Citizens' Advisory Committee
Kitchen Table Survey
There were two common links between the Citizens' Advisory Committee and the Kitchen Table Survey. Both were controlled and manipulated by members from Portland State University and the Curry County Commissioners.
Committees & Surveys
October 18, 2011
June 2012
November 22, 2011
December 14, 2011
January 12, 2012
January 13, 2012
July 2012
November 2012
January 2013
Final Comments
Commissioner Waddle: "I see this committee operating entirely on its own.  And also I see the board (commissioners) playing no part in this whatsoever unless asked to contribute from a research point of view I guess or experience point of view."
Commissioner Itzen: "I agree with that.  I think this committee is independent.  I don't think any commissioner involvement will be necessary unless it is desired."
Just 5 minutes later: Commissioner Waddle: "There's 24 members that have been at least nominated so far.  I would be comfortable with the 25th being someone that represents Coos Curry Electric."  (Maximum was to be 12.)
Citizen - Point of Order.  You can't change the rules and appoint someone who never applied. "But on the public announcement 'Now Accepting Applications for the Curry County Citizens' Committee' it states, 'Firm dates: Applicants must be able to devote their time to these meetings - Wed, November 16th 5 pm Application deadline (no exceptions)' That's a quote."  
CommissionerItzen: "Thank you sir.  I think you're exactly right."
LIE # ? (stopped counting). 
Board of Commissioner minutes - Meeting 10/18/2011.  Item 8. b. Support for Oregon Consensus Staffing and Administration for a Citizens' Advisory Commission.  Commissioner Itzen proposed a committee of no more than 12 people and with diverse representation: Itzen stated the goal was to obtain recommendations from the Citizen's Commission by February 1.  Counselor Herbage and commissioner Waddle expressed concern that the timeline may be too aggressive. 
During a "Special" Board of Commissioner meeting, commissioners removed one Citizens' Advisory Committee member who had dared to file to run for county commissioner.
Commissioner Itzen: "I would recommend Mr. Chairman that we visit the question of whether or not someone from Coos Curry Electric should be on the committee.  I did stop by last night to the CEO of that company, Coos Curry Electric Roger Meader.  I explained again that we had specifically not chosen him although he could have been an excellent addition to the committee but because his residence was just slightly beyond the county.
But frankly, technically Coos Curry Electric is a company regarded by the IRS as a person." WHAT?
Commissioners then promptly appointed Ms. Stallard from Coos Curry Electric who had never applied to be on the Citizens' Advisory Committee.
Download 10/18/2011 Minutes
Citizens' Advisory Committee member to Mr. Mills, Portland State University (Oregon Consensus) staff controlling the meetings. "My question still is if we had enough time to do this (recommendations) properly, what is so magic about February 1st?"
Mills: "I think one of the reasons for that time frame was that if there is something to be put on a ballot, that has to be done in March.  That's something the commissioners have said."
Committee member: "We weren't to prepare anything final to go to the commissioners for another two weeks.  You've moved that timeline up two weeks." 
In a mad rush (it must be done today), the games began.  The voting was not a "yes" or "no" vote nor was the language of all proposals even finalized.
The voting as explained to committee members by Mills was a "fist to 5".
• five fingers - full support
• four fingers - like the idea
• three fingers - can live with the idea
• two fingers - almost OK but have questions requiring answers
• one finger (not the middle one) - disagree; requires some discussion
• fist - goes against morals or principals but not a "block" the idea
NO record of the vote of each Citizens' Advisory Committee member on each proposal was documented as required by law (ORS 192.650).  An accurate record of Citizens' Advisory Committee members present and voting was not even kept as required by statute.  Some members were not visible in the video of the meeting.  Members at times could not be heard as microphones were not passed to all members asking or answering other members questions.
January/February 2012
December 23, 2011
March 2012
After repeated requests for minutes and attendance rosters of the January Citizens' Advisory Committee meetings, Mills provided inaccurate and incomplete documents.
No individual members votes on each proposal were provided.  Attendance rosters provided showed individuals present who were absent and some absent were shown as present.  One member (Brian Hodge) was not present during any Citizens' Advisory Committee meetings and yet was credited as a contributing member of the committee.  
Curry County counsel Herbage placed responsibility for providing final written minutes of the meetings on Oregon Consensus (Portland State University).
Mills deferred all further communication to the Portland State University Public Records Officer Lorrie Baker in the Office of the General Counsel David Reese.  When asked to provide the Public Records Request procedure for the university, Baker responded that she was not aware of any such procedure. 
When provided documentation requiring such a procedure be in place three years earlier Baker's final response was "Oregon Consensus staff participated in the meetings in the role of facilitator.  These were, however, meetings of the Curry County Citizen's Advisory Committee and it was therefore the Committee's responsibility to comply with the public meetings laws."
No accurate record exists showing the actual vote of each member of the Citizens' Advisory Committee on each recommendation January 13, 2012 or the final report.

After review of the many documents provided online during the December 15, 2011 Citizens’ Committee meeting and further review of video from both the Nov. 30, 2011 & Dec. 15, 2011 meetings, several questions were submitted to county staff in the hope their timely responses could assist members in making recommendations.  Staff failed to acknowledge receipt of or respond to the questions.  Follow-up requests for answers were also ignored.

Click here to go to the Unanswered Questions page.     

December 15, 2011
Commissioner Itzen addressed members of the Citizens' Advisory Committee for approximately 20 minutes at the beginning of their meeting December 15, 2011.  Itzen discussed meeting with county staff and elected officials regarding the necessary amount taxes would have to be increased in order to maintain services to county citizens at the current level.
Itzen: "Those officials and staff indicated that an approximate increase of $1.40 per thousand of assessed valuation would be necessary under that scenario and that a May ballot which would require a March filing date would be optimum.  Now the Board of Commissioners is not taking any official position on this but..."  No commissioner involvement here!
Shortly after speaking Itzen was asked by a member of the Citizens' Advisory Committee if the Curry County commissioners would commit to following through on the committee's recommendations.
Itzen's tone and response was shocking"This is an advisory group.  You serve at the pleasure of the board (of commissioners)."
You can control and predetermine the results of a survey by the questions you ask or those questions you don't ask.
The concept of utilizing the Kitchen Table project was covered by the local news media in June 2012.  Curry County commissioners were working with Portland State University's Kitchen Table group to initiate the survey.  Initial cost estimates were approximately $40,000 with $15,000 coming from within the university and $25,000 from a private foundation.
Commissioner Itzen was contacted regarding meetings held to discuss tax options with the representative from Portland State University (National Policy Consensus Center) coordinating the Kitchen Table project.  The meetings included citizens providing input on the project and questioner.
Itzen never responded to the request.  The meetings were apparently by "invitation only".
The Kitchen Table survey began in November 2012 and continued through mid December.  The steps required to sign up to take the survey online required providing considerable personal information.  To download the online requirements 
Many of the actual survey questions were intrusive.  The Curry Coastal Pilot published the survey questions November 28, 2012.
 The 42 questions in the Kitchen Table survey may be downloaded 
Results from the Kitchen Table survey were published in January 2013.
The Curry Coastal Pilot published a feature article January 26, 2013 that included an interview with Wendy Wills who headed up the Kitchen Table project.  There are approximately 14,000 registered voters in Curry County.  438 voters 18 and older participated in the survey.  A total of 117 youth also participated.  According to the article that turnout impressed Willis.  During an interview with ex-commissioner Nowlin reported in a Pilot article November 21, 2011, the hope was to gather data from 3,000 people.  That article can be viewed here.
What was very alarming in the article was Willis dismissing the responses from our youth.  "they (youth responses) are compiled in another packet---as it was obvious the younger set doesn't have the knowledge about county government operations and finances older citizens do."
Older citizens, especially our elected representatives have managed to do a bang-up job of screwing things up for our youth and future generations, yet Ms. Willis dismisses their opinions. 
The cost per eligible voter to do the survey excluding any county staff time was slightly more than $90 per participant. 
The final survey results may be downloaded
Some final comments and examples of how you can control the results of a survey by the questions you ask or don't ask.
Over 25 percent of the 42 questions were personal.  Many were intrusive yet, a question that was not asked was:
Are you or a close friend or relative currently a public employee?
Question #22 in the survey began with "Before this survey, did you know that over the past six years, the county general fund revenues will have decreased two-thirds and even with these reductions..."
Did you know that for the three fiscal years 2007/2008 to 2009/2010 when some citizens were experiencing some really hard financial times:
The Curry County Sheriff's budget increased 40 percent.
The Curry County District Attorney's budget increased 55 percent. 
To read what citizens in other parts of Oregon think about Portland State Universities Kitchen Table click         or         or  
click here
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