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Commissioner Cherryl Walker, kangaroo Court and Big Fines










By Attorney Jack Swift, JD
July 4
, 2013

Josephine County, Oregon. Last November, by a 58 vote squeaker, Josephine County installed Cherryl Walker as commissioner to lead the County through its hour of fiscal crisis. In that regard, her only proposal has been to raise taxes. Rather predictably, the voters rejected that in an election that was anything but a squeaker. Apart from that, this empty bag of ideas has concerned herself with issues of bureaucracy. This result was entirely predictable.

Cherryl Walker is first and foremost an uber-liberal. Coupled to that, as most liberals do, she has over the years made herself the consummate bureaucrat. Unfortunately, she is also, for now, a successful politician. Regrettably, Walker burdens us with the worst characteristics of all three.

The uber-liberal is an intellectual elitist supremely convinced of her own mental superiority over normal humans. She is convinced that she is entitled to rule her fellow mortals by virtue of her superior wisdom. Moreover, because normal mortals are not mentally qualified to handle their own affairs, they must be subject to control if the world is to function properly. She will view that control as a matter of duty. Election of an uber-liberal to public office always produces the same result. She sees the election as a validation of her personal wisdom and concludes that she, in common with the Pope, is gifted with infallibility. She explained this to the public at a recent commissioners’ meeting. She said the public had to recognize that she had been elected and therefore her position on the matter at issue must necessarily be the correct position.

Alas, Walker is also the consummate bureaucrat. All of her career experience has been in bureaucracies. She fits very snugly in local government. Josephine County has evolved into a government by bureaucracy. Commissioners come and commissioners go but department heads remain. They endure whatever assaults by commissioners and inexorably expand their power and control. Just ask former commissioner Raffenberg, an experienced businessman who dared to challenge the bureaucracy and its minions. As a consummate bureaucrat, Walker fits in perfectly. She might be seen as the Queen Bee of the Bureaucracy. For bureaucrats, the job is all about control. Their answer to any perceived problem is always rules and forced compliance.

In that regard, if it happens there is no problem to be addressed, they will invent one. When routinely confronted with their own failures, the answer is always the same. Obviously there must be need for more rules and stricter enforcement of compliance.

And, at this point, Walker is an elected official. All elected officials experience a great rush of ego. It can’t be helped. It gives them great poise with which to mouth their buzz word sound bytes. Very quickly, of course, they fall into crony-ism. They see no problem whatever in bestowing government favors and attention to the needs of their cronies. When confronted with any failure in office, they will deny the failure. If that doesn’t work, they will claim ignorance.

And, if even that does not work, they will blame someone else. We see this every day in the administration in Washington. Why should it be any different with another uber-liberal bureaucrat in Grants Pass? Ultimately, and consistently, elected officials confronting their own failures will lie. And, just six months into her term, it has been amply demonstrated that the truth is not in Cherryl Walker.

While her tax proposal was going down in flames and since, Walker has concerned herself with feathering the nests of her bureaucratic cronies. Back on the 17th of December, the out-going commissioners were confronted with a proposal for four new County Ordinances. One was a proposal to repeal the County’s existing solid waste/nuisance ordinance adopted by the voters in 1990 and replace that with newer version with more stringent criminal penalties and fewer safeguards for the public. The other three were a bureaucrat’s dream. They expanded the power of all County departments, provided the departments with enforcement officers, their own compliance courts, and rewarded them with payment of any fines generated. The out going commissioners tabled the proposals and left them for the new commissioners to deal with. On January 17, just 10 days after being sworn in, they were dropped in Walker’s lap.

Walker, of course, loved them. They provided her a golden opportunity to impose a lasting legacy on Josephine County in the form of county compliance courts fashioned on her unique experience in federal administrative law. This is a scheme wherein the bureaucrats write the rules, issue citations for violating the rules, prosecute the cases created, and have them adjudicated by fellow bureaucrats. It can be seen in action any day in connection with Forest Service or BLM controversies.

By contrast, Walker is quoted in the IV News as saying, “We wrote the ordinances so people can get a warning.”[1] Considering the December 17 and January 17 agendas, it is clear that the ordinances were sitting in a drawer when Walker arrived.

In a now frustrated effort to apparently hide the true nature of the package of ordinances, Walker has characterized the package as an effort to correct an ugly and intolerable blight of nuisance complaints around the county. Relying upon an allegation of 300 such complaints being backlogged in the system and some 50 cases tied up in prolonged litigation she has spoken of the great delay in getting cases actually litigated. She claims it can take 16 months. Documented copies of nuisance complaints filed in 2012 provided pursuant to a Freedom of Information Document Request have disclosed that there were in fact 14 nuisance situations reported. Not one of the fourteen qualified as a valid complaint under the existing law and only two might possible qualify under the proposed new law. A review of court records in the Circuit Court that there are only two nuisance actions active in that system. One of those is currently under an order of dismissal for lack of prosecution by the County. The other, an action against a restaurant, was only filed this April - after the claim of fifty was made. Zero valid complaints in a year is a far cry from 300 alleged in the system. One actually in litigation is a long way from the fifty alleged. Considering that the oldest in the system is about to be dismissed after only three months, one has to wonder about the sixteen month average Walker alleged.

Apart from Walker’s dramatic lack of veracity, another concern is crony-ism. When commissioner Hare proposed a repeal of these ordinances, she objected vociferously because of the travails of one of her crony neighbors. This nameless individual is said to be suffering all of the woes of a neighbor who is offensive and this neighbor cannot gain relief through the system.

Like a true bureaucratic politician, Walker’s solution is to burden the entire County forever with needless bureaucracy and interference. All so she can accommodate her crony.

The neighbor’s situation illustrates the incompetence of a bureaucrat. An individual with business experience, confronted with a customer complaint about not being able to get appropriate service out of a department would respond like a manager. She would go to the department in question and find out what was not working. She would then either educate her employees in how to do their jobs or, if incompetence were the problem, she would change personnel. Bureaucrats, who have no comprehension of accountability, cannot comprehend this.

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Walker is also quoted in the IV News as saying that the process is complaint driven. This is something less than a half-truth. The replacement nuisance ordinance is complaint driven but all other controversies arising under any other County Ordinance, rule or code are based upon “reasonable cause.” Moreover, with the removal of the three complainer rule in the old nuisance ordinance, the door is now obtain to complaint by the officious intermeddler - the complainer who does not have a dog in the fight.

Finally Walker has stated that the opposition to her ordinances is based upon misrepresentations and half-truths about the ordinances. These ordinances can be viewed on line. Click HERE.

Want to ask Cherryl Walker about this scheme? She can be reached at the office of the County Commissioners, (541) 474-5221, Ext. 2 or by e-mail at:

© 2013 Jack Swift - All Rights Reserved

Related Articles:

1- County Government vs. Citizens
Commissioner Cherryl Walker, Kangaroo Court and Big Fines
3- Josephine County, Oregon: Sad Failure of Central Planning
4- Commissioners Cherryl Walker and Keith Heck Misinformed

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Jack Swift is an retired attorney. Actively involved in the Republican Party and local politics, Jack would love to see honest Constitution following representatives in local Josephine County government. Jack believes if we are to save America from the grip of evil, people must get involved on the local level and expose wrongdoers at every opportunity. He is putting that belief in practice.












By contrast, Walker is quoted in the IV News as saying, “We wrote the ordinances so people can get a warning.” Considering the December 17 and January 17 agendas, it is clear that the ordinances were sitting in a drawer when Walker arrived.