The World editors use the term "factions" in an editorial to represent groups of which I am no doubt a member
The Federalist Papers #10 published November 22, 1787, addresses how to guard against “factions”, the subject of paper #9. Founding father, James Madison defines faction as “…a number of citizens, whether amounting to a minority or majority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adverse to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community”. So when The World editors use the term “factions” in an editorial to represent groups of which I am no doubt a member, I am more than a little offended.
“While some factions see him as representative of the county’s established old guard,” writes the paper in its recent endorsement of John Sweet for Commissioner. “Mr. Sweet has endeavored to work with his fellow commissioners to portray an image of transparency and balance.”
Sweet isn’t merely perceived as a pawn of economic development and pro-gas “factions”, a look at his campaign contributions reads like a who’s who of moneyed special interests ranging from John Knutson, Sause Bros, the Coquille Tribe to DB Western to Southport Lumber. Sweet is fully funded by the old guard and, in fact, has raised more money for his campaign than he has revenue for the county.
As for Sweet’s efforts to “portray an image”, the paper could not have characterized him better. In fact, I chuckled and read that line twice. The editors are actually acknowledging the pervasive big smile theatrics Sweet inflicts upon the public. It’s stunning that the editors perceive subterfuge, the portrayal of an image, as an admirable quality in an elected leader.
Sweet along with Melissa Cribbins are always attempting to portray an image while doing the opposite or worse, doing nothing. Case in point, the so-called strategic planning that Cribbins campaigned on in 2012 and which is still in the jar of rocks, pebbles and sand phase after almost two years.
The best example, of course, is the CEP (Community Enhancement Plan) the supporters of which truly meet the definition of faction. Sweet reluctantly gave in to bylaw changes that would allow the public to attend meetings of the non-profit SCCF (South Coast Community Foundation) which, if Sweet has his way will be funded via property tax exemptions given to Jordan Cove LNG. The bylaws do not follow Oregon public meeting statutes to the letter, however, and deny the public access on investment decisions. So much for Sweet’s “image of transparency” and to make matters worse, it doesn’t comply with public records law at all. Without access to all the records, not only is the public left in the dark the paper cannot fulfill its role as watchdog. Still, The World shot itself in the foot and caved in to the CEP privatization scheme.
Based upon the reasoning offered in the paper’s endorsement Sweet is preferable because he is openly pro-gas whereas his opponent, Don Gurney, correctly believes that FERC, not the Coos County Commission, has authority over that matter.
Ironically, Madison believed factions were caused by “various and unequal distribution of property. Those who hold and those who are without property have ever formed distinct interests in society”. One could argue that Madison would view the CEP as factious and its proponents actions as a “adverse to the rights of other citizens”.
So which factions influence the publisher and editor? Sadly, not the Yahoo Populist faction…
Stay tuned for part 2