The Board of the Gold Beach Rotary Club met at noon on Thursday, February 7, 2019, at the Board Room of the Curry Public Library. In attendance were President Jeremy Skinner, Board Members Brian Grummon, Becky Atherton, Mary Stansell, David Johnston, Denise King, Marna Williams, Tara Simonson, and guest speaker Carl King.
The main topic of discussion addressed the agenda item concerning Gold Beach Rotary Club’s (Club) and The Gold Beach Rotary Foundation’s (Foundation) involvement with Curry County Voices. Curry County Voices (CCV) is the trade name used by The Gold Beach Rotary Foundation in promotion of the effort under the Foundation’s permit with Curry County government, as enacted by the Curry County Board of Commissioners (BOC), whereby Curry County has authorized the Foundation, by and through CCV, to create and broadcast public interest, educational, and government (PEG) content on Charter Cable/Spectrum’s channel 182. Combined, the Club and Foundation have invested/contributed $4,000 or more, which does not include any contributions by individual members, to the CCV effort.
Mr. Carl King was invited to address the Board and discuss the impact that the machinations of the current BOC now has on the longevity and/or effectiveness of CCV in keeping with its permitted charter. Mr. King reported that the public, or “P,” in PEG has been all but eliminated at the direction of the current BOC, and that County Counsel has begun to apply a rather convoluted but strict interpretation of what “education” is to include within the current BOC interpretation of CCV’s charter/permit.
Additionally, the BOC now demands that it have the ability to demand edits (essentially, amounting to censorship) of any “political” content with which the majority of the BOC may ‘disagree’ or ‘find offensive.’
The Board discussed its concerns as to the prior degree of Club and Foundation funding, the potential for future funding, the degree to which it recognized the imperative to not be involved in or support censoring broadcast content, and the impact continuing CCV may have on the entire community (Countywide, not merely limited to Gold Beach).
Mary Stansell made a motion that the Club adopt a resolution whereby the Club expresses its continuing support of CCV and the need to avoid censoring content. Bryan Grummon seconded the motion, and the Board entertained discussion as to the motion.
David brought up DG Bill Grile’s agenda: how Rotary can change the world. Can we get the other clubs to join us in supporting CCV? Bryan suggested that CCV is non-partisan and should ignore the BOC.
Marna Williams-Johnson expressed displeasure that one of the public service announcements broadcast on channel 182 and available on the CCV website included another Rotary member’s commercial property in its call for garnering community involvement in “change.” Ms. Johnson was also concerned that the viewing public may interpret CCV content as being associated with, or even endorsed by, the Club, even though the Foundation, and not the Club, is the legal entity “in charge” of CCV. Several Board members agreed that the viewing public would simply believe there is no difference between “The Gold Beach Rotary Foundation, Inc.” and “Rotary Club of Gold Beach,” and assume that all CCV content is associated with, affiliated with, and sponsored or produced by Rotary Club of Gold Beach. The Board discussed whether there could be sufficient mechanisms to separate “Rotary Club of Gold Beach” from having any involvement in CCV, whether direct or as perceived by the public.
Several Board members recalled prior incidents where the Club established various other initiatives and/or foundations which resulted in disharmony between the initiative/foundation and Club members/personnel, and were concerned that any funds provided by the Club to the Foundation for CCV could be redirected or used in ways contrary to what the Club hoped, desired and/or intended to achieve. Mr. Johnston inquired as to whether the Foundation’s Board was to limited in composition to only Club members in good standing, and asked that the Foundation’s governing documents be reviewed to confirm whether Club membership was required of all Foundation Board members. Mr. King stated that he believed that there was a limit as to the number of Foundation Board members who were also Club Board members but did not immediately recall, and did not have the governing documents with him during this Board meeting, as to whether the composition of the Foundation’s Board was limited to only those who are Club members in good standing. Additional discussion as to whether separate entities could or should be established, such that either the Club have control over CCV and/or that the Club could distance itself from CCV. Mr. King expressed his concern that the Club should not position itself to ever engage in censorship of CCV content, similar to what it appears the current BOC is attempting to do, and several Board members concurred.
Twelve minutes past the scheduled meeting time David Johnston made a motion to table the vote on Ms. Stansell’s motion until the Board has additional time to gather/review additional facts and complete the discussion on the merits. Mr. Johnston’s motion was seconded by Tara Simonson, and the motion to table the vote and continue further discussion at a future time was unanimously passed by the Board.