|Letters to the Editor published Saturday, May 22, 2010|
|May 22, 2010 06:00 am|
Time for Milliman to own up
On May 10 Oregon Secretary of State mailed the Final Order to City Manager Gary Milliman having to do with an election law violation complaint I filed way back in October 2008. Not surprisingly, the Order affirmed the initial finding: Mr. Milliman broke state law.
The violation was related to campaign propaganda that Mr. Milliman produced, at taxpayer expense, in order to promote a city ballot measure. Now after almost two years, justice has caught up with him and Mr. Milliman must pay his $175 fine.
But the justice is incomplete. Mr. Milliman not only broke state law, he did so at taxpayers’ expense. The costs of producing the illegal propaganda included staff time, printing and mailing approximately 3,000 pieces of mail.
Further, Mr. Milliman stands to lose more than his reputation and some chump change with this ruling. He could lose his job. Perhaps one of the reasons Mr. Milliman fought so vigorously against the Secretary’s ruling is related to his employment contract with the city. In that contract there is a provision that entitles Mr. Milliman to four months’ severance pay (more less $50K) in the event that the city council fires him. That provision becomes invalid if Mr. Milliman is fired as a consequence of violating a law. The Secretary’s Final Order affirms that Mr. Milliman broke state law, and the severance provision of the contract is thereby invalidated if the city council fires him for breaking this state law.
However, don’t count on the city council to hold Mr. Milliman accountable for his offense. After all, the councilors are on the record making excuses for this unlawful behavior.
Maybe Mr. Milliman himself will own up. “Those who violate this trust will be held accountable,” said Mr. Milliman in referring to an unlawful use of public money. (Pilot Jan. 2, 2010)
Unfortunately, I’m afraid it will be left to the citizens of Brookings to force the city council to mete out the justice Mr. Milliman has earned. I wish them luck.
former Brookings mayor
A mistake to close Social Security Bar
I think it would be a serious mistake to close Social Security Bar.
Why? First of all, when the landowners that live next to the river bought their homes, they knew that many people use the river for all sorts of recreation and that some of this recreation is noisy. But at the first sign of a small problem, the only solution is to restrict access.
Because of this restriction, a very few people will benefit but many people will lose over the course of the year. In a democratic society, the majority should rule.
My wife and I walk with our dog approximately three to four times a week nearly all year long and during this time, we have witnessed only one incident when someone was out of line.
The “walk-in” option that is being proposed is for young, healthy people and it discriminates against those of us who don’t get around as well as we used to or are disabled and cannot “walk in”. It is well known that the average age of the Brookings-Harbor population is older than the average community and so the “walk-in” option is simply not practical.
As far as law enforcement, I understand that both the county and the city are understaffed, but why not use people like the VIPSs (Volunteers in Police Service). I am sure there are people who use the river who would be willing to help out in this manner in order to keep access to the river open as well as making sure laws were obeyed.
Whether it is this idea or another one, there has to be a better solution to the problem than closing the drive-in access.
Also, since the property that the gate would be on is owned by the City of Brookings, I believe that the installation of a gate should be put before the voters
Help for high school golf teams
I am writing this to ask the public to help support the boys’ and girls’ high school golf teams.
With the school budget cuts, many programs and athletic teams are practically on their own financially. Travel and lodging for away games are two items they need help with.
The Salmon Run Mens Club with Salmon Run golf course is putting on a golf tournament July 9, 10 and 11 as a fund raiser for the two teams. One of the hole-in-one prizes is an all expense paid trip for two to the 2011 Masters Golf Tournament in Augusta, GA., worth $20,000. There will be many other prizes to be won on the course. Excellent tee prizes and registration on Friday, July 9, at Lucky 7 Casino with hors de oeuvres and a no host bar. A 50-50 drawing will take place on Friday night.
The kids were 2009 OSA 4A state champs. Let’s help them be 2010 champs too.
Understading what is causing the crisis
It does no good to cast blame on who is trashing the economy, but we must understand what is causing the crisis.
The “culprits” must stop and undo the damage they have done, and the drains must be plugged before we can start to rebuild and prosper again. You can keep going back in history to find a beginning, but the present economic crisis started with the Bush administration’s preemptive strike on Iraq.
President Bush started a war he didn’t know how to stop, and its effects are still spreading out to draw in every person on the planet. The war goes against the intent of the U.N. Charter and, in the eyes of the world, the U.S. is responsible for ending the crisis and rebuilding Iraq. There are four drains on the economy that must be plugged, starting with Iraq. The other three are: The California Community Property Law, where, following a divorce, businesses are sold to foreign investors, leaving the two people cash-rich, but business-poor. The government puts corporations over small businesses, which are the backbone of the economy. Corporate games, like outsourcing jobs and intellectual property, are oppressive to the people. Entrepreneurs can lose more than they invest, including their homes. The government attempts to make an international presence by sending foreign aid ... and even going to war.
We make our competitors our allies, rather than working with third world nations that have the resources that we need.
The beginnings of beautiful garden
It has been a trying time for locals since the ODOT Constitution Way project began last June.
For at least six months prior to actual work being started on Constitution Way members of the Brookings Harbor Garden Club were preparing for the loss of nearly one third of their Botanical Garden. Plants were dug up and potted in the hope of saving them for the “new garden.” Piles of gravel, river rocks, and mulch were taken by wheelbarrows to the other side of the garden for future use.
As the ODOT project began, many of the larger shrubs and trees which could not be saved were wiped out by bulldozers. Consequently truckloads of top soil will now be needed, as well as hundreds of new plants to replace what was bulldozed out.
The Garden Club will be holding their annual plant sale at the Grange Hall during Azalea Festival weekend. Funds from the sale go to the beautification of the area. Members are hoping for community support to help them make this entrance to Brookings a place that we can all be proud to show visitors, as well as a place for locals to just relax and enjoy the garden. ODOT has promised the club a paved parking area at the rear of the garden so everyone can stop and enjoy the progress.
As you see the garden today, minus all the big orange ODOT barriers, you will be pleased to see the start of a beautiful entranceway to our city.
Garden Club member
City manager hung them out to dry
I picked up a copy of the secretary of state’s final order regarding Mr. Milliman’s breaking state law.
The ruling is not only an example of how Milliman is failing to serve the public, it’s an example that he can’t even do justice to the people who work under him. First, he directed five employees to perform an unlawful activity. Some of them may not have even read the illegal campaign flyer. Then, when these employees were issued a violation notice, Mr. Milliman doubled down.
As if directing the unfortunate employees to perform an unlawful activity wasn’t bad enough, he then advised them that he would take care of them. If he had simply asked the secretary of state, Milliman would have learned that each of the employees should have requested her own hearing.
But it’s even worse than that. In total, for various reasons, the violation notice was issued on three separate occasions to all six employees. So, to the detriment of his employees, Mr. Milliman deluded his subordinates not once, not twice, but three times.
So here we are. Mr. Milliman had his opportunity for a fair hearing; he took care of himself to be sure. But four probably innocent city employees and one former city employee now have a permanent blot on their record, deprived of an opportunity for a fair hearing, because Mr. Milliman hung them out to dry.
Unjust sentence for embezzler
I just read the article about the thief of Woof's Dog Bakery (Pilot, May 19) and thought it would be just if she had been sentenced to one day in jail for every $100 embezzled.
That would be 210 days. That seems more like it. Forty days makes it sound like it was probably a decent risk for a thief. Now that’s unjust.
Unconstitutional acts of government
Two more letters have been printed concerning supposed unconstitutional acts of the current government.
Please note the following. Foreign aid has been going on since World War I, and has never been declared unconstitutional. The federal bailout of banks has not been declared unconstitutional and, whether you like it or not, it has worked and the federal government has been paid back.
Federally funded education has been around since the 1950s and has never been declared unconstitutional. Taking control of General Motors was not declared unconstitutional, and it worked – look at the company now. The federal reserve system has been around since 1913 without any constitutional problems.
Regarding health care, even Fox said that polls indicated that 87 percent of Americans wanted health care reform. And as far as ethanol and wind energy, we need badly to break our dependence on oil. Or are you one of those that says we should drill offshore no matter how many Gulf oil spills occur.
A second letter on the same subject said we should read Chief Justice Story’s Commentaries on the Constitution. Wonderful thought except that when he wrote it, slavery was still considered constitutional as well as exploited child labor, and women did not have the right to vote. Perhaps you believe we should go back to that time.
The trouble here is that most people who claim unconstitutional acts on the part of the government, have never read the Constitution.
Blathering is merely opinion
I arrived back in town on Thursday, after only a brief absence, to discover that President Obama had made numerous appointments to the Supreme Court and not only had I missed the confirmation hearings, but the new appointments were all local residents!
How else can I interpret the declarations, published by the Pilot, that this, that, and the other thing are unconstitutional?
I had always understood that, in the United States of America, any legislative act, be it local or national, was assumed to have met the standards of the Constitution until, and unless, either a lower court declared the act unconstitutional and the defendants chose not to appeal or the Supreme Court declared the act unconstitutional. Silly, perhaps, but that is how the United States' Constitution was framed by some of the finest legal minds of the 18th century in order to ensure union but still preserve slavery.
Until, and unless, the Supreme Court of the United States of America, declares this, that, or the other thing to be unconstitutional, the blathering published by The Pilot is merely opinion. And, I believe, we all know what opinions are like.