Tag Archives: Redmond Oregon News

Redmond Oregon Needs More Police – NO FEES

Below is the Guest Opinion column I authored that was published in the Bend (Oregon) Bulletin September 29, 2017 and the Redmond Spokesman earlier in the week.

A public Hearing on this matter is scheduled for Monday, November 13, 2017 at  5:30 pm at City Hall in Redmond, Oregon:

On Tuesday evening September 19th, 2017 The Redmond City Council proposed tacking on a “public safety fee” of $6 a month to residents’ monthly utility bills ($72 per annum), raising the cash to add more Police officers to the Department. This is a terribly slippery slope. No City of Redmond resident vote is required to implement this fee.

Cities in Oregon are under siege to address increasing costs and stagnant revenues. While population growth in Redmond is projected to be flat in the near term, City law enforcement resources are, and have been, stretched beyond reason.  While a few Oregon cities have resorted to this type of fee to address resources for public safety, most have done so as a last resort – to avoid debilitating cuts in public safety and emergency services.  Yet, an aggressive leap into levying fees across the board in Redmond without voter approval, where no cuts in public safety resources are anticipated, demands dialog. A prudent person would ask the following:

Where can the City make cuts in the current budget? Have the City and the Police Department exhausted all available grant opportunities to provide funding for additional officers? Has our Congressional delegation in D.C. been consulted regarding available grant resources? What was their response? Are there other revenue streams that might be created whereby the non-resident population of the City of Redmond whose activities demand City law enforcement resources been considered and thoroughly exhausted? What percentage of City of Redmond law enforcement resources are expended on non-residents of the City of Redmond? What is the “sundown date” on such a fee? Are Redmond residents and the business community insulated from any future fee increases and/or fee levying activity by the Mayor and the City Council of this nature?

Utility fees are just that. They are also usage fees based upon actual consumption. The proposed public safety fee tacked onto utility bills is not a usage fee. Furthermore, to relegate community law enforcement staffing resources to a vehicle where wastewater and sewage fees are assessed is down right stinky…this suggestion simply does not pass the smell test.

Maybe Redmond should get out of the golf business…Redmond businesses and residents have borne City utility rate increases of 2%, as identified in the 2015/2016 budget and 3% effective July 2017. When one examines the 2016/2017 City Budget one thing jumps out: Golf Course debt at the beginning of the 2016/17 budget year was $4,812,778 with $419,611 of annual  debt service. Furthermore, the budget reveals: “Over the last several fiscal years, the General Fund has needed to cover the payments on the majority of these debt obligations. The FY 2016/17 budget assumes the General Fund will need to cover about 100% of the bond payments associated with building the golf course over a decade ago.” (p.50. of Redmond 2016/2017 Budget . 2017/2018 Budget is HERE).

Redmond, like many Oregon cities has and continues to have an addictive affection for urban renewal funds. However, there’s a downside to a fiscal focus of this nature – earmarking future property tax revenues to address the urban renewal debt already on the books. Thus, when the Police Department requires more officers to protect the community properly, City management is at a loss for where these funds will be derived. This is shortsighted.

The merit of the need for additional Police Officers for Redmond is unequivocal (although I need to be persuaded about the legitimate need for a “downtown foot patrol”). Yet, proceeding down this slippery slope of assessing fees to utility bills to provide adequate funding for the essential and fundamental public safety resources the community and the Department deserve – well – like I’ve said – demands dialog.

City of Redmond  financial resources have an uncanny inertia for expenditures designed for embalming the past (Evergreen Elementary School acquisition/renovation and ongoing expenditures attempting to re-invigorate a “downtown core,” and an urban renewal funds addiction) vs. planning for the absolute fundamental necessities of the future. The men and women of The Redmond Police Department deserve more personnel, resources, and vastly better financial planning from the City. So do the residents of the City of Redmond, Oregon.

Respectfully submitted,

Bill Dahl

A public hearing on this matter is scheduled for Monday, November 13, 2017 at  5:30 pm at City Hall in Redmond, Oregon.

Dissent Delays Redmond Medical Marijuana Dispensary Moratorium

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I authored this article for the Cascade Business News.

The article is here:

Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

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The following is a letter I sent to our Mayor and City Councilors today, after attending a public hearing on an ordinance to ban medical marijuana dispensaries in our City (Redmond, Oregon USA) for a year. We currently have none.

Here’s the letter:

March 26, 2014

Dear Mayor and City Councilors:

Re: Medical Marijuana Dispensary Licensing in Redmond, Oregon

I brought my 17 year old “son” (international exchange student from Cologne Germany) to the City Council meeting last night – Tuesday March 25th. He had never experienced attending any meeting of elected officials in the U.S. before.

After the meeting, I asked him, “so what did you think?” “It’s a wonderful thing witnessing democracy in action,” he said, bubbling with obvious excitement. “When I return to Germany this summer, I am going to get involved in my local community.” I smiled with pride.

He was also impressed by the dignity that is shared by the Council members when confronted with those who have opinions contrary to those you may hold individually. Finally, he was moved by those clearly less fortunate – who mustered the courage to speak publicly at the forum. “I hope Redmond will provide those who suffer with the ability to buy their medically approved cannabis in Redmond,” he said…staring out the window of the car…

As a resident, voter, parent and father – I would like to thank you all for your comportment – and the impact the same has on a student from another culture and country – who has been positively impacted by your public service. Thank you VERY much.

To Councilor Onimus – your remarks, dissent, informed judgment and compassion  must influence the ongoing deliberations of your fellow councilors on this issue of licensing a regulated medical marijuana dispensary in Redmond.

Please note:

1. There is nothing written in stone that says the proposed “moratorium” MUST be for one year. Why not 6 months, nine or ten months?

2. A publicly declared framework for “educating’ the Council and the Community” may also be a consideration – one that itemizes a timeline along with specific activities, questions and objectives the Council will explore together – toward this fundamentally important end.

3. The ordinance, as currently written, omits the prohibition of “production” of cannabis within the City limits. However, patients with a State approved OMMP card are authorized to do so and/or designate a caregiver or grower to do the same for them – in Redmond. This appears to be somewhat of a conundrum that deserves further  research.

The OMMA clearly states (and I quote): “The Oregon Medical Marijuana Act (OMMA) protects medical marijuana users who comply with its requirements from Oregon criminal prosecution for production, possession or delivery of marijuana.” (end quote).

4. I can only hope that Mayor Endicott’s position that “allowing medical marijuana dispensaries to operate in Redmond is a violation of Federal law, and our oath to uphold the Constitution.” As pointed out by a Mr. Matlock during the meeting – Oregon has had legislatively approved/operative “right to die” laws operative for many years – in clear contradiction to existing federal law. In fact, Matlock pointed out, the “right to die” choices have been – and are being made – by Redmond residents, their physicians, caregivers, families, the staff of St. Charles Medical Center in Redmond, and Redmond based convalescent and hospice facilities. “What’s next? Are you going to take this right away from us too?”

There are a myriad of other examples whereby current Oregon law conflicts with the proscriptions of Federal statutes. Again, I can only hope the Mayor will engage in behavior to further illuminate the porosity of his stated position. Yet, I honor his right to his stated position.

Finally, science continues to make advances that disrupt norms, mores, traditions – what we thought we knew – is being replaced by what we now know – it’s a fundamental part of human existence.

My hope is that you will use the moratorium period you decide upon to act in the best interests of those who suffer – whereby new advances in alternative, state approved and regulated medicinal approaches – may provide these sufferers with access to this medicine in Redmond, Oregon.

Remember the testimony of Lois Sweet:

I’m now a participant in life. I want to spend my money in Redmond – NOT Bend.”

Again, I am proud of all you – and City Staff – as the superb public servants – and people – you continue to be.

You represent us well. Thank you.

Respectfully yours,

William S. Dahl