Who got hurt?
With two thirds of local recall campaigns finished it is time to access the winners and the losers and who was injured. First, there were no winners.
The minor injuries go to the River Keepers who exposed their ugly underbelly for all to see. This group went beyond singing to the choir; they went on a venomous assault. It is one thing to want to protect our water ways, but another thing to try upset politics of a county where generations of people have made their living on the river. Theirs was a campaign of vengeance because they know perfectly well that it is far too late to stop LNG development on the Columbia River. The River Keepers will probably now swim back up stream because of the futility, financial drain and relative ineffectiveness of their efforts here.
One with a major injury is the Daily Astorian. It is one thing print an editorial opposing something, but this news paper went far beyond editorial opposition. It constantly hammered away at issues making news were there wasn’t a story. The paper was accused of not printing letters from proponents of recall candidates or other related issues. The paper stated that they print 99.9% of all letters received, however many have come forward stating they don’t. Doing the math from the five people that told me their letters were never published, this would mean that the Daily Astorian had to have published nearly 500 letters in the last two months in order for them to exclude .01%. This paper has lost most if not all the credibility that it once had under the previous management of the publisher’s parents.
The next with major injuries is Ann Samuelson. I will agree that we have seen Ann shoot herself in the foot on more than one occasion. She has yet to learn that discretion is the better part of valor. Though she has been very passionate proactive in dealing with issues in the county that need to be dealt with, she has also been very reactive to things that spontaneously popped up. There were things that could have waited for a better time to address or not address after sleeping on them. Many of these things would have been better left alone. Ann can rebuild her political career. Being her loss was so close by only four votes tells me there are a lot of people that didn’t drink the poison that was passed out and can see deeper meaning to what she has achieved in the bigger picture outside of land use decisions. She is an advocate for mental health and when the power went out for weeks in her district last winter she got people from the rest of the county to lend generators to people in her district. She also got firewood for those in need. She has energy and the ability to motivate people. I'd be willing to bet that if the recount does not favor her; she could get her seat back if she ran for it again in May.
Finally the biggest injuries were inflicted upon we the citizens of Clatsop County. We not only had to foot the bill for this four-vote folly, but we got to live in an extremely toxic political environment that we’ve been living in since before the 4-123 campaign. One writer on the KAST forum says that one can’t help but think the recalls have a direct relation. When the dots are connected with the cast of characters this picture does come into view. Hopefully this will now be drawing to a close.
Another bit of collateral damage of Ann’s recall was the political across-the-aisle cooperation. Yes, the County Commission is supposed to be a non-partisan board, but party affiliation is hard to mask in the decision process. It makes us sick when we citizens see the partisanship in politics where lines are drawn in the sand with them on one side and us on the other. This mind set washes out all the good intention of any project. Ann was able to work with everyone as opposed to the other Democrat on the Board of Commissioners who seems to vote against things because the others are voting for it. Ann is Democrat, but the Democrat Party of Clatsop County shunned her for reaching across the aisle to get things done. Their narrow minded effort lost them some members and credibility. They need to be more inclusive than exclusive; however I doubt they will come to this conclusion with their present leadership. They shouldn’t be patting themselves on the back for this shallow victory of ousting one of their own.
The entire county has been wounded except for those that print signs and flyers, or collect advertising revenue, but they too have to live here and do business under a pall that covers our County. What business would possibly want to locate here with the toxic political and social environment as it presently stands? Maybe that is the underlying intent to keep business out and to guide the County back down the road of a bad economy where it has been so often in the past.
I recently heard a sound byte on the radio of one of the anti activists at a planning meeting where an entrepreneur was talking about building some stores on his land across from Fred Meyer. This activist said, "Just what we need, another strip mall." Need it or not, are you willing to put up a road block to someone legally pursuing their American Dream? Do you want to remove the liberty of free enterprise?
Yeah, back to nature is all well and good but the anti people fail to see that they are consumers too. In order to use a piece of toilet paper you have employed a land owner, a logger, a truck driver, mill workers, a buyer and a retailer, and you supported the infrastructure such as chain saw manufacturers, roads, factories, delivery trucks and retail stores. The market determines where there is an over saturation of these things.
Look if you want to save the salmon, stop eating them. If you want to save the trees, buy some land and plant some trees and don't cut them down. Stop buying poster board for your signs. If you don't want a strip mall somewhere buy the land from under the developer. Just quit whining.