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Letters for the Oct. 31, 2014 issue


Several questions for Henry Heimuller

I am writing on behalf of the cattle confiscated by Columbia County and the Oregon Humane Society. Let me tell you what Henry Heimuller actually did for the welfare of the cattle.

In August 2012, a family member with 40 years experience raising cattle, not associated with the farming business of the original owners, called Henry with concern for the 168 head of cattle being housed on 45 acres. During this conversation, an offer was made to take the animals with no expense to the county and taxpayers, and to work with the Oregon Humane Society and county in any way deemed necessary for the welfare of the cattle. Henry chose not to respond to the offer, but instead chose to make a secret contract with the Nevis Company for the sale of the cattle. This deal included a foster agreement, which Henry signed, for the Nevis Company to foster the animals until the case was resolved.

In November 2012, the condition of the cattle located outside of Columbia City started to deteriorate due to weather and overcrowding. At this point, I am sure Henry knew he had a huge problem. He then decided to move the cattle to Condon, and told the public in the local newspaper that the cattle had been moved to a “working ranch,” which was owned by the Nevis Company. Henry also stated that the cattle would be well fed and cared for there, and that the cattle were doing so much better.

Shortly after the cattle arrived at this ranch, it became apparent that the foster ranch/buyer did not have enough resources to feed or care for the cattle. You see, the cattle were taken to a ranch that was high desert in nature, meaning there was not much grass to graze on, only dirt, sand, rocks, and tumbleweeds. With lack of quality feed, water and care, many of the cows died. In a last-ditch effort, the “working ranch,” as Henry refers to it, tried to sell some of the remaining cattle at the local auction yard. This is how a small group of cattle showed up at the Madras Auction Yard in deplorable conditions.

These cattle had their identification tattoos and tags sliced out of their ears, and were full of lice with patches of hide missing. One individual cow had such severe wounds that the skin was missing from both hips, and all were extremely malnourished. Needless to say, the Madras Auction Yard called the Oregon Humane Society to investigate. What they found out was that these were the cattle under the foster agreement between our county and the Nevis Company. It is my understanding that Henry then drove to Madras and brought these animals back to the county, to be placed at another foster farm.

To this date I do not know of any charges brought against the Nevis Company for breaking the foster agreement or for the treatment of the cattle during this time.

Last month, only 23 animals are still alive out of the original 168 that were confiscated in 2012.

All 23 of the animals that have survived the county’s ownership and foster agreements are located out on the dike lands in Scappoose. After viewing these animals last month, it was discovered many were in need of veterinary care and were still suffering from treatable aliments, such as pink eye and abscesses. One cow was even observed to have a stream of blood running from her nose.

I have several questions I would like to ask Henry and the Oregon Humane Society. Where have they been for the past two years? Why did no one enforce the quality of care these animals so desperately needed? Why would you confiscate animals and have no plan for their care? Where is the Oregon Humane Society veterinarian? Why wasn’t Henry concerned enough to follow up on the welfare of the cattle and their foster agreements?

As I read Henry Heimuller’s campaign brochures that state you should vote for him for county commissioner because he has accountability and trustworthiness, I have to ask him, really? I wonder what the cows would say about that?

Laurie Wilson

Scappoose

Holding the county commissioners accountable

For several years I have been interested in the county’s missed opportunities as it relates to the “Natural Resources Depletion Fee.”

The county commissioners have decided that it is their “legal” prerogative to regulate the Natural Resources Depletion Fee however they see fit.

Facts:

1. In 1990, Columbia County voters instituted a “Natural Resources Depletion Fee Ordinance” intended to reimburse the people of Columbia County for the depletion of gravel, a non-renewable resource.

2. This is not a small taxation. Since 1990, county records show that close to $9 million has been collected. That is an average of over $300,000 per year.

3. These funds were intended to provide revenues for the construction, reconstruction, improvement, repair and maintenance of the Columbia County road system and to reimburse the county for the cost of regulating surface mining.

4. The fee charged to those who use these natural resources to bring profit to themselves is 15 cents per ton. Five cents per ton is earmarked for the “administration” of this income, while 10 cents per ton is to be used for the improvement of our county road system.

5. Also mentioned in the ordinance is the county’s right to charge a “Transportation Fee,” which is described as a fee charged to operators for the privilege of transporting natural resources into the county.

6. The county commissioners are the sole administrators of this very large “income-producing” natural resource use fee.

My experience:

1. In the past several years, the fee levied to those who use our gravel and take it out of our county is charged and paid for based on the “honor system.” To me, that means no one is watching and who knows how much money we have flat-out lost.

2. Where is the Transportation Fee? I was told this is no longer being collected. Why?

3. A short time after Henry Heimuller was elected, I called him personally. I asked if he could please spend some time discussing the depletion fee with me. He indicated that, of course, he would, and he would call me back. I’m still waiting for that return call.

4. On a particular occasion, I attended a forum offered by the county commissioners as a place to “chat,” “ask questions,” and get to know our leaders. All three of the commissioners were in attendance. I asked about the depletion fee. Each one heard my question and all three ignored it.

5. This county continues to lose employment opportunities. We have huge revenue coming in that is not even monitored. Why?

I have voted in this county for many years and have always thought that, when the voters passed an issue, the voters have spoken and it is our commissioners’ responsibility to insure the voters’ will.

I am left disappointed.

Richard T. Jones

Scappoose

Don’t trust Mayo’s numbers

I am willing to take Mr. Darryl Swan at his word that his employer, Dr. Robert Pamplin, did not influence his stance on the County Commission race. However, given that one part of Dr. Pamplin’s empire stands to gain substantially from the editorial position of another, raising the question was absolutely appropriate.

I don’t feel so charitable toward Mr. Albert Stroup or Mr. Wayne Mayo.

If Mr. Stroup wants to accuse me of telling half-truths, he ought to get his facts straight. The concrete supplied to the Intel project did not use what Mr. Sroup calls “special-size river rock.” For that matter, “special-size” aggregate is a function of how the material is processed, not how it comes out of the ground.

Alluvial gravel deposits in Columbia County are indistinguishable from those in Marion or Klickitat counties, or anywhere along the lower Columbia or Willamette Rivers. They were all laid down by the same geologic event: the Missoula Floods at the end of the last Ice Age. Concrete producers, including CalPortland and Knife River, import concrete material from Marion County into the Portland market. Others, including Ross Island Sand and Gravel — Dr. Pamplin’s company — barge it downriver from Klickitat County. The market is highly competitive, and adding 65 cents per ton to Columbia County material when others pay nothing is a significant disadvantage.

Which brings me to Mr. Mayo, who in this campaign has shown himself to be much better at accusation than factual accuracy. He admittedly knows nothing about the cost of producing a ton of rock. The numbers he’s throwing around (6,800 tons per day, seven days a week at $10 per ton) are completely fabricated. He alleges that Columbia County aggregate producers can simply absorb or pass on his 433 percent tax increase (while their competitors pay nothing), and he has absolutely no data to support his case. He doesn’t understand the gravel business and he doesn’t understand markets.

This begs a larger question. Mr. Mayo proposes to tax gravel producers to fund the jail. If targeting specific industries for special taxes is his idea of governance, who will he pick on next?

Bob Short

Portland

Commissioner has many duties

I appreciate the attention voters are paying to this important election. It will be a decision that will affect our county for years to come, and I would like to share my perspective.

The few “hot button” issues that make the front page news are not what makes 90 percent of the day to day running of county government. The county provides a wide range of services to residents within a limited budget. We protect public safety, maintain roads, manage county lands and issue marriage licenses. We oversee public transportation, elections, and health and human services. When no one else will, the county is even called upon to bury the dead. The range of issues we face call for problem solving abilities at all levels.

In our county, Commissioners are the day-today administrators. We take the notion of an “open door policy” to a new level, and encourage people to drop in any time to discuss their ideas and concerns. We will listen and take action when necessary.

As a County Commissioner there are difficult decisions put before you on a regular basis. Some of the most important qualities that a person must have in this position are teamwork and the ability to collaborate. A person cannot be in it for themselves, but must at all times have the best interest of the county at heart.

I am blessed and privileged to serve as your County Commissioner. We have come a long way in the past four years, but we still have to work to do to rebuild a strong local economy. We must add local family wage jobs so that we can reduce the time people spend commuting to work instead of being with their families. We must work with local businesses, agencies, and our engaged citizens to continue to make the county a great place to live. That’s what I’ve done as your commissioner, and I hope my efforts have earned your support.

I ask for your vote and support in this election.

Thank you,

Henry Heimuller

St. Helens

The truth please

Election season invariably brings about much discussion, differing opinions and statements. Often times it is hard to know what is truth and what is not, but I implore all voters to be informed about the choices they make. Please seek both sides of the story to make sure you are getting the whole story. This means work, but at the end of the day, you will be the one to benefit the most.

I have been advised that at a forum held last week in Vernonia that Wayne Mayo, running for Columbia County Commissioner Position #2, announced to those in attendance that the County union members approached him offering their endorsement, and that he rightly declined because if elected Commissioner, he would be sitting across the bargaining table from employees and that accepting endorsement would be inappropriate. The truth please.

AFSCME Local 697 (County Road Department Employees) and Local 1442 (Courthouse Employees) did contact Mr. Mayo to request his participation in a candidate forum. The invitation to participate was made to both Heimuller and Mayo and was intended to provide a formal way for represented employees to get to know candidates better and encourage discussion; we have a vested interest. Yes, endorsement is one possible outcome of these events, but a group choosing to support a political candidate is a right we all have and should not be made out to be a bad or wrong thing. Mr. Mayo declined participation and asked not to be contacted again, which is Mr. Mayo’s right. What is and should be concerning is that an attempt to begin a dialogue and learn more about each other was immediately dismissed with no consideration to the fact that if elected, Mr. Mayo would be charged with working day to day with employees in running local government- this is not something he will be doing alone. There is no “i” in “team” is an appropriate sentiment.

Yes, I am Local 1442’s President, but I am also a citizen of Columbia County and I am a civil servant charged with serving the public. These are roles I take very seriously. I speak on behalf of both union locals that we have worked hard over the last few years to maintain a basic level of service in difficult times. We have taken steps to build positive relationships with leaders based on open communication, not because we want something at the bargaining table, but because we want the County government to be successful and provide the best service it can. Some may be skeptical of these statements or opine differently, but please, walk in our shoes; until then, an opinion is just that.

The truth please. My word is my integrity; if I am misleading or dishonest, then I have none. I will show up today and the day thereafter, with my fellow employees, to do my job to the best of my ability because I believe in making a difference and that it takes working together to make this happen. I am government. Mr. Mayo’s words tell me he does not share these same ideals, and that he lacks a comprehensive and real understanding of what service means or how government should function, all of which are required for a true political leader.

Erin O’Connell

Rainier

Commissioner race is about many issues

The county commissioner race is not just about one single issue. All I’m hearing about lately is this darn gravel tax. Being a single mother of two, and part of the 75 percent-plus that leaves our county every day for work, I am more concerned about all the other issues the Position 2 commissioner is in charge of. Most concerning to me is the continued support for health and safety.

My opinion is that there is only one candidate that is qualified for this position. Henry’s lifetime experience in this field will ensure that I leave my family in safe hands every day. Henry’s experience as a paramedic on the 911 Communications Board, a volunteer fireman, and his appointment to the governor’s rail safety advisory board, make him qualified as a Position 2 county commissioner. Henry’s opponent has zero experience in any or all of these matters.

For my children and family, I will vote for Henry.

Linell Rush

Warren

Preheim response to Ritz

I would like to answer your question about managing the office of Columbia County clerk, and how I would manage it.

I would manage it the same as I do my business. If you buy a marriage license, and your marriage does not work out, you are not getting a refund. If you leave your dog in the hot car to buy a dog license, and the dog dies, you are not getting a refund - and I will report your animal cruelty to the proper authorities. If you file for a death certificate for your mother-in-law, only to find out she is not actually dead, again you are not getting a refund.

I also do have to correct your misinformation. The cable you purchased on Sept. 6, 2012, at 11:12:50 was $19.95, not $28 as you claim. You tried to return the cable to a staff person, not me — at 12:04:45, which is 51.92 minutes later — who followed our posted store policy. We never promise a cable will be compatible, period. We do not do returns, either. This is stated on your invoice, and several places in our store. Unfortunately, I have found there are lots of people who just want to “borrow” cables. They buy a serial to USB converter, for example, so that can do a quick transfer of data from an older device, and then don’t need it anymore and want to return it. Or, we have people who try to return a defective item in a box purchased here, but it is not even the item that came in the box - hence the need for the policy.

We did test your cable, and found it to work. We have never charged a $40 fee to troubleshoot; our diagnostic fee is $15. We might have told you that if your machine had a virus or spyware that was preventing the driver from installing, a “typical” cleanup can run from one-half hour to one hour, or $22.50 to $45. We bill in one-half increments, so a fee could never be $40. Had you actually brought your computer in, and we found the cable to be incompatible for some other reason, we would have exchanged it and waived the diagnostic fee. I have been self-employed since 1989, and had my store in Scappoose for over 17 years. I think that record speaks for itself.

Brady Preheim

St. Helens

Callahan understands court as a fair and just process

The court system is the branch of government in which people deal with an ever-broadening variety of issues and concerns. And the people bringing their problems to the court have become diverse in terms of their ethnic and social backgrounds. Many of these people choose to represent themselves, rather than retaining attorneys. Finally, these trends are occurring in a political environment that the average person has lost trust and confidence in all forms of governmental authority, including the court.

The above trends pose a challenge for the courts and judges. Courts deal with these new issues while remaining true to the core goal of the judicial system to provide people with a forum in which they can obtain justice.

The courts want to retain and even enhance public trust and confidence in the courts, judges and the law. Such public trust is the key to maintaining the legitimacy of the legal system. Without respect from the bench, transparency and adherence to the rules, the individual does not believe that the court delivers a fair and just process.

Cathleen Callahan is the one and only candidate that understands this concept and has spent the last 14 years earning the public trust. She has a proven background through her community service, her education and working with all types of clients.

Join me in voting for the people’s choice, Cathleen Callahan for Columbia County Circuit Court judge.

Marty Baldwin

Scappoose

Tarbell to hold the status quo

As homeowners and taxpayers of Columbia County, we are fortunate to have the Columbia River PUD, which provides us some of the lowest power rates in the state and is run effectively and efficiently.

As a long time educator, I have frequently noted that when there is a winning sports team at school, it is because there are great players; if there is a losing team, the reason is poor coaching.

In dealing with CRPUD, I have always experienced courteous, competent, expeditious service, and I would here submit that it is not entirely due to the exceptional staff. There is exceptional leadership as well. This is the reason that I will support the reelection of Loren Tarbell, a 19-year veteran of the board of directors at CRPUD.

Tarbell’s opponent claims, in the voters’ pamphlet, that he will do what is already being done — that he will strive to provide safe, reliable power and keep rates low. This is the status quo, and I will vote for Loren Tarbell, seeing no need to change what is already working well.

Chuck Pease

Scappoose

Vote your heart

I have a few thoughts on the approaching Election Day. Public opinion can be defined as “what everyone thinks everyone else thinks.” That being fairly accurate, I think we each have a duty to think for ourselves, spend some effort checking out facts, and then vote for the highest and best with the ballot measures and candidates.

There are many voices out there telling us how to vote. That can be useful, but we shouldn’t buy wholesale what comes to us via TV, radio, newspapers, Internet and mail. Financially interested entities are trying to manipulate the election result.

The best vote is the one you, yourself, believe to be best, not necessarily the one you think has the best chance of winning. Listen to President George Washington, who said, “If we offer the people what we ourselves disbelieve, how shall we later defend our work. Let us raise a standard to which the wise and honest may repair. The outcome is then in the hands of God.”

Bob Ekstrom

Scappoose

Fire bond needed to ensure safety

It has been over 30 years since Local 3215, which represents the professional firefighters of Columbia River Fire and Rescue, has taken a public stand on a local election issue. The reason we are taking a stand and asking you to vote “yes” on Measure 5-242, the fire district’s general obligation bond, is because we are approaching a point in the near future, in our opinion, where our equipment, due to age, will become inadequate to provide for the protection of the citizens of our fire district, and may place firefighters at risk.

Because of the increasing cost of apparatus replacement and maintenance, and the deteriorating condition of our stations, we need this bond to continue to provide the high level of service to our community for which we strive every day.

Please join the firefighters of Local 3215 in voting “yes” on Measure 5-242.

Scott Haresnape

President, Local 3215

International Association of Firefighters

Mayo has courage and fresh ideas

“It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; and who, at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”

— Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of the United States

If you have ever received an email from Wayne Mayo, this quote was probably at the end. I admire Wayne’s courage. He continually has fresh ideas. He is always respectful and attentive to those who oppose him. He is a man of integrity and an eternal optimist who cares deeply for this county. He is exactly what we need at this time.

I am looking forward to voting for Wayne Mayo for Columbia County Commissioner.

Paul Rice

Rainier

Urging a vote as hard choices are needed

It is time to make hard choices. The ballot deadline is nearing. And while we may not always agree on issues even within our own family, the final motivator for whom or what issue we support is whether or not they will be, in the bigger scheme of things, effective, or what they will achieve.

Functionality on the county level trumps agreement with a candidate over one personal area of agreement. Henry Heimuller meets the litmus test as a proven county leader who works with his other commissioners. His background and experience reaches beyond emotional issues, and he maintains an open-door policy.

State Rep. Brad Witt, D-Clatskanie, is a growing influence in the Oregon House. His support for working-class values and jobs is well documented. He will continue to advance in seniority and committee assignments that will serve Columbia County well in the future.

Similarly, on the national level, U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley also relates to the middle-class, working person, and cares about the current financial situation we find ourselves in, and will grow in stature if given another term.

Contrary to some thoughts, Democrats and Republicans may even agree on what needs to be done on some issues, just not on how to get there. State Sen. Betsy Johnson, D-Scappoose, has broad support and endorsements by both major political parties, which is disturbing to some because of her independent streak. While we may not agree across-the-board, the fact is I cannot think of a more effective and connected — if not frustrating at times — senator in this state who would be more beneficial for Columbia County. She works tirelessly for her constituents, even when recovering from a serious injury. She works hard for those issues she supports: families, education, transportation and jobs. And her strong support for farmers’ markets and Habitat for Humanity goes beyond what is required because she has a passion for them. Those are two areas I personally appreciate and support.

The bottom line: We gain more by returning her to the Oregon State Senate compared to her opponent. Several of my friends wear a different political label. Still, they are my friends. We often go to the same church; we have many of the same small-town values; and have the same spirit of volunteerism and community service. I appreciate and respect their position, but ultimately I feel we must support what we, as individuals, believe in, and what we feel is in the best interests of Columbia County.

Whatever, or whomever you support, I urge you to vote.

This is something all sides can agree.

Bill Blank

Scappoose

Mayo for a change

Wayne Mayo is someone looking for solutions to complex issues and is willing to think outside the box. He wrote, along with others, to suggest a freeze on Columbia Health District spending after the state warned the hospital board they would shut them down.

He led a coalition in fighting PGE/Enron, resulting in significantly lower power rates for the citizens of this county for more than a decade.

I think his idea for a depletion fee on rock to fund the jail shows that he is looking for a reasonable and permanent revenue stream to provide for the safety of this county. I don’t like placing additional fees on businesses, but I also don’t like politicians looking to raise our property taxes every time there is a funding crisis.

This conservative Marine is voting for Mayo.

Jeff Maloney

Scappoose

Bring accountability back to the PUD

I am baffled by comments made by Heather Arnis in the Spotlight’s letters to the editor (see “Columbia River PUD has been responsible,” Oct. 17, A4) about Columbia River PUD and its board members, including Loren Tarbell and Carol Everman, being responsible with our ratepayer monies.

As a customer, I am concerned about a few things. First, there has been two rate increases handed down to the customers in the last three years. It seems to me these rate increases would have contributed to some of the PUD savings — over $2 million in excess of their goal — that they are so proud of. Second, the PUD decided to spend over $1 million dollars on a building remodel project after they had pushed those two rate increases onto the customers. As I understand it, the remodel included a building expansion, even though the PUD has roughly the same number of employees they had over 10 years ago. Third, there was the special meeting the current board members, including Mr. Tarbell and Ms. Everman, held last month to consider giving PUD General Manager Kevin Owens another pay raise, per his request. It appears Mr. Owens wasn’t satisfied with the 2 percent increase he had already received, after initially requesting a 5 to 6 percent salary increase during his last evaluation. The Spotlight recently reported that Mr. Owens was already making in excess of $207,000 this year, including car allowance and bonus.

Whatever happened to considering our current economy, our local values or common sense?

I have lived in Columbia County and have been a PUD customer for most of my life. Like Ms. Arnis, I’m in favor of fiscal responsibility, but it seems to me the focus has shifted elsewhere recently.

I urge you to vote for Craig Melton and Harry Price in this election, so we can bring responsibility, and accountability, back to our PUD.

Judi (Odenthal) Kellar

St. Helens

I trust Cathleen Callahan

As a current client of Cathleen Callahan, I would like to state my support for her run for Columbia County Circuit Court judge.

We have spent five years working my difficult case. I got to know her and respect her both for her dedication to me, her client, and to the law. I hate to lose her as my attorney, but she is meant for greater things. I trusted her with my case and I will trust her as a judge.

During our conversations, I learned that Cathleen also spends a good deal of her time helping people who need help, but are in emotional situations that make it difficult to know where to find help. She volunteers with Columbia County Legal Aid to provide representation for those people who may be lost and searching for help. But that’s not all she does in her “spare” time.

She told me that she loves her work with Special Olympics as much as she enjoys her time with Rotary, the Chamber of Commerce and the Columbia Humane Society, among others. I also know that Cathleen strives to be fair to all parties in a case and in accordance with the law.

There was some give-and-take in my case that I initially may have been resistant to, but Cathleen convinced me that the actions she proposed were in the best interests of everyone affected by those actions, and she was right. She has my vote. She’s ready for this.

Maria Caroline

Columbia City

What does a judge do?

I’m a legal assistant for some local attorneys and a lifetime resident of Columbia County. I know what the circuit court judges do. They make very difficult legal decisions in situations where emotions run high.

A judge’s job is not to please people. A judge’s job is to make decisions based on the law. Columbia County Circuit Court judges spend most of their time on criminal and juvenile dependency cases.

I have worked with Columbia Circuit Judge Jean Martwick. Not only does she have experience as a circuit court judge, she also has years of experience as a trial attorney. She represented children and parents in dependency cases. She spent almost two decades handling the highest and most serious criminal cases. She has mastered Oregon Sentencing Guidelines, rules of evidence and courtroom procedure.

She is also a certified mediator and uses those skills regularly in complex civil cases.

It was brought to my attention at the candidate forum that the lawyer running against her lacks juvenile dependency experience and circuit court criminal law experience. Her criminal law experience is from Clatskanie Municipal Court, prosecuting low-level misdemeanors and violations. That court is open two days per month.

Judge Martwick has worked full-time in circuit court for over 17 years.

Electing a person who doesn’t have the necessary experience to do the job will create hardship on the court and cost the taxpayers money.

Support the district attorney’s choice.

Vote for Judge Jean Martwick.

Rayette Barger

St. Helens

On behalf of the Columbia River PUD line crew

I’m endorsing Harry Price for Columbia River PUD Director, Subdivision 5.

We believe Henry is the right choice for the PUD Board. He shares our drive to serve others and our focus on doing the best job we can for customers. He is a longtime PUD supporter who has had a long career in public school administration and served 31 years in the Army. His background would make him an effective board member. He will work to keep PUD rates low by trimming unnecessary costs and putting the focus back on the customer. He will encourage employees to share their ideas for making sure the PUD continues its long-standing tradition of great service, reliable power and low rates.

We hope you will join us in supporting Harry Price for PUD Board.

Casey Rea

Jared Motherway

Todd Cathers

Charles D. Long

Kurt Nasshahn

Lewis Cutler

John R. Shaffer

Advocating a ‘yes’ on Measure 88

I was one of a group of over 70 people who marched 7 miles from Scappoose to St. Helens several weeks ago in support of a “yes” vote on Measure 88, the driver card law.

Columbia County Families Together, the group organizing the event, called it the March for Safe Roads.

There were people from different walks of life who marched. Naaman Cordova, the director of SAFE of Columbia County; Cara Shufelt, the director of the Rural Organizing Project in Scappoose; Ramon Ramirez, president of PCUN farmworker union; Lionila Jimenez, a community leader who is voting for the very first time this year, after passing her citizenship test this summer.

There are as many reasons to vote “yes” on Measure 88 as there were marchers on that day.

Measure 88 will grant drivers cards to Oregon residents who can pass the written and at-the-wheel test, and prove their identity and Oregon residency. It is a commonsense solution to the issue of unlicensed drivers on our roads. All of our neighbors here in Columbia County should be able to live, and drive, with dignity.

I urge all of my neighbors to vote yes on Measure 88.

Amanda Shank

Scappoose

Measure 88 helps families

As the grandson of immigrants who came to the United States, when we still valued our identity as a melting pot of cultures, I support Measure 88. It will help families get to work, church and the doctor as needed to keep their families strong. Please join me with a yes vote for Measure 88.

Joe Lewis

Scappoose

Huser best choice for clerk

Betty Huser is my choice for Columbia County clerk.

Columbia County uses the most current version of computers for the recording system, the same one that at least 30 counties in Oregon continue to use today. If the county did not have the funds to keep the jail open for the safety of the community, where is the money going to come to upgrade a computer system, especially if the system works perfectly fine?

Betty understands that the Columbia County Clerk position is much more than upgrading computers.

The county clerk is responsible for making sure that all the documents to be recorded are executed properly prior to recording. This function of the job allows no room for error, as these recorded documents will be depended on in the future.

Betty has served the public with integrity, trust and intelligence, and deserves your vote on Nov. 4.

Donna Henderson

Rainier

GMOs should be labeled

I am writing to you to discuss Measure 92, concerning the labeling of genetically modified food.

While I personally have no qualms about using science to modify food, I feel that people should be allowed to know what they are eating, so I think that they should in fact be labeled. This is important especially for people who wish only to eat organically, or people who are worried about potential unforeseen consequences from eating modified food.

I feel as though in a farm town such as this, there are probably many people who feel this way.

The article I read for this project came from a website separate from yours, and it was called, “Why GMO Labeling May Finally Win Voters’ Approval in Colorado and Oregon.”

The article I read for my assignment discussed general background on GMOs, or genetically modified organisms, and about how we consume them far more frequently than some people may think, while also discussing how perhaps the ballot measure may pass in Oregon.

I encourage you to vote for the issue, as I believe it’s important for people to decide for themselves what they wish to eat.

Daniel Bussey

Warren

Martwick is Circuit Court timber

I had occasion to work with Jean Martwick a few years ago when a friend of mine was diagnosed with dementia and Alzheimer’s. She was appointed by the court to handle his legal matters.

What struck me was her ability to sift through a maze of problems, both legal and humane, at the same time and present several options to examine for a solution. Her involvement wasn’t just vocal, but hands on as well.

I recall one time where we had to move my friend into Avamere’s memory unit and I found myself holding one side of a heavy chair, peering at Jean holding up the other end as we moved it to her van in the parking lot.

Jean displayed extreme patience with my friend’s family as she guided them through legal matters for several years. One comment from the court was, “She is making about 12 cents an hour on this case.”

I was impressed with her ability to work with Columbia Community Mental Health and successfully get him transferred to the Oregon Veterans Home in The Dalles, which was able to provide a soft landing in the final stages of his 80 years. She was there when we spread his ashes in the river.

I recently attended a murder trial she was presiding over and was struck by the laser-like concentration of listening to all parties; legal arguments of the lawyers; expert law enforcement testimony; and each witness, before passing judgment based on the evidence.

She was in total control of the proceedings.

She is definitely circuit court timber.

Cliff Bauer

Scappoose

Concerns about Martwick’s time in Columbia County

During the primary, I heard conversation about the candidate Jean Martwick not residing in Columbia County.

Martwick reported to the Oregon Bar Association that the Columbia County Consortium had employed her since 2008 as Martwick Law LLC, but in her profile reported by the Clatskanie Chief stated that she had resided in Columbia County for three years.

Martwick was appointed to the position on Sept. 30, 2013. Jason Heym filed for the same position on Oct. 13, 2013. The voting records show that she became a registered voter in Columbia County for the first time on Nov. 23, 2013.

She told people that she lived in Washington County on Dixie Mountain Road in her dream house that she built and still owns. If this is true, she would have been a registered voter in Washington County when appointed in September 2013, and only after Heym filed for her position did she quickly “move” to Columbia County and register to vote.

Her voting history shows that she did not vote in any state, local or city elections from 2008, that is, until the 2014 primary when she suddenly found her civic pride and began exercising her right to vote.

Martwick brings her character and integrity into question when she holds herself out as a defender of the Constitution and veterans but she was not interested in voting to elect a president, a mayor, or help veterans until her name was on the ballot.

Dan Adams

Rainier

Preheim can update clerkship

The current county clerk made grievous misstatements in both the voters pamphlet and at the voters forum held at the local Elks club.

Columbia County does not have the “latest technology,” nor is it possible to “access and research old recorded documents” as has been stated by the county clerk.

Here’s what really happens, and I know because I do this frequently. You go into a windowless vault — you lug a heavy old book to a table back in a corner to locate where the record for which you are searching is actually found. You then move a huge ladder on rollers to the spot where you believe your document might be located. You then climb the ladder, pull out a book weighing approximately 50 pounds, climb down the ladder with said book in your one arm. If you are fortunate enough to actually locate the document, you take the 50-pound book back to the clerk’s office and ask them to copy it for you. Then you pay for it. I can only dispute that this is the latest technology.

I propose that the Clerk’s Office probably does have the latest computers. However, they do not have anyone who can implement the latest software, and therein lays the problem. The current clerk has been in office since 1988 and the technology is dated.

Brady Preheim has the experience and expertise to implement the new hardware, software and operating systems. He has owned a local computer business for 17 years and he will be able to address any technical problems which arise. There will be no need to hire outside help, thus saving taxpayers resources.

We have a good choice here with Preheim. I hope we get it right.

Nancy Whitney

St. Helens

Voting for Martwick

I will be voting for Judge Jean Martwick for Circuit Court Judge and I urge Columbia County citizens to vote to retain Judge Jean Martwick.

Although I am relatively new to the community, I have spent much of my time, knowledge and experience trying to contribute in a positive way to Columbia County. As a new citizen, I am eager to make an educated choice in this election, so I have studied the candidates and observed the political campaigns carefully.

Like the citizens of Columbia County, I put value into the amount of time that a person has lived in the area and knows the community, but I value just as much the knowledge and the experience that a person brings to a position, regardless of where they are from or how long they have lived here.

Although it is good that a judge be involved in and know the community, it is much more important to consider the knowledge and experience that the candidate has that will cause her to make educated and well informed decisions following the law. If I should have to go to court for any reason, I would much rather have a judge who has a broad experience in all aspects of the law than someone that campaigned on the amount of time she had been in the community.

Judge Jean Martwick has 18 years of experience handling criminal, civil and juvenile cases as opposed to her opponent, who said at the candidates’ forum she would be learning on the job. I appreciate that Judge Martwick put herself through community college, university and then law school while raising her children and working as a waitress. Judge Martwick has worked hard to get where she is.

Vote for Judge Jean Marie Martwick for Circuit Court Judge.

Kannikar Petersen

St. Helens

Callahan is the clear choice

Cathleen Callahan is the clear choice for Columbia County Circuit Court judge, and here is why:

She has shown through her actions that she cares about our country and the freedoms our veterans have fought so hard for by voting regularly.

Callahan has lived in Columbia County for 20 years, she has worked here, created jobs here, and has consistently given back to the community for years.

Her community service is vast and varied, ranging from one-on-one coaching for Special Olympics to being on the board of directors for a local domestic violence shelter and the Chamber of Commerce. Callahan has contributed countless hours of pro-bono work for the disadvantaged.

Callahan understands the power and responsibility the judge holds and firmly believes that all people must be treated with respect and dignity.

Callahan has the wisdom needed to be a judge. She has the right combination of intelligence, experience and compassion. She has the ability to communicate that wisdom in a way that people understand. Callahan appreciates how important it is to give all parties the opportunity to be heard.

Callahan has the experience both civil and criminal. She has a proven track record of negotiating settlements under difficult circumstances, like divorce, custody, and employment law. She has prosecuted cases, which takes a true understanding of law and the criminal justice system.

Callahan has the moral compass and integrity to be the kind of judge Columbia County wants on the bench.

Bobbie Crousser

St. Helens

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