In September, we called for an honest debate surrounding Home Rule. The jury is still out on whether that’s been happening, but what has become evident is that this issue demands your attention and involvement.

At stake is a fundamental change of government at the county level, something that will affect every single Douglas County resident.

The News-Review Editorial Board has spent the past few weeks interviewing both critics and supporters of the proposed charter, and we’ve remained split on which side to take — but probably not for the reasons you’d think.

Overall, we believe the idea of moving to a charter-like system could be beneficial for the county. The right administrator could possibly help our county on both administrative and economic issues much like many of the local city managers have worked successfully in their municipalities — so long as a talented candidate can be wooed into the position.

We also believe that having five commissioners on the board that controls the fate of more than 106,000 residents, more than 5,000 square miles of diverse lands and a budget that is hemorrhaging cash, is better than a board of three — paid or unpaid. We also see the value in having three elected representatives make a quorum instead of two.

What we don’t believe is that the charter will sacrifice public safety, cripple the sheriff’s ability to do his or her job, or provide an avenue for the systematic oppression of your constitutional rights.

What makes us apprehensive is the fact that we still don’t know who wrote the charter. Supporters told us that it was a group of people who weren’t thrilled with how county government was being managed, but they couldn’t, or wouldn’t, give us a list of names.

We’re not even sure who wrote it, they said.

Which meant we weren’t able to ask why Clatsop County was chosen as the model instead of a charter from a county more similar to our own. It meant we couldn’t ask why the decision was made to take away the commissioners’ salaries, and we couldn’t ask why more public input wasn’t sought during the drafting process.

We asked those questions to supporters of the charter, and we got answers, but we’re not confident they were the right answers, because again, we don’t know whose idea this was.

At best, it’s hypocritical for a group to blast the current administration for its lack of transparency while withholding such information. At worst, it’s deceptive.

So here we are, after weeks of interviews, research and discussion, still hopelessly divided. Ultimately, if the idea of the charter is more appealing to you than the concept of supporting an initiative with an unknown author, vote for the charter. If you like how things are being run, or if the mystery of the unknown worries you, vote against the charter.

Because again, if you scrape away all of the political finger-pointing and baseless bickering by bureaucrats, all this decision boils down to is whether you feel a professional manager would help the county or whether the added level of bureaucracy would reduce transparency; whether you want your elected commissioners to work full or part time; and whether or not you like the idea of having commissioners represent specific districts within the county.

What’s most important is that you vote, because giving everyone else the opportunity to dictate how your county government will be run without your input is unconscionable.

 

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(12) comments

VStiles

Oh wait......"A budget that is hemorrhaging cash"!!

VStiles

If we are "hemorrhaging money", why are our libraries being closed???? Use that money to open the dang libraries!!!

S

Everyone loves a good conspiracy theory; however, there's no mystery here. It is obvious that a prominent member of the Republican Party, who simply cannot afford to break ranks, but wants to see the County turn itself around wrote it. It is not that hard to figure out.

Shame on you News Review you didn't just take their bait you swallowed it.

Bounder86

Voting No! The proposed charter is bad for business and bad for the Roseburg Community. We are not Clatsop County!!!

Mogie

Vote no and vote in the bullies who lie and threaten young women. That is the kind of leadership we want.

Crieghten

Voting yes.

smedleyb

Joanne Gordon is married to "Smedley B."

KTjones

So the news review feels that five parttime commissioners that could all 5 reside inside Roseburg city limits is better than three? Huh... I think there are many problems with this charter, the behind the closed doors writing of it and the hidden authors should be evendence enough that this is a shady deal, I am voting NO!

bbgurrl

PLEASE stop spreading your DISINFORMATION. What you speak of is district 3, which includes all the WARDS of the city of Roseburg. The areas outside of that are unincorporated area precincts called things like "SE of Roseburg" or "West of Roseburg." This does not mean that they are ROSEBURG proper. The unnicorporated precincts are places like Green and Winchester. While these areas have higher concentrations of population than the rural areas they are not Roseburg. Stop saying that all 5 will come from Roseburg, 1 will come from Roseburg and the other 4 will come from unincorporated areas like Green, rural areas, and the smaller incorporated cities outside of Roseburg.

Robert Heilman

Over the past thirty years here in Douglas County there have been several incidences of really bad things happening to people who take unpopular stands on political issues. Among those: A workplace threat of castration by a fellow worker; a note left on a car windshield asking "Who is watching your wife and children while you're at work?"; vandalism of homes and vehicles; loss of jobs followed by an inability to find employment and late-night-phone-call death threats. All of these have been reported in the News-Review at one time or another. I suspect this long history of harassment coupled with the current extreme anti-Home Rule campaign rhetoric might lead to reluctance to be publicly identified by those who started the Home Rule effort. It may be that these people are simply afraid and trying to protect their families.

bbgurrl

@Robert Heilman, this is exactly the reason people do not want to publicly identify with the Charter. I do speak publicly on Home Rule; and I have been the recipient of death threat E-mails, saying I should be shot and left somewhere no one will ever find me, that they will meet me with ammo. Also, I've been verbally harassed at the Court House by friends of the current commissioners, and had threats to my First Amendment right in our public parks, by other friends of the commissioners. When your County Government attempts to chill your constitutional rights, and uses dangerous divisive tactics that put a crosshair on your back in your neighborhood, that sicks your Sheriff and his department on you, it doesn't make anyone want to self-identify. We were SUED for even putting it on the ballot, who wants to stand up and be sued? Even the people I speak to who support this issue don't want our yard signs on their lawn because they are scared of blowback. I could go on about how scared people are of our "elected officials," and their friends.

smedleyb

Who wrote the charter? ME! and about 100 other citizens who are finally being listened to. No, I wasn't in the room when it was created. So, Thank you to Doug Hockett & Suzanne Hall who were willing to do the work to file the initiative.
Also, I agree 100% with Mr. Heilman's opinion. And the citizens who want change are once again being threatened with violence.

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