Good Evening SOS!
Great Meeting Tuesday!
“I have been driven many times to my knees,” Lincoln said, “by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go. My own wisdom, and that of all about me, seemed insufficient for the day.”
I chose this quote from Abraham Lincoln, because I can only imagine the burden and stress he must have felt as he guided our country through the Civil War. I am amazed that the daily death counts alone did not drive him mad. While I am not the President or a leader in any sense of a title, I do stand next to you in our efforts to make this place we call home safe for our children. I can’t help but feel as if we are having our own little private “Civil War” in Josephine County. Sometimes when I pick up the newspaper and read the incessant attacks by people who care less about the overall welfare of our home and more about extending their egos, I am dismayed. Especially when the people who are trying to lead are constantly criticized by those who have no record or intent of anything positive for our common good, except to attract attention to themselves and demonstrate, at least for a moment, that they have some semblance of wit.
Some of you, as of recent, people who I respect, who have donated colossal amounts of time towards our Mission: “A citizen-voiced plan to provide for a secure, stable and sustainable Josephine County,” tell me that they are done with this fight. I understand. Why anyone would choose to continue on a road which seems so insurmountable, which is routinely criticized by people who would rather remain in our current state of decay and decline and negate any efforts of stability… I understand. Some of you can and shall leave Josephine County. We are not growing unless you consider the latest transient population count. However, we have made great strides. People are looking at you—at us, for a solution.
Let me ask of you for one last concentrated effort, where we focus our energies and really define what we are working with. Let’s learn about everyone in Josephine County. I suspect it is going to take us some time to define what we have. I am not suggesting years—but months. Once we really define what we have, let’s seek one another’s counsel and determine if it is really worth it to push on. Let’s do this for your kids, for mine and for the ones that have no light, no HOPE to run to.
“The philosophy of the school room in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next.”
I reviewed with the group how I attended ODOT/NHTSA sponsored Drug Recognition Evaluation Conference in Portland this week and was happy to learn that deaths involving motor vehicle fatalities hit a low in Oregon not seen since the 1940s:
Fantastic! Oregon Department of Transportation Safety Division Administrator Troy Costales was the Key Note Speaker. He attributed the decrease in motor vehicle traffic fatalities to be directly related to efforts by law enforcement on the roadways, one of the reasons why ODOT participates in numerous law enforcement grants for highway safety overtime. That’s great!
I went on-line to examine the stats:
ODOT reports 317 traffic deaths in 2013
By Associated Press
Published: January 15, 2014, 9:59 AM
PORTLAND — Preliminary numbers for 2013 from the Oregon Department of Transportation show 317 traffic fatalities last year in the state.
The Oregonian reports that’s down 6 percent from the year before and matches 2010 as the lowest number since 1943.
Bicyclist deaths dropped from 10 in 2012 to five last year. Portland saw zero bike deaths.
The number of motorcyclists killed in traffic dropped from 48 to 33. Pedestrian deaths declined from 60 to 54.
Oregon began tracking traffic deaths in 1936. In 1943, with war-time gas rationing, there were 233 traffic deaths. The worst year was 1972 with 737 deaths on Oregon roads.
I took notice that the numbers provided to me by ODOT and the AP article above were slightly different. Some of the difference is due, I learned, in part to data entry methods and when data is collected from reporting agencies.
Again, ODOT actively works to make our highways safer. They actively support law enforcement agencies with grants to pay for law enforcement to increase highway safety.
Here is an example of their efforts, which I copied from their site www.oregon.gov/ODOT :
Oregon’s safety belt overtime enforcement program is a statewide selective traffic enforcement program (STEP) that seeks to reduce the number of motor vehicle-related deaths and injuries by increasing public awareness of laws regarding the three most prevalent factors contributing to traffic crash injuries: safety restraint use, speed, and impaired drivers. The “Three Flags Campaign”, as initiated, derived its name from a demonstration effort between Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia which lasted from 1993 – 2004. In 1999, the Oregon State Sheriffs Association, Oregon Association Chiefs of Police and Oregon State Police Headquarters assumed daily grant management and active promotion of the program. Today, while ODOT’s Transportation Safety Division continues to coordinate a federally-funded overtime “STEP” in cooperation with these entities, most Oregon law enforcement agencies enforce safety belt laws year-round as a matter of routine.
Over one hundred city, county and state police agencies will utilize safety belt overtime during three two-week “blitz” periods during FY2013. ODOT’s Transportation Safety Division provides scheduling and instructional materials to participating agencies prior to each blitz. Participating agencies are asked to conduct local belt use surveys and public awareness/media activities during the weeks prior to and following each blitz. Observed belt use rates, number of enforcement contacts, and public information activities reported by each agency measure Campaign success. Officers are encouraged to acquire advanced specialized training in correct use of child safety systems, and to nurture community awareness of traffic safety issues generally.
Statewide crash fatality and injury rates have dropped 54% and 24% respectively since passage of the adult belt law in 1990. The law, combined with active enforcement, has resulted in a 2013 Oregon belt use rate of 98% for all occupants, placing Oregon among the top two belt-use states in the U.S. This compares to a 2012 nationwide average rate of 86% among all states.
During the last previous grant year, $467,595 in federal safety belt overtime expenditure brought 54,419 total enforcement contacts and paid officers to assist at child seat checks and other local educational events. Total overtime contacts were as follows: 4,770 safety belt, 218 child seat, 3,859 speeding, 132 DUII, 1,072 suspensions, 249 felonies, and 29,604 other violations. To put these efforts and expenditures into perspective, consider that safety belts are 45-65% effective in preventing fatalities and that the average combined societal costs of one traffic death were estimated to be $1,090,000 (National Safety Council, 2002.)
Of course, to get grants such as these, you have to have available law enforcement to work the grant… The Grants Pass Department of Public Safety (GPDPS) and the Oregon State Police (OSP) locally take advantage of this opportunity.
I was interested to see how “we”—-Josephine County faired, with respect the motor vehicle crash fatalities and what impact the lack of law enforcement meant, not forgetting we still have minimal assistance from OSP and two Josephine County Sheriff Deputies.
First, I simply asked Erin Mateja-Smith prior to our meeting, to simply divide 312 by 36 (number of counties in Oregon). She arrived at “8.7”. I realize you simply cannot do that but thought it might give us an idea of how we compare.
Next, I went on-line to attempt to study data for 2013. I learned that Oregon’s crash fatality statistics for 2013 still appear to be incomplete as data will continue to be reviewed and coded over the next few months. However, preliminary information indicates that fatal crashes went down after 2012. For example, Marion County had nine fatal crashes in 2013 and Polk County had four, preliminary statistics said.
I was able to go to the link below for 2012:
If you go to page 249, you can read specifics relating to Josephine County: Fatal Crashes for 2012 was 18. That appeared to be a 38% increase from 2011, when 13 fatalities were reported. Wow… Something about statistics though, you have to study them. Even more concerning to me was the number of motor vehicle crashes with major injuries: 2011=24 and 2012=51. That appeared to me to be an increase of 53%?
Additionally, I located a study provided to me by Josephine County Public Health Director Diane Hoover, called the County Health Rankings and Road Maps www.countyhealthrankings.org .
Take a moment to study this. If you go on-line, you are able to manipulate the site and compare different counties. I chose several of our neighbors and Multnomah County. This is information this study produced for 2013:
|Oregon||Josephine (JO)x||Jackson (JA)x||Douglas (DO)x||Curry (CU)x||Multnomah (MU)x||Klamath (KL)x|
|Length of Life||29||10||22||31||14||30|
|Quality of Life||25||18||32||6||19||33|
|Poor or fair health||14%||18%||14%||21%||15%||13%||18%|
|Poor physical health days||3.7||4.3||3.7||4.9||3.6||3.5||4.8|
|Poor mental health days||3.2||4.0||3.7||3.6||2.8||3.3||3.7|
|Motor vehicle crash death rate||12||23||14||21||22||7||19|
|Sexually transmitted infections||322||220||257||235||98||450||274|
|Teen birth rate||33||36||37||40||30||34||48|
|Primary care physicians||1,134:1||1,236:1||1,094:1||1,516:1||1,596:1||819:1||1,206:1|
|Preventable hospital stays||43||43||44||48||45||42||36|
|Social & Economic Factors||29||22||25||26||17||30|
|High school graduation||68%||68%||67%||67%||66%||63%||61%|
|Children in poverty||23%||32%||27%||28%||26%||26%||31%|
|Inadequate social support||16%||19%||17%||16%||19%||17%||13%|
|Children in single-parent households||30%||30%||33%||32%||41%||32%||33%|
|Violent crime rate||257||144||253||110||171||526||251|
|Daily fine particulate matter||9.1||9.5||9.2||8.8||9.5||10.1||9.0|
|Drinking water safety||3%||0%||0%||0%||0%||0%||1%|
|Access to recreational facilities||12||11||12||11||18||11||11|
|Limited access to healthy foods||5%||6%||5%||11%||5%||4%||13%|
|Fast food restaurants||43%||40%||44%||44%||25%||39%||43%|
When we think of the Criminal Justice System and Law Enforcement keeping our community safe, we sometimes forget the component it serves with respect to the safety of our roadways. Police on the road impact roadway safety. I am using Roadway and Highway synonymously. There definitely appears to be a connection between law enforcement—or lack of—and highway safety, by highway, I am referring to all of our roadways within Josephine County.
One last thought. I doubt if our reporting ability with respect to crashes improved with the decimation of our Criminal Justice System, namely the Sheriff’s Office. I don’t believe that the proper reporting of crashes to ODOT, aside from fatalities (I hope), take/took much of a priority, meaning that the situation, without proper reporting, is actually probably worse. How do you think insurance companies will eventually—if not already—respond to this?
Trust and Transparency Committee
- committee was moving forward on the external audit of our County
- they are going to have a member begin attending all of the County Business sessions
- meetings with all three County Commissioners have been planned
- Committee consist of: Laurie Norman, Steve Marshak, Scott Draper, Dale Matthews, Kristine Crewse, Gordon Edstrom, Shane Simon, David Smith, Mike Smith, Felita Short, and Kris Woodburn
- Join this committee, e-mail Grant @ email@example.com
If we expect our leaders to be transparent, should not we be the same?
“Character is what one does when no else is looking.”
If we are going to build trust and transparency in our Government, we got to give these people a fair chance to lead. I challenge every one of you to start sticking up publicly for these people when they are being treated unfairly.
Justice of the Peace Court
- 1990 the Josephine County Board of County Commissioners voted to approve a Justice of the Peace Court (JOP) which remains valid today
- Dave testified in the last legislative session on behalf of the JOP
- Every single JOP statewide is monetarily self-sufficient
- This court will not be established to gouge residents to support law enforcement
- Grants Pass might consider participating in this venture, for at least a 12 month period, which would help the County as a whole
- Grants Pass Mayor Darin Fowler recognized the need to hear this proposal further, as the City of Grants Pass potentially considers a Municipal Court, which would benefit the City but hurt any chances the County might have with a JOP; and in the long run, a City without County Sheriff patrols will still affect Grants Pass as GP is not an island
- One main issue is the ability for us to have a JOP with GP as the venue; currently, having the County Seat as a venue is not permitted, although there are eight counties where it is permitted
- Dave will need help with addressing our County Commissioners as well as the League of County Commissioners; their support is paramount
- Dave needs help, join this committee firstname.lastname@example.org
This just in from CLIFF:
My meeting in Portland with the Associated Realtors went well yesterday!
So, great news! If everyone will send in what remaining signatures they have gathered to this point tomorrow, we will have enough to give to the Secretary of State on Tuesday. Even if your petition page has only 1 or 2, please send them in tomorrow. If you want to drop them off instead, please take them to Remax at the top of town by noon.
I want to thank all who volunteered their time and energy in gathering signatures for what is now the second time. The initiative process is new to all of us, but at least we know what it takes if we ever do it again. Volunteerism is a sacrifice and I thank you all for yours.
The next step is to wait for the Secretary and Dept of Justice to do their thing and give us a good ballot title. I am hopeful to get it back by county fair season. We will then embark on collecting 117,000 valid signatures. Since this is a statewide initiative, it is going to take a statewide effort. I have made contacts throughout the state but still need more. If you know people throughout the state that would like to help in signature gathering over the next 2 years, please have them visit www.lotterylocalcontrol.com and sign up. If I could get 150 individuals or groups to collect 1,000 signatures each, we’d make it!
- Join this committee email@example.com
“Run for the Law”
Bill West has agreed to chair this Committee again for next year’s run with the same crew. They shall begin monthly meetings soon!
JOIN this Committee: e-mail Bill at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Deschutes Tax District Model
Vicki gave us an overview of the model and was assisted by Pat Fahey, which led us into some lively discussion about our future.
Pat Fahey and his team shall research the Deschutes Model further and see how we can possibly adjust it to fit us.
One thing we realized is that we need to get the community to “buy-in” and commit to our home, as it should. We decided that we needed an OUTREACH program.
The idea is currently as follows:
- Over the next few weeks, all of the 40 voting precincts in Josephine County will be targeted for two tours of contact
- We will then advertise/publicize at each location our desire to meet with all Josephine County residents who desire and collect their input/data regarding a series of questions, which will help us identify their needs/desires, such as: Do you feel that your current level of law enforcement is sufficient? As well as an open dialogue for solutions
- Data collected will be compared with voting behaviors of the past 3 levies/5 years
- We should end up with a well-informed portrait of Josephine County and better able to determine our collective solution; it may be that the majority of people are happy and we either stay or move
- This will take money, because we are going to use food, possibly, as an attraction—so we will commence with a few fundraisers; I am suggesting another POKER Night and a Christmas Time Talent Show?
- E-mail us directly if you want to join this planning effort/more to follow on this idea/plan this weekend!