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Sweet: “There is no plan B”

The county will "just shrivel up and rot"


The League of Women Voters held a discussion yesterday at the Coos Bay Fire Hall about the CEP (Community Enhancement Plan). It was more a promotion than a discussion, actually, because the only people presenting or taking questions were proponents of the plan. Commissioner John Sweet and Coos Bay City Councilwoman Jennifer Groth offered a primer about enterprise zones and when I arrived about 45 minutes late there was the familiar pie chart on the board showing the various allocations of what should public tax money. The South Coast Community Foundation will receive its 50%, 25% to the so-called waterfront improvement plan and the remainder divided between the actual taxing districts.

Roughly thirty people were in attendance and based upon the questions it is clear not all were in favor of either Jordan Cove or the CEP. One woman asked if the CEP work group had actually done an analysis of the actual economic impact of supporting the worker camps and the increase in traffic and crime. “Have you allocated enough funds to cover the city’s expenses?” Sweet explained the work group had not done an actual study but he was confident there would be enough money.

Others asked if the work group had looked at worst case scenarios. “What happens if Jordan Cove doesn’t happen,” asked one teacher. “Worse, what happens if Jordan Cove is built and then shuts down?”

“Are we going to be left with that eyesore and all the pollution,” asked another.

When Sweet replied that “there is no plan B” half the room gasped audibly. Sweet quickly retreated by assuring the crowd there is no need to plan because Jordan Cove was working on contracts with big Asian energy companies that “don’t go out of business” and are “not in China.” Sweet said he had complete confidence in Jordan Cove because they have already spent $200 million, (a drop in the bucket for oil and gas), and continue to spend $10 million each month so they are not likely to walk away.

Sweet then asked, “What pollution?” Mouths fell open.

If the company does walk away, or does not receive the required state and federal permits before the end of June 2016, the county will face a $2 million budget shortfall, according to Commissioner Bob Main. Sweet said that without a payment from Jordan Cove through the CEP the commission will have to “make drastic cuts in services” in this next budget cycle. While there is no firm agreement with Jordan Cove to make payments in lieu of taxes via the CEP, company spokesman Michael Hinrichs doesn’t expect a FERC approval before 2016 and there are other hurdles to cross.

Thanks to Sweet and Cribbins willingness to give part of the county’s share to the waterfront enhancement component of the CEP, even if Jordan Cove breaks ground in time to actually begin making payments, it will not be enough money to avoid layoffs at the county.

Mike Graybill was in attendance and asked if it might not be a good idea to avoid “external dependencies” to which Sweet replied, “we have to be dependent.” Without Jordan Cove “Coos County will shrivel up and rot!”

Coos County Assessor Steve Jansen, also in attendance, informed the crowd that the worker camp under the McCullough bridge will “cost almost $750 million” and taxes will be paid to the North Bend Urban Renewal Agency.

[Photo - Commissioner Cribbins Facebook page]

[Photo – Commissioner Cribbins Facebook page]

Meanwhile, the commissioners held their first strategic planning town hall meeting Friday in Bandon. Earlier this week I asked Cribbins via email for a copy of the strategic plan and she explained that, “We are not presenting and editing a final plan at this meeting, rather, we are seeking input from the public to add to the input the we have received from county employees, department heads, and elected officials.” Considering there is no plan B, this now makes sense.

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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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34 Responses to "Sweet: “There is no plan B”"

  1. magix  January 12, 2015 at 3:06 PM

    Stanford University professors are calling for divestment in fossil-fuels while our leaders are looking to go all in

    • Themguys  January 12, 2015 at 3:45 PM

      Didn’t Sweet make a statement last year in The World whereby he was pushing the timeline, and I paraphrase:

      “We want to get our hands on that free money, and get it into some ‘high-return’ investments”.

      Now I’m no college graduate like Mr. SweetPants is, but isn’t that insider speak for ‘high stakes
      gambling’ on the stock market?

      Correct me if I am wrong.

  2. Themguys  January 12, 2015 at 12:43 PM

    Bears repeating:

    “Those LNG-bullies that regularly post there have been getting free rein ever since theworld cancelled their online forum and decided to make you pay to comment on their stories.”

    Or they will ban you for naming names, and they will let you back in “if you apologize”,either way, The World is in their pocket, spread their legs like a two bit you know what, for a full page ad. So sad to see no honest newsmen left. I don’t know how to effect change without an open press. Or two or three. MPOO.

    So glad to see MM’s takedown, over and over again. Never tire of seeing his ass handed to him.

    It’s long overdue. The Fool literally swanned over that “freedom wind blowing across Egypt”, when he didn’t know who the hell he was talking about. And he wasn’t smart enough to understand what was really happening. As usual, he was dead wrong about that too.

    Nothing but a poser, trying to Be Somebody.

  3. the reminder  January 12, 2015 at 12:10 PM

    Rob Taylor is pro-LNG and he has been trying to tell the pro-LNG crowd and the rest of us , that getting rid of all the tax free zones will cure the county”s finance problems. He’s right, it would. That would send millions into the county coffers and out of the hands of these developers and their non-profits.
    That’s a change that will never be on the table as a plan B. Those redirected tax dollars supply the slush funds that keep these movers, shakers and their staff alive. That would be like giving them a knife and asking them to cut their own throats. They will watch the county go broke first.

  4. the reminder  January 12, 2015 at 11:34 AM

    I would like to give Wim some overdue credit for facing the lion’s den once again. He is doing more than his fair share to try to save the bay area from further damage. He was getting attacked in the comment section of his last story and he was left standing proud. Well done. His attackers had to finish up by telling him to grab-hold and pull on their rope or get out of the way, because they had nothing else to rebut him with.
    Those LNG-bullies that regularly post there have been getting free rein ever since theworld cancelled their online forum and decided to make you pay to comment on their stories. I gotta admit it tilted the comments table towards the pro-LNG side when the decision was made to make the other side pay to be abused in their paper.

  5. fred  January 12, 2015 at 9:37 AM

    MG, like one of my favorite lines from a Dirty Harry movie – I gots to know. Is MarkM that misinformed and that gullible or is it an act? The politicians of Coos County have had ten years to negotiate something meaningful with Jordan Cove. Now these unskilled negotiators attempt to get a legally enforceable agreement with JCEP from a position of weakness. After ten years, nothing covering the ever changing JCEP promises is in writing. Recent World paper articles discuss the needed JCEP (successor company) workers. The articles talk about the many apprentice jobs that will be filled. The articles assume that every employed electrician, welder, plumber, pipe fitter in Coos County will drop all and rush to JCEP. There will be many unhappy gullible locals who expect to walk up, announce their availability for work, and expect that promised $100,000 annual pay day. What an idiotic statement by our representative that the county will collapse without Jordan Cove. Braddock loved that one. Translated into localpoliticianspeak, hi Bob, it’s your old pal John here, oh please, may we grovel more. Do I read MarkM correctly? Because it is written, it is truth?

    • magix  January 12, 2015 at 12:23 PM

      Your guess is as good as mine. Sometimes I think Mark is just honing his deflection skills, or trying to anyway.
      As the budget process gets underway and talk of layoffs loom large in the media we might consider a new forum called “We told you so, Mark” 🙂

      • MarkM  January 12, 2015 at 3:02 PM

        You don’t have to tell me that the county is heading for layoffs. I don’t dispute that. No one does. What you could explain though is how exactly you propose to avoid them. What’s YOUR Plan B? Let the people vote, you say. OK sure. On what? FOR what?

    • the reminder  January 12, 2015 at 3:04 PM

      These comments could be his audition for a staff job further up the political ladder. Maybe in the state capitol working for Kitzhaber or who knows he might be able to slide all the way up to Mitch McConnell’s office. He would be a good fit for either one.
      If its not an act, then , well, uhh, hmmmm.

  6. magix  January 12, 2015 at 8:49 AM

    Thank goodness Sweet has a champion on MGx, otherwise his inadequacies might go unnoticed. Not the least of which is that now, while the county is in its strongest bargaining position, Sweet and Cribbins refuse to negotiate for the full 15.85 tax rate and are settling for 9. IF Jordan Cove happens and IF the county got the full tax rate under the CEP it might come pretty close to covering the $2 million shortfall. Strange behavior for two people elected to represent the “county”

  7. the reminder  January 12, 2015 at 7:57 AM

    This should be another eye opener for some. Now everyone can see by Sweets words and this democratic chairman’s defensive posts that we only have one party running things around here, it just goes by two different names. Sweet is from the chamber cabal and most of them are die hard republicans, so what he says is the rehearsed attitude of those Chamber of commerce republicans. Mark has either been tasked to defend Sweet or maybe he just has a crush on every JCEP promoter, no matter what party they belong. Mark has proved that bi-partisanship is alive and well in Coos County as long as it has anything to do with fossil fuel exports.
    No effort to show him reason with any argument will ever be successful, that’s OK, we already have learned that about him. He is still serving a useful purpose. He’s an example.

    • MarkM  January 12, 2015 at 8:26 AM

      LOL. Well TR, you’ve demonstrated once again that your go-to Plan B is to attack MarkM. Doesn’t solve anything or address any of the issues, but at least you’re consistent, I give you that.

      • the reminder  January 12, 2015 at 10:10 AM

        That wasn’t an attack, I was just giving advice or a warning depending on how you look at it, to any unsuspecting poster that may choose to tangle with you over JC, that its a waste of time to give you any education on this issue. You will just turn and twist their words to use as a club.
        Now if I said something like “that dip$#!+ is like a dog, once he grabs hold of you pant leg, you’ll have to kick him hard with your other one”. Now something like that could maybe be considered an attack.

  8. MarkM  January 12, 2015 at 7:18 AM

    When Commissioner Sweet asked, “What pollution?” causing mouths to fall open, maybe that’s because he has actually read the EIS while the eyes attached to those mouths have not.

    It says, “For all pollutants, the combined impacts at the points of highest concentration are well below the applicable NAAQS and the PSD increments. . . We conclude that there would be no significant impacts on regional air quality.”

    What pollution indeed.

  9. the reminder  January 11, 2015 at 6:48 PM

    Thank you Mary, for reporting this story. Its doubtful that it will ever appear in theworld. Although they have followed your reports in the past, especially when it seems controversial enough to create embarrassment for not reporting at all. I guess we’ll see if this qualifies over the next few days.

    • magix  January 11, 2015 at 11:03 PM

      Well, to be fair, I don’t believe The World had a reporter covering the meeting, not one that I saw anyway.

      • Themguys  January 12, 2015 at 3:50 PM

        Since when does The World need a reporter there? Stenographers write what they are told to write. We expect nothing better in the decade we’ve been here. Same as it ever was. MPOO.

        • magix  January 12, 2015 at 4:07 PM

          MPOO? MY PERSONAL OPINION ONLY I am guessing… Somehow it reminds me of Kipling’s “the great grey-green, greasy Limpopo River”… don’t ask me why

    • MarkM  January 12, 2015 at 7:28 AM

      What’s the “story” exactly?

      The county’s going broke? Old news.
      The JCEP is the best thing going for our local economy? Duh.
      There’s nothing else on the horizon even close to it? Yeah, hasn’t been for decades.

      If you learned something in this elementary discussion, you haven’t been paying close attention.

      I agree with Mike Graybill: it would be a good idea to avoid “external dependencies.” How would we do that exactly? Coos County has always been “externally dependent” either on San Francisco, Portland, or eastern timber companies. Nothing new about that.

  10. the reminder  January 11, 2015 at 6:32 PM

    Your right Mark. Sweet doesn’t want to find a plan B. There will be no plan B until JC dies. They are in too deep. The greed of men knows no limit. Thought you needed to be reminded of that.

  11. MarkM  January 11, 2015 at 5:28 PM

    If Commissioner Sweet wants to find a Plan B, he shouldn’t waste his time looking for it on MGx.

  12. the reminder  January 11, 2015 at 12:27 PM

    ” Without Jordan Cove “Coos County will shrivel up and rot!”
    If he had publicly said that before the last election I think we would have a different commissioner today. It would have shown the voters that he is an all or nothing person. Just the opposite of what a commissioner should be. Does anyone still have any doubt about his loyalty to Veresen and the SCDC bosses over the rest of the county’s inhabitants. Who will be rotting without Jordan Cove, all his buddies from his circle, that’s who. They have sunk all their dreams into this. He was put there by that faction to grease the path for JC and now the CEP. It feels criminal, doesn’t it.

  13. Rob Taylor  January 11, 2015 at 11:06 AM

    The meeting for the strategic plan is designed to direct people to give answers that makes it sound like they support projects like the CEP. It is fixed to have a predetermined outcome. It was funny their mission statement is “Success, Safety, and Health for the citizens of Coos County,” so they already failed on those three objectives……

    When you get a chance at the meeting to write your own answer, please put down that you do not want Urban Renewal or Enterprise Zones. That is the mechanism they have to use to fund the entire project.

  14. Jfiddle  January 11, 2015 at 10:06 AM

    Somehow, this display of certainty reminds me of some relatively new research showing how people can deceive themselves… called the Dunning-Kruger effect.–Kruger_effect “The Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias wherein unskilled individuals suffer from illusory superiority, mistakenly rating their ability much higher than is accurate. This bias is attributed to a metacognitive inability of the unskilled to recognize their ineptitude…” Our commissioners march blindly forward, “not knowing what they don’t know that they don’t know” but CERTAIN that they are superior experts in all things pertaining to Jordan Cove & the CEP.

    • magix  January 11, 2015 at 11:02 AM

      Aye, or it is also a studied incompetence born of self interest or some other hidden agenda. Sweet also suffers from group think as he only listens to a small select few who all share the same worm’s eye view of economic development

    • MarkM  January 11, 2015 at 4:53 PM

      Funny, some would say the very same thing about the anti-LNG crowd, like showing up 45 minutes late for a meeting and writing expertly about it.

      • West Wind  January 11, 2015 at 9:01 PM

        B Y O P (being your own parachute)


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