(Editor’s Note: Viewpoint submissions on this and other topics are always welcome as part of our goal to encourage community discussion and exchange of perspectives.)
July 22, 2020 — On July 15, Siuslaw News ran a Guest Viewpoint by Joshua Greene involving the recent Fourth of July celebrations and the encroachment of politics into our local government.
First of all, let me say that this was the 15th Independence Day that I’ve celebrated here in Florence, and I could not wish to be in a better place. I would agree that the July Fourth is to celebrate the USA and all it stands for, and that local political decisions should take everybody in the community into account.
From here on, though, my opinions begin to diverge from Mr. Greene’s.
Things started to change in Florence and, indeed, nationally — not after the 2018 elections but after those in 2016. When Donald Trump was legally elected President of the United States, the so-called progressives in this country went ballistic.
Even though conservatives endured the Obama administration in a mostly subdued manner, the “Left” decided they were going to form the “Resistance” to President Trump. This very quickly worked its way down the political food chain.
It was anti-Trump on everything.
The left-leaning bias began to manifest itself in the discussions and decisions of the local City Council and just as importantly within council-appointed committees.
Taking positions on political issues like climate change, immigration enforcement, sanctuary cities, gender equity, straw and plastic bans, etc., may be great for virtue-signaling but are beyond the scope of the council and did not necessarily represent a majority of community opinion.
The political demographics of this community are fairly evenly balanced. In the three voting precincts representing the Florence area during the 2016 elections, President Trump received more votes than Clinton; the two people representing the area in the Oregon Senate and House are both in the Democrat Party and, like the President, won their seats by fairly narrow margins.
Mr. Greene must be aware of these voting patterns, yet he seems to ignore them completely. In my judgement, our current mayor and other council members ran and were elected as a reaction to what was a definitive leftward shift of the city government.
Mr. Greene is very condescending and seems to imply that council majority is controlled by a small group of the “far-right community.” The reality is that the three council members Mr. Greene mentions in his viewpoint are thoughtful, successful citizens who just disagree with him.
I am not certain what Mr. Greene’s point is in mentioning Sherry Harvey several times in this “viewpoint.” Perhaps he believes he is “outing” her as some kind “right-winger?” In fairness and balance, it should be pointed out thar Mr. Greene has been legally enjoined from making derogatory references to other Florence citizens.
Mr. Greene makes a major point of the fact that Ms. Harvey reserved the Old Town Park location for the Fourth of July celebration. He gave a very detailed accounting of all the supposedly nefarious conservative political activities which transpired and presumably cast a negative view of our city on all those visiting Bay Street.
He failed to point out, and critically so, that in the two preceding years of 2018 and 2019, the same park was reserved by the Florence Democrat club with the same type of activity occurring except — it was from the opposite point of view. In my understanding in 2018, Ms. Harvey and some associates actually delivered hot dogs and burgers to the democrats at the park.
I am definitely an “old school” kind of person. I believe in cordial discourse and equal sharing of ideas and philosophies. These should be reasoned and fact-based. What I am seeing and sensing now from the Left’s proponents is that you either agree with them or you are a bigot, facist, racist, homophobe, etc.
Mr. Greene concludes his piece by saying that he wants everyone to “be honest with ourselves and each other.”
I have tried my best to follow that advice in these comments.