March 26 edition

Hansen offers opinion on Tootie Smith’s remarks made in a recent county board of commissioners meeting

To the editor:

I recently read ‘In the Garden of the Beasts’, the horrific account of American Ambassador Dodd and his family in 1933 Berlin, Hitler’s first year in power. The naïve Dodds watched the growing tide of repression as Hitler’s Nazi supporters worked to eliminate critics of the new regime. Blatant oppression of Jews and homosexuals had begun. The cowed citizens of Germany fell in line out of fear. Hitler’s consolidation of power cumulated in the summer of 1934 with the Night of the Long Knives, when the Nazi regime carried out a series of murders to silence political dissent. We all know the genocide and atrocities that followed.

Apparently Clackamas County Commissioner Tootie Smith is bent on her own version of the Night of the Long Knives with her disgusting work to silence political free speech, void an election and stop citizen involvement. Smith’s attack on individuals and on the Hamlet of Molalla Prairie, coupled with slam letters from City Manager Huff, Mayor Rogge and “us first” greedy Molalla business people, smacks of control the message dictatorships.

Entrusted to manage tens of millions of dollars of public money and to oversee public programs and staff, Czar Smith made this ludicrous statement about blocking a well noticed election and silencing free speech (quoted in the Oregonian): “I have not felt so strongly on one single issue on my time on the commission.”

Autocratic Smith feels “strongly” but she certainly can’t get the facts straight! Eight hamlet board members conducted a vigorous discussion about the need for an appeal to correct and call attention to Molalla’s failed noticing process; angry rural landowners had petitioned the hamlet for help. Clackamas County Government Affairs liaison Amy Kyle was present and raised no objections. The hamlet board took no position pro or con about the garage/storage unit proposal (not apartments as Smith falsely claims). The developer withdrew his plans, the appeal hearing was cancelled, yet Molalla refuses to refund the appeal deposit. In contrast, the County refunds appeal deposits when a developer withdraws.

Since 2007, I’ve closely followed Molalla’s failure to thrive because of cronyism and influence peddling, failure to follow process, distaste for citizen involvement, lack of transparency, disrespect for the environment and incompetent use of public money. As Molalla’s “leaders” blatantly cater to business “needs”, quality of life is ignored. Involving people, including dissenters, in policy making is certainly not as tidy as top down government, but it is essential to our Democracy.

Political free speech is our strongest and most protected First Amendment right: use it or lose it. Allowing cronyism to prevail and oppressors like Tootie Smith, Dan Huff, Debbie Rogge and Molalla business people to silence criticism is a dangerous path toward becoming a closed society like Russia or North Korea.

I might not like what you have to say it or how you say it but I will always defend your right to say it. Do you support the First Amendment or do you support Tootie Smith’s march toward censorship, exclusion and Fascism?

Susan Hansen


I love my pool

To the editor:

I am one of those dedicated swimmers as I have been a swimmer all of my life. I was ecstatic when I heard the aquatic center was being built in our community. I have purchased a yearly pass since the opening of the center. I work fulltime and manage to swim a mile a day. I would use the pool more if the hours would be consistent as the hours keep being reduced, making the pool difficult to use.

Swimming is a healthy activity that can be continued for a lifetime. The health benefits swimming offers to a person are worth the effort it takes to get to the swimming pool. Swimming works practically all of the muscles in the body. Swimming can develop a swimmer’s general strength, cardiovascular fitness and endurance. There are psychological benefits to swimming, as it is a form of meditation helping a person gain a feeling of well-being, leaving your water session refreshed and ready to go on with the rest of your day. Indirect benefits from swimming are life skills such as sportsmanship, time management, self-discipline, goal-setting and an increased sense of self worth through participation in the sport. Swimmers seem to do better in school, in general terms than non-swimmers as a group.

The school district buses in kids from the area for swim lessons. Our high school swim team has practice and meets, the local swim club, Barracuda’s, have meets and practice too. There are also private, group and special needs lessons. The local churches rent the facility for group functions and baptisms.

Keeping the center open will save lives too. How many of the youth have learned how to swim since the center has been opened? Learning how to swim will reduce the risk of drownings in our waterways.

A question for city hall: I would be curious if you have talked to other towns that have aquatic facilities? How are they keeping their pools open?

I love our pool as the staff provides great service to our community. The aquatic center is the best kept secret in town and should be allowed to grow.

Carol Nevin


Teach children the use of crosswalks

To the editor:

I was leaving a restaurant in Molalla this evening and I witnessed a young mother leaving, I believe, the dance studio across from the Long Branch. Anyway, apparently she was parked across the street and felt that she should "jay walk" across the street with at least three young ones in tow. Do you realize how close the crosswalk was young mother? What in the world are you teaching your children? Remember, jaywalking is illegal and the time you try to save could be a major injury or worse. Yes, in Molalla we have very respectful drivers at the four-way stop that saw you waiting to jaywalk and let you cross, but to teach jaywalking to your children and not using a crosswalk and potential future wrong choices in a non-crosswalk area, well that is just plain stupid! Please, young mother, I hope you are a reader of this editorial page and heed the advice of a grown mother who saw your shortcut to your vehicle across the street and was very alarmed at your choice. Remember the minutes you try to save could be the worst minutes of your life.

Rebecca Duren

South Molalla

Let’s split the funding in school athletics

To the editor::

I am extremely proud of our Molalla Indianettes Dance Team. They are fresh from the state competition, where they executed a nearly flawless performance.

These ladies work so hard. Daily three-hour practices that are grueling, with injuries and grit.

We can’t practice until every activity has vacated the gym. Dancers get the leftovers. Or worse, practicing in the halls and risking great bodily harm due to dangerous surfaces.

I have already raised two kids who were athletic. They both played their sport in college— one plays soccer at the division 1 level. I am no stranger to grueling practices, injuries, travel, expense and commitment.

My husband and I have been chuckling for years over how hard it was supporting our eldest kids to the college level in their sports, but let me tell you people, dance is more work — a ton more work.

It also is totally unfunded. It would blow your mind to see how much goes into this sport. Every event is a weekend long haze of training, costuming, fundraising, injuries, food, security, (as in actual security to protect the dancers) love, joy, determination, up with the sun and non stop till late at night. All the things that my other athletic kids; and yours, go through.

My point: why is the money earmarked for activities not spread evenly to all? Why do the hard-working kids, teachers, parents and coaches have to beg for every dollar from Aunt Bess and the community? I know the sports teams have some fundraising to do as well.

Both of my sons played soccer, football, baseball, and basketball. My girls: volleyball, softball and basketball. Isn’t it an injustice to our kids to not have a more equitable division of funds? Who gives anyone the right to value one activity over another? It would be easy to come up with a formula to spread the funds, so that all of our kids receive the same attention and funding.

Look at band. I have two who are dedicated musicians, all thanks to Mr. Matt Farris, the greatest band teacher in the world. Do you remember a few years back when the school board unsuccessfully planned to cut music from the middle school? Did you know that more sixth graders came out for band than football that fall? Those kids are now a very tight band and highly skilled juniors and seniors, led and loved by Mr. Farris, who buys reeds and equipment out of pocket for our children. He also inspires creativity in our kids. He plays drums for an aspiring bunch of his students that formed a metal band. Voluntarily. And they are actually pretty great. Rock on Mr. Farris.

When are we going to do right by all the hard working kids slipping through the cracks?

Don't tell me that football brings scholarships. The arts offer as much or more. Dance can pull in thousands of dollars at every competition, as well. So there goes the money-making factor that the football dads will claim. The difference is that dance has to use those funds just to exist. If dance were funded, I would bet the farm they would pull in more dollars for the school than any other sport.

Lastly, next time you enjoy the halftime show from the Indianettes Dancers, tell them thank you, and think about a world with no beautiful culture or appreciation of the arts. Don't you want more for your children?

Keile Cross


Contract Publishing

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