Friday, April 5, 2013
Fairgrounds Weeds Are Prospering
Speech to the Josephine County Commissioners, 8-29-12
I was catching up on Couriers that I had missed over the last few weeks, and found a Guest Opinion from August 10th by our Fair Manager, headlined “By every measure, fairgrounds prospering.” This was taken from his own words, “By every measuring stick, the fairgrounds is prospering.”
Certainly the weeds along the western end are prospering; many of the newest windblown nuisance in our area are a good yard tall and about to bloom. This particular weed is not as ugly as wild lettuce, but it spreads the same way, on the wind, and is probably even more of a fire hazard. Certainly, it does its share of collecting and holding litter for all to see. The blackberries growing down the fence and slowly taking over the parking lot are also prospering. This is the end where all visitors to the Fair were sent to park and walk in, the only open entrance. It is not a good introduction to the Fair or to Redwood Avenue, where it sets the tone for the entire street.
Just before the Fair, a woman came to speak for the horse owners and told the Board that she was collecting petition signatures of people who have no confidence in Wes Brown. One of her complaints was a lack of maintenance of facilities, including not cleaning restrooms or emptying trash cans. I signed it because he is doing nothing to maintain the landscape to city code: to love our neighbours by controlling our weeds and to present a neat appearance to visitors and residents alike. He ignored the single e-mail I sent him on the subject, so I talk to you, his bosses.
In his article, he complains twice that he doesn’t understand why some people have a problem with his management, calling us “short-sighted and ignorant at the outpouring of public support for the fairgrounds” in the first instance, and “sceptical” of his “accomplishments” in the second. But he doesn’t address any of our complaints, just like he ignored my e-mail.
Being a Fairgrounds Manager is more than putting on events and ignoring the condition of the facilities where they take place. It includes cleaning and maintenance. He touts the fact that the Fair finished its fiscal year in the black. This was at the expense of our facilities: the land and the buildings. Deferred maintenance does not go away; it becomes more expensive. He manages at the expense of his neighbours and county taxpayers. We are not “sceptical.” We are angry at his short-sighted ignorance of our concerns.