Opinion Piece by Samuel Strait – April 17, 2017 – It has been a few days since I noticed a letter to the CCTimes by Nicki Reddwood, of Brookings, Oregon “For Eileen Cooper and Joe Gillespie (And everybody else as well)”. I realized it at the time that it would be difficult to convince Mrs Reddwood that clearly her friend Eileen Cooper was other than the idealized poster child for the environment that she would have us all believe. Mrs. Reddwood seems to see only what she wishes to see in a person and is extremely resistant to any other scenario. I started to respond to her letter, then realized that this would be a way to expose the pure intolerance that activists such as Eileen Cooper are want to visit on anyone who disagrees with her sometimes rather peculiar version of events, An example of this intolerance is never more obvious than when Mrs. Reddwood in her letter refers to those that disagree with Eileen as “rednecks”. Not the best way for a person to be credible when asking the question, “Can we all come together?”
The kind of person Eileen Cooper, in her private persona may well be the kind of person described by Ms. Reddwood, but her public persona is another kind of individual entirely. Having spent time at various public meetings, I have personally witnessed many of the sides of that very public face. While I do not find her performances offensive or threatening, there is a certain indecisiveness, incoherence and a mile of rather odd logic contained in her utterances. I can also understand that she has certain issues with self confidence and could easily view reactions to her lobbying as “bullying”, yet hardly vicious bullying as Ms. Reddwood characterizes. It is fairly easy for intolerant and insecure individuals to resent any opposition to their viewpoint and spin out labels such as hate, vicious bulling , name calling, and threatening behavior to account for the reaction to her extreme positions on the environment. Let me be clear, I am not saying it did not happen, but a person should remember that it takes at least two people in conflict for any sort of characterization of events to occur. In mature adults, the obvious method of preventing such behavior is to step back and examine YOUR part in the disagreement.
Over the years Eileen has been routinely associated with what has become identified as a vile organization by many, known as “The Friends of Del Norte”. Eileen and her organization FODN, in a rather extreme sense of environmental justification have regularly put the environment in front of sound policy which would benefit many of the citizens of this County. When packed meetings and demands for extraordinary concessions for real or imaginary environmental concerns fail, the group invariably resorts to the legal system, lawsuits and injunctions, many of which are costly to the taxpayer and frivolous in nature. It is said that fully sixty percent of the funding for any proposed infrastructure project to be undertaken in this County is lost due to the activities of Eileen, Joe and the Friends of Del Norte. This is the nature of the progressive activist in Del Norte County and Nation wide. If it doesn’t goes the way WE want it to go then any means necessary, including coercion is on the table. There is no tolerance for individuals in Eileen public face for anyone who defies her notion of the way things ought to be.
This by no means is meant as a message for her to stop what she is doing TO this County and its citizens. It is meant as a mechanism to understand that while MS. Reddwood may wish for us to believe Eileen Cooper, Joe Gillespie and others are candidates for deification, there is a very public persona of each individual that has taken a very laudable endeavor, protection of the environment in Del Norte County, and twisted it into a very ugly enterprise. In doing so they have created such a backlash to their behavior by a growing number of local citizens that their voices no longer carry the weight they once had. In a reaction to that loss of power over Del Norte County becoming a place for all walks of life, not just the environmentally sensitive, Eileen and her group have resorted more and more to the courts to coerce their brand of the environment on us all. The result is a general stagnation in the County for many of its residents, the loss of many of our best and brightest young people, and the prevention of a greater number of the County’s citizens from realizing a comfortable and secure way of life. But, this is lost on Eileen’s public persona as she continues to occupy time at many public meetings in order to promote HER version of Del Norte County.
As such, the idea of those in this community “coming together” rests largely on the fragile, insecure, and intolerant shoulders of Eileen and the Friends Del Norte to become more circumspect just as you, Mrs. Reddwood, have demanded from those “rednecks” that you seem to find in such disfavor. I realized that Mrs. Reddwood will find it extremely difficult to come to terms with the concept that every thing that Eileen has been involved in is not necessarily beneficial to the population at large. As a result more and more of her activities are beginning to be viewed with contempt. I do not believe that Eileen has the strength of character to realize that protecting the environment is not the end all, for people would like to live in the County as well. No place on earth are you going to find the idealized place that exists in Eileen’s mind. Obsessive and compulsive, with a little dash of psychosis comes to mind when I listen to Eileen recently in public meetings. Keep in mind that many of us have this indelible picture of a rental on Movie Lane that was spewing raw sewage into a nearby stream. So much for that image of perfection…..