The Curry Coastal Pilot

Curry County Commissioner George Rhodes wants to convert property in and around Cape Blanco Airport and Floras Lake into a world-class golf course or eco-tourism center with the help of a private investor, and without using county funds.

It's an ambitious endeavor, to say the least, and we are not against the idea of what Rhodes hopes to accomplish. We do have a problem with how he has gone about trying to make it happen andndash; quietly and without public input. Even his fellow commissioners, until recently, knew few details of his plan.

Rhodes has changed his tune lately, saying he wants to share more information about his proposal with the public. Sorry George, but it's too little, too late.

The rumor mill, operating in a vacuum devoid of information, has run its course and many citizens andndash; and local government officials andndash; are suspicious of any plan he might present. We don't blame them.

Rhode's last-minute decision to postpone his presentation to the Oregon Parks and Recreation Commission on July 20 didn't help matters, either.

The state commission was left to hear dozens of objections to the idea, leaving the impression andndash; and quite rightly andndash; that Rhodes is on a quixotic journey without any community support. It's unlikely the state board will approve any request under such circumstances.

Rhodes is a private businessman work ing in the public arena. The rules that apply in one world don't necessary work in the other.

In the business world, putting together ambitious, and often sensitive, land agreements often requires keeping public details to a minimum, so as not to sink the deal before serious negotiations and planning has started. Rhodes admitted to doing as much to the Curry Coastal Pilot, saying he was waiting until he was further along with any potential agreements with private interests before presenting it publicly.

That strategy doesn't work in the public arena.

When one is an elected official, early and full public disclosure of one's hopes, dreams and yes, potential land deals, is best. It's not a convenient way of doing business, and it often slows the process, but it's necessary if one is to gain the support and trust of the people who elected you.