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Gullible, desperate or studiously obtuse

Democratizing economic development will allow an informed electorate to decide on the future of the county rather than leaving it to a small band of myopic potentates.


In recent decades the same people and the very same organizations now promoting the Jordan Cove LNG terminal have promised the citizens of Coos County literally thousands of jobs. None of these promises were kept, unfortunately, but were always made as part of a marketing campaign associated with any one of dozens of taxpayer funded or subsidized economic development boondoggles. In every case, the local paper acting in its role as the publicity arm of the Port of Coos Bay and the Bay Area Chamber of Commerce would publish quotes from self professed authorities expounding upon what our local economy needs.

Again and again, the schemes failed. (Read The JOB Messiahs). From the Crosline Ferry, to the T-Dock, to imaginary container terminals all the way to ORC and, one could argue, the Coos Bay Rail Link none have shown a positive return to the taxpayer. Still the likes of Frank Martin, Jeff Bishop, John Sweet, Jon Barton, Timm Slater, Ron Opitz and Jason Smith were granted a legitimacy by the media simply by virtue of an appointed position or employment in an established company. Never were any of these promoters held accountable for these failures.

The county owned and publicly funded 12″ gas pipeline was enthusiastically promoted by the Bay Area Chamber of Commerce, the now defunct FONSI (Friends of New and Sustainable Industry), the Port of Coos Bay and SCDC (South Coast Development Council). The pipeline was promised to be a “game changer” and will bring “2,900 jobs” to Coos County. ECONorthwest, the same “independent” consulting firm used by Jordan Cove and SCDC to justify the new terminal claimed the pipeline “…project will have the direct impact of adding $4,262,200 in income to Coos County… It will boost output in Coos County by $18,679,600 and support the equivalent of over 162 jobs for local residents.” Again, sadly, none of these predictions even came close but that doesn’t stop pro-gas boosters from using the firm to bolster present claims.

Not that all observers of the parade of economic development follies have conveniently forgotten the failed promises and the names of those making the promises but why do the media continue to buy these same pitches from the same pitchmen? Are we gullible, desperate or, as demonstrated by some commenters, is it a studied obtuseness that allows the county to fall victim again and again?

Recently I attended a meeting of property owners in the path of the proposed 36″ Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline in Douglas County. Reactions to having their homes and livelihoods stripped from them using eminent domain to benefit a Canadian company were heartfelt and extreme. One woman declared her willingness to lay down in front of the bulldozers if she had to while another man said if the construction crews crossed his land against his wishes there would be nothing left to do “but shoot ’em.”

The Coos County Right to a Sustainable Energy Future Ordinance seeks to “democratize” economic development by allowing an informed electorate to determine the county’s future, rather than the same small miserable band of potentates. Passing this ordinance will throw the Jordan Cove debate into an entirely different arena.

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About magix

When my oldest son, a Marine, left for war and crossed the border from Kuwait into Iraq in March 2003 I started writing my conscience. After two tours that young combat veteran’s mother is now an ardent peace activist and advocate for social, environmental and economic justice. MGx has matured since those early vents and ramblings and now covers relevant and important local and regional matters in addition to national and global affairs.


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29 Responses to "Gullible, desperate or studiously obtuse"

  1. the reminder  January 10, 2015 at 7:36 AM

    I was reading my email this morning and like many others I received this email from Sen. Merkleys office. Here’s the spam from his office and you can read my response at the bottom.

    This week, I had the privilege of being sworn in to serve Oregon for a new term in the U.S. Senate. As I look ahead to the challenges and opportunities of the next six years, I wanted to let you know directly from me what my priorities will be.
    I came to the Senate to fight for our middle class, and growing and strengthening America’s middle class will continue to be my top priority.The work ahead won’t always be easy, but our goals are clear:
    We must create good, living-wage jobs that grow the middle class and provide a solid foundation for our families.
    We must take on the soaring cost of college and ensure that each and every American is able to get a high-quality, affordable education, from pre-K to college and beyond.
    We need to fight back against efforts to privatize or dismantle Social Security and Medicare, and pursue policies that will provide greater retirement security for all Americans.
    And we must continue the fight to reform what is so broken in Washington, D.C. and to make America work for working Americans.

    Dear Senator Merkley,
    I expect non-specific rhetoric from the current crop of democrats. Its what’s missing from those specifics that has myself concerned about Oregon’s future. You wrote that your first priority is jobs. The type of jobs your party has been promoting in Coos County has mostly centered around building the Jordan Cove LNG plant and the associated pacific connector pipeline. You have been vague about this project if you even mention it at all. I know where all our other elected democrats stand on this issue and I suspect your standing right behind the rest of them. The democrats own this fiasco in the making, they have been busy making the state legislature fit the project. The republicans also support this LNG plan to use Oregon as a conduit for the fossil fuel industry, all for some temporary jobs and promises of tax windfalls, which in our case has already been re-purposed for a non-profit to disperse where they see fit. By the way the newly formed non-profit is entirely made up of JCEP supporters. This is being seen locally as a way to use tax dollars to payoff the projects supporters. Again this is all being done by and with the democrats leadership. Since you neglected to mention this project or climate change in your list of priorities I will assume you are one of the co-conspirators helping the FF industry work the political channels on behalf of Veresen to make Jordan Cove a reality. Your silence on this issue speaks volumns. We have seen DeFazio use that tactic but its not working any more and Wyden used it until the unions forced him to openly support the project. I have moved on to the Pacific Green party and I am encouraging as many people as I can to do the same. The elected democrats have decided that the people of Oregon deserve less protection for our environment and the needs of foreign corporate shareholders out weigh the safety of the public they are suppose to be serving in Oregon. I will continue to read what your office sends to me if you choose to keep me on your mailing list but you do not have my support for the reasons I listed.

  2. the reminder  January 9, 2015 at 9:11 PM

    Mark is always telling us to elect more democrats if we want to see real change. The democrats are losing more seats and they don’t see why. Its because people have lost faith in the democrats. They are practiced at giving lip service to social issues but the majority of them act like republicans by supporting the interests of the corporate world over the interest and safety of humanity. This is especially true of our local representation. Its true that you can watch fox news and understand how the tea party grew as a revolt of the republican party that was eventually hijacked by the same corporate interests they were rebelling against. The democrats aren’t as fortunate as the republicans were to have a revolt that stayed under the party umbrella. The democrats are just leaving and that is letting the republicans win. Mark can’t see it but this is a good thing for the nation. The democrats are losing and it will force them to change direction and do a 180 or cease to exist. The nation is figuring out that they don’t need two republican parties. Does it matter if the democrats loose more elections, yes, it does. The more republicans show who they are representing the more the democrats will have to take the other tack, if they want to survive. For the rest of us were getting the same energy policy and government representation from both of them. So am I afraid to see what the republicans will bring, hell no, it will clarify things for the masses.

    • MarkM  January 10, 2015 at 10:16 AM

      uh TR, Democrats are actually gaining seats in Oregon. But carry on. You’re not one to let the facts get in the way of a good story.

      • the reminder  January 10, 2015 at 1:30 PM

        Most people could comprehend that the above statement was referring to the whole country except where I included this line. “This is especially true of our local representation”

        I’m sorry it went over your head. I will try to include more defining breaks in my future posts so you can “maybe” understand what it said.

        Your always harping for people to elect more democrats to fix this area’s problems. How can they do that when all of our locally elected officials at the state level are already democrats. You must tell us sometime how we can increase on 100%.

  3. the reminder  January 9, 2015 at 7:59 PM

    I hope a lot of democrats are reading this stuff, they need to understand where their party is heading and Mark is showing all of you where your party is at. These democrats he represents are rejecting climate science, public safety and public need because they have been lobbied by people with large bank accounts. They aren’t going to change, the money is too strong of an influence for them to resist, there is no going back, no turning or changing direction is allowed.
    The Coos County democrats at one time drafted a resolution against JCEP and then they got Mark at the head of their table and he pushed the party in the opposite direction, so far that he tried to slip through a party endorsement of the project as soon as he got the spot. It failed and as far as I know he has never got it passed and the party suffers to this day under his leadership. I see no indication that anything will change in the near future. So if you know any democrats that are fed up tell them to check out the pacific green party, its where all the former democrats are re-assembling.

  4. the reminder  January 9, 2015 at 6:07 PM

    MarkM wants us to fill in the blanks for him on how to go forward without JC.
    You will have a hard time accepting what many of us have been saying from the beginning, in fact I know you won’t, but try to consider what the simple option of not building JC could do.
    1. We wouldn’t scare off retirees, professionals or forward thinking business people.
    2. We could beat the snot out of our neighbors up the coast for recreational opportunities.
    3. We could let our economy take a natural course of growth based on 1 & 2.
    This area was very ripe for this before JC came to town and then it all changed with their arrival and we’ve been in a permanent slump because of the battle this community has been waging over JC. Who in their right mind,(besides FF promoters) would move here with this thing unsettled?
    There’s a way forward to fund civic projects and public infrastructure projects that is being ignored, its what Eisenhower did to build the US interstate system. We already have the templates, we just need to update them for tomorrow…the day after JC goes away.

    The “right private money” will start arriving when we get rid of the threat Mark is promoting.

    • MarkM  January 9, 2015 at 6:37 PM

      1. No one is being “scared off” from retiring or working or investing in Coos County because of the JCEP, certainly not in any number that significantly alters the economic equation. In other words, I wouldn’t expect a great influx of people and investment to Coos County the day after the JCEP is denied. That didn’t happen in the 80s or the 90s or the 2000s or the 2010s. It’s not gonna happen now. The opposite is actually the case. We’ll see more people and investment come to Coos County if the JCEP is approved.
      2. We could do this already regardless of the JCEP happening or not. We are in some respects.
      3. Why didn’t that happen from 1979 to 2005? Our “permanent slump” precedes any talk of JC.

      There’s no secret to funding infrastructure like Eisenhower did. You just have to elect people to Congress who will vote for it. Republicans want no part of it. That’s why they did away with earmarks. Eisenhower had a whole bunch of Democrats helping him out. The last infrastructure spending we’ve seen in this country was because a Democratic majority voted for it. This has nothing to do with JC. We just need more Democrats in Washington.

      • the reminder  January 9, 2015 at 7:15 PM

        “Your” democrats, the ones you admire, the ones you promote sure as hell haven’t been acting or talking like they have even heard of Eisenhower, quite the contrary they, like you, believe JC is the answer. These local democrats you espouse are posers. They have been better republicans than Gordon Smith was. They are bought and owned by the FF industry and they have been for many years, that’s no secret.
        What’s happened in the past has you blinded, or you just like to use the past woes this area has suffered to convince yourself and as many others as you can that you are on the right path.
        I do know people that have moved here without knowing that the democrats have sold the future of this area to the LNG industry and none of them were happy about it.
        You can’t seem to envision any future without LNG. That’s sad that your afflicted with so much lack of vision for the area without JC in the picture. You couldn’t even consider a path forward without it.. Where will you chase your FF dreamworld next when JC finally goes away? It will be hard for you to find another location in Oregon where you will be welcomed.

    • magix  January 9, 2015 at 7:48 PM

      You will appreciate this very timely article, Reminder

  5. the reminder  January 8, 2015 at 9:31 AM

    I want to give MarkM one little victory here at this Eco-enviro-site that he has been tasked to bring down. He has always said that there is no political will to move forward with our economy unless or until we concede to the will of the FF industry. That is the only way forward these democrats he represents can see. I do see that we finally agree on something.

    • magix  January 8, 2015 at 9:48 AM

      I think we can all agree that Mark is in the camp of those willing to take any risk and make any sacrifice in the name of “jobs”

      • MarkM  January 9, 2015 at 2:08 PM

        You all can agree on whatever you like, but that doesn’t make it true. I’m not suggesting anything of the sort. I think Coos County should pursue all kinds of jobs that are safe and make sense. You’ve yet to prove that the JCEP is not in that camp.

        More lives are lost and injuries sustained in logging and fishing each year than in the shipping of NG. Do you think we should not be engaged in those risky endeavors just because of “jobs”?

    • MarkM  January 9, 2015 at 2:02 PM

      No, not at all. There is plenty of political will to move forward on multiple economic fronts. That will has been demonstrated repeatedly for years. What is lacking is private investment and a market economy. The JCEP is bringing both. Are there other proposals you know of that are offering private investment? Tell us what they are and we can pursue them. If you can come up with a better idea we won’t need FF jobs. Right now they are the only ones on the table. As I’ve said, it’s not “Jordan Cove OR . . .” It’s Jordan Cove AND . . . .” The question is AND what? You won’t or can’t fill in that blank.

  6. MarkM  January 8, 2015 at 7:46 AM

    TR, jobs from the JCEP are not mutually exclusive with infrastructure or green jobs. We can do both and we should do both. I’ve made this point before. There is no money for infrastructure jobs. The last money we had was in President Obama’s Recovery Act. Democrats have proposed more numerous times, and Republicans have blocked them every time. Republicans won’t even act to raise gas taxes to fix our roads and bridges. Maybe that will change in this session, but I’m not holding my breath. Our local politicians do not have the power to wave a magic wand and rain down infrastructure money, despite your opinion of them. Do you know of a source of infrastructure money? Please, share.

    Green jobs HAVE been pursued here. Very few work out. Not many green companies come to town wanting to invest money to build facilities and hire people. Every time one does raise its head though it gets nothing but encouragement from our local officials. Again, do you know of some green jobs that want to come to Coos County? Please! Share. If you want to take a “Build it and they will come” posture, then you run counter to the very the message of the JOB Messiahs that Mary is warning about.

    Don’t forget the subtitle of that tome — How government destroys our prosperity and our freedoms to “create jobs.” The idea here is to let the marketplace work its magic. If a company wants to come here, our an entrepreneur wants to open a business, who are we to say “No.” Government should lay low and stay out. Obviously I don’t hold to that notion, but I’ve always found it ironic that Mary has built this delicate alliance with Wim. As Wim has stated elsewhere, circumstances can often make for strange bedfellows.

    It’s easy to mark the failures of government, but it’s easier to take its successes for granted. Where would Coos County be without the McCullough Bridge, or SOCC, our water systems, our public schools, our library system, and yes the CBRL and the airport. These are all pieces of infrastructure that contribute positively to our economy in ways we easily overlook.

    Regardless, you argue that the only way to prevent the JCEP job from happening is to not build the JCEP. I would agree with your circular argument ridiculous as it is only because its converse proves my point. These jobs are real. They are the only jobs currently on the table. They do not preclude other economic opportunities. And Coos County needs them. Desperately.

    • the reminder  January 8, 2015 at 8:47 AM

      Your argument that we should do both is not true. You just don’t want to see any path forward for Oregon that does not include shipping fracked gas overseas period.
      Wim is right , Mary is right, Mark is wrong on everything he says except one thing. He’s right about the republicrats and the demopublicans not having the political will to change course. Oregon and the rest of the US will be stuck in this limbo state until they are both ousted from office.
      Here are some things you can do to speed up our recovery and save Oregon for the next generation of stewards.
      1. Register with the pacific Green Party.
      2. Vote green
      3. Don’t believe the hype from these FF shills.

      • Themguys  January 8, 2015 at 12:35 PM

        Thank you Wim,Reminder,Mary and all of you thoughtful posters. I will insert this link so all can see, Marks’ party is rotten from top to bottom, it’s not just here in Coos Co. These fools are here because of The Peter Principle only. I’ve never in my life seen local pols. with such utter disregard for the truth, and no regard for their own failed history. I am including this link to show your readers exactly what the dimocrat party is. It is nothing, absolutely nothing. They tried to beat the tea party at their own game, and have lost their base in doing so. We won’t come back, we can clearly see the remains of a once proud institution. Shameful that people like Mark continue to to flop around trying to be taken seriously. MPOO, as always.

        • Themguys  January 8, 2015 at 2:36 PM

          A couple fine comments from the above article:

          “are they still wondering why they got their ass handed to them in the last election? consider their disingenuous, sniveling policy antics for a clue.People are sick of this behavior and more heads will roll as reform initiatives pick up steam.”

          Jesus, when the people we depend upon to at least defend some basic principles sell us down the fucking river it is perilously close to pitchfork time.

          And the sad thing is, these democrats wasted no time in showing their treachery. Second or third day of the convening of the new session of Congress, and they’re engaging in this bullshyt. They don’t even pretend anymore.

          My guess says all those young people crying at the fence of the White House the night their “hope and change guy” was elected now know what the dim. party did to their votes. They will join third parties too, they saw first hand how truthful the entire dim. party has become, liars from the top down. MPOO. But Mark will blame the voters = again- for not showing up. BS..

        • MarkM  January 9, 2015 at 2:10 PM

          Hey Kay, here’s a news flash for you: In the last election Democrats won supermajorities in both legislative state houses. They also did very well in Coos County.

    • Themguys  January 8, 2015 at 12:42 PM

      “yes the CBRL and the airport. These are all pieces of infrastructure that contribute positively to our economy in ways we easily overlook.”

      Care to tell us how the airport and the railroad who swallow hundreds of MILLIONS of those “infrastructure” dollars every few years has given We The Taxpayers a return on our investment? I’m so happy to hear that Mark, got figures for us? Finally, a return on our investment, I hadn’t known that before. Where do I find those facts you are spewing around Mark? Where is the profit analysis which was done ? Where are those profit figures hiding? HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS Mark. And what is the return to the taxpayers of a railroad which takes four days round trip to Roseburg, and ten MPH limits. Who is making the profit, and where is it?

  7. MarkM  January 7, 2015 at 7:37 PM

    Forgive my obtuseness, but I’m not sure what your point is. Are you saying that the JCEP will provide no jobs in Coos County? You have stated elsewhere that the terminal will permanently employ 145 people, plus five more along the pipeline. That’s right. The JCEP will also fund 54 jobs in both the public and private sector. Is that not correct? What about the 2500 construction jobs over a three year period? Are those not real jobs?

    Now you can dispute the projections of 400 indirect and 200 induced jobs in Coos County by the presence of this $7.5 billion project (the largest in Oregon’s history) and the continued operation of the plant. Perhaps you think those numbers are too high? OK fine. What’s a better number in your studied opinion? It’s surely not zero. You don’t bring this amount of economic activity into an area and not create some “ripple-effect” jobs.

    So with this post are you saying that the JCEP will not bring ANY jobs to Coos County? Or just fewer than what they project? Even if the number is lower, it will surely be worthwhile since the project is not costing a single Coos County taxpayer a penny.

    What exactly are Coos County citizens gullible to believe?

    • the reminder  January 7, 2015 at 8:54 PM

      I’ll try to help you out Mark, you asked, “What exactly are Coos County citizens gullible to believe?”
      You answered your own question when you wrote, “The project is not costing a single Coos County taxpayer a penny”.

      You just had your last two statements in the wrong order. You do not seem able to comprehend that the public has been funding these groups that are sponsoring JCEP, and making payroll for all the public employees that have been working behind the scenes to bring us JCEP, like Arnie, Joanne, Caddy and all the rest of the port staff that have been getting paid with tax dollars.
      You’ve got to quit trying to act like tax dollars aren’t getting spent on this project. It just makes you look more obtuse.

      • magix  January 7, 2015 at 9:31 PM

        Don’t forget that the public are being forced to risk 400 streams and waterways, give up private property, sacrifice clean air and to trade jobs in renewable industries like timber and fishing for fossil fuel jobs

        • MarkM  January 7, 2015 at 10:49 PM

          Are you suggesting that Coos County will be sacrificing upwards of 800 timber and fishing jobs because of the JCEP? Coming from someone who wants logging shut down in the Elliot, I’d like to see how you figure that.

          I don’t think a single timber job will be lost. Although a sliver of timber LAND will be forfeited, there is plenty more to supply a sustainable yield. The number of logging jobs in Coos County is dependent upon a number of economic and political factors; JC or the pipeline is not one of them.

          The fishing industry will be no more effected by JCEP traffic than it was in the 70s when 350 ships made annual calls to Coos Bay. As with the timber industry, fishing jobs will be determined by other factors like the number of fish in the sea, economics, and politics, not the JCEP.

          Your other points are immaterial to the gist of your post. You are insinuating that since job projections of the past were wrong, the JCEP projections must be wrong too. So which projection is wrong? The 150 permanent jobs? The 2500 construction jobs? The 54 JCEP-funded jobs? The 400 indirect jobs? Or the 200 induced jobs?

          Granted, that’s a lot of jobs. Which ones are we gullible to believe exist?

          • the reminder  January 8, 2015 at 7:04 AM

            Wishing for those jobs like your doing does not make them exist, does it. you asked which ones are we gullible to believe exist?
            Right now, all of them. The plan is not a done deal, far from it. So at this time you are the only one coming here that acts gullible enough to think they already exist. The jobs your preaching for are in some dark future you want us to collectively make exist. So since there are no LNG jobs here today or in the near future, that makes you one of the gullible.
            We could start talking about all the many more jobs that we could have rebuilding and updating our infrastructure and building renewable energy sources, but then we would be looking at some future jobs that are just as “real” as the jobs you want us to pursue, but If we did that you would be calling us gullible, wouldn’t you, and if you pointed that out to us, that they don’t exist. You would be right! They don’t exist because our elected politicians are holding those jobs hostage until we build more FF infrastructure. Ten + years have been wasted by these demopublicans the people keep electing trying to move this FF project forward.
            Gullible is how I would describe all the people still believing this project has merit. Gullible is how I would describe all the people that can’t see that these local democrats are only working to give us an LNG future…
            The first infrastructure jobs that we will see from these democrats are the jobs needed to support the exporting of LNG.
            Oregon’s democrats have kept us in this political limbo for way too long. This has been hostage taking at the state level. These democrats Mark represents are saying if you people want jobs, this is all we’re going to offer until you break and submit.

    • Themguys  January 8, 2015 at 1:11 PM

      Let’s all enjoy watching Carlin whiz in the face of the posers like Mark who still think we’re going to fall for more fear-mongering,threats and voting for the lesser evil BS. It’s over Mark, it will take a while, but any thoughtful person with one ounce of compassion for his fellow traveler and future generations has already left that trail. Not another vote for a D or R, period. I don’t care how much further this beloved nation has to fall to rid itself of these posers. Take this Mark, you earned it.

  8. Themguys  January 7, 2015 at 12:22 PM

    Bravo Mary, just try getting this piece in The World. The voters will never know what is going on, because IF one names names in The World, they simply ban the writer. Until the writer “chooses to apologize” to the staff. Really World? This continues because they are allowed to do so. The public never hears the truth, nor the history behind these flim flam men and women. So they are rather cocky in their success I think. T^hey are our new Untouchables, here in Coos County. And it will continue until the pimps stop paying for full page ads. Seems this papers’ ‘leaders’, same as it ever was, spread their legs for money, sad but true. My personal opinion only, and my ten years of watching this go on over, and over. How much did We The People pay to pave the road for a private mining company again? Beaver Hill. No one has EVER been held accountable for any of these scams, and they just get bigger and bigger every year. That damned railroad is nothing but a steady stream of income for the fools laboring there. That is all it will ever be, and they know it. Shame on every one of these Ruby Red Slippered fools. And fools they are, they think themselves clever don’t they? They mock and show scorn at the very folks paying their wages, the working poor, here in Coos County. Their lips drip with it. I’ve lived long enough to know that Karma is a bitch, and when one knocks a fellow traveler to their knees for profit, you won’t get out of this life without paying for it. Harming another for your profit will be remembered. That is a fact. Thank you M for all you are doing. Now, let’s move to The World Site, and read recipes and school news. You won’t find anything of value there, unless you clip the damned coupons. It’s all they got to sell now. MOO.

  9. evil terlinchamp  January 7, 2015 at 8:21 AM

    An old saying ” Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” Collective Coos county shame anyone? Are there any people here who really think independent of what is marketed to them. Thank you Mary

  10. West Wind  January 7, 2015 at 5:34 AM

    Absolutely! Right On Sister!


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