Letter to Editor: Letter Mailed to City of Manzanita Registered Voters


EDITOR’S NOTE: Manzanita resident Richard Mastenik has filed recall petitions for four of the Manzanita City Council members, and this week mailed a 2-page letter with supporting information to every elector in the community to share his reasons for this action. He will begin gathering petition signatures on the sidewalk in front of the Manzanita Post Office on August 21st. The petitions will be available until Mastenik has collected enough to qualify the recall for the ballot, or until it becomes obvious there is little support in the community for the recall. Each of the petitions (4 total – for three council members, Linda Kozlowski, Scott Galvin and Hans Tonjes, and Mayor Mike Scott) require 50 qualifying signatures. There are approximately 510 register voters in Manzanita (of 650 residents.) The signatures must be filed by October 18th to place the recalls on the November ballot. For more information about the recall effort, please contact Richard Mastenik at 503-368-6086 or evenkeel@nehalemtel.net

My fellow Manzanita electors,

August, 2017

My name is Richard Mastenik. I’ve lived in Manzanita nearly 40 years and I’m circulating
petitions to recall 4 Manzanita City Councilors. I would like to explain my reasons for doing this.
As required by law, I declared in the State of Oregon, Elections Division form SEL 350. that:
“The City of Manzanita currently has such an enormous stream of undedicated revenue flowing
into our general fund from Transient Lodging Tax and other sources that the City Council no
longer has to ask Manzanita electors for bond approval to undertake multi-million dollar
municipal projects. Now the city government simply makes a down payment on any project of
their choice and arranges a payment schedule through a private source to assume multiple
millions of dollars of municipal debt .. By this subterfuge the City Council has learned they can
completely circumvent Manzanita electors and deny us our right to regulate and limit municipal
debt. Recently — Name — approved spending $1,750,000 of Manzanita’s resources on a
municipal project without our consent. Through this action — Name — demonstrates disrespect
and contempt for the electors of Manzanita. This is a “big city” political tactic. In a town as small
as ours (650 residents) this type of dismissive behavior is entirely unacceptable.” The issue here
is not the purchase of a piece of property but the expenditure of huge funds without our consent.
A recall is not an ideal method to address our City Council’s dismissive behavior. When the
Council approved the $1,750,000 expenditure they could have referred it directly to the
community for our approval but declined. Upon their refusal I declared my intention to do a
referendum petition on their action. The City also denied this remedy. I regret the City Council
refused these friendlier corrective options. This recall is not intended to be mean, or acrimonious.
A recall is the only remaining legally binding means for Manzanita electors to express our will.
For the past 30 years City Hall has done everything in it’s considerable power to deny
residents the opportunity to vote on the most important municipal policy issues, thus denying us
the ability to generate legitimate consensus on many issues, through the ballot box. They do this
to perpetuate the illusion of broad popular support for their narrow development agenda. Our
Councilors seem to believe that just because they are duly elected they have the exclusive right to
do whatever they like to our community with impunity. In spite of the Council’s inflated sense of
themselves, they are often elected without even a simple majority of available votes. To illustrate
this truth, please consider the following. On election day November 8th, 2016 there were 519
registered voters in Manzanita. During this election Mayor Scott received 297 out of 519
possible votes. When we divide 297 by 519 we see Mike received 58 percent of the possible
vote. This is a clear majority, and it’s also true that 42% of the community did not endorse Mike.
This is not a criticism but a simple fact. In the same election Hans Tonjes received 216 of a
possible 519 votes for 42 percent of the possible vote which means 58% of the community did
not support Hans. This pattern becomes more revealing as we move down the ticket. Scott
Galvin received 201 votes for a 39 percent acceptance rate which means 61 % did not support
him. I do not share this information to diminish their service, but to show there is limited support
for individual City Councilors, and often much less support for their policy decisions. (Harvard’s
Timur Kuran’s classic work Private Truth, Public Lies: The Social Consequences of Preference
describes how illusions and lies are created and perpetrated when repeated in insular
echo chambers like Manzanita City Hall. His work reinforces the immense value of the secret
ballot and it’s contribution to creating a legitimate consensus in our communities.)

Our Transient Lodging Tax is a huge source of undedicated tourist based revenue. Because the
TLT does not come from the electors directly (not through our property tax) the Council seems to
think they have an exclusive right to decide how these funds are spent. The primary purpose of
this recall is to discover how the community feels about the City Council’s current decision
making process and what, if any, procedural changes we want to make to it. With the projected
enormous growth in TLT revenue for the coming years it will be in our best interest to address
this issue sooner rather than later. (Revenue generated from Transient Lodging Tax increased
14% over just the past year alone, from $720,840 in fiscal year 2016 to $823,612 in 2017.)
When it became obvious the City Council has been making significant systemic changes to
the fundamental nature of our community for many years, without our consent, I researched what
could be done to attempt to remedy this untenable situation. Over the past 3 months I’ve spoken
with staff at the Secretary of State’s Elections Division, at the Oregon Court of Appeals, at the
Washington County Elections Division, political columnists of two major Willamette Valley
newspapers, and a wide variety of other legal, political, and government procedure specialists.
The following obvious options are available to the electors of our community;
1. Do nothing and continue to allow the City Council to do what they wish with our community.
2. File a class action lawsuit in Federal Court claiming violation of our civil rights, to finally
establish our legal standing. This would be very expensive and result in a narrow finding at best.
3. Make a recommendation to the Council that they refer their $1,750,000 purchase directly from
the Council Chambers. This was an option they could have legally exercised but declined.
3. Attempt a referendum petition. The City could have allowed this but chose to deny it.
4. Recall the 4 remaining City Councilors who voted to approve the $1,750,000 expenditure
without elector consent. This is admittedly the least desirable of the two reactive petition options.
If the Recall Petitions receive enough signatures (50 are required for each) the Councilors have
the option to resign or file form SEL 352, “a statement of justification of term in office.”
6. Organize a citizen generated Initiative Petition to create a set of ordinances, or a charter
amendment designed specifically to manage City Council spending. This option is available to us
whether any or all of the present Councilors are recalled or not. I had originally intended to
present a Charter Amendment to Manzanita’s electors this month and attempt to qualify it for the
ballot this fall. Upon reflection I realized this action is too important for just one person, or even
a few individuals to craft. This effort should require input from a broader segment of the
community. We, the people, could write a law that would force an automatic vote on all City
Council capital spending above a pre-determined threshold, $200,000 for example. Without this
type of legally binding boundary the City Council will remain unable to resist the temptation to
spend the enormous revenue windfall created by the TLT, as they deny us appropriate oversight.
I will be on the sidewalk in front of the Post Office over the next two weeks to make the
Recall Petitions available to the community to examine, discuss, and sign. I’ll also answer
questions and share ideas about a possible Initiative Petition Charter Amendment. Together we
could create City legislation that would address the serious issue of unauthorized City Council
spending (or any other issue that troubles you.) I’ll gladly meet with you in your home to answer
your questions and allow you to read and consider signing the Prospective Recall Petitions.
Sincerely, Richard Mastenik 5033686068
PO Box 526 Manzanita, 97130 evenkeel@nehalemtel.net

AS OF AUGUST 9, 2017
There are 260 properties or intermediaries that collect transient lodging taxes for the City.
248 are licensed short term rentals
7 are motels or bed & breakfasts which are licensed as businesses
5 are lodging intermediaries (hotels.com, etc.)
There are currently NO short term rental licenses available in the capped zones:
There are currently SEVEN properties on the waiting list.
There are currently SIX applicants waiting for an inspection to get onto the waiting list.
Of the 248 licensed short term rentals:
226 (91 %) are in the capped zones (7 are grandfathered in the SRR zone)
22 (9%) are in the Cl or R4 zones
Of the 248 licensed short term rentals:
163 (66%) are agency managed
85 (34%) are owner managed
(The 2% lodging tax increase began on October 1. 2012. 15.5% of the revenues listed below go to
the Tourism Promotion Fund.)
Second Quarter 2017 Revenue Comparison: (with 7 outstanding reports)
Second quarter 2017: $194,877.77
Second quarter 2016: $181,259.98
Increase of: $13,617.79 (7.5%)
Second Quarter 2017 Revenue Breakdown:
Agency managed short term rentals: $89,553.82 (46.0%)
Owner managed short term rentals: $39.814.17 (20.4%)
Motels and Bed &Breakfasts: $65.509.78 (33.6%)
Lodging Intermediaries: $0.00 (.00%)
Second Quarter 2017: 9 late payments
RE-INSPECTIONS – Deadline extended due to Building Official situation
43 short term rental properties are required to have periodic re-inspections this cycle
28 of them have passed their inspections
19 of these passed on their first inspections
9 of these failed their first inspection and passed on the second inspection
8 of them failed an initial inspection and have not scheduled a second
o of them have iDspeetions sehedule
3 of them have paid and are waiting to schedule inspections
3 have not paid or scheduled an inspection yet
1 gave up license


1988 $4,153 (*)
1989 $30,568
1990 $41,541
1991 $53,315
1992 $64,965
1993 $81,025
1994 $91,478
1995 $106,192
1996 $137,542
1997 $143,247
1998 $156,094
1999 $162,909
2000 $177,890
2001 $191,115
2002 $213,385
2003 $228,635
2004 $238,670
2005 $261,984
2006 $288,774
2007 $313,474
2008 $354,573
2009 $363,304
2010 $373,631
2011 $388,054
2012 $426,784
2013 $465,515
2014 $599,126
2015 $678,788
2016 $720,840
2017 $823,612

Total TLT collected by the City between it’s inception in 1988 and 2017 is .. $8,181,183
The total gross receipts for motels and STR’s since the inception of the TLT is $106,656,022
From 1989 (the first full year of TLT collection) through 2017 the amount of Transient Lodging
Tax the City collects has increased by a factor of 26.9 , or 2,690 %.
The TLT is the only reliable metric to quantify the increase in tourism over the past 30 years.
Every month the City creates a document called; MANZANITA TRANSIENT LODGING Recap
For City Council. This Recap is consolidated throughout the ye~]:>y calendar year quarters.
There were (on average) 246 STR’s in Manzanita in all zones (capped and commercial) in 2016.
Quarterly TLT for just the STR’s, motels are NOT included here.

1st Quarter $ 52,293
2nd Quarter $116,933
3rd Quarter $294,620
4th Quarter$ 84,580

2016 TLT yearly total on just 246 STR’s = $548,426
The TLT rate in 2016 was 9%. The multiplier for a 9% rate is 11.1111

Therefore, the 2016 TLT total multiplied by 11.1111 equals $6,093,561
$6,093,561 is the gross receipts for the 246 STR’s that were licensed in Manzanita in 2016.

When we divide $6,093,561 by 246 we get $24,770 which is the average YEARLY earnings of each STR that operates in Manzanita.

One could say this represents a $24,770 annual City sponsored subsidy for the STR owners, and
that the City gets millions in TLT and the STR owners get essentially free houses, in our town.