Gideon Computer and Amazon of Oregon

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First of all, I am not an elected sheriff, and do no serve in any legal, law enforcement capacity. I elected myself the Virtual sheriff of Brownsville after spending half the day there looking at my family history. I then took of tour of one of my favorite cities, and had an epiphany that is going to take many posts to solidify.

I saw into the future in 1986 and got sober so I could finish my science fiction novel ‘The Gideon Computer’. In 2014 I founded Virtual Brownsville that would become real with the backing of Amazon. This morning (9-2-22) I discovered Amazon took over a small Oregon town and built a monolithic computer center. In my novel, Berkeley Bill Bolagard desings the Mach 4 Ford that races other 4s down to LA past the Gideon Institute that is twenty miles long. How long would the Amazon Computer be if you line them – all up? They are all over America.

John Presco

President: Gideon Computer

How leaders in a small Oregon town positioned themselves for an Amazon ‘windfall’ – oregonlive.com

“Amazon plans to build at least five new data centers along the Columbia River in remote Morrow County, a nearly $12 billion project that would more than double the scale of the company’s operations in the region.

The undertaking represents one of the largest capital projects in Oregon history — in one of the state’s smallest communities. Morrow County has just about 12,000 residents.

Lindsay said Morrow County is capable. This is not, she said, a “David-versus-Goliath situation” in which a tiny entity is battling an overwhelmingly larger one. With the right counsel, she said, Morrow County can hold its own.

Nor is this a matter of Morrow County “lawyering up,” she said. The county’s dealings with Amazon, she said, are not confrontational.

Reading from ‘The Gideon Computer’

Posted on January 2, 2014 by Royal Rosamond Press

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Here is John Gregory Presco reading from his novel ‘The Gideon Computer’. This is a time capsule for my grandson, Tyler Hunt, the son of Heather Hanson.

Copyright 2014

Prologue

Chapter One

amazonumatilla

The Amazon data center in Umatilla is one of four sites in Umatilla and Morrow counties that have been completed since 2010, with at least two more on the way.

Here.

How leaders in a small Oregon town positioned themselves for an Amazon ‘windfall’

  • Today 7:00 AM

An aerial view of an Amazon data center in Boardman on Tuesday, July 12, 2022. When the company and its data centers arrived in Boardman, it brought big economic upside to the rural community, but not without a cost. Dave Killen / The Oregonian

By Mike Rogoway | The Oregonian/OregonLive

EDITOR’S NOTE

This special report from The Oregonian/OregonLive examines what happens when one of the world’s biggest companies lands in one of Oregon’s smallest communities. Internet data centers bring big economic upside, but they come with costs — often amplified by tax breaks. Read the second installment on Tuesday.

When one of the world’s biggest technology companies set up shop in one of Oregon’s smallest counties, it turned to a tiny fiber-optic provider to connect its data centers to the internet.

The obscure nonprofit was founded two decades earlier to hook up Morrow County schools and hospitals to the information superhighway. Suddenly, it found itself providing the same service to Amazon.

Amazon seeks tax breaks for 5 new data centers, worth $12 billion, in remote Oregon county

  • Updated: Sep. 01, 2022, 1:32 p.m.|
  • Published: May. 05, 2022, 6:08 a.m.
Amazon data center in Port of Morrow
Amazon already has four data centers in Morrow County, supported by a previous round of tax breaks. The facilities are hulking, windowless structures visible from Interstate 84. Beth Nakamura/The Oregonian The Oregonian
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Amazon plans to build at least five new data centers along the Columbia River in remote Morrow County, a nearly $12 billion project that would more than double the scale of the company’s operations in the region.

The undertaking represents one of the largest capital projects in Oregon history — in one of the state’s smallest communities. Morrow County has just about 12,000 residents.

The deal could add hundreds of jobs and fill regional tax coffers in the county, 160 miles east of Portland. Amazon is already the county’s largest taxpayer by far, accounting for a third of all property tax revenue due to four large data centers it built over the past several years.

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Most of the data centers’ value is exempt from local taxation, though, so Amazon saves far more than it pays. The company secured tax breaks in Morrow County worth $161 million over the past five years – $47 million in just the last year.

And before proceeding with its next project, Amazon wants a new package of tax breaks that would save the company hundreds of millions of dollars more over the next 15 years. That’s generating fresh scrutiny in the county and its largest city, Boardman, over whether Amazon is paying its fair share.

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And it leaves officials in Morrow County and Boardman with a conundrum: They would like the billions of dollars in new spending from Amazon, but how does a tiny county in eastern Oregon negotiate a fair deal with a company worth $1.3 trillion? How can they secure the new data centers without giving away too much?

“That’s going to be a tough give and take,” said Greg Sweek, a former county assessor who now manages the local enterprise zone program that governs Amazon’s local taxes. He said county has to balance how much to seek from the company against the risk that Amazon bolts for neighboring Umatilla County, where it also has data centers, or to the nearby Tri-Cities in Washington.

“There’s a monetary amount for Amazon that they’re looking at,” Sweek said, “and I don’t know what that is.”

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Data centers come to rural Oregon for cheap land, ample water and relatively inexpensive electricity, essential for powering and cooling all those computers. The Umatilla Electric Cooperative reports that industrial power consumption is up 266% since 2016.

Most of all, though, the tech companies come for the low taxes.

Oregon has some of the nation’s most valuable industrial tax breaks through a program that dates to 1985, when big corporate investments were measured in the millions rather than the billions of dollars.

The state’s enterprise zone program places no limits on how much local governments can give away and provides small communities with no assistance in their negotiations with the companies seeking tax breaks.

https://67fe2c72f3b0e3775493ff9103053b45.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html

In the internet age, Amazon and other tech giants – among them Apple, Facebook and Google – have capitalized on the programs to secure tax breaks from small towns across eastern and central Oregon.

They essentially pit small Oregon towns against one another in search of the biggest exemptions, reaping tens of millions of dollars apiece through deals that exempt their pricey computers from the local property taxes other businesses pay.

The small city of Prineville, northeast of Bend, is home to large Facebook and Apple data centers, each of which receive large tax exemptions. The community has just agreed to a new package of tax breaks for a data hosting company called EdgeConnex. The deal gives the Virginia-based company 75% off its property taxes and puts a cap on the maximum it could pay.

https://67fe2c72f3b0e3775493ff9103053b45.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html

Data centers consist mostly of cavernous, dark chambers with rows upon rows of humming computers. They’re cared for by elaborate cooling systems and a relatively small number of employees, consisting primarily of technicians and security guards.

Still, these server farms provide an enormous windfall in small communities with few economic alternatives. Amazon says its data centers employ 461 people in Morrow County, paying an average wage around $75,000 annually. That’s $20,000 above the county’s median household income.

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Amazon Web Services, the Seattle company’s data center group, said in a statement that it contributes economically to Morrow County, supports local science education and is making technical advances to reduce electricity consumption and to conserve water.

And while Amazon enjoys outsized tax breaks, some of its initial investments in Morrow County only qualified for short-term tax breaks that have now expired. The company paid $22 million in taxes and fees in 2020 alone and triple that sum over the preceding decade.

“AWS is proud of the work we are doing in Oregon,” the company said. “Since 2011, we have invested over $15 billion, contributed more than $66 million in tax and fee payments to the local community, and supported the development of 2,000 jobs.”

https://67fe2c72f3b0e3775493ff9103053b45.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html

The job tally includes jobs indirectly supported by Amazon’s spending.

Such benefits accrue to a handful of Oregon communities, primarily in or near Boardman, Hermiston, Prineville and The Dalles. But the state has hundreds of small towns, most of which are not reaping anything from the data center industry.

Public officials in some of the communities that have secured these server farms are fierce defenders of their dealmaking. Sometimes, the local cities and counties don’t even hire an attorney to help them negotiate with the Silicon Valley tech giants.

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But others are beginning to express some skepticism.

Wasco County and The Dalles negotiated a new tax break with Google last year that substantially increases what the company would pay on new data centers. And in Morrow County, public officials are discussing how a new tax deal for Amazon would play with their constituents.

Amazon opened its first data center in Morrow County about a decade ago. Its growth has accelerated in recent years and it now has four large facilities, mostly at the Port of Morrow. The port is also home to large food processor, including a massive Tillamook Creamery operation, and a major Portland General Electric gas-fired power plant.

So data centers have grown and diversified the region’s industrial economy while helping fill city and county tax coffers. But Amazon’s new proposal comes amid heated debate over a $138 million school bond on this month’s ballot in Morrow County. The money would renovate and expand local schools.

https://67fe2c72f3b0e3775493ff9103053b45.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html

While some of Amazon’s existing data centers would be subject to taxes to finance the bond, most of the company’s property is exempt. And that’s making the school bond a tough sell among some in the community, who question why Amazon gets a discount and residents don’t.

Amazon has declined to release details of its latest tax break proposal and officials in Morrow County and Boardman haven’t responded to a public records request seeking a copy of the document.

At a meeting last week, Morrow County Commissioner Melissa Lindsay suggested local governments hire an expert to help them evaluate Amazon’s latest request. And she suggested they have a lawyer on hand at their next meeting.

https://67fe2c72f3b0e3775493ff9103053b45.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html

“That hasn’t been past practice,” replied Sweek, the enterprise zone manager. “Attorneys are expensive.”

“Yeah, well, so are mistakes,” Lindsay replied. “And we’ve made some.”

HEPPNER — Morrow County is looking to hire an attorney for negotiations with Amazon as the company readies for a $12 billion investment in five new data centers.

Amazon intends to build these five new data centers in the county, adding to its existing four centers, as part of a $12-billion project. This project stands to create hundreds of jobs in the area, but there are some questions about taxes to which Amazon is subject.

The topic came up in a Wednesday, May 4, Morrow County Board of Commissioners meeting. Commissioners Jim Doherty and Melissa Lindsay spoke of the need to “get it right” when negotiating with Amazon. They said they have begun looking for attorneys for less than $10,000 worth of services to review agreements and consider options.

District Attorney Justin Nelson pulls double duty as the county counsel. He made suggestions for potential attorney, including lawyers who have experience representing Oregon counties against large tech companies Google and Intel.

The vote to seek and retain counsel was 2-0, with Commissioner Don Russell recusing himself and abstaining due to a conflict of interest.

Amazon makes $11M gift after county errs

The day after the board meeting, Doherty and Lindsay discussed the matter further.

“We embarked on a negotiation on a $12 billion project, frankly one of the largest in Oregon,” Doherty said.

He added he and Lindsay realized then this was a “colossal undertaking.”

Looking back at previous negotiations, he said, commissioners realized the county had “an $11 million oops” — the county had not collected $11 million it could have if it had forged a better deal with Amazon.

For its part, Doherty said, Amazon made an $11-million gift payment to the county.

“They didn’t certainly have to (make the gift payment), so I appreciate that they did,” he said.

He added that Amazon, with all of its economists and lawyers, have a superior understanding of deals with the county.

“They have a fleet of attorneys,” he said.

Meanwhile, he added, Nelson’s primary responsibilities do not include dealings with Amazon. And Nelson is the lone prosecutor in the county after his deputy, Richard Tovey, left to become Hermiston’s city attorney.

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With the lack of representation, the county was at a disadvantage, Doherty said, and it was conceivable Morrow County would “stub our toe” in a new deal.

“The potential for a colossal mistake is out there,” he said.

Nelson agreed his office has been overworked lately, due to his missing deputy. As such, he said, he has not been handling as much county counsel duties as he had in the past.

He said that a new attorney, contracted for a specific job, can step in and help, where needed. It will represent the county apart from a local enterprise, which includes Boardman and the Port of Morrow, and has its own counsel.

Doherty said the expense of a new lawyer is worth the $10,000 or less the county would be spending. He posited this money could pay for up to 20 hours of work from a good attorney.

If it turns out the $10,000 is not enough, Morrow County will undertake a competitive bid process, he said.

Lindsay said Morrow County is capable. This is not, she said, a “David-versus-Goliath situation” in which a tiny entity is battling an overwhelmingly larger one. With the right counsel, she said, Morrow County can hold its own.

Nor is this a matter of Morrow County “lawyering up,” she said. The county’s dealings with Amazon, she said, are not confrontational.

“When you say ‘lawyering up,’ it sounds like doors start to slam, conversations stop happening,” she said. “It sounds like a battle. This isn’t, in my mind, a battle where we’re lawyering up. It’s a situation where they have high-powered economists and lawyers analyzing with their best interests in mind, and I think that we have to do the same so that we come to a similar place at the negotiation table.”

She said by May 12 she and Nelson will have selected an attorney. And she has reached out to Oregon economists for additional analysis and advice. These two moves, she said, puts Morrow in a better position with Amazon.

Amazon and Brownsville Oregon | Rosamond Press

The Gideon Computer | Rosamond Press

Von Rosenbergs of Bohemia and Texas | Rosamond Press

Gideon Computer Now Current | Rosamond Press

The Matrix of Truth and the Gideon Computer | Rosamond Press

The Gideon Computer – The End | Rosamond Press

Amazon and Brownsville Oregon

Posted on October 30, 2020 by Royal Rosamond Press

Six years ago I had an idea about creating a virtual Brownsville with the help of Amazon that has experienced record growth. I read Wal-Mart might close due to people shopping for everything online due to the coronavirus. I am foreseeing a ghost town a month before I ran into Belle at Ken Kesey Square. I tried to recruit her as a helper. i am trying to save Ken Kesey’s cottage at this time. How prophetic that anarchists and lunatic evangelicals would join forces to destroy me and my work.

“Why couldn’t Amazon buy one of these storefronts and set up a coffee shop with computers so folks can drop in, have a cup of Java, and shop online? Empty storefronts are no good for a small town trying to generate commerce and attract tourist dollars. If more folks do there shopping online, not only will the big malls get hurt, towns like Brownsville will become ghost towns.”

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/10/29/amazon-amzn-earnings-q3-2020.html

Still, Amazon continues to be one of the biggest beneficiaries of the pandemic, as consumers flock to the site for essential goods, groceries and household items. The cost of shipping those goods to customers rose during the third quarter, with expenses up 57% from a year earlier to $15.1 billion.

Amazon is expected to face even greater demand heading into the holiday season, with shoppers likely to do the bulk of their gift buying online instead of making trips to the store.

https://bohemiandemocraticdesign.wordpress.com/

The Virtual Sheriff of Brownsville

Posted on March 13, 2014by Royal Rosamond Press

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First of all, I am not an elected sheriff, and do no serve
in any legal, law enforcement capacity. I elected myself the Virtual sheriff of Brownsville after spending half the day there looking at my family history. I then took of tour of one of my favorite cities, and had an epiphany that is going to take many posts to solidify.

Passing two Victorian storefronts that were for sale and for rent, I thought how wonderful it would be to have an art gallery here. Perhaps I will make McKinzie River Boat models like I planned to do in Blue River. But, could I make enough money to pay the rent? How many riverboats would I have to sell? Could I make enough?

Entering an Antique store across the street, I beheld the proprietor on the internet. I asked him what he was doing because I got no normal greeting. Kelly told me he was putting items on the internet for sale so he can pay his bills during these slow season. This is when the lightbulb went off over my head.

“What if there was a Virtual Brownsville where folks could come to town on the internet, and shop around? Folks are spending hundreds of billions of dollars a year shopping on the internet. Many Americans talk about family values and losing the small town feelings they grew up with.”

Kelley told me a person that own the building across the street is building him a website. I suggested he bring up my ides, and build a retail website for the whole town.

I talked to about five other citizens about my idea.

“Why couldn’t Amazon buy one of these storefronts and set up a coffee shop with computers so folks can drop in, have a cup of Java, and shop online? Empty storefronts are no good for a small town trying to generate commerce and attract tourist dollars. If more folks do there shopping online, not only will the big malls get hurt, towns like Brownsville will become ghost towns.”

This morning when I got on my computer and read google news, I read how Amazon is going to raise its membership fees. As the Virtual sheriff of Brownsville, I am now investigating the greatest threat to my beloved town. Who are the bad guys? Who are the good guys.

Jon Presco

That Amazon Prime membership is going to get more expensive.

The online retail giant revealed it is raising the price of an annual subscription to Prime from $79 to $99. The price for the student version of Prime will also rise to $49.

Amazon Prime is an annual subscription service that offers free two-day shipping on select items, access to a host of free videos through the streaming service Amazon Instant Video and access to the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library used to borrow books.

Shares of Amazon are up more than 2% in pre-market trading following news of the price increase.

The price increase was first reported by Cnet.

Amazon first hinted at a price increase for Prime in January during its fourth-quarter earnings call, when the company also revealed its shipping costs surged 19% to $1.21 billion.

The Growth of Online Shopping

Not too many years ago most people shopped in their local stores complete with parking and weather problems, long lines, and wobbly shopping carts. Even when online shopping was available, people felt uncomfortable using their credit cards and giving their personal information to cyber-shops. That has all changed.

Throughout the world online buying has grown exponentially. The money Australians spend online is projected to increase by about $10 billion within the next five years. Consumers may still be concerned about the security of online shopping, but more and more of them are prepared to buy on the web. Faster delivery, easier return policies, and many sites offering free shipping have also increased the desirability of online buying. IBIS World research forecasts an 8.6% per year increase in online revenues over the next five years.

Growth of online shopping has been characterized by strong consumer demands and the increasing number and type of goods available. An 11% annual increase in parcel volume is likely to continue according to Australia’s Postal Chief Executive. Physical stores are moving at least part of their companies online in order to cut costs.

In Nigeria and other African countries, a growing generation of young, internet-savvy individuals has embraced new, online technology. The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has documented an increased internet penetration in sub-Saharan Africa. The numbers of users are still far below the world average of around 30%, but are increasing as Africans become more familiar and proficient with online shopping. E-commerce activities have expanded in Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya both due to the proliferation of mobile phones and availability of faster internet networks.

In South Africa, 51% of individuals with internet access shop online. In Kenya, 18-24% make online purchases. In Nigeria approximately 28% of the population has internet access according to ITU figures. The number of mobile cell phone subscriptions has topped 87 million. A new group of internet developers are eager to increase buying options by providing discounted deals on a wide range of products and services. Analysts indicate that a lack of convenient and reliable electronic payment services for online shoppers is a major problem confronted throughout Africa.

In the U.S., Forrester Research shows that $248.7 billion online sales are expected by 2014. A compounded growth of 10% is forecast for the next five years. In Western Europe sales are expected to reach 14 billion euros ($155.7 billion), a growth of 11% percent annually. Apparel, computers and consumer electronics will continue to be dominant purchases; these three areas make up 40% of the current online sales which won’t change in the near future.

Considering that the country is in a major recession, the increase in online buying is a good sign. A survey of U.S. online customers found that 82% are satisfied with buying experiences that began and ended with the online store. Satisfaction dropped to 61% when they researched online and then bought in a store.

Online sales continue to be mostly small-ticket items. The high-ticket products lag far behind by comparison. On average, retailers that have both a physical (store) and online presence have reported an average of 23% growth. Online only retailers (including catalogue sales) however have seen only 9% yearly growth. Online shoppers are beginning to think that the best deals are available online (71%) and that they get better prices there (66%).

The internet is only going to become more popular as time goes by and purchasers worldwide become more comfortable about the security and on-time delivery of their purchases. This is the one area of merchandising that continues to have a positive outlook far into the future.

http://visual.ly/us-online-retail-sales-%E2%80%93-statistics-and-trends-infographic

http://www.historicbrownsville.com/content/BR2_culture.html

http://www.historicbrownsville.com/content/BR4-0_events2.php

http://www.historicbrownsville.com/content/BR3_business.html

The area surrounding Brownsville is the self designated Grass Seed Capital of the world.  The primarily family-run grass seed farms contribute heavily to the local economy.
Supporting Businesses such as seed brokers, laboratories, farm
equipment dealers, and transporters, are prosperous and growing.
Our easy access to the I-5 corridor makes Brownsville’s light Industrial
Land attractive to small companies looking to lower their transportation
cost or increase their transportation revenue.
Available retail space in the Downtown Commercial area is generally
located in historic buildings. The predominately one story large windowed
store fronts are ideal for specialty retailers, art galleries, bicycle shops,
 antique dealers and real estate companies. 

Stand By Me – filmed in Brownsville 25 years ago
Join us every summer on July 23rd for a community-wide Stand By Me Day celebration
In 1985, Brownsville was turned into a town named Castle Rock and was teeming with film crews, actors, and the excitement of the movie making process. Today, the movie is still regarded as a favorite and is listed as one of the top 250 American films of all time. A classic movie based on a novella by Stephen King and released in 1986, Stand by Me is a worldwide favorite.
The next Stand By Me Day celebration is Wednesday, July 23, 2014! Join us in Brownsville for a blueberry pancake breakfast, tours of filming locations, and more.
If you can’t make it on July 23rd, visit Brownsville anytime. Download our Walking Map of Stand By Me film locations and take yourself on a tour. Stop and grab a bite at the Brownsville Saloon, the location of the Blue Point Diner in the film. Wander through Pioneer Park, home of the pie-eating contest. Stop by the Pioneer Portrait Gallery to view dozens of photos shot during filming. Check out the Linn County Historical Museum to get your Stand by Me souvenirs – or purchase souvenirs online.

http://www.historicbrownsville.com/content/BrV_Stand_by_Me.html

http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/20610548?uid=3739856&uid=2129&uid=2&uid=70&uid=4&uid=3739256&sid=21103738287563

http://www.oregonlamb.com/faq.html

http://www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WM84QE_Water_Powered_Mills_of_Brownsville

Home

Thomas L. Kay
The company’s roots began in 1863 when Thomas L. Kay made a transcontinental trek to the west coast and began working in the woolen mills in Oregon. He went on to open his own woolen mill, the Thomas Kay Woolen Mill in Salem, Oregon. Kay was an immigrant from England and a weaver by trade. He had previously worked in various textile mills on the east coast of the United States. Before opening his own mill in Salem, he had helped to set up only the second mill in Oregon at Brownsville.
Kay brought his oldest daughter, Fannie Kay, into the business and after learning the operation and management of the mill, she became her father’s assistant. In 1876 Fannie married retail merchant C.P. (Charles Pleasant) Bishop. This proved to be a great benefit to Kay’s company and to the Bishop enterprises in the combination of manufacturing and retail sales. The Bishops passed their expertise and knowledge to their three sons: Clarence, Roy, and (Robert) Chauncey.

http://www.historicbrownsville.com/content/BR1_history.html

The Brownsville Bohemian Bun-in

March 14, 2014

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While having lunch, at Armandos Mexican Restaurant at 120 Spaulding Ave., I noticed two women across the street doing an Irish Jig, or something. Had they won the Irish Sweepstakes? Was this their Lucky Day?

After lunch, I approached them, and we had what can be called a Civic Be-in. Gale was a wealth of information. Sally is an artist who just opened a gallery at my favorite storefront. While talking, Gale moved her bun in a 3D fashion, towards the camera, and back. Then, she broke a piece off and shared her bun with her Bohemian Sister. A Brownsville tradition is born!

Once a year I see Bohemian types coming from all around, even from Europe, to break bun with their Bohemian Brothers and Sisters. As President of the Bohemian Bank, I might virtually take over the Key Bank so I can share my wealth of Bohemian Information and Ideas!

In the 70s I worked with an Art Group and Oakland Redevelopment to change the downtown. I did the same here in Springfield. I subscribe to the revelations of professor Richard Florida.

Jon Presco

President: Bohemian Bank, and, Royal Rosamond Press ‘A Newspaper For the Arts’.

About Royal Rosamond Press

I am an artist, a writer, and a theologian.
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