CITY OF GRANTS PASS, PASTOR DENNIS WEBBER AND CORRUPTION
By NWV Staff Writer
Posted 1:00 AM Eastern
May 7, 2012
MORALLY BANKRUPT MINISTER BUYS FRIENDS & INFLUENCE WITH YOUR MONEY
Grants Pass, OR. --“Religion is the opiate of the masses” is an observation first offered by Karl Marx in 1843. Like Huxley's “Brave new world” and Orwell's “1984,” it's hard to imagine how the men who wrote these words could have known how accurate their thoughts would prove to be. In the process of their prophetic works coming true, constitutionalists, true patriots and us plain folk who believe in straight talk are the casualties and labeled as extremists. Nationally, people who believe in liberty and truth are tossed to the wayside and called “irrelevant kooks” by the mass media.
In the small Southern Oregon town of Grants Pass, located in Josephine County, Pastor Dennis Webber is now proving to be both the product and a producer of the opiates Marx wrote about. In this small town of 33,000 people, the honest hard work of harvesting natural resources used to be the mainstay. The federal government and environmentalists put an end to most of that two decades ago. Now, people there seek government jobs working for the City and the County the way gold miners used to pan for a few precious, shiny nuggets.
Webber is the Pastor and director of the Parkway Christian Fellowship in Grants Pass. That is the local chapter of ‘The Assembly Of God’ church. For those with short memories, Assembly Of God is the church of Jim & Tammy Fay Bakker, Jimmy Swaggart and other Godless TV evangelists, many of whom ended up praying for salvation within the confines of their prison cells.
Webber recently boasted that his church is a million dollar plus, per year, 501c3 non-profit corporation. In a poverty pocket where the average household is struggling on about $32,000\yr, a million dollars a year is BIG business. Webber who lays claim to the title of CEO, lives in an upscale neighborhood, and spares little expense on himself. He is also on the board of several non-profits in the Grants Pass area. The biggest single thing they all have in common is that none of them pay one penny of federal, state or local taxes. Nor do they pay the add-on property taxes like the local Public Safety or Sheriff's levies which are the largest taxes people in Grants Pass and Josephine County are asked to pay.
Pastor Webber lives in an impenetrable bubble, completely insulated from the same realities as the taxpayers who foot the bills. He lives by passing a collection plate, and his church business pays no taxes. In addition, it was reported to us that furniture in Webber's upscale home was paid for with church funds and that his gasoline, car expenses and medical insurance are all covered by his church. Expenses that average folks are responsible for, are free for Webber. Tightening the belt has no real-life meaning for him. We requested a copy of Webber's employment contract and benefit package from his secretary and was told he would personally respond to us, he never did. Someone who has their non-profit church business intentionally pay for their personal expenses would likely do so to circumvent paying their fair share of personal income tax.. Even so, if Pastor Weber would have kept his interests to the tax-exempt-living-on-handouts side of life, there would be no major story here.
But Pastor Webber was not satisfied with his business merely passing the collection plate and receiving government services without paying taxes. He decided to also get involved in the government's strong-arm extraction of people's hard earned money. Webber turned into a Preacher\Politician. This is where the story really turns tawdry. Pastor Webber's lifestyle is now an insult to everyone who lives by the sweat of their brow.
First, some background into the Grants Pass political scene. In November 2008, about a year before the Tea Party became a national political force to be reckoned with, a group of new City Councilors, who foresaw the recession, was elected in Grants Pass. They had campaigned on a platform of fiscal restraint and accountability. Once in office, they asked questions and demanded accurate answers. When then City Manager David Frasher stonewalled the elected Council by refusing to open critical aspects of the books, the new Council budgeted for independent performance audits. The first City department they planned to investigate was the Engineering Division of the Community Development Department. Once it was clear where the first focus of the audits would be, long-time City employee and Director of that department, Jim Huber, promptly resigned. The town's only regular newspaper, The Daily Courier, joined City Manager Frasher and attributed Huber's resignation to a “hostile work environment” that the new Council had allegedly created, simply by seeking truth and accountability. In fact, it was Frasher's stonewalling that forced the Council's actions. Interestingly, Frasher had also accused another city council of “creating a hostile working environment” in the town he was fired from just prior to his arrival in Grants Pass.
Nonetheless, the power struggle escalated - who would control the Grants Pass City government and it's 45 million-dollar-a-year budget, the duly-elected City Councilors who represented average citizens or the deeply entrenched bureaucrats led by Frasher? After trying unsuccessfully for months to work with the stonewalling and, by most accounts, impossibly arrogant Frasher, the Council was left with few viable options and fired him. This set off a firestorm. Led by Frasher and fully supported by the left-leaning, liberal Daily Courier newspaper, city employees and their associates were on a mission. They disseminated misinformation in hastily constructed recall booths at outdoor markets and went door-to-door spewing negativity, innuendo and lies about the recently elected Councilors. The employees gathered the minimum number of signatures necessary to force a recall election. Then, in the travesty of an off-year special election held on about a one month's notice, 5 duly-elected City Councilors who stood up for people's rights in Grants Pass were voted out. City employees and friends of Frasher were pictured celebrating on the Daily Courier front page the following day. Voter turnout had been about 22%. You can be sure that government employees and their associates on the City dole made up the majority of that 22%.
It is postulated this is when Pastor Webber's dreams of more power began to manifest. Now that the Council majority had been politically assassinated and there weren't enough councilors left to hold a meeting, it was left to Grants Pass Mayor Mike Murphy to appoint replacements. It should be noted that Murphy is a retired government employee who lives high-on-the-hog, courtesy of one of the fattest state retirement pension systems in the entire Country. Murphy's new Council appointment process undoubtedly made Chicago-style politicians everywhere proud. His underground selection process included no publicly available applications, no public interviews or any sort of open process. The appointments were made behind closed doors with no citizen input, observation or understanding. All semblance of democracy was gone and the “good” people running the local media outlets were dead silent.
PASTOR WEBBER SERVES THE WRONG MASTER
Three of Murphy's five appointees had deep church affiliations. The term God-Squad Council stuck. This is how Pastor Webber got his pious foot in City Hall’s doors -- no election, no public vetting, no accountability whatsoever, just a back room deal. Mayor Murphy promised the citizens that his appointed Council would only facilitate day-to-day city operations and that they would make no long-term decisions. Those decisions, he said, would supposedly wait until newly elected councilors were on board. In short order, Murphy's words proved to be empty lies and Pastor Webber played an active role in the deception.
In the few brief months they were in office, the God Squad worked fast because they knew elections were coming to replace them. One of the first things Webber and the others did was to end the age-old practice of keeping verbatim written meeting minutes. At that time video recordings of the City Council meetings were not available on the City's website, so it would be almost impossible for citizens to hold the appointee Councilors accountable for their exact words. Not even the discussion about suspending the verbatim minutes was transcribed in its entirety. Next, at the recommendation of City Hall staffers who were concerned with creating additional job security, the God-Squad approved a 20 year $92,000,000 parks plan for this little town that already had access to an abundance of City and nearby County parks. It is reported that several of the same people who fought to recall the good council ended up with some lucrative contracts working on the parks plan. Then, they hired Frasher's former assistant, Laurel Samson, as the new City Manager and gave her a raise to $181,000 a year along with a severance guarantee worth almost a quarter of a million dollars should a future elected Council ever decide to fire her.
Not surprisingly, the next duly-elected Grants Pass City Council saw that Samson was nearly as bad as Frasher and, like her mentor, was a major impediment to efficient government. For the good of the City, the new Council was left with no option but to bite the bullet, fire her, and pay the fat severance that Murphy and Webber had so generously orchestrated.
Getting back to Webber's good friend, fired City Manager David Frasher, for a moment When he was fired, Frasher received severance worth $190,000 because lazy Grants Pass City Councilors back in 2005 had allowed Frasher to write his own, overly lucrative, one-sided contract that guaranteed him a huge severance if he were ever fired. The next thing Webber and the rest of the God Squad did was to sanitize Frasher's record for him. They expunged his firing from the record and instead they officially renamed it a “resignation”. This would no doubt assist Frasher in his job hunting. The biggest problem there was that if Frasher had in fact resigned, he never should have received his $190,000 severance. Not surprisingly, Webber and his fellow God-Squaders never asked Frasher to return the taxpayer's $190,000 severance payment. Webber violated the public trust and the democratic process while wildly spending taxpayer dollars like a drunken sailor on shore leave. Stay with this--it gets even more outrageous.
In spring of 2010 a special election was held and new councilors were finally elected, replacing Murphy's hand-picked God-Squad. Then, by November 2010 the City of Grants Pass was back to its normal election cycle. Webber was wise enough to stand clear of the vetting process running for office would surely bring. He wanted nothing to do with public scrutiny. But when another chance came for Webber to bypass the election process and gain easy access to power, he pounced again. Through a strange series of events, just after the 2010 November elections, a single vacancy on the City Council occurred and it just happened to be for someone in Webber's voting district. Webber used his golden tongued mastery to somehow convince the neophyte councilors to appoint him for a second time and they took the bait. After all, he was now “politically experienced”.
Once again appointed Councilor\Pastor Webber proved that he cared little for the taxpayers. This time his action received well deserved national attention. Like most government officials today, Webber cares little about liberty or remaining true to God's word. He would rather be popular and cozy up with government officials serving the master of the secular, temporal world. In just a few months in office during his second go round, Webber has given raises to City paid employees twice. Even before the raises, the 220+ City employees in Grants Pass made an astonishing average of over $96,000 a year in salary and benefits PLUS 5-8 weeks paid time off. Webber also voted to erect 5 simple little City bus stops shelters that carried the governmentally inflated, corrupt price tag of over $500,0000. Nearby local cities had installed the same bus stops for between $5,000 and $12,000 each. This was a story of such monumental incompetence, dereliction of duty, malfeasance of office, government waste and corruption, that from 3000 miles away, the Wall Street Journal assigned a reporter to cover the story in this sleepy little, former logging town. Link to Wall Street Journal article.
Everything the big spending, entrenched bureaucrats at Grants Pass City Hall propose, Webber approves. After receiving public criticism for his left-of-Pelosi voting record, Webber was given a large free space by his liberal friends at The Daily Courier newspaper to write an article. In it he urged people to suspend their explicit public outcry and be more kind and civil during the political process. If a message to the community like that came from a humble spiritual leader it might sound reasonable. However, coming from a smooth-talking-image-conscious politician like Dennis Webber, it sounded to many like a rapist telling his victim to just lie still, that it will all be over soon.
Don't let what happened in Grants Pass, Oregon happen in your town. Stand up, be heard and fight back. We must all vote, it's the only chance we have. The 78% of the people in Grants Pass who didn't vote in the recall election inadvertently gave double-talking Pastor Dennis Webber the keys to the city, along with the keys to the vault.
At this point, Pastor Webber needs to decide to serve one Master or the other. He needs to be true to Christian principals, OR be true to the never-ending greed of government and its employee unions. Webber deludes himself daily thinking it is possible to be true to both.
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Preacher\Politician Webber is abusing his position of being a beneficiary of non-profit status by irresponsibly supporting tax and fee increases to pay for the raises and boondoggles he supports while trying to buy insider status and influence as an un-elected City Councilor. He's an appeaser trying to serve two masters; an opportunist who wants to have it both ways. It cannot be done. Webber desperately needs to resign one of his posts. Unfortunately, he is not likely to realize that unless, like the Bakkers before him, he is forced to spend his days alone with nothing to do but self-reflect.
At this point, it seems that Karl Marx must have known someone exactly like Dennis Webber, because it certainly appears that Webber is addicted to, and is a dealer of, the opiates that Marx wrote about. From the people we interviewed, one thing is readily apparent to those around him: Webber thoroughly enjoys his ego driven ascension up the rungs of the socio-political ladder so people can worship him not just on Sundays, but all seven days of the week.
[Editors Note: If you're outraged, be sure to contact these people and let your voice be heard.]
Pastor\City Councilor Dennis Webber at: Parkway Christian Fellowship,
phone # 541 479 2639
or, e-mail Webber or Mayor Mike Murphy who secretly appointed Webber to the Grants Pass City Council at: firstname.lastname@example.org
or, Telephone Grants Pass City Hall, phone # 541 474 6360]
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