OP/ED: Connecting Google and Facebook with the Future of Manzanita

By Will Stone
What does the rise of Google and Facebook have to do with the decline of Manzanita’s village atmosphere as tourists overrun our neighborhoods? I’ll tell you.
Google and Facebook’s ubiquitous search engine and social media networks have sucked local advertising from local newspapers and other media in communities large and small across the USA.
With the loss of revenues, newspapers, radio stations and television stations have cut staffing, reduced reporting, and nearly eliminated investigative reporting. Reduced reporting means fewer questions being put to city managers and city council members and fewer reports on city expenditures decisions.

Reduced coverage means less well-informed voters.
The results are city governments that act with impunity, potential back room deals, ignored citizen input, and the potential for corruption.
That couldn’t happen in Manzanita could it? Let’s see.
◼ Voters reject a proposed bond issue for Council’s own excessive City Hall design by 68%, but council barges ahead with a new City Hall design financed without another vote.
◼ A petition with 260 property owner signatures to seriously consider a remodel of Underhill Plaza with potential $2,000,000 savings is ignored by council. We’ve got our own plan says the Council. We’ve been elected.
◼ Tillamook County Clerk ignores reports of fraud by homeowners not domiciled in Manzanita voting in local elections.
◼ City officials ignore comprehensive plan requirements and apply short term rental interpretations to maximize short term rental revenues to increase City budgets.
◼ City officials inappropriately transfer funds from the water and sewer budgets to pay for the new City Hall.
◼ Short term rentals are allowed explode from the 150 short term rental units when the 17.5% cap was established to the point Manzanita now has as many short-term rentals as Cannon Beach and Gearhart combined adversely affecting noise, parking, garbage, and the Village atmosphere.
◼ The mayor handpicks commission and advisory members who support his views.

These are all issues which deserve broad community discussion. These are all issues that influence your vote this November. Don’t expect Google and Facebook to report on them.
Real local news coverage of City Hall and city officials is reduced. Local news has not found a way to replace revenues lost to the internet so they can publish them. If they had, these stories would be on everyone’s minds.
Voters would be informed and more vocal about an overreaching, overbearing City Council.
Consider subscribing to the newspaper*, following local online blogs or otherwise supporting investigative journalism. Or get involved to make local government more accountable. Let them know how you want your tax dollars to be used, whether you want to vote on City Hall funding, whether you
think there are too many tourists and what kind of Manzanita you want to call home.

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