Archive for the ‘Pat Farr’ Category

If Ballot Measure 91 passes and selling and using marijuana becomes legal in Oregon. by Pat Farr

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

 

Signing LCPOA 091714

BEFORE THE BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS OF LANE COUNTY, OREGON
ORDINANCE NO: 14-16
AN ORDINANCE ESTABLISHING A TAX ON THE SALE OF MARIJUANA
AND MARIJUANA-INFUSED PRODUCTS
IN LANE COUNTY (RELATING TO MEASURE 91)

WHEREAS, Lane County is a Home Rule Charter county with all powers which the constitutions, statutes and common law of the United States and this State expressly or impliedly grant or allow counties, as full as though its Charter specifically enumerated each of those powers, as well as all powers not inconsistent with the foregoing and, in addition thereto, shall possess all powers herinafter specifically granted…

…The amount of tax levied shall be 50% of the rate imposed by Measure 91, Section 33 or any clarifying legislation adopted by the Oregon Legislature taxing marijuana related items…

Passed by the Lane County Board of Commissioners on October 21,2014 with Stewart, Leiken, Bozievich and Farr as “aye,” Sorenson as “nay.”

See the full agenda item here, including full text of the passed ordinance.

 

Engage with Lane County. by Pat Farr

Friday, October 17th, 2014

 

Tell the County Commissioners what you think!  Here’s a way to let Pete Sorenson, Faye Stewart, Jay Bozievich, Sid Leiken and me know exactly what you think.  Without a three-minute time limit!  Engage with Lane County here.

Board of Lane County Commissioners, Faye Stewart, Pat Farr, Sid Leiken, Jay Bozievich and Pete Sorenson

Board of Lane County Commissioners, Faye Stewart, Pat Farr, Sid Leiken, Jay Bozievich and Pete Sorenson

Commissioners and County Administrator Steve Mokrohiski WILL READ WHAT YOU WRITE.  Some things to ponder:

  • Sick leave ordinances
  • Marijuana taxes
  • Strategic planning
  • Public safety
  • Health and Human Services
  • Land use
  • Roads and bridges
  • Parks
  • Animal Services
  • The economy and jobs

 

Please sign in and start writing…

 

People sound off about marijuana sales and taxes. By Pat Farr

Friday, October 10th, 2014

 

I am looking for input on the ballot question regarding legal selling of marijuana, and if it becomes legal for sale, should it be taxed (see Lane County’s draft ordinance here).  You can send me a message here.

Most responses are:  if it's legal to sell marijuana, then YES, tax it...

Most responses are: if it’s going to be legal to sell marijuana for “recreational” use, then YES, tax it…

 

Here are some of the early (unedited) responses I have received.  There will be more:

Well everything else is taxed, why shouldn’t marijuana be if it’s legalized? That’s not “looking for ways to penalize”. That is simply treating it equally like everything else.

Honestly, I think legalizing marijuana and taxing it makes sense to me.

Legal and taxed. Diversified revenue streams!

Yes pass it. Yes tax it. Yes control the distribution.

I don’t believe marijuana should be legal but if a majority of people disagree with me then I do believe it should be taxed.

I was having a conversation about this last night with folks, talking about the new job, where I’ll be working alone in the woods a lot…and we realized that since I’ll be in Washington, there’s probably much less chance of me walking into illegal marijuana grows than there has been here and in California. Which is something to think about, given the new data out about how much damage illegal grow sites do to salmon and other fisheries (water comes out of creeks, mud goes in — I can find the article if you’re curious).

I don’t use, myself, and have no interest in doing so, but it’s pretty clear marijuana prohibition hasn’t worked and that the consequences of the current illegal market are bad for our forests. That being the case, I think it makes sense to create a regulated legal market so we can reduce the damage being done by illegal operations.

Well by that argument clearly our prohibition on cocaine, crack, herion, pcp, LSD, and most definitely meth haven’t worked. Should we just legalize all of those too?

Yes, legalized and taxed.

I’m pretty sure nobody’s growing cocaine in the woods in Oregon. And as far as I can tell, the anti-meth measures in Oregon haven’t done anything but make it harder for me to buy effective cold medicine, so I’m not sure what I think about that

My feeling is that the mexican Cartels will suffer from one less trafficked substance across our border.

Legal yes. Taxed, but not so much that a black market is more affordable.

I just can’t even believe this is a question! I can’t support something that has been illegal, that we’ve lost so many police officers because of, so much heartache has been caused by and now it’s to be legal? Oh no, I can’t support this!

I really wanted to speak about this, but….realizing that this City ( which we share) will never be able to be in control of any illegalities and/or legalities. I’ve seen hardly any improvements from the day I moved to Eugene in general and this was 25 years ago. The whole thing is all about money and we, the Tax payers have to continue to bleed, one way or another!

Idaho anyone?

For sure!

NO, NO, NO, NO, NO. We are asking for nothing but trouble if we legalize this stuff

Want to clarify that I favor legalizing pot.

Pat, I normally don’t comment unless people ask so here goes. If the measure passes, every agency will look to this as a new untapped revenue source. There will be lots of reasons attached to the proposals about needed revenue for public safety and all the consequences. I believe some of this may be true, but my feeling is most officials are just looking for more money or a way to penalize the legalization of marijuana.

Well everything else is taxed, why shouldn’t marijuana be if it’s legalized? That’s not “looking for ways to penalize”. That is simply treating it equally like everything else.

.

An ordinance to tax recreational marijuana sales in Lane County. by Pat Farr

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014

 

Allow recreational marijuana sales and use in Oregon or not?  Tax recreational marijuana sales in Lane County or not?

Ballot measure 91 would allow for the sale and recreational use of marijuana products in Oregon.  Lane County ordinance 14-16 (draft) would tax it.

Ballot measure 91 would allow for the sale and recreational use of marijuana products in Oregon. Lane County ordinance 14-16 (draft) would tax it.

This morning, October 7 2014, Lane County”s Board of Commissioners passed a first reading and authorized a second reading and public hearing regarding taxing recreational marijuana sales in Lane County.

The motion that passed 4-1 (Bozievich, Leiken, Stewart and Farr, yes; Sorenson, no) was pertaining to this agenda item:

FIRST READING AND SETTING SECOND READING AND PUBLIC HEARING/ORDINANCE 14-16/ In the Matter of Establishing a Tax on the Sale of Marijuana and Marijuana-Infused Products in Lane County (Relating to Measure 91).

The public hearing has been set for October 21 at 1:30 pm in Harris Hall.  This gives the public an opportunity to weigh in on the upcoming decision by County Commissioners whether to tax marijuana sales in Lane County should Oregon Ballot Measure 91 pass on November 4 of this year.

The draft ordinance can be read here.

You can read about Oregon’s Ballot Measure 91 here.

Between now and October 21 you can let Commissioners know how you feel.  Send comments to me before October 20, 2014 and I will pass them along to the other commissioners via public email.  pat.farr@co.lane.or.us

There is a robust ongoing discussion regarding the social and budgetary impacts of the passage of such laws.  Stay tuned, and please weigh in.

 

Shall Lane County tax marijuana? by Pat Farr

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014

 

TAXING POT IN LANE COUNTY?  Let me know what you think:  pat.farr@co.lane.or.us 

There are public hearings and possible referral to a “second reading” regarding marijuana and marijuana-infused products taxation at the Board of County Commissioners meeting today, October 7 2014.

6.  COUNTY COUNSEL

  1.       FIRST READING AND SETTING SECOND READING AND PUBLIC HEARING/ORDINANCE 14-14/ In the Matter of Establishing a Tax on the Sale of Marijuana and       Marijuana-Infused Products in Lane County. (Second Reading and Public Hearing 10/27/14) (Stephen Dingle, County Counsel, Sara Chinske, Management Analyst) (estimated 20 minutes
  2.        FIRST READING AND SETTING SECOND READING AND PUBLIC HEARING/ORDINANCE 14-16/ In the Matter of Establishing a Tax on the Sale of Marijuana and Marijuana-Infused Products in Lane County (Relating to Measure 91).  (Stephen Dingle, County Counsel, Sara Chinske, Management Analyst) (estimated 20 minutes)

Second reading is where further deliberation and possible ordinance passage occurs.

Go here to see the full agenda and links to relating material.

Pat Farr, Chair,

Lane County

Board of Commissioners

Visit one of the most picturesque places in Oregon…Buford Park. by Pat Farr

Friday, September 26th, 2014

 

Visit Friends of Buford Park here...Then actually visit the park here

Mt. Pisgah and its associated park and preservation land are a regional gem...

Buford Park, Mt. Pisgah, Emerald Meadows and the associated park and preservation land are a regional gem…

Lane County will be conducting a prescribed ecological burn at the Howard Buford Recreation Area and the Nature Conservancy’s Willamette Confluence preserve on September 29 or 30, weather permitting. The ecological burn will help preserve and restore prairie and oak savanna habitat.

“Burning is a regular and natural part of the environment in these natural areas,” said Mike Russell, Lane County Parks manager. “We work closely with Lane Regional Air Pollution Authority and our River’s to Ridges partners throughout the area to make sure the burn is safe and will not disrupt the community.”

The ecological burn will be performed in the northwest corner of the park and include habitat on the Nature Conservancy’s Willamette Confluence property. Ecological burns are always dependent on weather. If postponed, an update will be provided to the community by notification to the media.

During the ecological burn, the following changes will be in place:

  • North trailhead and Trails 3 and 7 will be closed
  • Trail 17 from the west trailhead to trail 7 will remain open
  • Trail 3 south beyond the junction with trail 7 will remain open
  • The burn will not impact the west and east trailheads
  • Trails in the arboretum will not be affected
  • The west summit trail will remain open

Visitors to the park should be aware of possible smoky conditions and restricted access to the northwest portion of the park during implementation of the burn.

Lane County’s ecological burns are conducted in partnership with the Friends of Buford Park & Mt. Pisgah, the Nature Conservancy, and the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Why the County conducts ecological burning:

The ecological burn is being performed as a tool for the management of vegetation in the Spring Box Savanna to help re-establish historically native plant communities in these rare Willamette Valley habitats. The Willamette Valley was once dominated by savannas and prairies rich with diverse grass and wildflower species. This ecosystem requires regular disturbance like fire to maintain native species and to prevent conversion of open prairie to a closed woodland or forest. Historically, disturbance was provided through regular intentional burning by native people or ignition by lightning. Many of our native prairie plants, such as camas and the federally endangered Bradshaw’s lomatium, have evolved with fire for thousands of years and flourish after a site is burned.

Ecological burns in the park’s prairies accomplish several biological and fire safety goals including improved seed germination, removal of built up thatch, and short-term soil fertilization.  All of these factors help native, fire-dependent species thrive like the rare western Meadowlark, Oregon’s state bird, which nests in prairies (grasslands). In addition, controlled burns protect the open prairie structure, as well as reduce the future risks of wildfires to local residences through the removal of standing dead vegetation. The burns are also a training opportunity for the firefighting crews.

Commissioners’ Strategic Plan is moving forward. by Pat Farr

Tuesday, September 16th, 2014

 

A timeline is in place for continuing the development of and adopting a strategic plan for Lane County.  The process is remarkably similar to strategic plan development that I have participated in with Jerry’s Home Improvement Center, FOOD for Lane County, Oregon Food Bank and SELCO.

Board of Lane County Commissioners, Faye Stewart, Pat Farr, Sid Leiken, Jay Bozievich and Pete Sorenson

Board of Lane County Commissioners, Faye Stewart, Pat Farr, Sid Leiken, Jay Bozievich and Pete Sorenson

 

The Board of County Commissioners held its second public meeting on Strategic Planning last Wednesday September 10.  It followed a comprehensive initial meeting which had provided county administrator Steve Mokrohisky and county staff with Commissioners’ priorities for the upcoming plan.

A strategic plan should contain a clearly stated and universally understood mission or value statement and a small number of goal areas.  The goal areas should surround the organizational, operational and directional concerns of an organization and be crafted to remain constant throughout the life of the strategic plan.  The priorities should be supplemented with strategies to achieve the goals stated in the priorities and support the value mission.  Each strategy encompasses tactics which, unlike strategies, are flexible and dynamic and represent ongoing work plans and processes as well as respond to newly identified urgent and critical topics.

The Board is considering three “pillars” as the basis of the strategic plan. (You can see the draft strategic plan  here)  The proposed pillars or goal areas and accompanying strategies are:

1.  A Safe and Healthy County

2.  Vibrant Communities

3.  Infrastructure

Accompanying strategies for a Safe and Healthy County may include: Improve safety throughout our county; Improve the health of our communities; Ensure networks of integrated and effective services

For Vibrant Communities: Invest in a strong, diverse and sustainable economy; Support a vibrant natural environment

For infrastructure:  Maintain safe county-owned infrastructure, including roads, bridges, parks and buildings

The draft strategic plan lists some initial tactics beneath each of the accompanying strategies.

The next step will be an open house, to take place on Wednesday September 17 beginning with a regular board meeting at 5:00 pm in Harris Hall.   This will be an opportunity for open review of the draft plan.  Click here  to see the website containing the open house information.

 

Waterloo at 8th Avenue and Pearl Street? by Pat Farr

Thursday, July 17th, 2014

 

Wait a moment!  Do we really have to do this?

Wait a moment! Do we really have to do this?      (painting by William Holmes Sullivan)

To a casual observer it may seem evident that the City of Eugene’s government and that of Lane County have irreconcilable differences.  Such an observation is likely boosted by the current clash regarding the City of Eugene’s proposed sick leave ordinance.  The City has published a draft ordinance (click here, then select Council Bill 5125) that Lane County officials believe may be costly to the county’s weakened general fund budget.

So  Lane County Commissioners responded by drafting three ordinances (click here for Forum Lane links to the ordinances) that would intervene, ahead of the passage of the Eugene ordinance, to preclude the city from placing regulations on public bodies and private businesses in their human resource practices.

It seems like a battle is brewing, in fact may have already begun.  But it does not have to be so.  In the The Art of War, Sun Tzu says that the best way to win a battle is without fighting.  He also implies that, “Where the army is, prices are high; when prices rise the wealth of the people is exhausted…”

By fighting a battle on any front the City of Eugene and Lane County will exhaust both their resources and their credibility with the people they serve.

The Eugene City Council moved very quickly to its action point regarding passing a sick leave ordinance.  Little or no contact was made with other overlapping and adjacent jurisdictions to coordinate efforts or to work out compromise in a way that could result in no battle being fought. In seeming disregard for its stated desire for exhaustive public process and input the Council has ignored both.

The Council deadline, a work session and possible action set for July 21, caused a quickly crafted response from the county in order to fulfill its public hearing requirements before considering action prior to the Council’s work session.  Unlike the city, Lane County requires a 13-day period between first reading and passage of any ordinance, thus allowing for increased public input.  In order to pass any precluding ordinance prior to the city’s July 21 meeting, the County’s first reading had to take place on July 8.  County Commissioners were seizing the high ground in the upcoming battle, and the stakes are high.

This hasty back-and-forth action/reaction is not evidence of good government.   The city and the county must work together, today and for the future.  We have too many mutual concerns and overlapping duties to not do so.  We have too few resources to not consolidate all we have and serve in the best way possible.

The list of current and pressing issues that are being worked on together is long.  An abundance of issues are swirling that cannot be resolved without great coordination and great mutual respect.  The battle lines that are currently being drawn are dimming to the point of possibly extinguishing  the shoulder-to-shoulder efforts we are involved in.

Here are but a few current reasons that it is important to keep the city and the county on the highest level of working terms:

1.         Poverty and Homelessness Commission.  This newly-formed work group has replaced other separate committees to consolidate its efforts and resources to maximize available funds and staff.  This will further our needed ability to care for the working poor and the indigent in our community.  Four elected officials are a part of this group, including Mayor Kitty Piercy, Mayor Christine Lundberg, Representative Val Hoyle and me (chair of the Lane County Board of Commissioners).  There is no room for tension.

2.         Downtown Farmers’ Market.  It is widely considered to be an invaluable addition to Eugene’s downtown vitality to facilitate a year-round farmers’ market some place near the government center and the court house.  Conditions exist that will take great coordination between the city and the county if the market’s potential is to be realized.  There is no room for tension.

3.         Envision Eugene:  residential and industrial land use.  The city and county are currently working on a long-studied expansion of Eugene’s urban growth boundary.  This will require cooperation and coordination to add residential land and industrial land in the most appropriate places.  There is no room for tension.

Eugene and Lane County have a long list of other cooperative efforts that have been fostered and nurtured for years.  We work together on the Human Services Commission; Lane Area Commission on Transportation; the Metropolitan Policy Commission; Lane Council of Governments and a plethora of other committees, commissions and joint efforts that also have no room for tension.

Additionally, the City of Eugene is currently using part of Lane County’s Public Service Building and Harris Hall meeting chamber as a temporary city hall.  The contract is due for reinstatement and/or renegotiation.  There is no room for tension.

In short, the city and county have to work together starting now to resolve what could turn into a tense and nonproductive episode in our relationship.  The city should put the brakes on passage of its sick leave ordinance until details have been worked out in the actual language of the ordinance.  Details that more closely satisfy the needs (and wants) of staff, elected officials and most importantly the people we serve.

If the Eugene City Council can provide more time to answer outstanding questions, I have to believe that satisfactory resolutions can be achieved.

 

Lane County sets second reading on ordinances in response to Eugene’s impending “mandatory sick leave ordinance” passage. by Pat Farr

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

 

Lane County logo blue

Lane County’s Board of County Commissioners passed the first reading of three ordinances which were designed to respond to the fast-tracked forwarding and passage of the City of Eugene’s Council Bill 5125, an Ordinance Concerning Sick Leave (Click here for Eugene’s website, then click on Council Bill 5125).

Ordinance 14-04 (Click here for full text)  This ordinance, if passed, would exempt Lane County from any other local government’s attempt to change terms or conditions of employment for that jurisdiction.

Ordinance 14-05 (Click here for full text)  This ordinance, if passed, would do the same for any local government (cities, for instance) that are in Lane County.

Ordinance 14-06 (Click here for full text)  This ordinance, if passed, would exempt any employer with employees located in Lane County from the same.

What the first two would accomplish would be protecting either (14-04) Lane County government from mandates of Eugene’s sick leave ordinance or (14-04) any government body in Lane County (14-05) from the same.

Ordinance 14-06 would exempt “Any Employer That Has Employees Located in Lane County from Any Resolution, Ordinance, Rule or Regulation Adopted by Any Unit of Local Government That Mandates, Regulates, Orders, or Requires Any Terms or Conditions of Employment for Any Employer, Their Commissioners, Directors, Managers, Employees…Located in Lane County,” in effect rendering Eugene’s possible ordinance ineffective.

The Board has scheduled a second reading, public hearing, deliberation and possible action for 9 am on Monday July 21 2014.

I am anxious to hear comments.  Please forward any comments you may have to me at pat.farr@co.lane.or.us 

 

 

Sick leave for everyone? by Pat Farr

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014

Paid sick leave

I am going to make some assumptions about the way people operate, based upon the standards I would like to adhere to in my life:

1.            They have a job that they either love or need and they  want to do it the best that it can be done.

2.            They  care about the people they work with, around and for and do not want to cause them discomfort or place them at unnecessary risk.

3.            They  do not like to be ill.

Allowing for days off while sick should be a fundamental part of an employer’s terms of agreement with employees.

Clearly an ill staff member is not going to perform his or her duty in a manner to the standard their peers expect and need, that  their employer feels is needed for the work to be completed at standard, or significantly to the level that customers demand and deserve.

Just as clearly, the risk of infection spreading to the men women and children that an ill person comes into contact with is a risk that should not be taken.  To that same end, Lane County’s Community Health Improvement Plan calls for inoculation and vaccination levels to be increased to produce “herd immunity” and to prevent outbreak of communicable diseases.  Workers who are go to work while ill are directly opposed to the Health Improvement Plan’s basic tenets.

The first option for an ill worker, in order to avoid substandard work or potential wide spread health threat, is to stay home.  For all involved, that  is nearly always the preferred option—whether you are a coworker, employer or customer.

Ignoring these threats leaves a working poor person with a second choice that is not good.  In the case of workers who lose pay while staying home to prevent outbreak, substandard job performance or customer dissatisfaction the choice is untenable:  “Do I lose money from my paycheck or do I expose others to unacceptable risk?”

The choice might seem clear to those among us who do not rely on every penny earned to pay the rent, put gas in the car, buy antihistamines or feed our children.  Take home less pay and sacrifice something that we enjoy, perhaps, or something that is not necessary to meet our basic needs.  Stay home and get better at the same time making sure that we are not causing others we work around to be at risk or be unable to do our job the way we would like to do it.

Those among us who have work that covers our bills have many choices in our lives that we hold dear.  We can buy presents for our loved ones.  We can wear stylish clothing.  We can buy medication that keeps our noses from running.  We can go to the coast or up the river for a day or a weekend.  These are but a few areas we have choices in every day.

But I regularly think about those among us whose paycheck either does not cover the bills or just barely does so without allowing for choices such as an extra cup of coffee, dessert or a mini-vacation—the working poor.  There are thousands of people that you may see daily that suffer far beyond illness if they lose pay by missing work for illness.

I believe that there is an obligation to help the working poor who we live alongside, whose children attend school with our children.  The working poor, we should assume, would like to buy a new pair of shoes for their child, or not face eviction or have their electricity shut off, or want to make sure their kids don’t go through the day hungry during the summer when schools aren’t providing meals.  People who need to have a sense of security that they aren’t going to even further lower their standard of living by missing a day of work.

Employers should be encouraged to find a way to help themselves while fostering a level of security in daily needs that everybody in this country should have.

Immediately, I consider the potential abuse of paid sick leave that becomes possible.  The possibility of people staying home just because they didn’t get enough sleep.  Or staying home because they just don’t feel like working today.

But those risks are present even without paid sick leave.  Those are disciplinary issues that an employer should have a plan to deal with.  That is a symptom of a bad worker issue that becomes part of the standard disciplinary process.

I think about people who have worked for me and how well I have always wanted to care for them, by offering benefits beyond a paycheck.  By offering a productive and supportive work environment.  I think that I should not be told how to run my business.  Of course I shouldn’t be told how to run my business.  I should be able to operate my business in a way that is sustainable for me, my staff and my customers.

But then I also think that making certain that I am not placing myself at risk, or placing my staff or my customers at risk is the way I want to run my business.  I do not want employees who are sick jeopardizing their own health or others they work with.

That being said, the city of Eugene’s ordinance reaches too far the way it is written.  Relying on administrative rules to cover the stretch beyond the boundaries of the city’s jurisdiction is not a risk that Lane County should assume.  Jurisdictions operating on ever diminishing general fund dollars, using revenue streams produced by taxes, cannot afford for their expenses to be increased by other jurisdictions.  Such increases in expenses, however small, cannot be absorbed and therefore result in a reduction of services.

To that end, the Board of County Commissioners have a duty to protect and preserve its resources and cannot rely on speculative administrative rules of another jurisdiction for assurance.