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Letters to the editor for Sept. 26, 2014


Expanded focus for depletion fee

The Scappoose Bay pit ships 6,800 tons of gravel daily by barge to Portland seven days a week. The calculation on a 65-cent depletion fee would be as follows: 6,800 tons x 65-cent depletion fee = $4,420 daily. Over the span of a year, the depletion fee on that pit alone would generate $1.61 million. Add to that other pits and the amount climbs.

Gravel marketing is a function of ease of mining, quality of product and distance. Columbia County’s biggest market? Portland. No one else has our advantages in servicing the Portland market.

This depletion fee will reduce competitive radius of trucking into Portland by 2.4 miles for single-dump loads. It will raise the cost by $8.45 per load. Every pit will pay equally, so no one will lose.

I’m suggesting to regional counties statewide they implement their own fee for jail operations, as most are losing their timber tax revenues. This will completely level the playing field.

It’s not uncommon for leased mines on federal land to be charged 10 percent by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. That would be $1.20.

Wayne Mayo

Scappoose

Looking for a better alternative

Someone pointed out to me the other day that the letters I write critiquing Columbia County Commissioner Henry Heimuller’s less-than-stellar performance are an indication that I support Wayne Mayo for county commissioner. That is not the case.

I cannot, with a clean conscience, vote for either one of them.

I oppose Heimuller’s position about fossil fuels and I oppose Mayo’s lack of knowledge about fossil fuels.

Heimuller accepts campaign contributions from P&W Railroad and Global Partners LP oil company. I find it difficult to believe in his impartiality when making decisions that involve either of these entities. I do not understand how he can claim to be listening to the people while at the same time collecting funds from the two companies which are presently causing so much controversy in our county.

When asked about his opinions on the shipment of crude oil by railroad, Wayne Mayo stated he believes it would be better to ship the oil by barges. I can only thank the powers that be that the oil companies have not come up with that incredibly stupid plan .

I also object to the campaign ads which Mr. Mayo has playing on KOHI radio in which he states he intends to get to the bottom of what happened to the money which was collected to build a hospital. Well, guess what, Mr. Mayo, there are already lawsuits in the Oregon Appeals Court on this very subject. Perhaps it would be more prudent of you to talk to the people involved rather than using this as a political ploy.

And while I am on the political track, how can it be possible that Sen. Betsy Johnson can run both as a Democrat and as a Republican? What’s that all about? Is it even legal?

Where are you good, honest potential candidates who would actually work to find clean industry for our county? I need to be able to vote with a clear conscience.

Nancy Whitney

St. Helens

[Editor’s note: Sen. Betsy Johnson, D-Scappoose, received the Republican nomination as a write-in.]

Good experience with Callahan

I am a former client of Cathleen Callahan and I want to let the voters of Columbia County know that she is the best choice for judge.

I met Cathleen in July 2010 when I hired her to represent me in a divorce. I knew the process would be difficult as I knew my ex-husband very well. Our children had an attorney appointed to them, there were several pre-trial conferences, a first trial and settlement conference that took two days, a restraining order trial, an order of psychological testing, he was in jail for two weeks for contempt against the court, he refused to physically appear at numerous court proceedings, including the trial he requested and then too many status conferences and follow-ups to count before the divorce was finalized.

He argued over every word. He filed numerous documents and did not provide copies to Cathleen. Many of his documents were nonsensical and were clearly a product of him venting and his anger. He hired and fired or was fired by at least four attorneys.

Cathleen was with me the entire time. Not only as an experienced and dedicated advocate for me and the law but as my educator and guide to the legal process. She was always calm when speaking with my ex-husband and no matter what he did or said, she never gave up. My ex has even begrudgingly admitted respect for her. This is the type of judge Columbia County needs.

Tina Blixt

Yelm, Wash.

The link between human activity and carbon increases is clear

Eugene Oster brings up an interesting point in that “those who tell us the present climate is the result of human activity have not yet accounted for the abundant evidence from many sources of climate ... (see Letters, “Need more evidence on climate change,” Sept. 19).

Of course, it could also be pointed out that scientists have failed to provide many of the details in the theory of gravity. In truth, scientists have accounted for the sources of past climate change, such as what thawed out the ice ages, the effects of volcanic eruptions, and how sunspots affect climate.

The fact remains there is overwhelming evidence that an increase in carbon dioxide causes an increase in global warming, and there is also a positive correlation between human activity and an increase in CO2.

On another note, Roy Fuller persists, without any evidence, that corrupt “government is the source of corruption in climate science.”

I wonder what he believes would motivate an oil-producing country such as Iran to allow scientists to engage and agree with anthropogenic global warming.

Mike Herron

St. Helens

Concerns about Martwick

Please read my story before you vote for judge.

After my daughter ran away because I would not permit her to get a tattoo, her father obtained an immediate danger order. I objected and the matter was heard in front of Columbia Circuit Judge Jean Martwick who was disorganized, appeared flustered and looked to my ex-husband’s attorney for direction. Martwick announced that she was going to speak to our 14-year-old daughter privately in her office. Martwick did not seek my permission or let my daughter tell her story in court.

This is a clear violation of the judicial code which expressly forbids a communication between a judge and fewer than all parties or their lawyers, concerning a pending or impending matter. Martwick violated my rights by making a decision based on a private conversation without giving me an opportunity to respond or ask questions.

I am dumbfounded at her complete lack of knowledge of the law. When Martwick announced her decision to remove our daughter from my home, I asked, “Based on what?”

Martwick responded, “Her choice ... Your daughter gave me everything I needed to make this decision.” A 14-year-old lacks the intelligence, competence or right to decide where she should live. The proper standard for issuing an immediate danger is that the child was in danger at the time the order was issued, not true here. The child was with her dad, not me.

Martwick said, “As soon as that custody order gets signed, this thing [immediate danger order] gets dismissed.” Martwick coerced me, in open court, to give up custody of all my children. We were not in court for custody.

Martwick did not follow the law. As a result, my daughter has failed academically and socially while with her father. I have filed a complaint.

Toni Swaim

Kent, Wash.

Callahan is engaged in the community

I have been lucky enough to be a friend of Cathleen Callahan’s for many years. I am so proud of the path she has taken these past years from being city prosecutor in Clatskanie to opening her own law office in Old Town St. Helens. Now she is taking the next logical step by expressing her passion for the justice system as a circuit court judge. She is exactly the kind of person we can all trust to be fair, not only in her interpretation of the law, but fair to all parties, by providing a forum to present each side of an argument. I trust that she will make authoritative decisions that have the potential to shape people’s futures for the better.

I know that Cathleen does a boatload of volunteer hours with SAFE of Columbia County, Columbia County Legal Aid, South Columbia County Chamber of Commerce, Columbia County Rotary, Special Olympics, CASA for Kids, and the Columbia Humane Society. Through all of those volunteer hours, she has dealt with all walks of life, from special-needs kids to people struggling with addictions of every kind. I feel that this interaction gives her a unique perspective on our community, its problems, its accomplishments, and its potential. It also gives her a unique perspective on the problems individuals struggle with in their daily lives. She will bring all of the knowledge, compassion, understanding, and experience she has gained over the years to the bench.

Keeley Weber-Jones

Warren

Join me in voting for Callahan

This November, voters in Columbia County get to choose our next circuit court judge. Circuit court judges deal with all areas of the law on a daily basis, including all types of civil cases such as family law (divorce, child custody), probates (wills and such), property rights, landlord/tenant, personal injuries, as well as criminal cases. Many of the cases involve powerful interests litigating against low- or moderate-income families or individuals.

In all these cases, it helps if our judges are personally experienced and knowledgeable, as well as fair and concerned about providing justice.

There are two candidates in this race: Cathleen Callahan and Jean Martwick. Martwick was appointed by Gov. John Kitzhaber on a temporay basis, until the people could make their own choice by election. Martwick’s experience is almost exclusively in criminal law.

In contrast, Cathleen Callahan has been a real people’s lawyer. Not only has she had a very diverse law practice that reflects the legal needs of the majority of Columbia County folks, but she has also been extremely generous in offering her services free through Columbia County Legal Aid (CCLA), including at law clinics and other programs providing legal help to needy folk.

Cathleen has served for a number of years on the CCLA board of directors, and when the state threatened to close down Columbia County’s local legal aid program, Cathleen played a leading role ensuring that services would continue to be available and convenient to Columbia County’s low-income community.

I hope you’ll join me in electing Cathleen Callahan to the bench. We deserve a judge who cares.

Madelynne Sheehan

Scappoose

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