to you asking for an apology. And asking how you could subject your daughter to an obvious display of juvenile behavior. But, after seeing the rest of what has been going on, it seems you are quite proud of the behavior that continues, because you seem to coordinate it. That email is linked below. But, I totally love how you posted it on your website, without the email (or in your often used case, a portion of it taken out of context) and making it sound like something creepy. Is that how your world works?
Over $18,000.00 on the city attorney
Let's talk about that, shall we?
Let's try a $1210.00 payment authorized by the current council so that the city would not waive a $5.00 charge for copies of the council newsletters that were sent to each and every house in Lafayette, free of charge. We wanted them in black and white so visually impaired people could actually read them.
Or over $3,000.00 authorized to block my ADA rights to have access to allow me to see people talk, because of my deafness. I contacted the council before the complaint was filed and asked them to make a policy and training required. A charge of $600.00 to the city. I stated if there was forward movement, I would not file the complaint. After seeing how the mayor was authorizing the attorney to fight this, I finally just dropped it. The attorney wrote a long letter talking about how Justin didn't read emails from me (so missed the legal request) and that he had no prior city job knowledge prior to Lafayette. Someone else will go after this in the future though, since the city is incapable of even looking at someone for employment who is is disabled. Apparently, attorneys in the business refer to this as pre-descrimination. If someone were someone so inclined, and was in a scooter or wheelchair, they would apply for employment with the city. When they didn't get hired, they would have a perfect case for discrimination and could make a lot of money off the city.
Or over $8,000.00 authorized to create a long winded document of why people shouldn't vote for a new charter. Speaking of the charter, where is that long promised Charter Review Committee that was promised back then? It must be in the pile with all the other discussion items that Al LeMay said always end up just going away. I can create an action item list if you would like of all of the items you have just dropped into that black hole.
Then there is the over $3,000.00 spent advising Trena to violate election law, and then defending her on the appeal – which she lost. Gotta love those city attorneys.
How about the over $300.00 that was authorized to do research on finding case law to back the attorney's statement that one could not videotape a public meeting where interviews were being conducted. I just love how bad advice is given and then Chris signs the check for the attorney after the attorney admits they were wrong. How much do you think you will sign away for the recent quorum failure?
On that note, how about the over $600.00 authorized to the attorney for them to do the research to find out if I was allowed access to Diane's evaluations. For a public administration specialist firm, you would think they could have found it in fewer than 4 hours. For that matter, how come Trena didn't just call the state archivist. That would have been free. Then several hundred more authorized because Trena couldn't come up with the evaluations, because she shredded them. So, the attorney then had to tell her what to do about that.
I've got a lot more breakdowns, as I have all of the attorney bills. So, is it a matter of how much I have spent? Or how much the city has spent on the attorney in an attempt to block access? Originally, the efforts you actually applied to trying to get access are incorporated in those billings. Since Diane blames us for involving you, those got attributed to me. The spreadsheet she provided showed an $18,000.00 amount, but many of the other charges included amounts as part of the $18,000.00 price tag. Originally, when you reported it – I thought, no way, its much higher than that. And it is. So, I will be preparing a list of the items over the years that the city has authorized to spend money on in order to block access and will hand that out, with explanations.
So, why do you keep writing checks to pay for bad advice, or advice that should not even be needed if you were knowledgeable in the task you asked for, only to find out the city broke the law and / or violated the US Constitution? Why is that? And why is it so freakin hard for you to utter the words - 'I apologize'.
The Enough is Enough get together
The documents from the meeting are linked below. Since you couldn't be bothered to come, its amazes me that you feel compelled to comment on it. Citizens of the town you say you represent were there, and you didn't even care enough about what they had to say to go. Marie did. Matt did. Don Leard did. Jean did. And so did Randy Lucas. You know Randy – he's the guy who filed to run against you, Chris. The conversation was planned to talk about action citizens could take in order to make this feel like a town. That was my thought. But, what I heard about was the code violations (including the Perkin's structure), the nastiness coming from your neighborhood, the lack of repairs, the lies about the water – from both sides. These were just some of the issues. A reigning theme was to just disband the whole town and start over. But, I can only figure since citizens would be talking, and you couldn't control what they would say, you weren't interested in being there.
My hundreds of unsolicited emails
I have just about 50 people on my list. Five live outside Lafayette, but have asked to be included in affairs here. Many folks have asked to be included directly, and forward accordingly. They have said that, while they don't always agree with me, I say the things that most people wish they could. Others on the list have been involved with city affairs so were included. An example is Trevor Higby. You know Trevor – he's the guy who didn't want to be contacted at the email he gave you personally – and had no knowledge you posted it publicly. So, he said to contact him at his other personal email. Then he decided he was no longer interested in receiving anything from me, as he wanted his privacy kept private. That will be so interesting if he gets elected. There will not be one part of his life that is private. As a public official, everything about him is public record – where he lives, where he works, who he owes money too...
When someone asks to be removed, they are removed. But, for every person who has asked to be removed - ironically, all but one lives in Morgan's Vineyard - three have asked to be included. So, there you go.
Then there are other people who just tell me they have it bookmarked. Like Lafayette Joe. (Does he have a bond yet? Because no one can get a copy...)
The relationship with Harris and the Flood's
Nick strikes me as a critical thinker. He sat back and watched the events. He formed his own opinion. There was nothing planned in his resignation. If he knew he was resigning, that was a decision he made independently. It was as big a surprise to me as anyone else. So, quit acting like everyone is working in cahoots against you. Its just paranoid. And, he stated why he left the meeting in August. He said it was a waste of time to spend that much time talking about something that was already being handled. He dedicated an hour to the cause. Just because you and Chris Harper can stand around and beat a bush for hours on end doesn't mean that others are interested in spending their time in joining you. I wouldn't continue to take the time people stay as support, or even interest in what you say. It is merely they don't want to leave in case you decide to break yet another law or rule. And, they want to witness it for others.
When I see something wrong, I do something about it. You call me names for it. Some people call me a watch dog. You don't like me for it. I'm cool with that. I really don't have time in my world for those that have no respect for others. And you don't. That's why its so easy for you to manipulate those around you. I will continue to report on what I find wrong. There was a time, before it was you doing the stuff needing reporting, that you had accolades for my efforts. I didn't care what you thought then, either. Is that why you are so mad at me? Why you make it personal? Because I don't believe the garbage you continue to spew?
You reported that I stated the mayor had me followed. I didn't. I said that one of his supporters had stated they had followed me. Almost completely to work, in fact. Kinda sleezy. But, once I found out who it was, along with the slew of other emails they sent, including some very unkind information regarding NewLafayette folks, it didn't seem to be a threat anymore. Turns out – just another impotent supporter of yours. But, you'll notice, he is no longer around. Turns out, he said he couldn't function in your income bracket.
Since you have never bothered to have a single conversation with me about anything, I find it galling that you, Mary (and Bernie the Cloud – Mary's little secret poster name) continue to sling from behind your wall of supposed anonymity. If you had to face me to make your comments, you wouldn't say ¼ of what you do. Because you know I would make you prove it and face it. As far as you not responding to the mudslinging, why is that when someone calls you on something, its mudslinging? But, when you report it – its facts. Just because you believe it doesn't make it a fact. There was time when people believed the world was flat, too. So, respond, don't respond. Doesn't matter. People have figured stuff out on their own, which is all I ever ask of anyone. And how come you never sign any of the articles on your website? And why do you hide the ownership of your website under a mask? I note you did that after I reported you were capturing people's computer IP addresses? And how come you don't post all comments made? You only post those that agree with you or those that you can figure out a snappy little comeback. FYI – there's a definition for a blog and definition for a website. We both have websites. Many people know the difference. It would be helpful if you wouldn't continue to talk to people like they are stupid.
I cannot think of a single relationship that you have broken that could not be fixed with an apology. But, the only thing people are commenting on now is how they won't be fooled twice. They believed in you. You both failed them. And, not just in small ways. You attempt to humiliate those that disagree with you. Are you incapable of having an academic conversation with someone? Or does it always come to fisticuffs. That is a sign of a very angry person. I am sorry if in your life, you are not given the respect you feel you deserve. But...
Faith is given. Respect is earned. And you have neither.
Thanks for your time.
Note from Darrell: Anytime you and your wife would like to come over and have an adult discussion about what we are doing and our goals, you know where we live.
Email to Mary and Chris Heisler asking for an apology
Talking points from Enough is Enough get together
Project list from from Enough is Enough get together
Contact Information from Enough is Enough get together
What you can do from Enough is Enough get together
Building Community from Enough is Enough get together
Emailed on September 13, 2010
Open Letter to Mayor Heisler
On July 26, 2010, you were given the task by the council to facilitate the hiring of an interim city administrator. You were directed to first make the offer to candidate number 1 – Joe Wrabek. If that didn't work out, you were directed to go to candidate number 2 – Dick Klein. That was a task you were given. Facilitating that hiring included all of the items involved in the hiring of an employee.
You failed to accomplish your task completely by not processing a background investigation. Now, you are laying that blame at the feet of Trena McManus. It was your job to have the release for the background signed. But, that was not a document you presented to him. I realize you may have forgotten to think about, but how is that Trena's fault?
Your next task was to bring the contract back to the council for ratification at the next meeting. That task has also not been accomplished. According to the instructions given to you from the council requiring that ratification, the contract is considered void until that happens. This was a responsibility you were given and you failed to accomplish..
The contract you signed, and are responsible for until the council accepts, included four items to be accomplished. One of them was for Mr. Wrabek to serve as the elections officer. This was a task he immediately passed off to Lori, which is within his authorization to do. He was also tasked with managing the city's existing projects, hiring an assistant city administrator and recruiting a new city administrator.
Since that time, you have also tasked him with soliciting information for a new city attorney and creating a new council newsletter. A newsletter that apparently will include profiling the candidates for the upcoming election, including your self and two other current council members? A newsletter approved behind doors, through email.
In the meantime, projects are being managed poorly and meeting minutes are not being generated within the standard time-lines. Is the typing of these minutes a task Joe is not capable of?
In my 44 years, I have met some really strange folks. But, never have a met a man such as you who refuses to take any personal responsibility for any of his own actions. You were given a task by the citizens of Lafayette to live up to your promises. Instead, you blame every failing on another person. You don't know what money was spent for because you didn't sign the checks – Chris Pagella did. You block access to constitutional rights because you are given bad advice, and then approve paying the attorney for that bad advice. You failed to to provide for due diligence in the hiring of the interim administrator. You fail to inform yourself and then blame someone else for failing to inform you.
You have made some really bizarre decisions during your term. I have read statements you have sent to citizens regarding their need to pick sides. You have made decisive choices that have continued to show that you are unable to work with those that disagree with you. You humiliate people who have the inclination to stand up and challenge you, even when your actions fly in the face of basic common business. You have used your position as a council member to demean those very folks that supported you. You have even failed to live up to your responsibilities as outlined in the city charter and council rules. You have two seats for council open, and have received two applications for those seats, and refuse to appoint them. You cannot continue to pick and choose which responsibilities you want to accomplish.
You have chosen to not make any forward movement on the issues you promised in the time you have been mayor, until the two months leading up to your possible re-election. While I cannot say whether or not that re-election happens, I can say that I will continue to hold you accountable for the choices and statements you continue to make that are just bad business.
It is time for this town to be allowed to move forward. Are you prepared to evolve to let that happen? Or will you continue to be the catalyst for inconsistent policy and poor work product that has come from those items you have been tasked with accomplishing? Because you really only have a few short months to finally live up to the expectations of your position. And, at what point will be ready to accept responsibility for your actions? I am curious. Will I get an honest response to these questions, or will you post yet another – as far as you seem to be considered – a scathing, gotcha article on your website about another person who is holding you accountable?
For those of you who have had to listen to the rhetoric coming out of some mouths for the last few months, you will understand why I am posting this.
For those of you who have been spewing it, you'll never understand why its relevant.
One Sunday morning, an old cowboy entered a church just before services were to begin. Although the old man and his clothes were spotlessly clean, he wore jeans, a denim shirt and boots that were worn and ragged. In his hand he carried a worn-out old hat and an equally worn, dog-eared Bible.
The church he entered was in a very upscale and exclusive part of the city. It was the largest and most beautiful church the old cowboy had ever seen. The people of the congregation were all dressed with expensive clothes and fine jewelry. As the cowboy took a seat, the others moved away from him. No one greeted, spoke to, or welcomed him. They were all appalled by his appearance and did not attempt to hide it.
As the old cowboy was leaving the church, the preacher approached him and asked the cowboy to do him a favor. "Before you come back in here again, have a talk with God and ask him what he thinks would be appropriate attire for worship in church." The old cowboy assured the preacher he would.
The next Sunday, he showed back up for the services wearing the same ragged jeans, shirt, boots, and hat. Once again he was completely shunned and ignored. The preacher approached the cowboy and said, "I thought I asked you to speak to God before you came back to our church."
"I did," replied the old cowboy.
"And what was his reply?" asked the preacher.
"Well, sir, God told me that he didn't have a clue what I should wear. He said he'd never been in this church."
Emailed on August 31, 2010
Illegal Council Meeting
On August 30, 2010 I watched as the Lafayette City Council sunk to a new low, even for them.
The meeting opened. Only Chris Pagella, Leah Harper and Marie Sproul were present as council. In the real world, this would say the council could not meet because they didn't have a quorum. There was only one vacancy at the start of the meeting, so they needed four people to proceed. Darrell pointed this out to them.
This is where it gets bizarre.
Cindy Phillips, the city attorney with Jordan, Schrader, Ramis PC advised her interpretation of the charter states the mayor is not a member of the council. By her theory, that would mean they only needed to have three present as the mayors seat doesn't count towards the seven. With one vacancy, there are only six members. She counted Chris Pagella. She forgot that since he was acting as the mayor, he was no longer relevant in the count. Its really funny, because when quorum issues arose before, the mayor being there was counted. But, should not have been.
Keep this in mind as I explain the rest. Mayor Heisler was absent for some reason. Council President Chris Pagella was now acting in the capacity of the mayor. Now he doesn't count with Cindy's theory. My calculation, with her interpretation, there were only two councilors present. He determined that he would follow the advice of the attorney. What a good sheep he was.
Either the meeting had 3 out of 6 or 2 out of 5. Either way, there was not a quorum. They made decisions, motions, even went into executive session.
Even more bizarre. Keep in mind, Cindy Phillips has the charter sitting in front of her the entire time.
The charter says when the council president is acting as mayor, he cannot vote (like the mayor) unless there is a tie. But, when the council took their first vote, with the two members voting yes, Cindy advised Chris Pagella he needed to vote. And he did. At this point, Darrell and I both pointed out that was a direct violation of the charter. I left, vocally.
If the mayor is not a member if the council, then if they resign or get recalled, there is no way to declare the seat vacant, per Cindy's rule. Because the declaration of vacancy only applies to members.
Our charter was designed by the League of Oregon Cities. A variation of this charter has been rubber stamped across the foreheads of a good percentage of Oregon towns. Apparently, it has a great flaw – one which they will be advised of, noting that Cindy Phillips made us aware of it. It is also worth noting the mayor is not held to the council rules. So, the mayor can pretty much do whatever he wants without facing any repercussions. He can also be recalled, but never required to leave the seat. So, Chris H – go for. Contact the heck out the attorney. Grab those documents you've been trying to get your hands on for free. The council rules don't apply to you. Cindy's rule!
What a challenge we continue to face here. The resident meeting I put together last Friday was good. There were some new folks there that had a lot to contribute. My social experiment is to find positive ways to build the town up, despite the best efforts of council to destroy the effort. But, the one suggestion I have heard repetitively over the last four years, and came up again Friday: start a public utility district, then disband the charter and start over.
After watching what happened last night, and sending a message out to some folks I respect, one comment I got back was:
"To give a meaningful, coherent response to questions regarding actions by the Lafayette city council, or the Lafayette city attorney, one would be required to possess the wisdom of Solomon, the patience of Job. I have neither. Perhaps, given the fiasco of the retention of a city administrator who obtained (and maintains!) his position fraudulently, the answer lies somewhere deep in the catacombs of either/or the city council and the city attorney.
I know this makes little sense, but neither do the actions of our illustrious "city fathers". I had hoped that the "deficiencies" in our city government might be able to be resolved through the election process, but after perusing the list of candidates, I doubt that will hold a solution.
I have always maintained that Lafayette is in a vortex. This was originally based on one's inability to get desired Internet or TV service in the area. Perhaps my suspicions are well founded, and the effects are created, not somewhere out there in the universe, as suspected, but emanate right in city hall. After all, isn't that well established as the epicenter of occurrences that defy explanation?"
Are they right? I don't know. But, I've long suspected that once the council sits in those chairs, any sense of standing up for the words that came out of their mouths while running for office get sucked right into whatever black hole contains their sense of right and wrong. I have seen the ugliest behavior from those that say they represent me. And, I have seen quite a few laws broken inside that building. But, last night was the most blatant, screw you, in your face stupidity I have encountered yet.
That's what I got. More information from this matter will be forthcoming. Watch the video – some things you have to see to believe. If the matters from this meeting are not replayed in a legal one, we have avenues to pursue. Why it is up to citizens to enforce Oregon law when it comes to public meetings is beyond me. But, this whole situation will be an excellent conversation starter over the next few days during Darrell's phone calls. My suggestion is to rectify the situation by just having a do-over. We have 30 days to file in court and are collecting the money now. I'm not thrilled about having to finance yet another fiasco from city hall, but this is out of control. There are a number of people outside our town who are watching this issue and have asked to be advised how it turns out. Looks like we may be setting precedence again.
But, I am sure, given the speed at which Cindy Phillips began to text on her blackberry at the moment she realized she gave bad advice, instead of stopping the madness – no sense of right will be forthcoming anytime soon from anyone there. I will be encouraging the firms principals to watch the video for themselves and deciding if Cindy Phillips is really the face they want to put into towns where the continuing contract is a current matter of conversation.
To the remaining employees of Lafayette, I have one thing to say. Get out while you can. Because if the vortex hasn't gotten you yet, it will soon. And, apparently there is nothing it won't do to accomplish what it wants.
Thank you for your time.
“Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it”.
Emailed on August 19, 2010
Interim City Administrator
Uses Bogus Degree to Gain Lafayette Position
I was asked from the state agency handling this investigation regarding Joe Wrabek to wait until he received his Cease and Desist letter from them. They figured Thursday, so Thursday it is.
After getting over the initial shock, upon reading his cover letter, the council actually hired Joe Wrabek as the interim city administrator here, I started my due diligence. Too bad the mayor didn't. No background check, no validation of credentials. Just sign a contract and hand over the checkbook.
The first thing I did was go through the OCCMA listserv messages. That was damaging. Horrendously offensive messages he posted paid for by tax dollars. I then asked Darrell to print Joe's resume.
Joe Wrabek advises he got his BS in Public Administration from Redding University in Redding, California. In our house, that created a 'no freakin way'. That is the same diploma mill former West Linn Mayor Patti Galle got her 'degree'. So, I contacted the agency that decides what is considered a bogus degree and sent them Joe's resume. They confirmed it. There is no Redding University. Only an online place that for $395.00, you, too, can call yourself degreed in whatever you want. But, in Oregon, if the place isn't legitimate and you use it as legitimate, its a Class B Misdemeanor.
We have an interim city administrator that broke state law to get his job here. And, Chris Heisler didn't know because he didn't even check. Because he didn't care?
I viewed the video from July 26, 2010 where the council gave Heisler carte blanche to negotiate the contract. Some items of note:
Councilor Harris registered his objection to hiring Joe Wrabek. But the attorney convinced the council if they wanted to hire Dick Klein, he couldn't be hired as the interim. Wrong. They got Joe without an interim. They could have done the hiring without Mr.Wrabek.
Councilor Harris wanted the city to post the four items (which the Mayor has now increased to five) of business for this interim to focus on to the city website. This still has not been done.
The council agreed the mayor could conduct all of the contract negotiations with Joe Wrabek behind the scenes, but the contract was to come back to the council for ratification at the August 12, 2010 meeting, That didn't happen. In fact, the council still has not even seen the contract that was signed. Without the contract, I can't tell you if this guy is even bonded, as required by the charter.
Mayor Chris Heisler said he is “excited” to get Wrabek on board to begin helping the city through it’s current transitions. Heisler said, “I feel really comfortable with Wrabek and the skills he brings to the city.” I'm curious, based on what I know of Joe Wrabek, what skills would those be?
We have a city administrator that has zero credibility. We have so much dishonesty going on in this town. A positive, honest, above the board person is what we needed. We needed someone with solid ethics. Did we get that? No. We got a guy who thought the council was so lazy? stupid? grossly inadequate? that he could present whatever information he wanted. And, he could come here and do whatever he wanted.
Mr. Wrabek is responsible for hiring employees (not just employees, but recruiting who will be our next CA), writing checks, conducting the day to day business at a time when we are unable to get honest, accurate information. This same person who can't figure out how to put a meeting time on the agenda. So, whatever years of experience he sells himself with is of no value either.
After spending 40 minutes on Monday speaking with Joe Wrabek, I cannot be anymore convinced this situation is out of control. He does not understand why his fraud is an issue. He says online universities were stalking him because of his vast wealth of knowledge. They all wanted him to send his credit card information so he could be included in their ranks. In my world, they call that phishing. I delete those messages.
So, now that we have the truth about Joe Wrabek, is the council working towards rectifying the situation? No, they are not. It takes two councilors to call a special meeting. The mayor could alone, but he doesn't seem prepared to do anything to hold anyone accountable, as long as they agree with him. And I can't find two councilors who are willing to do that, either.
In the real world, when you lie to get a job, you are fired. In the real world, people check your references. Is that the problem here? Lafayette isn't in the real world?
Joe needs to go. Please contact the council and register that with the mayor and the other council members.
Let the council know that in the future, professional people need to handle this process. Possibly citizen volunteers who have real business experience. People who know how to interview and hire. And know what is needed here. And stop awarding contracts to people who submit them illegally. Whether its C & D Landscape building structures without a license, or a job applicant who lies to get hired, this behavior cannot be tolerated by the citizens any longer.
Supporting documentation at:
“Relativity applies to physics, not ethics”
Emailed on August 8, 2010
Council Meeting 8/12/2010 6:30 pm
Lafayette City Hall
The packet is posted online at the city site and our site. Feel free to peruse it and see what interests you.
The agenda has no time listed, as required by law. Not all of the previous meeting minutes are included. Apparently, our interim, Joe Wrabek was way too busy accomplishing other tasks.
Like the entire staff stuffing envelopes for the mayor with his 'facts' regarding our recent water adventures. And, being that it was a special mailing, not only was the staff time consumed (over two days), the city also had to run the envelopes through the meter, instead of using the bulk rate envelopes we already have. The irony being that Jim Anderson had some concerns regarding the information being disseminated, but the council forged ahead anyway. Only Nick Harris had the fortitude to say, I don't want people thinking I am signing off on this – please don't include my name.
Or Joe's research that the council may want to consider a 'convenience tax' for PGE to add to our utility bills, so the city can reap even more money from us. Because those water bills just aren't bringing in enough.
Or the research on creating an expanded council newsletter that, given the additional pages, would create an increase in the postage is costs to mail us our bills. Plus the additional costs of printing.
The council appears to be in the process of awarding a park maintenance contract to a private company to be responsible for cleaning up the parks. They didn't advertise it. They sent a fax to four different landscapers. A fifth, who had already applied for business here and challenged the council when it became apparent that they violated the process, was not included.
Also on this stream: one of the responders was C & D Landscape. This same landscape company that recently got popped by the State of Oregon because the bid they submitted for Joel Perkin's Park was illegally submitted. They have no license to bid, build or subcontract out the structure they built. The state's feeling is that if the city didn't bother to do the proper diligence in the bid process and award, that's the city's problem. Generally, if a government entity gets defrauded, there is a punitive process, such as prohibiting that business from being part of the process for a certain time period. But, not in Lafayette. In Lafayette, they will pretend it never happened and then reward them with another contract. So, they just layer stupid with more layers of stupid. When there are issues with the structure, there is no one to go back to. C & D had no insurance for the project. Bob Cullen tried to stand up for the correct process, pointing out there were obvious issues and he wanted to follow the correct process. All that did was get him heckled by the mayor. And, then recalled. The saddest part is, real, legal contractors never even got the opportunity to bid on it, possibly saving the project thousands. But, hey, its only money.
Still no agenda item, despite the mayor continually saying that transparency is a priority for him, for a review of the public documents policy. And still no movement from him to cough up the emails he continues to send from his private addresses. Maybe that's because he and Leah Harper have no problems getting documents. They just walk in and take them. As a side note: of all of the jokesters in this entire process, Leah is the one I am most disappointed in. Or maybe I am just not the good at picking out the warts. When I first met her, she was the last person I figured would be one to do whatever it takes, no matter how reprehensible, to get what she wants. Three years ago, she asked me if I had a problem with people thinking I was not a nice person. (She actually used a single word for it, but its not really necessary to repeat it.) I thought about what she said because I thought her words were relevant. Those words were actually the motivation behind canceling the recall effort that was going on then. I figured there had to be a more creative way to get things done. Now, we are three years later down the road, and I am about ready to ask her the same question. Do you think she will care? Probably not.
Recently, I have had a number of people tell me I should run for council. Some, genuinely; some, not so much. I had given it some thought. But, then Darrell said: That would be like Erin Brockovich going to work for PG & E. And, he's right. So, its slower on this side. But, I can continue to plug along, and the only threats I receive are from the those that support the mayor. So, really, not that many anymore. If you decide you want to run, pick up a packet at city hall. But, do it quick. They have to approve the form before you collect signatures. And, collect more than you need. When Darrell ran, he collected 15, but only 10 were actually registered voters.
Finally, on the Mayors website, there is a water tip that basically tells you if you only use your toilet to urinate (he actually used a little rhyme that I haven't heard since 7th grade), you don't need to flush, thereby lowering your water usage. So, here is my thought on this: a toilet uses relatively little water. Please flush each time. It is really unsanitary not to. Also, Darrell pointed out that what kind of message does that send to children that being able to water a lawn takes precedence over basic hygiene?
So, hope to see you at the meeting. Your presence is relevant. This systematic undoing of our city cannot be allowed to continue. The city needs to be told to do business like a business. Not like the stereotype of a crooked government. If you can't make it, there will be the videotape at our website within a couple days after the meeting (might be that night, even).
Thank you for your time. I appreciate all of the positive feedback that you provide.
You have been bcc'd on this. Forward if you want. If you no longer want to receive, let me know and I will remove you.
If you wish to know what a man is, place him in authority.
Emailed on July 30, 2010
Council Meeting 8/2/2010 6:30 pm
There is a council meeting on Monday, 8/2/2010 at 6:30 pm. The single topic is water issues. When Darrell gets home in a bit, we will post the agenda, but it is at the city website, under the council tab. It is not on the calendar.
It is noted, that while we were receiving regular updates while the levels were below fire flow, we no longer are. So, the drama only seems to suck those in while they can prove a public hazard. It doesn't seem to be in anyone's interest to just keep people updated on basic information.
But, there are issues to be addressed so we can stop this constant need for ebb and flow of water, and personal energy. I don't think one single person is right in all of this. But, we have heard from a number of respected authorities who have contacted us directly, and they have some really good questions. And, I want them to ask them. And I want them to get answered.
I encourage all to go to the meeting. Even if you don't want to ask questions there (if the mayor so allows); you should at least get your information first hand.
Ironically, at exactly that same time, Dayton City Council will also be meeting. So, I will be attending that meeting, while Darrell attends (and tapes) Lafayette.
Have a great weekend. Conserve water. And be kind to animals.
All the water that will ever be is, right now.
National Geographic, October 1993
Emailed on July 28, 2010
Water Information Update
First, I want to say: I get that there are credibility issues with believing what the city is saying. There are politics galore, etc. But, here's my reasoning for believing them.
Jim Anderson, the Public Works Foreman could lose his job if he is lying. If he is preventing access, he could lose his job. If he is filing false documents, that is a crime, with punishment.
If Mayor Heisler is lying, what will happen? He will get called a liar. If he continues to refuse to step to the plate, and continue to do nothing in this situation, what will happen? Nothing. Will anyone remember come November? He refused to answer his phone, so Council Prez, Chris Pagella made the call. Not an impulsive human being. He tends to work on the side of logic most of the time.
So, given that criteria - who will you believe? And, now, don't you want to know why they aren't putting more in place? Well, that requires the Mayor to call an emergency meeting. Staff can't call it. Two councilors can call it, but that would mean they would actually have to work as a partnership.
So, here's some numbers to mull over:
The reservoir is 500,000 gallons.
The total height is 28.5 feet.
Each foot is 17,543 gallons.
A cubic foot is 7.48 gallons. So, 100 cubic feet is 748 gallons.
We use about 500 cubic feet a month at our house, but for this experiment, we will use 600 (because sometimes we do - we actually used more last month because we cleaned that fabulous deck.)
600 cf divided by 30 days = 20 cubic feet. That's what a simple house will use (There are a number who use much less, some who use much more. Lots of people don't go above the 300 cf, while Mary Heisler told me 2 years ago, they used, like 2300 or 2700 - something like that because of lawn watering.)
So, for this usage, say every house used 20 cf a day. That equals 149 gallons a day.
There are about 1200 billed customers in Lafayette.
That means we need to use about 179,500 gallons for each customer. We don't outside water. We don't wash our car (big surprise). We don't have a pool. We don't have a garden. so, 179,500 just for basic living.
Given that the reservoir has a fire flow level of 22 feet, and we were at 19.6 this morning, the reservoir will only continue to empty.
With the reservoir only holding 500,000 gallons, if the city stopped pumping, we would have enough water for 2-1/2 days. If another pump burns up, we lose more input.
So, the 2-1/2 days is if all you are doing is basic living. Showers, laundry, coffee, pets.
So, we are below safe levels. The Mayor still waters. The council doesn't make the restrictions stronger.
Whose house are you willing to lose, if the situation should arise, so you can water your lawn?
Just curious. If you find issues with my numbers, please let me know and I will post the corrections. I won't write over what I wrote before, but I will list it as a correction. We will continue to post on the website information as we are able to get it from the city.
For people complaining about Dayton not being restricted - here is what Darrell found out today. They never had an ordinance before - which I knew. (My thought - until they started working with Lafayette, they probably never needed it.) They have presented it, but it has not been passed yet - so they have nothing to enforce. So, unless you are looking for someone to go bulldog their citizens, the responsibility for being sane lays in you. You can't enforce a law that hasn't been passed yet. They have rights. They have asked their citizens to conserve. But, there is a process that must be followed. And, Dayton has a really great council, so stop wondering about what they are not doing, and start wondering about what's not being done here.
Chris Heisler lives at 1407 N Madison over at Morgan's Vineyard. Stop by and ask him what he's going to do about this. And let me know if he's still watering.
If you want to talk to me, I live at 287 Canyon View Drive.
Thanks for your time.
You don't want your credibility banana to turn brown, but you do want to speak out about what you believe in.
Emailed on July 27, 2010
Today, the City of Lafayette has instituted Water Crisis Level One.
What this means is you may not water except on the odd / even water schedule.
We are assisting the city to get this message out. The message is on the reader board at city hall and posted in the glass case.
The reality is we are below what are called fire flows. We do not have enough water, available at a good level, to deal with an emergency, should it arise.
What I am asking from you:
Please contact your neighbors and advise them. We have the flyer from provided from the city listing what this means to you. I know, that given how low we are, we could hit level 2 quickly. The city will be enforcing this, and the fine is not cheap.
The permission was given through Council President Chris Pagella, after the mayor was not available. I am not interested in getting into the politics of whether you believe we are short or not. It is documented, and it is authorized through city ordinance. And, it will be enforced.
Help everyone out. Limit to your needs and notify your neighbors.
Please forward this message. Get the message out.
Official Notice of Water Restrictions
Emailed on July 25, 2010
Getting the Banana from City Hall
There was a meeting held Thursday, July 22, at city hall to interview candidates for the City Administrator Pro Tem. I would love to fill you in on the details, but I couldn't hear (because of my deafness) and I couldn't see to read lips (because I was intimidated by the mayor and Chris Harper from the right to do that). So, I will tell you what I do know.
The council interviewed three people. Who they are isn't really relevant right now. The council is meeting again on Monday, July 24th at 3:30 in the afternoon to interview one more and bring back another from Thursday. Once they make a decision, which they may or may not do, I will give you the background I have on that person.
The meeting was interesting, to say the least. The mayor (remember that guy from a couple years ago screaming for citizen involvement and access?) decided that he was holding this public meeting as a courtesy to citizens. As a favor. No matter that the city didn't advertise the position, didn't publicly approve a hiring process and the public has not had a chance to weigh in. All three being requirements of the law before they can move an interview of a public official to an executive session. But, Heisler stated a favor he was providing, none the less.
Darrell videotapes the meetings. Pretty common knowledge. Well, the attorney that showed up Thursday apparently was not informed about that. He almost broke his neck trying to find a way to block it. So, he came up with some lame stuff about how it violates ADA to video tape interviewees. Doesn't matter that the video is not being done by the city. Doesn't matter that Darrell isn't a decision maker in the process. Doesn't matter that public meeting law pretty much prevents the city from stopping him, as does the first amendment. Doesn't matter that nothing in either ORS or ADA prevents it from happening.
In fact, only the four councilors can decide who will be hired. All people who are sitting there, physically viewing the person themselves. Guess we should get on the line to C-Span and tell them they can no longer video tape confirmation hearings. Or tell Skype they are no longer allowed to broadcast interviews. I was not aware that Chris Heisler is now the end all when it comes to determining the constitutional rights of anyone. But, when I contact all these agencies, I will be sure to let them know that he holds the knowledge of all that is true in the world.
Here's the kicker. I didn't have my Attorney General manual with me, so all Darrell could do was agree with the mayor's offer of a 'compromise'. Well, compromise isn't exactly what I would call it.
A request for assistance was sent out to over 110 different media resources we have, listing the entire matter. Every single response I have received has provided additional support for access, most quoting the AG manual and case law.
Considering the council has not presented any of these applicants with a description of the duties that will be required of them, as required by ADA, it seems they themselves have already opened up that can of worms for a lawsuit with each person they have interviewed. I guess Chris will have to find another route to block the taping. The only way to rectify that is to bring them all back to re-interview. I found out all of this by having to do the research to try and locate any kind of shred of what the attorney was talking about. Couldn't find that, but I did find a whole bunch of other stuff that people with disabilities are entitled to and what is required of the city. So, I guess I can thank Chris for that.
At least I now know why Heisler wouldn't refund everyone's water money that he says we are owed. He's going to need it defend all of the legal cases the city has walked into over the last few months. As he likes to say: its his meeting and he is the one in control.
We finally were able to acquire the software to get the videos posted from the meetings. Later tonight, we will start with Thursday and work our way backwards. I don't know how many months we will have available at one time, so if the file size is too big, or you don't see a month you want, let us know and we will get you a dvd at no cost. So, here's what I want from you:
Stop blindly believing what you are told. Not from me. Not from Chris Heisler, Not from the 'Concerned Citizens' over at newlafayette. Not from the News Register. Not from Dean Rhodes. Use that information as background filler, sure. But, watch the video for yourself. They are really big files, so let us know if that is an issue and we will provide a DVD copy free of charge. Then get your butts to a meeting and talk about what you see.
We have heard so many rumors about meetings lately, its really bizarre. No one has been hauled off to jail. No one has left meetings slamming doors. There have been arguments. People get like that when they have been lied to. And, boy, have they ever been lied to. No forward movement can occur until the people who have been wronged have had the opportunity to receive reparations for the behavior that has been allowed to escalate.
At what point is asking questions in defense of another person's rights considered an act of rebellion? Apparently, it is the moment that you challenge Chris Heisler. Or when you stand up for human rights in Tienanmen Square. Sometimes its a tank. Sometimes its a cap gun by way of the mayors website.
So, as we continue to document the fiasco as it all comes crumbling down, I will continue to let you know my point of view. Am I mad? Yes, but at least I know I'm not alone.
If you want to forward this, be my guest. If you don't want to receive these 'alerts', let me know that as well. If you want to read the rest of my rants, they are all located at Angela's Alerts on the website.
Thanks for your time.
Emailed on July 18, 2010
Correction to message yesterday
I re-read the charter for, like, the 40th time this morning.
Regarding council vacancies:
The recall made the two seats vacant. Not up to the council to declare vacant on those. The only seat they have to declare is Michael's, after accepting his resignation.
But, here's the twist.
It isn't up to the mayor to determine if he will appoint people to those seats. The charter says he shall appoint. So, based on what we have already learned from the courts, will and shall are the same. It is a direction, not a choice. Doesn't say may. It says shall.
But, given that the charter also says the mayor shall countersign all orders of the treasury, and he doesn't do that. And it says he shall sign all orders of the council, and picks and chooses on that, let's see if he actually follows the charter now.
Sorry about the mis-information. But, I'm not one to avoid admitting I made a mistake.
Thanks for the time.
Emailed on July 17, 2010
Yamhill River Health Warning - Heisler Contact – Updates from Last Meeting – Upcoming Meeting – Website Updates – Stalking Alert (Franz Truper)
On KLYC radio yesterday, an announcement was made that the City of Dayton had a sewage pump station failure. This caused untreated sewage to dump into the Yamhill River at that location. So, people are being told to avoid that area of the Yamhill River. This warning is in effect until Monday.
The recall results are now official. Bob Cullen and Dean Rhodes have been recalled from their council seats. And, now Michael Roberts has resigned? Did it have anything to do with the false comments his wife made at the last meeting about a young person in our community? I don't know. He has chosen to make it about losing his constituents to the voters in the recall election. So, we have a council of four members – all Morgan's Vineyard residents. Until the council can actually make the declaration of the council seats being vacant, all four of these folks will have to attend in order to make a quorum. Once the declaration is made, then it will only take three people to have a meeting. If the mayor does decide to fill the seats, it would be great if there was some representation for the rest of town.
At the last meeting, both Councilor Harris and Councilor Roberts offered the mayor a chance to make good on his statements regarding the city collecting an extra $600,000.00 from residents on the water / sewer charges. You would have thought we would have at least gotten some kind of break considering how much the mayor has publicized the city is ripping us off. Well, guess what. Instead of honoring his words, he suddenly did not ever remember making those statements. No refund, and no honesty. How's that for a great Thursday night?
The mayor's wife, Mary, has made public that the best way to contact the mayor via email is not at his recorded mayor address, or even his personal address. The best way to reach him is at work. That's what she uses, too. So, that address is email@example.com. Feel free to drop him a message if you need to reach him. Calling him doesn't work. He either doesn't get messages or he doesn't return the calls. He says he doesn't get the messages.
There is a 'special' meeting this Thursday. The meeting topic is to interview interim city administrators. A number of people have shown interest in helping us out. You may want to go to this because if this person works out, and is interested, the council may just hire them. With no formal job announcement. What a gift – a government position being filled, and they never even posted it was available. What an awesome town we live in.
DebbieSeesIt again. Turns out, Al LeMay (treasurer of the recall, republican representative, petitioner for the water referendum) used a Washington drivers license to register to vote in Oregon. Wonder if he is registered to vote in Washington, too? Trevor Higby gets caught with his intolerance down again. Read more under Debbie's link at the site.
And, finally, I have a concern to share with you. When we originally started putting the information together regarding a creep with the screen name of Franz Truper, it was just to find out who the coward was. But, in the last two days, this person has been sending me some really weird stuff. Turns out, they followed me to work. So, if after reading what we already posted, and you want to see the rest of the disturbing items, please let me know and I will forward to you. Once I explained to them that we were comparing IP addresses from other emails to theirs, they suddenly deleted their account. Hmmm.
Well, that's about it.
Have a great weekend – enjoy the awesome weather. And, regardless of what you are told, water is always a resource to be respected.
It takes a great deal of courage to stand up to your enemies, but even more to stand up to your friends. - JK Rowling
Emailed on June 12, 2010
An interesting revelation came upon us today. I had posted a message on newlafayette.org in response to Cindy Buell's posting on the recall mess. The first message was allowed by Mary Heisler's web system. I posted an additional comment, and it seemed that, as well, was posted. From my computer. But, when I went to show Darrell on his computer, the message wasn't there. So, I posted a message from his computer. It showed as being there. But, when I went back to my computer, it wasn't. So we did some other testing of the security.
Mary Heisler has had her website encoded with a cookie system that captures the IP address and stores that information on your computer for her use. Marketing companies do that so they know who is shopping for what. Some cookies can be valuable, especially if you have set up a web site to look the way you want it to. But, I'm not really sure what Mary's purpose is.
Mary Heisler's website stores cookies on your system so it looks like you made a post, but may not ever show up for anyone to view. So it looks like your post made the cut. But, if you check it from another system, it may not be there at all. You go on your merry way thinking that your voice is being heard, but instead has been shuttled into thin air.
These are the cookies Mary Heisler has had her website programmed to install on your system upon visiting her page:
utmz tracks where each user came from (search engine, search keyword, link)
utma tracks each user's amount of visits, first, last visit.
utmb and __utmc are used to track when each user's visit starts and ends
wordpress_test_cookie is used to track your postings (so you see them, but unless they have authorized the posting, no one else does).
PHPSESSID is used to identify a new session so she can tell when you are coming back again.
We are not asking you not to visit her site. We understand it can be quite addictive to see her thoughts and may find her information important. But, you should be able to do this completely confident that you are not giving her system capabilities you have not authorized. Normally, I don't mind cookies. But one that seems it offers you a viewing of information that does not really exist in order to pacify you and make you believe that your voice counts, and then collects information about you for a website that says it promotes transparency, that troubles me. I didn't check before this. Why would I think that a site that claims they work for advocacy would install this kind of software?
As a matter of information, we have tested several systems in several locations and are confident in the statement that our website does not deposit cookies, nor do we collect specific user information about your visits. We pull reports on how many visits we receive, what country the visits came from, and what pages are popular, but that is the limit of our reporting requirements. We don't need to know anything about your computer or your IP address to visit our site. And, I can't understand why Mary would either.
Thank you for your time. Please forward to anyone you think may be impacted by this or ask Mary (at the address in the CC box) why she would be doing this.
Emailed on May 10, 2010
Council Meeting 05/13/2010
Lafayette City Hall
Another alert from Angela Flood. I'm sure you are way excited.
Just another meandering of information that I have culled from my observations and the council packet.
Important to note:
Right after the meeting begins and the additions and deletions are dealt with, the Council will be going into Executive Session. The stated purpose is to deal with a personnel issue. There is no time line stated for this, so be prepared to wait, or not. It could be five minutes; it could be 30 or more. But, from what I know on the topic, it seems to be a necessity. I don't know if they have their own list to hash out or they want to deal with all of the items that have come up. If the subject is Justin Boone, our City Administrator, then here is what I have observed:
The city budget process was almost a catastrophe. Mr. Boone had done so much cutting and pasting, he didn't even notice (or care) that he copied the same information from last year, including statements about budgeting for a city administrator search. But, then maybe he knew something we did not. He didn't notice that we paid a large bond off, so he was ready to pay it again. He didn't notice that the years of debt on the bonds and loans had actually been decreased by a year. He didn't know why he was budgeting most of the pockets, but when asked, he had the ready response of “Just in case”. This being the same expert who determined we needed yet another rate increase this year. Apparently, it was raised just in case.
He appears to have given non factual information for a city employee to pass onto a contractor.
He seems to have failed to inform our city attorney of all of the facts, on more than one occasion, regarding the parks contracts. So, decisions were made that didn't need to be and we could have been more creative with the dollars.
He has been downright rude to councilors in the city meetings.
He has ignored contact with citizens. In one case, it took the District Attorney getting involved before Mr. Boone would even respond.
These are just a handful. If I included them all, we could be here all night.
So, the council will start, then close the meeting, then re-open it. They may make a decision, they may not. But, you may never know what was discussed. Although, all of this could change should the employee decide to have the meeting in the public view. Some employees do that when they feel they are in the right and want everyone else to see what they are being 'accused' of.
After we get through the personnel issue, the reporting will begin. In the packet is a sheriff's report of ordinances that have been handled. There seems to be quite a few here, but if you look at the dates, you'll see it covers quite a time period.
According to the public works report, the Mayor's wife been keeping Mr. Anderson busy telling him what our down town should look like with the spring planting. I thought Mr. Anderson would be able to figure that out for himself.
There is no fire report included, so can't tell you what the fire department has been doing. But, they have been issuing checks to the volunteers, so there must be something going on. I guess we could see the number of the calls if those checks were included in the accounts payable report, but they aren't. The Mayor is supposed to sign those checks, according to the charter anyway, but apparently he's good with them signing their own.
The attorney bill shows we have been charged over $12,000.00 last month for their services. It keeps going up. Must be all those investigations against all those big, bad councilors. Too bad those instigating the charges couldn't focus on their jobs and let someone else handle creating the drama and animosity. One of my favorite expenses is the charge for someone asking the attorney's opinion if I am allowed to post city documents (ie: public records). We are already working on a story for a national website for that one. And, I've already heard from councilors who stated they didn't know anything about the issue until I asked them. Some still don't.
The fire department is looking to sell five radios they replaced with a matching funds grant. Kind of funny: if the radios worked, then why did we need to cough up the matching funds? Wouldn't that have been a useful grant for an agency that didn't already have radios? Also, they are looking to sell them to Carlton. Carlton: the same city that shares our fire chief – Terry Lucich. The same chief who said we needed new radios. I'm terribly confused on this one.
There are contracts to be awarded, ordinances to be approved, policies to be reviewed. A good time for all, I am sure. There will also be some closing the barn door items, too. Such as – creating a PTO policy for employees who go negative – which, according to another website, our new city administrator managed to do within just a couple months of being here. We never needed the policy before, because it had never happened. Who would think that someone would go negative after such a short period? Oh well, such is life.
Then, another executive session. This one to talk about pending or current litigation. Someone is being or will be getting sued. Could be the sewer contract. Could be another of the Mayor's accusations of council breaking the law.
As a side note to that, apparently, the Mayor has sent out a very odd email with his own 'newsletter'. He sends out his own, it seems, because he appears not to consider himself a council member, as there is already a council newsletter. Mayor Heisler made a variety of statements regarding the council and has taken a stance on the pending recall activity. I have asked him to prove those statements, but since Darrell is still waiting for a call back from him from over a year ago, I don't think I will hear anything. He also said he doesn't think he can get along with the council as it now stands. Must be why he wants to see his own councilors put in the seats instead of the ones we elected. To be sure, he has distributed a newsletter that I wouldn't have. I mean, I have a pretty firm policy about not printing things I can't prove. But, he feels very bold this week. And, he seems to have a good attorney.
Oh wait – it's our attorney.
And he's not paying the bill.
I guess all we can hope for is for him to let Councilor Harper ask the questions she wants to instead of shaking his head 'no' at her. I noticed he doesn't do that to anyone else. Guess its time to update the meeting etiquette at our site. She finally got bold enough to ask a straight out question, and now she's not allowed to.
Well, hope to see you there.
Lafayette City Hall
This Thursday, May 13, 2010
If you can't make it, let me know and I will provide you with a recording of the meeting – at no charge.
As usual, you have been bcc'd with the council address included. If you wish to be added directly from receiving this as a forward, let me know. If you wish to be removed, please also advise.
When public men indulge themselves in abuse, when they deny others a fair trial, when they resort to innuendo and insinuation, to libel, scandal, and suspicion, then our democratic society is outraged, and democracy is baffled.
J. William Fulbright
Emailed on April 11, 2010
Open Letter To Trevor Higby
After hearing of the recall at the council meeting and reading the News Register story of April 10, 2010, I have some concerns I would like to address to you. While I am unable to comment on the filings in whole until they are public record, I would like to address statements from the article and meeting.
While I certainly believe in the freedom of action of any elector to take part in the process, I also believe that tax dollars should be used in a responsible way. While I personally do not believe in the recall process, except in extreme cases, I do expect if one were to undertake this task, one would do so only as a last resort. Can you tell me what other avenues you have pursued to resolve the issues you have encountered with these council members?
The news story reports that you have accused Councilor Rhodes of harassment of the city administrator. Harassment of a public official can be a crime. Are you able to prove this? Keeping in mind that any elector may file the statements made with the Secretary of States office and request that you are able to prove all statements made, are you prepared to do this? And, as penalties for election violations can go up to $125,000.00, I certainly would assume you are prepared to defend those statements.
Liable (Corrected to read Libel) is also a very serious action. And certainly could be quite profitable to anyone inclined to go that route. The defaming of a public official, while historically has been tolerated, is now being litigated with precedence.
The Free Dictionary online defines tyranny as:
A government in which a single ruler is vested with absolute power.
We have a council of seven members, six of which may vote. You have chosen to recall two of those members using inciteful words. One of my personal rules of writing relevant information is the avoidance of extraneous adjectives. They are opinion and conjecture by nature, and are usually not provable in a court of law.
As a couple of observations of my own:
You have chosen to recall two people who were supportive of Nick Harris as the Budget Chair. Nick was primarily chosen over you, I believe, because he was able to make a commitment of attending all the meetings of the budget committee, while you stated you were not able to make that commitment. Had anyone known this would then become a matter of recall of supporters of Councilor Harris' appointment, I am sure several might have acquiesced and voted in your favor.
You have made several statements regarding conduct you seem willing to attest to. But, your meeting attendance is sporadic at best. I have questions as to where you have acquired your information. You must feel very strongly to have gone to such lengths and to be so vehement in your statements. Did you acquire the information from reading the minutes? Public record of conversations regarding Councilor Rhodes contact with staff had really only become an issue Thursday evening, after you filed the petition. So, were you privy to information from another source prior to that time?
Recently, you accused me of violating your privacy by contacting you through an email address you had released only to the Mayor. You advised if I did not tell you where I got the email address forthwith, your attorney would be in contact with me to demand the information. Once I told you I received it from the flyer regarding the Mayor's Committees, I could hear echoes of Emily Latilla saying “Nevermind”. That entire episode seemed reactive to me. So, it appears from my standpoint, as a taxpayer in all of this – I would really like to know – are you working in your interest or ours?
I encourage you to review your motives. If you feel they truly are in the best interest of all citizens, then I offer an alternative. Run for Council next November. There will be several seats coming up for election. Certainly I would welcome the opportunity to offer you a greater understanding of what it means to serve.
In addition to this email, I am posting this as an open letter to you at www.lafayetteoregon.org. Any responses you are able to provide will be posted there are well, as we will be following this matter closely.
Thank you for your time. I look forward to hearing your responses to my questions. If you are able to provide factual documentation regarding the crimes you are accusing the two members of the council of, I will certainly be one of the first in line to sign the petition and put the matter in front of voters. But, if you are unable to provide that documentation, I believe it would then be a matter for the Secretary of State.
Public Comment at April 8, 2010 Council Meeting
Based on the agenda, I was under the impression the council was to address the issues they have regarding the performance of the city administrator.
I have several issues with Mr. Boone’s performance that I would like to see addressed.
I believe, as we have several thousand dollars invested in him, we need to address these issues before it costs the city even more money. He also may be unaware of his impact on others. It is common, in the business environment, to provide feedback to employees prior to an annual assessment.
Last week, I submitted a request for accessibility for the budget meeting. My request was for me to able to see the faces of each of the participants.
I could have asked for a court reporter and the use of a teleprompter, with a cost to the city. I did not. What I requested was of no monetary cost to the city.
Under the ADA Act, Class II, the city has a responsibility to provide access compliance. The city administrator did not comply with the request and the appropriate agencies have been notified. Mr. Boone failed to respond in any fashion. So, this will be the second year I have made a request for accessibility and it has gone ignored. I have been denied the right to fully participate in the budget meeting process in an independent form. There were many conversations I could not understand. At one point, another member of the public had to tell me what had been said.
There is training available from various programs to educate staff regarding accessibility responsibilities. Before even going forward with that, I believe the council needs to have a conversation as to whether Mr. Boone’s contract should even be considered valid.
During the parks bidding process, Mr. Boone had several bids excluded as the responses did not include license information. Each submittal contained the state licensing information, as is required by Oregon law. This license number is used to access all insurance, bond and administrative action information. We now have one of the contractors who has filed an appeal based on information he was given at city hall that seems to be in contrast with the truth.
Recently, Mr. Boone had placed a bid announcement for playground equipment. The next printing had a correction filed because the bid information was incomplete. How much money is being spent to keep making these corrections?
I am not sure if he is not competent in the bid process or just lacks the required need for attention to detail. But, again, additional training seems to be in order.
Lastly, a public meeting notice was placed regarding the public input portion for the Revenue Sharing at the budget meeting. This usually takes place at the second budget meeting, after everyone has had an opportunity to review the proposed budget. But, it was scheduled for April 6th. This information was not placed on the agenda. So, again, I have to wonder if it was a mistake in the information provided to the newspaper. Because it was not listed as an agenda item, the Chair was unaware the hearing was to happen and the meeting almost dismissed without it. It appears that not even the meeting secretary was aware of the hearing.
Mr. Boone has a responsibility to inform the council regarding legal issues and errors he makes. I do not believe he has done this because given the number of business professionals on the council, I cannot see how these actions would have been encouraged or allowed to continue.
At this point, from my perspective, the contract could be terminated for cause. Maybe that is a conversation the council needs to have. Then, if you choose to keep Mr. Boone on board, the contract would be redone to account for the vast training that apparently needs to be provided so he may be an asset to the City of Lafayette. As it stands now, with his apparent lack of knowledge to complete his required duties, he can only be a liability.
Mayor Heisler uses Citizen Funds to Slam Lafayette City Councilors
Now, while no one will call me Bob Cullen's cheerleader, personal vendettas should not be settled with citizen money.
May, 2010 will be three years since Chris Heisler's Town Hall. He collected funds from anyone able to put their hand in their pocket. Most of these funds have not been accounted for. But, according to Chris' wife, Mary Heisler in various emails, citizen funds were used to create and sustain NewLafayette.org website.
During the last few days, the NewLafayette.org website has posted numerous teaser items claiming councilors are breaking the law. Mayor Heisler managed to rack up about $1,000.00 in three days on the city attorney, getting information to attack team members. Since the City Admin and the Mayor are the only persons authorized to contact the city attorney, no other councilor may use this venue to receive legal advice when the Mayor violates the same laws he accuses others of breaking. No one to advise when the Mayor falsifies public records or violates meeting law.
Who knew that we would trade the previous administrator's sense of terrorism against citizens and using tax dollars for a Mayor with the same ego trip? Different name, different voice – SAME EXACT METHODS AND WORDS. Some conversations could be matched up like a game of concentration.
It will be interesting to see if he is able to remove any councilor from their seat. Correction of a meeting law violation only means the meeting is undone – kind of a fruit of the poison tree thing. But, if he is successful, after thousands more dollars to be spent, who will he replace them with? Will it be another Morgan's Vineyard resident, vocal about squashing non MV residents and razing their homes? Only time will tell.
More to follow. If this goes to court, we will be following closely. My thought: I think this will turn into a battle of funds – Mayor Heisler's (ours, that is – certainly not his own) and those that don't have it.
Remember the good old days when men would just duke it out. Didn't cost us a dime. Come on, Chris, can't we all just get along?
Okay. I'm done with my break.
You know. A wise person said to me, several times in fact, get out before it kills you.
I think I will take that advice for a while. Over the last few days, I have had the ugliest words spewed at me from the mouths of people I respected at one time. I have seen behavior come that just made me want say – get a grip.
Then I realized, I need to get a grip. It occurred to me when Darrell and I were talking about the upcoming city council meeting. And, then it dawned on me. That's our 26 year anniversary. Marriage, that is. Not fighting the city. I guess I just decided I am tired of watching people get ignored at every pass. And, I was starting to get angry. Angry is not a world I want to live in. I'd rather live with Hungry. The character from Weight Watchers. He's cute and cuddly.
Darrell had the greatest statement last night. He said, “you know. Citizens didn't vote for me as Mayor. They voted against Don Leard. They didn't know who the hell I was. They just knew they didn't want him anymore.” That's a true statement. It goes for everyone at the council. Most people didn't vote for you. They just voted against the others. That's why Michael won by default. Had there been another choice, that new person would be there. And, with the way are things going here, in a few months and years, there will be new faces, if they choose to run. So, before everyone keeps running to start talking about how you have all this citizen support, remember – they didn't vote for you. They voted against Don.
I have plans to expand what I have learned here to apply to more positive situations. Like, I learned that even though Chris Heisler (and wife, Mary, the treasurer of his campaign) never entered any transactions in their ORESTAR report, as required by law,- and didn't close it, there is nothing the state will do. If a complaint is made more than 90 days after the close of the election, no action will be taken. So, I learned that sometimes people get to do whatever they want, even if its outside the law, and there is no one that will stop them.
Despite the snarky comments, several people have told me I write well and make them think about things. That's about all I can ask for. So, I will be continuing my writing, for a bigger cause. And I will volunteering for an organization that provides small grants to people in our community to help them pay things like their water bill. Do you know the city shuts off about 8 – 12 people a month? I find that unacceptable. But, since the city intends on collecting, I guess I will have to help find money to fund their needs. Isn't it sad that in order to afford basic services, there are people who just assume you should get charity? How about realistic pricing? Wouldn't that be even better?
Darrell and I will be working on the house and polishing the deck. Come summer, we will have a BBQ for anyone interested in joining us for a good time. Since the Mayor's wife likes to point out that we don't have any supporters, it may be a quiet time. That's okay, too. More food for us. If you would like to get an invite when we are ready, let me know and I will send you more information.
I'm thinking of installing a lawn in the front of the house. And maybe we will pressure wash and paint this year. Of course, only on the days I will be allowed to. Darrell is still planning on attending meetings. He won't be there in Feb, though. That's our day.
And, then, the councilors who give me information to 'research' to distract me can get back to business. Quit bitching at each other and start solving some problems. Stop having meetings in secret. All of you.
A perk of living here? I can go a whole month without durable cleaning on any surface that the water touches. Because the chlorine level is so high, I never have mildew issues. Isn't that amazing?
If you are planning a move to this town, I have to ask – WHY? The cost of living increases so much, not just the really, really high water / sewer rates. But, you have the added expense of the filter systems that must be put in place – either a whole house one or at each source. If you don't, your health will suffer.
The page will stay up. This information will sit here for a couple weeks and then move to archives. We track our usage. We receive between 300 and 500 hits a day. A day! That's pretty good. So, we must be helping some people. We also are leaving it up because we find it hilarious that several state agencies list us as the contact website for the city.
If you have information on our site that we post for you, let us know if you want any changes made.
I would like to thank our supporters (do we have any?) that have always had words of encouragement, donated supplies and energy and just let us vent. We do appreciate your help. And, we aren't going away. We are just working our way up the food chain. Remember, you can change the people all you want; but, if you don't change the rules, things don't change.
If you have any additional thoughts of violence, threatening behavior or just need to hurl some more obscenities and insults, feel free to go to www.getrichfrompublicoffice.com and leave them there. I'm really not interested in listening to it. And, frankly, I've been called worse by better. It just goes to show it doesn't matter how much money you have or how well you appear to live – Money can't buy you class.
For those of you still interested in pursuing matters with the city, and expect to get some forward movement, I have one thing to say:
Good Luck and God Speed and give us a call.
Emailed on January 25, 2010
Information Alert – Please update your records
On Sunday, I included Trevor Higby in the Council Meeting Commentary.
Later that evening, I received quite an irritated email from him demanding to know how I got the email address, threatening legal action if I did not respond. The email address I used was the one provided to every home in Lafayette through the council newsletter. I informed Mr. Higby of this.
Apparently, he is unaware he is the co-chair of the Mayor's water / sewer committee. The reason I assume this is because the water / sewer – council newsletter does not seem to peak his interest enough to read it.
He stated he has only given his email address to one person in Lafayette. Can we assume that was the Mayor? Now, I am greatly concerned. Does the Mayor willy nilly give out people's personal information? Now this email address Mr. Higby is concerned about keeping private is now a matter of public record. It has been published on a city document and sent to the approximate 1200 homes in town.
So, who do we get irritated at? The Mayor for releasing confidential information? OR the City Administrator Pro Tem, Trena McManus, who did not bother to ask the people she was releasing information on if it was okay? How many other of the Mayor's committee members were not happy with their information being released?
Fortunately for Mr. Higby, he does have recourse. There are penalties in place at the state level towards any entity for disclosing personal information. Any person can go the website of the Attorney General's Office and file a complaint. Maybe even make a few bucks.
Anyway – it certainly makes a case to take these committee ideas under one umbrella at the city hall. And then provide a responsibly trained person as a contact.
But, in looking out for Mr. Higby, I just wanted to let you know – do not send an email to address listed on the flyer. The response is not very nice.
We started a section to include the council newsletter (Posted here) for those that are interested. They will be posted at our site.
Below is the email from Trevor Higby and my response to him:
From Trevor to Angela
I do not know how you obtained this email address as it has been given to very few contacts, all of which I know and only one within Lafayette. I would like you to tell me how you obtained it since there are possible legal implications that I intend to pursue.
Please do the following;
-remove me from all of your "newsletters" indefinitely
-respond in an email to this same address exactly how you gained knowledge of this email address
If I do not receive adequate information as to how you obtained my email address my attorney WILL be contacting you directly in order to get said information.
From Angela to Trevor:
I will remove you. That is not a problem. If there is additional information you need, please have your attorney contact me directly. That is not an issue. My complete contact information is located on our website.
I received it from the insert into the water bill, sent to each and every residence in Lafayette as part of a list of committees of people who asked to be contacted with information regarding matters of citizen interest. This would include approximately 1200 residences. As this information was relevant to the committee members, I included it.
If releasing your email was not of your request, that would be a matter to be taken up with the council.
Emailed on January 24, 2010
Post 1/14/2010 Meeting Commentary from Lafayette City Council
Normally, I use this time to go over the events of what transpired to try and make some sense of them. But, in the last 1-1/2 weeks, so many things have come out in the open, I think time would better be served explaining the ramifications.
Lafayette had a new city administrator start on January 4 and was present at the meeting. He was professional and had very little to say. As you listen to the rhetoric being tossed around by a select group of people, please remember, this is not ,and has never been, about the City Administrator. The problems in Lafayette lay at the feet of the council, as they are the ones ultimately responsible for the failings and successes of this city.
On Thursday, 1/24/2010, Mayor Heisler directed our new city administrator, a public official, to attend a meet and greet for a select group of citizens at Mayor Heisler's home. I guess he just couldn't help himself from showing off his new toy. I say that, because it appears that the Mayor feels he has been granted extended authority to direct staff to do his bidding, without receiving council approval. So, that got me thinking about the other things going on over the last couple of years with the Mayor, and his NewLafayette.org organization. Now, while their numbers were strong when they started, many have been disappointed with the ugly direction things have taken. Those that originally joined remembered his loud statements of transparency. Of justice for all.
But, if you knew that you were giving money to support a political machine, instead of the citizen access you were promised, would you still have given your money? The amount is not relevant. It has to be, because the Mayor doesn't remember how much money he collected or how he spent it. (The last numbers I know of were over $400.00). Consistently, we receive calls and emails of apology from people who believed these people would make things different here. But, based on what I now know, things are much worse for the citizens. Where is the code, that was so important to him and his group, to provide for safe, adequate housing for renters? Where are the documents they promised access to? Where is the true accounting information they promised to get for all? They have that information. But, choose not to share. He has stated the city collects over $600,000.00 more a year than the city needs to provide services. This equates to approximately $40.00 plus a month for each home. But, when pressed to prove this, he has been unable to do so. (For what its worth, I believe him – I think the city could quite easily provide much more than the $10.00 a month break that Darrell has asked them for.)
Mayor Heisler has created such a struggle for his own power, Lafayette residents are now caught in the crossfire. He has spent so much energy being caustic (or completely ignoring them) to those that don't agree with his agenda for his own control, the council now refuses to use any common sense in the legislation of this city.
An example you say? Well, Linda Lyon made the effort to track down every single house in Lafayette that does not have a house number. There were 30. Did she ask to have these people ticketed for being out of compliance? No. She offered to buy and install their address numbers so they could be found in the event of an emergency. She came to the council to ask for their help in directing staff to contact these residents and provide the offer. The council provided no support. The Fire Chief said no. He says he knows where every house is and doesn't have a problem. But, since he doesn't go on most calls, and the fire department isn't the only agency going to a home, this is where we lost the common sense. If you are a homeowner who has an emergency, and the responding agency cannot locate your home and you are damaged in the process (die, loss of limb, etc.), you now have a case against the council for liable. All because they were presented with a situation and refused to comply with the ordinance. Now that they read this, they will probably direct the staff to actually ticket the homeowner. But, such is our life here.
The ordinance directly states that the water restrictions are only to be used in the event that we are low on water; a crisis situation. They must be lifted when the crisis is over. But, Bob Cullen voted to keep the restrictions in place. Just to be a crab. No valid reason. Just okay with the city breaking the law. (Should we be surprised since he is now a 3 time champ at being fined by state agencies for violating state law for his personal pool business? I think I am not surprised at all.)
The council has the authority to appoint a citizens based advisory committee. This could be a valuable resource to the council, researching all types of topics, saving that staff time. Did the Mayor go to the council to begin these discussions? No. Did the citizens that wanted to be a part of it go to the council? No. The Mayor convinced them to trek on their own, with him the sole point of contact. Has anyone ever heard the council tell them no? No. In fact, when faced with any question for action, the council suddenly becomes quite comatose – the Mayor included – and no response is given at all. What happens because of that? These committees will do a lot of research and presenting, and the council will never consider what they have to say. One reason is because these committee meetings are not in the public view, many of the council decisions that could come from them would get the city sued. And can we really afford to keep spending on the attorney? And what a waste of paper.
Instead of Mayor Heisler continuing trying to usurp the power the entire council at large has, maybe he should try – for 10 minutes – being a team player. He should try working within the rules he has instead of bending and breaking them to toot his own horn about what a powerful man he is. If he did, things could finally begin to move forward here. People he doesn't control could be involved . Then we would start with a fair base. It would also mean that he would have time to follow the charter, which requires he sign documents the council approves, instead of picking and choosing what he will comply with.
There are issues coming up that we should be concerned about. The audit is about to be released. An audit that proves we are being over charged for our services. An audit that proves the only services the city really provides are water and sewer. An audit that proves the mayor has been remiss in being creative with the dollars he is responsible for approving. The council, again, is considering passing legislation to put the entire town on odd-even watering year round, instead of directing our Public Works Superintendent to create a viable, long term solution. We have the financial resources build a facility to store the 1,000,000 plus gallons a day we lose during the winter months. Is it of no concern the last CA was allowed to get a $250,000.00 loan at 6% interest when we had the cash in the bank? I have been told you cannot legislate common sense, but at what point does stupidity become illegal?
A citizen based committee would be good idea. If these citizens really want to see forward movement, they need to stop giving faux control to a man who has spent his time in office continuing to allow access only to his cheer leading team. A citizen based committee could also be responsible for researching citizen complaints to lack of access and lack of compliance. They could get information to residents, conduct visioning workshops, provide for beautification, promote the businesses, coordinate answers to citizen questions. There is a valuable resource to be had in the citizenry of Lafayette. And I challenge the council to practice forming the movement of saying Yes. It is so much easier to defend supporting the citizens than to have to hide from not.
The next scheduled council meeting, unless a quickly organized one takes place before than, is February 11, 2010 at 6:30 pm at Lafayette City Hall. I encourage the citizen groups that Mayor Heisler has seen fit to form outside of the public view to ask for the council support. Several options for donations have already been created to ease whatever budget concerns Bob Cullen keeps seeming to come up that may stall the process. Good luck with your efforts.
It takes tremendous discipline to control the influence, the power you have over other people's lives.
Darrell videotaped the meeting, as usual. We are still providing copies, free of charge. Let me know if you would like a copy.
Emailed on January 10, 2010
Council Meeting 01/14/2010
Lafayette City Hall
First, I want to express my sympathy to the Hank's family with Lotis' passing. While we didn't see eye to eye on city matters, he was a very dedicated contributor and will hold a place of history in Lafayette.
Second, this is where I normally tell you the council agenda and packet are available at our website and the city website. Not true this month. Lafayette's new City Administrator, Justin Boone, started on Monday, January 4th, and apparently the gals at the front office decided to have a little giggle by not getting the packet posted. Maybe they just want to see him chastised or just look unprepared. But, considering the flub from two months ago, when Jaime was on vacation and not leaving one instruction of how to post to a website (think save as “insert pathway here”), there is no packet available website then either. So, who looks unprepared? The guy who just started and didn't know how much work went into getting information to people in such a time so they can review it? Or the people who knew better? But, since Trena was the administrator pro-tem, it was her responsibility to make sure it happened.
I was able to get a few pictures of the agenda from the glass outside city hall. So, here a few highlights. (The pictures are not that great, but I can email them to you if you want.) I don't have the background information on the topics, so who knows what the details are.
A public hearing on the code changes. This is pretty standard – Darrell was at the Planning Commission meeting that started this.
Don Fetting presents information on a water leak issue.
An ordinance change on LZDO for FEMA.
Appointing a city admin pro tem. Darrell's guess this is to close the resolution from last year, since it didn't have an expiration.
Lifting the water restriction.
Appointing a rep for the YCOM / Task Force.
Darrell will be asking the council to review the rates and the need for the upcoming automatic increase.
An executive session to discuss legal proceedings. Sewer plant lawsuit maybe?
Over the past few weeks, being stuck in bed with nothing but time on my hands, I have had an opportunity to reflect on a few things. One idea that kept coming back to me was the term 'change'. As in 'vote for change'. All over the place, politicians encourage people to 'vote for change'. And they do usually. Citizens vote for what their idea of change is. But, the politicians idea of change alters after the election. So, I am hoping that if they really want to be leaders, and represent those that elected them, they will think about what kind of change was being asked for. It wasn't spare change (although that can be convenient). It wasn't a change in face. It wasn't a change in hair color. People are voting for a change in the way government is handled. They want to know what the true information is. They want to be included, on whatever level they are requesting. They don't want to see their hard-earned dollar go willy nilly out the door without someone explaining to them why it needs to be spent. They want the kind of change the comes with doing things differently. It is a different world than it was even 20 years ago. It is cheap to get people information. It is free to get access to basic legal information, rather than paying an attorney to get it for you. It is easy to click a button in a database and provide the information that people want to see before spitting out a day's (or sometimes 2 day's) salary to pay a water bill.
Every single candidate that ran in Lafayette for the council (except Bob, who never promises anything, and Michael who no one knows why he even put his name in the hat), ran on a platform of change. But, as soon as they were elected, took an oath to something to what appears to be other than what they stated. Each one of these people promised things would be different here. You know what is different? The name of the club. Instead of it being Leard's cronies, it's become (as published by the News Register) the Heisler Faction and (as reported by NewLafayette.Org – Mayor Heisler's wife, Mary's, website) the Four Musketeers. But not a single one of the councilors has ever followed through on anything they have promised citizens.
Chris Heisler has refused to return phone calls. Not just mine, but the several community members that have contacted me. Some of which are his own neighbors.
It took 17 years, and me chasing down the city judge, for Bob Cullen to get a city business license for his pool business (still no CCB, so don't let him dig into the ground on your property). No, there were no fines imposed.
Dean Rhodes has been dismissive to citizens on an ongoing basis, refusing even to provide basic information about citizen access, instead providing the text of the inconsistent council rules. I'm still waiting for a copy of the full rules to be posted on the city site.
Chris Pagella tries to get information, but usually what he does get is lacking the needed details (An example – creating a requirement of fuel log, but expensive books were purchased, instead of sheets in binder and no auditing is being done). It makes me want to just stop asking for things because they figure out the most expensive way to get it done.
Michael Roberts sporadically shows up.
Leah Harper keeps apologizing before finishing a sentence. I think I am going to go through the tape of the next meeting and count how many versions of 'I'm sorry for asking' she can think up?
The only person I have seen any growth from is Nick Harris. And, considering how terse he was until recently, anything would have been an improvement. Now, when he gets a meeting notice, he provides it to us, in case the city 'forgot'. And when the packet was missing relevant items last month, he was able to provide them. This happened after two incidents. One was the short meeting notice over the contract. The second was when they held the executive session to interview the candidates. Mayor Heisler started the meeting more than 15 minutes prior to the time stated (not in the minutes). And the meeting minutes were approved without comment. Minutes that failed to include the fact that Darrell and I were present. And I find it completely amazing that neither of the candidates being present were mentioned as showing up. That must have been an effective interview process.. But, since they 'forgot' to begin the recording at the beginning of the meeting (Trena again), I guess they figured their word was good enough. Good thing I found the contact information for the first candidate. He'll be helpful since I watched the council refuse him access to the public portion of the meeting. Well, that will be up the Attorney General now. It would be sad for Justin if the meeting were deemed in violation.
Chris Heisler has created several committees. None of which are sanctioned by the council. Few of which are receiving the city's support. You can see the committee contact information on the flyer included with the water bill. If you want to start a committee for Mayor Heisler, it helps if you live in his HOA. These groups will be getting access to information that non Heisler members don't receive without paying for it. They will not be meeting under the scrutiny of the public eye and will not be recording their meetings for all to see. It is these types of clubs, not city committees, that continue to get elected officials in trouble in the long run. Here is a scenario recently documented. A mayor started one of these committee / clubs. Nothing was ever recorded. The mayor used the information to present to the council to pass land use changes. The change was challenged. When the land use board of appeals made their decision, it was determined that conversations took place outside the public forum and none of the council declared a conflict or bias, which overturned the council decision. It will be interesting to see what happens here. Mayor Heisler has continued to disappoint. In fairness, maybe now that he has access to information, his stance has changed on what is important. But, wouldn't it be great if he started sharing the information that causes him to operate behind the lines of what he promised?
So, while you think about how you want to be represented, think about what you are missing out on. The city is unable to provide a cost of delivery of service for either water or sewer. Mayor Heisler has stated the city collected $600,000.00 more than they needed last year. With 1200 water billings, that comes out to over $40.00 per bill, per month. Now, maybe $40.00 isn't anything to the council, but it is a lot to a person who has to work for every penny and is having to make choices over food or flushing their toilet. What would $480.00 a year do for you? So, as frustrating as dealing with them as may be, start asking why the council has made no forward movement in their promise to change things here, to lower the bill or why they would continue forward with the $3.00 rate increase that will be coming on the bill received April 1, 2010.
Ask them what their idea of change is? And ask them why you continue to live in Lafayette or continue to support the status quo. Because, as I said last month, real change will be coming. And it will all depend on how the council, and the new City Administrator, proceed with our dollars and their attitude toward the people who put them in their seats.
Just because everything is different doesn't mean that everything has changed.
As always, you are Bcc'd. If you don't want to receive any further updates, please let me know. If you want to be added, shoot me an email. The councilor contact information (as well as Justin Boone's) is in the Cc line. Feel free to drop them a line.
Emailed on December 7, 2009
Council Meeting 12/10/2009
Lafayette City Hall
The council packet is available at the city site and at ours.
After reviewing the packet, there are certainly some items of distress and concern. Part of my annoying personality is feeling like I have the right to point them out to you. So, here goes.
The Accounts Payable report, again, has very little information as to what we are writing the check for. Although the fire department has significant expenses, no one ever reports that the majority of the companies that are paid are all owned by the same master corporation. Further, the fire department, according to city hall, has their own account. So, why do some checks get written from their account and some from the city master? And how come electronic transfers and fire department checks do not have the mayor's countersignature even though the charter requires it? Some would refer to this as an authorized use of funds. Mayor Heisler knows he doesn't sign the transactions, but as long as his job is made easy, then he's good with whatever goes on.
Again, we get to pay the city attorney an enormous amount for the little time provided. Just for fun, I added up the number of hours they work for us. In just the one month, it was a whopping 20.6 hours, at a cost of $4,604.00. If you just figure straight averages, not taking out for the billing of the lower employee rates, it comes to $223.50 an hour. If that were a full time job, we are paying the city attorney $464, 880.00 a year. Now while some may feel Andy is quite brilliant (though that thought is lost on me), that seems quite high. As a comparison, the city attorney for McMinnville tops out at $116,506.00 ($56.00 an hour). Even the top attorney in Portland only makes $183,851 ($88.38 an hour) at their top scale. The council says they will get to a more cost effective conversation about the attorney services. But, it still hasn't made an agenda.
Speaking of whatever goes on:
Regarding the minutes of the Executive Session of 11/7/2009, it will be interesting to see if the meeting minutes are accepted as they are written. Because after personally observing the discrepancies, there are some real concerns regarding what is being presented to the council to approve. Lets see who has the courage to stand up for what is legal, as the investigation is already underway at the state level. What I want to know is did someone tell Trena to create the lie or did she do it on her own. Did someone tell her to 'fail' to press the record button? No matter – if the council approves them without the changes, it is on them to account for it.
The council is getting ready to pass the ordinance making an odd / even watering requirement all year. Is someone watering in the middle of December really an issue? And the city was responsible for approving the green lawn requirements to begin with when they required it in the homeowner association rules. Another stab at generating more revenue I suppose. All of this being done because the person responsible for running our public works can't tell us how much water we get down to each year. It's a hunch, he says. Even I was able to find out how much water we use., every year for many, many years (let me know if you want the link). And the historical data tells us that rainfall goes in cycles. Right now, we are on an upswing. I guess passing an ordinance regulating use is so much easier than actually addressing the long term problem.
The council is going to vote on making Trena the City Administrator Pro-Tem for the 1-1/2 weeks that we won't have one. Wouldn't it be nifty, if we are going to keep giving Trena all this responsibility, that she actually had a contract to be working with the city? According to her, she doesn't. And, as of yet, no one can locate the resolution even stating that her position was authorized by the council. It appears it just opened up, like a great hole. And she was planted it in. I suppose one thought no one would notice. And, besides, it saved that pesky public notification of a position opening.
And why is the council considering extending Diane's contract even further? To include a holiday when city hall is closed at no less. Are we providing compensation for Don Leard and Lotis Hanks for their testimony in the sewer plant lawsuit debacle? If so, let's pay Diane what they are getting paid. If not, then let's wait and see if the judge even needs her presence.
Come to the council meeting, or get a copy of the video from us. Stay informed, even if you don't have time (or for some, the patience) to be directly involved. Tell your neighbors to pay attention. We are on a cusp of change in Lafayette. Because, with the new year, people will be able to begin to cut the chaff from the wheat and find out who is really in charge.
During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.
As usual, you have been BCC'd on this message. If you no longer wish to receive mailings, please let me know and I will remove you. If you have received this through a forward, and want to receive it directly, please let me know and I will add you.
Emailed on November 19,2009
Lafayette City Council Meeting Highlights 11/18/2009
All members of the council were present. Staff member Diane Rinks was there. There were about 13 audience members as well.
Mayor Heisler opened the meeting. He then began discussing background information advising of the status of the process of hiring of the new administrator, D Justin Boone. After he was caught up, he then proceeded to begin reading a series of emails that had been going between council over the last few days. Although there was nothing especially potent in what he read, you got the feeling he was leaving out the most damaging remarks. I think this because several councilors began squirming in their seats, not sure what he was going to say. I don't know what the concern is, all their emails, even between each other, are public record.
The meeting had been called at the request of Councilor Dean Rhodes. Mayor Heisler tried to turn the reins over to him so that he would have the chance to voice his concerns. Dean wasn't having that. He then turned things over to his expert, Diane Rinks.
Diane advised after reviewing the contract (that had already been received and preliminarily approved by Mr. Boone), she had some concerns. Concerns that the attorney didn't seem to have a problem with. So, she revamped several parts of it. She then began her usual tirade, in that voice she uses to explain to the councilors how truly stupid everyone else is.
The council then began going over each change to decide if it stayed or went. The one change most important to you? Diane and Councilor Rhodes wanted to offer 240 hours of PTO, not the 120 that Mr. Boone agreed to. The compromise? 160 hours a year of PTO. There were a few other minor changes. Now, the contract goes back to the attorney for review. If they approve, then it goes back to Mr. Boone for his re-approval and signature. Whew! It's almost over.
Some other interesting points regarding our new City Administrator. Mr. Justin Boone comes from Burns. He used to be the City Manager there. For personal reasons, he resigned. He then began to work at the boy's school in Burns, owned by a member of the Burns City Council. He has a wife, 1 child, with a baby expected in December. His start date is 1/4/2010 if he agrees to the changes. He has already secured housing in Lafayette. So, he gets to drink our water and pay the bill too. Hopefully, someone will tell him to install a water filter system.
We will be paying him $68,000.00 a year, with a 3-1/2% pay increase each year upon a favorable review. The contract has a two year term limit, but this one will go to July, 2012 to compensate for the mid year hiring. All the usual government bennies are included.
My personal observation: This council has chosen to handle this entire process with the same secrecy that Diane was hired in. It created a huge amount of distrust then, and Diane's attitude continued that feeling. Hopefully, with a large change in the way information is made available in the future, there will not be a repeat in that history. Although, if things continue as they have been, I see no hope of success for our new administrator if he succumbs to, and our councilors continue, business as usual.
On a bigger picture note: Councilor Nick Harris has promised to contact us immediately in the future when meetings are called so we can notify people. He has also promised us a copy of the revised contract if he receives it. Let's hope that pans out. It would be huge step in the direction of the mission. The copy of the contract we got last night, and the city did make the old one available for all, will be at our website by the end of the weekend.
We are in the process of uploading the videos of the meetings to the website and hope to have these available soon. If you would like it in DVD format, at no charge, please let me know and we will get it to you. Sometimes the sound quality isn't that great, but we keep trying. As soon as we win that lottery prize, we will have it all at top quality.
As usual, you have been BCC'd on this message. If you no longer wish to receive mailings, please let me know and I will remove you. If you have received this through a forward, and want to receive it directly, please let me know and I will add you.
Wisdom is knowing what to do next; virtue is doing it.
~David Star Jordan, The Philosophy of Despair
Emailed on November 17,2009
SPECIAL MEETING OF
LAFAYETTE CITY COUNCIL
NOVEMBER 18, 2009 6:00 P.M.
Lo, and behold.
The council has made a decision of who they will hire and have, seemingly, worked out all the details of the new city administrator employment.
The council is meeting Wednesday, 11/18/2009 at 6:00 pm at City Hall to APPROVE the contract. Notice the approve, not discuss and approve.
But, better be there early. On 11/7/2009, they started the council meeting wayyyy before the legally posted time.
It appears we do not have a say in what is in the contract. It is only up to us to pay for it. And how does approving a contract call for a special meeting? Did they not know they were going to hire someone? Oh wait. Most every contract approval the city does is in a special meeting. Even when a contract has been out to bid for a month.
Did we get this great information from the city website?
No. Because as we found out during Jaime's absence, no one else knows how to do her job while she is out. But, wait, she was there at 5:10 tonight when I got to city hall to check the board. So how is that possible that it wasn't posted on the website?
Did we get this great information from the council – in keeping with their promises to keep the citizens notified of meetings?
No. I got this from having to go to City Hall every single day after work to go and look at the posting board at city hall.
Do we have an agenda to show you?
No. But we have this great picture of it. See It Here. And without paying $10.00 to get the agenda, that is all we will ever have.
Do we have a copy of the contract to be approved?
No. And chances are, given the council's history, there won't be any for the public attendees at the meeting to view either. Eventually, we will. We have all the current administrator's contracts.
So, here's hoping this contract has (which the last one didn't):
An expiration date
A reasonable amount of vacation time (not the 8 weeks the current one has)
A clause for citizen's being part of the annual review process
Performance based wage increases
Termination for violations of the law
That it doesn't say that no matter how poorly they perform, we still have to give a generous severance package
That they do have to get approval, and keep track of, their time off
Hope to see you there.
Here's to a new year and positive aspirations.