As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

October 31, 2012

Everywhere I go people have the same question: Won't you be glad when the election is over? And they usually count down the days for me. I will definitely be glad. This has been a roller-coaster experience for me as I try to fend off my challenger, council president Mike Claassen, in the race for Bandon mayor.

I have spent quite a bit of money trying to answer some of Claassen's statements (including his "accomplishments" in a letter he sent to Bandon voters) and some people have found my ads to be negative.

I received an email from a woman who is new to the community. She doesn't know either of us, but she says she is inclined to vote for Mr. Claassen because of my negative ads. She was referring to the front-page ads in Coffee Break, which have addressed his NO vote on the Tillamook property lease. The lease paved the way for the City to purchase the property where a cheese factory is under construction. Another ad concerned the placement of his signs along the state highway right-of-way.

I suggested to her that she might want to read Mr. C's letter to the editor, which essentially took the "first shots" against me, and also advised her to watch the candidates' forum at Brewed Awakenings before she voted. She thanked me for my prompt reply and said she would do both. I haven't heard from her since.

Now I understand Mr. Claassen is saying that his signs are legally placed along the state right-of-way, even though he admitted that he had received the letter from ODOT, liked the location, had enough signs to replace them when the state removed them and would continue to do so since there was no "fine or penalty." I am not sure how he came up with the idea that his signs are now legal.

If you want to watch that forum, you can go on streaming video at Or you can watch it on public access channel (14) on Charter or if you have Comspan, it's on Channel 73. It will appear four times daily for a week, at 7:10 a.m. and p.m. and at 1:10 a.m. and p.m.

I've already talked to several people who have watched it and they were blown away by some of the things that were said.

It's worth the time to watch it.

If nothing else, it's entertaining ...

*           *           *

Some of you may have read about the Powers man, Mark Foss, who left Powers on Sept. 25 headed for Bridge where he'd recently purchased a piece of property. The press release that the Herald received in late October indicated that the Powers Police Department (as in Chief Rhett Davis) had conducted an investigation before he called in the sheriff's office Search and Rescue Team . . . 18 days later.

I'm sure there is more to this story than any of us know, but it's hard to figure out how a man could be missing for 18 days before the sheriff's office is called in to help look for him.

And then it was another nine days before a press release, complete with a picture of him and his van, was sent to the media seeking the public's help.

I'm not blaming any person or agency, but if I disappeared between Myrtle Point and Bandon on my way to work, I would pray to God that it wouldn't take 18 days before someone began really searching for me.

It's pretty obvious that if Mr. Foss went over the cliff somewhere along the maze of backroads between Powers and Bridge, he most certainly would not be alive after a month ... or even after 18 days.

I understand that they are still trying to find any trace of him or his van, but I just can't figure out why Search and Rescue wasn't called in a whole lot sooner..

*           *           *

Often times there is only one deputy on duty to cover the entire county, so I wondered how long it would take them to stop responding to residential alarms. More often than not, it is either a malfunction of the alarm or someone in the family sets it off. And to expect a deputy to respond is ridiculous.

The SO received a report shortly after 7 a.m. on Oct. 26 from ADT security company reporting an alarm sounding at a North Bend residence.

The response was simple: "No deputy available. No one to respond. Reporting party was notified we will not be sending anyone. Log for info only."

It's about time . . .

*           *           *

The posting of a tsunami warning strikes fear in the hearts of coastal residents, but when it's incorrect information, it makes it even more grievous.

My friend Amy Moss Strong emailed and called me shortly after 10 o'clock Saturday night a couple of hours after a 7.7 magnitude earthquake had hit the Queen Charlotte Islands area. The subject of her email pretty much said it all: "NOT ACCURATE! AP IS WRONG."

She called me (but I missed her call because I was in another room) because she was afraid that Matt might decide to set off the tsunami warning siren based on false information.

The National Weather Service's Tsunami Warning Center's alert had clearly indicated that they were merely advising the West Coast about the earthquake and possible tsunami; it was not a warning. But apparently someone from AP (Associated Press) didn't understand the NWS statement, and immediately put out that the "The National Weather Service has issued a warning for coastal areas of Southern Alaska, Northern California, Oregon and Washington."

Amy went so far as to contact AP to tell them that they had misread the information.

Shortly before midnight, Coos County Emergency Management sent out a press release saying that the tsunami advisory was still in effect for coastal waters from Florence to northern California. But they added: "This is an advisory only NOT A WARNING."

They also highlighted the fact that no widespread inundation was expected and that no evacuation was necessary.

Unfortunately, there were people in Bandon who were terrified that a tsunami was imminent, and I know of one elderly woman who went to bed fully clothed ... just in case.

Before any agency puts out information of such a sensitive nature, it needs to make every effort to make sure it's correct.

Thanks to Amy for going the "extra mile" to get it straightened out.

My friend Jason had spent the evening and much of the next day glued to the website that tracks earthquakes, and he said there were over 50 in that same area of the subduction zone.

Who knows what that means for the Cascadia Subduction Zone, which is very close to our shores, but it certainly is a cause for concern.

As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

October 24, 2012

It's hard to believe that year after year, the people who live in the University of Oregon neighborhood have to endure drunken brawls, students setting fire to furniture in the street and urinating in people's yards.

Now the City of Eugene has finally decided to seek tougher penalties for UO area parties. The question I have is: what took them so long?

But guess who is against the new legislation: the University of Oregon student government president, who would prefer the City didn't enact the proposal to "crack down on disruptive, alcohol-fueled parties."

Under the proposed rules, if problem parties continue at an address, the property owner might have to pay the cost of police response, which typically is about $864 per party, according to city officials.

It's called the social-host ordinance, and is a tool that the city needs "to improve accountability and to create some livability in our neighborhoods," said City Councilor Alan Zelenka, who represents the University area.

The council voted 5-1 to have a public hearing on the issue next month. The lone no vote came from the oldest member of the council, South Eugene Councilor Betty Taylor, who has a very formidable challenger for her council seat.

She feels the council should first hear from students and landlords before holding a public hearing. Hey, isn't that why you hold a hearing?

It doesn't take a rocket science to figure out that the students who are causing the majority of the problems and the landowners who rent to them probably aren't going to be in favor of such a law.

It's the people who live around the university that the council needs to listen to.

*           *           *

When you think things can't get worse . . . they generally do. We all know the problems, which occurred after Portland elected Sam Adams as mayor. Half the town wanted to recall him, but nobody seemed to want to lead the action so they just let him serve out his term.

Now two well-known Portland residents are battling for the job, but it may be hard to support either of them.

The Portland police and firefighters' union just pulled their endorsement from one of the mayoral candidates, Jefferson Smith. And they aren't willing to endorse the other candidate, Charlie Hales, either.

Smith has been criticized for his response to reports that he punched a woman at a party near the University of Oregon in 1993.

But it gets better: "His campaign had already been dogged by revelations that he was ejected from a sports league for rough play and had his driver's license suspended seven times."

I can only imagine what led up to his having his license suspended SEVEN times ... but I am sure it's not good.

I am sure many Portlanders are wondering if it's too late to start a write-in campaign for someone who might better represent them. But I'm not sure who that would be.

*           *           *

I will be so glad when the election is over ... not only my race but the President's race, as well.

The candidates for city council seats, including mayor, had two candidate forums in the past week, the first of which was sponsored by the Bandon Chamber of Commerce and the second by Esther Williams at Brewed Awakenings. Both were interesting, but the one Friday night revealed a lot more about the candidates' character ... particularly my opponent.

Each of us received a letter from the Oregon Department of Transportation about putting our signs in the right of way. They requested that we not put campaign signs in the ROW and said that the email was our only notification. So I was surprised to find my opponent's signs appear all over town in the right of way, including across from City Hall. Several of my supporters urged me to put up one of my signs across from City Hall, but I told them it was illegal and they weren't supposed to be there.

So at Friday night's campaign forum, someone from the audience asked my opponent why he kept putting signs up even after the state had removed them.

He assured the audience that he had gotten the letter from the state, but said he thought they were prime locations, and since he had a lot of signs, and there seemed to be no fine or penalty, he would continue to put them back up every time the state took them down. And then he said he was putting up "I Like Mike" signs on each of his big signs and planned to plaster the community with them. I quipped "Oh you mean the right of way likes you."

If ever any action defined my opponent's character, it was that. He is the one who voted against lessening the restrictions on signs for business owners, preferring that the city be as restrictive as possible. This from a guy who says his platform is economic development, but who does not support local businesses.

But the best one, and if I mentioned it last week, I'm sorry. He tries to say he is somehow responsible for bringing the cheese factory back to Bandon, and yet he voted against leasing the property from Tillamook, which ultimately paved the way for the purchase and the building of the cheese factory.

I brought that up at the forum Friday night and he said it was because he didn't want to take the property off the tax rolls. I responded by reminding him and the audience that for a scant $600 a year (in taxes to the city) he would have antagonized Tillamook and given up the chance to buy the property. For some reason, he had no response.

Although I know the City didn't pay for it, and can only assume that my opponent did, the guy that televises the council meetings televised Friday night's candidate forum and it will be on public access channels (14 for Charter and, I believe, 73 for Comspan) customers starting Friday. I can only say it would be well worth watching ....

*           *           *

I am always amused (or shocked) by what I read on the daily sheriff's log. Something strange occurred at milepost 2 on Highway 42S the night of Oct. 17. A man said that about midnight he was walking home from Bear Creek as he was very intoxicated. He had called his wife who was on the way to pick him up when a vehicle traveling east went by him and turned around stopping behind him. He said the lights were very bright and he could not see because the lights were in his eyes. He said the driver exited the vehicle and asked him what he was doing. The man said he was walking home. The subject then walked into the front of the headlights where the reporting party (man making the call) could see a scoped rifle. The man said: "what are you going to do shoot me now?" The subject stated he was protecting his property.

The reporting party said his wife arrived and the subject jumped into his vehicle and left traveling west. The reporting party's wife turned around and they found the car parked facing east on the top of a hill west of Bear Creek. His wife stopped the vehicle and the reporting party exited asking what the man was doing and the subject left eastbound.

The only description of the vehicle is that it was a square white sedan. He said the guy was male, about 5-10 and weighed 155-165 pounds. The reporting party wanted the sheriff's office to log the incident in case something else happened.

It sounds pretty strange, and like some of the other things I read on the log, I'd love to know the rest of the story ....

As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

October 17, 2012

I was surprised to see Mutters Gutters owner Paul Fisher in a wheelchair Sunday at the reception for the latest art show at Southern Coos Hospital. My guess was correct: he'd fallen off a roof.

Paul said he'd fallen from a two-story roof and, fortunately, he had landed on his feet. I guess you can consider it fortunate, even if you break both ankles and a number of bones in your feet, but considering the alternatives of how he could have landed, I guess it was fortunate.

My sisters and I had just been talking about people being seriously injured, paralyzed or killed from falling off a ladder, roof or the top of a motorhome.

Hope he gets better soon . . .

*           *           *

A friend and I were eating at the Pub at Bandon Dunes Saturday night, and I was watching the Yankee-Detroit game (rooting for the Yankees). The guys next to us groaned and asked me if I was from New York. I said no, just a Yankee fan. It seems that seven of the eight men at the table live in Michigan (Detroit to be exact) so it wasn't hard to see why they were Tiger fans. (I'm sure they're very happy with how the series is going).

But it was their comments about Bandon that warmed my heart. To a man, they said how well they'd been treated from the time they arrived at the airport in North Bend to everyone they'd met since then. They thought Bandon was a neat community and were so impressed by how friendly and helpful people had been to them.

Then I read the police report on Sunday and it contained information about a golfer from Alabama who had lost his wallet at Bandon Dunes. He called back and advised that he had found his wallet less $500 in cash. He was flying home to Alabama Sunday and planned to advise Bandon Dunes of the stolen cash.

That's a shame . . . .

*           *           *

I'm not sure who these people are, but whoever lives at 56509 Riverton Road (in the tiny community of Riverton between Coquille and Bandon) obviously has someone who doesn't like him.

The sheriff's log says the man's vehicle has been damaged several times in the last two weeks, and now his house has burned down and he wants to talk to a deputy.

I think I'd have called the police the first time my vehicle was damaged.

I hope to learn the rest of this story . . . .

*           *           *

People seem to be very confused about the two county governance issues that will appear on the Nov. 6 ballot and some say they will just vote "no" on both of them because they don't understand either.

I understand both of them very well, and the one that makes the most sense is Ballot Measure 6-144 (NOT 143).

The ARRRG proposal (143) would cripple county government and be extremely expensive. At the present time, the county is governed by a three-person board, each of whom makes about $65,000 a year, plus benefits. The proposal put forth by two Coquille women, Jaye Bell and Ronnie Herne of Fairview, would increase the number to five. That would mean salaries of about $325,000 a year.

You can get a top-notch manager for that amount of money. Plus, I understand that Bell and Herne spent more than $20,000 getting the measure on the ballot (including paid signature gatherers).

City government is the perfect model for what the county commissioners and the governance committee are putting forward with their ballot measure 6-144.

Their proposal would call for five elected officials, each of whom would be paid $1,000 a month; they would set the policy and work with the administrator.

Ballot measure 6-144 is a definite step in the right direction, and people are urged to remember that number when they mark their ballots.

Do not be confused by ARRRG's charter change. It is burdensome, expensive and ridiculous.

Voting no on both is not in the best interest of Coos County.

*           *           *

The first in a series of concerts hosted by St. John Episcopal Church is being held Sunday (Oct. 21) at 5 o'clock at the church, located on Franklin Avenue behind the high school. Featured musicians will be Cynthia Mohorko and her husband, Steve, of Coquille, Cynthia Leaf, Thomas Collins and Forrest Munger.

Forrest and Cynthia M. will sing three duets, and I am anxious to hear them. Forrest, a tenor, has a wonderful voice and everyone who heard him sing at church has loved hearing him. A professional musician, he has a number of vocal music students. If you've never heard him sing, this is a great opportunity. There is no charge for the concert, but a good-will offering will be taken.

*           *           *

Bandon people are urged to take part in the Great Oregon ShakeOut this Thursday (Oct. 18) at 10:18 a.m. At that exact minute, hundreds of thousands of Oregonians will "Drop, Cover and Hold On" in the largest earthquake drill ever, designed to prepare people for the Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake, which is expected to hit the Pacific Northwest in the next 50 years.

*           *           *

Another reminder. If you haven't had your flu shot, be sure and take advantage of the free shots being offered by the Southern Coos Health District Tuesday morning (Oct. 16) beginning at 7 a.m. at the city's lot adjacent to Bandon Supply on East 11th Street. It doesn't take long and it's painless. You don't even have to get out of your car.

As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

October 10, 2012

The weekend edition of The Wall Street Journal had an interesting, and frightening, article on the abuse of prescription drugs.

It seems that the United States spends roughly $15 billion a year fighting illegal drugs, often on foreign soil. But America's deadliest drug epidemic begins and ends at home. More than 15,000 Americans now die annually after overdosing on prescription painkillers.

The article details what led to the death of a beautiful young 23-year-old doctor's office receptionist and occasional model whose parents did everything in their power to keep her alive, including having her committed to a rehab facility. Nothing worked. She died of a drug overdose from so-called "legal" drugs.

The comprehensive article looks at the doctors who prescribe the pills, the pharmacists who fill the prescriptions and the companies who make the drugs. It spread the blame and there's plenty to go around.

One of the biggest problems, as we all know, is the person who goes to doctor after doctor with the same story or sometimes a different one to obtain their drugs.

One fact really stood out: more people die from overdosing on prescription painkillers called opioids . . . than from heroin, cocaine and all other illegal drugs combined.

Most of us know someone who's hooked on prescription drugs . . .

*           *           *

I understand that they had a pretty good crowd for the Bandon Feeds the Hungry variety show Saturday night at the Sprague Community Theater. A lot of people deserve a big thanks for their efforts at feeding the hungry but probably none more so than Lyn Silverman and John Hubbard.

Lyn, who has been battling serious health problems for quite some time, is a tireless worker on behalf of the less fortunate in the community.

Although I didn't attend, having been battling a pretty bad cold for more than a week, I did take over checks from mother and me to help with their fund-raising efforts.

*           *           *

I know this will sound like free advertising, but I am trying hard to get a good tenant for one of the apartments in Old Town above the Continuum Center. The renter, Connie Greer, and her brother, Terry, moved to Arizona, and on her way out of town I told her if I could find a tenant half as responsible as she was, I would be happy.

I remember when she and her late husband, Les, first rented the apartment. It was newly remodeled (after a disastrous tenant and his animals had basically torn it to pieces). It was sparkling clean, with new carpet and paint. But a couple of days after they moved in, I noticed the couple carrying some molding up the stairs. They were making even more improvements. That's the kind of tenants they were. But Les died not too long after they moved in and Connie has lived there alone for a couple of years. I was very sorry to see her leave, not only because she was such a wonderful tenant but because she was such a wonderful person.

At any rate, if you know of someone (preferably an older person or a couple) who is in need of a two-bedroom, one-bath apartment, with a large walk-in closet (for $600 a month), let me know (541-404-7291). I will probably be advertising it in Coffee Break, but I have to be very particular about who rents it because it's too expensive when you make a mistake.

*           *           *

A friend of mine called me Wednesday and asked me what I knew about Shane Banister, and I told her what I knew wasn't good as anyone who reads the police report on a regular basis would know. But it seems that her neighbor, a woman in her early 80s, had hired him to do work around her place . . . and she lived next door to my friend. Both live alone in a remote area. I was extremely worried and suggested that they immediately lock up all their valuables.

You can imagine my surprise when the front page of the World Saturday carried an article and a picture of Shane Banister, and detailed his lengthy record of burglaries in the Bandon area.

One of his victims told me they were out $35,000 for things that were stolen from their property and she said that of the six victims, five were people he knew.

Everyone who knows Shane says that he was a real nice young man before he got involved in drugs.

With the number of felonies he's been charged with my guess is that he will go to prison, where it's possible - but doubtful - that he will get the help he needs.

*           *           *

I've made the front page of the World before but never as the editor of the Myrtle Point Herald.

For those of you who may not have read the well-written article in Saturday's World, it concerned the editor/publisher of the Coquille Sentinel, Jean Ivey, who is accused of refusing to allow a mayoral candidate (my well-respected friend Linda Short) to buy an ad in her paper. Linda's "crime," which also resulted in Mrs. Ivey cancelling Linda's subscription to the Sentinel and returning her money, was because she criticized the Sentinel to a friend .... who passed it on to Ivey. Frankly, it would be hard not to criticize the Sentinel. It has to be one of the worst weekly newspapers I've never seen. But I digress.

Ivey was accused of having a conflict of interest because one of her employees, Matt Rowe, was the only other candidate for mayor, and one of her other stringers is a candidate for city council.

When asked about the conflict by the World reporter, she said it was no different than "Mary Schamehorn being editor of the Herald and mayor of Bandon." That just showed how far out of touch with reality she is. There is absolutely no conflict ... particularly since I do not determine who can buy ads in the Herald nor who can subscribe. If a person is willing to pay for an ad, and it is not libelous, it will run. I have been in the newspaper business for more than 50 years and I can never remember even wanting to cancel someone's subscription because they didn't agree with me.

Over the years I've written some pretty hard-hitting things and if we canceled the subscription or refused an ad from every person who disagreed with me, we would have gone broke quickly.

It definitely made a good article . . . .

P. S. Linda has decided to withdraw from the mayor's race.

As I See It

by Mary Schamehorn

Mary Schamehorn

October 03, 2012

Having just spent the last four days in Salem at League of Oregon Cities, I have to admit I don't have much to write about. The night before we were to leave, I came down with a bad cold, but it was comforting to know that I wasn't the only one on the council to be sick. Claudine had been suffering from a bad cold for a week, so we commiserated with each other while in Salem. And now Brian, who rode to Salem with Matt and me, says he's getting it. (Actually, Brian and I rode with Matt, but who's counting.)

I had just been bragging a few days earlier that I hadn't had a cold since I moved to my new house over two and a half years ago, but I definitely spoke too soon.

*           *           *

I got home Sunday around noon just in time to watch the end of the Ryder Cup. I'd been rooting for the United States for the past two days and considering they had a 10-6 lead I thought it would be easy for the US to pick up the 14.5 points they needed to take the cup back from Europe.

But as I write this, it's not looking good for the United States as Europe has picked up most of the singles points so far.

Even for non-golfers (or duffers, like me), the Ryder Cup is pretty exciting TV.

*           *           *

Information released this week indicates that the cost of the Public Employees Retirement System (PERS) is going to be even more burdensome for local jurisdictions this year. It's definitely the elephant in the room for many states.

An article in Reuters Business News said that state and local governments facing pension liabilities "that already total in the trillions of dollars will be forced to seek bailouts from the U.S. government, Republican Party Congressional staffers said in a study released last week, as they warned that such bailouts could have dire consequences."

It was pointed out that with state debt topping $4 trillion, including $2.8 trillion in unfunded pensions benefits and at least $627 billion for retiree health care, "states may buck under the pressure to raise taxes, cut spending and take other measures to pay off their debt."

One Republican staffer is quoted as saying: "Despite the massive federal debt and fiscal imbalances, it will be hard for Washington policy makers to deny sympathetic retired teachers, police and firefighters after a previous Congress bailed out Wall Street and U.S. automakers."

But it warned that any federal bailout would test the political fabric of the nation, citing the tensions in the European Union over the Greek bailout as a similar situation.

Because of the difficulties faced in reforming public pension systems including union opposition to any reduction in pension and other benefits and the protections provided by law and even by state constitutions the study said that a different approach should be taken.

"It recommended that the U.S. government reduce its potential aid to states in proportion to their unfunded liabilities until their pension funds become solvent over a specific time frame.

In other words, force the states to bite the bullet and solve the problem. It won't be popular, but it's important.

*           *           *

I'll be picking up 25 new yard signs on Monday, but if you expect to see them alongside my opponent, or anyone else for that matter, along Highway 101, they won't be there.

Each candidate got an email from the state highway department on Sept. 7 giving us official notice "that political signs placed on state highway right-of-way will be removed without another, prior notification. Each campaign season, our agency receives complaints from the public and other candidates regarding this issue."

I am pretty sure that the area along the highway across from City Hall is state right of way, and that's why you won't see me putting up a sign.

I did put one at the intersection of Seabird and Beach Loop, but according to the City, that's allowed.

For the most part, I think signs mean more when they appear in the yards of supporters, in car windows or in store windows.

That's where you'll see my signs.

*           *           *

I received a call from my neighbor in Powers last week who says she thinks my renters have vacated the property. She said they came over and asked her husband to jump start their vehicle because they were moving to Coquille. I called another neighbor and she said she hadn't seen anyone driving into my property for four or five days, so I am hoping it is true.

I was not looking forward to an extended court action to get rid of these people. I know they have left me with a huge utility bill, and I don't know what else to expect because I haven't been inside the house since they rented it back in February.

But judging from the broken windows that greeted me in the front door, I can only guess what's inside.

Stay tuned ...

*           *           *

I saw a political ad the other day that I later realized was completely misleading. Several men were touting what they called "The Grange," and saying how it would bring jobs to Oregon, etc. etc. Wow, I thought, if the Grange is building something, it must be okay.

Then I found out that is the name of the casino to be opened by private investors at the former greyhound racetrack in Wood Village. It positively has no ties to the Grange.

It's being built by Lake Oswego entrepreneurs who are receiving financial backing from A Toronto firm that invests in gambling businesses.

That's one measure on which I will definitely cast a NO vote.

previous columns by mary schamehorn