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Letters: Water service; child abuse; abortions; guns; Dorchester Conference

It was with significant dismay that I read through Oak Lodge Water Board Chairman Myron Martwick’s Community Soapbox piece in last week’s Clackamas Review.

by: PHOT COURTESY: OLSD - The completion of a major overhaul for Oak Lodge Sanitary District's water reclamation facility sewage-treatment plant in Oak Grove is pictured in July.As a fellow elected public official I realize that there is no privilege of personal opinion in a public forum. A public official is elected to work and speak in the interests of the public, not use the podium to settle what appear to be personal grudges. The OLWD Board passed a resolution to participate in the study with OLSD evaluating possible benefits to the merging of the two districts.

As the OLWD chairman, Mr. Martwick is obligated to support the majority decisions of his board. If the commissioner chair wants to rail against the decision of the OLWD and OLSD boards and speak only for himself, then he should resign from the board, effective immediately, rather than attempting to color the discussion of the merger study by leaving much of the important information left unsaid, in effect misrepresenting the facts to suit his own personal perspective.

Impugning the professional reputation of the consultant hired to evaluate the potential financial benefits to be realized by a merger is also not in the interest of the public, as well as being personally unprofessional. However, the most onerous point in Mr. Martwick’s account was his reference to the OLSD debt for the brand-new Water Reclamation Facility. To go shouting from the rooftops that debt is to be avoided at all costs is facetious on the commissioner’s part since he has a large degree of personal responsibility for it. In the first place, Commissioner Chair Martwick was on the advisory committee that oversaw the development and funding strategy for the new WRF. Second, OLWD Commissioner Chair Martwick, as a member of the Budget Committee for the OLSD for as long as I can remember, has personal responsibility for the approval of that debt, even though he likes to tar the OLSD with the debt every time the two districts are compared. And, his misleading statements that the merger would somehow change customers’ responsibility for the debt seems to be intended to foment fear. The debt will remain with OLSD customers, regardless of whether the districts merge or not, until it is paid off. The debt cannot be moved to OLWD-only customers.

When Commissioner Chair Martwick infers that there is some hidden agenda regarding the study of the potential benefits of the two districts merging, he fails to convey the truth that both districts’ boards have an obligation and fiduciary responsibility to evaluate whether there are options that can reduce customers’ costs and improve quality of service.

OLSD’s position on a potential merger, or any other cooperative venture with OLWD, is that we should let the study work speak for itself. Once the study is complete, the respective boards can determine whether there are compelling reasons to further study this issue. The half-truths and unfounded claims by Commissioner Chair Martwick suggest that what he really fears is having to work as a member of a board rather than using his position to serve his personal agenda. Our community deserves better.

Terry John Gibson

President, Oak Lodge Sanitary District Board of Directors

Truth: Child-abuse cases on the rise

You may have seen news accounts reporting the number of child abuse victims in Oregon dropped in 2012 compared to 2011. Unfortunately, there is more to the story before we falsely celebrate the safety of Oregon children.

The Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS) Child Protective Services department reports 10,054 confirmed victims of abuse or neglect in 2012, compared to 11,599 in 2011. The report shows fewer reports of abuse were made during that year, a smaller number were referred for DHS investigation.

This report only captures child-abuse cases that involved DHS. Many cases are investigated only by law enforcement. This does not mean fewer children are being hurt — a statement DHS officials agree with.

At Children’s Center, the only place in Clackamas County where suspected victims of child abuse or neglect receive a comprehensive medical evaluation and intervention services, we saw a 9 percent increase in referrals.

Children are still being abused at alarming rates, and most abuse remains unreported. Experts estimate only 1 in 10 cases of child abuse are reported. We are fortunate in Clackamas County that Children’s Center stands ready to respond and to help every child and family who can benefit from our services.

But none of us can help a child until a responsible adult reports a concern of child abuse or neglect. If you have concerns about the safety of a child, have the courage to call the Child Abuse Hotline (971-673-7112) or law enforcement.

Children’s Center and our kids need you. Visit www.childrenscenter.cc to see how you can join the movement against child abuse so that one day, we will read that children truly are safe in Oregon.

Barbara Peschiera

Children’s Center executive director

Whose embarrassing problem?

“Your embarrassing problem is our Tuesday morning.” These words, posted high above Highway 213, advertise for the top abortion provider in America — Planned Parenthood. While some argue that the “embarrassing problem” refers to treatment for sexually transmitted diseases or other services, most seem to conclude that the sign implies unplanned pregnancy because, unlike other “problems,” it is impossible to hide.

As a 19-year-old woman, I know that women should be able to make their own decisions about their body. But based on science and reason, it is clear that unborn children are not their mother’s body — they have unique and distinct DNA, fingerprints and genders. We all have the right to make choices, but that right must end where another person’s rights begin.

Oregon holds over a dozen Planned Parenthood clinics, two within 10 miles of my house. They often gain support with the claim that their goal is to “make abortion rare.” However in recent years, many Planned Parenthood employees — even directors — have quit their jobs as they’ve watched this “health organization” turn into an abortion business. In fact, comparing Planned Parenthood’s annual reports shows that while every non-abortion-related prenatal service has dropped, the abortion rates have continued strong, with more than 150 abortions for every one adoption referral.

If Planned Parenthood were simply a health organization trying to educate women and provide birth control, I wouldn’t really mind. But I must speak out when a local business so blatantly advertises abortion — a procedure that takes one life and leaves the other scarred physically and emotionally. Most women don’t know that each abortion increases their risk of breast cancer by 300 percent (Brinton L.A, Hoover R., British Journal of Cancer), or that 25 percent of women who have had abortions eventually seek out psychiatric care (Report on the Committee on the Operation of the Abortion Law). Abortion is the leading cause of death in Oregon with over 10,000 abortions per year, while the distant second cause is heart disease with just over 1,000 deaths per year (worldlifeexpectancy.com).

Because I care about both the women and children of Oregon, I must speak about abortion — the business of Planned Parenthood.

Shelby Bennett

Unincorporated Oregon City

Dorchester Conference is not the Republican Party

The Clackamas County Republican Party would like to remind the public, media, and Republicans in Oregon that the Dorchester Conference is not a Republican Party event, and never has been.

Dorchester was started by Bob Packwood in 1964 after Barry Goldwater’s defeat in the presidential race. Packwood, in defiance of the party leadership, founded the annual Dorchester Conference in Lincoln City as a forum for progressive Republicans to gather and share ideas.

Dorchester is and always has been, an event put on by an independent group of people who come together annually to discuss the politics of Oregon.

While many of the attendees and candidates who attend are Republicans, the views and policies put forth there are simply those of the attendees and do not speak for the platform or beliefs of the Clackamas County Republican Party or the Oregon Republican Party.

Republicans throughout Oregon are encouraged to get involved in our party and help us stand for the principals that make Oregon and America great!

We encourage Republicans and supporters in Clackamas County to get involved now and help us elect Republicans to positions from senator to governor, county commissioner to city council. Get started by visiting our website, ClackamasRepublicans.org.

John Lee

Clackamas County Republican Party

Gun thoughts

In the past few weeks, this newspaper has contained some articles and letters about the continuing controversy regarding guns, gun ownership and gun violence in our society. While there is no doubt that we have problems associated with guns, it seems that we never get beyond background checks (important as they are) as a way to solve these problems.

It is with those thoughts in mind that I offer a suggestion that does attempt to go beyond background checks and may contain some new possibilities for lessening gun violence.

We live in a high-tech society. We can lock and unlock our cars and door without key, and we use touch-screens in various ways. There seems to be no limit to what we can accomplish with good-old American talent and ingenuity. It seems to me that it would be possible to equip guns so that only the owner could fire them. Most gun owners are responsible people. Guns so equipped would virtually eliminate all death where children kill other children while playing with guns and where stolen guns are used to kill people. And it would accomplish these things without infringing on the Constitutional rights of anyone.

Yes, comprehensive background checks are important, but there may be some other worthwhile ideas out there. After all, anyone who is not willing to help solve the problem may be part of the problem.

Bruce Hamilton

Unincorporated Milwaukie

We welcome submissions from readers on local issues for our Opinion page. Please send your thoughts by noon Friday to Raymond Rendleman at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Keep Letter to the Editor submissions under 400 words; longer submissions will be considered for Community Soapboxes. Submissions may be edited for length, grammar, libel and appropriate taste. Letters must be accompanied by a full name, a telephone number and street address for verification purposes. Readers are also invited to call 503-546-0742 with story ideas and comments.



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